Friday, March 31, 2006

Fri 3/31--Thank you

To the ladies of AOL's Giving Tree Talk board, thank you for the Walmart gift card. It was a sweet contribution to my grocery bill last night! :)

To the anonymous donor(s) at Rose Heights, we are blessed by your love offering. Thank you!! It's hard to know what words to use when things are done anonymously, but please know how much we appreciate your gift. We haven't chosen a particular use for it yet, but we want you to know, we will be good stewards of it.

Friday March 31--Rewards

So many people have patted us on the back & told us that we're saints or angels or something to that effect. My response to all of them is generally the same --- don't crown me yet! I hate that people are seeing Larry & I in this and not the Lord. If you heard a piano being played beautifully, would you go up & talk to the piano afterward, praising it for its wonderful music? Of course not! You'd praise the one who played the piano! Similar to that, please don't praise Larry & I for the "great thing" we're doing here; praise the One who gave us life....the One who gives us the strength to rise every morning & start another day.....the One who created these beautiful children we get to watch grow and change.

In Genesis 15:1, it says: 1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward."

Wow! Now THAT is the kind of reward I want! GOD is my very great reward! What better reward can we imagine??? I long for the day that I can reach out & touch His face, hug Him close, sit in His lap & have Him hold me close. What a joyful time that will be!

I was listening to a new Paul Baloche CD tonight & heard this song. I've enjoyed it for a long time, but hearing it tonight while pondering all of this brought it out in a new light to me.

My Reward

I want to hear You say the words to me "Well done". I want to hear you say "Good and faithful servant". I want to hear you say "I've prepared a place for you." Let all the treasures of this world fall away.

Chorus: Jesus, you are my reward! To hear Your voice on that day is all I'm living for. Jesus, you are my reward. To see your face on that day is all I'm living for.

In the twinkling of an eye, we'll all be changed! We'll meet You in the sky, we'll see you face to face!


Jesus, all I'm living for. Jesus, all I'm living for.

This is so true! We are so unworthy of the praise we're receiving. The only one who deserves praise here is God Himself! If not for Christ, Larry & I wouldn't be able to pull this off. He is so good, so faithful, so sweet & tender, so intimate, so precious to us. It is our greatest prayer that Andrew & Kourtney, as well as our bio children (& all those reading this journal) would see God in our lives and honor Him for all He is!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thurs 3/30

Yesterday was Samuel's 6th birthday. After cake for breakfast (our little birthday morning tradition around here) & then cupcakes at school w/ his class, I do believe Samuel was adequately sugared up! He had a good day! Hard to believe the little stinker is SIX!

Before going to bed last night, Kourtney announced to me that she wants to start calling me "mama". It stopped me in my tracks, because I never expected that, but I can't tell her she CAN'T call me that. I told her she was welcome to call me whatever she wanted to call me. She just giggled & said "MAMA!". I teasingly started calling her "daughter" instead of Kourtney & she thought that was really funny. This morning at breakfast, I wondered if the new name would stick. She woke up & one of the first things she said to me was "good morning mama". I just grinned & said "Good morning, daughter". Again, it brought out all sorts of silly giggles. I'm not sure if she really plans to stick with this or not b/c she always seems to giggle when she says it, as if she is just saying it as a joke.....and she's alternately called me mama & Aunt Liz all day, so who knows. I did ask her last night what she was going to call her mom now if I was to be "mama". She just giggled again & said she'd become "Aunt Liz". I said "no, silly.... I am Aunt Liz" & she said "No, you're mama". I guess I'll let it go & just see if it continues. While I want to feel like she's totally bonded & loves me, I don't want to take the place of Kelly.....but I'm not sure where that balance is. She did mention missing her today, so I know she's not forgetting her at all.....I guess she's just trying to work through what I am to her now & this is part of that transitional time. ???

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tues 3/28 PM

Tonight was Andrew's school program. He did really well! He was enthusiastic & really "into" the songs and movements. I've got pictures if you want to see! After the musical, it was time for open house. He walked us through the school, showing us all the important things--- cafeteria, PE playground, bathrooms, office, library, etc.

When we got home, I read a book (individually) to A&K called "Remembering Mama". It is one of the many children's books we've gotten from the library about dealing w/ death. They both really liked this one. I may buy a copy to keep since we have to give this one back. After reading it, Kourtney told me she remembers her mama liking art. I never knew this! When I read the book to Andrew, I asked him about it & he said that his mom had a couple of little art kits with some sort of picture & markers that you color. I'm guessing it's maybe a color by number sort of thing? I asked him if he could remember some other things about his mom. He shook his head, but then asked me to pat his back til he fell asleep like his mama used to do. I layed down on his bed & patted for a while, while we talked. He told me that he likes looking at pictures of his mom & pointed to the ones we had printed for him. (Thanks again for the idea, Nikki! Good move!) He said he wished that she could've been at the musical last night & almost looked teary-eyed when he said it. Thank you, God....we're getting somewhere. :*(

Keep praying for these little guys, everyone. I appreciate all the prayers thus far!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tues 3/28

Sunday was very busy, so I never got a chance to post. Oops!

