Build Memories Worth Remembering

mamaw papaw memoriesMy maternal grandmother, Juanita Nutt Clark, passed away Monday, January 25, 2016 at 2:45 p.m. She lived to be 91 years old. I have many memories of Mamaw. Today I want to share a few of those memories with you.

The last 5 ½ years of her life she lived with Alzheimers. But those are not the main memories I have of Mamaw.

Mamaw will always be strong and healthy in my mind as I reminisce over the days I knew her when I was a child. She loved to garden and had the most beautiful rose bushes. Those and Papaw’s whirly gigs were the first things that we saw as we arrived at their house for a visit.

The next thing I remember is Mamaw’s sign that said, “Back door guests are best.” As a kid I wondered about that sign since technically there was another door that was even more in the back than that door but I get the idea now.

We entered the house through the kitchen and after giving Mamaw and Papaw hugs, we would stop by her guest bedroom to see her latest quilt that she was working on. All her quilts were hand sewn and beautiful back then. She even won awards in quilting shows. Somewhere there is a picture of her standing beside one of her quilts on display.

mamawkids memoriesThen we would go to their living room and sit on their couch and listen to the adults talk. It wouldn’t be long before Papaw would bring out “the claw” and chase us around the room. When us kids got bored Mamaw would bring out her collection of wooden spools for us to play with on the enclosed back porch where Papaw’s workshop was located.

And on pretty days we would run play in their fenced in yard. I remember Mamaw and Papaw had a nice sized yard that gave us plenty of room to play chase and hide and seek. It was even more fun with cousins since we could have teams. Ah, but it was hard not to play with the clothes line.

Some of our visits we ate dinner with them and there were usually aunts, uncles, and cousins at the table as well. It became a family joke that Papaw always had to take a picture of us with a bite of food in our mouths.

We kids were usually prompted to wash our hands in the bathroom sink after playing outside. We liked to listen to the large shell that held their bathroom door open. We would put our ear to the opening and listen to the sound of the ocean. We would also weigh ourselves on their bathroom scale that said “hospital” on it. It was one Papaw had from one of the hospitals he worked at as an electrician.

Then right about the time we needed to leave, Mamaw would pull out her cookie jar of homemade cookies. Once we finished eating the cookies, we would give her and Papaw a hug before we left.

Mamaw Assisted Living MemoriesThose are just a few of the many memories I cherish of Mamaw. While there are other memories of special times, it’s those regular every time I saw her ones that makes the memories special.

It makes me reflect on my own life, what memories will my children and future grandchildren have of me?

Mamaw’s last days were with Alzheimers and not remembering her loved ones but as soon as she walked through those pearly gates of heaven her memory was made perfect. She has perfect recollection now.

The last time I saw her she didn’t remember me. But the next time I see her, she will greet me by name. I imagine I will find her quilting tapestries for the mansions Jesus has prepared for those who have trusted in Him.

Why not? If God gave us our talents to use for Him here on earth, why wouldn’t He let us continue to use them for His glory in Heaven?

And now for the big question, if you were to die right now would you go to Heaven? If you can’t answer that question with a sure yes then you need to do a heart check.

Was there ever a time in your life that you felt bad for the sins you have committed, told God you were sorry, and committed your life to Him?

If not, now is the accepted time. Today is the day of Salvation.

I wrote another post about my paternal grandparents entitled A History of Family Commitment: My Paternal Grandparents that you might like to read from my building commitment series

Do you have memories of a loved one that you would like to share? What memories would you like your loved ones to have of you? 

I would love it if you would share your memories with me in the comments

AGT_WHW_Linkup_ButtonIf you have any questions about whether you will see your loved ones in Heaven, you should check out this post by my husband entitled “Will I See My Loved Ones in Heaven?” that he wrote for Ask God Today Ministries.

Speaking of Ask God Today, I’m linking up with other bloggers for our Warm Hearted Wednesday Link-up this week’s topic is Examples of Love. I would love for you to join us there.

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Enoch Walked with God

sunsetpasture AGT RSFEnoch is a little talked about man with only a few verses in the Bible that refer to him. However those few verses speak great volumes about his testimony.

“Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. … Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” – Genesis 5:18, 21-24 NKJV

Did you know that Adam was still alive when Enoch was born? 

I’ve actually wrote more about that over at Ask God Today. I have joined a team of writers and this month we are going through a Bible Study entitled “A Mighty God and the Broken Faithful“.  We would love for you to follow us as we study about the faithful men and women in Hebrews 11. 

Here’s a little piece of what I wrote:

As we find ourselves getting older we tend to talk about what life used to be like. I wonder if Adam told his children stories of what life was like before the earth was cursed?

The Bible really doesn’t say much about Enoch. All we have is a few simple verses that hold a world of meaning.

In a world that was forgetting about God, why did Enoch stand out? Why did he choose to walk with God?

This is how I imagine it based on these few verses about Enoch.

Adam was 622 years old when his great-great-great-great-great-great grandson, Enoch, was born.

Let’s imagine Adam sitting with young Enoch at his side, telling the story of how the Garden looked the day he named the animals.

You can read more about how Enoch Walked with God at Ask God Today

Do you have that kind of close walk with God? Did you have someone like Adam that shared the God’s message with you? Please share in the comments or if you want to read more and comment over at Ask God Today I’d be honored to see you there. 

 

 

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Plan to Finish

JonathanChristmasTree

Jonathan is standing beside several unfinished projects.

 

Each year starting in 2013 I have been choosing a word for the year. In fact it was a blog post by a fellow Tribe Writer called “Why you should have One Word for 2013” that got me started. Picking a theme word each year has really revolutionized my goal setting and how I keep up with it all.

I won’t bore you with all the details on how I’m not a list person and how before starting this method I gave myself way too many goals thus becoming overwhelmed and hardly accomplishing anything on the list at all. (Yes, I did just say all that in one breath!) 

Now I pick one simple word. A word that all my goals and aspirations can snuggle up to and get comfortable with. 

In 2013 my word was “Determined”. All that determination helped me get my writing off the ground. I finished my manifesto “Don’t Quit! Build a Legacy of Commitment“. Which you can download the pdf for free right here on my site. It was a really good year for my writing. 

That year I wrote a post about how my Life is Like a Boat. Despite all my determination I still felt unbalanced. I decided maybe if I chose the word “Organize” for 2014 I would find that balance. 

My family and I accomplished a lot in 2014. We got most of the house cleaned up. We traveled a lot without losing too many things. It was a very good organized year (at least organized for me). Even though things aren’t perfectly organized yet, it is better. I feel this past year was a successful year. We did so much more that we wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t even tried.

Now you are probably wondering about my word for 2015. 

I struggled to decide on a word. I started thinking about it in December as I was trying to do last minute organizing. One of the things I need to work on is making sure I keep my priorities straight. It sounds very noble. Make a list of the things that are the most important and focus on those things this year. However I couldn’t put my finger on why I didn’t quite feel that word working for me. As I tried to write down some things that I wanted to do this year using “Prioritize” as my key word my goals just looked flat.

My husband and I had our children list some things they wanted to accomplish this year. They wrote some pretty good goals and some lofty ones that will take them a lot of work to accomplish. Most of them were very good goals and they can achieve them all if they work hard at it.

New Year’s Eve my husband and I sat down with the kids and talked with them about their goals. I told them that one of the things I would like to see this year are goals actually being accomplished. I told them that if they set out to do a project I want to see those projects finished this year not just started.

Then my word for 2015 hit me between the eyes…”Finish”. My children are not the only ones that need to finish things. Suddenly my mind went to all the unfinished projects I have laying around the house. 

I never finished crocheting a blanket I started around 10 years ago. I’ve worked at it off and on (more off than on) but never finished it. I have a lot of blog posts just from this past year that I started writing but never finished. I have books that I planned to write and some I even started but never finished. 

I look back on my life and realized that a lot of those unfinished projects stem from a problem in my mind. Somewhere in my life I got into the bad habit of assuming things weren’t going to get finished. 

For way too long I have set myself up for failure.

