Thursday, September 14, 2017

After the Storm....

So, unless you've been hiding in a hole somewhere lately, you know that Hurricane Irma has been bearing down on the state of Florida for a week or more. Sunday morning it moved onto land. When you're staring down the barrel of a Cat 3,4,5 hurricane, many things go through your mind. Many things weigh on your heart and you're faced with life changing decisions at every turn.

This is the first major hurricane we've had in Florida since we moved 9 years ago. We've had minor things come up or down one side of the coast or other that wasn't much to worry about. Yes it caused some flooding and things, but we've never faced a Category 5 storm that looked to hit Florida head on.

Now, we have. Just in case you haven't seen the shot, this right here says it all...

Hurricane Andrew was one of the worst storms that hit Florida until, September 10, 2017. For more than a week I've faced the news with worry, concern, prayers, wondering what to do. Do you stay? Do you go? Many people evacuated from one coast to the other only to find they evacuated right into the path the storm was taking.

Thankfully there were thousands of prayers going up all over the world. I mean thousands, maybe even millions that were going up for the state of Florida. For the storm itself to reduce/dissipate, calm itself down before it hit landfall.

This past weekend we boarded up the windows of our home. I put things in bags to protect them should the water decide to come in instead of staying out. We got our supplies and we hunkered down to prepare for the worst storm ever.

So, through all of this, I've learned some things. Some valuable lessons to take with me from now on out.

1. Stress wreaks havoc on your body. Yeah I kind of knew that, but the past week has been crazy. Headaches days before the storm that were rough, having breakouts because I've been stressed, no sleep for days can really take a toll on you.

2. Being told to get ready for mass destruction is something you never want to face. It really isn't. I did find one weatherman that I felt comfortable watching as he seemed to keep it real. If he was panicked/nervous, you knew to be nervous.

3. When born and raised Floridians get nervous, it's time for you to get nervous. Course, I was nervous before then but Florida folks don't typically run from a hurricane. Until now.

4. Just because the storm is over, doesn't mean the rest is. I have had bad dreams about the past week. People are still without power, us included. People have lost everything they ever owned. Some have even lost their lives.

5. There are still amazing people in this world. No matter what the news may try to portray otherwise, there are some amazing, kind, goodhearted people in this world. People that risk their lives driving into the heart of the storm to wait and help with the aftermath.

6. God is still in the miracle working business. The weatherman here I watch said it best. He said there's no other explanation for why this Cat 5 storm that has been raging for so long reduced like it did other than the massive amount of prayers going up. There's no way to get around that. God took care of Florida that there wasn't anymore destruction than there is.

7. I've never felt so emotionally raw before in my life. Listening for days on end that this is the worst, baddest, biggest storm in history can wreak havoc on your emotions. Trying to make sure you and your family have the basic necessities to live without power for several days is nerve wracking when thousands of others are doing the same thing. Facing the unknown as you listen to the fact that the wind speeds are 100+ miles an hour and they are bearing down on your home.

8. Wind is scary. No matter if you're inside a strong building or not that storm was something that scared me to listen to. I didn't sleep at all. I was praying all night long to be honest. As I listened to the winds whip around our home, the pouring rain, and no power. It was something that you can't truly prepare yourself for until you're in the middle of it.

I know there's more to say but right now that's all I got. Please, if you're out of Florida, pray for the state. The cleanup is massive, people are on day number 4 or 5 without power, cell service, internet etc. Don't take anything for granted. Be grateful and thankful for all you have. Keep your prayers going for this state and all those affected by Hurricane Irma, and those by Hurricane Harvey. We all need them. We will recover. We will move forward. Things will get back to "normal" eventually for most of us. We will remain... Florida Strong.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dear Movie Makers (And Anyone Else Listening)

Okay. So, something's been burning in my mind and heart recently. There have been a few shows we've seen that have a scary and infuriating trend. It's something that bugs the mess out of me and I just needed to get this out there. Just in case anyone was curious or didn't understand.

God does not run. 

See, recently there have been a couple of shows that have God on the run. They have Him disappearing and the whole story is behind chasing God down to find out why He left and what He's going to do to protect them now. 