Yesterday wasn't much better. At 4am, Kourtney crawled into bed with me to cuddle. I love it when she does this! Sure seems like she's bonding w/ me when she's willing to come snuggle in the wee hours. (sniff, sniff....i love the little sweetie!) About 4:30, when my left arm was completely numb & I needed to go potty, I woke her up & sent her back to her bed. ;) Then at 5:00am, Savannah started crying out "mommy, I need you!". I got up & went to her & found that she was burning up....fever! She said her throat was sore, so I got her some Ibuprofen & a water bottle w/ ice water. She went back to sleep & so did I. Usually if she's got fever and/or a sore throat, I can go ahead & assume it's strep throat. I figured I'd give her that 1 dose of Ibuprofen & see if the fever returned when it wore off. That should've hit about 1:00pm. All morning, she was fine. At 1:30 (while we were in the waiting room at A&K's counselor's office), she layed down on the bench & fell asleep. Over an hour later when she woke up, her fever was back. We went to the doc's office & at 4:00 when we got there, her fever was 103! Poor baby! And just as I figured....she has strep throat! Ouchy! Here we are, nearly 24 hours later. After 2 doses of the antibiotic (so far) & a couple more doses of Ibuprofen, she seems "all better". She's perky & full of energy.

Andrew & Kourtney's counseling appointments went well. They really liked the lady & love her office---full of toys & fun stuff!

Today, Sarah & Kourtney went on to school alone (my mom took them). I hope they've done well. I'll go to pick them up in about an hour.

Tonight is Andrew's school program. He's a little nervous, but I know he'll do great! Can't wait!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Sat 3/25

Yesterday morning, Kourtney woke up & said her tummy hurt. No sooner had she swallowed a sip of milk than it came back up. She carried a big plastic bowl around the rest of the day, slept a lot & didn't each much of anything after that. The not eating at mealtime is definately unusual for her because she's usually a big eater. This morning (Sat), she turned down donuts for 1 piece of buttered toast. Hmm....something's definately up. I really believe it's a matter of her nerves getting to her because she continued to play yesterday & act normal....other than just looking sad. :(

Today will be very full. From 9:00-10:00am, we have Andrew's soccer game. Then we will run pick up our Angel Food (from Angel Food Ministries, if you don't know about it, ask me!), then we will run home, put the food in the freezer/fridge, eat a fast lunch, throw on Savannah's costume & get out the door. We have to be at the dance competition at 11:30. Luckily, however, it's next door at the High School, so we don't have far to go to get there! Her dance is at 12:30 & then she'll get an award & we'll come HOME! whew! By then, we'll all need a nap! This afternoon, all the kids want to ride bikes, so I'm sure we'll drag those out after naptime & everyone will play outside til supper/bathtime.

Pray for me today, as I'm doing this alone. Larry had signed up for a DivorceCare training session in Arlington months ago, so he'll be gone all day long today. They left the church parking lot at 5:30am!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Prayers Thurs 3/23

Tonight I felt the urging to begin praying for G specifically. I will be doing that in the coming days & urge you to join me.
And for all you prayer warriors out there who've asked for specific requests for the rest of us, here is an update:
Larry--- needs prayers for his physical health. His back is still giving him fits. He's had 2 (or 3?) epidural injections now without any real lasting relief. He's doing some chiropractic work now, but the chiro doc didn't seem to feel too promising about how much he could help. He may be headed to surgery, and while that's not the end of the world, we would like to avoid going under the knife if possible. Continue to pray for Larry as he deals with balancing work and home. He has been doing very well & not overdoing anything in any area, so I pray that this continues.
Savannah---needs prayer for compassion & patience & strength. She's doing really well with the adjustment to A&K's presence in our home, but the stress that she's been feeling has really brought out the worst in her tone of voice & words lately. I think this is just a matter of acting out due to the stress, so please bathe her heart and tongue in prayers.
Andrew---needs prayers as he will visit the therapist for the first time on Monday. Bind Satan from that counseling room, pray for God to give him a special openness with the therapist and a willingness to share things and start to work through the pain & struggles of this whole situation. Also, continue to pray for spiritual breakthroughs in Andrew's life. I think he's really "on the verge" and I know that having an intimacy with God could phenomenally & remarkably change who Andrew is & how he deals with things every day.
Samuel---needs prayers for protection of his heart. While he's always been more drawn to obvious, outward sins (while the girls tend toward the quiet, hidden ones), having a new "partner in crime" in the house hasn't helped any. We're working to teach Andrew the way we do things here & Samuel's struggling to keep the things he's learned from Andrew. Granted, nothing is horrible or vile.....but there are a few behaviors that I'd rather skip over entirely.
Kourtney---needs prayers to finally let down her guard & "get it all out". She's had several instances of almost bursting into tears (in sadness about her mom), but she always sucks it up at the last minute & doesn't let it out. I know that she really needs to grieve and I think that will start with an outpouring of tears & emotion. I hate to see her go through it, but I think it's necessary.
Sarah---needs continued prayers for her little wounded spirit. She is still feeling the brunt of "losing" some of mommy's time/energy. I've been making every effort to make sure that all the kids get some one on one attention....but she's just used to getting MORE of it. Today at school, she wanted to come sleep in my room so I let her. Once she gets that security thing going, she's fine...but she's still working through some hurt feelings here.
Me---I suppose I have to open myself up here, too, huh? Ok....I need prayers for my physical strength & energy levels & sleep habits. I haven't slept too normally in the past 6 weeks or so. Things seem to go in cycles of really rough days or really good ones. I'm grateful that the 'really good' ones are coming more & more frequently, but the tough ones seem to be REALLY tough. I guess I can see why some people numb their pain & struggles with alcohol or pills. I just use food myself. :) None of us have it all figured out & unless we leave the stress & struggles at the feet of Christ, we're not doing ourself any good worrying or partaking of our vice to try to comfort ourselves! Pray for me to quit seeking out another comfort measure...and to take it all straight to the throne and LEAVE it there.
THank you for your continued love, prayers & support. We appreciate it all!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Girls morning on the town!

