Dinner Together as a Family — A Regular Thing that Gets More Special Over Time

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Hello! Tim here:

I sat down last night to write my weekly post for Blissfully Domestic’s Blissful Home and I had one thing on my mind when I did. Food. We had just finished a great dinner (thanks, Kim!) and I was still basking in the warmth it brought to my life. ;-) You can read the post that resulted, all about dining rooms, here.

home contributor smallBut it also caused me to stop and think about our family meals together and when I did, I have to say, I was just floored with thankfulness. We’ve been blessed with schedules that allow us to eat all of our evening meals together and many of our lunches and breakfasts, all around our big giant table, which I made out of a pile of lumber.

Kim and I tried to guess at the numbers (I like numbers) and we figure that over the years we’ve had a meal together as a family more than 95% of the time. Each time, we bow our heads together and thank God for our meal. We’ve often prayed for sick family members to feel better, sometimes those family members were of the four-legged or swimming variety.

I guess the point of me writing all of this is just to say how thankful we are that we’ve been able to do this and to encourage anyone who can make adjustments in life’s busy schedule in order to gain that evening meal together that it is so worth it! You’ll never regret it and as the years pass it just becomes more and more precious.

More and more entertaining too now that the boys eat more than me and we have tribal battles every night to decide who gets the most food! My winning record is taking some hits… (but that may not be a bad thing!)

What about you? Does your family gather around the table every night? If not, do you have any tips for those whose schedule just won’t allow it? Let us know in the comments!

Daily Thanks – Small Things


Emily at Chatting at the Sky has a wonderful blog full of inspiring posts for moms. Yesterday she was talking about being thankful for the little things that we might not notice on a daily basis. You know, the things that happen that we don’t even think about for more than a few seconds; things that really went our way. While we sometimes {maybe more than sometimes} tend to dwell on small things that went wrong, and remember them for days. Hmmmm…It doesn’t take a scientific study to conclude which is better, does it?

So, today we are sharing moments that might have passed unoticed or unappreciated. Stopping to be thankful for the small, everyday blessings is sure to brighten your day.

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We’ve just returned from a wonderful long weekend in The Keys, but we had to come home a little earlier than planned because I wasn’t feeling well. I’m feeling very thankful for my home to come home to. The comfortable surroundings made me feel better within moments of arriving.

The vegetables and herbs we’ve planted have grown so much over the last few days. I’m thankful for the ability to grow our own food, and watch my son’s delight with the success of his hard work building the beds and planting.

palm tree

In the middle of some hard work outside, being done by Tim, I noticed the beautiful blue sky that we had today. That’s a blessing that sometimes goes unappreciated until there’s a few days of rain.

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A quote from Emily’s post…

“A thankful heart does not come easy or for free. Some of the most deeply cultivated hearts of thankfulness belong to people who may have endured much suffering or those who seem to me to have little to be thankful for in this world.”

Without the rain we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a beautiful rainbow! 

Be joyful always;  pray continually;  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thess. 16-18

What small things are you thankful for today?

Visit Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky to read what others are thankful for today.

How Your Blog Can Change The World

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. – Mark 16:15-17 KJV

Imagine for a moment…

Frank is a young man. A college student. He’s studying hard and doing his best to juggle the responsibilites he has. Sometimes he gets a little overwhelmed. Life got a whole lot harder when, seemingly all of the sudden, he found himself on his own in a big world.

Mom is not there to take care of him.

He’s surprised by the realities of life. The choices he has to make seem neverending and never seem that simple. He’s trying to deal with studies, finances, and planning his future; all while trying to maintain a social life.

Don’t even get him started talking about that! He could write a book about the challenges he faces trying to navigate through the crowd.

Take it a step further…

What if Frank is a grown man, with a family? Or a kid in high school? Maybe it’s Francesca and she’s a single mom?

Woman Praying

The point is that everyone, not one person exempt, goes through times of questions, doubts, fears, or needs.

When that happens, people often start looking for something. They know, for sure, that somewhere out there is the answer to what they seek. Where do they turn?


