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Washington D.C.

Jul
14

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“Dad,” said one child to the parent at the supper table one night, “just thinking that, since you’re unemployed, we’d have a place to stay, Abbie’s not in school yet, and gas is cheap…we should take that trip to Washington D.C this summer that we’ve been talking about for years! Seriously! Why are we not packing our bags?”

The very NEXT morning, Mom and Dad left town for a business trip and we kids received a text from Mom stating to mark our calendars for June 25-July 3rd for WASHINGTON D.C. TRIP! To say we were floored would be an understatement!

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…and that’s what we did! Except we left one day earlier. Yay for a family roadtrip!

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Maggie and I held down the back seat for the trip, and I barely won the award for bringing the biggest book. Thank you nursing textbook. =)

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The first night we stayed with some friends in Russellville, AR which is where the first 5 of us kiddos were born.

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We thoroughly enjoyed lunch with friends of ours who moved from OK to TN a few years ago.

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Guess who won the award for buying the most snacks? =)

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Our first sightseeing stop was the American Cultural Museum in Virginia.

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It was neat to hear about the influence on America, from people who came over from places like Germany, Scotland, and Ireland.

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Well…we just THOUGHT school hadn’t started yet. =)

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Washington D.C.

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Sunday evening we happily arrived in D.C. and unloaded all our luggage at Mom’s cousin’s house, where we were staying. He and his wife graciously let us take over stay at their house on an Air Force base, then we took off to see the sights!

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It was really cool getting to see the monuments in real life! They’re not just a picture on a post-card. =)

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Thomas Jefferson monument.                              Washington monument.

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Mom especially wanted to see the monuments at night, so we sat around until it got dark. It was definitely worth the wait.

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The following day we got to tour Arlington Cemetery.

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General Robert E. Lee’s house

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This is the view from his house.

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We got to watch the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (in Arlington).

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Kraig (mom’s cousin) took us to the Air Force Memorial. He currently serves as a chaplain in the Air Force.

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Due to the lack of “close parking”, if you ever go to D.C. be prepared to walk, and walk, …and walk some more!

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Monday night, we made an impromptu decision to go to a Washington Nationals professional baseball game. This included a ride on the underground metro system which was a first for a few in our family.

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I’m sure they won because we were in the stands chanting with the crowd: N-A-T-S Nats, Nats, Nats WHOOO! =)

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On Wednesday, we went to the National Archives. You just don’t see immaculate buildings like this out your window everyday back home!

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This is the place where the Star Spangled Banner was first sung. Unfortunately fortunately, Dad and Mom didn’t try to relive this moment in the middle of D.C.  on the street corner. =)photo 4 copy 3
This was a common sight. “Now WHERE and WHICH way do we walk from here??” We’re small town Okies what can we say. In our normal life, it does NOT take 25 minutes driving around in a parking garage to find a place to park! Oh wait, what parking garage? Our town doesn’t even have  a stop light. =) =) =)

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Grabbing a quick picture in front of the “Newseum” by the Daily Oklahoman, a little taste of home. photo 3aphoto 5a
We enjoyed a tour of the FBI headquarters.IMG_0682
During our tour of the Capitol, we happened to be in the right place at the right time and unexpectedly got to see Senator John McCain and Senator Ted Cruz and quite a few more senators who were passing by. Our tour guide, who works in Senator Inhofe’s office, thought that was just pretty amazing. =)

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Tuesday night, we attended a silent drill done by the Marines. Although it wasn’t completely silent because they had an impressive band that played.

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Last, but not least, we visited the 911 Pentagon Memorial after dark.

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On Wednesday, we went to the National History and Air & Space Museums (Smithsonians). On our way we breezed through the Smithsonian Castle and later ate our lunch here. 

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Orville and Wilbur Wrights’ first plane

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Wednesday evening we went to a Twilight Tattoo. Basically it was a presentation done by the Army on their involvement in each of the wars…IMG_0864
…starting with the Revolutionary all the way through the War on Terror. It was very well done and enjoyable to watch.

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After the presentation was over, we grabbed a picture with a General, Revolutionary re-enactor, and present day soldier. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip. =)

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Kraig took us “out-on-the-town” for coffee and frozen yogurt on Wednesday night.

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And lastly, to see the White House, from a distance.

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Thursday, we went back to see the monuments – in the daytime =) and toured the Holocaust Museum.

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Lincoln Memorial

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Vietnam War Memorial

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World War 2 Memorial

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Probably the biggest highlight for most of us came on Friday when we got to have a private tour of the Pentagon.

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General Vander Ham is a friend of a friend, and was our “connection” to being able to get in on short notice, PLUS his executive assistant gave us a tour that we’ll never forget. =) 

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A few facts about the Pentagon. There are 20,000 people who work there – that’s a pretty overwhelming number for a family who lives in a small town comprised of less then 2,000 residents. They make 35,000 cups of coffee everyday and distribute 1,700 cartons of milk a day.

