Our 25th silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party

Ray & me at our party
Ray & me at our party

Ray and I recently had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary and bought our home. I wanted to celebrate with our children, grandchildren, and a few friends who prayed for us to buy the house.  God answered my prayer and our 3 beautiful daughters were there. Our grandchildren being there were the cherry on top, and I believe it is what God wanted, displaying His glory of what He has done for us. 

Table set for party
Table set for party

I was so happy to have our three beautiful daughters and four precious grandchildren (with one on the way) at the party. This made my whole day and filled me with joy.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12, ESV

Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray's parents Charles & Sue Jones
Our family, from front to back, L to R: our grandson Jacob, granddaughters Annabelle & Violet, our daughter Leah, Our daughter Heather, granddaughter Piper, me, Ray, daughter Eden, Ray’s parents Charles & Sue Jones

 

Since the party was on Mother’s Day, I gave our daughters a hand-written, floral note card and little yellow roses inside a teacup that reads, “Live, laugh, love” to tell them how much I love them and thank them for the honor of being their mom. I’ll post more about Mother’s Day and the gifts they gave me in a separate post.

Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & card
Me giving our daughters their yellow roses & cards
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters
Pretty yellow roses I gave our daughters

Ray’s dad and his stepmom Sue Jones drove in from N. Little Rock, Arkansas for the party and to visit us. We enjoyed their stay.  I’m not so sure his dad enjoyed it as much, as he was busy fixing things around our house, like installing an electrical plug by Ray’s work bench in the basement (he’s a licensed electrician) and helping Ray reattach the evaporator to the furnace, which had fallen off last week suddenly (this was quite a job!). Sue blessed me so much with encouraging words to minister to my heart. 

Ray's stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party
Ray’s stepmom Sue & his dad Charles Jones at party

I bought wedding bells, silver and aqua decorations at Dollar General for our “silver” 25th wedding anniversary. I thought they were really pretty. I still have the original cake couple topper in white and red that was on our wedding cake, and set that out, too. 

cake topper
cake topper
wedding bells
wedding bells
silver plates
silver plates
silver and aqua napkins
silver and aqua napkins

I also set these out as decorations, too, on the bar at the party:

  • my wedding album and original wedding guest book;
  • the blue roses carried by one of my bridesmaids;
  • my black garter (now faded black and purple);
  • the 7 silver, one-dollar coins a friend gave us as a wedding gift;
  • a gorgeous sunset-colored rose I received at church on Mother’s Day with the other women from the pastor;
  • a white candle and anointing oil from Jerusalem, Israel, that Ray’s friend sent us as a house-warming gift;
  • and the Mother’s Day gift Ray gave me, an “Our Home” picture.

I asked our guests to sign the original wedding guest book, and said that if Jesus tarries, guests can sign it again at our 50th anniversary! (Grace, God!) I also bought bubble wands for our grandkids to play with at the party. 

Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
Wedding album, guest book, rose & Our Home picture
The rose I received at church for Mother’s Day
Ray's gift to me on Mother's Day
Ray’s gift to me on Mother’s Day

The “Our Home” picture reads:

“God chose this very house for us, to be our special home. A place that we can fill with love and call our very own. This house will hold our memories, our laughter and our tears, and it will be a place that’s safe to talk about our fears. And so we pray that God will make this house into a home, and we will give our praise to Him, Our Cornerstone.”

Our children bought us beautiful cards and gifts: a card on papyrus paper about the hummingbird, a large flip flop picture, white candle with a shell, and shell picture for my ocean-theme bathroom upstairs. The papyrus paper card was very pretty and unique!

I love the flip flop and shell pictures and candle; they went perfectly with my bathroom colors! The pic reads, “Life is always better in flip flops.” Amen! Although I love high heels (which I wore to this party), I am a sneakers and flip flop, beach kind of gal!

