28 April 2015

Be Strong & Very Courageous

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This past weekend, Morgan had the opportunity to go to our church’s Men’s Retreat in Oak Glen. This was the picture he sent me when they arrived at camp on Friday afternoon.

For much of the weekend, it was cold, drizzly, and fogged in. However, the fellowship they experienced, the Word that was taught, and the encouragement they received warmed their hearts and put a fire in their souls to be all that God intends for them as the leaders of our families and communities.

The kids and I treasure our time with daddy and like most families, weekends are precious but I could not think of a better reason for Morgan to be away from us. Unlike us women, men usually have a more difficult time squeezing in personal refreshment and encouragement. I’m so glad he enjoyed himself and returned excited and renewed about the Godly vision and calling on his life.

The theme for the Men’s Retreat was, “Be Strong and Very Courageous.” This familiar verse comes from Joshua 1 and I thought I knew it well. In fact, the verse is hanging in Zachary’s room.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

However, when I saw the theme, the word, “Very” Courageous caught my eye. I knew the verse as simply, “Be strong and courageous.” I thought it was interesting that the word “very” was added so I looked it up in Joshua and here’s what I found.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

~Joshua 1:7-9

So often, we focus on just one part of the instruction, don’t we? In this little passage alone, God instructs us to be careful, to obey, do not turn, stay on the path, keep the Book always on our lips, meditate on it day and night, be careful (again), do not be afraid or discouraged, and be strong and courageous…VERY courageous.

It takes a lot of courage to be a man after God’s own heart. A warrior who will fight for the oppressed, serve with a humble heart, be a friend to all, and pursue what is good, holy and right.

I’m so grateful to be married to my warrior man. Thank you for never giving up on anything or anyone. For having sincere compassion for others as well as the passion to lead by example.

You will be our son’s first hero and you are already our daughters’ first love.

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Morgan, Clint, Joe, Tim, and Ben. Cabin mates and brothers in Christ.

A photo right before they left to come home… the sun finally broke through!

Praise God for the hearts of these men.

24 April 2015

Community Bible Study: End of the Year Tea and Sharing Day

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These are just some of the wonderful ladies in my group this year.


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Faith shares what she appreciated most about her year at CBS: prayer for her brother and for her Hapajee.


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Grace shares that she loves coming to CBS each week to learn more about God’s word and make new friends. She also thanks her sweet teacher, Miss Carolyn.


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The kids always have a blast playing games with their friends.


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We made it through another year, girls!

A what a year it was! Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without the discipline of this weekly bible study and the fellowship of godly sisters I have in this group of women. The girls and I have been coming to CBS for the last 5 years and it has undoubtedly been the best part of our week. Our study of Romans this year has been rich and full of insight and practical tools to help grow us in love and better understanding of the Lord’s heart.

All the ladies of CBS are precious sisters to me and I’m so grateful for each one of them. I’ve made many new friends here and the friendships I had have only deepened as a result of sharing this weekly commitment together.

As I mentioned on Sharing Day, there are many activities we could be involved in each week as a homeschooling family but through prayer each year, the Lord keeps leading us back to CBS.

Glory to God for yet another amazing year and for all the ladies in my awesome core group who have genuinely come each week to learn, grow, and share their love for the Lord! 

20 April 2015

Big Bear Camping Part 2

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Ready to tackle the Castle Rock trail.


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1 mile… straight up!


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Beautiful views as we got higher.


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My hiking buddy. He keeps me young. ;)


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The base of Castle Rock.


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We made it to the top! What a view!


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Time to head down.


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Little Explorer in training.


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We love our family hikes.


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Stopped in at the Discovery Center.


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Little Bear meets Big Bear.


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Story time.


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Bean bag toss.


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Alpine Slide.


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The girls and Morgan on the ski lift.


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My cuddle bear.


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Camping is not complete without pepper bellies (aka Frito pie or tacos in a bag).

The weather in Big Bear was perfectly sunny and cool during the day and very chilly at night. Grateful for the heater we had to keep us warm and toasty. (Thanks, Uncle Ben!)

The kids love camping and although it’s never been Morgan’s favorite thing, he’s always been a good sport about doing it anyway. When we asked the girls what they liked most about our camping trip, they said, “EVERYTHING!”

I enjoy making special “camping food” because to me, food becomes part of our fondest memories, too. Things like bacon and eggs in the morning, GIANT marshmallows for s’mores, roasted hot dogs, and pepper bellies…

All things we don’t regularly eat at home but become a fun tradition when we camp.

Thankful for all the sweet memories we had and the extra time we got to spend as a family.

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Serrano Campground: our home for the next few days.


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We showed up on Thursday afternoon to a crisp 55 degrees.


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Zach loves to be outside.


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My happy little camper.


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The Cuteness Crew.


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The girls loved exploring around our campsite.


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We’re going on a bear hunt…


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Into the groves.


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Faith stopped to make a speech.


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Campfire prep.


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Tending to the fire. This was one of the girls’ favorite things to do.


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Mama and Zachy.


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Look at my sweet little boy!


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I have TWO teeth. :))


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Roasting marshmallows. OK, maybe THIS was their favorite part. :))


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Yes, that’s one giant marshmallow.


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Let the silliness begin!


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Perfect time for a family bike ride around the lake.


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I know, not the safest for the babe but he sure loved it!


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The lake!


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Dancing Grace with the Observatory in the background.


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A beautiful day.


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Roasting dinner.


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Look at the dirt on her face. She’s in pure heaven.


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One s’more will do you!


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Playing with sissy.


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A competitive game of Uno.


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My two men in the morning. Aren’t they cute? :))


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Who wakes up this happy?


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Maybe it was the smell of bacon sizzling on the stove? :P

We decided to do some spring camping in the trailer before summer hit and the campgrounds got too full. This was actually the FIRST time we went camping in the trailer WITHOUT motorcycles in tow. Last summer, we took the trailer up to San Francisco to visit Zachary in the NICU but that hardly counts. He wasn’t with us then and the RV park was more like a parking lot, rather than a nature experience.

My ideal camping location is either in the woods or at the beach. Serrano Campground in Big Bear was great! It had just the right amount of seclusion and nature. Plus, the full hook ups were fantastic! Hello, warm shower. :))

The girls loved exploring, getting dirty, riding their bikes, seeing forest critters, learning new survival skills from dad and tending to the fire.

Zach is a great little traveler, too. He enjoyed the cool breezes on his face, a bike ride and just being with his family.

There were so many pictures and memories I wanted to capture from this trip… Stay tuned for part 2!

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