That’s right. Google. Millions of people every day type the questions they have into a search engine on the screen of a computer. They might even use a cell phone or PDA. But they are searching.

“I want to say prayer daily” is a real search that led a real person to Forever…Wherever! Isn’t that amazing! What an opportunity!

At that point in time, at that moment, that person was seeking to get closer to God. They wanted to know one thing “how do I do it?” And they found this blog! Yikes!

I sure wish I knew how they felt when they left. I pray that they found something, maybe in our post “The Power of Prayer” that encouraged them on.

Be a Light!Be a Light

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:5-17


Consider the power of your blog! Imagine that! What if you wrote in your blog every day, for the rest of your life? What would happen? I can tell you.

You will attract seekers. Many of you don’t read up on search engine optimization. You may not have even heard the term. It’s about how to get people to your blog. The bottom line is that all the little tips and tricks help a little, but the content helps a lot!

The more content you have, the more people will find it. The more appropriate to a “search phrase” your post title is, the more likely someone who really needs that post will find it.

Besides, don’t forget, there is a Guiding Hand. Remember? Sort of like Field of Dreams; you build it, they will come.  He will lead them to you!

Would it be worth it, if you put all that effort into your blog, if one person was touched? What if one person, just one, was led to Christ through your words? What, exactly, would that be worth to you?

I’m shaking my head, because the answer is beyond words.

Preaching Nacho thing?      


Maybe you don’t feel comfortable writing preachy stuff like I have above. That’s okay! You can still make a serious impact! In fact, I think it’s just as important to lead by example as it is to preach, if not more so!

You know what our most common search word has been lately?


That’s right! Nachos. Irish Nachos, to be exact. Kim wrote about her Irish Nachos (praise the Lord and sing hallelujah!) last week for Tasty Tuesday.

That post has drawn in more search engine traffic than any other because Sunday is the big game, and becuase the Travel Channel had a show on great bar food recently that sent thousands out in search of Irish Nachos.

Two things happen. First, Kim helped some people out. Some people were looking for how to make this awesome dish and they found her pictures and her recipe! How cool is that?

Second, people found our blog. So isn’t there a chance, keeping in mind that Guiding Hand, that they would have surfed around a little bit and found our Daily Thanks, or a link to another great Christian blog? Maybe my Mom’s blog…Sweet Tea for Surrendered Sisters would really change someones life! Breaks me up a little to think of it, to be honest.

Pray and Remember

So you should do two things, constantly, forever, always, no matter what, without a doubt, for sure…

1. Pray for God to use your blog to reach people!

2. Remember the impact you can have on the world! Imagine the impact we can all have together!



If you’re reading this blog and YOU are that person seeking, please contact me by email.

If you’re another blogger and you have a story to tell or encouragement in this regard, please let us know in the comments. 

AJ Christian Rocker – Daily Thanks!

He will, He will, Rock YOU!Daily-Thanks-Logo

God will, if you let Him.

And AJ will too (sometimes even when you wish he wouldn’t!)

I know we already DID a Daily Thanks on music and that we probably shouldn’t do another one already! But we can’t help it! Our cup runneth over… Here is a photo only two hours old…

AJ Christian Rocker !!!

That’s AJ playing with the church band! It was just practice, but they told him to come back for practice next week too! That’s a good sign, right?

We are so thankful for AJ. He’s been doing great in every way! We’re proud of the fact that he was outgoing enough to tell them that he plays the guitar and go up there and try-out!

He was a little nervous, but he did great!  You can check out his blog by clicking on the link in our sidebar. He hasn’t been updating it AT ALL, but maybe some comments to respond to would be a good writing project for a homeschooled young man and get him fired up about his music and his blog!?  (Homeschool moms, hint, hint)

God Rocks! AJ Rocks! We are thankful!

Visit Thankful Thursday to read more wonderful posts!

The Power of Prayer – Daily Thanks

“What happened to Daily Thanks?” you may have asked? Or, if you’re new to our blog, you may have checked out the Daily Thanks tab at the top of the page and seen a few days in a row, then nothing. What gives? I can promise you that it is NOT that we couldn’t think of anything to be thankful for on those days. We won’t ever run out.