This morning I took Sarah & Kourtney shopping at a local resale shop owned by a good friend & member of our singles group @ church. Let me just say....I spent more than I planned to....but it was worth it...and I could go back & spend just as much on the boys! The girls thought it was fun to go try on clothes & shoes & such. Now that this shopping trip is done, all three girls have an Easter dress and a couple of spring/summer outfits.

We had to go to a dancewear shop to buy a specific kind of pantyhose for Savannah to wear in this weekend's dance competition & later the recital. While I was paying, the girls hopped up onto the stage area (in the store) and locked arms & started doing high kicks. They were a hoot to watch! The store's owner was there giggling with me & commenting on how cute the little dancers were.

After we shopped, we went to El Chico's for lunch. I figured that was about as much of a "fancy lunch out" as we could handle. The girls were sooo good & ate like little ladies (well, mostly...). While I was taking a drink, Kourtney asked me a funny question. We had talked about this being a Mexican restaurant & she picked up her fork, eyeballed it & said "Aunt Liz, is this a Mexican fork?". I think I spewed Dr. Pepper half way across the table. I made sure to let her know that it was actually an American fork, but it would work for Mexican food. :) Silly goose!

Ahhhh....the fun of having both girls at home with me! What would I do without them?

Wed 3/22

The lyrics to a song we sing at church keep running through my mind this morning. I can't find the lyrics online, so we're going to have to go from memory here (yikes....kinda scary!). Hopefully I don't butcher it.

Will you worship?

Will you worship, will you bow down before the Lord & King? Will you love Him, will you give Him your heart, your everything?

Right here & now, I'm making my vow...and forever, I will worship you.

I will bow down. I will kneel down before the Lord & King. I will love you. I will give you my heart, my everything.

I can't help but think that God is asking us (& all the family involved here) "Will you worship?" even when it's not easy? And my answer to that is YES!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tues 3/21

Yesterday was our first day with Kourtney at home w/ Sarah & I. She loved it! We took the big kids to school & went to the elementary school to request teachers for next fall.

When we got home, we made cookies & muffins (at the girls' requests!) and then worked in some workbooks. They loved doing it, but Kourtney didn't seem to understand how to do the hidden pictures pages or the ones where you look at a row of pictures & pick out one that is different. That's ok, though...she had fun anyway & we'll keep working on it! :) They watched a Princess movie and then ate lunch before taking a nap/quiet time. When we picked up the kids from school, she was all giddy to tell them about her day!

Today she went with Sarah & I to our "school" (Mother's Day Out program). She loved it! She was nervous & clung to me every time our classes were together, but in between she seemed to have a BALL! At naptime, I peeked into their room (it's right next door to mine) & she was on the mat with her blanket covering her before anyone else & she totally crashed! In the month since she's been here, she's only taken a nap mid-day once, so seeing her totally pass out & sleep for close to 2 hours blew my mind! I'm glad she fell asleep, though....lying there awake, feeling nervous might've been harder! She & Sarah made "mouse ears" today with their class and played a game, read a story, had music class, recess outside (with my class), lunch in their classroom & then naptime. She handled it all really well.

Today, Andrew got in trouble at school for the first time. Well, not really "trouble" per se, but he had to change his color, which is the equivalent of having to be fussed at. He didn't have to go to the office or anything, though! Apparently he was reading during a teaching time & the teacher fussed at him for not paying attention. (shhh....I'm a little bit tickled that he was READING something as reading is NOT a favorite pasttime of his! of course he needed to pay attention, though....) Also today, he swatted a classmate on the bottom. He claims that they walked into his hand....hmmm.....I don't think I'm buying that version of the story, though.

Aside from that, he seems to be doing well in school. His grades are good & he's doing his homework religiously every day like a good boy. His spelling word sentences are pretty fun to read, too. Most of them are funny, but yesterday he had one that made me sad. The spelling word was "gone" & he wrote "My mom is gone." :::sniff, sniff:::

Tonight we're all venturing out to the church for DivorceCare. DC is a class that Larry & I work in to sort through the emotions & struggles surrounding a divorce. It's such a vital ministry. I enjoy going but have had to miss the past month or so of it. Larry has continued the ministry with his other leaders in my absence, but I'm anxious to jump back in as I can. The boys & I went last week while the girls were at mom's for their sleepover. The kids LOVE it b/c it means that they get to go & play video games in the children's church room for 1.5 hours. WooHoo!

