Sunday, April 30, 2006

Saturday April 29 Peace, Solitude & a Busy Day

A few days ago, during a particular crazy moment when I was stretched really thin, I asked God to give me peace.  I asked Him to point out moments when the kids were being particularly loving to one another, to cast a big ol' neon blinking light down, pointing out times of peace & calmness in my own life and to help me teach the children to love each other more.  (Not that they hate each other, but I sure do spend a lot of time playing referee!)

That night, I had to drive to Brookshire's about 9:00.  I took the "long way" out of our neighborhood, going down to the end of the street & coming back up the street that runs parallel to ours.  For some reason, I got the crazy idea to roll down the windows.  I normally don't do this b/c the wind blows & messes up my hair which is usually fixed when I'm on the way to some destination.  That night, I didn't really care about my hair, so I rolled down the windows.  As I reached the end of our street, the cool night air in my nostrils & blowing in my face had soothed me.  When I rounded the end of the street where there is nothing but trees (no houses on that part of the road), I could hear the crickets chirping & tree frogs singing.  Ahhh....beautiful & so calming.  I grew up in the country, so hearing those sorts of sounds is a comforting, quieting thing for me.  And then it hit me....God was giving me some solitude & peace right then & there.  I considered parking the van & just sitting to listen to the sounds of nature for a while but decided to go on & get done at the store.  The road was particularly free of cars that evening so I could hear the silence & calmness all the way to the store & back.  Very soothing & satisfying for this busy, hustle-bustle heart of mine.

Then it happened again.  I ran to Walgreen's late one night to pick up a prescription for Larry.  When I got there, it wasn't ready yet, so I spent about 15 minutes in the massage chair that they're selling.  Ahhhh.....very relaxing!  It's just a little pad thing you put on an existing chair, but I have told Larry a couple of times lately that THAT is what I want for my Mother's Day/Birthday/Christmas/Thanksgiving (WHATEVER!) present this year.  I figure for $99, he can get it & let it serve many gift-giving purposes.  :)

It's just neat to see how God answers the prayers of a frazzled mommy's heart in little ways like these.  I have family & friends telling me that I need some time away (a day, overnight, etc) to have some time for me.....but I believe that if God keeps providing little retreats like these, I can get by for a long time without a big retreat.  I'm looking forward to Women of Faith in August.....but until then, He's providing & I'll be ok!  Thank you, Lord for the small blessings you provide!

As far as the prayers for the kids to get along better....well, that's started happening, too.  The moments aren't quite as bold & memorable as my moments of "retreat", but seeing the kids interact in the past few days has been interesting.  Seeing how they'll start out to snap at one another & then stop themselves and change their tone....or how one will take up for's heartwarming.  I love my kiddies.  (All of 'em!)

Today was a busy one!  Blast Ball started at 10:00 & wasn't over til 12:00.  By the time we got everyone home & lunch ready it was 12:40.  (My kids are used to eating around 11-11:30, but somehow they survived til nearly 1:00!  ha ha)  We got everyone fed & down for naps/quiet time, Savannah went to a friend's house to play for a little while and then we got everyone up & picked her up & went to see a movie!  We saw "RV".  It was really cute!  There were a few bad words, but overall it was good.  Robin Williams is the main character & plays the busy, workaholic dad.  Because of a problem at work, he has to cancel his (very rich & spoiled) family's Hawaiian vacation and take them to Colorado with him instead.  He gets the bright idea to rent an RV & make a big "bonding experience" out of it.  He takes down the brick pillars to his own home & a few other things on the way out of his neighborhood in this giant green RV.  The rest of the movie is about the hysterical adventures he has in this enormous RV.  Of course there are serious moments, but it's mostly just a funny show that older kids & teens will love.  (I say older kids b/c of the language here & there throughout the movie & a few innuendos that are made.)  We started out to see Ice Age2, but there weren't enough seats left in the theater for us to get in when we got there.  When we returned from the movies, it was time to clean up the bedrooms, eat supper, bathe & head to bed.  Nothing like a full day from start to finish.

:::Yawn:::  Time for me to head to bed!


Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday April 28

Looks like I'm not doing much better at posting this week than I did last week.  Sorry about that.  Same excuses apply this week.  :)  I got this in an email yesterday.  I love it & wanted to share.  Hope you enjoy it, too.

This is an incredible short interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life" author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.   In the interview by Paul Bradshaw, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?  And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity.  We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.   One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity.  This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.   {Note from Liz--AMEN!}

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.  {Boy I'm glad He is!}

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.  {I underlined it!}  We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life.  The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.  No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.  And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.  If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is "my problem, my issues, my pain."  But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.   It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.  {Boy I can't tell ya the number of times God has done this with Larry & I.  Refining fire is brutal at the time, but soo powerful when you finally reach a point of surrender & let Him have it all.}

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder.  For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence.  He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions?

Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness?

Materialism?  Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, "God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better."   {ooohhhh...I like this!}God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list.

He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

Every moment, THANK GOD.

{the good kind of chill bumps up & down my arms....I love this!}

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday April 24

The kids were out of school today.  Since Larry has been working on the new storage building, he's been telling the kids that they could help him paint it when it was finished.  Well, today was the day!  The kids woke up excited about painting, donned their grubby clothes & were ready to get to work!  Despite the grunge-work that it appears to be (to me!), they all love the thrill of a project with dad!  Of course, once they had a brush in their hands, the hardwork & sweating lasted about 30 minutes before they gave up on that.  ha ha!  Oh well, at least they were happy & occupied for 1/2 an hour!

I love how Andrew can be so hyper & active & busy all day long, but you give him a project to work on & he's totally focused and excited about it.  There is definately something to his ADHD diagnosis & the medicine works WONDERS, but I'm finding that handing him a particular job is almost as effective as the Concerta!  :)

Savannah got the joy of going to visit a friend today for a playdate.  Her buddy (I'll call her M since I'm not sure if her mom wants her name posted on a public journal site!) moved away about a month ago.  M lives in a new neighborhood here in Whitehouse, but as far as Savannah is concerned, it might as well be 1/2 way around the world.  She was so tickled today when M's mom emailed & asked if she could come over to play!

Samuel & Andrew made a trip to the store with Larry today.  It's funny how quickly the testosterone surges to the surface when the oppurtunity to go shopping for tools & paint is announced.  <grinning widely>

Tonight Savannah's dance class took pictures.  I can't wait to get them back.  I remember the excitement of dance pictures when I was little.  It was always so much fun to put on my costume ahead of time (before the recital) & take pictures.  She was a big ham for the photographer, so I know they'll turn out cute!

The kids head back to school tomorrow, much to their dismay.  But as of tomorrow, they have ONE MONTH until the last day of school!  It'll go by fast!  (err...well, that's what I'm going to tell them!)

Since I know that many people are reading this, I'd like to ask for your prayers for my mom.  She has a "floater" in her eye & has had some visual disturbances that concerned her so she saw the eye doc today.  As it turns out, she's got a fairly common condition, but it's sometimes a symptom of a retina trying to detach, so they're going to watch her for a while & see what happens.  She's pretty nervous about the possibility of this....and so am I!  I want her to be able to see my babies for years to come!  Keep her in your prayers if you think of it.

Sunday April 23

Not too much of substance happened today... but one sweet thing did occur in church tonight.  Andrew was sleepy & started out just leaning up against me.  He ended up in my lap, all curled up like a little baby, sleeping most of the way through PM service.  I know it may not be much to some of you reading this, but it meant so much to me.  The big "tough man"...curled up like a kitten, sleeping in my lap.  Sweet baby!
P.S.  I've already collected a few items from the floors in the kids' rooms.  Looks like there will be some purchases being made on Friday when they get their first day of allowance.  :)

Saturday April 22

This morning was our first day of Blast Ball.  The kids had a lot of fun.  I think Kourtney was the least enthused about it, but she played well & followed the instructions the coach gave her, so I think it will grow on her.  Samuel LOVED it...and that boy can PITCH!!!  I'll bet he plays baseball in HS!  Sarah thought it was fun, too!  The bases all make noise when you step on them.  The kids thought that was hysterical & would run to the base just to hear it honk at them.  :)
After all the running & busy-ness today, we came home & had a "drill sergeant room cleaning" time.  Both of the kids' rooms were absolute pig-stys (or is that pig sties?) so it was TIME to do something about that.  Larry took the boys' room & I took the girls'.  (with the kids, that is!)  We filled about 6 garbage bags with broken toys, pieces to games we threw away a year ago, trash & just junk that was cluttering up their floors.  All 5 of the kids are messy packrats, so getting it all done was a huge chore, but once it was done, we instilled the new rule.  We will begin handing out $1/week allowance to everyone.  Ten cents will go to God (tithe), ten cents into savings (bank) & then they can use the rest for whatever they want.....even buying back toys that we take if they're left out to junk up the floor continually.  They seem to like that plan!   :)
Tonight, I'm not sure if Andrew was exhausted from the long day or what....but I found him laying in bed, face down on his pillow sobbing.  It's the first time that he's cried like this.  I don't know if some emotional dam inside finally broke open or what.  He never really said why he was crying, but I made sure to snuggle & kiss & hug & reassure him while I held him as he cried.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday April 21

