Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Shortly after graduating from high school in May, I (Katey) was blessed to be able to take a special celebratory trip to Niagara Falls with my daddy.  It was by far the most memorable trip I’ve ever taken.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Daddy before the busyness of young adult life sets in.  We took as many pictures as we could, but quickly realized that pictures simply don’t justify the awe-inspiring magnificence of God’s creation.

I thank God for the wonderful trip that He gave us, and more importantly, I thank Him for such a loving, caring, Christ-like father who has blessed me and encouraged me more than anyone else.  I love you, Daddy!

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),  so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

~Ephesians 6:1-3

Secrets, Surprises, and Celebrations!

Secrets, Surprises, and Celebrations!

It’s hard to believe that the month of May has come and gone.  The past few weeks have been especially busy around here as they have contained a graduation, two birthdays, and a surprise party!  Let me first explain the title of this post.  Secrets- many secrets have been floating around our house lately whether they have related to a birthday gift or the plans to throw a surprise party for a certain 50 year old (DAD!)  Surprises- It goes without saying that a 50th birthday surprise party *must* be kept a surprise!!  It’s actually quite funny that Dad was preparing a surprise graduation video for me while I was working on a surprise birthday gift for Kerry who was planning a surprise party for Dad!  Yikes!  Celebrations- We enjoyed celebrating my graduation along with Kerry’s and Dad’s birthdays, all within about a week!

For the past couple months we have been plotting a surprise birthday party for my dad. (Note: my dad is EXTREMELY hard to surprise and very suspicious, which added to the stress fun!)  We decided to disguise the party as a graduation party for me (technically it was for both of us, but he of course was oblivious to that little detail!)

My job was to distract the birthday boy for a few hours on Saturday (party day!).  The humorous part is that he thought he was taking me out to distract me while “my” party decorations were being set up! 😉

 

Distraction time!

 

Laying tape at the hangar earlier that day (another distraction!)

 

A graduation table set up for the party :)

 

After they yelled “SURPRISE!”

 

 

 

 

Watching a birthday slideshow for Dad.

 

My dad’s cousin, Marty, is an AMAZING pastry chef.  He made cakes for both of us!  Dad’s was a chocolate mousse cake (containing 8 different types of chocolate!) and mine was strawberry cheesecake 😀

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Marty with his cakes

 

 

Dad’s good friend Richard brought him a raspberry pie…take a closer look!

 

How cool is that?!! 0x32 is the number 50 in hexadecimal format.  Yep, they’re really smart!!

 

A party just isn’t the same without a…confetti cannon!!

Kerry and Joy

 

 

Then came Dad’s actual birthday…

 

 

 

Whew!  We sure had fun with all these surprises, but it’s nice to be back to non-whispering-and-suspicious mode. 🙂 Now everything is finally out in the open around here…no secrets!!

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.” ~ Psalm 62:7

Katey’s Graduation!

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The Graduate

Tonight we gathered to celebrate Katey’s graduation from high school. I had anticipated this milestone in Katey’s life for many years but am amazed at how fast it came!  The ceremony was sponsored by Arizona Families for Home Education and was a fitting tribute to each student and their families for their hard work in training up children in the nurture and admonition of The Lord.  I appreciated the charge given by Congressman Trent Franks to honor The Lord in everything.

As a father, I could not be more proud of Katey as I have been blessed to witness the mighty hand of God at work in her life, especially over the last four years. We made the transition from public schooling to teaching our children at home just four years ago, as Katey was about to begin her freshman year. That decision was met with “Dad, you are RUINING MY LIFE!” as you might imagine.  It was tough, just like we expected it to be, but God, in His faithfulness, began to transform her heart almost immediately.  He took a 13 year-old girl who was concerned only with being accepted by the world, and brought forth a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Now begins a new path in her life as she seeks opportunities to minister to and serve others during her single years.

Join us as we celebrate His work and His faithfulness in and through Katey.

“Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.”

Ephesians 5:15-21

ATI Family Conference – 2016

ATI Family Conference – 2016

Last month we had the privilege of attending the annual ATI Family Conference held in Big Sandy, Texas.  We look forward to this trip each year as we anticipate solid messages and heartening fellowship with old and new friends alike.

Before I discuss what actually happened at the conference, let me back up to a few days beforehand.  We had initially planned to fly ourselves (Dad being the pilot of course) to the conference, but after observing some hazardous weather patterns, decided that might not be the safest choice. So the Saturday before the conference (which started on Tuesday evening), we made last-minute plans to fly commercially to Dallas/Fort Worth then to Longview where we would rent a car and drive to Big Sandy.  In accordance with our plan, we boarded a plane *early* Sunday morning.  After sitting in a plane on the tarmac for two hours, we were informed that the flight was going to be canceled because of the aforementioned storm.  Disappointed, we headed home, not quite sure what to do next. After all, it was too late to drive at this point.  A short while later, it was decided that we would fly in our plane to Odessa, TX (which was just outside the wall-of- a-storm) and, well, figure out the rest when we got there!  I think we were all just eager to begin our vacation!  So we made it to Odessa and, upon weather-watching the following morning, opted to rent a car and drive seven hours to our precious destination.

Praise the Lord, that we arrived safe and sound, and were able to enjoy a wonderful week at the conference!  Now enough words!  The pictures speak for themselves!

 

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All aboard! …wait never mind!

 

Plan B

 

Ready for take off!

Ready for take off!

 

Our quarters!

Our quarters!

 

At the Odessa terminal, the Wildcatter! Good times! Odd name, fabulous service.

At the Odessa terminal, the Wildcatter! Good times! Odd name, fabulous service.

 

 

On the drive to Big Sandy, we spotted a Golden Chick!!! If you've never been, you are missing out!! I believe they only have them in OK and TX! Golden Chick may even rival Chick-fil-a!

On the drive to Big Sandy, we spotted a Golden Chick!!! If you’ve never been, you are missing out!! I believe they only have them in OK and TX! Golden Chick may even rival Chick-fil-a!

 

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On Monday night, we had the privilege of meeting the Thomas family from Georgia.  We enjoyed playing countless rounds of Spoons with the Thomases and the Ciampis (our fellow Arizonan friends).  Afterwards we headed to the volleyball court to join the ongoing game before calling it a night.  That was definitely the best night of the week for many of us!

 

Lauren and I enjoyed spending time with our good friend, LiliAnna, during the conference days.

Lauren and I enjoyed spending time with our good friend, LiliAnna, during the conference days.

 

The Convention Center

The Convention Center

 

It was so sad to leave after an amazing and refreshing week, but we were grateful to have such faithful friends to bid us farewell!

 

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“Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

~ Hebrews 10:25

Oklahoma!

17,000 feet above Texas

God gave us a beautiful flight Saturday morning as we made our way to visit the Beasley family in Oklahoma this last weekend.

The heavens declare the Glory of God!

Shortly after arriving, the girls were able to visit a farm and help feed some of the animals while Mr. Beasley and I went to Ardmore to get fuel. After we returned, Mrs. Beasley treated us to the best brisket sandwich I have ever had.

The Farm

Great Friends

We spent the afternoon playing volleyball, soccer, and Bible Pictionary. Sunday morning we were blessed to be able to join the Beasleys and five other families in a fellowship gathering. We sang hymns, prayed, and shared thoughts from Scripture. It was so nice to meet everyone!

Bible Pictionary

Laura and Katey

LiliAnna and Lauren

Unfortunately, we had to make our way back to the airport a bit sooner than expected in order to try and avoid some bad weather that was rolling in. Again, God granted us safety and discernment as we made our way back to Arizona.

Ready to go…

Our Farewell

Although our time was short, we were greatly blessed by our visit. Thank you, Beasley family!