May 2015 // an overview

Howdy, friends!!!  Much has happened in the past 31 days, from final exams, to plane rides, to birthday celebrations.  Boy, does time fly when you’re havin’ fun – that must be what we have been doing. 🙂 As a tribute to the exciting and memory-filled month of May and an excuse to tell our adventures, I decided to write an overview of the month’s events and fill it with some fun photos!

May 3rd: I take my long-anticipated Psychology AP (Advanced Placement – it allows you to receive college credit for the subject) test at Defiance High School, the first of three college preparatory course tests I took this month.  I’d studied for all three of these the whole semester, and was very eager to get the tests over with.  Psychology was fun, though!

May 5th: Charles finishes his final exam for the semester.  He’s only got one more year of college, and he has secured a nice internship for the summer as well.

May 7-10: Charles, Grace, Beth and I drive to Cincinatti for the weekend with some good friends, the Kisers, and have WAAAYYY too much fun while we’re at it!  Thursday night we attended God’s Bible School’s college spring concert (and ate ice cream afterwards!).

We went canoeing Saturday afternoon with a few of the Kisers’ friends and had a blast as well as some…let’s just say “adventures.”  😉

DCIM101GOPRO

(Left to right: (Ethan), Grace, Hannah, Beth, Charles, Josiah, Jeffrey, Jonny, Uriah, Josue)

DCIM101GOPRO

(L-R: Josue, Ethan, Jonny, Uriah)

Apparently staying on the ground isn’t thrilling enough for some people! 🙂  Neither is just sitting on the tree branch…ya gotta hang from it to experience life to the FULLEST.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to climb down in a way that breaks part of the branch off and gives a good scare to everyone around…especially the one still hanging upside down.  All this is absolutely necessary for having fun on a Saturday afternoon – remember that, okay?  Okay.

DCIM101GOPRO

The Kisers’ self-built three-seater kayak was much faster than the canoes, thus the far distance between us and the rest of the group, who you can see in the background. 🙂

Ultimate frisbee, tag, staying up late watching The Hobbit part 1, board games, and just hanging out were also part of the weekend that somehow ended way sooner than we wanted it to.  It was a perfect relaxing study break before the next step in my testing marathon….

May 13th: I take my English Language & Composition AP test in the morning, and my Statistics test in the afternoon. It was SUCH a relief to get those behind me!  I went home and took a nice long bike ride to relax.  🙂  Sadly, I don’t get the results until July, though I’m pretty sure I passed them all.

May 15-22: Joy and I fly to Florida to spend a week with Grandpa and Grandma and to fly home with them, since they stay in FL for the cold months and come back up here during the summer.  We swam in the pool every. single. day. – even the day that we flew home!  Who says pool time is off-limits just because you have to leave for the airport at 11:30 AM?  Not us, that’s for sure! 😉

Grandma and my aunt who also lives down in Florida for the winter, Aunt Barb, took us shopping at Kohl’s one afternoon just to spoil us a little…which we didn’t mind a bit.  Grandma, Joy, and I went to three different thrift stores during our stay…my favorite was the one at which I scored FOUR skirts in a row that fit perfectly!  Of course, the best part was that the total cost was less than what we sometimes pay for just one brand new skirt!  🙂

11295711_10205330528356996_7252751480980831327_n

We went blueberry picking at a local patch one morning.  Seriously, people, you haven’t tasted blueberries until you’ve tried ones as fresh and big and juicy as these were….we picked a grand total of twelve pounds!  And yes, we ate all twelve pounds in 3-4 days.  I’m pretty sure I ate around five pounds of blueberries just by myself…

11012032_10205331516501699_4333779307666987555_n 11267530_10205331484980911_5925274421641471783_n

11078129_10205330537117215_5705743832805817816_n

They also kept goats, and let Joy in to play with and feed them since she’s had so much experience with goats.  I’m pretty sure this made her day. 🙂

Some of you have already heard about our grand fruit consumption, but for those of you who still need updated, the four of us (Grandpa, Grandma, Joy, and I) with a very small amount of help from friends, inhaled twelve pounds of (fresh, juicy, and delicious!) blueberries, two full-size watermelons, six bunches of bananas, four pounds of cherries, and several apples and oranges as well.  Grandparents are REALLY good at spoiling girls like us!  Feel free to laugh at us crazies (as I’m sure you will!), but just remember that we DID go swimming every day to try to make up for it. 😉

May 16th: My favorite older brother turns 21!!!!!!!  Joy and I were in Florida, so we couldn’t celebrate it with him, but Beth sent us plenty of pictures and an evening summary.  He’s so much fun….we always love weekends because Charles comes home! 🙂

May 23-24: We receive a short weekend visit from a fun family, the Pauluses!  We’ve known the oldest son, Jeffrey (from GBS, see canoe trip pictures above), for almost a year, and we had a blast getting to know the rest of the fam!  So we played plenty of volleyball, laughed till our sides hurt, and watched the boys play “dodge the cow”….or rather “See-who-can-jump-on-the-cow-and-stay-there-the-longest.”  I’d add pictures of our adventures, but they are currently inaccessible.  Maybe I’ll sneak ’em in later sometime when I get a chance. 🙂

May 28th: Joy turns 13!  We’ve got four teenagers again – at least for 6 more months.  🙂

IMG_5142 IMG_5144Joy is a HUGE gift-giver: she’ll leave you notes and candy on your pillow after a long trip, clean the bathroom for you and leave fun food items on the counter for you to find instead of the dirty bathroom when you wearily trek into the bathroom late at night to begin the cleaning process, and go to every extreme to make you feel extra special on your birthday.  Just today I found a yogurt from her in my going-to-work lunch bag! Love you, Joy!!  IMG_5147IMG_5151

IMG_5164

This gift from Grandpa and Grandma was perrrfect for her – except I don’t think she needs a reminder.  I honestly don’t know how Mom and Dad got her name just right like they did, but she is definitely a joy to be with and to have around!