This year I’m going to finish. I’m going to finish that blanket. I’m going to finish getting organized. I’m going to finish cleaning my house up. I’m going to finish writing a book. I’m going to finish the writing courses I started. I’m going to finish reading my Bible through. Everything I start I’m going to make plans to finish.

I’m going to help the kids finish their projects as well. This year will be very productive and I’m going to keep a list of every project we finish. 

I already know our Rock Solid Family will finish this New Year out strong. 

How about you? Do you have some goals for this year? If you were to summarize them into one word, what would that word be? I can’t wait to hear from you. Please share your word for the year in the comments

Together let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

Right now? I am going to finish taking down that Christmas tree!

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Five Minute Friday: Friend

I bet you were wondering if I was going to join in at Lisa Jo’s for another Five Minute Friday today. I know I had two other posts this week but there isn’t much that will stop me from taking at least 5 minutes on Fridays to write.

Here’s the rules from Lisa Jo’s sight:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Today’s prompt is “Friend“.

My timer is set.

And GO!

All the bride's maids in our wedding were my best friends.

My Best Friends

When I was a child, I met my first friend in Kindergarten. We didn’t become best friends until Second Grade. I don’t even remember how we started playing together. We would play on the playground and started visiting at each other’s houses. She was very popular and seemed so outgoing. I was shy. A lot of the kids in our grade at school wanted to be her friend but not mine. That was very hard. Especially as we would play on the playground and the kids would start arguing with us over my needing to share my friend. I would cry. My friend would take my hand and we would run away.

As we got older our friendship changed. We both found new friends. Then we would meet again and it was like we had never been apart. We could carry on a conversation as if we hadn’t missed a beat.

Stop

Ha! I need to get faster with my thoughts. I did delete the last half a sentence because it didn’t make sense to leave the sentence hanging. :-)

I was about to talk about how we lost track of each other but then met again in college and then we were in each other’s weddings.

I don’t talk with her much anymore. But I think the friendships we have in our childhood prepare us for how we will be in adulthood. Now my husband is my best friend that I can talk with whenever I want. He knows more about me and my life than any of my friends in school ever did.

He actually encourages me to write. That’s how I found Five Minute Fridays. Through my writing friendships I have found in the past few months. And now I have Five Minute Friday friends. :-)

Okay. I’ll stop now. I think I might have tacked on a couple of extra minutes worth to the end there. LOL It took me Five minutes just to get the thoughts flowing.

Did you have a childhood friend growing up? Are you still friends? Who do you consider your best friend now?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the word “Friend”. Please share with me in the comments. Let me know if you are writing in Five Minute Friday and I’ll check out your post.

 
Five Minute Friday

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Building Memories

This week was Spring Break! My husband had most of the week off so we were able to take a short trip and have some fun with our kids.

Here are a few pictures I took this week.

 

I told them to pretend the sun wasn't in their face.

I told them to pretend the sun wasn’t in their face.

I said we built memories with the kids.  We didn’t necessarily get good pictures of them. :-)

We took this picture at the zoo.

We took this picture at the zoo.

I tried to get the kids to all look at the camera at the same time but Elisabeth looked away in this picture. Some of the others were looking away in the one picture she actually looked at the camera in.

Elijah is going down a really cool slide that lets you see under the water.

Elijah is going down a really cool slide that lets you see under the water.

Everyone had a really good time. We didn’t lose any of the kids. The only panic moment was when Jonathan panicked at the water’s edge of the slide that you see in this picture of Elijah.

Jonathan was scared to go under the water in the slide. But once we coaxed him through it he went down once with Ruth. Then he was willing to go down it again and again all by himself.

Jonathan finally slid down the tunnel. With a smile on his face.

Jonathan finally slid down the tunnel with a smile on his face.

Even Elisabeth got to go down the slide with Daddy's help.

Even Elisabeth got to go down the slide with Daddy’s help.

Scott took Elisabeth down the slide. She seemed to like it pretty well.

Scott went with the kids inside a small cave.

Scott went with the kids inside a small cave.

My Motto: If you have trouble taking good pictures just take a lot of them!

Finally one last picture for now.

I have a whole lot more but I’ll save the rest for future posts.

There was a little playground area where the kids posed for me on top of a snake tunnel.

