Tuesday, April 26, 2016

One Crazy Spring!

 My mellow spring shattered into a million pieces when Steve got the little ones excited about Little League. So we are now having a new adventure! We have entered the world of baseball. Can I just say, I never knew there were so many pieces of a uniform to keep track of!?1

Lily is in T-Ball and Jacob made the Minors team. They LOVE it!  I am not really a fan of baseball so I content learning how to do concessions and pitch count. Just give me something to do and I am happy.

What blesses my heart most of all, is to see Steve out there working with them in our back lot or at the City park. They practice for hours! So good for them all.

Lily's hat is huge on her! 

 We made a trip to go visit this little Cutie, Rina. Jessica is just in love with her newest cousin!

 We celebrated Lily's birthday at my sister's house. She looked so pretty in her new dress.


Lily posing with a Lily in Walmart


Rina falling asleep swinging with Jackie and I on their homestead.


Rina loves playing with Lily too!

Jackie's friend made a doll cake for Lily. She did such a good job and it was yummy too!

I still am watching my Miss Amanda during school days. Just love this little ray of sunshine God has put in my life!

 My tulips expanded this year and I also added Hyacinths to the tulip/daffodil mix. I LOVE my flower garden!

 We decided that our big splurge this year would be on a privacy fence. My brother, his wife and I tirelessly worked on it for about a week. So worth it! We will try to enclose the whole extra lot next year. Pretty spendy to do 210 feet of privacy fence.

 I made the whole family help the first day! Lots of digging to be done.

 It is starting to take shape!


Here is the finished product!

Now the kids don't have to chase their baseballs!


 Jessica took these beautiful pictures of my flowers!





 We have had some fun this spring, too. We took time to go play at the creek at my parent's ranch. It dries up the summer, so we take advantage of the good weather and go when we can. This time, the kids asked if they could have a mud fight. I actually let them! They had so much fun!

My favorite time of the year is spring. Everything seems so fresh and new. Beauty is everywhere and it gives me such hope for new beginnings. God is so good and continually loves and restores us to Him. He will never let go and I will never let go of Him. Raising teens has been a challenge that I had not been prepared for. Every day presents drama but I am learning to rest in between and it is GOOD. It is good because He is a GOOD God.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trust God's Heart

(A driftwood cross at Zihuatanejo Christian Fellowship)

I was looking at my journal this morning from three years ago. I was in a very dark place and I was astounded to see how close I was clinging to God. I wanted to share them with you because sometimes we have a hard time trusting God's heart and His intentions for us when we are facing giant losses and not seeing much gain.

Here it goes...

"I am trusting Your heart. the heart that loved rebellious Israelites. the heart that forgave David after he sinned with Bathsheba. The heart that kept Dave's line till the Messiah came. the heart that heard his people's cries and set them free. the heart that gave them a promised land of their very own. the heart who helped them to not be afraid to take over impossibly fortified cities. 

You are gracious, compassionate, merciful, mighty, forgiving, loving, kind, methodical, righteous, holy, gentle, DANGEROUS, UNPREDICTABLE, eternal, pure, lovely, FULL of HOPE. You faithfully keep your promises to me and my family. I love you so much. Help me to love you more."

 

There were days I felt I would never laugh again. Now look at me. I am not fear-filled for the future of my children. I am not paralyzed with it. I am not trying to control the future. I am not comparing myself to other "super-moms". I am not relying on a formula that seems to work for someone else's family. Instead, I am trusting my GOOD God to work this all out. I am expecting great things from him. I am expecting that the seeds of love, and God's Truth will grow in my children and will effect the choices they make as they grow and mature.

I ran into this verse after doing "Breaking Free" Bible study probably 13 years ago. It was powerful then, but now that I am on the other side of this trial, it means so much more.

"And provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations." Isaiah 61:3-4

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Barra De Potosi Part 2

Our balcony had a lovely view of the grounds, pool and beach.


I loved the bed on the balcony you could lounge around on to take a nap or read a good book. I read a whole book in a week! I never get that luxury!

