Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014
My New Home
My blog has moved! Please visit me at Riverbend Ramblings, and don't forget to update your bookmarks.


Saturday, June 14, 2014
Settling In
 Joining hands for prayer before unloading the moving truck in West Virginia

We left Florida early Monday morning, spent the night in North Carolina, and arrived at our new home in West Virginia around noon on Tuesday. About twenty people from the church were waiting to welcome us and help unload the moving truck. After a quick lunch prepared by some of the ladies, everyone got to work. It took just over an hour to unload the truck, which was ironic considering it took two entire days to load it! My goal for the day was to have a functioning kitchen and the beds in place. With the help of so many, we were able to pillow our heads on our own beds that night.

Wednesday was spent unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything. Our new home, while plenty big enough for us, is quite a bit smaller than our Florida house. I'm actually glad about that. A smaller home will be easier to clean, and I think we will spend more quality time together as a family not being spread out all over the place. We had our first church service Wednesday evening, and it touched my heart to see how excited the church folks were that we had finally arrived after months of anticipation. The elementary aged kids and teens had classes while the adults were in Bible study. Hope and Bryn had not visited West Virginia with us before, so they didn't know what to expect at the church. They were pleasantly surprised to see so many young people for such a rural area. There were 15 children in the elementary group and 17 in the teen group. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

Thursday we went to the "big" town about an hour and fifteen minutes away to return the rental truck and do some shopping. I was dreading that initial trip to Sam's Club; I think I spent enough to keep that store in business for at least another week! We arrived home just before dark. It was a long day, but relaxing and productive after several stressful days.

Yesterday we kept unpacking. Bryn and Case went "mudding" in a Polaris four-seater with some folks from the church. Apparently that is quite popular around here. With all the rain we've been having each evening, there was an abundance of mud! Today I'm going to try to finish unpacking my bedroom and bathroom and get them set up since I'm just about through with the main living areas. It's wonderful to finally be able to see some floor space again!

It was very hard to say our goodbyes to family and friends in Florida a few days ago, but already we have been shown so much love by our new church family. The smiles, hugs, food, and kind words of welcome have gone a long way to comfort my tender heart. I know there will be some challenging days of homesickness in the future, but I have absolute peace about this move. Knowing that God's hand has been in this from the very beginning gives me all the assurance I need. I want to thank all of you who have prayed or emailed me encouraging words. God has been so good!
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Moving On
We're moving to West Virginia! Steven has accepted the call to be the senior pastor of a church there. He's been co-pastoring with his father since we moved back to Florida from Georgia six years ago. We've seen the Lord do some great things over the last few years, but Steven has felt for the last year or so that we would be moving on if/when God opened the door. That door has clearly been opened, and we are walking through it by faith. While we are going to miss our family and friends tremendously, we are excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in West Virginia. We load the moving truck tomorrow, so please keep us in your prayers!
Monday, May 05, 2014
Three month recap
It's been three months since my last post; definitely time for an update! Life has been good, and the days have been very full. I needed to step away from the blogging world for a little while, but I missed it! Here are just a few of the highlights that I wanted to share:
Bryn turned ten and had her first sleepover with a few friends. Thanks to tickets from a generous friend, we visited all four Disney parks in one day. Whew! Shay turned Sweet Sixteen on Valentine's Day. One of her best friends that she met at music camp last summer traveled all the way from Texas to celebrate with her. We helped my dad celebrate his 80th birthday.
I had another birthday (I have to figure out how to stop having those!), Steven and I celebrated our 19th anniversary, and we traveled to West Virginia for spring break. I drove in the snow for the first time, and the kids made a snowman that looked a lot like Olaf.
Many afternoons were spent at the softball field with Bryn. Her team was undefeated! Shay attended her high school banquet. All three of the girls had their annual piano evaluations at Student Day. Steven preached at a Bible conference, and we were able to spend a few quiet days at the beach.

The next few weeks are going to be busy ones. Big things are happening. Details to come...


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Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Lil' Nut Turns 10
Happy Birthday to my baby Brynie-Boo! She chose her first-ever Big Mac for her birthday lunch at school and shared cupcakes with her class. We're waiting until Friday night to have her party. Love you, Bryn!

