15 August 2017

02 August 2017

First day of third grade

It’s Aug. 2, and Avery started third grade today. To say that summer flew by would be an understatement! She had a blast this summer, but I also know she’ll love going back to school.

We started the day with the obligatory photos.

And not to be outdone, Damon insisted on getting his picture taken, too. Next year he’ll finally get his turn in the spotlight since he’ll be going off to preschool!

27 July 2017

22 July 2017

Three-year doctor's appointment

Since we just celebrated his third birthday, Damon was due for his three-year doctor’s appointment. Here are his current stats:

Weight – 32 pounds, an increase of about 5.5 pounds since last year (25th percentile)
Height – 36 inches, an increase of 2 inches since last year (50th percentile)

He’s right on target with his growth milestones, including saying his ABCs, counting to 10, recognizing colors and shapes, coloring with a purpose, running, jumping, and throwing a ball overhand.

Our goals over the next year are to continue writing and recognizing letters and numbers and reading lots and lots of books! Damon also will become more independent, which is both a blessing and a curse!

Hopefully we won’t see Dr. Roscoe before next August!

20 July 2017

13 July 2017

10 July 2017

Damon’s third birthday party

Damon is 3 years old! How did that happen?

When we started talking about his birthday party a few weeks ago, he definitely wanted a Blaze party. And a no-frills one too. “Pizza, cake, and presents.” That’s all he asked for, and that’s all he got!

The party’s secondary themes were Legos and Minions, indicated in several gifts and wrapping paper. Mommaw and Poppaw Clark, Grandma and Grandpa Hromada, and Aunt Karen spoiled Damon with lots of toys, books, and clothes.

Daddy bought some Hot Wheels cars and a cool “crash” track. I can’t decide if he bought these things for Damon or for himself! Daddy said it’s payback time for all those years he had to play with Barbies!

After cake and ice cream, we headed outside for some pictures with the man of the hour.

Happy birthday, sweet Damon. We love you!

07 July 2017

06 July 2017

05 July 2017

29 June 2017

22 June 2017

15 June 2017

08 June 2017

01 June 2017

19 May 2017

1 to 20 and 20 to 1

Damon quickly picked up counting to 10. (He may be a numbers guru like Daddy!) So naturally we moved on to counting to 20. That proved a little more difficult. He tended to forget 13 and 16. But about a month ago, he finally started saying all 20 numbers without any prompting.

Then we moved on to counting backwards from 20. He still needs a little coaxing, but he’s starting to figure it out. And here is the video proof!


He also can count to 49 without help. After that, he needs help with the tens. Thanks to two grandmas who are former teachers and a big sister who wishes she was a teacher, Damon is getting plenty of “classroom” instruction.

18 May 2017

11 May 2017

09 May 2017

BSF 2016-2017: What I learned this year

In the blink of an eye, we are finished with our study of the Gospel of John! Here is what I learned this year:

What I learned in my personal study

Jesus’ love knows no bounds. He loved me so much that He willingly died on the cross for me. My heart was broken as I again read about Jesus’ brutal death and willing sacrifice. And then I considered that He did all of that for me. Who am I that He should love me that much? I am so grateful and blessed that He calls me His child!

Jesus is concerned about the details. John recorded so many details about Jesus’ life, especially related to the prophesies surrounding His death, burial, and crucifixion. And Jesus was concerned about many details in His followers’ lives, things many of us would have overlooked. I’m a detail person too, so it’s comforting to know that God cares about every detail of our lives!

What I learned by serving in the School Program

God will make His plan for our lives very clear. All we need to do is listen and obey. Just before this BSF year began, God revealed to me that He was calling me to leave BSF. I needed to be sure that I heard His plan correctly. I spent many months praying for clarity and confirmation from Him. He did just that, giving me peace that I was making the right decision. So after 14 years in BSF with nine being in a leadership position, it is time for me to leave this organization. God has given me many years of training and preparation through my studies in BSF so now I can train Avery and Damon to read and understand God’s Word, pray to Him, and become His children.

I hope you enjoyed our study through the book of John! Have my posts piqued your interest about studying God’s Word? Are you looking for answers to your questions about Christianity? Check out BSF! Find a class near you and commit to learning about God through a study of the book of Romans next year. Or find a Bible study at your local church, ask a friend to study with you and hold you accountable, or start studying on your own. God will reveal amazing things to you and will change you from the inside out when you commit to studying His Word.

04 May 2017

02 May 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 21

John ends his Gospel with an interesting story – an appearance by Jesus to the disciples.

Seven of the eleven disciples were at the Sea of Galilee. They were obeying Jesus’ instructions to wait for Him in Galilee. They decided to go fishing all night. At first, they didn’t catch any fish. Then early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t recognize Him. He asked if they had any fish. When they replied in the negative, He instructed them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. When they did this, they brought in 153 fish.

