Friday, June 25, 2010

Future Planning via Grace

One of the reasons I blog is so that I might keep a record of all the happenings of our family. I gave up scrapbooking and journaling along about the time our Connor was born. There was just too many things to do during the day and hours of pasting pictures and journal into albums in a cute fashion was the first thing to go. Then along came blogging....a place where I could write and keep a track of all those special moments in my little world. I try to stay caught up with all of our events but I have to admit that often times my kids say and do things that I let slip through the cracks and those memories get lost in the sea of my forgetfulness. I have decided that I am going make better attempts at making notes of all those things that I know I and my children will treasure as we grow older.
Well, one of those moments happened the other day while Mike was driving with the girls in the car. Emily and Grace were sitting in the back chatting away, as usual. They are truly chatty girls and love to plan for the future. Mike came home with a smile on his face and couldn't wait to inform me of my oldest daughters future plans. Oh I love it that she is thinking to the future so here is what she sees her life like when she "grows up".
First of all she will live near her mom and dad so that she can come and visit alot. Next she will have lots of animals including horses. She will be a veterinarian, caring for all types of animals. She and Emily will also own an ice cream shop but Grace will be the "boss". Grace will close the ice cream shop each week for me and Mike so that we can have our Bible Studies and Small Group Meetings in her shop where she and Emily will serve us all ice cream, free of charge. In addition to this busy life she also wants to have a family and be a mom. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW! My girl has a great life planned and I am praying everyday that she will be a girl who always seeks God's direction for that future, I ask Him to protect her little heart and mind. May her heart and body always remain full of purity and innocence and may God grant her every desire of that little heart. I am so blessed to call her my daughter!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


It is Summertime and I LOVE IT!!! After months of endless complaining about the cold and the snow I am in my glory soaking up the warmth and sunshine. I couldn't be happier. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, I can go outside without 10 layers of clothing, the kiddos can play outside all day. It is just wonderful. We have been quite busy, doctor and dentist appointments galore, VBS, home repairs and lots of yard work. Yes, yard work.....I have never been one that enjoys yard work or gardening but given the fact that the color just explodes out here in the west during the summertime we have wanted to spruce up our yard with some color so we have been digging out and planting some new plants and it has been fun. The kids have even gotten in on the gardening. I can't wait until next year when we hopefully see the fruits of our labor. Here are a few shots of summertime so far.....

These are our iris's which just popped out. They were planted by the previous owners of our house and are such a treat.

We have two bird feeders and absolutely love watching the birds. The birds frequently fly into our large window on the back of the house and here is veterinarian Grace and her assistant Emily nursing a little finch back to health. He survived his accident thankfully.

These next shots are of our trip to a place called Glenwood Springs. We went there a couple of times last summer and loved it so we decided to go again. We swam in the hot springs pool and did a few incredible hikes. The snow was melting therefore the rivers were raging which was a little scary for this mom as we hiked some narrow trails right above that fast moving water. Nevertheless, I am always struck by the incredible detail of God's perfect creation as we get out and enjoy HIS beauty.
Here are the girls after a busy day, enjoying a snack in bed before night, night.

Grace in the hot springs pool
I took this shot last year of the pool. It is amazingly kind of swimming.
On our hike
I had to have my Starbucks
The hikers

Hanging on tight to my girl.

Silly Grace

Serious Grace
Here are some shots of what we saw during our hike

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Cheese Keeps Moving

Just a word of warning this is probably going to be a rather long post. I really don’t intend to be so wordy but sometimes I just have a lot to share….so if you would rather skip the details, here is the condensed version…Beginning in August, I will be entering the working world, the kids will be going back to school full-time and life is going to be beyond crazy. There you have it and if you want the expanded version you can read on…….

