Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you. - John Owen

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blog Award

Hello y'all! 

My dear friend, Brookie (visit her blog, Bungalow of Blessing) nominated me for a blog award.  :)  Thanks, sweet friend.

Here’s how it works:
1. each nominee must answer 11 questions,
2. create 11 questions for the next nominees to answer,
3. link back to the person who nominated them,
4. choose one or more blogging friends and link them to their post, and
5. go to their websites and tell them.
Here are the 11 questions that I got to answer:

1. Who are three historical figures you are inspired by?
Stonewall Jackson because he was a great man of God, and spoke/wrote of Him constantly.
William Wallace, Scottish freedom fighter.
John Hooper, English martyr in 1555 - inspired me and truly, if I could choose a way to die, I would choose to be a martyr.
Let me name one more - William Tyndale, known for translating the Bible into the English language and martyred in 1536.
All of these men died while performing their duty.  I want to die in the same way.

2. What do you usually request for your birthday dessert?
Ice Cream!

3. If you had a quiet morning all to yourself, what would you do?
Whew! Tough one! I would probably head outside with a cup of tea, my Bible, favorite devotional books, sit on a porch swing, spend an hour or so in the word, and have a sweet prayer time with my Lord.  Then I would grab my journal and write a prayer, a praise, a scripture from my devotions, and several things I am thankful for.  Then turn on some soundtracks or worship music as I complete whatever is on my to do list.  After that, I would email Brookie and tell her that I had my ideal, perfect morning.  :)

4. Can you describe your life in six words?
I love my Lord Jesus Christ. (at least, I hope and pray that this is what others see in my life.)

5. What is something that makes you smile?
Just one thing!  Impossible!  I love it when someone takes a little time out of their day to bring a little extra joy to someone else, when I see someone else smile (and I know that they really meant it!), great memories, my family, and dear friends.  All of these things bring a smile to my face.

6. What is a book that you could read cover-to-cover without taking a break?
Foxe's Book of Martyrs - totally changed my life!  This is a must-read!

7. Describe a thrilling scenario (big or small) that you have been in and will always remember.
Hmmmm...visiting Mount Vernon and DC last year is definitely up there on my list of thrilling things that I've done.  It was incredible to see the very locations where men I respect and have read of in history lived and died. Also, if anyone ever visits DC, the National Archives are a must see!

8. What is your favorite time of the day and why?
I love the evenings when the whole family is together, worshiping, laughing, playing games, watching a movie, or sitting quietly, enjoying God's creation. 

9. Are you a city girl, a country girl, or a mix of both?
Country girl all the way!

10. If you were to pick one skill to master, what would it be?
Wow!  That's a tough one!  I suppose I will cheat and combine a number of things into one - the art of becoming a godly homemaker.  :)

11. What is something quirky about you that makes you unique?
I love 90% cocoa chocolate bars, I love the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack, I love Scotland, and I would be so delighted if my husband would wear a kilt on our wedding day if he is not opposed to the idea.  :)  Ok, y'all have my permission to think I'm crazy. :)

Here are the three people that I am nominating:
Amanda Richter at Richter Ranch
Wesley Noble at Wesley Noble
Mr. Beach at Beach Life

I can't wait to learn a little bit more about y'all!

And here is a list of questions for y'all to answer:

1. What are some of your favorite quotes?
2. What are 3 scripture passages that have challenged, inspired, and/or encouraged you?
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
4. What is your favorite thing about being a Christian?
5. What is one thing you are looking forward to when you get to heaven, other than seeing our Lord face to face?
6. If you could meet 5 people from history, who would they be?
7. Would you rather read a book on theology, history, science, fantasy, fiction, or a biography?
8. How do you show love to others?
9. What is something that really brings joy to your day?
10. What are 5 things that you absolutely could not live without?
11. What is your life's main goal?

Have fun, y'all! 

Texas Trip - Time With the Renfros

Hello y'all! I'm back! Back home, back from Texas, back to blogging, and trying ever so hard to get back into a normal, structured routine. :)

A lot of what I am sharing with you is taken from my journal, texts I sent Mama, or memories from looking at photos.

Oh my! Where do I begin!?!

Have any of y'all had those times that are just so wonderful that you wonder if they even happened? Well, this is exactly how my trip to Texas felt. Every morning I woke up, praising my Creator and wondering if all of this could be real. No way did I go through several airports all by myself! Did I really live in the Renfro's wonderful home for a week? Am I seriously getting to know people that I have wanted to meet since I can't remember when? Did we really go to protest and minister at an abortion clinic? Did I actually go ski-bobbing with the Simons (more on that later!)? Am I really staying in the Beach's home and spending time with people I haven't seen in years? Yes! All of this happened, and it was absolutely life-changing!