Then John recognized that the figure on the shore was Jesus. Peter jumped in the water and swam to Jesus. The other disciples hauled in their catch in the boat. When they landed on the shore, they saw a fire with fish and bread on it. Jesus invited them to have breakfast with Him. He invited them to participate by adding their fish to the meal. They certainly didn’t eat all of them but probably sold many of them to earn money since they were going to head out on a mission for Jesus and needed some financial support.

After feeding the disciples physically, Jesus fed them spiritually. He restored Peter to a right standing with Him. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter answered “yes” three times. Previously Peter denied Jesus three times; now Jesus gave him three chances to confess his love for Him.

Jesus commanded Peter to feed His lambs, take care of His sheep, and feed His sheep. Lambs could represent new believers. Sheep could represent established believers. Jesus reinstated, restored, and recommissioned Peter. Because Peter’s sin was public, Jesus publicly restored him. Peter’s discipline prepared him for feeding Jesus’ sheep.

Next Jesus predicted Peter’s death. Jesus said Peter would die by crucifixion. Tradition tells us that Peter indeed was crucified. But because he didn’t think he was worthy to die in the same manner as Christ, Peter was crucified upside down.

Jesus had this conversation with Peter, and John was following them. Jesus again commanded Peter to follow Him. “What about him?” Peter asked about John. Jesus said what He does with John is not Peter’s concern. This reminds us to stay focused on our callings from God and follow Him instead of being concerned about God’s calling on others’ lives. We should not be distracted by ourselves, others, or our circumstances. We should care for one another but remain focused on Christ and His work for us.

Things to Think About
  • Jesus calls all of His disciples to be fishers of men. Being a fisher of men requires courage, faith, and persistence.
  • Where has Jesus directed you to spend time and effort fishing for people?
  • Our love for Christ must be our motive for serving Him. If we love Christ, we must love His sheep too.
  • God has individualized plans for His children. He has common purposes for all of us, but He also has unique purposes for each of us.
  • Are you seeking to live out God’s purpose for you? Are you comparing your purpose to someone else’s?
  • Are your eyes on Christ or someone else?

This Week’s Memory Verse
He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you. ” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17 NIV

27 April 2017

25 April 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 20

Jesus died on Friday. On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene and other women went to Jesus’ tomb to finish preparing His body for burial. They likely didn’t know that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had prepared Jesus’ body so well.

When she arrived, Mary saw that the stone was moved from the tomb and Jesus’ body was gone. Her first thought was that Jesus’ body was stolen. She ran and told the disciples.

If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, they would not have unwrapped His body and left the grave clothes behind in the tomb, lain as if a body had been there.

When the disciples heard Mary’s report, Peter and John ran to the tomb. John reached the tomb first and looked inside. Peter ran inside the tomb. John was reserved, and Peter was reactive. Both were reflective; they examined the empty tomb and its contents. John looked and believed. John and Peter left the tomb. Then Mary returned.

Mary was crying and looked in the tomb. She saw two angels, one where Jesus’ head was lying and one where Jesus’ feet were lying. The angels asked why she was crying. She said it was because someone took Jesus away. Then she turned and looked at another man. It was Jesus, though she didn’t recognize Him. He also asked her why she was crying. Mary thought Jesus was the gardener. She asked Him where Jesus’ body was. Jesus spoke her name, and she immediately recognized Him. Jesus’ voice broke through Mary’s tears and sorrow.

Jesus told her not to cling to Him because He had a limited amount of time on earth. He told her to go to the disciples and tell them that He was on earth for only a little while longer. He still needed to prepare them for the work He had called them to do. Mary obeyed.

On Sunday evening, the disciples (minus Thomas) were gathered together in a locked room. Suddenly Jesus appeared among them and said, “Peace be with you.” He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed.

Jesus told the disciples He was sending them out for a purpose. We will discuss their commission next week.

Finally, He breathed on them the power of the Holy Spirit. They wouldn’t receive the Holy Spirit until Pentecost (40 days later). But they needed the power and protection of the Holy Spirit now. Jesus gave them the authority to speak the truth of the Good News. He gave them the authority to tell repentant sinners that their sins are forgiven.

Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. Later they told him what happened. Thomas said he needed to see Jesus’ nail marks and pierced side before he could believe that Jesus had resurrected.

One week later, the disciples were gathered together again in a locked room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus suddenly appeared among them. He told Thomas to put his finger in His nail-scarred hands and to put his hand in His pierced side. He commanded Thomas to stop doubting and believe. Through His omnipotence, Jesus used the same words Thomas used to encourage his belief!

Thomas believed and proclaimed Jesus as “my Lord and my God.” Jesus blessed Thomas for his belief upon seeing Jesus. Then He gave a blessing to those who believe without seeing. That is me! Is that you? Are you blessed because you haven’t seen Him but have believed in Him?