The winds of change are blowing once again through the life of our family. Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like change? Well, I don’t….not one bit but for some reason God just continues to “move my cheese”. Most of you who know us and/or read this blog know that 2 years ago, my husband sold his law practice, retired at the age of 49 and we packed up our family and moved across the country. These 2 years have been full of physical, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. I have felt like I am on one of those heart stopping roller coasters most of the time. I have had such a difficult time settling into my new surroundings and new way of living and I stand in amazement of all of you military wives who do this type of thing every 2-3 years. Anyway, one of the decisions we made when moved was to begin homeschooling Cody and Grace. It was something I had said I could NEVER do yet at the time I felt a strong “calling” to give it a try. If you are interested you can read my post about it here. So, shortly after leaving everything I knew and loved, arriving in a place where I knew nothing about my surroundings and only knowing enough people to count on one hand, I began this thing called homeschooling. I embarked on this new endeavor with excitement, energy and determination that I would prove myself wrong in that I COULD do this. In my heart and mind I knew that I was doing what God wanted me to do, I had read everything I could get my hands on and was convinced that this was going to be life changing for my kids and family. Little did I know what was in awaiting me. Without boring you with the details may I just simply say that after the first year, I was spent. Exhausted beyond imagination, frustrated, grumpy, wrought with guilt over what I had failed to accomplished and in all honesty, fighting what I am sure was mild depression. I was lonely and my kiddos were not at all the picture of the close knit family that I had read about in the homeschooling books and magazines. All the things I had dreamed that homeschooling would be had not come to fruition. In all of my efforts something got lost along the way. It just wasn’t working….but why? It seemed to work beautifully for all those around me. I was doing what I thought God had called me to do and trying REALLY hard but I just felt like a square peg in a round hole. So we tweaked the plan a bit and enrolled the kids in a part-time school thinking that it would make the whole experience better. We quickly discovered that while it didn’t make my experience better our kids loved the “real school” days. They made friends quickly, loved their teachers and began to thrive in that environment. Their days at school were great while the days at home were miserable ….they wanted to go to school. LIGHT BULB moment! Our kids needed full-time school but what about all the stuff that I had read about how homeschooled kids are so much better adjusted, protecting them from negative exposure they get in the school environment is the best thing a parent can do as well as the argument that you can do twice as much at home as they do in full-time school. Coupled with the statement that “giving the gift of homeschooling to your kids is the greatest thing you can give them”. I mulled over these things and many more, prayed like I had never before and heaped on some more guilt over my failure. Oh yes, that ulgy guilt thing….we mom’s do guilt well and I was totally consumed by it. That is until God impressed upon my heart that while this lifestyle may be perfect for others it wasn’t for me. I read this passage and was overwhelmed with the fact that we are all created differently and for different purposes as they relate to the Body of Christ. My kiddo’s needed me to just be their MOM, not their teacher and I needed to listen. We had done what we needed to do to give them an easy transition into our new life and it was now time to move on. And I needed to be ok with moving on. Admitting without guilt that I had tried, done the best I could with what I had and trust that God would redeem that which had been lost over the past 2 years. God has equipped some wonderful men and women with the gifts and abilities not to mention a love for teaching kids and allowing those people to give my kids what I could not was something that I needed to trust God to do. It was past the time for me to do what I do best….be a MOM! I LOVE being a mom and for me having to wear the hat of teacher somehow caused me to lose this love. So the decision was made that the kids would go back to school full-time.
In an effort to achieve the best situation for the kids I will be giving up my status as a “stay at home mom” and entering the world of working moms. I have just accepted a part-time office position at the school where we wanted the kids to attend. We feel in love with this particular school and it’s educational philosphy and because of the long wait lists the only way to enroll them was for me to work there. I am very thankful to have been offered a job that is #1 part-time, #2 in the same place where my kids will be and #3 with some really nice people with whom I get work. I am quite anxious as I embark on this new lifestyle wondering how in the world will I do it all….work, taxi service, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands. ….and not to mention having our little guy come home from China right in the midst of it all. I know it won’t be easy but my current thoughts are it has to be better than shouldering the responsibility of educating 3 kids all by myself. So here we go….I am preparing for some bumps in the road but praying to be pleasantly surprised by smooth sailing. If you think of it and would be willing to pray for us as we begin this new endeavor here are some specifics:

• Pray for Grace and her ability to catch up with lightening speed. She is about a year behind and really struggling with reading. We cannot allow her to repeat 1st grade because of her age so she is going to have a really tough year academically. I pray that her self-confidence will stay strong and that she will make lots of new friends and that God will give her a teacher that can come along beside her and birth in her a love for learning, a love that I think I have squashed.