There was a little playground area where the kids posed on top of a snake tunnel.

Even the picture on top of the snake was a bit of a flop. Jonathan’s hand is in front of his face. :)

I’ll spare you the picture of my wounded elbow. I cut myself on the passenger side mirror. It’s a pretty good little gash but it’s starting to heal now.

I was so glad it was me and not one of the kids that got hurt during the day. I hate hurting myself but I hate it worse when my kids are hurt.

Have you ever had a vacation or trip where you had a good time but none of the pictures were good? Or am I the only one that ever happens to? As always feel free to share with me in the comments.

 

This is a rather short and hurried post catching you up with what we’ve been doing this week.

I have a book I am working on that I’ll be sharing with my followers. I also  have a guest post to write and will be sharing that with you as well.

I am stepping out and trying new things. Thanks for following and listening!

 

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Why I Started the New Year With 1000 Kicks

karate2013Elisabethmom

Every year on January 1 our karate class practices a Japanese tradition called Hatsu Geiko. We all gather at our dojo to perform 1000 kicks together. After every 100 kicks our Sensei would ask someone randomly to tell what motivates them to keep on going to karate class even when they know it’s going to be hard.

I just knew she might call on me if I didn’t think of something to say. So the whole time I was kicking I was writing my answer in my head.

karate2013January1

My husband and I have been married 16 years. When we first met we were skinny little things. My husband had taken various martial arts off and on before we had met.

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December 2009 (Left to Right): Jonathan, Joshua, Ruth, and Hannah

Then married life hit us along with good cooking and bad eating habits. I don’t have very many pictures of those days. When we were expecting our second child, my husband would come home from work and just lay down on the floor and let our almost two year old son just crawl over him. That was all the energy he had back then. He knew he needed exercise. So he joined a Tae Kwon Do class. I just watched.

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Our karate class in January 2011

Then we were faced with a move a few months later after our daughter was born. We didn’t join any courses for a while but then my husband wanted to find another class in our new location. He found one that met at a YMCA and we both joined that time. My parents watched the babies while we went one night a week to karate classes.

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Mommy and Elijah during Haitsu Geiko January 2011. He was about 10 months old.

We moved again! This time we didn’t find another dojo for a while. I started gaining a lot of weight. I wanted to have a 3rd child but it didn’t seem to be the Lord’s will.

I was depressed! I tired easily. My back and neck both hurt.

After about a year of being depressed, I decided to see a doctor. According to his diagnosis there was nothing wrong with me.

I gave up.

Most of the time giving up is a bad thing. This time it was good.

karatefamilycrop

Our Family Summer of 2010

 

 

I quit worrying about not having another child. I decided I would just be happy with the two I already had.

I joined a local exercise place for women. I started losing weight. My husband decided he wanted to lose weight as well and found another martial arts school.I could have just let my husband do Martial Arts while I continued my own routine. However I had read in a Marriage book once that it was good for wives to participate in their husband’s hobbies. I decided to join him in Tae Kwon Do.

Then came Baby #3.

Then we moved!

Yes, we moved again. This time my husband had a very physically challenging job so he didn’t really need the extra exercise. I was expecting our 4th baby and decided walking up the stairs where we lived was exercise enough.

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Our Family March 2012 just before Elisabeth was born.

Then we moved again! This time we moved to our present location. We lived here for about a year and a half before I decided we needed to find another place to exercise.

It was about the time Hannah was 4 and wanted to be a football player. I knew she needed a sport and the rest of the family could use some exercise as well. I talked to my husband and he started calling martial arts classes in nearby towns. That’s when we found our present karate family.

Now what keeps me going to karate class?

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We had our family picture taken with Nobuaki Kanazawa in June 2012 at a SKIF seminar held in our dojo.

I’m not exactly what people imagine in a martial artist. You look at me and you see a mother with a whole bunch of kids! I’m not exactly the karate kid. I didn’t even do sports in school.

I do this because I believe that it’s not only good for me to join my husband in the hobbies he enjoys. It’s also good for us to teach our children that we can do things as a family. If mom is sitting on the sidelines or going shopping while the rest of the family works out what message am I giving my kids?