I have something to tell you. My God does not run from a fight. He does not run period. He's always there, always watching, always waiting for you to run to Him. See anytime you read in the Old Testament about a battle or struggle, God went before His people and His hand was on them the entire way. There's no God getting frustrated and just up and leaving. He doesn't do that. He's not one to run from a fight or go in the opposite direction of opposition. 

Job 36:32 says:

"He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark"

Do you think the one who can tell lightning where to strike is going to run away with His feelings hurt? I think not.

It's frustrating to me because while I know better, and most Christians know better, those who don't know God can't tell the difference. They may believe that God would do that if things get bad or may use it as an excuse to say well God doesn't love me, look at what's gone on in my life.

Friend, that could not be further from the truth. God does love you and wants what is best for you. God doesn't run from the tough times in your life, He runs to them. He is there carrying you every step of the way, no matter what the situation may be.

Psalm 46:1-2 says:
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea..."

So just in case you were wondering. Just in case you might have been confused or otherwise thought that was true. My God doesn't run. He doesn't go hide because things get tough or there's a revolt in heaven. My God stands firm. He's an ever-present help whether you want Him to be or not. He's always there. Always waiting for you to run to His open arms.

God doesn't run.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thankful Thursday

850. I'm thankful for an amazing time this week watching the eclipse with my kiddo, Mimi, and Papa.

851. I'm thankful for a new coffee cup which I think fits perfectly.

852. I'm thankful for the book of James. It is not always easy to read but it is always full of life changing words.

853. I'm thankful for Turbo coffee.

854. I'm thankful that in the morning, very early in the morning, I can wear my hoodie cuz it's juuuusssttt cool enough in my office to. You know, without dying of heat stroke.

855. I am thankful that there is a season of slow down before the fall kicks in to high gear.

856. I'm thankful that no matter how many times you read a verse in the Bible, it can always bring a new inspiration.

857. I'm thankful for Wal-Mart Neighborhood pickup. It has totally changed my grocery shopping habits this month.

858. I'm thankful that God's got our back through every situation. Our backs, our fronts, our sides, up and down.

859. I'm thankful for a girls day last week with my mom and my bestie. It was a much needed time for all of us.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesdays in the Word...

This week's Wednesday in the Word is focused on the battle. It's not one we can always see with our physical eyes. Everyday we face issues, troubles, situations that we may not understand or we may not see a way out. Maybe you're in a situation or your loved one is in a place where a battle is raging. It could be something physical such as an ailment or disease that you're praying about. Perhaps you are facing a battle with your job, your family, or something different altogether.

God reminds us everyday that He is fighting our battles for us. He is our shelter in the storm and an ever present help. In Psalms 91:1-2 the bible says:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress. My God, in Him I will trust'."

Think of a mother bird with her babies. When she is tucking them in for the evening or when danger is around, where do they go? They run under the shelter of her wings and she wraps them up tight to protect them. 

This is exactly what God does. He is a powerful fortress and shelter for His children. You can run to Him and He puts you under His wings. He wraps those arms around you and protects you from the battles that rage around you. 

Romans 8:31 reminds us that:

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

You can rest in the peace and knowledge that God is fighting for you. He has your back. He's never going to leave you or forsake you. Even when the road is tough. Even when everything around you seems to be falling and breaking down. Even when you can't do anything but cry out to God. Cry out to Him. He's there sheltering you and protecting you. 

You must remember that everything is for a purpose. The trial you're going through, the problems or struggles you may face, they have a reason and a purpose. God is using those and will use those to move you to a deeper place with Him. Your pain is for a reason. Your struggle has a meaning and a purpose. 

If you have anything you would like me to pray with you about, please comment on the post and I'll add it to my prayer list. I pray every week that these posts can reach out to someone in need or someone hurting. They speak to me as I pray they do you. God loves you, He wants what is best for you and you have a purpose! 

Be Blessed!!! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 21st - 25th

Welcome back! So how did your menu plan go last week? For us, we stuck with it for the week. That's what I love. When you make a plan and you stick with the plan, you succeed, in most cases. ;-)

So this week is a pretty regular week. Of course today is the eclipse so that'll add some extra fun in there. Yes, we have our solar eclipse glasses and yes we're going to make either the paper plate protector thingy or the cereal box viewer as well. Safety first! Other than that, we have a pretty normal week filled with school and church things. Maybe some visits with friends thrown in there.

