Fourth of July Party!

This past Fourth of July was a great time of celebration for our family!. We once again had the privilege of hosting our annual Fourth Of July Celebration, and were honored to have many wonderful friends join us for a day of games, fellowship, encouragement, and remembering our Nation's great heritage.
The day began with Old fashioned games of ballon toss, and a team water fight. This was my first year to be able to participate in the water-fight. Now I know why people like it so much. it was very fun!
It was great to be able to spend time with my dear friends Hannah. C and Amanda. D….

And it was great to see Stephanie. T again as well. She is always such an encouragement to me!

My "big new" responsibility this year, was to be in charge of the pie contest!

Some of the pies were amazingly decorated.

There were Berry, Cream, Chocolate, Fruit/Nut, and Gluten Free categorys.

With over 25 pies to be judged.

My personal favorite pie…..which I never got to taste.

We were blessed by the help of several wonderful judges who took great care in making sure the pies were judged accurately and without partiality.

One thing I didn't prepare for was telling the judges how to judge.

But thankfully that all were eager to taste test, so that made up for my lack of instructions.

It was really fun to prepare for the celebration this year, and we were SO blessed to have the help of wonderful friends the day before. We couldn't have done it all without their help, and it turned out to be one of the most relaxed parties I can remember us hosting. God is SO good to answer prayers!

O.K. now for a little humor! This is what happens when you mix an old car with a bunch of young people!

I don't know who's idea this was, but it sure was fun to see how many people we could fit in our old two-seater convertible. 

And in case you were wondering…yes! Hannah and I are sitting in the engine…J/K it's actually in the back of the car:)

Evan and I enjoying time together.

Another "high-point" of the day….for most people is the numerous team games that happen in the afternoon. I enjoyed playing Volleyball, and Badmitton for a bit. I think this is the most impressive photo of the day.

Another great fun time for the kids is the wagon rides.

And then came the announcement of the pie contest winners.

Evan, and Josh & Hannah C. were VERY helpful in tallying up the scores for the pie contest and the Jelly Bean Guessing Contest!

……………………………………………..…And Mallory D……………….…….. …………. Simply amazed me with her help, guidance, wisdom, and ultimately self sacrifice. What a tremendous blessing and example she was to me.

Next was the time to give out the prizes!

And some people were very surprised:)

And happy to win pie contest prizes.!

And others were equally as happy to win Jars of Jelly Beans for their accurate guesses.

Next came dinner! Which was delicious.

I loved seeing people talking and eating and fellowshipping together.

It's always a great time for reuniting friendships,

And starting new ones. 

Next was Ice Cream time! Evan and Mrs. T did an AMAZING job serving over 300 ice cream cones. I was really impressed by Evan's example of sacrifice and service, even though the party was also on his birthday. He even sponsored the pie contest prizes as well.

Apparently, Eden enjoyed the ice cream.

As did Jordan I presume!

And in case you were wondering what the pies were like.

I guess you couldn't eat just one!

Lastly as the day came to a close, we gathered for the historical presentation and special music time.

My Mom did a great job…(as usual:)…asking Uncle Sam Trivia Questions.

The S. Family did a wonderful job playing and singing Shenendoah.

And the highlight of the day for me, was getting to sing the National Anthem with the S. Siblings. It's always a privilege to sing the anthem of our country, and remember the great legacy we have been invited to pass on to the next generation. 

And last but definitely not least, we were VERY blessed and surprised to have my brother Ian and his wife Kayla and their daughter Elizabeth come from Virginia in the evening. It was great to see them again, and spend time with them over the next week. 

And as the day came to a close it was challenging to say goodbye, but it was comforting to know that the memories will be with us for a lifetime. 

And of course, the kids (and some adults) LOVED the glow sticks as they left. We even enjoyed decorating a truck with glow lights. 

As I look back on the events of that special day, I'm SO grateful for God's mercy in answering SO many prayers. From weather, to people coming, to food, to setup help, to every last detail, God was SO gracious to see us through the day, and cause us to glorify Him for the challenges and the victories. His ways are always best! To God be the glory alone.

Daughter of Destiny: Blog Giveaway!!!

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The Journey!

In late June, amidst all the preparations for our annual Fourth of July party, we unexpectedly took a week long trip to Florida. I was overly anxious about this trip, and especially since I hadn't found out about the trip until three days before we left, I was VERY overwhelmed and frankly didn't really want to go on the trip. But after much prayer, and asking forgiveness for my bad attitude, I packed my bags for what would turn out to be one of the best trips of my life. It was an indescribable journey, that surpassed all my expectations!

Here's a piece of music that orchestrates the journey we took.

O.k. Get ready to see lots of pictures of the journey! 

Leaving Portland....

After a safe flight, we arrived in Pensecola, 

We found some delicious drinks in the airport.

From there we drove to......

We arrived at the campus, and were amazed at the architecture, and....

Interior of the buildings. 
We met up with our friend Elijah who was living at the college for the summer, 

Some beautiful trees. I kept saying that everything looked so tropical, and then I realized that's cause it was tropical:)
After meeting up with Elijah we headed into the "chapel" for the Wednesday evening church service. 

