Two Tiaras and a Sword

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 28, 2016

Yesterday was a great day.  I woke up and did my First 5 devotions.  I got some laundry started and did a few things around the house.  The Oldest Princess was at work, My Prince went to work, and it was just the Young Prince and I at home for most of the morning.

The Oldest Princess had plans to meet the Adopted Princess for lunch, and they were sweet enough to invite me to come along as well.  My Prince asked if he could come also, and we told him he could but only if he paid for lunch.  The Youngest Princess was still at her friend's house, and I didn't want the Young Prince to be left out, so we invited him to come, too.

Before we left, I got a text from my sweet friend who kept the hedgehog for us while we went to World Changers.  She was going to bring him home on her way to run some errands.  So we now have the hedgehog back at home, and the Youngest Princess is happy.

We all went to a little local restaurant and had lunch together.  It was good to see the Adopted Princess as we had not seen her since we got home from our cruise.

The Oldest Princess was bing a driver for a friend of ours, and had to go do that when we finished lunch.  The Adopted Princess had an errand to run, and the rest of us came home.  I got some more done around the house and some things done that I am working on for school.

The Youngest Princess came home from her friend's house.  The Oldest Princess left to take home the little girl that she babysits and then pretty much came right back home.  We started getting ready for our family night out.

My Prince had bought tickets for us to go as a family and see my favorite musical that was coming to town.  I was so excited that I could hardly wait!  The Young Prince and the Youngest Princess had not seen it before, and I could not wait for them to see it.

We went to dinner first and then to the musical.  It was wonderful as always.  The Young Prince endured it (probably for my sake), and everyone else really enjoyed it.  The Youngest Princess was pretty tired, after spending the night with a friend the night before, but she still did good.  The Young Prince admitted that he liked it, but that it was "just. WAY. TOO. LONG."  He probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been about 1/4 of the length.

We stopped for dessert in the form of hot, fresh donuts on the way home.  It was a great day all the way around.  Fun times and great memories!

Until I blog again...

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 26 -27, 2016

Sunday, June 26 - It was a nice Sunday morning without too much drama - that is - until I realized that the youngest princess had not brushed her teeth for three days.  And, because her toothbrush had been packed, it stank.  And of course there was not an extra toothbrush to be found in the house. I told her to brush her teeth with her finger and avoid talking to anyone until after church when we could get her a new toothbrush.  Seriously.  The Oldest Princess came to the rescue by giving her a piece of gum.  Really. What kind of terrible mother am I?  Three days! Ick!  We also had the whole, "You are ten years old" speech.  I do not believe that it will happen again.

Then we had to find shoes that would go with her dress...we made due with what we had, but we will definitely need to make a run to the shoe store before next Sunday.  Why is it so hard for me to remember that the child needs dressy sandals?!?

We finally started to leave, and I noticed that the garage door had been left open. all. night. long.

We leave, and before we even get off of our street, My Prince realizes that he left his baptism bag at the house, so we have to go back and get it.  When we pull in, I see that a lawn chair has been left out in the yard, and have the Young Prince go and get it to put it up.  The front porch was sufficient in his mind as "putting it up", and by that point I was not going to put up a fight.

When I got to Sunday School and I sat down with an unconscious sigh.  Someone noticed and asked me if I were tired or just glad that I had made it.  I answered that I was both.  Sunday mornings.  Sometimes it's a circus.

In Sunday school, we covered the passage in 1 Peter 3, about wives submitting to their husbands.  I know that there are a lot of women who might have a problem with this concept.  I, too, sometimes have trouble depending on the circumstance.  But for the most part, this is not an area in which I struggle greatly.  And I don't say that for my glory, because I have not reached perfection in this area (ask My Prince - he will tell you), I say that to preface some things I have learned and the way that I look at it, that help me to do better in this area of my life.

First, My Prince is a very godly man who loves the Lord and strives to follow Him in every area of his life, and that makes my job to submit to him much easier than some, whose husbands are not walking in ways that please the Lord.

Second, there are two other things that help me in the area of working to be a submissive wife.  The first is trust in God.  If I am trusting God completely, then I trust His plan.  And His plan is that the husband be the head of the home.  So when I submit to my husband, I am essentially submitting to God and His plan, and showing my trust in Him.

The second thing I work to remember is that because God has placed my husband as the head of our home, then my husband is the one who will answer directly to God for his actions and decisions regarding our home and family.  So, when My Prince makes a decision that I might mildly, or sometimes strongly, disagree with, I try to respectfully state my case - because sometimes I see things from a woman's angle that he might not see.  Then I (try to) back away, and pray for him to make the right decision.  And, wether he makes the right decision (in my opinion), because sometimes I am the one who is wrong, or not, I am told by God to submit to him.  My job at this point is to simply obey God and submit to my husband.  And because my husband is the one who answers to God for his decisions, God will hold my husband, not me accountable for those decisions.  I look at it as a safety net, and I am thankful that I am not the one who has to answer to God sometimes.  It makes me thankful for my husband, and for God's perfect plan.

