Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever." 1 Cor. 16:34

"In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. 5:18

I love fall and the holiday that happens in it!  Thanksgiving is when most people reflect on the goodness of God.  Of how He has blessed and provided.  We do this too and I'm thankful that there is a national day set aside for this moment.  But I am highly aware that after today, the Christmas lists will be handed out and the shopping of wants will begin and through all the hussle and bustle of Christmas, we so quickly forget about the holiday season we just came out of ... Thanksgiving Day!!!

Things are a bit different for us this Thanksgiving Season.  One HUGE difference is that Dad Lapp is no longer here with us at our gatherings.  Dad Lapp passed away into eternity in July.  The start of the holidays without him is tough.  Because Mom Lapp's siblings are gathered today, we invited the Lapp family over to our house last night for a dinner.  I've been preparing for this all week and we set up tables and chairs in the heated garage along with the food!  It worked out really nice to have that all in the garage and then relax in the living room after dinner. 

Each family brought a food along to share and that made our Thanksgiving feast ... well, a feast!!!  Mom made the turkey, filling and pumpkin pies.  I peeled and cooked and baked mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes.  I cooked up a two big pots of fresh vegetables and gave it a touch of melted butter right before serving them!  We had salad, rolls, cranberry relish, gravy, different desserts and hot coffee!!!  The whole meal was so yummy!!!  One funny thing did happen right before we ate.  Actually, two funny things.  The first thing was when everyone sat down to eat, Mike was up thanking everyone for coming.  Soon strangers came knocking and walking through the garage door.  What was this?  Mike went to see what they needed and they asked if this was a restaurant or if they needed reservations?  What???  He escorted them back outside and told them that we are having a family dinner.  They were tourist who were looking for Fisher's Restaurant (which is just down the street).  They said they saw lots of cars parked outside and thought maybe this was it!  Mike came back in and asked if there's a restaurant sign outside?  We all had a good laugh!  The second thing was that we still have a water cooler in our garage that we don't use anymore.  It's the kind that is electric and holds gallons of water.  It's perfect to store milk, water and drinks in it but we don't use it anymore.  So, Mike started auctioning of this cooler.  It was all out of fun but I don't know we got a sale from it!!??  Then Mom Lapp got up and thanked us children for being there for her as she goes through this grieving season in life.  She missed Dad so much and her grief is real.  It was a great time to really thank God for our health and for His strength!

After we ate the kids went running and played.  The older ones played some ping pong and watched a TV show.  The adults all sat around in the living room chatting.  Normally, we have our Thanksgiving Day at Dad Lapp's for lunch.  We would gather around Mom's spread out table and eat.  Then the guys would shoot their rifles and hit clay birds.  The games would come out and we would all be together till evening.  This year was a little different but still good.  By the time we got to bed, I was grateful again for family and yummy food and a time of rest.  :)

We had no big plans for today.  We slept in a bit and then all helped clean up the house.  The tables and chairs got folded up.  The floors were all swept and cleaned.  Toys were put back in place.  Then we were ready for our traditional family meeting.  We started this a few years ago and love, love that we kept this up.

This is a family meeting where we all sit together and say a few things that we are thankful for.  This year Mike asked us to have one word for the upcoming year to reflect on throughout the year.  We then listed a few goals.  It's so much fun hearing from the kids and listening to what they are grateful for!  I like to post my family meeting minutes on here because it's then a place we can go back to and remember what we said.  Here's just a few things we discussed.

Mike's "word": DISCIPLINE - in time, in exercise, in life

Lori: FEARLESS - this was the first word that popped in my mind when Mike asked us to think of a word.  It must have been a word from the Lord because even though I would like to think that I am a fearless person ... I have a long way to get there!  I like when life stays 'normal' and without hardships and when things stay in my control.  Well, we all know that that would be a fairytale life and not one you would find on this fallen earth but it's how I would function if it were possible.  So, because it was the first word that spoke to me, I'm sticking to it!!!  To become a fearless person would be awesome!!!  To live strictly by faith would be so fulfilling!!!  Yet, I want to hang on to my securities!  Lord, help me!!!