More later...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Growing & moving on....

This weekend we had a few "break through" moments with the kids.

On Saturday, Savannah really had a lot of questions for me about Andrew & Kourtney's past. I answered everything honestly & she cried in compassion for them. She knew why they were living here, but hearing some more about their lives up until now made her sad.....and gave her a more loving slant for them now.

Andrew & I talked on Saturday evening about his mom & dad. He got out his journal while we were talking & started drawing something. I left the room for him to go to bed with him still drawing. I went in later to turn off the lamp & found his journal on the bed beside him. He had drawn a car hitting a tree & titled it "Mom and dad crash". On another page, he had written something about how he & Kourtney were his mom's shining stars. :::sniff, sniff::: Progress in the grieving process.....sad, but oh so necessary.

Kourtney got a new bed this weekend! The little metal daybed we had when she got here was already wobbly & not too sturdy, so when it started coming apart in pieces, we decided it was time to get rid of it! She is soooo excited about her new wooden daybed. It's very pretty, too! I think that she is still a little stunned that we've bought new beds for both kids' rooms & have gotten her new clothes, etc.

I still wonder how much A&K "get" about their new home & family. I don't know how deeply they understand the permanence of this situation. Continue praying for their understanding in that.

At church last night, I noticed that Andrew was opening up a piece of paper he'd had in his pocket. It had a Bible verse written on it (his handwriting). It was a verse from Hebrews that says "He will never leave me". That about threw me into tears....whether he was instructed to write that down in SS class or if he wrote it down himself, he's writing it....and we all know that writing something helps to drive it into our brains! (& hopefully into our hearts!)

While seeing him with that paper, we were singing a song that seemed so incredibly significant. I love the song already, but in light of our new family situation, it was especially poignant at that moment. It is my prayer for all of my kids! Here are the lyrics to the chorus. God, help my babies all yearn for you!

by shane barnard

Chorus: Lord i want to yearn for You. i want to burn with passion over You and only You. Lord i want to yearn.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday March 18

Sorry it's been several days. We keep having lightening in the late evening (when I usually would get online) so I keep missing my window of oppurtunity to make an entry.

On Thursday, I had to work so mom took Savannah & Kourtney to her house for the day and a friend from church took the boys for the day. I'm not sure who had more fun... the girls earned MONEY for picking up sweetgum balls in mom's yard and got to go on a trail ride to the pond. The boys went to Toys R Us, a wildlife museum/park and Dairy Queen for icecream & playtime. What a day! I wish I'd been off work to do all that fun stuff myself!

On Friday night, we had a birthday party for my mom at my sister's house. I think A&K are officially initiated into the family now. Between the me & my sisters' families and my mom, there were 19 of us there. Then for dessert, we had several of mom's friends join us, so there were a good 25 people in the house, then! They seemed to have a ball & joined right in with all the video game playing, trampoline jumping, basketball hoop shooting, etc. What a party! :)

Today, we spent the morning at the church painting our SS classroom with several other class members. The kids had a ball watching movies & playing together in the room next to us. We're all resting now for an evening of fun room cleaning. (oh boy!)

Oh....a couple of days ago, Andrew said something to me that really surprised me! We've had the week off for Spring Break & one night, Andrew commented to me that he couldn't wait to get back to school. When I asked him why, he said he really likes it & can't wait to get back to a routine. I guess things are a little too wild & wooly around here for him during breaks from school. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wed March 15