It is a touchy topic, and I know that there are men who take advantage of this, and do not use it at all in the way that God planned.  I know that each of us face a different set of circumstances.  I'm just describing mine, and how it all works for us.  Certainly, if your husband is leading you to sin, or doing something that is physically harmful to you or your children, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional help.  In fact, it would be the wise thing to do.

Okay!  I never meant to go off on that tangent.  Maybe God knows that someone who reads this needed to hear some of that!  If it is you, take what you can and use it for His glory.

In the morning service, we started by baptizing two of the precious children who were saved in our VBS!  It is a wonderful start to a service.  The worship service was also a blessing, and then My Prince preached the first sermon in his "I Will" series, using the book by the same title by Thom S. Rainer.  It was a great sermon, and very applicable to us all.  I especially liked the GCM/JCM part.  And I pray that I am more and more often a JCM, than a GCM.

After church, we went and grabbed a bite to eat.  Then came home. I had some studying I had to get done, and some reading I wanted to get done, so I got busy doing that.  The kids all vanished upstairs, and My Prince had a meeting.  I think we were all able to accomplish pretty much of what we needed to get done before it was time to go back to church.

My 5:00 group study went well.  I love the study we are doing, and it seems like God is working and moving in our lives through it.  I hate that our schedule has been interrupted several times, but I love that they want to move it to a different night of the week when that happens so that we can continue on.  Good stuff!  And so exciting that people are hungry to learn and receive God's word, and apply it to their lives!

The evening service was great as well.  The teen worship team lead praise and worship, and then the people who went on the World Changer trip gave testimonies of how God moved in their lives while they were on the trip.  It was fun to hear the trip from the perspective of others.  I wish our whole church could have gone!

After church, the teens went out for their monthly dinner after church, and most of the parents joined them.  I love being able to fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere, where we actually have time to talk and get beyond just the "Hey!  How are you!", "I'm fine!  How are you!" exchange.

After that, we came home and the youngest princess told me that she was experiencing some pain that concerned me, so I told her that we would take her to the doctor the next day and have it checked out.

Monday, June 27 - We got up and called the doctor, and they told us to come that afternoon.  So we planned to do just that.  The Oldest Princess went off to work, and the rest of us had a normal morning here at home.

At noon, we headed to the doctor.  He seemed to think the problem was what I had thought it was, and sent us off to get a prescription.  He also told us that he would follow up with us after her lab results came back in and change things if we needed to.

Because of her size - she is small - and dosage needed, he recommended that she take the liquid form of the medicine.  It is a medicine that I have had to take on occasion, and in pill form, the pills are very large.  So we agreed, and headed out to get her prescription filled.  She had a sleep-over planned for that night and was eager for us to get finished, so that she could get to her friend's house.  We dropped the prescription off and went to get something to eat while it was being filled.  Then we went back to pick it up.  My Prince and the Youngest Princess ran in to get it.  Normally my prescription in pill form is $4.00.  Her prescription, in liquid form, of the same medicine, was $99.66!!!  Seriously?  What in the world could make there be a $95.66 difference between a pill form and a liquid form of a medicine?  I honestly do not understand!  So we paid an arm and a leg for the medicine that must contain liquid gold, and came home to give her the first dose.

Her friend's family was here shortly after we were to pick her up.  The Oldest Princess came home from work.  The rest of us spent the evening relaxing and just enjoying one another's company.  We threw out going shopping, or going to see a movie, but just staying home for the evening won out.  We rarely get to just hang out at home with nothing to do or nowhere to be, so I think we all really needed it.  It was very nice.

Until I blog again...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 17 - 25, 2016

Friday, June 17th was our 21st wedding anniversary.  21 years of marriage.  That is a long time.  I remember when I thought people who were 21 years old were, well, old.  And now, I have been MARRIED that long!  It certainly does not seem like that long.  Time flies when you are having fun - right?  We must be having fun, because time has flown.  It hasn't been completely perfect, but it has been as perfect as I could ask for.  And I would do it all over again.  A thousand times.  So here is to many, many more years together!

We celebrated the day with the Oldest Princess and the Young Prince.  We went early and saw Finding Dory.  Then lunch at Chick-fil-a, and home to get some last minute things done, and get packed and ready to go.

Saturday we got up bright and early and met at the church and loaded up to head out for a week of World Changers.  We had a wonderful trip.  We spent the week hosting a VBS and helping an awesome couple make contacts for their church plant.  We set up for VBS.  We went door to door in a neighborhood inviting kids to come to VBS.  We went to Wal-Mart and put flyers on cars.  We stood out by the road with signs to let people know about VBS.  We went to the park and invited people to bring their children.  We had three days of VBS, where we loved on the kids that came and taught them about Jesus and how much He loves them.  We hosted a "Family Night", where the kids could show their parents what they had learned the last three days, and so that the church planter could share his vision with the parents in hopes that some of them would be interested in helping them launch the new church.  It was a week full of laughter, songs, arts and crafts, missions, recess, smiles, stickers, lessons and games.  We went to be a blessing, and came home being doubly blessed.