First things first: I woke up Tuesday, May 28th at 2:15 a.m. to one of my favorite worship songs - 10,000 Reasons (after a nearly sleepless night - I was too excited to sleep!) in order to get ready for a long drive in the pouring rain to the airport in Moline, Illinois (we got a cheaper flight from there). After going through security and finding my gate, I did my devotions and then boarded my flight at 5:30. Flying was rather uneventful but could have been a major disaster in Atlanta if the nice man who sat next to me hadn't helped me most of the way to my gate. God certainly took care of me! He is so good, and I am grateful for His kind provision. I had nearly a ton and a half of baggage ;) to carry through the airport with my camera, my journal, a notebook, and 6 books, that I thought I could read on the trip (so not smart to bring that many books, especially when one of them is nearly 800 pages - what was I thinking!?!) . I was hot, sweaty, and sore after reaching my gate in Atlanta, but that didn't matter - I was on my way to Texas!

It was so great to give big hugs to the Renfro ladies when I arrived in San Antonio! We did some last-minute grocery shopping for the seminar, ate lunch at a lovely little cafe, had some sweet fellowship, and I also got to see Jenna's garden. It is just lovely!

I also was blessed to meet Mrs. Cone and her daughter Stephanie (they were the ones that did the majority of the work for setting up the seminar) that evening. I love them so much! I am so grateful to have been able to meet them! They radiate joy, have sweet, gentle spirits, and are so gracious. What dear ladies they are! We ran a few more last-minute errands that night, made some buttercream frosting for the cake decorating class later that week, and I got to bed about 12:15 that night. Whew! I was so tired!

On Wednesday, I had the loveliest time doing devotions on the Renfro's porch swing and getting acquainted with Daniel's last German Shepherd puppy (from a litter of 8). She is ADORABLE and I must confess that I wanted to take her home with me. :)

We left in the afternoon on Wednesday for the Becoming Seminar. When we got there, we had a time of prayer before beginning, and then I got to meet Jacqui Clark, a super sweet young lady that I had heard so much about from Jenna, and had wanted to meet for a l-o-n-g time. She is amazing, and I love her dearly. God is so good to allow such people in my life! She always has the sweetest, most joyful smile on her face, and it is contagious. I still find myself smiling as I look at pictures of her. :)

What a blessing the seminar was! We studied the "Heiress Factor" - we are daughters of the King and heirs (or heiresses) with Christ (Romans 8:17). An heiress should have all of these qualities:

H - honor/humility
E - excellence (ambassador for Christ)
I - others first (removing the "I" and putting others first)
R - righteousness/royal
E - excel
S - simplicity
S - sacrifice

During the seminar, we also had sessions on fashion, modesty, family economics, self defense, finding God's will, keeping our hearts pure, health, fitness, cooking/baking, and so much more. I was so blessed! A huge "thank you" to the Cone family, and especially Mrs. Cone and Stephanie, for putting so much time and effort into this incredible couple of days.

Wednesday through Friday were so full that I had to force myself to pull out my camera. Seriously! That's saying a lot, if you know me. :) It was a very good kind of busy, though, and I learned so much.

On Saturday morning, we went to pray and minister at an abortion clinic with Max Clark, Jacqui's older brother. It was truly a life-changing experience! I knew that abortion was horrible, but when I thought about it, it was only a passing thought, but since that day, I have thought of it and prayed about it constantly. It is now a burden rather than a passing thought. Mama and I are hoping to volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center here. I am looking forward to this as a great ministry, and a good challenge for me to get out of my comfort zone and minister to those who need it so much.  It is definitely a battle!

I forgot to apply sunscreen before going to the clinic, so I was out in the hot Texas sun for several hours with no protection. I had just the cutest cherry-red sunburn that you've ever seen (not!) on half of my face and neck. It was totally worth it, though, and very memorable. :) Bri was very sweet and did a great job covering it up with her makeup. We had a lovely time together!

Saturday evening was great! We went to the San Antonio Scorpions soccer game in their new stadium. One of Mrs. Renfro's cousins had designed the stadium, and he sang the national anthem before the game. It was beautiful and he did an amazing job! After the game, we went out to eat (dinner was amazing!), and then headed home.

We stayed up late (or shall I say, early into the morning hours) every day, and talked. It was amazing to get to know everyone on a deeper level, to laugh, to share what we are learning - what God is teaching us, what we are reading, and just to learn little things about each person. The time passed by so quickly!

On Sunday, we went to church and I got to meet more amazing people. :) The afternoon and evening was quite laid-back and quiet. I called Mama and told her all about how the trip had been so far, and later that night, we watched "Emma" together. Fun times!

Monday morning, Jenna and I made green smoothie for breakfast! Oh, so delicious! Later that afternoon, Jenna and I decided to have some serious girl time and Jenna curled my hair. It was a blast, and she did a beautiful job! We got to talking about health etc. and I mentioned how much I love Apple Cider Vinegar for so many different reasons, so Jenna and I decided to drink some while making nachos for lunch. That was fun! :)

We went to the Alamo on Monday night. It was incredible! This was my first time seeing it, and I must say that is was smaller than I had expected, but it was an awesome experience! We went to the riverwalk (gorgeous!) and had dinner at a cute little Mexican place, then did some more "exploring" on the riverwalk.

