Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Christian family life, homeschooling, humor, and articles for your encouragement and edification

Saturday, July 11, 2015

What We've Been Up To - Summer 2015

     It has been such a special summer!  Since March, I've been able to fly up to Chicago twice to see my grandmother for week-long visits as she rests at-home in Hospice care. My sister and I have rejoiced in the opportunities God has given us to share the Lord with her as we treasure the precious time we have left. I've also greatly enjoyed visiting my uncle while there as well. The girls also officially registered for college and begin at the end of August.
    In Scott's family, we recently had a family reunion where we celebrated his brother, Brian's recovery (and birthday!) from a bone marrow transplant after a grueling fight with cancer. We also celebrated three other birthdays in his family the month of June at the reunion. God has shown Himself faithful and involved in our lives again and again.

My husband, Scott and his four older brothers at their family home on James Island. Can you imagine all these clowns sharing one bedroom growing up? We praise God for Brian's recovery (center front). Love these guys (especially the one on the far right!) Every kid needs a bunch of crazy uncles. As for my kiddos' summer:  I'll start with......

The Boys

 Harrison takes a picture with Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Tajh Boyd at the Ellington Elite Football Camp.  Younger brother, Samuel photobombs.

 About 1000 young people line up by age to do warm-ups.

Harrison does a cone drill.

      Today my three boys are sore. Yesterday, my husband, Scott took our kids to an annual summer event at the Berkeley High School football field in Moncks Corner. Last year, Ellington cousins Bruce (wide receiver - San Francisco 49ers) and Andre (runningback- Arizona Cardinals) began a free football camp for kids ages 6 to 16. The cousins grew up in Moncks Corner and graduated from Berkeley High School. Bruce graduated from USC and played for the Gamecocks. Andre graduated from Clemson and played for the Tigers. Both were drafted a year apart for the NFL.  

Bruce Ellington

Andre Ellington

      A couple of years ago, while shopping at the local Moncks Corner Wal-Mart, I was standing in the baking aisle looking for my particular brand of bread flour. A woman standing next to me was also looking for the same brand. We got into a conversation and she casually mentioned that she had to have her particular brand of flour so she could bake her son's favorite sweet potato pie.  He was attending USC. When she mentioned his name and that he played football - something in my memory banks clicked.  Hmmm, Bruce Ellington. Could this be THE Bruce Ellington my son mentions (uh, excessively) as a rabid Carolina Gamecock fan? Could this be an opportunity for some Mommy points?  This lady seemed SO NICE. Surely she would understand that my son was a fan. After an unusual request, I dialed our home on my cell phone and told Harrison I had someone who wanted to speak to him. She introduced herself to an amazed and delighted Harrison. He somehow managed to get a little closer to Bruce by proxy.  I mean, she did give birth to him, right?
      The next summer, Scott heard about the camp from a co-worker (another relative of Bruce's) and signed up the boys. The camp consists of calisthenics, football drills, autograph opportunities, and lunch with professional players and coaches. It is a teenage boy's dream come true.This year, as my menfolk arrived at the five hour camp, a sweet lady passed them by and said "Thank you for coming" on her way out. Scott thanked her for putting it on. She then mentioned she was the mother of Bruce.  Scott asked her if she remembered an encounter with a lady at the Wal-Mart and a phone call request a couple years ago. She did and got to meet and hug Harrison in person.  He has yet to hug Bruce. Maybe next year.........Thank you Ellington family.  We love you!

And then there are Legos......

Sammy in his "Sammy jammies" presents Scott with his "card".

 The boys created a Nerf gun/Lego shooting gallery with high point values for their tinier targets.

Next week soccer practice begins for Harrison. I do manage to corral the boys at least once a day for some school work.  I have this obsession with finishing textbooks even if the school year is technically over. I also don't want their brains to get dull. It is amazing how much they forget after a few weeks off.  "What do you mean, 'What is a preposition?!'"

The Girls

Aw, her first carrot.......

Emily's garden has been doing quite well.  Her most successful produce this year: tomatoes and peppers (I have nine large, green peppers waiting for me to dice and freeze as I write this) . The mad scientist has also extended an honors anatomy project to do research of her own. Emily has been fascinated with genetics and decided to compare the eye colors of family members to test her researched theories of inherited eye color. Aunts, uncles and grandparents have faithfully emailed her close ups of their eyeballs or allowed Emmie to take a picture herself for an eye color family tree.

