Big Sandy Family Conference 2017

Big Sandy Family Conference 2017

We just returned from yet another uplifting and refreshing ATI Family Conference.  The theme of this year’s conference was Trust in the Lord.  Throughout the week, we heard messages that challenged us to put our trust in Him in all things (finances, purity, relationships, parenting,  etc.).  While each sermon was centered on trusting the Lord, every message was unique in the way the speaker conveyed trust, providing for an edifying conference. 

As usual, we were thrilled to reunite with old friends and meet many new ones.  One of my highlights, was when we sang the traditional closing song of “When We See Christ”.  Though some of us are but strangers to one another, a true spirit of unity permeates each heart as we sing that treasured hymn every year.  It reminds us that we are all in the fight together with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  I think of the verse in 1 Peter that reads: “But resist him [the devil], firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”   I suppose that bond of fellowshp is one of the many things that make our annual trip to the conference so special.

It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus. Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ.  

One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race, til’ we see Christ!

 

Let us run the race together, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith”

-Katey, for the Nakatsus

When Trees Give You Lemons…

When Trees Give You Lemons…

make lemonade!! And might I add, the best lemonade you’ll ever try!  We’re so blessed to live around many citrus trees (orange, lemon, grapefruit, tangelo…).  While most of our trees produce oranges, we do have one lemon tree that yielded quite a crop this year.  Interestingly, Arizona is one of two states  that produce the most lemons.  The other is California.  Our favorite thing to do with fresh lemons is squeeze them and freeze the concentrate so that we (and other appreciative consumers) can enjoy the delicious lemonade year-round!

 

What fruits/veggies grow where you all live?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

– Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

Greer 2016

IMG_6389This is my first post so leave a reply if you would like! Two weeks ago, our family was blessed to be able to enjoy some time in the beautiful White Mountains of northern Arizona. We stayed in a little town called Greer that has only a couple of restaurants and one tiny grocery store, the Lazy Trout. When we think of Greer, we think of cool weather, incredible storms, and a pretty forest.
Prior to us heading to Greer, we actually had no plans of leaving town over the Labor Day weekend. However, after looking at my school schedule, and realizing that we had taken Labor Day off, we started brainstorming what we could do for the next three days. The thought of heading to Greer came to us instantly, so we prayed about this decision and thanked God for this sudden opportunity to get away for some family fun!
We packed our bags quickly while dad made a flight plan, and then we took off. We arrived at the Springerville airport 40 minutes later and were able to borrow a car, which happened to be an old police car! ☺ Had we driven, it would have taken us 4-1/2 hours!
Once we arrived at our little cabin (called Aspen), we unloaded our things and enjoyed wearing jackets outside ☺! Later, we were fortunate to be able to move to the vacant Willow cabin that overlooked a little meadow. It was so quaint and cozy. After putting our stuff away, we took a walk around the campsite and then walked across the street where we enjoyed the swings and teeter-totter. That night, we enjoyed dinner at Molly Butler’s Lodge!
The next day was our first and last full day in Greer, as it really was a short weekend. That day was filled with walking on trails, painting out in the meadow (which was nice, but the wind didn’t help!), and me getting some experience behind the wheel! ☺ We also enjoyed spending time in our cabin together.
The next morning, we departed for home with joyful hearts after a short, but wonderful stay in Greer!

“Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy” – Psalm 96:12

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 him 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