May 28th: I apply to and get hired at Glenn Park, an Assisted Living facility about ten minutes away from home, as a nurse’s aid!  I’m excited, but also realizing that this summer is going to be busier than I thought, with two part-time jobs and a few high school things to finish before I start college classes in late August.  Ah well – hard things are good for me!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve written anything, but I guess that I’ve been so busy living life that it’s hard to find time to blog about it very much!  Remember as you head into this next week that God wants us to LIVE fully alive, treasure those around you, and make use of the little time that you have in your current stage of life.  Before you know it, time will be gone…will you be able to say, “I lived FULLY ALIVE, enjoyed every minute, and did all that I could to glorify my Savior”?  It’s not always easy, and I’m not always successful, but the Lord is teaching me to lean on Him and let His light shine through my many imperfections.

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.”

“When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.”

-Jim Elliot

 

Winter Beauty // sunshine, sparkles, and mocha cappuccinos

Happy Winter, y’all!  It’s definitely snow season around here.  Though at the moment the snow is just beginning to melt again, I thought I’d share some photos I took on a couple different recent snowy days.  Snow is so beautiful – I love to watch it sparkle in the sunlight…or the moonlight!  Whether it’s snow laden pine trees, slick roads, or long icicles hanging from rooftops, snow is beautiful.  Cold, definitely, but beautiful enough to make a quick photo shoot worth the freeze.  So thankful for God’s beautiful creation!  Isn’t it awesome that He washes our hearts “whiter than snow” {Psalm 51:7}?  Now that is clean.  🙂IMG_4361

IMG_4493IMG_4331

IMG_4470  I love seeing sun rays making their way through branches on a tree, but you can’t do that beauty justice by snapping a simple photo.  There’s an art to taking good pictures of the sun….and I’m gonna learn it.  Someday.  🙂IMG_4533 IMG_4498IMG_4508Aaannnd, a hot double mocha cappuccino was in order when I returned inside to help take the chill away.  Oh, the perfection and the yumminess… 🙂IMG_4544 IMG_4547

Have a great week!  🙂

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

-Psalm 107:8

Spelling Bee 2015

Our annual homeschool spelling bee was held last week on Monday!  Five of my siblings competed, and they all did awesome.  🙂  But keep scrolling to find out which sister WON!!!

Cara, Kate, and Wade were all in the pre-bee.

IMG_4159

When it was Wade’s turn during the practice round, he walked up to the microphone, and upon realizing it was too high for his five-year-old stature, grabbed the mike, stood up as tall as he could, and puffed out his chest.  He told the judges his name (first, middle AND last, mind you) and age, and proceeded to spell his given word, “wag.”

“W-A-G…….” his voice trailed off as he wrinkled up his forehead, trying to decide whether or not the word continued.  After a long pause (during which we all may or may not have been trying to hide our laughs), the judge finally told him it was correct and let him sit down.  He was SO much fun – it was an awesome ice breaker, too!

IMG_4162IMG_4168

IMG_4179

Here’s the whole group of pre-bee spellers….

IMG_4216

 ….And here are the pre-bee winners!!!  Alexis won first, and Silas was the runner up.

IMG_4211

Can’t have a competition without judges!

Judges' table

Mary (below) and Joy were both in the “big bee.”
IMG_4195

This is Abby, folks.  One of Joy’s best friends and a sweet girl who never fails to give a smile.

(Click on the image to see a larger version – I couldn’t get it to enlarge)
IMG_4184

It took quite a while to narrow down this group, but out of all eight of them, Joy won!  She gets to continue on to the next level, which I think is county.  Who knows – maybe she’ll get to national!  She’s studying already.

The " I WON!!!!!!" look

IMG_4240

IMG_4230

 

Haha…I asked the twins to show me their certificates, and this was my favorite shot.  Love their expressions!  🙂

 

IMG_4245

IMG_4222We stopped at McDonald’s afterwards to use up some coupons, and were surprised to see that two of the families from the homeschool group happened to be there also!  Abby’s family had to leave right away, but the Hopkins stayed and chatted with us for quite a while.  They were planning on going through the drive-thru, but we were able to convince them to come in and eat.  🙂

IMG_4264

Oh, the expressions…My siblings are so much fun!
IMG_4256

We had an interesting proportion of boys to girls.  But with our family, I guess that’s the usual.  🙂
IMG_4272

IMG_4270

Thanks for reading, y’all!  Have an awesome week and keep shining for Jesus!