I could not be more proud of the team of kids that we took with us.  There was not one time where I asked one of them to do something where they acted like they did not want to do it.  They were more than eager and willing to help.  Often seeing what needed to be done and doing it before being asked. I was the adult helper in the older kids' class.  The teacher was one of our 8th grade girls.  She taught the class.  She planned, prepped, and had all of the games organized.  I did not have to do anything, but be crowd control.  She was absolutely amazing!   I brag on her, because I was with her, and I saw her in action.  But while she was doing our class, there were other kids all over the building doing just as amazing a job at their stations.  The Oldest Princess did music and missions.  The Young Prince and his friend followed people around and took pictures and videos to put together a video of the week that the church planter could use as a promotion video.  There were teens helping with the crafts.  There were other teens helping with recess.  And it all ran like a smoothly oiled machine.  I was so proud of them!  And then we would get on the bus and go back to our host church, where we would eat food that we may or may not have liked.  But I never heard one complaint.  We would take showers in shower trailers, where we may or may not have had hot water or water pressure, and still no complaints.  We slept on air mattresses crammed into a small room, and woke up very early to do it all again the next day.  And still no complaints.

In the middle of all of that, we laughed and picked on each other.  We made memories that we will have for a lifetime.  We fell in love with the couple that is planting the church and their precious children.  We ate a few doughnuts, and retaped our encouragram envelopes back on the wall because the weight of all of the encouragrams from our church members made them tear and start to fall off the wall.  We slept in the bus on the way to and from our project.  We played song charades/interpretative dance and told very creative bedtime stories.  We threw things at each other and did blob fish impersonations.  We made new friends and worshipped together each night.  We were encouraged to Live, Love and Speak Boldly.  And our kids did just that.  It was a week that I was very blessed to be a part of.  It was my third World Changers, and my very favorite of the three.

Thursday night our kids were in tears telling some of our VBS kids good-bye.  It was sad to know that we may not ever see some of those kids again this side of heaven.

Friday morning, we got up, repacked everything, let the air out of our air mattresses and loaded back up on the bus to head home.  We had a pretty uneventful trip home.  And the only thing we left behind was our van, which got sick and began pouring transmission fluid on Thursday night.  So we left it there, to be doctored and did a little rearranging of the luggage to be sure that every person had a seat.  Thankfully it all all worked out and we made it home much earlier than we had anticipated.

I was very glad to get home and see the Youngest Princess.  Grammy had a roast in the crock pot, and that made me very happy too.  We all took warm showers with lots of water pressure, and then we all zonked out.  When we woke up the roast was ready, and we were starving, so it was perfect timing.  We ate, watched some tv together, and went to bed.  It was wonderful to sleep in our own beds again!

This morning was nice and relaxed.  We slept in a little.  We took our time getting up and getting ready.  The kids and My Prince washed the cars.  I did some laundry.  I met with a friend for about an hour.  Grammy and Poppy came over and joined us in eating hamburgers for dinner.  Poppy and the Young Prince went shopping for fishing gear.  All in all it was a good day.  All in all it was a great week.

Until I blog again...

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 13 - 16, 2016

Okay, so at least it hasn't been a week this time!

Most of my spare time this week has been spent working on "encouragrams".  We have a group from church that are traveling to a different city to do a program called World Changers.  And if you don't know about World Changers, in a nutshell, here are the basics:

1. You pay to go.
2. You take an air mattress and sleep packed into rooms of a church in the area where you are working.
3. You take your oldest clothes, or go to the thrift store and buy someone else's old clothes to wear, because you don't want your clothes to get messed up.
4. You get there, and you are split up into crews with other people from other churches.
5. You get your assignments and go to work.  Scraping, painting, sawing, hammering, roofing, sweeping, or whatever it is your crew has been assigned to do.  For the most part, you work with whatever tools you bring with you from home.
6.  You work all day in the heat - often - rain or shine.
7. You take a break when lunch is delivered to you by another local church who has volunteered to feed your crew.  Lunch may or may not be edible.
8. You go back to the church where you are sleeping, grab your shower bag and stand in line for a shower trailer with 5 or 10 of your new best friends.
9.  Then you eat dinner (whatever is served - like it or not), and go to the worship service.
10.  Then you spend a little while visiting with your friends and head to bed to get up and do it all over again the next day.
11.  People who have never been think that you are crazy for going, but they have no idea how much fun it can actually be.
12.  People in the neighborhoods where you are serving think that you are crazy, because you actually paid to come and work on someone else's home.
13.  Which opens the door for you to share that you love God and love people.
14.  Which allows you to share the love of God with said curious person.
15.  And if you have any time during the day, when you are waiting for paint to dry for instance, you get to walk around in the neighborhood, pray, and meet people and talk to them about Jesus and how much He loves them.
16.  It is an awesome, eye-opening, experience for teens and adults alike.
17.  It is definitely not a pleasure trip.