This morning, Samuel & Andrew were talking about how cool it would be to have a time machine. Andrew said "Yeah, I'd want to go back & see how my mom died." This is one of the first comments he's made about her dying....and I found it odd that he didn't say 'I'd like to go back & save my mom from dying.' Anyway, he asked me a question or two about how she died, so I was as honest as I could be & explained her injuries to him. He took it very matter of factly & just moved on. I'm glad. I figure being up front about everything is the best way to handle things because if you remove all the mystery from it, it won't be scary. And like they always say, not knowing is harder than knowing. I think that holds true here. After we talked about Kelly's injuries, Andrew said he wanted to go see where the wreck happened.
Larry got home about 11:00 & we took off. We had to go pick up the girls (who all spent the night with my mom last night) and then headed to Palestine, where we visited with G at the jail. It was such a sad place to be. The tiny waiting room was crammed full of families with little bitty children. How awful that all these sweet kids are having to go there to visit a father/mother/sister/brother. A&K don't seem to grasp that this is really unusual. They were just excited to see their dad. It's funny how innocent children are & how they're proud of mom/dad no matter what they do or who they are. When I stepped into the visiting room, Kourtney was jumping up & down, pointing & saying "there's my dad! there's my dad!" as if she was pointing out a movie star. I'm glad that their relationship is still good & she's happy to see her dad, but at the same time, saddened that it has to be done this way. We only had a 30 minute visit & he spent most of that time talking to the kids.
When we left the jail, we went to the site of the wreck. The kids were all interested in the neon orange paint on the road marking where they van came to rest after the accident, the tree that was hit, the pine straw that is still bunched up in a little pile from where the tires landed. Larry asked the kids if they had any questions. Andrew didn't, but Kourtney said she did. Rather than a question, she went into a speech about how this was just an accident...that mommy & daddy loved her...and that her mommy is watching over her now. I guess she just felt the need to clarify all that for us. :)
Then we went to the cemetary to visit Kelly's grave. As we pulled into the cemetary, Kourtney said something & sounded like she was about to burst into tears, but she quickly perked back up & never cried. I'm still not really sure what it was she said, though. We pulled up right beside Kelly's grave & went over to sit on the ground beside it. The kids & I read the little grave marker & realized that tomorrow would've been her birthday. I think we're going to go get some balloons & release them. The kids want to send balloons to Heaven for mommy. Kourtney actually wants to get a BUNCH of balloons & attach a birthday cake to the bottom for mommy, but somehow I don't think we can get that many balloons! <giggle> We walked around the cemetary picking all the little wildflowers & put them onto Kelly's grave. We had to dispel the theory that if you step on a grave the person inside will come out & get you (not sure who told them that one!)....but we did tell them that it's not respectful to intentionally walk all over a grave, so they learned some cemetary etiquette today as well.
By the time we left the cemetary, we were all needing a little break from the emotion-filled things of the day, so we went over & spent some time at Larry's dad's house. The kids got a couple of more toys they'd left behind and we packed a big box full of movies that they'd left when they moved last month. (I made sure to LEAVE a few of the ones we picked through....sorry, R-rated movies for the kiddies! Yikes!)
After our visit, we headed home. :::yawn::: It's been a long day.
On a sweet note, it's been really neat to see Andrew learning to love the Kids Praise music CD I got them. He loves the song "All the Earth Will Sing His Praises". I'm including the lyrics below (or as many as I can remember anyway!). Every time it comes on, he says "I love this song! Turn it up!"
I have to work tomorrow & the kids are on Spring Break, so mom is going to take Savannah & Kourtney to her house for the day and a friend from church is watching the boys for me. Sarah & I will have a Western Day at school (while we study Texas). Kourtney will start Mother's Day Out with us on Tuesday.
So there ya have it....our crazy day! Time to head to bed!
All the Earth Will Sing His Praises
Chorus: You lived. You died. You said in 3 days you would rise. You did. You're alive! You rose, you reign. You said you're coming back again. I know, you will, and all the earth will sing your praises. (drum solo) All the earth will sing your praises. (drums) All the earth will sing your praises.
You took, you take, our sins away, oh God. You give, you gave your life away for us. You came down, you saved us through the cross. Our lives are changed because of your sweet love.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Mon March 13

This morning has been hectic. I told the kids (when they woke up) that they could take a trip to the Discovery Science Place today if they could all get their rooms straightened. Two hours later, while still bickering & fussing over their messy rooms, they lost their chance at going to the DSP. We'll see if we can pull it off tomorrow. Instead of going there, we got the rooms cleaned up & then made a trip to the post office & grocery store.

I've gotta tell ya.....the grocery store trip was an adventure! HA HA!!!!!! Sorta like turning loose a herd of wildcats in a catfood factory. Somehow, I did make it out of the store with all the things I went for (just a couple bags' worth) and without anyone losing a limb.

Despite all the chaos of the morning, the kids are playing nicely in the backyard now.'s nice to see them being SWEET to each other, sharing the toys, helping each other build a big ol' mudpie! I guess that's the way it works---happy moments & hectic ones that make ya want to scream---that's all part of being a family. I'm so glad this one is my family.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 11 "Trust & Obey"

I am sorry that I haven't posted in several days. I've had some things on my mind & felt it best not to post while I was nervous & frustrated all at the same time. The things that were burdening me have passed....and while those things didn't turn out the way I hoped, I must trust that it's all part of God's plan for Andrew & Kourtney -- and all the rest of us!

Things have been busy, hectic, crazy, exhausting......and worthwhile. I won't candy-coat it....things around here are hard. Don't let anyone ever tell you that adding two new children (who aren't newborns) to a home is easy. It's not. But I'm so glad they're here! This coming week will make 1 month since they arrived in our home & in that short time, I have seen changes in all of us. Trying to get everyone to cooperate & not fight 24/7 is tough, but I keep reminding myself that we can't hold A&K to the same expectation as our own kids, because they're not our own and we haven't had the past 5-7 years to train them to live up to the expectations we have for our kids.

There are moments that I struggle to keep my focus on Christ and I find my fuse shortening, but God has been good in reminding me in that moment how much He loves me...and how strong He makes me.

Tonight, this song kept going through my mind, so I looked up the lyrics online. It's an old hymn, but certainly one that applies here. It is called "Trust and Obey". Hope you enjoy it.

Trust and Obey

When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
Let us do His good will;
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Chorus: Trust and obey, For there's no other way, To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.


But we never can prove
The delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favour He shows
And the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

It's official

I emailed the school counselor last night about pulling Kourtney out of PreK & she, too, raved about how good this would be for Kourtney. That was another strong confirmation for me! I'm so glad everyone seems to be in agreeance about this.

I've already talked to the director of the day care where I work & she's already approved Miss Kourtney joining Sarah's MDO class, too.'s a done deal. This Friday will be Kourtney's last day of school until the fall when she starts Kindergarten.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

a big change!

