I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

5 Feb

shake it photo :: iphone app

I’m super loving this iPhone app … ShakeItPhoto!  It’s a polaroid maker for your iPhone.  The best part?  It actually sounds like a polaroid is being taken!  It’s .99, but I promise it’s worth all 99 pennies! ;)

On our recent trip to Exuma, we spent the day at a beach across the bay from our house.  Taylor was traveling that day, so I had my phone with and decided to document the day via iPhone and ShakeItPhoto … enjoy!

Posted in exuma {1.10}, family photos, random, shopping

2 Feb

a place of worship {tuesday unwrapped}

During our recent time away in Exuma, it was important to me that we found a place to worship.  At home, we attend an Assemblies of God church … and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes, when on an earlier trip to Exuma, I saw an AG sign.

At the time, I asked around, but no one seemed to know much about it, so I dismissed it and never called to attend.  But I tucked it away … knowing we’d for sure check it out during our month stay on the island.

When that first Sunday came, and we drove to the church … I really had no idea what to expect.  It was tucked back a bit and in a sort of empty “strip mall.”  So not a strip mall, as there’s no such thing on the island, but really the best way I can think of to describe it.

The door to the small building opened and we were greeted by beautiful worship music {in fact, some of my favorite worship songs!}, and beautiful, friendly people too!

Being on a small island in the middle of nowhere Bahamas … I seriously had no idea what to expect.  But I can tell you this … boy-oh-boy was I pleasantly surprised.

What is such a gentle reminder to me and the gift I’d like to unwrap for you today … God’s presence can be found anywhere it’s sought.  And let me tell you, God’s presence was alive and thriving in this small 750 square foot Bahamian church.

In the photo below {right image}, I’m literally standing at the doorway taking the photo … that gives you an idea of the small size of this house of God.

I had bible study last night and the series we’re discussing talked about the importance of planting yourself in a local church.  We talked a bit about the difference between “shopping” for a church or knowing it was a place where God wants you to plant yourself.

For me … I know I’m in a great place of worship when I can feel God’s presence.  When I can feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the pastor.  When I’m filled with Holy Ghost goose-bumps at what’s being said.  Or I feel that sweet tugging of conviction in my heart.

You can be {and I’ve been} in a large church, mid-sized church, or very small church … and if God’s presence isn’t there, I don’t believe you’ll feel any of the things I just mentioned.

And what’s the importance of being in a church you ask?  God’s community can’t grow if we are not in it, to help it grow.

So let me tell you some more about this wonderful place we found to worship.

The husband and wife {Kevin & Karla} that formed the church, felt a calling from God to start an island ministry for Him.  You can read more about their story on their website.  And I’d encourage you to watch the video on the home page too.  They moved from Maine with their children … I should say, they sailed.  They’re currently living on their boat, docked in Exuma.

I’m in awe and inspired by what this family has done.  They opened the first service with 3 people and today they have 45 some people that attend.

They bring speakers, pastors and missionaries from all over … to come to this little unknown island and minister to it’s people.  Incredible.

They have men’s groups.  Just started a woman’s bible study {studying Beth Moore}.  They’ve started a discipleship class that’s been only available in Nassau, which has been hard for people to get to … so they brought the ministry to Exuma.

They go door-to-door ministering to people, meeting their needs, bringing food, praying over them, singing for them.  I’m super proud of Taylor, who had an opportunity to go with them on one of these ministry trips.  She spent time with them one day as they went door-to-door and got to witness and take part first-hand in what the power of God can do.

I think about what a privilege and gift we have to openly attend church.  To worship as we wish.  That in itself is a gift.  And sadly, it’s taken so for granted.  There are others around the world that literally give their lives to read the Word or hear the gospel.

We are blessed.  And I am thankful.

Clear Water Assembly of God … I am praying for you, I am praying for your people … and I’m filled with anticipation to watch your growth!

Posted in exuma {1.10}, faith, inspiration, tuesdays unwrapped

26 Jan

unexpected visitors!

See this cute little conch salad bar?  Know where the scraps of conch parts end up?

In the water.  And do you know what type of creature likes to eat fresh conch?  Besides CJ?

These guys!  My girls were in absolute heaven!  They really were the friendliest little creatures …

Take that! science class. ;)

And do you love this awesome photo conversion?  It’s a new app I found.  Gonna share more info on that in the next few days.  But I had to share this photo.  I love everything about it.  The original photo is the top left one in the four-square above.

Posted in exuma {1.10}, family photos

25 Jan

science class :: nature’s course

I mean no disrespect to Mr. E {Piper’s second grade teacher} … in fact, I’ll let you be the judge.

Which science materials would you have used?

His …

Or ours …

CJ loves to take the girls out snorkeling … and quite honestly, I can’t believe they love it so much too.  They have no fear.