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This place isn’t just a “walk-in-the-park”. We took on the challenge of finding the General’s office on this map. You go mom!

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On our way home we spent the night with our friends in Ohio and went to the Creation museum on Saturday.

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Some of us like have a strong passion to shop at Goodwill. Needless to say, her petition was granted. =)

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We are home again after a fun, memorable, and exciting trip. It sure was nice to spend some quality time together as a family and make precious memories.

Now we are in full gear getting ready to make 100 gallons of ice-cream at the Peach Festival this weekend, ya’ll come!!!

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Set-Apart Girl Conference

Jun
22

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We had the wonderful opportunity to host the Set Apart girl simulcast at our house this month! It was a wonderful conference for girls/women held on the Ellerslie campus in CO, that we got to watch live in the comfort of our own home.

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It was so much fun planning fun food and snacks for the weekend, there were lots of willing helpers in the kitchen.

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All gathered around and cozy upstairs…we were so blessed to have some of our dear friends join us, along with some newly made friends – a mom and her daughter, who we’d never met, saw there was a Simulcast host near their location (us =) and were able to join in and even spend the night with us! We thoroughly enjoyed sweet fellowship and discussions together.

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Fun food and drinks. And there may or may not have even been a quick trip to Sonic just once – for fun ice-cream. =)

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Mom’s flower gardens are gorgeous this year! I went outside to pick some flowers and felt like I was at a flower buffet. =)

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Maggie was a tech-specialist for the weekend and Charity our coffee/hot drink connoisseur.

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We had our own time of worship Saturday evening.

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Our sessions were filled with many good messages reminding us that Jesus is faithful, encouraging us to be intentional in our relationship with him – including purging our schedules and lives from things that distract or hinder our fellowship with him, and to TRUST him fully, He will never fail!

He has called us to be IN the world but not OF the world. The world will reject the message of the cross, but we are not to live to please them, we are here to shine Jesus and live for His applause alone. LORD help us.

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Big Sandy Family Conference – 2016

Apr
27

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One of the biggest highlights every year for our family is attending the family conference down in Big Sandy, TX. It is a time of refreshment, conviction, encouragement and lots of good fellowship with like-minded believers. photo 1DSC_0014

Here are some of the highlights we were challenged by this year:

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Abbie – My favorite session this year was done by Gil Bates based out of the Bible story where Lot pitches his tent towards Sodom. Where we set our eyes will ultimately determine our destination. “You will end up where you are headed.” This is a huge warning to us to evaluate our hearts and lives to see what we’re fixing our eyes on and where we will end up if we keep on the path we’re on – it could be good, if our eyes are on Jesus, but if we’re focused on someone or something else we could be headed for destruction. This is not something to lightly brush off and hope everything will be okay, ignoring the warning signs flashing before us, take heed and turn your eyes upon Jesus.

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Charity – I enjoyed a lot of the speakers this year but there wasn’t a particular message that really stood out, it was more of a topic that several of the speakers briefly touched on… but something I knew was meant for me! And that was the very important and crucial practice of meditating. Everyone meditates on something. It’s what you think about, daydream about. All that says a lot about a person! Everything starts as just a thought. The passage I choose for myself this year is John 15, and a critical part of being connected to the Vine and abiding in Christ is meditating on scripture and prayer! To know Christ more, I’ve GOT to spend time with Him, and if that is truly my heart’s desire, I will choose Jesus above ALL else!

Ps 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 104:34 – My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Phil 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Isa 26:3 – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

2 Cor 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…

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Maggie – Like always, it’s hard to weed through all of the sessions and pick just one that meant the most! All of the sessions have such rich nuggets of truth that challenged or encouraged me, like:
Jobe Martin’s session on Creation Evangelism was super neat!
One of Mr. Bates sessions really encouraged me to take a step back and look at where my life will be 10 years from now if I continue on the same road I am now. If I am pursuing God to the depth I am now, will I wish I had strove for a deeper level?
One of Jamie Lash’s sessions really convicted me to re-discipline myself to daily meditation in God’s Word!
But I think I enjoyed Darren Myers sessions the most!!
His one on God, Morals, and Socialism has to be my favorite! I’d encourage you to check out their website here!
This past year I believe the Lord has opened my eyes (politics probably played a big part) to the situation our country is really in, where it is headed, and the evil that is creeping in to every part of our society! Darren Myers sessions were really informative and interesting! I felt like I could spend hours talking to him and listening to what he has to say! Maybe I just haven’t looked very far, but I was encouraged to hear someone speak on Socialism, Communism, what they are, and what God’s Word has to say about them, as well as how it would impact us, and how to stand up for truth! I also appreciated the statistics, surveys, and personal book recommendations that he shared! May God have mercy on us and may I/we not water down and ignore the way that Satan has snuck in and influenced so much of our culture! I pray that we will let God work through us to “…overcome evil with good.”  Rom. 12:17-21
~Psalms 2:1-12~

