Sunday, August 13, 2017

Photo of the Week #24: Our Graduates



Last Sunday, we had a graduation ceremony and celebration for our two graduates. EL has finished High School and received a Certificate of Completion. JJ received his 8th Grade diploma. It was a nice day celebrated with family and friends. A huge milestone. 

For more pictures and details, click over to the newest post on our homeschool Blog:  SONset ACADEMY: Our 2017 Graduates

Psalm 113:3 - From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Photo of the Week #23: Car Show Bonus


Last weekend, we went to a family reunion on David's side of the family. While we were in the area, the "boys" went to a car show in town, and JJ was in "heaven." He loved looking at all the shiny cars, as did his grandfather. While they were looking at one of the cars, the owner noticed JJ's interest and asked if he would like to sit inside. "Ummm... Yah!" was the reply. What a neat experience for him. Most of the time, there are signs that say "Do not touch!" on the cars, but JJ was allowed to SIT in this one! The man was very gracious. He showed favor to JJ, but it wasn't because JJ was someone "special" or because he did something for the owner of the car.  He was simply given this opportunity without doing anything to earn it, except show an interest. 

This is an example of God's grace to us. God gives us his grace for salvation, not because we are someone special, or because we have done something special for Him, but simply in response to our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sin. 

Numbers 6:25 - The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;





Wednesday, July 26, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Wow! The Good News in Four Words


I have not read too many of the numerous children's books written by Dandi Daley Mackall.  But, the ones I have read, I have enjoyed, and I especially like the way they share Scripture with young children in simple ways. Her new book, Wow! The Good News in Four Words is no exception. It is a fun book that helps children (and adults) remember the Gospel message by the use of 4 little words.

  • WOW - presents  the account of Creation and shares God's love for us. 
  • UH-OH - discusses the fall of mankind and how we all sin.
  • YES - talks about Jesus' birth, death and resurrection, and how we can be forgiven of our sins if we say yes to Jesus.
  • AHHH - is about eternal life and the peace we can have with Jesus as a part of our lives.
  • WOW (again) - encourages us to grow in our faith and share the Good News with others.

I really like the note to parents at the beginning of the book that explains these words, and also gives Scripture references to back them up. You can also find more references at the back of the book for those who wish to dig even deeper into the Gospel and God's plan for us. 

The only thing I don't care for is how busy some of the pages are with illustrations. The illustrations by Annabel Tempest are well-done, however, there is just a bit too much on each page for my liking. For some children, that might be great, but for me and my children, "less is more." We prefer few and simple illustrations that are a little less distracting. But, other than that, the book is good and I would recommend it. 

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Photo of the Week #22: Oil Painting Class

EL is using a "fan brush" to make grass

I love exposing EL to different opportunities, just to see what she will or won't enjoy doing. So, this past week, I took her to an oil painting class. The instructor showed us step by step what to do and, with a little help from me, here is the final product....

The finished painting

She didn't show much interest in it at first but, as we got into it more, she seemed to enjoy watching her blank white canvas turn into a painting. She did really well on making the trees and grass on her own, but needed my help to do the more intricate work. So, a lot of the time, I held her wrist to help keep her hand steady and guided her on where to paint. When she couldn't do something on her own, she made sure to tell me what she wanted in the picture, and where to put it. She wanted the wheel inside the barn, and we couldn't forget about the hay in the top window. She also definitely had to have the squirrel in the tree (can you find it?) and the birds in the sky. She has always loved the living creatures created by God.

Genesis 1:24 - And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. (ESV)

I asked her if she wants to do another painting sometime and, for right now, she doesn't seem to have much interest in doing it again. But, we'll see what happens. At least she had this experience, and we'll have to see what we can come up with next for her to try. Any suggestions? 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Nichole Nordeman CD "Every Mile Mattered" [GIVEAWAY CLOSED]

Do you have regrets about certain things that did or didn't happen in your life? I know I do. Do you wish you could go back and change things, or make it so something didn't happen? I know I have. I think we all have. I sometimes wish I hadn't had to move around so much when I was growing up. I sometimes wish I had chosen a different career path. I sometimes wish my daughter had never been diagnosed with autism. I sometimes wish my son didn't have Tourette Syndrome. I sometimes wish I had never had cancer. I wish my dad was still alive. And, the list goes on...