So without further ado, here's the plan for our home:

Pork chops in the oven with mashed potatoes for the boys and cucumber and onion salad as well

Nachos - per the little guy's request

Clean out the fridge day! We'll have leftovers to make sure that everything is eaten and nothing wasted

Chicken Wings 

Grill out with Daddy

Breakfasts This Week:
Scrambled eggs with spinach
Fried eggs with sausage
Biscuits for the little guy
Fruit: clementine's, berries and apples

Momables- this is basically a homemade lunchable. We'll do things such as hardboiled eggs with cheese, pickles, and cucumbers, lunchmeat, fruit, etc. 
Leftovers from suppers the night before
Chicken fingers
Popcorn Shrimp
Pizza rolls

So, what's on your plate for this week? Share some new and exciting recipe ideas with me!

Have a blessed week ahead!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up : An Odd Week...

This week was an odd one. It was one of those where you work and work but you really don't want to work. You know what I mean? We all have those times where you just don't want to. I am not sure why. Not sure if there's something crazy in the air, our weather has been kind of dreary. Not sure if the impending eclipse has us all in a "mood" or what. Whatever it is, we did less than we have been but still moved forward. Which, that's the point, right? So here's a look at our week. ( Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers this week)
All Thing Math
Math is moving along pretty well. There has been one day so far in the whole four weeks of school that tears showed up but otherwise it's been pretty good. We're moving along learning the distributive property this week, working with expressions, and learning lots of terminology. To be honest, I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to add the alphabet to the math world but hey... He's getting it :)

Have I mentioned how much I love Apologia? Well in case I haven't, I do! This week in our science reading we are still working on the history of science. We're learning about scientific ideas that were once believed and now are not, we're talking about tons of the major scientists throughout history, how the Dark Ages affected science and so on. One thing this week that I just loved seeing was about Sir Isaac Newton. Did you know that Newton wrote more on the prophecy of Daniel than he did science?? I was blown away!! Many of the scientists we've learned about were devout Christians.

My kiddo has some great examples in his life of science and faith working together. My father and mother both have science degrees and our praise and worship leader, who Boo Bear just adores, works in a laboratory herself. So he has some pretty amazing examples of how science and faith can coexist. However, I have had moments with him where he broke down in tears asking how could you love science and believe in God. These reminders in this science book are just what we needed to reiterate that in fact, God and science go hand-in-hand. So thankful for this!!!

Reading, Writing, History and Everything Else
We've been moving right along in all our other classes as well. He's doing such a great job at tackling all his workbook pages and getting them done. I'm seeing a real change in how he handles school work this year. I'm very proud of him for all the hard work he's putting into his school work. It's not that he hasn't before but I can see a very big difference in how he is tackling the work to get it done and completed without the hassle :). That's a huge difference!

I tried a new recipe this week, well two new recipes, and they were a big hit. I did a Mediterranean Pork Loin and the cauliflower broccoli au gratin I had been wanting to try. Even Boo Bear liked the side dish so that was good!

So, this weekend we are looking forward to some relaxing downtime, I believe. Never know what we might get into. How was your week? Hope you have a blessed weekend ahead and a great week to come!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thankful Thursday

840. Thankful for spontaneous lunch dates with dad.

841. Time with my kiddo out and about just hanging.
842. I'm thankful for time with my brother!
843. I'm thankful for my kiddos new love of Jeopardy. We bought the game a few weeks ago and have been playing it. He's also discovered the show and has been watching it every night. Fun for the whole family!
844. This kids personality... He's a trip and a half! I just love how his personality shines in everything he does.

845. I'm thankful for HUGE sales on items I love. This week I received an email for Bath and Body Works that made their soaps, which I adore, less than $3.00 a bottle. What!!!! I might have spent more than I could have thought about at the time, but hey... We are stocked up on soap for a while...

846. Thankful for a great 3 1/2 weeks of school so far. He's working hard and it shows!
847. I'm thankful for the giggles I hear between my kiddo and my hubby as they play.
848. I'm thankful for delicious new recipes to try
849. I'm thankful for learning new things.

So, what blessings are you counting this week?