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Friday, January 31, 2014
Friday's Fave Five ~ 1.31.14

Here we are at the end of the first month of 2014. I hope the next eleven months don't go by as quickly as January has! I'm ready to link up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and share some good things from my week.
1. Each year we have a very special "big day" at our church. We invite as many folks as we can and have a huge party on the football field after church with games, inflatables, and free food for everyone. The goal of this big day is to get the gospel out to as many people as possible. We had good weather, terrific volunteers, many visitors, and everyone (especially all the children) had so much fun. We had 3,219 in attendance on Anniversary Sunday, and, best of all, over 300 people trusted Christ as their Saviour. I was busy running around most of the morning, so I had a chance to snap one quick picture. This is the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade children's church. I think there were over 325 kids in this class alone, and we had classes for every age group all around the property. I'm thankful for our church!
2. While most of the South experienced bitter cold and even snow this week in areas that rarely get any, we were spared freezing temperatures here in central Florida. I read so many reports of people in Georgia, Alabama, and other states being stranded away from home and of children stuck on buses or in school buildings due to the weather. I cannot imagine how scary that would be. I'm glad that I have a warm house and a cozy bed to sleep in tonight.
3. Hope's basketball team won a game this week, and Hope scored two points! Her team is made up of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who were all first-time basketball players this year. A couple of months ago, the girls didn't know one end of the court from the other, but they have worked hard and have improved tremendously. Their coach has to be one of the most patient men on the planet. He had to start from scratch teaching them the basics, so he deserves a lot of credit for what the girls have accomplished. They have two games left, and then the season will be over.
4. All four of the kids made the Honor Roll at school. Bryn, Hope, and Shay all made straight A's, and Case had all A's and B's. We don't expect our kids to have perfect grades, but we do expect them to do their best. God blessed them all with good brains, and I'm glad they're using them.
5. Steven and I had a chance to visit several antique stores in a small town a little over an hour from where we live. As always, I was on the prowl for vintage Pyrex. Several stores had pieces that caught my eye, but the prices were ridiculous. I about fell over when I spotted an Ivy Chip & Dip set (with the holder) from 1964. It was the first chip & dip promotional set that I had come across. Ivy is not one of my favorite Pyrex patterns, but I think it looks pretty on the Cinderella bowls. The price was reasonable, but Steven had to talk me into buying it because it was still rather expensive. The vendor ended up giving us a ten percent discount, so I walked out the door with rare set to add to my collection and a smile on my face.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Photo Funnies
Need something to make you smile? Here are a couple of funny pictures for you on this cold, rainy January day.
Hope's teacher texted me this picture of answers she gave on her science test. The top pic shows the constellation Centaraus that Hope had to label. I guess she thought it looked like a dancing pony. Just below is an answer she wrote explaining eclipses. She drew a little cartoon of her answer. Her teacher got a chuckle out of it but told her to try not to write anything silly on her tests in the furture.
I stopped in the rain on my way into church last night to snap a pic of this orange cat. Looks like he/she wanted to join us for the mid-week service. Not happening.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Feels Like A Monday
With the kids off from school yesterday, today kind of feels like a Monday. I had a hard time remembering to put the garbage out this morning! When I woke up this morning, I discovered that the dog had gotten sick in the night. What a mess! I had to give him a bath before taking the kids to school. Not a fun start to the day, but thankfully Toby seems to be feeling better now. I'll be keeping an eye on him today.
Three of the kids went fishing with their grandpa yesterday. Unfortunately, they didn't catch any fish. They had quite the little adventure running out of gas, drifting to a neighbor's dock, and borrowing gas to get back home. Thankfully they weren't stranded out in the middle of the lake! They actually had a lot of fun, I think.

We have had the prettiest weather here the last couple of days. Right now the sun is shining, and there are even a few flowers blooming around the yard.
Cooler weather is supposed to move in tonight, so we'll see whether or not the flowers last a few more days. I think I'm going to get my boots out and wear them while it's cold. I'm sure January lows in the 30's and highs in the 50's sound pleasant to my Northern friends, but that's VERY cold for this Florida girl who is used to summer temps ten months out of the year. I hope you stay warm, wherever you are!