But, Nichole Nordeman's new lyric video, "Every Mile Mattered" (from the album by the same name), shares how everything that has happened in my life is all a part of my history. If these things had not happened, yes, everything would be different, but I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't be the person I was meant to be.

In keeping with Nichole's style of introspective music, the entire album is full of tender songs that help us reflect on our lives - past, present and future. Everyone is on a journey, and every traveler gets dusty and bruised along their path. But, the paths we have taken, or have been forced to take, do not have to ruin our lives. We can leave the past behind, learn from the mistakes we have made, cherish the good times, and focus on the endless miles of God's goodness in our lives - past, present, and future. EVERY. MILE. MATTERS.

Pre-order on Amazon or iTunes and/or enter below to be included in a random drawing for one copy of this CD. Entries will be accepted until Saturday, July 22, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. Central time. One entry per mailing address. Continental U.S. residents only. Must be 18 or older to enter.



On another note: Remember the popular heart-touching song "Slow Down" by Nichole Nordeman? Well, that same song is on this album featuring a young girl, Pepper Ingram. It is a sweet version. And, now, Nichole also has a book called “SLOW DOWN” coming out in August. You can pre-order a copy here: http://slowdown-book.com.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Meet Sam Judd


I was recently introduced to Sam Judd by my brother, Daniel. They are fellow missionaries with Kentucky Mountain Mission in Eastern Kentucky and have worked together for several years. As I understand it, everyone at KMM has their own gifts and talents that are being used for the Lord, and some of Sam's gifts are in teaching and in music.

After graduating from Bible College with an emphasis in Pastoral Studies, Sam did a year's internship with the church he had attended in college, and then went on the road with long-time Christian musician Michael Card for 7 1/2 years. Sam worked behind the scenes as a roadie during Michael's concert tours. The core road team in those days was Michael, Ron Davis (Road Manager and Sound Engineer) and Sam. 

Sam told me Michael and Ron were his mentors during that time. He said, "Mike and Ron really poured into me during those years. My call in life is to teach the Bible by living the truth, speaking the truth, writing the truth, and singing and songwriting the truth. Mike and Ron showed me how to live out this calling."

Since then, Sam has recorded three albums of his own. His third one, I Am With You, is set to be released on July 11, 2017. I have listened to this new album and am impressed with the many great songs written and co-written by Sam. It is evident these songs were written from real life experiences, bringing honest encouragement and hope to those who may be struggling. Sam says this about the album: 
"I Am With You" is my third album. It is engineered by Keith Compton, who I first met during the recording of Mike's "Scribbling In The Sand" recording. We've spent a ton if time together over the years during Mike's recordings and during mine. He is a true brother! Keith was talking to me about how he liked the song "I Am With You" as we were recording, and I came to realize that the theme of God being with us, of never leaving or forsaking us, and the price He paid on Calvary to make this relationship possible, really ties all the songs together.

http://samjudd.com/i-am-with-you/I encourage you to listen to samples of  Sam's latest album and/or pre-order a copy on his website here, where $15.00 includes shipping and handling: http://samjudd.com

Sam would also enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and minister at your church. Please feel free to contact him through his Facebook page, or through the form on his website for more details.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Photo of the Week #21: Happy Birthday America - My Home Away from Home



Philippians 3:20 - But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ

I currently live in the United States of America. It is my home on Earth. But, as a Christian, my true citizenship is in Heaven (see verse above). I am thankful for that because it gives me hope to one day be living in a perfect world. We all know this world we live in now is NOT a perfect world, am I right? In fact, it is downright messed up. There are days when I am so very ready to leave it all behind and finally encounter perfect peace like never before. Yet, while I am here, I am an American. And, even though the struggles are real, I am often reminded of how God has blessed America in many ways... and I am thankful... 
  • thankful for our freedoms.
  • thankful for the men and women who have died for those freedoms.
  • thankful for the luxuries we have compared to other countries.
  • thankful to be living here, where God has placed me.

The photo above was taken less than two weeks ago, when my son was at Boy Scout camp. We were there on Family Night and they closed the evening with a fireworks display. The American flag was lit up, and Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American" was playing over the sound system. It was a nice way to end the evening, and made me thankful (and yes... proud) to be an American. Even with all the political messiness, and crime, and struggles we go through, it is still my current home away from home. I am glad to be here, and I am honored the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve Him while I am here.