No, it’s a technical problem. I’m still working on how to include a Daily Thanks post every day without it taking up our front page. We just don’t want to hide all the other great things we’re doing, and I can tend to be a bit, shall we say…wordy. So I’m working on it….trying to find the right plug-in. I really love the idea and I want to use the cool banner I made last month for this…. here’s my chance.

That said, I want to express our sincere and deep thanks for all of your concern and comments regarding our son, AJ.  Many of you read our post explaining why we were so happy to be back in Sweet Home Punta Gorda and offered your encouragement, advice, and best of all…your prayers!

Soap! - Buy on Etsy
Soap! - Buy on Etsy

We’re huge fans of prayer over here.  We still pray before every meal and Kim and I pray together before we go to sleep every night. (highly recommended!)

We were driving across Texas back in 2007 (in a slightly more relaxed fashion than our ’09 run) when we saw a monument to faith and prayer.  We were near the town of Archer, close to Wichita Falls, and off in a field up high on a hill there was a full size sculpture of what you see on this little bar of soap I found on Etsy.

A cowboy, off his horse and on his knees praying before the Cross.  I’m a softy, but it brings tears to my eyes.  Just the idea of a big tough man, lowering himself and humbling himself before God.  The rightness of that is written on my heart.  I especially love that even the horse was praying.  See Psalm 148 as it relates to animals praising God!

The Bible says so much about prayer.  I could fill pages and pages.  I told a good friend of mine the other day that prayer helps everything; EVERY THING, I emphasized.  He is going through a very rough time and really needs prayer.  But who doesn’t?

I can’t say I have a favorite scripture on prayer; I love them all.  One that is particularly encouraging is Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

AJ is doing extremely well!  He hasn’t had any issues at all since we’ve returned home.  Of course, we’re praying that his problems that day were a one time occurrence, but we plan on keeping our appointment with the neurologist later in the month.  Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.  Please keep it up.  And if anyone needs prayer from us, please comment or email us with your prayer needs.  We would be honored.

You can read what other bloggers are thankful for today at Thankful Thursday, hosted by Grace Alone.

A Hot Cuppa Joe – Daily Thanks

Thank you Lord for COFFEE!!!

Isn’t it sublime?  Well, maybe that’s dramatic but I tell you what, it’s hard to beat a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter’s night!  It can’t be more than, like, 58 degrees out there.  BRRRRRRRR!    

Bone chilling!  But I have a fresh cup to keep me warm.

Maybe I should have saved this for a Daily Thanks a week from now, because that’s when we’ll be finding our way to some real cold.  Marrdy from Utah pointed out in a comment on the Christmas Breakfast post that it’s supposed to snow for a week in Utah.  Maybe we’ll head that way…

The soothing warmth of the coffee isn’t the only thing attractive about it of course.  Since we’re like totally hooked on blogworld over here, I need the caffeine big time!!!

The Wonder of Music – Daily Thanks

When griping grief the heart doth wound, and doleful dumps the mind opresses, then music, with her silver sound, with speedy help doth lend redress.William Shakespeare

Audience of One
Audience of One

Thank you Lord for music!  We love music in its many forms.  We especially love the music that comes from our two boys.  Both play the piano well and both are learning more every day.  AJ with the guitar, and Jacob on violin.

Just yesterday, Jacob had the most amazing suggestion. He said he should bring his violin to play for Mrs. Mock, a family friend well up in years who is being visited by Hospice daily now.  She loved her concert and even got into the spirit when he started rockin’ “Old McDonald”!

Thank you Lord for music, and for the wonderful heart of a wonderful boy!

1/21/09 Author’s Note:  Mrs. Mock passed away last week.  She died at home in her sleep at the age of 94.