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Friday, January 17, 2014
Friday's Fave Five ~ 1.17.14
I'm linking up with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story to share five favorites from this week. You can join us!
1. My son, Case, turned 14 this week. In the last few months he has really hit a growing spurt and is starting to look more like a young man and less like a boy. We took him out to eat at his favorite steakhouse for his birthday. He ordered a huge ribeye (since we only let him do that on his birthday) and ate the whole thing. I love my boy!
2. My mom's birthday is the same day as Case's. My mom is a wonderful lady, and I'm thankful for the love and support she has unconditionally given me my entire life. She's a terrific grandma, too!
3. Steven and I enjoyed a breakfast date and visited a few antique stores. We have fun searching for treasures together.
4. Hope and Case both had basketball games this week, and Case's team scored a victory. They have a young team and a first-year coach, so every win means a lot to them.
5. I started exercising regularly and changed the way I eat back in September. In the last four months, I've lost 15 pounds, and my PBF (percent body fat) is down 7%. I'm pretty much right where I need to be with my weight now, and I think I'm in the best shape I've been in since high school. Those 6 a.m. workouts are rough but so worth the effort.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Mid-Week Check-In
The last few days have been pretty busy ones for me. The kids had basketball games the last two nights, and yesterday I worked on a mail out for our church's upcoming Anniversary Sunday. The two oldest kids have semester exams for the next three days and get out of school at noon each day. Lots of running back and forth and back again.
I'm looking forward to spending today at home getting caught up on laundry and some detailed cleaning. A cold front is on its way, so I'm thinking pot roast for supper before we head to church tonight. Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!


Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Weekly Photo Challenge: Beginning
I was on my way home from the gym at daybreak and just had to pull off the road and take a quick photo as the light burst forth through the darkness. Such a beautiful sight to begin the day with; God's creation is breathtaking!
"And he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Colossians 1:17

Linking up with Weekly Photo Challenge


Friday, January 03, 2014
Friday's Fave Five ~ 1.3.14
One of my goals for 2014 is to be a better blogger, and I'm going to try my best to link up weekly with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and share some of my favorite moments. It's also a great opportunity for me to count my many blessings. You're invited to join us! You can find out all the details here.

1. A silly sighting. While walking through the grocery store one day, I spotted Mr. and Mrs. Claus. They apparently decided that they wanted to spend the rest of the winter in Florida instead of back at the North Pole. Santa looks worn out from making all those Christmas deliveries, doesn't he?
2. Some good friends of ours that live in Georgia were here visiting their family for the holidays, and we were able to get together with them one night. Curly Girl (on the right) had fun catching up with her buddy, Miss M.
3. We took a day trip to visit my dad, enjoyed driving through rural Florida, and stopped by a few antique stores on the way back home. Although there was heavy post-holiday traffic on the Interstate, we didn't come across any accidents or major backups. I'm thankful for safety on the road.
4. We rang in the new year at our church's watch night service. Each year on New Year's Eve we have a special time of food, fellowship, and testimonies. And, for once, we can honestly say that the church service lasted until midnight.
5. I think the best part of the week was just relaxing at home. The kids have been out of school for the last two weeks, and it's been so nice to have a break from the busyness of their normal routine. They have been able to sleep in every day, and I haven't felt like I'm running a taxi service. I love my kiddos! Here's a recent picture of them.
Case, Hope, Bryn, & Shay


Thursday, January 02, 2014
Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy
We've taken several day trips lately while the kids have been out of school. My dad and his wife live about two hours away, so we made the drive up to visit him earlier this week. We all went to a restaurant for lunch, and then we went to his house to visit for a few hours.
My four kids are my dad's youngest grandchildren. He will turn 80 next month, but he seems younger than that when he's around the kids.
Time spent with loved ones = JOY!
Linking up with Weekly Photo Challenge.

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Goals for the new year
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13 & 14

I am so ready for a brand new year! I've made a list of things that I'm going to try to do in 2014. I'm not going to share my whole list with you, but here are seven of my goals:

1. Spend more time in the Bible. I do my best to read God's word every day, but I don't always take the time to meditate on it and apply it to my life. I'm going to dig a little deeper this year.

2. Get rid of a lot of our stuff. We have too many things that we don't need or use. I've got a huge project planned to declutter our home, and I'll be doing a series of posts to track my progress.

3. Make more memories. Our family spends a lot of time together, but I have to admit that I'm not that creative when it comes to planning memorable moments. The kids are growing up quickly, and we only have a few years left with them at home. I've already started compiling a list of memory-making things for us to do together this year.

4. Encourage my family to eat quality food. I've gradually been getting away from eating processed foods myself, but it's a bit more challenging to get the kids to make healthy choices. We've already made some improvements with what they take to school for lunch each day, but I'm hoping to see them make better choices during those times when they are choosing their own food.