Happy Birthday, America!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Photo of the Week #20: 25 Years As Husband and Wife

Wedding Picture - 1992
This coming Tuesday is our SILVER wedding anniversary - 25 years! Wow, hard to believe it was 25 years ago when my dad walked me down the isle to give me away to David. Here are some photos of us throughout the years. Some were definite anniversary pictures, while others were not taken on an anniversary but on the dates closest that I could find.

1st Anniversary - 1993
We defrosted the top of our wedding cake

2nd Anniversary - 1994

Camping - 1995
I was sunburned

At a friend's wedding -1996
David was the Best Man

5th Anniversary at Olive Garden - 1997

6th Anniversary, pregnant with 1st child - 1998

Family photo - 1999

8th Anniversary - 2000

Family photo - 2001

10th Anniversary, pregnant with 2nd child - 2002

Family photo - 2003

At a Fire Department dinner - 2004

13th Anniversary - 2005

David's 40th birthday - 2006

15th Anniversary - 2007

16th Anniversary - 2008

At a dinner theater with friends - 2009

Heading to another dinner theater - 2010

At home - 2011

20th Anniversary - 2012

Cancer treatments - 2013

22nd Anniversary at the local fair - 2014

23rd Anniversary heading to a dinner theater - 2015

2016
June 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Photo of the Week #19: My First Father's Day

I don't have very many photos of my dad holding me as an infant. But, I did find this one which was taken shortly after I was born. That means, it was probably taken on, or very close to, Father's Day of 1969. It was my first Father's Day with my dad.

Today is Father's Day 2017, and it is another "first" for me - the first one without my dad. It is very different to not have my dad to send a card to this year, or to be able to pick up the phone and give him call. But, it is not a sad day. Instead, I choose it to be a day of remembrance and gratitude; a day to thank God for giving me a father who loved his family dearly (and one I loved dearly in return).


Father's Day Graphics


Sunday, June 11, 2017

BOOK INFO: God Puts Us Where He Wants Us

In February 2017, my family and I took a trip to visit my parents. While we were there, my dad (a retired Pastor and Bible College Instructor) handed me a 3-ring binder that included some of his memoirs, thoughts, and past teachings. He told me he finally wanted to start working on the book we had been asking him to write, and asked me to edit it and get it ready for publishing.

I looked over Dad's material, and began editing the book in March. Dad was mostly home bound at this point, but we collaborated via e-mail and telephone calls until his book was finally published on April 17th. This book was a goal Dad had wanted to accomplish, and I am thankful I had the opportunity to help make it happen for him. It ended up being his final project on earth.

A BRIEF HEALTH HISTORY:  It was over 15 years ago when Dad had aggressive, fast-growing prostate cancer. He was told he would only have several months to live if he didn't seek treatment. After weighing his options, he and Mom chose for him to receive brachytherapy which, in short, is the implanting of tiny radiation seeds that kill off the cancer. The treatment did its job, and Dad was cancer free for the past 15+ years. We are thankful he was given these additional years to take part in the lives of his family and friends. The drawback is that the radiation seeds caused damage to Dad's internal organs and, over this past year, his health began to take a drastic turn for the worse.  Ultimately, his liver failed and he went home to be with the Lord on May 12th, less than a month after his book became available.

Dad wasn't perfect, and he was the first to admit it, but he loved the Lord and was always looking for ways to serve Him. So, when he became home bound, it was hard for him to be less physically active, and he went through a difficult time of feeling somewhat "useless." But, what he eventually learned is that God can and does use us, no matter what season of life we are in. Even as Dad's health was failing, God used him in the hospital to speak with others about the Lord. God also used him to be a counselor and encourager when people would call and talk with him. Finally, God used him to write this small, easy to read, 86-page book that shares "where he has been," and "where he is now" through a collection of memoirs, meaningful moments, teachings, and observations.

Dad's hope for this book was for his readers to be Spiritually encouraged, and to help us understand how God places us where HE wants us, and then it is our responsibility to serve Him no matter where we have been placed.

Here is an excerpt from the book on Create Space:

And, here is the link to order a copy in either paperback or Kindle.
(FYI: My mother, Carolyn, is the beneficiary of any proceeds.) GOD PUTS US WHERE HE WANTS US


SIDE NOTE:  The church on the cover of the book was hand-drawn by my dad from memory. It is Belew's Creek Chapel, a little church he ministered at in Missouri.