Hadassah:  RUN - She wants to run in life and thrive!  "Does this help me run or is it a stumbling block in life?" is what she wants to frequently ask herself! 

Matthew:  STRENGTH - improve on the weaknesses and stand strong in the strengths.

Ashlyn:   KIND - to be loving and kind.

Austin:  PLAY - go for it kid!  Play, play and play!  

After our meeting, we ate left over turkey and mashed potatoes from last night.  It was so yummy!

Matthew, Ashlyn and Austin each took the pumpkins off of the porches and smashed them in the field.  They had a blast!





Now, it's time to relax and maybe get a nap!?!  Then Hadassah and I are off to do some Black Friday Shopping!!!

Oh yeah.  Here are some pictures of the parties from school yesterday.  Ashlyn is really enjoying first grade and she was such a cute Indiana!!! 


Austin was cute too in his little Indian hat!




First grade did a Mayflower project.




Shakia and Ashlyn ... making good memories in first grade.


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.  And be thankful." Col. 3:15

"Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving." Ps. 147:7 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cabin memories ...

We had a fun weekend with Dave and Suz at their cabin again!!!  We started the trip with leaving Hadassah back home again because she had volleyball tryouts to attend on Saturday.  One of these times we will get to ALL go to the cabin!  She did great with her tryouts though and got accepted on the U18 team!!!  Good job girl!  Now we will have many, many more volleyball games to go to this winter!!!  But we also took a friend along to the cabin for Matthew.  And do you think I got even one picture of Matthew and Chandler together at the mountains?  No.  I get so annoyed at myself with cabin photos.  So often I forget to take a few or at least one of friends together and of our cabin moments.  Anyway, Chandler got to go along and the boys had a blast all weekend together!
 
After a quick stop at Chick-fil-a, we were on the highway heading north for the cabin.  Traveling with Austin still has it's challenges and I purposely didn't give him a nap thinking that he will sack it out the whole way there.  Wrong.  He napped for only an hour and chatted and whined the rest of the way there.  I was ready to get there and let him run around!  Two year old issues!!!
 
Dave's do so good at inviting people along to their cabin.  Jonathon's and P.J.'s were there too.  The hunters went out the woods and tree stands while the rest of us prepared the meals and relaxed in the cabin.  Games of Acquire were played by the men. 
 
Mike's not a big hunter at all anymore.  He would much rather golf than hunt!  But he did suit up once and went looking for deer.  He was bored and didn't see a thing!  Sigh.  Then the next time, Austin wanted to hunt.  So they suited up again and sat in a tree stand for about an hour.  It was so cold outside and I was sure Austin would be sick of it but instead he loved it!!!  He came inside cold to the bone and said, "Daddy didn't see any deer."  Bummer but so cute!!!


This cozy cabin hosted us all weekend and the kids played games and the ladies drank coffee and fussed about life and kids and photography!!!  :)))


Austin was right there when it came time to look at the bow and arrows!!!  He's gonna like the woods some day!!!

We stayed till Sunday!  The sunny cabin getaway was a wonderful time!  Thanks Dave and Suz for the invite!!!
 
We unpacked and then Mike was off to make a quick stop to see his mom before heading to the youth event to pick up Hadassah!  Life is full of pick ups and drop offs and it's busy but we are all healthy and thriving and it's the good life!!!  We are living in the best of times and for that I don't ever want to forget!!!
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chilly November happenings.

The cooler, colder air keeps coming closer and closer to our home!!!  We are now reaching for our jackets and hats before going outside.  The leaves are falling but the yard is still so green and lush.  I can't remember mowing yard still once a week in mid November as being a normal chore but it's what we are still doing here.  The weeds still need to be pulled and the garden has a few pepper plants and some lettuce growing in it.  Looking at the forecast for the latter part of this week, makes me think that those plants might get destroyed by upcoming frost.