As many of you know, I am a stay at home mom. My kids have all been able to stay home with me up until they start Kindergarten. We have all really cherished that special time of one on one bonding & teaching & loving. So far, none of my kids have entered Kindergarten "behind" in any way. In fact, they've both been in the "above average" category academics-wise & their teachers have told me how sweet & well mannered they are. I spend a lot of time doing homeschool sort of stuff with the kids and they use educational CD-Rom's to learn things as well. All in all, being "stay at home kids" is a very positive experience for all of us....something I'd never trade for all the money in the world!

Now here's where the fun part comes in. Kourtney is only 3 months older than Sarah. Sarah stays home with me & goes to Mother's Day Out 2 days/week with me. She gets a good balance of mommy time & away from mommy time. She still has plenty of a "social life" at school & church. Kourtney is really struggling with this. She's becoming more & more jealous that Sarah gets to stay home with me while she is "forced" to go to school (which she doesn't like). While she's said all along that she doesn't like school & doesn't want to go, it's only been in the last several days that it's become clear WHY. I think she feels a little like Cinderella---the "outsider" who was brought in & expected to help out with chores & things at home, but without the "benefits" that the natural children got. Know what I mean?

With this in mind, I wrote her teacher an email today & asked her to help me out because we were really struggling to come up with reasons to tell K why she had to go to school. I really just wanted her to help us encourage K with positive reasons to come to school. Instead, I got a reply that sort of surprised me, but at the same time confirmed what I had been thinking. Her teacher said something along the lines of :

"You are the first mom I've ever wanted to help keep her child at home. I really think the best thing for K right now would be to stay home & create a stronger bond with her new family & new "sister". I can't really give you any good reasons for her to stay in PreK because I know you will work with her at home & she will be fine when Kindergarten begins in the fall." Her email continued with a lot of sweet encouragement, but that's the jist of what she told me.

With all that in mind, we've decided to let K finish out this week, then tell her next week (Spring Break) that we're withdrawing her. She can immediately join Sarah's Mother's Day Out class & can go with me there every Tues/Thurs like Sarah does. I think that PreK had a good purpose for her before.....but now there is a better choice for her & we're going to take that option instead.

Keep that in your prayers as things change around here. :)

Monday, March 6, 2006

Monday March 6

Tonight was another good bedtime. I layed down with Andrew to read his book for school and ended up reading a letter from G, too. We talked about the reality of dad being gone for a long time & how he'd always have a home here. We've talked about it before, but he seemed to really "get it" tonight. I asked him a lot of questions about his mom & dad---trying to bring up some memories so that he can work through all of that. He seemed shocked when I told him it has been almost a month since Kelly's death. He said it seemed like it had been a lot longer than that. He couldn't name any specific memories of his mom at first. I'm not sure if he's blocking things out right now or if he really has forgotten things. After talking a while, he could name a few things. I told him that he was going to have to help Kourtney remember her mom, because she's so young that I fear she will not have many memories of Kelly once she's grown. I asked if he thought he could write down some special memories of his mom in a journal if I get him one. He agreed to that. :) I figure that will serve more than one purpose.
Kourtney didn't want to go to school this morning, but I think I've found my "bribe". :) I told her that if she could go to school & behave sweetly all week at school, then we'd go to Dairy Queen on Fri afternoon & get an icecream cone. She seemed to like that idea! Her teacher told me today that she had a big grin on her face when she came in & that she'd been more pleasant today than usual! I guess it worked! :)
Sarah had another rough day today. Poor baby girl. I think Larry is going to come eat lunch with her at Mother's Day Out one day this week. She'll get a kick out of that! She's really taking all the adjustments hard. Please continue praying for her.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Sunday March 5

These first two weeks have been good. While there are challenging moments that make me sigh & some that make me want to scream, we've been blessed with an abundance of awesome moments that have made it all soooooooo worth while.

On the night that A & K arrived, I was totally blown away. The exhaustion I felt that first night knocked me off my feet at 10pm & I slept like a log. The emotional rollercoaster that I felt like we'd spent the prior week riding had finally slowed down long enough for me to put on my seatbelt & get a firm grip.... and boy what a ride it's been ever since.

These days, I find that things are no more complicated or crazy than they were with 3 kids. I mean, the same struggles exist---getting rooms cleaned, sibling rivalry, sharing toys, the usual stuff. I feel like the kids have already molded themselves into our little family & are a part of us so completely. These sweet little ones are so flexible & willing to go with us, do with us...whatever we need to do, they're right there with us, anxious to fit right into the family. It's almost like they are made of clay---fitting the form & molding right into the group so smoothly. :)

The oldest of my brood, Savannah, is doing well. She's had several breakdowns since A&K arrived, but is doing well overall. She's learning compassion & understanding and is having fun with another brother. She & Andrew are best buddies most of the time. On Friday night, she spent the night with a friend. The rest of the crew spent the night in one room (our usual Friday night "party" over here!). When Andrew realized that Savannah was not going to be there w/ him, he said "It's just not as much fun without Savannah." She is well-loved and honored as the oldest "smartest" one. Everyone loves for Savannah to read them stories and play with them.