I think that we mothers need to have fun with our families. Even as I get older I can show my kids that I can still have fun.

How about your family? Is there a hobby that y’all enjoy doing altogether as a family? If not can you think of something you can start doing together? 

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear what your family does together for fun.

I am setting my goals on a monthly basis this year. I have a few goals for the year but mostly I’m going to reevaluate monthly. So for the month of January I’ll be trying to post two blog posts a week. I also plan to write one devotional a week. I also plan to write one short story book.

And that’s just my writing goals. I have plenty of family goals for this year as well. Including keeping the dishes out of the sink. Laundry is a whole nother matter. I think I can. I think I can.

Sign up for my free email updates in order not to miss anything. Happy New Year!

 

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Reflections on 2012

Well, I wrote this last night but in my tired state of mind I didn’t hit publish. I fell asleep instead. Hmm… Maybe I should add not writing while tired to my New Year’s Goals. 

The end of another year quickly approaches. Right now I want to take a short moment and just look back at the past year. We have had so many blessings and I’ve learned so much from the things God has given us this year.

Our Newest Addition in 2012

I think one of our biggest blessings this year was the addition of Elisabeth Rose to our family in May. It almost seems that she has always been here. She just fits right into our family.

I’m so glad to have a husband and children that love our growing family. None of our children are at all upset at having another sibling. In fact they are surprised to hear when someone decides to not have any more children. They love every new baby that is added to our home. They also love each other and are each other’s best friends.

Kids and Mom at Church

Am I overwhelmed with this many children? If I am, I’m overwhelmed with love. My husband teases me that I never knew that I’d be this popular one day. I have no idea how I can love so much. Maybe it’s just practice. I have so many children to love that with each new child my love just grows even more. And as each one gets older my love for them grows with them.

I love how my 14 year old is growing into a man. Joshua is a hard worker. He loves his siblings and is so helpful. He has been showing great work ethic and has been keeping up with his education.

Our Family Picture in May

My 12 year old has grown into a beautiful young lady. Ruth, affectionately known as “Woofie” by her younger siblings, is such a good big sister. If I am busy with one child and another needs attention, she is right there with open arms ready to hold whichever little one needs holding.

Hannah is now 7 and is also growing up so fast. She was very happy the day I let her hold Elisabeth while standing.. Hannah is also our Drama queen. We are never short of laughter in our home. If there were ever a sign of life getting boring Hannah would be the first to liven the place up.

Then there is Jonathan. He turned 5 in November and just suddenly grew up right before my eyes. One moment I thought of him as a little boy and suddenly I realized he is now a big boy. He does things so grown up. He is also very inquisitive. You never know what he will ask about a given thing but you know that the question is going to be serious.

Next is Elijah. We call him Jonathan’s shadow. Which is pretty fitting since Elijah just learned about shadows this year. He loves to copy his big brother. Most everything Jonathan says is echoed by Elijah. Elijah can make some of the cutest faces too. He’ll look at us with those big brown eyes and then if you have a camera he hollers “Cheese!” while squinting.

Our newest blessing, Elisabeth came into our lives this year. I turned 35 while I was pregnant with Elisabeth. My doctor gave me the “High Risk” speech. But then she informed me that she had to give me that speech but if I preferred to be treated as a normal pregnancy that she would. I chose to have less tests done while I was pregnant with Elisabeth. I didn’t want to know if there was any problem. If there had been we would have continued to have her and love her none the less.

Elisabeth on my shoulder

I am so glad I had her too. I have had the easiest time taking care of Elisabeth. I haven’t had any serious postpartum depression. I’ve only had a few crying spells but nothing relating to the care of Elisabeth. If I hadn’t had her I would have never known how easy a baby could be to take care of. She has her fussy moments but overall she is incredibly sweet.

Our Family Picture in November

Oh! Happy New Year everyone. Ha! I was trying to beat the clock in writing this post but I didn’t make it. I’ve blogged into the New Year. I guess that’s fitting. :)

I really have learned so much this year. I look back over all my blessings. There is my God, my husband, my children, my family, my extended family, my old friends, and my new friends. I have really gone over and beyond my goals for 2012.