My sister, Beth's (Emmie's Auntie Booper) beautiful, blue eye. Trust me, it is not flattering taking a huge close-up of your eyeball. Every wrinkle, eyelash, and eyebrow hair looks gi-normous. (Seriously, how does this girl not have a wrinkle?) Emily is then applying her data to a previously completed research paper on the subject.

She has also continued sketching. And writing.  As I type this, she is preparing her Pinterest story board for a novella she has in mind.........

Her latest creation: "Miss Pole" from Cranford

Speaking of writing.....
     Here Hayden is in a still shot from her attempt to record her answers for a vlog (video) interview for the promotion of Five Enchanted Roses (note: click on title to read early reviews on Goodreads. Scroll to the bottom of the page to "community reviews". Remember, there are five different novellas in the collection, so Hayden's story, "The Wulver's Rose" is usually mentioned last in each review). Video as well as written interviews of the five authors will be on the Tales of Goldstone Wood blog at the end of July. As you can see, the picture above is not very clear, so she is still working on it!
     Hayden is also currently writing two new novels and a novella, so she is continually on her laptop writing (I think she looks like Schroeder from Peanuts).  I also frequently find her hunched in her favorite corner reading a book to review, or cleaning or relaxing with her earbuds listening to music on her iPod.  She and Emily have also starting attending a weekly adult Bible study at the home of some dear, family friends.
     Hayden celebrated her 21st birthday in June. Not only did she get to celebrate at the Wand family reunion and get generously blessed by aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, but then my mother took the girls and I out to Olive Garden for a lunch a few days later. Hayden loves pasta and this is one of her favorite places. Another one of her favorite ways to celebrate is to have a day in downtown Charleston. Scott and I happily obliged and took her to her favorite spots the following week. She loves to walk through the old slave market, look at the lovely items for sale and sample the fare up and down Market Street as shop owners pass out samples of fudge, pralines, and nuts (Hayden favorite sample is in the slave market where she gets to sample dips with pretzels. Mine is the sweet and crunchy dried okra). The smell of sweet grass baskets and horses from the carriage tours fill the air. A downtown trip wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Charleston Place hotel to get her free birthday Godiva truffle and an eight piece box from her parents. Scott and I used to work at the Limited (it isn't there anymore) at Charleston Place when we were in college oh so many years ago.  He worked stock and I was the "pacesetter". We met at the College of Charleston thirty years ago when I was eighteen and he was nineteen. sigh.
    Finally, we went to lunch at California Dreaming where I had also been a waitress during my college days. As we ate our lunch, a storm blew in and we watched a brief, but tiny waterspout form right on the water in the window in front of us. Diners gathered to watch a small sailboat break free and drift toward the bridge until authorities came on the scene to retrieve it.  It was an exciting, fun day!

Five Enchanted Roses will be available for purchase on July 27th. You can pre-order the book (or purchase it on that date) as well as her first novel Hidden Pearls on her website here.


     What about me?  I have been digging into God's Word and seeking His face with more effort as I see the Day approaching! In addition to the daily doings (laundry, people!), I've been emailing with my sister, Beth, to exchange Scriptures, articles, and relevant Youtube videos as well as updates about my grandmother. I've also been meeting with my good friend and prayer partner, Linda, to pray for the church (to wake up!) and for anything else as the Spirit leads. In addition to our family devotionals, my family is also on the lookout for current events being fulfilled in the Scriptures. (For example, my husband observed that the recent surge in shark and coyote attacks could be an example of Revelation 6:8c). We continue to pray for the Lord to move His people to be better equipped and positioned for the dark days ahead without neglecting to serve and share Him NOW.  If you haven't read my entry about my tsunami dreams a few years ago, I encourage you to check it out! Simply scroll to the labels section on this blog, and click the link "dreams". As time progresses, more and more folks are having similar experiences.  It is interesting and ironic how many who are seeking to "stay awake" spiritually are having divine dreams while they sleep! May the true remnant of God's people be strengthened and united as we seek to save!
For God did send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17
Although it is hard sometimes not to grieve and complain about the growing apostasy of our world, I believe it is best to remember and emulate Jesus' words above.
Blessed is he who reads and hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:3

Stay in the Word, on your knees, and in fellowship, my friends.  Abide, abide, abide!
"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." John 15:4-7

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