 Here is a nice view of the lap portion of the pool.

Our bungalow. Our room was on the second story. 

 Our room was simple, but nice. Very large and perfect for three people!

 The shower took some getting used to for a modest girl like me. I felt a bit like Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop. It was an open air shower with palm trees strategically placed all our it. I have never showered within view or sound of the ocean.

 There are hammocks everywhere! Our room had one, our section of the beach and even the restaurants on the beach had them! I am not exactly a hammock girl, but I tried this one on the beach.


 Then I looked up and saw these huge coconuts that looked like they could crush my skull if they fell on me. I moved quickly! It was coconut season so they could have easily fallen on me. The caretaker of our place would daily climb up and cut down coconuts for us to drink and each. I have never had fresh coconut like that before. We were even treated to a young coconut. I did not like it! I was told it tasted like custard. To me it tasted like coconut slime.

 The grounds were well cared for. Hector, the caretaker, hand-watered every plant every day it seemed.

 More pictures of the pool and the grounds. The fountain is at the end of the pool.

 I asked them to turn the fountain on. I guess they don't run it all the time because electricity is one of their biggest expenses down here in Mexico. It was so pretty and I loved the sound of the water gently going back into the pool.

Click here to see Part 1 of this trip.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Barra De Potosi Part 1

 So a year ago, Margaret, Catherine and I decided we would go on a "Decades Birthday Trip". Catherine was going to turn 70, Margaret turned 50 last year and I turned 40. We saved our "mad money" and made it happen. This was truly the first miracle...That it actually happened. No one got sick, no one's loved ones got sick, and nothing else prevented this trip. Because of that, we knew God was in it and we relished in it. We kept looking at each other on the flight and said, "I can't believe this is actually happening!".

 We decided to go to a small fishing village called Barra De Potosi about 30 minutes south of Zihuatanejo, Mexico. The first leg of the trip found us flying from Portland, Oregon to LA. Then we flew from LA to Zihuatanejo. That leg was about a 3 1/2 hour plane ride. I was fascinated with the Sea of Cortez. So beautiful!
 We flew by an active volcano. I don't know the name, but could see the cloud of vapor coming out the top. Pretty cool!
 When we arrived, the air was hot and humid, but not as hot and humid as I had experienced in Puerto Vallarta. I was very happy about that. We took a taxi to Barra De Potosi and entered into our small "resort" called Playa De Potosi. It was ran by some lovely Canadians named Rolf and Maxine. The view of the beach was astounding. The waves were constantly in our ears. Beautiful and serene! Here is a view from the spot we would have our coffee each morning.

 My first walk on the beach! Oh my, I am so used to the Pacific Ocean in Oregon that is FREEZING! I couldn't stay out of the water here, it was so warm and mild. I lived in my bathing suit and sarong during my stay here.

 The pool design was unique. I loved the "beach" that gradually led you in the pool and my girls would have enjoyed the "mermaid rock". I spent so much time reading and relaxing by the pool. Just what this busy mom needed.
 That evening we walked down to the town of Barra by way of the beach. We ate while the sun set and watched local fishermen catch their fish by net or by pole. The restaurants are situated right on the sand!
 As we were headed back to our bungalow, we ran into this little guy. I think it was a sting ray. It looked like it had been speared.

This is a picture of the beach from our tiny oasis. Barra De Potosi is at the end of it. 

I will do this trip in parts so as not to overwhelm you with pictures. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Teach Me, O Lord!

My Prayer based on 2 Timothy 2:24-25


-God teach me to love my husband and children the way you love them.

-Teach me to not quarrel.

-Instead be kind to everyone.

-Able to teach.

-To not be resentful when serving.

-When I am opposed, help me to gently instruct in the hope that God will grant them repentance.


-Help me to lead them to the knowledge of your TRUTH, so that they can come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

I am printing this and hanging it up in my new "war room". It starts with me. My attitudes, my actions, my prideful spirit. 