Buttercup the Super Dog – Daily Thanks

Where we goin? (wag, wag, slobber)
Where we goin? (wag, wag, slobber)

Wow!  I LOVE this dog!  We all do.  AJ and I have a slight disagreement in fact, about just who’s dog she is anyway.  (She’s mine, but whatever)

We are very thankful for Buttercup!  She makes our life much better with her tail that actually does “wag the dog”, her slobbery kisses, and her big brown eyes.  We almost lost her in June of this year when she was hit hard by a car outside our home (for sale) in Odessa, FL.  The car had to be traveling at least 45 mph and it never stopped!  I found her laying in the road, a sure victim to the next rocketship heading down Gunn Hwy.  The whole scene was very traumatic for the whole family and we thought for sure she was a gonner.  AJ was unable to speak, Jacob and Kim were crying…it was a bad deal.

It turned out that, in addition to many “road rash” type wounds requiring stitches, she had a severe compound hip fracture.  To make matters worse, it was soon apparant that her front left leg had nerve damage and she wasn’t able to put her paw down without knuckling down to her knee.  The vets were really not sure what to advise because the nerve damage combined with the hip fracture basically meant she would be totally paralyzed, completely unable to walk. 

I do love that dog.  People who aren’t dog people don’t always get it, but I have tears in my eyes just writing about this.

What a gift!

They did the stitches and some other work under anasthesia and the next day sent her home.  It was very touch and go for awhile, and there were two or three nights where we went to bed not sure if she would make it through the night.  Kim, who was well trained in animal care, sat with her a couple of nights.  For two weeks we prayed for her, and cared for her, and loved on her.  I had to carry her out twice a day to go potty.  I even had to whack my way through the thickest vegetation in the yard because she needed “privacy” in order to do her business.  She is a lady.

Miraculously, she made it!  Her nerve damage healed up and her hip got better.  In six months time, she has almost fully recovered.  She can walk, even run.  She isn’t what you would call bouncy, but she can even jump a little bit.  Sure, the rainy weather and the cold slow her down a little, but her attitude is never down…she is just happy to be with the family.  We are very thankful for Miss Buttercup. 

The whole thing also serves as a real example of perseverance, faith, and the whole idea of “Keep Moving“, just putting one foot in front of the other is enough sometimes.  And if you can’t do that, somebody will carry you, or the Lord will carry you Himself.

One last thing….thanks SO MUCH to Dr. Saleh at Ehrlich Animal Hospital in Tampa.  He’s awesome…even made a house-call to keep her more “comfortable”.  (I forgot to tell you how she gets at the vets office, ever heard of Cujo?)

Hershey is a SUPERDOG Too!

The Kitchen Sign

Kitchen Sign by Tim
Kitchen Sign by Tim

Today when I made cookies with my two boys I smiled when I read this little sign that my husband, Tim, posted in the kitchen.  It reads:









I’m so thankful for this little sign!  Some mornings when I stumble into the kitchen to make the coffee I notice it and smile.  It just warms my heart that he would take the time to make this for me!  It has been there for months and I don’t have any plans to take it down…EVER!  Thank you Tim!

Got Gas? – Daily Thanks

Monday, December 15, 2008 – Punta Gorda, FL

Among other things, today I’m thankful for gas prices.  For us, it really makes a difference.  Our motorhome is a beast and if I’m haulin’ down the freeway at 75MPH or so, it gets about 7.5 MPG…not good.  I can slow it down and save some money, but when gas was $4.00 a gallon I really had to back off.  In fact, I was going SO SLOW, that if I was going any slower I’d be backing-up.  We had to park the poor girl for way too long.  Now, just in time for our Christmas Trip, we’re looking at $1.50 a gallon.  Less than it was in 2004 when we bought the motorhome.

I also drive a ton for work, so this is a big help in that too.

But the biggest deal (for us) is that in about ten days I’m going to be back in the saddle and when I look at the map to determine where to go, the options will be only limited by two things:  really cold weather if we go too far North, and Kim’s unreasonable fear of road travel in Mexico.  (there aren’t REALLY Bandito’s..right?).  So that leaves us with a good sized area to throw a dart at.

Thank you God…for a cheap(er) tank of gas.

To read more about our travels…see our Travel Tales Page.