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Carinna – One of the topics that I was challenged by throughout the week was in the area of my words. The tongue is a small member that can cause big problems.
It has the power to dramatically alter my life, and those around me.
James 3:1-12 Prov. 26:28 Prov. 17:20 Prov.15:2 Ps 4:13 and there are many more.
The power of death is in the tongue. Prov. 18:21 “Death and life are in the
power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 
 
Such a small thing can be a huge problem! It can be used by the devil to tear,
drag down, and hurt others. The tongue also has the power of life!
Maybe I’m not hurting others with with my words but am I pulling others down? 
If I am finding myself complaining and grumbling, I really need to look at my heart because…Luke 6:45 “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Am I building others up with my words? Am I being an energy giver?
If not, where has my view of God gotten twisted? Where is my focus?
Where is my joy coming from? Is it rooted in Christ?
In humble gratitude for everything He is? Ps 35:28  Ps 37:30 John 15:5b…
When my perspective is where it should be, my attitude, words, and actions
will line up. Feelings follow actions. I have the tendency to say what I think when I think it. So I’ve been challenged to be wise in my conversations, to be grateful in everything, and to carefully choose my words…not just saying something, for the pleasure of saying really nothing, but being sensitive to the Holy Spirit on what needs to be said and when.

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Benjamin – The main thing that stood out to me was meditating on God’s word. I had heard people talk about it but didn’t really understand it. After one of the student sessions they had us practice it,  it finally made sense. I also enjoyed talking to some friends and playing lots of volleyball.

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We really enjoyed the opportunity to sing “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” as a special music.DSC_0016IMG_1150 …of course along with all that that all good fellowship I mentioned earlier, comes a lot of laughter…

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…homemade cookies and milk… =)

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… and a few rousing games =)

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“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only deceiving your own selves.” James 1:22

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GIRL Party! =)

Feb
23

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“We should go on a girls’ trip, meet half-way and stay in a cabin or condo for a few days” said one next-of-kin to the other…and so they did. =)

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This past weekend we made that comment a reality! We 4 girls and mom, plus 5 Ferraro girls and their mom, met each other half way (in Branson) for 3 days. We rented a two story house which was so much nicer than getting hotel rooms, as we didn’t have to wait long for a bathroom, had our own kitchen, and plenty of space.

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Somehow one sister convinced the other to bring her ukulele…and we livened up the house with a little “fun music”. =)

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How many girls can you fit in one kitchen? =)

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Since we had a nice kitchen, we were able to bring our own food and saved on
a little cash…

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It was wonderful to take a break from all of our busy schedules to relax and spend some time together.

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Yea, all that cash we saved by bringing our own food…we were able to spend while bargain shopping. =) =) And the hunt is on!

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With 11 girls in the house…we watched a lot of chic flicks ahem, GIRL movies. =)

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We were happy to be able to steal our friend Gloria away from college life for a night!

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We were also able to meet up with a couple mom and dad have known since 1989.

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Can’t have a good party without games!

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Some of us prefer climbing up the outside of the stairs. =)

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So grateful for this time together and are hoping we can do it again sometime! =)

 

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend”.

-Proverbs 27:17

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I Love this Time of Year … =)

Dec
22

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It’s a rare but welcome happening to get all these ladies in the kitchen at once cookin’ up yummy stuff. =)

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Carinna wanted us to take a crazy picture to capture how we really felt and how we were actually acting. =) =) =) …which you could say happened to involve goofy and festive moods. =)

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As you can very well imagine, we’ve enjoyed having this little toot and his momma around our house for a few days while Dustin was away at a wedding…

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Among the goodies were mint cookies, the infamous puppy chow, honey chai roasted almonds, bear claw cookies, chocolate covered Oreos, toffee cookies …

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Granny was also whipping up some deliciousness at her place, so we hopped the back fence and helped make divinity, fudge, and cinnamon rolls… ya know, the good old fashioned candy that takes an expert…like Granny. =)

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Christmas really snuck up on me this year because I was so consumed with my CMA class. The afternoon I finished, Charity went to town with me so I could do some last minute shopping. We had a very fun and successful trip together. =)

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The past two nights we’ve made our annual Christmas caroling venture to friends, family and neighbors. We added a few extra stops this year including the generous couple who let us pick up peaches under their trees for free to use for the peach festival. =) I’m really not sure who enjoys it more, us or them – it’s a special tradition.

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Take time to enjoy all the special moments together, don’t take them for granted. Merry Christmas!

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