5. Step outside of my comfort zone. I always get nervous when I have to speak or sing in public or deal with a person about a difficult situation, so sometimes I shrink back from doing things that I really need to do. The Lord has been dealing with me in this area of my life, and I know that He will give me the confidence and peace I need.

6. Blog more. I've gotten really lazy with my posts over the last few years and have neglected to document chunks of our family's life. I've got a plan for this, too.

7. Take more photos--and actually get some of them developed. I take pictures and then keep them stored digitally. I think I will really enjoy getting more developed and holding the actual photos in my hand or framing them.

These are just a few things that I'm going to be working on in 2014. What goals do you have for the coming year?

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I climbed a mountain
I climbed Mount Washmore yesterday and lived to tell about it. My dryer has been out of commission since a few days before Thanksgiving. The repairman figured out the solution to the problem yesterday on his third visit, and the dryer is now working again after a bad circuit board was replaced. I had worried that the final bill was going to be as much as the cost of a brand new dryer, but we were only charged for one service call, one part, and the cost of labor for installing that one part instead of paying for the multiple visits, parts, and repair attempts. It's good to know that there are still honest businesses out there who aren't trying to take advantage of the consumer.
Being without a dryer for more than two weeks was a real challenge. Six people go through a lot of clothes in a day, especially when two of them have basketball practice or games almost every day. We live in a deed restricted neighborhood that frowns upon the use of a clothes line, so when I was desparate to dry a load of wash I had to make a trip to use someone else's dryer. I'm so happy to have a working dryer once again, and I have seven loads of clean, dry laundry from yesterday to prove it. Sometimes I take modern household helpers for granted. I guess if I didn't have a washer and dryer I would definitely downsize our wardrobes! So much for my pioneer spirit.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I blink, and a month goes by
Happy December! It's been super busy around here lately (what's new, right?), but I hope to start posting regularly again. Blogging is something that I have to schedule into my day, and I just haven't found that 25th hour yet. If you know where it's hiding, please let me know. I'll be back tomorrow, Lord willing.
Monday, November 11, 2013
A Thankful Monday
Happy Veteran's Day to all those who have served in our country's military, both past and present. I'm thankful for the sacrifices made by these special men and women.
It's been a busy Monday for me. I had a speaking engagement this morning (thankful for that group of young ladies), then I made a quick trip to the grocery store (thankful for the money to buy groceries), and now I'm fixing to tidy up a few hot spots around the house (thankful for the family that makes the mess and for the strength to clean the mess up).

I came across this picture of Shay and Bryn today. It was taken almost exactly nine years ago. Makes me want to cry. Just look at those chubby baby legs!
Okay, no more getting sidetracked; the house won't clean itself! Hope you have a fabulous (thankful) Monday!

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Tired Toby
A visit to the groomer wore him out. What a life!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Round Up Sunday 2013
The Carter Family, with Sheriff Judd (far right)
This past Sunday was one of our church's annual big events: Round Up Sunday. The interior of the church building was decorated to match the day's Western theme, but I completely neglected to take any pictures other than this one of a cute little covered wagon on a table in the foyer. Very Little House on the Prairie-ish.
I did manage to corral my four cow-pokes before we headed to Sunday school. Check out Bryn's mustache; she is such a Lil' Nut!
Our county sheriff joins us every year for this special day and speaks briefly to the congregation. He is a godly man and one of the highest profile sheriffs in the country. We appreciate the time he took from his busy schedule to attend Round Up Sunday and stay for lunch.
The goal of Round Up Sunday is to "round up the strays" and get them to church to hear the gospel. One young woman trusted Christ as her Saviour during the morning service, and there were other decisions made in the various junior and teen church services that were going on at the same time. Yeeee-haw!

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Monday, October 28, 2013
Golfing and Gators
Several of you have emailed me and asked where in the world I've been. I haven't gone anywhere or gotten stuck in my desk (Karen, that really cracked me up!); I've just been unbelievably busy lately. I've had so many things to share, but I just haven't been able to eek out enough spare time to put a post together. Hopefully I will be able to get my thoughts together soon and get some pictures posted.
I spent a few hours today playing golf with my handsome hubby. We don't play very often, but the course just down the road from us has been running random online booking specials lately, and we have enjoyed playing for just a fraction of what it normally costs. Steven bought me a brand new set of clubs a couple of weeks ago, and I have been hitting the ball much better than I was with my old set.
It was a beautiful day on the golf course. The sun was shining, and the high was around 84 degrees. Those of you who live in colder climates would have been very jealous! There are always lots of different types of birds on Florida golf courses, like this hawk.