Tuesday morning was awesome, tiring, and invigorating all at once! I went on a 2-2 1/2 mile run with Daniel, Jenna, and Max (they ran farther than I did). It was my first real run this year, so I wasn't quite as good as I would have liked to have been, but it was still a great experience. I want to run more often!

And, since we ran that morning, we had to go out and do something naughty, like...go to a frozen yogurt place together! You wouldn't believe this place! I've never seen anything like it! I definitely want to go back someday.

I got to spend some sweet time with Jacqui and Jenna while weeding/caring for their garden. It was so fun, and definitely a blessing to get to know Jacqui better. I love her so much!

Wednesday was both depressing and exciting. I had to say goodbye to the Renfros (I cried like a baby), got traded to the Beaches, and then got traded to the Simons and went to stay at their lovely home.  More on that in my next post!

And now for the pictures! I must apologize that some of them are out of order.

Listening to my favorite soundtrack ever at midnight while writing out 1 Corinthians 13 (all of the young ladies attending the seminar worked on memorizing this together).
Daniel's ADORABLE little puppy.  I want her.  :)
A Charles Spurgeon quote from devotions.
Breakfast on the road with Mrs. Renfro.  Yes, licorice is a great breakfast food, and an excellent source of...ummm...well, there's got to be something good in there!
The family economics panel discussion at the conference.
The view from the front porch.
Where there are big front porches, hot summers, everyone says "y'all", ladies in the grocery store call you "honey", where they guys wear cowboy boots and hat, and Texas is the place that some of the most wonderful people call "home".  :)
Devotions on the front porch swing of our little cottage.  Beautiful!  There's something special about doing devotions on a porch swing...
"Teach me your way, O Lord!"
On our way to the water aerobics class.  It was incredible!
Spending time with some of the sweetest people I know!
Cake decorating class.  Amazing!
Dear, sweet Jacqui!
Singing "Blessings" by Laura Story around the piano.  It is so sweet to worship the Lord together in song. 
The cooking/baking class.  Who doesn't like good food?
Cupcakes!  The cream cheese frosting was by far my favorite, though. :)
What a lovely group of ladies!
The chef is also a quilter. Her great grandmother made this quilt, and she is adding things of sentimental value (wedding gloves, photographs, pieces of clothing etc.) to pass on to her granddaughter.  So sweet! 
Memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 together. 
Worshiping the Lord. 
One of my favorite hymns!
The whole group, minus a few who could not make it on the last day.
The Renfro girls and Jacqui Clark.
The Renfro girls and Stephanie Cone.
After leaving the abortion clinic on Saturday.  So grateful for these people!  I learned so much from each one of them.
We made nachos for lunch on Saturday.  Amazingly delicious!
Jacqui and Jenna, the lovely gardening girls.
Jenna, doing her morning devotions.
The sunset at the soccer game.
Love these people!
That sun was BRIGHT!
With the Renfro's cousins.  The man on the top left designed the stadium and sang the national anthem that evening. 
Squeezing in for a group shot after an amazing dinner! :)
Mother/daughter heart to heart talk.
Green smoothie with the lovely Jenna!
Puppy love!
Curling hair.  :)

Jenna and I with our ACV. 
More nachos!
 Jenna and I worked together on lengthening Bri's dress. 
At the Alamo! 
Father and daughter.  I love both of them so much.
Fun conversations.  :)
Daniel and Jenna had the most hilarious staring contest!  Daniel won.  :)
On the riverwalk.
At Kuhl Yogurt in Boerne.  If you're ever in that area of Texas, visit this place!
Look at all of those options! 
This picture of the cows is just so perfectly country.  I love it!
Call me strange, but I think cows are cute.  :) 
Anyone ever seen Scottish Highland Cattle?  Those are adorable!
After ice cream, we headed to the park to snap some group photos.  I am so pleased with the way they turned out. The lighting was gorgeous! Thank you, Daniel and Mrs. Renfro, for taking such great photos!
Beautiful sisters!
Amazing, wonderful friends! I love y'all so dearly!
"Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life; many spirits might have failed beneath the bitterness of trial if they had not found a friend."
 - Charles Spurgeon
The lovely Renfro ladies.  So, so sweet! 
Parting shots with Jacqui.

The car ride to meet the Beaches. 
Renfro Family, I want to thank all y'all for everything you did for me.  I felt completely at home, loved, welcomed, blessed.  God is so good!  I miss y'all so much, and pray for more sweet fellowship soon.  Thank you for your faithful friendship, your steadfastness in serving the Lord, and your incredible hospitality.  You are a beautiful testimony to God's work in your lives.  May the Lord bless you richly.  I love y'all!
And to everyone else in the San Antonio area who I met, to those who made me welcome, to those who befriended me, to those who blessed me more than words can express, to those who changed my life, THANK YOU!  I love you all, and I pray that we may have much more fellowship in the Lord.  May it be soon!
"The encouragements of Christian communion are exceedingly great and the loss of them is very bitter."
 - Charles Spurgeon
 And this is post #300 on my blog!!!!!