The service was well attended for it being the summer, and the message was very good about the purpose of the church, and how the foundations of the culture are based upon the morals of the church and family.
Mom and I with the founders of the college:)

We stayed late after the service to look around the stage. 

We couldn't get over how bright the lights were:) 

And how they looked in a picture.
This one is my favorite:) 

We also stopped by the 9ft piano, 

Evan really wanted to play it:) 

From there, Elijah took us on a tour of the rest of the college, (what we were able to see:) 

I think I was most amazed by the athletics center, and pool. 

From there, we went to Panera Bread:) and then checked into out hotel. We were happy to find out that the pool was still open, and we went swimming for a couple hours. 

The next morning we were eager to get to the beach. After getting some great instructions from the hotel staff, we headed to the white sand:) 

After finding a beach that wasn't filled with people....

we headed out to the water. 

I was overly excited because this was my first time in the Altantic ocean in over 12 years. 

We were amazed at how white the sand was, and how clear and warm the water was. I think I could have stayed in it for days. 

After swimming we decided to go shopping:) We felt very awkward walking into Goodwill in swimmingsuits, but then Mom assured us that it was o.k. since we were more dressed than most of the people walking around. (that weren't in swimming suits.) 
I think we went a little overboard with the hats and sunglasses. It's always fun to shop with Evan:) 
After purchasing some sunglasses, we were excited to get lunch at Chick-Fil-A. 

Then we headed back to our hotel and changed before.......

Meeting up with our brother Erin, his wife Janice, and their little girl Isadora for dinner. 

It was fun to meet Isadora for the first time. I was amazed at her size for being only 6 months old. 

The resturant was called Wild Olive named after Romans 11:17 "And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;"

I liked this sign on the way out the door. It's not entirely true, but I thought it was funny:) 

The next mroning, after a good night's sleep, 

We headed over to Erin's house...... help him clean his garage. 

On the way there, we saw this golf ball mailbox. I guess this would be a hard ball to miss. 

It was really hot working in the humidity, and I was glad for the air conditioning after getting so hot. 

After we cleaned the garage, we took a walk around Erin's yard to see his many tropical plants. 

It was amazing to see Palm trees, and Lemon trees, and other tropical plants growing outside. 

Mom and can tell they're related:) 

Evan and I on the walk in the yard:) 

Then we headed down to the beach area again to do some more swimming and shopping. 

We stopped at Bass Pro Shops, where Evan and I found some four wheelers we had to get a picture with. 

From there, we went swiming and then went to dinner with Erin and his family. 

The food was great. Although I was very surprised when Dad's plate came with a whole fish on it:) 

The next morning we headed to the airport for our flight, after having lunch with Erin and his family. Unfortunately, we unexpectedly missed our flight, and weren't able to fly out until the next day. So, we decided to see what we could do in the area, and were suprised to find several great things to do. 

We found a VERY large air museum on the Navy base that is home to the Blue Angels. 

Evan and I even got to fly one of the planes:) j/k 

We enjoyed looking around the museum, but unfortunately we only had a few minutes since they were about to close. We decided we would have to return sometime to see the rest of it. (There were over 5 buildings to the museum) 

Across the street from the air museum, was Florida's tallest lighthouse, which also doubles as the highest point in Florida, since it's pretty flat. 

We were excited to find the lighthouse still open......

And after climbing over 200 stairs, we arrived at the top. 

Although it was very windy at the top, the view was amazing. All the way around the lighthouse you could see the white sandy beaches stretching out for miles. The city of Destin (over 30 miles away) was clearly visible as well. It was an amazing sight to behold. 

Afterwards we toured the small museum and found out more about the history of the lighthouse. 

Then we decided it was time for a race,
So we headed to a local amusement park, and enjoyed racing in the Go-Carts. It was SO much fun. 

Dad and Evan and I raced, while Mom filmed us. 

Then Evan and I decided to do a frog riding photo.  

Next we did a family put-put- golf tournament.

Dad was the best overall for scores. 

With Mom coming right behind him. 

The course was quite challenging, and we had some especially amazingly close calls to the hole. 

This was the closest my ball got to a hole in one:) I'm convinced the ground was slanted. 

We all really enjoyed the time together, and found lots of time to talk and laugh. 

Evan was especially good at the holes with tunnels like this one. 

And even though it doesn't look like it from this picture, I was especially good at hitting the balls way off the green. Let's just say, I'm glad no one else was on the course at the time, cause they might have been hit:) 

At the end of the course there was a cannon which we thought should launch our balls somewhere, but it turns out it was a decoy to catch the balls, and keep them. All in all, it was a very fun day, and we were glad for the extra time in Florida. 

The next morning we headed to the airport, with plenty of time to catch our flight home. 

Overall, we had a great time in Florida, and I was sad.....

To have to leave the sun behind:) 

God was gracious to take us on a wonderful journey that made a big impact on my life. 

As we flew home, I couldn't help but realize how much I had to be grateful for, and how much joy there is in trusting God every step of the way. He is the only one who can see the end of the journey. 

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Romans 11: 33-36