Things to Think About
  • The Lord provides evidence to cause us to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. The evidence for John was the unoccupied grave clothes. The evidence for Mary was hearing Jesus speak her name. Which evidence did God use to lead you to believe in Jesus’ resurrection?
  • Jesus sent Mary to tell the disciples about His resurrection. Jesus also calls each believer to tell others about His death and resurrection.
  • Jesus sent the disciples to tell others about the forgiveness of sins. Jesus also calls each believer to tell others about the forgiveness of sins available only through Him.

This Week’s Memory Verse
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV

20 April 2017

18 April 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 19:31-42

Jesus died much sooner than typical crucifixion victims. That’s because He gave up His life Himself. The gospel writers carefully described Jesus’ physical death, which led to His physical resurrection. The writers confirmed that Jesus died, discrediting the rumor that He didn’t really die.

The Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies left on the crosses overnight (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). They were zealous to keep the Sabbath but were willing to kill an innocent man. They were zealous to keep the minutia of the law while at the same time killing the Man who both authored and fulfilled the Law. They were scrupulously concerned that the land not be defiled but were unconcerned about their own defilement for murdering the Son of God.

The Jewish leaders asked that the legs of those being crucified be broken so they would die quickly. By breaking the legs, the crucified person could not push himself up to breathe. The soldiers broke the legs of the men crucified next to Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw He was already dead.

Instead of breaking Jesus’ legs, one soldier pierced Jesus’ side to be sure He was dead. Blood and water flowed out of Jesus’ body. The water was from the pericardium surrounding the heart, and the blood was from the heart itself. Jesus really died.

Scriptures were fulfilled when Jesus’ bones were unbroken (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:12) and when Jesus’ side was pierced (Zechariah 12:10). The soldiers didn’t do what they were supposed to do (break His legs) and did do what they weren’t supposed to do (pierce His side). Both actions fulfilled God’s Word.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Pilate gave Jesus’ body to Joseph. Nicodemus assisted Joseph. He brought 75 pounds of spices to prepare Jesus’ body. This amount was appropriate for a king. Nicodemus honored Jesus as the King of kings.

Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices and linen. When they touched Jesus’ dead body, they defiled themselves according to Jewish law. They could not participate in the earthly Passover, but they had found the true Passover Lamb.

In the place where Jesus was crucified was a garden with a tomb that had never been used. Joseph and Nicodemus buried Jesus there.

Things to Think About
  • Jesus’ death was not an accident; it was a divine appointment. He willingly gave His life for us. Death didn’t surprise Him because He controlled it (John 10:17-18).
  • The Cross proves God’s power to accomplish His plan for His people.
  • Through Jesus’ death, we become reconciled to God. Apart from Christ, we face nothing but condemnation (Colossians 1:19-20).
  • How have you acknowledged that Jesus died on your behalf and took your punishment for your sins?
  • How does your life reflect your belief that Jesus completed your salvation on the Cross?
  • Believers participate in Jesus’ burial by choosing to bury their old ways of life. Our old ways of life are sin.
  • Do you believe Jesus died a substitutionary death for you?

This Week’s Memory Verse
These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” John 19:36-37 NIV

13 April 2017

12 April 2017

Avery’s friend birthday party

Two years ago, Avery hosted her first friend birthday party. She had a great time, so this crazy mama offered to have another friend party this year.

I gave her several theme options, and she chose Pancakes and Pajamas. She loved the idea of eating breakfast foods in the middle of the day while wearing pajamas!

Avery invited four girls from church and three girls from school. She has chosen some wonderful friends! We love all of them!

We started off the party with making edible necklaces out of Fruit Loops. That was a bit of a bust because I used yarn instead of a sturdier material. The Fruit Loops didn’t thread onto the yarn very well. Lesson learned.

Then we enjoyed the breakfast buffet. I went all out with a pancakes/waffle station complete with three fruits, whipped cream, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and syrup. We also had fruit and yogurt parfaits, cereal, and bacon along with milk and orange juice. I was shocked that the girls didn’t eat very much. They preferred to eat the pancake toppings without the pancakes! So we still have a freezer full of pancakes.

After brunch, we played a fun candy game and then Truth or Dare. That one was quite entertaining!

Then Avery opened her presents.

Besides wearing their pajamas, Avery asked the girls to bring their favorite stuffed friends. They loved taking pictures together! The ring pops that look like pacifiers are thanks to a last-minute purchase by Daddy.

If someone can explain to me the fascination with dabbing, I’d really appreciate it.

Finally, the girls spent a lot of time playing in Avery’s room. This wasn’t so much a party as it was a huge playdate! And that was fine with me because Avery and all of her guests were happy at the end of the day.

I couldn’t have done this party without Aunt Karen’s assistance and Daddy’s work on the pancakes, waffles, and bacon!