So, we have a group from our church that are going. They have a wall at the church where you are staying, that is covered with envelopes.  One envelope for each World Changers participant.  And in the evenings, people put "encouragrams" or little notes of encouragement - sometimes with candy or a small treat attached - in the envelopes of their crew members or church group members.  It is very encouraging to go to that wall and see that your envelope is falling off of the wall, because it is so full of encouragrams from people who love you and are praying for you.  And because I know just how encouraging it is, I try to take great care and put lots of love and thought into the encouragrams that I make and take (or send).  Encouragrams are a pretty big project at our house, and they take a lot of time, energy and space (if you could just see my dining room right now!).  So, the past few days have been spent, shopping for goodies, making lists and checking them twice, writing notes, praying for participants, cutting things out, tying things, punching holes, organizing things.  Big fun!  And all to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ not to be weary in well doing.  This year a few of our group will be doing manual labor like I mentioned above.  But most of the group will be doing something new to us.  It is called a P2 project.  We will be working with a church planter in the area, and we are going to put on a VBS for them.  This church plant is fairly new, and in addition to seeing lives changed, they are hoping to gain contacts for potential church members through our VBS efforts.  We are excited that after a week's rest, we get to do VBS all over again.  It will be the same curriculum, in a different place.  It will take energy and flexibility, but most of all, it will take God's grace.  And we are excited to see what God will do in and through our group on this trip.  Exciting times!

Aside from that, I took time to pack the Youngest Princess so she could go with Grammy and Poppy to a family wedding this weekend, and stay with them while we are on our Missions Trip.  The wedding is out of town, so they left yesterday.  Which means we will be away from the Youngest Princess longer than we had originally planned.  And that makes me sad.  I really miss her when she is not here.  She is such a commanding presence, that you know when she is missing.  She was a little anxious about being away from us this time.  Usually she is fine, but this time she was a little worried and asked questions I didn't want to have to answer.  I know she will be fine.  But it is hard to let her go knowing that she is not completely comfortable with the situation.  Please pray with me for peace for her little heart.

Really other than the normal day to day stuff, like dishes, clothes, shopping, sweeping, keeping up with kids, and doing Bible studies, that catches you up (and let's you know more than you ever wanted to know about World Changers).

And because I'm still having trouble with getting on a schedule, until I blog again...

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 8 - 12, 2016

The saying goes that time flies when you are having fun.  My Prince likes to say that time flies whether your are are having fun or not.  I guess either way.  Having fun or not, time has flown.  I sat down to blog this morning, thinking it had only been a couple of days since I had last blogged.  But um, no.  It has been almost a whole week!  A whole week has flown by like a couple of days! And I was hoping to get caught up and stay caught up.  And I really need to get back into the habit of blogging at night.  But the mornings are just so much more peaceful, with most of my clan at work, and the Youngest Princess still asleep or just waking up...Anyway, hopefully soon I will find my rhythm again.  And until then, I will blog when I can.

Since I last blogged, we finished up VBS.  It was a fantastic year!  I loved the theme and the curriculum this year.  The kids had a blast.  The workers had a blast as well.  We had a total of 10 kids and 1 adult come to know the Lord as their personal Savior, and one adult who rededicated her life by the time the glitter had settled, and the decorations had come down.  That my friends, is VERY EXCITING!  And as wonderful as that all is, it was not a perfect week.  There were trials, discouragements, and issues along the way as well.  Our mascot for the week even ended up giving his little flashing fishy life for the cause before all was said and done.  It was a sad night for those of us who knew.  Thankfully there was a backup waiting to take his place and the children were none the wiser.  But, in the end, we have 12 precious souls who are now ready to live for Christ!  Making the trials seem small, and not so bad after all.

We had a couple of days to recoup after VBS and before Sunday morning.

I had one evening to sit outside and watch the Youngest Princess play while the fireflies flitted in the dusk around her.

Grammy and Poppy made it safely back to us from their trip.

My Prince and I attended a high school graduation. The classes of '64, '65, and '66.  Not our own.  My Prince was invited to say the prayer.  It was fun, being a fly on the wall so to speak, and watching them reconnect and reminisce about the "good old days".  And really, they did grow up in the "good old days".  I was a little envious of the simple world they knew as kids.  Things were definitely different then.  And "progress" is not always a good thing.  I guess I am an "old soul" as they say, but I had fun hanging out with them, making new friends and hearing their stories.

Church was wonderful both Sunday morning, and Sunday night.  I had Children's church during the morning service.  We had a good time learning about the blessing of friends, and singing VBS songs. The service went a little long, and I teased my prince that he owed me time and a half pay.  But from what I hear the adult service was very good, and God was moving.  So all was well.

In discipleship training, the teacher started a study on one of my favorite books of the Bible.  Judges. Strange I know, but it is full of exciting stories of God restoring His people back to Him.  I love the different and sometimes crazy ways, people, things, that God used to bring His people back.  I love that we serve a longsuffering God, and that He will pursue us time and time again.  Anyway, I usually have a small group during that time, so I asked the teacher if I could have copies of his notes each week.  I teach Judges to my 5th graders as we work our way through the O.T. and I am hoping that I might learn something new to make my lessons deeper and more exciting.

The Sunday night service was good as well.  We prayed for our group that is going to World Changers next week.  Exciting times!  We get to do VBS all over again, in a different church, in a different city, in a different state even.  With a whole new group of kids.  With the potential of changing another whole group of people's lives!  We are ready and chomping at the bit to get there and get started!