I tried to get a wide shot, so you could see the wide open waters that they snorkel in.  They go without an actual snorkel or fins … they just swim.

I remember the first time we went snorkeling with the girls … we were in Costa Rica on a tour thing with the World Wildlife Fund … Wynter was probably a fresh 3 years old?  She had her arm floaties and mask and couldn’t have been braver.  And they haven’t stopped since!

It’s cute watching them take turns riding on CJ’s back.  Then they’ll dive under for something.  They know all kinds of fish by name, sea life, etc.

I think my favorite memory will be seeing Wynter’s little bottom and legs go under … to hear her come back up shouting “brain coral.”

Exhibit below:

Told ya they were brave.

CJ found these awesome rafts with a window on them.  Glass bottom raft? ;)

Anyway, I didn’t bring my camera with on the particular day that Hunter decided to try “snorkeling” too.  I usually stay on the boat with her while the girls snorkel.

The photo below was taken of her just a few feet off the beach.

Anyway.  On this particular day, we found a great spot and she decided to try it.  We had brought the raft with and she wanted to go on that.  So she’s out for a bit, then yells for her mask.  We’re all excited thinking she’s going in!

She puts her mask on …

And sits back on top of her raft … with the mask on … looking through the glass window.

My heart be still.

Verdict please … our science class … or his?

Posted in exuma {1.10}, family photos

24 Jan

i’m a homeschooler!

One of my most important goals in going away for this month, was to make sure we kept a regular schedule of schoolwork.  And because we’re in a warm place and somewhere we usually go on vacation … I didn’t want to get too lax in treating this as a full vacation.

We often have great intentions on our vacations of doing reading and workbooks with the kids … we always bring stuff along.  And we pretty much never touch it.

So in that sense … I just wanted to make sure we didn’t slack off.  I already know we’re great at vacationing … so when “talking up” this trip with the kids, all I pretty much stressed was how important it would be to listen to their “new teacher.”

So how’s it going, you ask?

Challenging.  Frustrating.  Patience draining.  And …

Completely rewarding.

Here’s our classroom …

The girls teachers were all amazing in getting their work together and organized for us.  Thank you teachers!

We start school right after breakfast, and take pretty much up until lunchtime.  I was pretty naive in thinking it would be an hour or an hour & half.  It’s been taking us about 3 hours or more.  Hunter, of course, is done first.  Then Wynter.  Piper and Taylor take the longest.  It’s crazy how much those two are so similar!  Easily distracted.  Messy.  Not the most responsible in the group.

Cute sidebar … at home we keep the girls backpacks all lined up on the way to the garage.  Inevitably, Piper will forget her backpack {despite numerous reminders}.  I’ll send her back in the house to get it … she wanders out a decade later … without her backpack!

I recently read The Blessing and learned a very important key to raising successful children … speak words of encouragement or blessing over your children.  For example, instead of telling Piper’s she’s irresponsible … change your “blessing” to, “Piper, I know one day you are going to be the most responsible person I know.”

Anyway.  Hunter’s been asking for more work, so I’ve started copying some of Wynter’s projects and having Hunter do them too.  And I’m also getting better at managing our time, so I’ll have the girls work in their journals {which they can do independently}, and then I’ll do flash cards or something extra with Hunter.

Then I work with Piper and her math while Wynter reads to Hunter.  And I won’t begin to bore you with the details of Taylor’s 9th grade algebra!

We start school with prayer and a story from the Bible.

It’s not without it’s struggles, but I think we’ve gotten into a nice routine.  I think most importantly, the girls respect me as their “teacher” right now … and that’s allowing us to work together and ultimately, is weaving our bond tighter.  I don’t think they’ll forget this experience.

And seriously.  What could be better than being in a place that combines learning with our environment?

Wynter’s theme the first week was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and one of her activities was a number tree … I made a copy for Hunter, so we had two coconut trees.  The girls each found a coconut, colored faces on them, gave them hair … and boom boom … a natural tie-in!

And where else can you come to class dressed like this?

And bring a friend like this?

And I got an awesome chuckle out of these two things:

Wynter’s note to her bestie:

dear audrey,

i miss my old school too.  and there’s like no other friend at my school here.  it’s like having no friend only my sisters.

i miss you a lot. i miss madeline too.  but every time i go to school, i think of you.

love, wynter

{note from wynter’s mom :: wynter goes to “school” in her living room and i’m her teacher!} ;)

And then two of Piper’s journal entries:

Entry #1:  School is very hard but I’m geting used to it.  Sumtimes I get to work in my own little room.
but I still get dasrackted.  Sumtimes we get a drink, I’m usually thh second last wun done.

Entry #2:  yesterday I had a day off of school.  now today I have more work!
and I’m not reddy for more work.  I feel like haveing fun.  not working in a dark littel room.

Whadda think?  Anyone want to join our class?

Posted in exuma {1.10}, family photos