The second oldest of our crew, Andrew, is doing really well. The longer he's here, the more the walls fall down. I'm seeing a child emerge from behind the big tough guy walls. Last night I saw him cry for the first time. He was playing with one of my little hand-held weights that I use to work out & dropped it on his finger. OUCH! Two weeks ago, I suspect he would've sucked up the tears & acted like a soldier...but last night, he was a little boy! He came & snuggled in my lap, let me kiss his booboo & was able to be a little kid. What a blessing! I pray that those walls continue to fall. He's doing well in school, making friends and generally enjoying himself. I asked him tonight if he liked living here--and made sure to tell him that he could be honest if he didn't like it. He grinned from ear to ear, yanked me down beside him with a big hug & said "Yes! Yes! I love it here!". I'm so glad.....I love having him here, too!

Next in line is Mr. Samuel. Sambo has been so easy-going about all of this. Having a brother to make those nice armpit-farting noises with is his idea of paradise. (I'm so proud.....Savannah can do it, too.) Samuel has loved sharing a room with Andrew, but thinks that Kourtney is a bratty girl. Of course, he thinks that about Savannah & Sarah too. Only in the past week have I seen Samuel start to fuss about "having" to share his room. He doesn't so much mind Andrew being there...but he wants his bed! ha!

Miss Kourtney continues to do very well, too. She still says that she doesn't like school & wants to stay at home, though. When she moved in we felt like it was best for her to continue in Pre-K since that's what she was already doing....but I hate making her go now that she's saying she wants to stay home with Sarah & I. Considering that they only have 2 months to go and Sarah is needing some private mommy time, I guess I'll let her finish out the year, but I suspect I will continue to hear complaints. :( Her teacher says she is very pleasant & has many friends and she's doing great in maybe she's fine once she gets there. Last week she made up a story to tell her class about what happened to her mom. Of course, what she made up with a million times worse than the truth. I didn't know what was going on in her little mind until the teacher told me what she'd said. Yikes! We talked about it & as it turns out, she doesn't want to discuss the true story at school, so she made up something that, to her, was better than the truth. We made sure to help her understand that if she doesn't want to talk about it, she can just say so....but making up stories isn't ok. She seems to get that now. I've noticed that Kourtney has a vivid imagination & makes up a lot of stories--- someone hit her (but they weren't in the room at the time!)...someone took her toy (but she's still holding it)....things like that. I think that she's dealing with things slowly & part of her adjusting to a new home/siblings/family is trying to figure out where her "place" is in this group. Poor kiddo has a lot of "new" to adjust to!

And last is Miss Sarah. Sarah has probably had the hardest time (of my bio 3) adjusting to all of this. Before A&K arrived, she was already feeling a shift of my attention & started regressing into whining & crying (loudly!) over things. She wants to make sure that I don't forget her, so she's throwing huge fits over the smallest thing. If she can't find her shoes, oh the waterworks.......... if she can't get a shirt off, oh my gosh, warn the ambulance get the idea. You'd think, by the size of her tears, that she's been abused & forgotten about. I've made it my goal to spend as much of my Mon/Wed/Fri days off with her as possible. Of course, I still have dishes & laundry & vacuuming & errands & such to do........but I'm trying to take her to a special lunch every Friday and spend lots of time playing games with her and coloring pictures together, etc. With the increased focused attention, she's starting to move back in the direction of my "old Sarah". She is such a precious sweetie....I hate to see her feeling like we've forgotten her.

As for Larry & I, we're doing ok. Larry has really stepped up & begun helping me out more at home. It's not uncommon to see him working on a load of laundry before he leaves for work in the morning or emptying the dishwasher when he comes home or overseeing a shower in the bathroom at night. Good daddy! I'm doing alright, too. The initial adjustment phase seems to have passed & things are getting back to normal now. That's not to say that we were ever really normal anyway (ha ha!), but things are moving in the right direction....and that is good.

Galatians 6:9 "Do not grow weary in doing what is right, for at the proper time, you will reap the harvest if you don't give up."

Matthew 11:28 & 30 "Come to me all who labor and are heavily burdened & I will give you rest......for my yoke is easy & my burden is light."

Luke 18:17 "Suffer not the little children....let them come unto me."

Hebrews 10:25 "Don't forsake the gathering together with believers."

Having a great family of believers surrounding us on all sides is such a blessing. Thank you for your continued prayers and all the encouragement you offer us each time we're with you. It is not going unnoticed!

For those of you who've asked for specific prayer requests, here ya go.

For Savannah--continued understanding of the task we've taken on as a family and the compassion to help us in this journey.

For Andrew--he appears to be very close to a deeper understanding of God's love for him. Please pray that he will go beyond that simple understanding to a full relationship with Christ. Pray for him to reach a place where he can really mourn his mom's death and the "loss" of his dad. He will answer questions about it now if he's asked but doesn't volunteer the conversation.

For Samuel--to continue being flexible & loving with his new siblings.

For Kourtney--to grow to enjoy school.

For Sarah--greater understanding of the circumstances and to "grow" back to the place she was before.