After the service, we had a World Changer's meeting, and that made me even more excited to go. Then we went to eat with a couple of couples from our church.  Good food, and good fellowship.  A great way to end a good weekend.

And those are the highlights to get us caught up once again.

Until I blog again...

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 7, 2016

I woke up and did my First 5 devotion.  Then I had a relaxed morning.  Just getting things done around the house.  I spent some time studying my lesson for VBS, and then I got ready for my day.

My Prince asked me to go out with him for a lunch date with him. Of course I told him I would! I never pass up an opportunity to spend time with My Prince!  The place we wanted to go was closed on Mondays, so we had to resort to plan B, but we still had a great time, and enjoyed one another's company.  I love being with My Prince, and any time we get to be with just one other is always special to me.

After lunch we came home and I got a few more things done around the house before all the kids came home.

The Youngest Princess had fallen at her friends house and had scraped her knee and ankle, so I loved on her and got her cleaned up and bandaged up and ready to go to VBS.  Then she rested for a few minutes while the rest of us got ready.

We left for VBS.  After we got there, My Prince found out that a man that has been visiting our church for a few months went home and prayed and gave his life to the Lord after VBS the night before.  We were very excited to hear about that.  I also found out that one of our church children - one of my Bible Drill kiddos - also accepted the Lord as her savior at the end of VBS the night before.  And then there was one more salvation that we heard about as well!!  Praise the Lord!  So exciting!!

The young lady that accepted the Lord as her savior the night before came over to me and before I even had a chance to ask her, she told me that she had done some of the pages in the follow-up workbook I gave her!  That thrilled my heart.  I had fully intended to ask her if she had done any of it, and if she had any questions, and before I could even ask, she was telling me she had.  Makes my heart smile - big!

We did VBS, and at the end, we had the GLOW PARTY.  The kids LOVE the glow party.  Even better this year, Lifeway put out flashing, yo-yo fish to go with the Submerged theme.  So each child got a flashing, yo-yo fish for the glow party.  The kids loved them!

After VBS was over, we had a short meeting.  Then My Prince asked me if I could help him for a minute.  The lady who is engaged to the man who had gotten saved the night before wanted to talk to us.  She was in tears and said that she wanted to re-dedicate her life to the Lord!  Woo Hoo!  SO EXCITING!  I love to have the privilege to be a tiny part in God's great big, huge, awesome plan!  I love to see God move in the lives of people!  There is nothing better!  We talked to her and prayed with her, and then we came home.

At home, we talked and snacked a little and then we all decided to call it a night.  A good night. A very good night.  After a very good day.

Until I blog again...

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 6, 2016

I woke up this morning after sleeping in a little, and saw both of the older kids off to work.  Then I spent some time reading my First 5 devotion.

I did some laundry, and just spent the morning relaxing with My Prince. The Oldest Princess wanted to know if she could stop back by on her way from getting her hair cut to pick up the Youngest Princess so she could hang out with the little girl that she babysits.  We told her that she could.  So she did.

My Prince and I relaxed and watched a little television.  Before we knew it, it was time to get ready for VBS.  As we walked out the door, rain started drizzling.  When we got to the church, it was pouring.  I dreaded my decision to wear flip flops, because my feet were soaked, despite the fact that we had workers with big umbrellas helping people get from their cars into the building.

We were early, so I visited with some of my friends and helped them cut out some things that they needed for the craft project that night.

Then I went to the fellowship hall to meet up with my kids.  We were missing one from the night before (but she had told me that she would not be able to be there that night) and we had gained one new one, so we still had 10.

From the fellowship hall, we went to the Worship Rally.  It is always fun, because our skit people do a fantastic job, and the kids love it.

Then we went to crafts, and game time.  Game time was a little sad, because of the rain, which made us have to watch a movie instead.  But the kids were troopers and never complained - until our time was up, and we had to leave before the movie was over.

Then we went to class time.  The lesson was about Nicodemus, and how Jesus saw that he needed a savior.  Of course that led right into the Gospel Presentation, and then the kids had decision cards to fill out to let us know where they were in their relationship with Christ.  I had a couple put down that they just were not ready for a relationship with Christ.  That is heartbreaking, but it is not our intention to force anyone to do anything they are not prepared to do.  I know that both children come from homes where they hear the gospel, and that when they are ready, I feel that they will choose to follow Christ.  We had two put down that they were ready to become a Christian, and that they wanted to talk to someone about it.  And the rest put down that they already were Christians.

Our next class was the missions class, when everyone went in, I pulled aside the two that said that they wanted to be Christians, and My Prince and I talked to them, and explained it a little more to them. One of them accepted Christ as her savior!  Praise the Lord!  She comes from a rough home life, and she will need a lot of support.  Please pray for her as she begins her life long journey with Christ.  Pray that God will send godly people to be there for her and encourage her along the way.  I will be as involved as I can and help and encourage her as much as possible, but she will need others as well.

The young man that  My Prince talked to was hearing the Gospel for pretty much the first time.  It is a lot to take in.  He was not quite ready to pray last night.  He wanted a little more time to think it over and that is fine.  He listened during the lesson probably better than anyone else.  God is moving in his heart. Please pray with us that he will make a decision for Christ soon.