We just got done hosting the youth group here on Sunday night and what a great turn out it was!  Lot's of teenagers came for snack, to play games, to be together and laugh and just have a good time.  Thanks to all who came and made it a good night!

Volleyball is over for now and I love that Hadassah comes home right after school again.  I missed her not sitting around the kitchen table doing homework or chatting.  When the sports season is in full swing, it's hard to get those extra moments in!  Matthew is signed up for basketball and that will begin soon.  Then it will be extra practices and games for us to go to.

The kids just finished up a school quarter and that means we got report cards.  The teachers at Linville Hill Christian School do such an amazing job at teaching and I enjoyed my short teacher conferences last week.  Each one of our school children are doing well but it does help to take a good look at the grades and encourage them to get those C's into B's and B's into A's.  I know they can and it's important for me as a mom to keep reminding them to study their words and verses and test notes!!!  Good job Hadassah, Matthew and Ashlyn!!!  I am so blessed to know that each one of you are doing well in school and I think if you are honest, you would say that you do like school.  We are so blessed to have you in a Christian environment day by day!!!  Thank you Linville Hill Staff!!!

We made a quick trip to Cabela's last Friday evening.  The kids were off of school because of the teacher conferences and it gave us a chance to go get some shopping done for winter gear.  Ashlyn likes her new snow boots and Matthew loves his winter jacket!  I got a new black jacket too that I've worn a few times already.  The weather is getting colder and so the extra layers feel so good!  Mike's mom went with us to Cabela's too.  She mentioned that she's got points to use up there and is looking to get some Christmas shopping done.  She is trying hard to make each new day be a good day but honestly she is still grieving so much from dad's passing.  She misses him SO much and the tears just run sometimes when she comes home from a day's event and he's not there to sit with and talk to.  She misses him at the supper table, at church, at home on the couch and just 'being around'.  I know she wants to be brave and move on but some days it's a real struggle.  Please remember to pray for her and us family as the holidays are coming and the extra family times together will be so different without dad being there.  Thank you.   

Also, joy has entered the Lapp family again as Bryce Matthew arrived into this world healthy and is so cute!  When I told the kids that Lena had another boy they were all so happy and couldn't wait to see him!  Ashlyn loves babies and was honored when I took her with me to meet Baby Bryce!  I loved watching her face when she got to meet Bryce for the first time!!!  Congratulations Matt and Lena!!!



Looking ahead at our November, we are so blessed to have upcoming plans to go to the cabin.  Mike hopes to get some more hunting done and cabin time with friends is always SO MUCH FUN!!! 
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Basketball will start up soon and I can't wait to cheer for Matthew on the court again!
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My sister is busy working at their new home with finishing up the painting.  I was helping Jody pack yesterday and we filled boxes and boxes with games and books and household items.  When their big moving day finally does come, a lot will be ready to move over to the new house and unpack.  We are excited for them and I know they will make their new home cozy and so beautiful.  More packing days and helping them move things are on my calendar.
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Hadassah has BLAST volleyball tryouts coming up.  Volleyball is her dream sport and so any extra playing time is so fun for her!
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Thanksgiving arrangements are being made too.  It's not too far off and we are planning to host Mike's family this year!  Hot turkey and mashed potatoes will be on the menu for sure!!!  Also, the kids will have school parties to celebrate the blessings that God has showered on us!!!  I can't wait to see all those little first graders dressed up in Pilgrims and Indians.  :)))
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Ashlyn has a reader tea event coming up in her classroom and that means I get to sip on some tea while listening to her read a story.  Learning has been fun for Ashlyn so far this year.  Her vocabulary and math skills are improving in leaps and bounds!!!  She is really enjoying first grade and lots of credit goes out her to amazing teacher, Mrs. Koenig!  Thank you!!!
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One last thing, today is voting day so go get your votes cast.  Voting is one way that we Americans can help decide on our government leaders.  In God we do trust!!!