Papyrus paper card
Papyrus paper card
Flip flop pic that our children gave us
Flip flop pic that our children gave us

 

shell picture
shell picture
Shell candle
Shell candle

My in-laws bought us a beautiful silver and purple card with money inside and a lovely glass 25th wedding anniversary picture frame with a picture of Ray and me when we were by the Sea of Galilee on our Israel trip several years ago.

silver purple card
silver purple card
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel
silver anniversary picture frame; Ray & me in Israel

Our friends Dan and Liz bought us a really pretty silver card  with red hearts (I love hearts!), with an Olive Garden gift card inside it. OG – yum! Ray and I will have to go on a date soon! 

silver card
silver card with red hearts

All of these were very thoughtful gifts and I loved them!

Here’s some pics of us with our guests:

Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Piper feeding her mom Eden at party, haha
Jacob at partry
IOur grandson Jacob at party
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Ray with our friend Dan Zacharias
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray's stepmom Sue Jones
Our friend Liz Zacharias with Ray’s stepmom Sue Jones
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Dan getting food, me making sure all is ready, Ray
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Our daughter Eden talking as usual, lol, Ray, our granddaughter Piper handing Ray his pushup handles
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper--precious!
Ray holding our granddaughter Piper–precious!
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Us singing happy birthday to our granddaughter Violet & friend Dan
Violet opening her birthday gifts
Violet opening her birthday gifts: a pretty summer dress, an anklet & toe rings, and daisy flower hair bands
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet not knowing what an anklet is, lol
Violet in her dress
Violet in her dress
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party
My friend Liz opening a gift from me at the party: a decorative box & pretty necklace
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our tall granddaughter Annabelle (standing) and our 3 daughters with Piper
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Our 3 beautiful daughters with their yellow roses in the teacup I gave them
Me giving Ray his gift - sterling silver cuff links
Me giving Ray his gift – sterling silver cuff links
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray opening gifts at the party
Me & Ray - 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Me & Ray – 25 year silver wedding anniversary & home purchase party
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Ray & me and our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah & Eden (and Piper, our granddaughter)
Our family
Our family: I’m so thankful they all were there! Thank you, Jesus!
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, "25 years & a home. This is God!"
The party cake with a silver border & purple flowers. It reads, “25 years & a home. This is God!”

The cake says it all. It’s been a long, hard journey. But by God’s grace and mercy, Ray and I are still together, married 25 years, and we are now home-owners. This truly was the work and miracles of God!

*******
You can read about our very difficult marriage in my book on our marriage, Stained Glass & Marriage: Reflections of Light & Hope by an Imperfect Wife, at Amazon that is on sale now for just 99 cents, by clicking here:

 

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Heather’s college graduation!

Never stop dreaming

Do you have a big dream in your heart? If you’ve heard me speak or write, you know one of my mottos is, “Dream big because we serve a big God!”

Our oldest daughter Heather had a big dream in her heart—to get her college Associate’s degree in Business Administration. And she did it, while working full-time and taking care of her two little girls, Annabelle and Violet!

heather-collegegrad
Our daughter Heather is a college graduate! We are so proud of her!

Heather wanted to quit many times. I encouraged her she would reach the finish line and to keep going. And she did. Ray and I and our family are so proud of her! 

Heather's pretty degree holder
Heather’s pretty degree holder

 

Heather's college degree
Heather’s college degree

Below she is walking across the stage to get her degree. Of course, our family, her girls, her boyfriend Matt, and her friend Lindsey cheered loudly as she did!

Heather in procession
Heather in procession

 

Heather crossing stage to get her degree
Heather crossing stage to get her degree

Below is a great headshot pic of Heather. She looked so beautiful in her cap, tassel, and gown!

Heather in her cap, tassel, and gown
Heather in her cap, tassel, and gown

Heather needed me to come get her phone and purse before the ceremony. I snapped a couple of pics of her and me before she graduated. I’m so excited and happy for her!

Me with my daughter Heather before her college graduation ceremony
Me with my daughter Heather before her college graduation ceremony

 

Heather & me before her graduation ceremony
Heather & me before her graduation ceremony

 

During the graduation ceremony, the speaker asked all  veterans who had served in the military and those serving now to stand up, for us to honor them. Ray served in the U.S. Navy for over 14 years as a combat medic.

Ray honored as a veteran
Ray honored as a veteran

Below is a great pic of our family with Heather: Ray, our daughter Leah, Heather, and me. We’re just missing our middle daughter, Eden, who is in OKlahoma and couldn’t come for the ceremony.