Wow!  This is why we decorate, and study, and dress up, and act silly, and give of our time and talents even when we are tired.  Because God has a plan for each of those precious young people that walk through our doors!  Please continue to cover us with prayer.  We would love to see many more lives changed before the end of the week.  And not just for us, but for all the other VBS's that are happening both near and far.  VBS is still an awesome tool that God uses to change lives.  So exciting!

The Youngest Princess went home with a friend to spend the night.  The rest of us came home and watched a show before calling it a night.

I tried to blog last night, but kept falling asleep around about the third paragraph, so I gave up and thought that I would finish it today.  Such great news, and I was excited to share it with you all!

Until I blog again...

Monday, June 6, 2016

May 31 - June 5, 2016

Whew!  Obviously it is summer, and that pretty much means a lack of routine.  I can't believe it has been so long since I have blogged!

On May 31, we woke up bright and early and finished packing all of our stuff, and then took our luggage with us down to our 6:45am breakfast.  We left our luggage in the hallway, and had one last meal with our servers who were now also our friends.

After breakfast, we grabbed our luggage, and disembarked from the ship.  We went through a couple of really quick lines where they checked our identification, and our passports, and then we were done.  Way too fast.  It was over.

As we were loading the car, My Prince admitted that the show the night before had really gotten to him.  He told me that he had even dreamed about it.  And he got teary eyed just telling me about it.  We finished packing everything into the car and started our journey home.

It was a nice, steady uneventful trip home.  We were glad to be home, and we were all exhausted.

We spent most of the next day (June 1) resting up as well.  Grammy and Poppy came over that evening. We ate hamburgers and let them see all of our pictures and told them TONS of stories about our trip.

The next few days June 2 - June 5, was mostly consumed with catching up on laundry and doing all things VBS.  Making decorations.  Putting up decorations.  Making more decorations.  Putting up more decorations.  Studying lessons.  Cutting out things for games and lessons.  Organizing things for games and lessons.  Decorating room for missions class.  Decorating the 3rd & 4th/5th & 6th grade room.  Studying more for lessons.  Praying for God to move and change lives during VBS.  Everything VBS.

Then the evening of June 5 (last night) - we kicked off our 2016 year of VBS with an inflatable slide and bouncy house and sloppy joes and tons of music, lessons, crafts and games.  As far as I know, the first night went very well, and I am so excited about night two!

And that in a nutshell, gets us all caught up.  I hate being behind, so maybe now I can be better at keep caught up, well, as much as is possible, during summer, when we have no set schedules or routines.  I love summer!

Until I blog again...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May 30, 2016

After a good night's sleep, we woke up early to the ship pulling in to port at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.  We stood on the balcony (or whatever it is technically called) for a few minutes, and enjoyed the beautiful morning.

Just some of the pictures we took from our balcony that morning.

The girls had tickets to go and see the princesses and Elsa and Ana.  I wanted to be early and be some of the first ones in line, because I knew as quickly as we could get through, that we could get off the ship and enjoy Castaway Cay.

So we got dressed and went down to breakfast.  It was delicious as usual.  Then the girls and I hurried off to get in line for the princesses.  Our friends came right after us, so it worked out that we were all in line together.  Meanwhile, My Prince, the Young Prince and our friends that don't have girls, had gotten off the ship as quickly as possible to save us spots on Castaway Cay.

The Princesses that we got to see were Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  Unfortunately, it was the same Belle, and she was still not a good Belle.  Fortunately, it was the same Rapunzel, and she was still a great Rapunzel.  She asked the Youngest Princess what her plans were for the day, and the Youngest Princess told her that we were going to snorkel.  Rapunzel replied, "Oh!  That is wonderful!  You know, Pascal really wants to go snorkeling, but we haven't quite figured that out yet. His face is just too small!"  So cute!!  Because we were all together in line, we asked if we could have a group picture made with Snow White, who was the last princess in the line.  They told us we could, so we did.  I am glad it worked out where we could.

The princesses waiting to meet the princesses

Being silly while we waited

She still was not feeling great, but I loved the princess dress with the flip flops fashion statement



Cinderella again

Belle again


I love the pose!

Snow White

Snow White again

All of our girls with Snow White

 After getting through that line, and seeing the princesses, we had to go to a different location to meet Elsa and Ana.  So we went straight there.  We were earlier than the time on our tickets, but the line was really short, so they allowed us to go on through.  Again, we asked for a group photo if possible, and again, they were wonderful to allow us our request.  Elsa and Ana were great.  They talked to and interacted with the girls.  It was a fun experience for everyone.

The gang with Elsa and Ana

The youngest princess said, "You know, to be Elsa, her hands were really warm!"