Teach me to love the way You love.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Merry Christmas! (Tiny Catch Up)


 I love Christmas. It is a time I can be very intentional about teaching the kids the Bible. I made this advent 17 years ago and every day we read a Bible story counting up to Christmas. The kids know the stories so well now that I have them tell the story back to me instead of me reading to them. I am so thankful that God's Truth is in their hearts!



Christmas is a time of chaos for the Brown House. It seems like it is usually accompanied by some kind of surgery for me. This year I got my tendon released in my right elbow. Not fun! But I am getting by. Can't cook, clean, write and I am barely typing this. I need to be good. Lots of activities, family and friends. Lots of snow, ice and rain. This year has been full of  heartache and triumphs. Praying that God will use all of it for His glory. I am learning to trust and not be afraid. He truly has my family in His hands and His provision is unquestionably GOOD.

Love to all. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.

(Due to my arm, I will be taking a blogging break.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Avocado Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Quinoa seems a little bitter to me, so I found a recipe on the back of the back of quinoa and put my own spin on it.



Avocado Cranberry Quinoa Salad

1 large avocado chopped
1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa 
1/2 cup of crumbled feta
1/3 of toasted slivered or chopped almonds
2 TBS of minced onion
1/4 dried cranberries  or 1/2 cup fresh grapes (halved)

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsps red wine vinegar
1 tsp of raw sugar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Mix salad ingredients, Mix dressing ingredients, then add dressing and mix. Refrigerate yields 6 servings.

You could add crumbled bacon for a little twist as well!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Catch Up Post for Fall of 2015

 We have had a very busy fall. I thought I lucked out and just had two kids in high school football, but Jessica decided to go out for Junior High Volleyball at the last minute, so my vision of an easy fall was smashed to smithereens! Homecoming week in a small town is CRAZY! Lots of fun but lots of activities. The kids dress up every day. Lily is dressed up as a "geezer" here.

 Halloween costume day, featured Lily as Elsa (along with 20 other girls!)
 We had to creative with Jacob's costume. We labeled him the "crazy San Francisco fan". Hey, it works!

 Career day, I was so proud of Lily who chose to be a "Stay at Home Mom".

 Of course, Jacob chose his career as a marine. No we did not let him take the gun to school!

 I love a school that fits in one gym. This is K-12! I think we have less than 300 students total.

 My mums lived! Well, half of them. The ones that did live got huge! I am so pleased to still have color this late in fall.

 Steve is still staying busy. Here is a car fire. He is the one in the middle. Proud of my firefighter!

 Got to go visit my sweet twin sis and her family a few weekends back. Here is Rina and her Auntie Stacie. Love getting my baby fixes in!

 Rina still fits in the dress that I got her when she was born. She is all dressed up for her baby dedication. This is my sis, Jackie with her sweet baby.

 Jackie, Michael and Rina at her dedication. I was privileged to be able to sing Serene and Pearl's song to her called "A Mother's Prayer." I love songs that make people cry.

 Here is Jess getting ready for the other team's serve. She is such a good volleyball player. The whole team has improved so much! Very exciting to watch! They won a lot of games this year.

 Here is Marcus playing in his first varsity game. His the one crouching on the line.

 Marcus is Number 2. I can't believe how big my 15 year old is getting!

Here is a parting shot of Lily showing off her six year old gap! Oh my has time flown by. How it possible that she is this old. It is so precious. I want to take time to savor all this. Relish it. Love it.

God, you have blessed me beyond belief. Is life perfect? Absolutely not! I am struggling with real problems. But God continues to put them into perspective. I have been through much, much worse. people around the world are going through much, much harder things than my measly problems.

Right now, I am preparing to have surgery on my right elbow. This is going to be quite challenging since I am right-handed. I am crazily preparing meals and freezing them, trying to get caught up on housework and training my children to step it up and help out around here more. I would appreciate your prayers for patience, kindness and gentleness to permeate my soul through the Holy Spirit within me.

Blessings to all!
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