For Larry & I-- to be able to continue ministering at Rose Heights as effectively as we did prior to our new family changes and to assimilate the kids into that lifestyle easily. For continued strength & boldness every day.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Saturday March 4

Today was

We started off the day with some marathon cleaning. The kids' rooms really needed to be cleaned. None of my kids (bio or otherwise) seem to understand that if you *always* put away whatever you're wearing/playing with, that it will always be in place & you'll never have to have a several-hours-long room cleaning, complete w/ the frustrated mommy breathing down your neck. They wait (or, rather....I wait) until I just can't stand to look at the room anymore & thennnnn they jump into high gear to try to get it done. Before it's all over, everyone's yelling & crying and we are all frustrated with each other. Ugh! I'm getting more organized (slowly but surely) this is definately something we have to get a better grip on..... 'cause boy this is tough to deal with every weekend!

Once all the cleaning was done, it was time for Andrew's first soccer game. You have never seen a kid so excited about playing a game. He slept in his shin guards last night b/c he was soooo ready for soccer this morning. I woke up to find him dressed, complete with shin guards/shoes & everything at 6:30am! He still had breakfast smudged on his face, but he was ready for soccer! :) We had a good time watching him play. He clearly loved it. He had a grin from ear to ear the whole time & seemed really "intense" while playing. I can tell he's more competitive and athletic in nature than my other kids. I'm sure we'll be watching lots of sports games in his future!

Kourtney had a few "breakthrough" moments today. She came over to give me spontaneous hugs all throughout the day & asked me to come sit & watch a movie with her several times. What a sweetie! She has moments like this now & then, but I think the drill sergeant mommy who was badgering them to clean their room this morning scared her a little bit. (Or I thought I did, anyway!) I guess she decided that even big mean drill sergeants need hugs & snuggles now & then. :)

Andrew was bound & determined to go to sleep reading a Bible again tonight, so he had to borrow Samuel's b/c we couldnt' find his at bedtime. I'm sure that we'll locate it in the morning when we can turn on the lights & hunt better! Of course, he wanted to look up some verses we had read about profanity last week...but hey, it's scripture he's reading! :)

The kids are looking forward to another trip to the park with Aunt Jennifer & their cousins. We went earlier this week & they all really enjoyed it. Are ya up to it, guys? :)

Friday, March 3, 2006

When I Call on Jesus....

While praying for the kids this afternoon, I was listening to Nicole Mullen's song "When I Call on Jesus". The chorus really struck me & I pray that the kids (all of 'em!) learn this from Larry & I:

"When I call on Jesus, all things are possible! I can mount on wings like eagles & soar. When I call on Jesus, mountains are gonna move. 'Cause He'll move Heaven & earth, to come rescue me when I call!"


God keeps giving me this word in relation to the kiddos -- investment. And I don't think He's talking about the financial kind, although that certainly applies here, too.

In talking to my mom today about Andrew & Kourtney, I was saying how anyone who keeps the kids for us can't just babysit. They really must train the kids, teach them, spend time sitting & playing games, reading to them. It's almost like having a newborn in the house again, going through all the basic rules of the house & teaching them our beliefs and values. They're learning manners & respect for our home and the stuff and people in it. Above all of that, I pray that they're learning that God loves them. That He longs to be their closest friend, that He cares for them more than any person on earth ever has. I want them to see HIM instead of ME. I want them to learn that God thinks they are the most precious thing in the world! That He has made the biggest investment in them of all!

I pray that A & K find the investments that we're making to be reflections of Jesus. That nothing we're doing is to drive them crazy or be mean....but that we're trying to build Godly character in each of them. I know that, years from now, they will. They're such sweet kids, so flexible & teachable.

God, thank you for the investment you made for my sake....and the sake of ALL my kids.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Give thanks to the Lord....His love endures!

With each passing day, I'm finding new ways to praise Him for all He's doing & how active His hand is in all of this! Gosh, God's good! The communion with our Father is so sweet... being on the lookout for ways to say "Well, there He is again!" is fun!

1. Today we received another Walmart gift card. This one came from an email loop I've been a part of off & on for the past several years. You Savvy SAHMs are sweeties! Thank you! Miss Kourtney will get a bunch of spring clothes because of you ladies! :)

2. God protected A & K from the stomach bug we all passed around this weekend! I was really dreading the possibility that one of them might get it. Andrew's had a stuffy nose ever since he got here, but doesn't appear to be bothered by it. I think it's just allergies.

3. Big praise--Andrew went to choir tonight & sang!!!! He told me that he was going to just go stand in the hall & watch through the doorway again, but he actually went in! I went to the restroom during class tonight & passed by to check on him & found him in with the rest of the group on the stage, practicing their song! They have a little mini-concert on Sunday during the preschool kids' promotion ceremony so he'll get to sing for Kourtney's promotion. I'll take pictures! He was pretty proud of himself, too. He made sure to tell me tonight that he'd need to wear a certain color shirt on Sunday for the concert. Oh....and he has a school program later this month that he's getting excited about, too! They have a program where they sing for the parents & then Open House is afterward.

4. Kourtney had a screening at school today to see if she's doing ok academically. I had worried that she might be a little behind, but according to her test today, she is doing just fine. That's good to know! :)

5. Andrew starts soccer on Saturday & will play for several weeks w/ the YMCA. Larry will take him tomorrow afternoon to find shin guards & shorts for the big day.

God is just so good......I can't get enough of Him! :)