The Adopted Princess and Ana and Elsa

The Oldest Princess and Ana and Elsa

The Youngest Princess next to a drawing of Cinderella outside of the Animated Palate

Then, we were off to join My Prince and the Young Prince on Castaway Cay.  As we were getting off of the Ship, they told me that because the Youngest Princess and I were listed in different staterooms, that I could not take her off the ship.  I needed to go to the Guest Services desk and that they could help me.  Ugh!  And we were so close (our family had two staterooms, because the Oldest Princess brought her friend, so when the travel agent set us up, she put My Prince in one room and myself in another, for price sake.  Which we really appreciated, but it turned out to be a little bit of an inconvenience from time to time, like right then)!  So, everyone else got off, and the Youngest Princess and I went back up the stairs to the Guest Services desk.  She knew what I needed before I even got my whole story out.  She gave me a form to fill out and had the problem fixed before I had the form completely filled out.  And off we went again.  This time we disembarked with no problems at all.

When we got off of the ship, the Oldest Princess and the Adopted Princess had waited for us.  We also met up with one of my friends and her two girls.  As we were walking to the tram, we saw Captain Jack Sparrow.  The older girls of course wanted to take a picture with him.  So we stood in line for just a few minutes and let them.  The youngest girl did not want to (and I don't blame her, he is kind of creepy).  He did wave at her and say, "Hello!  Tiny princess!"  It was cute.  She gave him a very small wiggle of her fingers as she turned away from him.  He was good to talk and interact with the girls as well.  When it was the big girl's turn, they asked him to take a selfie with them.  He told them that he did not know what that was, but that he would.  Then when they finished he said, "Oh, so that is like a magic mirror of sorts!" referring to the Adopted Princess's cell phone.  It was funny.

The Youngest Princess and her friend with Cap'n Jack Sparrow

The older girls with Cap'n Jack Sparrow

My view of the selfie 

What the selfie actually looked like

My view of the silly selfie

What the silly selfie actually looked like

We walked on around and caught the tram.  We were able to find My Prince fairly easily.  He gave us pretty good instructions.  As opposed to my friend's husband who told us to look for the big wooden life guard chair out in the water.  That made us laugh.  But we finally all made it to the same location.  My Prince and our friends did a great job staking us out a spot.

My view

More of my view

My first order of business was to go snorkeling.  I was really excited about it.  I have wanted to snorkel my whole life, and I was finally going to get the chance.  We got all our gear ready and put on the little inflatable life vest things and headed out into the water.  We saw a few fish before we even got neck deep.  We made it out to where the water was about up to our necks, and I tried to put my face in the water.  Honestly.  I panicked.  I am not one to panic.  I do not have anxiety attacks, or unreasonable fears.  But when it was go time, and I actually had to put my face down in that water, I had to force myself to do it.  And then I breathed like I was going to hyperventilate.  It was not good. I really wanted to snorkel.  So, I stood there and tried it several times, with it never really getting any better.

About to go snorkeling

The little girls ready to snorkel

About that time, our friend and the Young Prince came  back from the deeper waters.  The Young Prince was all excited because they had seen a lionfish.  Lionfish are venomous.  Yes they are.  And that bothered My Prince, more than putting my face in the water and breathing bothered me.  My Prince declared that he was done.  There was no way I was going out there without My Prince, so I headed back to shore myself.

I went the much more relaxing route, and sat in the chairs at the edge of the water with my friends and watched the Youngest Princess and her friends play.  We relaxed until it was time for lunch.

Me and My Prince - looking' good after a day on the beach - lol!

The little girls with our ship in the background

One of our friends stuck in his earbuds and slept away to the tunes of Greater Vision.

One of our friends messing with the volume on our sleeping friend's earbuds.  Hey, what are friends for?

Lunch on the island was wonderful.  It was a buffet with barbecue chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cajun mahi.  They also had fruit and desserts.  It was wonderful!  We ate our fill while dodging the seagulls that flew in under the pavilion from time to time.

After lunch, the Youngest Princess and her friend wanted to get their hair braided like the Oldest Princess and the Adopted Princess.  So, we took them over to the ladies who were braiding hair.  The Youngest Princess went first.  She was making faces like it was painful.  My friend who works in deaf education taught her the sign for pain.  So she sat there and signed pain several times.  She ended up with 7 braids in her hair.  Then it was her friend's turn.  The friend found it painful as well.  The lady did make them very tight.  The friend ended up with 7 braids as well.  They liked the braids at first, but it didn't take long for the Youngest Princess to get tired of hers.

The Youngest Princess getting hair braids

Looks a little painful

The girls with their matching braids

And a side view of the matching braids

After that, the friend's dad (the one who had taken the Young Prince out) told the girls that he would take them snorkeling out in the deeper water.  The Youngest Princess was all excited.  She didn't get far though.  A big fish swam by her and then the loose end of her life vest belt touched her leg, and she was squealing and ready to get out of the water.  She came back to the side where I was, and played in the shallow water.

Our friend and his daughter went on out.  He had snagged some fish from lunch and put it in his pocket.  When they got out into the deeper water, he would pinch off a little of the fish and crumble it in the water.  Fish were coming from all around to eat the fish from his pocket.  His daughter looked around and said, "Daddy, look at that big fish over there!"  It was a barracuda.  They decided that they had snorkeled enough, and headed on back to the beach.