Our family with Heather at her college graduation: Ray, Leah, Heather & me
Our family with Heather at her college graduation: Ray, Leah, Heather & me

Below is a pic of Heather after the ceremony with her two precious girls,Violet and Annabelle.

Heather after her graduation with her 2 girls, Violet & Annabelle
Heather after her graduation with her 2 girls, Violet & Annabelle

Before the ceremony, I took a pic of Violet and Annabelle in their pink dresses by an ice cream freezer at a coffee shop at the church, where the graduation was held. It made such a cute pic!

Violet & Annabelle in their pink dresses
Violet & Annabelle in their pink dresses

Below is a pic of Heather after graduation with her boyfriend, Matt Franklin. They’ve been dating two years now and he was very proud of her, too. 

Heather & her boyfriend Matt after her graduation
Heather & her boyfriend Matt after her graduation

Below is Heather with her friend Lindsey, who has been a great friend to her.

Heather & her friend Lindsey after her graduation
Heather & her friend Lindsey after her graduation

I thought it was funny when my husband Ray told me that Heather had taken a picture with her “friends” at graduation. I said, “What friends? All her classes were online!”

Heather is a social butterfly. She had just met these people at her graduation ceremony and took pics and funny videos with them. I thought it was hilarious. Welcome to the social media world! You can see the long line of graduates in back of them. 

Heather at graduation with peers
Heather at graduation with peers

I gave Heather a little party at her house with family and a couple of friends to celebrate this huge accomplishment.

I ordered a cake from Hy-Vee, which was a white cake with white frosting and inscribed with blue frosting, “You did it, Heather!” It also had a cute little cap and scroll on it for the degree. They did a beautiful job on the cake and it was delicious!

Heather's college graduation cake
Heather’s college graduation cake

I found these adorable, teal-blue “sprinkle” plates and napkins and heart cup decorations to match the cake for the party at the dollar store.

sprinkle-plates
Sprinkle, teal-blue plates and napkins for party

 

Heart cups
Heart cups for party

We had a few tasty snacks like little smokies with BBQ sauce, potato chips, pickles, olives, broccoli with ranch, and Matt’s mom Kay brought yummy salted pretzels, drizzled with caramel. 

Little smokies with bbq sauce
Little smokies with bbq sauce

 

snacks for party
snacks for party

 

Salted pretzels drizzled with caramel
Salted pretzels drizzled with caramel

 

Since Heather loves the ocean like I do, I bought her a silver necklace with a clam pendant and a white stone and a silver bracelet as a gift.

Silver necklace with clam and white stone
Silver necklace with clam and white stone

 

Silver bracelet
Silver bracelet

Matt’s mom Kay bought her a beautiful, sunflower recipe book as a graduation gift. It was very cool!

Heather's sunflower recipe book gift from Kay
Heather’s sunflower recipe book gift from Kay

 

Recipe book gift
Recipe book gift

Here’s a pretty pic of Heather wearing the necklace and bracelet I bought her.

Heather wearing necklace & bracelet I gave her
Heather wearing necklace & bracelet I gave her

Here’s a great pic of Heather, Violet, and our daughter Leah at the little party. I love Heather’s picture of the ocean and stairs in the background. 

Heather, Violet, & Leah at little party
Heather, Violet, & Leah at little party

 

Heather's party with Matt and his mom Kay and our family
Heather’s party with Matt and his mom Kay and our family

 

Heather’s pregnant friend Tiffany came to the party. Her due date is in July. I think pregnant women are beautiful. She looked so cute in her hat. They’ve been friends since they were teens.

Heather & her friend Tiffany
Heather & her friend Tiffany

Her girls enjoyed the snacks. Here’s Annabelle acting silly, eating cake! Her girls were very proud of Heather, too!

Annabelle being silly
Annabelle being silly

 

Violet with cake
Violet with cake

I drew a little sign with a heart (I love hearts!) on the girls’ white board for the party to congratulate Heather.

Congrats sign
Congrats sign

What big dream or goal is in your heart? Whatever it is, you can do it!

God helped Heather to accomplish this amazing dream and goal, even while working full time and taking care of her girls, and He can help you, too! Nothing is impossible with God!