• Pray for Cody and his adjustment into Junior High. Academically he will do fine but I pray that God will place some really nice friends who are kind and helpful in his life right away. I pray that he can stay focused and organized, be able to change classes, keep up with his “stuff”, manage his diabetes while at school and just keep a tight reign on his emotions which sometimes go a little hay wire when he is anxious.

• Emily, pray that she will have a great beginning to her school and not miss her mama too much.

• Me, well that I can be a good time manager and not get overwhelmed with what I know will be one crazy life. Just keeping my head above water is my greatest hope.

• And Mike, pray that God will equip him with the knowledge, insight and willingness to fill in the gaps that are left by my not being able to manage our home and family full-time.

Thanks so much for praying for our family during this transitional time. There is lots of excitement and some fear as well but I am confident that we are doing the right thing for our family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Haircuts

Well, after a couple of weeks of deliberation, and alot of hounding by my man and my daughters I found myself sitting in the salon last night getting my girls long beautiful hair chopped off. I have to say that I had to fight back tears when I looked down at the floor and saw all those locks piled on the floor nevertheless, I thought my princesses screamed of cuteness with their new bouncy bobs. Here are the before and afters......

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inward Living

For the past year the majority of my posting has been of the surface nature….updates and pics on what we have been doing as a family with a sprinkling of a few other topics that I find interesting. But I have written nothing about the condition of my heart. I have always enjoyed writing about how God is moving through my life as a way of bringing attention to my love for my Savior as well as offering encouragement to any reader who might be experiencing a similar circumstance. I also love to go back and read past posts and see the hand of the One who made me revealed in my own life. Nevertheless, those types of posts have been few and far between and I was thinking yesterday after I posted about Grace’s end of the year party that I really haven’t shared anything deeper than the happenings of our family and in all honesty that thought produced some conviction in my heart. It all made me question why I haven’t had anything that I felt was worthy of sharing. Needless to say, while cleaning my house yesterday I did a lot of searching within my soul, did some talking to myself (which I do when I need to process emotions) and then arrived at church last night to hear Gods word speak to the emptiness of my life. Emptiness that hasn’t come from a lack of activity, we have been more than active but there has been a lack of meaning, purpose and direction and for months what I would have testified as a lack of “joy”. This year has been difficult in many ways. I have felt loneliness, isolation, frustration, guilt and the list goes on. And you pack all that onto a miserable cold winter that just seemed to never end. Recently, there have been some added circumstances that have heightened and intensified those emotions, all of which have left me questioning a lot about decisions that have been made and the current state of our life. Having said all of that, I found myself living in a state of the past, thinking about all the things that lay behind me. The life I and my family once knew invades my thinking frequently and I clung to these memories with a death grip convinced that if I could only duplicate those past scenarios’s my joy would return. My life looks and feels so different today than it did just 2 years ago and for the most part I haven’t fully embraced the new life mainly because I didn’t care for it and frankly after 2 years it still doesn’t “feel” like it is “me”. A fish out of water….that has been me. Constant chaos….that’s my life. No intimate connections, little to no personal time to myself, severe lack of private time to connect with my husband and a deep longing for friendship. Pretty sad huh? The downward spiral of negative thinking has left me in a pitiful state. I have made half-hearted “outward” attempts to fix the problem never acknowledging that perhaps I should look a little deeper. I am sure that God has been consistently prodding me to do this but I just wasn’t willing until last night. I sat through worship with an apathetic attitude and even felt distant from what was taking place…it bothered me that I did feel disconnected from the music that brought praise to my God. It was a different service because it was a communion service but I was in no way prepared to hear the words of God and how they would pierce my attitude. Our pastor has been doing a very long series on the Book of John. For the past couple of weeks he has done a mini-series on John 17 which is the prayer that Jesus prayed for us prior to his death. A powerful chapter that will overwhelm you if you digest it as it written, a prayer by God’s Son to His Father for you. Anyway, here are a few highlights from the sermon. It was entitled Inward Living.