Sometimes we spot a critter or two. Today we came across this gator sunning himself on the bank not too far from the 11th tee. Don't worry, I didn't get very close to him!
Steven and I had such a relaxing time together. He is a much better golfer than I am, but he is very patient with me and tries to give me pointers to help me improve. I'm thankful for my Monday golf date with my very best friend.

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Thursday, October 03, 2013
A Lesson I Need To Learn
The Pin
"Dear me! what signifies a pin!
I'll leave it on the floor.
My pincushion has others in,
Mamma has plenty more:
A miser will I never be,"
Said little heedless Emily.

So tripping on to giddy play,
She left the pin behind,
For Betty's broom to whisk,
Or some one else to find;
She never gave a thought, indeed,
To what she might to-morrow need.
Next day a party was to ride,
To see an air-balloon!

And all the company beside
Were dress'd and ready soon:
But she, poor girl, she could not stir,
For just a pin to finish her.

'Twas vainly now, with eye and hand,
She did to search begin;
There was not one--not one, the band
Of her pelisse to pin!
She cut her pincushion in two,
But not a pin had slidden through!

At last, as hunting on the floor,
Over a crack she lay,
The carriage rattled to the door,
Then rattled fast away.
Poor Emily! she was not in,
For want of just--a single pin!

There's hardly anything so small
So trifling or so mean,
That we may never want at all,
For service unforseen:
And those who venture willful waste,
May woeful want expect to taste.
by Ann Taylor, 1782-1866


I've had several instances recently when I couldn't find something that I needed because I hadn't taken the time to put the item in its proper place. Unfortunately, some of my kids have inherited this problem of mine. The other day I misplaced a bill and forgot to pay it, which then led to a frustrating late fee. That was actually the motivation for my marathon desk-cleaning session earlier this week. This poem is a cute reminder that it's worth the effort to take the time to do things the right way the first time.

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Monday, September 30, 2013
A Quiet Day

We had a full weekend. Steven officiated a wedding on Saturday. Shay was the pianist, and I sang a solo. It was a very sweet ceremony, and we were thrilled to see the happy couple joined in marriage and to be a part of their special day. Sunday was, as always, a very busy day for our family. I needed a slow, quiet Monday to regroup.

Other than driving the kids to and from school, I spent the entire day at home. I washed and dried a couple of loads of laundry and then spent the rest of the day cleaning off my desk and going through a ton paperwork. The paper shredder got a real workout. I was worried that the motor might wear out. I have such a hard time throwing things away, but I was brutal about it while cleaning out my desk drawers. I found a receipt for something I purchased back in September 2009 in one drawer. Yikes! It feels good to have my desk all tidy, especially since it's in the kitchen.

I had one exciting moment today. As I opened the door that leads from the garage out to the backyard, this little guy dropped down from above the door and brushed against my arm before it dropped to the ground.

I admit it -- I screamed. Then I went inside and scrubbed my arm with soap and water. Just a bit of drama in my otherwise quiet day.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013
In the Mood For Autumn

It is the summer's great last heat,
It is the fall's first chill: They meet.

–Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

The calendar says it's officially fall, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the thermometer. We won't see much of a change in the weather here in Florida for at least another month. It's hard to wait for cooler, breezy days. In the meantime, I've set out my fall decorations and try to keep a yummy-smelling candle lit. It can at least seem like fall inside the house.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Steven Hits the Big "40"

Steven turned 40 on Friday the 13th. We celebrated as a family by going out to supper at an amazing Brazilian steakhouse in Orlando where the servers bring platter after platter of lamb, fillet, sirloin, prime rib-- you name it-- to your table. There is also a sixty item buffet with everything from imported olives to goat cheese to lobster bisque. I think Case at twice the meat as the rest of us combined. You know how teenage boys are. I wish I would have taken a picture of his plate. We had a great time together. Steven's big gift from me was a beautiful Mont Blanc pen. The kids gave him an iTunes gift card and a ton of his favorite snacks.

Our church family had a fellowship for Steven's birthday after the Sunday evening service with food and a delicious cake. I think he had the best best birthday ever, and he was told by a few men that life gets even better after 40. Happy Birthday to my handsome man!


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