Ray and I are so very proud of Heather! If you would like to bless Heather with a gift for her college graduation (money is always good!), please feel free to do so!

“God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”–Ephesians 3:20, The Message

Heather did it! We're so proud of you!
Heather did it!
We’re so proud of you!
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Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday
My husband Ray and me on his 50th birthday

There’s a lot going on in our family right now. Birthdays, babies, and books, oh my!

My husband Ray had his milestone 50th birthday this week. In the picture above, you see him wearing the “Champ” t-shirt I bought him.

I also made him breakfast (yes, this is quite a feat for me as I hate to cook!), baked him a home-made lime pie (he loves limes), and bought him the t-shirt and work socks. I’m also hosting a birthday bbq for him in August with his friends.

Our daughter Heather bought Ray a new grill and a set of grill tools- an amazing gift! Of course we had to immediately try it out, so last night our kids and grandkids (except for our grandson Jacob, who was in AR) came over for his birthday bbq. Ray grilled his infamous Cajun chicken and corn on the cob.

Heather & Ray with his new grill for his birthday
Heather & Ray with his new grill and grill tools for his birthday

For the birthday bbq, Heather and Eden made home-made, orange-cranberry cupcakes with orange-cranberry frosting and I served Ray’s lime pie. Here’s Eden frosting the cupcakes with her cool baking frosting tool.

Eden looked so pretty in her purple sundress. She’s now about 34 weeks pregnant with her little girl, Piper. We’re all excited about meeting Piper soon!

Eden frosting Ray's cupcakes
Eden frosting Ray’s cupcakes

Aren’t the cupcakes beautiful? Leah said I need to invest in this tool, because mine do NOT turn out this pretty! Eden would like to have her own bakery business one day. Eden added an orange candy slice on top and a moustache as a joke, because I don’t like Ray with moustaches or beards. 

orange-cranberry cupcakes
orange-cranberry cupcakes

Here is Ray about to try one out. He gave his stamp of approval!

Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache
Ray and his cupcake with an orange slice and a moustache

The grill works just great. The chicken and grilled corn on the cob turned out delicious! Everyone loved it and had fun.

Ray's Cajun grilled chicken
Ray’s Cajun grilled chicken
grilled corn on the cob
grilled corn on the cob
Everyone digging in! Left to right: Leah, Heather, Heather's boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden
Everyone digging in!
Left to right:
Leah, Heather, Heather’s boyfriend Matt, Ray, & part of Eden

Our granddaughters (Heather’s girls) Violet and Annabelle and I sat at the kitchen island to eat due to table space in the dining room (above). Annabelle (pictured on the right) is a picky eater, but she loves her papa’s grilled chicken!

Violet and Annabelle at Ray's birthday family bbq
Violet and Annabelle at Ray’s birthday family bbq

Here is a great family picture of us after we ate. I love it!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me
Our family, Ray’s 50th bday
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Eden is eager to have Piper, but Piper doesn’t need to come yet! Eden is supposed to be 34 weeks pregnant, but she and I both think she is further along than that. Eden has already dropped and is dilated 1 cm. Of course, you can be at 1 cm for weeks!

I’m having a baby shower for Eden in late July, but Eden and I have both had dreams that she had Piper early and we don’t think she’s going to make it to her due date in August. Eden has an “owl” theme for Piper’s crib. 

owl theme for Piper's room
owl theme for Piper’s room
owl theme
owl theme

Finally, I’m about to “birth” my new, first ever fiction book, Storm Tossed. It is launching Monday, July 13, 2015, at Amazon.

Storm Tossed

I’m so excited about this. Ray and our youngest daughter Leah have been encouraging me for YEARS to write a fiction book! I had all kind of excuses WHY I couldn’t do this: I’d never written a fiction book before, I’d never taken fiction writing classes, what does plot mean, etc.

I had to tell myself what I’ve told my writer coaching students: “Just do it! No excuses! Write!”

To my surprise, my beta reader reviewers have liked (even LOVED) the eBook, and have given me very positive feedback!

I’m having a Facebook Virtual Book Launch Celebration on July 13, 2015. You can see my video about it by clicking here

Like I said, lots going on with our family right now. Very exciting! What is new with you? Leave your comments below. 

 

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