Living Inward means this:
Living Joyfully
John 17:13 I am coming to you now but I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have joy within them
Jesus wanted us to have joy.
What is joy? A deep inner sense that GOD IS ENOUGH. It certainly is not a circumstantial exemption card meaning that we aren’t guaranteed that life is always going to be full of outward circumstances that produce ‘joy’.
You can CHOOSE this joy ---which is an inward celebration that HE IS ENOUGH.
The outward stuff may not pleasant but oh if HE is ENOUGH then joy abounds.
We search for happiness but happiness is circumstantial, Joy is not.
Living Nourished
Oh this one was a biggie for me!
John 17:14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them for they are not of the world anymore than I am of the work……:17 Sanctify them by the truth your word is truth.
To live nourished means that we are digesting the amazing food of his Word. My pastor drew an analogy of being at an all inclusive resort where everything was paid for yet one does not take advantage of any of it.
I have been living among lavish banquet tables and buffet lines yet have been severely mal-nourished. I am so ashamed to say that it has been a while since I have fed on HIS Word.
Psalm 19:7 the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. I just love that “reviving the soul”
Oh how my soul needs reviving. I think I have been in soul cardiac arrest for a long time.
Love this one to as it combines the first two points…..The precepts of the Lord are right giving joy to the heart. Psalm 19: 8
Living Loved
John 17:23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have LOVED them even as you have loved me.
I think I get this one. I mean I know that I am loved but do I let the world know that I am loved and do I rest in that pure love every minute of every day. When we know we are loved we act differently. Am I acting loved by My Father?
We ended our service with two beautiful worship songs Breathe and He knows my Name. (If you haven’t heard them you can listen here and here)
And I left determined to work on Living Inward by:
Joyful Living
Nourished Living
Loved Living.
I pray that you will too!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Schools Out

We officially ended the school year a week ago with a wonderful luau celebration with Grace's class at school. As most of you know we homeschool part-time and enjoy the benefit of having a great program that Cody and Grace attend 2 and 3 days a week. This program and the teachers at this school have been a blessing in my life and the lives of my children in so many ways. Despite the constant taxi service accomodating the conflicting schedules of Cody and Grace I have loved it that my kids have experienced the school atmosphere, they have made some wonderful friends and I have had the joy of doing all those "room parent" duties that I love. The interaction with the other moms, teachers and staff have been a ray of sunshine in what has been a very lonely season of life and I couldn't be more grateful for this addition to our homeschooling life. Because of the time lost with the kids being at "school" we still have lots of catch up to do at home so we really won't have a summer break but it will be nice not to be in the car so much. Nevertheless, we hated saying goodbye especially to Grace's teacher and her classroom assistant. Both of whom were very special to Grace this year. Grace's teacher poured into her so much love and affection and I am thankful that Grace had the joy of being in her classroom. Her teacher is re-locating to another state so our goodbyes were difficult but our memories will last forever. Here is a sampling our our end of the year party.....

Grace and Mrs. Emery (I swear they could be sisters)

Grace and her classroom assistant, Mrs. Carver
The next few shots are of Grace and her buddies

The Food....we have had some of the most creative dishes this year.
Grace's teacher had each of the students create a book where their classmate wrote things about each other. Here, Mrs. Emery is reading what Grace's class wrote about one told me to bring the tissues.