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Novemberrrrrrr!

This is the first day of November and it's feeling like November typically feels like!  Does that make any sense?  We've been blessed with so many lovely fall days but today was cloudy and chilly.  The sun rays stayed behind the clouds all day long and even with the heat now turned on inside, I kept wanting to wrap myself in a blanket and warm up.

November is here and I can hardly believe that in just a few short weeks we will be sharing Thanksgiving dinner together with family and friends and then start the shopping for the holidays and go to school parties and hopefully be able to drink enough of coffee to help us through the business of the next two months!!! 

In a way, I'm ready!!!  I'm ready to listen to more Christmas music because I just love, love it!!!  I'm ready to start doing some fun baking and check off the Christmas list items.  I'm ready to decorate the house in tinsel, bows and lights.  But first, I'm ready to go through the Thanksgiving Season and remembering all that God has done for me.  For us as a family.  For bringing us through another year with good health, laughter through some tears and protecting us in our daily tasks.  Thanksgiving is a holiday that I appreciate so much and I'm going to try hard again this year to remind the kids and myself to not go through the Thanksgiving "thankfulness" only to be jolted with the "give me this" or "give me that" thinking for Christmas!  It's easy to expect gifts at Christmas and so teaching our children how to be thankful every day is perfect timing, since this Thanksgiving Day comes first.  I know that being truly thankful comes from the heart and diffidently not something that just happens once a year.  No, it's about living grateful and being an example to the children!

Yesterday, I picked up Ashlyn at school.  Matthew was invited to stay after school to take part in the basketball open gym.  Hadassah was already on her way to play volleyball in districts.  When I approached an open pumpkin field, I asked if we should stop to take a few pictures.  Ashlyn was all into it.  We've been noticing a lot of pumpkin patches this year.  We pass some every morning on our commute to school.  There seems to be so many pumpkins still lying around in the fields!!!

I walked with Ashlyn and Austin in the field and just left them have fun.  This is how photo shoots work best for us!!!  We had a fun, short time in the pumpkin patch!!!

Take a look ...


















We left the pumpkin patch inspired and intrigued at the massive balls of orange lying all over the ground.  Some of them were bust open and seeds hanging out of the rinds.  Some looked good from the eye but when Ashlyn bent over to pick one up it was rotten.  There can be life lessons learned by just walking through a patch like this.  Do we live lives that look good from the outsiders but inside we are wasting away in fear or doubt or hurts or bitterness that we just can't seem to get over?  I left the pumpkin patch in hopes of some good photos and with some good pondering thoughts!

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We picked Matthew up at the open gym just in time to swing by Chickfila on our way to Hadassah's first ever districts volleyball game!!!  I was excited to watch this match all day and so after gobbling down our chicken and greens, OK and a few fries, we met Mike at LMH gymnasium.  My parents came to watch Hadassah too and I hoped the girls would have fun playing against higher competition.  And higher competition is exactly what they got. 

Linville Hill Varsity Team met up with a much bigger school that gave us a good fight for victory.  They played so well and every time we would give a hard spike, they turned around and bumped it right back to us.  It was three tough games for us and even though we lost the games, the girls were privileged to make it to the districts level!!!  It has been an amazing volleyball season!!!






It was so much fun watching these girls play volleyball each week together.  I will honestly miss this but we are ready for a little sports break and enjoy some extra evenings at home!!!

The leaves are changing colors.  Some have already fallen to the ground.  Fresh pressed apple cider is being stored in the fridge and tastes so much like autumn yumminess.  The pumpkins are being picked and cooked and made into pies.  November ... we welcome you!  Please be kind and gentle as the colder weather arrives.  Remind me to pray for the homeless and let warming, encouraging words come forth to my children day in and day out!!!

Autumn is here folks!!!