The big kids explored the island a little and played some beach volleyball.  Girls against guys.  Which was not really fair, because there were more boys than girls.  But the boys gave up one of their own to play with the girls and make it fair.  The Oldest Princess said at one point that she turned around and the boy that was playing with them had his hat on his head, and the front of his shirt pulled up over his hat and his head.  She said he told her that he could still see that way.  She said he did get one good solid hit in.  Oh my!  When I went over to take pictures, only the Oldest Princess and the Adopted Princess were still playing.  Everyone else had given up and sat down in the shade.

A little beach volleyball

A little shade for after the beach volleyball

Pretty soon, it was getting to be time to head back to the ship.  One set of parents were still snorkeling, and the Oldest Princess said she would watch the girls until their parents came back.  My Prince said he would stay as well, so the Youngest Princess could stay and play with her friends until their parents came back.  The Young Prince had to stay, because he could not get back on the ship with me (the two room thing again).  So the Adopted Princess and I headed back to the ship with everyone else, to begin to get ready for dinner.  We waited for them tram and got on.  I happened to think about the fact that I still had the Youngest Princess's ship issued id card, and that she could not get back on the ship without it.  So I got off the tram and went back to the beach to give My Prince her card.  Our friends had come back from snorkeling at this point, so the rest of us left were packing up to head back to the ship.

We walked back to the tram stop.  Some of the kids needed to go back and wash the sand off of their feet.  We sent them back but told them to hurry, because we did not want to miss the next tram and have to wait for another one.  We were hot, tired and ready to get back on the ship and cleaned up.  The next tram came.  We yelled for the kids to hurry up.  They all catch up with us.  But My Prince is nowhere to be found.  I figured he had stayed back to help some of our friends pack up.  I told the Young Prince that he could not get on the ship with me, so he needed to go back and come with his Dad.

Meanwhile, unknown to me, My Prince took a wrong turn walking to the tram stop, and had pretty much walked back to the ship by this point.  We ride the tram back to the ship.  My Prince is standing there.  The Young Prince is back at the beach looking for him.  It was crazy!  My Prince gets back on a tram going back to the beach to find our son.  I stayed there in case the Young Prince decided to get on a tram and come back by himself.  My friend stayed with me, because she is a mother and knew the fear I was feeling.  Her support meant a lot to me.

Three trams came back without My Prince or the Young Prince.  Finally, they were on the fourth tram that came back.  The Young Prince said that he could not find his Dad, so he had decided to get on a tram and go back to the ship and try to find us there, and the next tram to come was the one My Prince was on.  We were just glad to know where everyone was and to have us all back together.  And I was VERY glad to have us all back on the ship.

There were tears from the Youngest Princess before dinner.  She was absolutely exhausted.  But I told her that this night's dinner was sure to be the very best, and I had her onboard pretty quickly.

The Youngest Princess is all tuckered out

I was correct.  That night's dinner was definitely the best.  Best food, best service, best atmosphere.  It was wonderful all the way around.  The Youngest Princess and her friend ordered steak off of the adult menu.  They both finished their first steak and asked for another one!  And they both came close to finishing up the second ones.  Their day in the sun really made them hungry!  The older kids continued to play games and riddles with their server.

One of our friends told them that the Oldest Princess and the Adopted Princess were celebrating graduating from high school, so they brought them each a special dessert, and a pin that said "I'm celebrating" on it, and they sang to them.  Then of course, we had to get pictures with our wonderful servers.  Fun times!

My Prince sitting at the little girls' table, because he wanted a kid's dessert

The big kids' table

The little girls

The adults, minus a few

Crush stopped by the big kids' table to say hello and chat for a minute

Our server cutting up the second steak for our little girls

The special dessert for the graduates

A picture with the kids' favorite server

A picture with all of our servers

A table selfie

As My Prince would say, "Those ears are every where!"  He even took a picture for proof!  LOL!

The last night we discovered a glass that let you see the ocean below you.  So, we took a family picture :).

After dinner, we went to the Captain's Pin Trading night.  We were late, because we were having so much fun at dinner, so all of the really cool pins had already been traded, but we did trade for  a few that we liked.

Then it was time for the show.  I think it was called "Believe".  I went in expecting to relax and really enjoy it.  And it was very good.  But.  But the storyline.  It was about a dad who was really busy doing his own thing, and his daughter who just wanted his attention.  In the end, he comes around and realizes what is most important.  But.  But the song.  The song at the end.  It was about how we have very little time with our kids and how fast they grow.  Wow.  Yes.  I am there.  And before I knew it, I was "having trouble with my allergies" as My Prince likes to say.  And my eyes were watering.  Big time.  And it was about all I could do to pull myself together and stop my eyes from watering before the show ended!  You know, cause I didn't want to walk out of there crying like a momma whose baby is about to go off to college or anything.  Of all things!  Who knew the Disney show would get me.  But get me it did.  I did manage to pull myself together before it totally ended.

After the show, the Oldest Princess wanted to go shopping, so I went with her to look around and to buy a few things.  When she was done, we went back up on deck and met up with everyone else.  They were all ready to call it a night, and get some sleep, because we had a really early morning the next morning.  We were to eat breakfast at 6:45 and then, our "Dream" vacation would be over.

We went back and packed up as much as we could before getting some sleep.

And that was day three of our Disney Cruise.

Until I blog again...