This past year besides having a new baby. I joined a writing course. I created a new blog with my own domain name. I started a Facebook page at https://facebook.com/rocksolidfamily. I joined twitter  and pinterest. I learned to use MailChimp and Disqus. I even wrote my first ebook.

I accomplished so much this past year without even planning to. How much more could I have accomplished if I had been more intentional about it?

I have very happy memories of this past year. There were some sad and frustrating moments. But overall it has been a very good year.

How was your year? Do you have happy or sad memories of this past year that you would like to share? 

May God bless you and your family in 2013!

 

 

 

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No Pictures…

Now I need to catch everyone up since my last blog. Jonathan now has 4 teeth. His fourth tooth which is his other top front tooth, came in last Friday evening. Now we’re just waiting to see which tooth will come in next. I’m not sure yet whether it will be a top or a bottom tooth next time. So stayed tuned for more on his teeth.

My Papaw died last Friday morning. My mother called me around 8:00 or so to let us know that he had passed away at 7:20 a.m. I called Scott to tell him. Then when the older two kids woke up before their sister, I told them. Joshua’s number one question when he hears that someone has died is whether or not they were saved. Thankfully, I knew for sure that my Grandfather was saved. This made my son feel better, and he said well at least he was saved, that’s good.

When Hannah woke up that morning, I knew I would need to be careful in how I explained it to her. I had asked her if she remembered how Papaw was in the hospital. She did. She always asks about shots, when we talk about because she attributes hospitals with shots. (She is actually thinking of the Doctor’s office where she has seen Jonathan getting vaccinated.) I explained that Papaw had had some problems with his heart. She might have understood some of that. But then I told her that Papaw had died. She just looked at me blankly. I told her that he went to heaven. That was interesting to her, she asked me if we would go to ___ (name of town where we are moving too, left blank for anonimity.) I realized that she just thought that heaven was just another city or state. Like Texas, Michigan, Florida, California, or even another country like France. So I then explained, “No sweety, Papaw is in Heaven and he gets to see Jesus.” That put a big smile on her face. I knew what was coming though. “I want to see Jesus!”

So I explained that one day many, many years from now, she will get to see Jesus. Then I told her, “But do you know what Jesus wants you to do right now?” She looked at me with anticipation. “He wants you to be happy, and do what he says to do, obey me and daddy, and when you get old enough to feel bad about the bad things you do, he will want you to be saved. Then once you are saved you will have Jesus in your heart, too. And when you get older and Jesus is ready for you, you’ll get to see Jesus, too.” She was fine with that explanation, even though I’m not sure how much she actually retained. I do know that she is excited about the fact that Papaw gets to see Jesus, and one day she will, too.

I think the only thing I regret, is that I did not take more pictures of Papaw and Mamaw with our kids. We’ve been to their house many times, we’ve had real enjoyable visits, but I never thought to bring a camera. I don’t have pictures of Papaw taking his teeth out for the kids. Nor a picture of them caught in the bear trap, or running from the claw. I do have those memories in my head but they are not in print. I am now determined to take more pictures and to not let those memories just be my memories. I want to be able to pass my memories on to my children as well. So I’m determined to record my memories. I want to record the memories from my childhood and stories that I remember my parents telling me of their childhoods. I also want to record my memories of my grandparents, Parents, Aunts, and Uncles. I want my children to remember our past. Because we can learn from our past, and which will help us shape our future.

My oldest daughter, Ruth just celebrated her 8th birthday this week. I took her and her siblings to a museum. They are getting older now and are actually interested in things that had happened in the past. I still have a little trouble with Hannah, since her attention span is short and her energy level is high. Thankfully she didn’t mess with much, and she did sit down for any videos that was available to watch. So I just took the kids through the museum section by section and let them watch the videos, and read the signs that were about different specific items that they wanted to know about. It was very interesting.

Next week is Church Camp. I have been working hard on my camp lessons and since my class size may be more than doubled, I am going to plan to teach at least 50 kids, just in case.

I may not get another chance to post until after camp, however I’ll try to post some pictures when we get back.

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