I'm sorry that my posts have been scarce this week.  We've just been really busy.  Tomorrow will be no exception!  Savannah is at a sleepover tonight.  I will go pick her up at 8:30 & then go to Tyler Metro Church to get our Angel Food.  (Again, if you don't know about this, you should!!  It's an awesome ministry & such a great bargain...especially for big families on a grocery budget!)  At 11:00, Samuel, Kourtney & Sarah will all start playing Blast Ball @ the YMCA.  It's a junior T-ball program using soft bats & balls and bases that make sounds when you step on them.  It should be a lot of fun to watch!  I'll take pictures, so if you want to see them, email me tomorrow evening.  After Tball, we'll run to DQ or McDonald's or something for a quick lunch before heading to the park at 1:00 for a birthday party.   :::yawn:::  Oh, and did I mention that I'll be doing all of this alone as Larry is at a singles retreat tonight & until about 2-3pm tomorrow?  ha ha!  Honestly, I don't mind.  I'm used to parading around a herd of kids, so it's not that much different with the 2 new guys, but I can tell you I sure sleep good at night!  :)

This week has been really busy, but I can't even tell you why.  It just seems like the days all run together & the busy-ness of life in general takes over.  There's not one particular thing that made this week hectic....just life.  All throughout the week, I've had one song that I've listened to in the van over & over.  It's sort of my theme song at the moment.  I'm listening to the kids' Worship Jamz CD, so I have no idea what the original version of the song sounds like.  (The Worship Jamz version of the songs are all more rock-y, so it may've originally been a real slow song!  Who knows?  I like this version though!!)  I figure that this song really speaks to where I am right now.  I want HIM to reign in me.  I want everyone around us & the kids in my home to see HIM in me.  My long-time motto/mantra (whatever you want to call it) is "More of you, Lord...less of me."  And this song really covers that well.  It's called "Reign in Me Again".  I'm not sure who sings it, but if you get a chance to hear it, go for it!

Over all the earth
You reign on high
Every mountain stream
Every sunset sky
But my one request
Lord, my only aim
Is that you reign in me again

Chorus:  Lord reign in me
Reign in your power
Over all my dreams
In my darkest hour
You are the Lord of all I am
So won't you reign in me again

Over every thought
Over every word
May my life reflect
The beauty of my Lord
You mean more to me
Than any earthly thing
So won't you reign in me again

Repeat chorus


Also, today in my devotional book, I read something really powerful & wanted to share it.  If I had a scanner, I'd scan a copy so that the author & book publisher could get all the credit that is due....but since I don't have a scanner, I'll just tell you where it's from!

The book is 1 of a 2-book set put out by Songs4Worship (the Time Life worship CDs that I'm sure you've seen on TV commercials).  This is the orange book in the set, called "Open the Eyes of my Heart".  The premise of the 2 books is that they take a common or well known worship/praise song & write out the lyrics and then there is a devotion based on that song & where it came from.  I've learned some interesting stories behind the song on some & just have been really moved by all of the devotions.  Anyway, without further adieu, here's what today's said:

The song was "More Precious Than Silver" by Lynn DeShazo.  The words say:  "Lord, you are/more precious than silver./Lord You are/More costly than gold./Lord, you are/More beautiful than diamonds,/and nothing I desire compares with you."

The devotion with this says:

Imagine being offered the world's greatest treasure, more precious than silver, more beautiful than diamonds.  Imagine not having to do a thing to obtain this treasure because it had been bought by someone else.  How thrilled would you be?

Actually, that has happened!  God offers us the greatest treasure of all time:  salvation.  If you think salvation only means being guaranteed heaven & having your sins forgiven, you've only scratched the surface of what is yours in Christ.  Perhaps the greatest thrill of all is that Jesus gives us Himself.

The Life-giver, Dream-maker, Soul-changer, Wrong-righter comes to live in us.  Out of Him flows a river of peace, an ocean of joy, a well-spring of hope.  He promises to be our shepherd, our brother our faithful friend, and our strong deliverer.  Not only will He never fail us or forsake us, but He promises to call us, heal us, anoint us, bless us, cleanse us, prepare us, and fill us.  He gives us blood for holiness, His spirit for joy, and His mind for wisdom.  The One who causes angels to fall prostrate before Him promises to reign over us, dwell in us, and walk beside us.

The more you go through with Jesus, the more valuable He becomes to you.  What other treasure can compare with that?

Job 22:25-26:  Then the Almighty wil be your gold, the choicest silver for you.  Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God.

Doesn't that just make you want to run to the throne, fall on your face & praise Him?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sun April 16-- Easter

Today has been, well...umm.... interesting.  Savannah woke up at 3am throwing up.  Before she went to bed last night, she mentioned that she didn't feel good but I didn't realize how bad she felt.  She continued to vomit until about 2pm.  Hopefully we're over the worst part now.  She seems to be perking up now & tried to eat some supper.

I took the other kids to church this morning & dropped them off w/ Larry & then went back to get them.  I've got pics from this morning in their pretty Easter clothes, so email me to see those.

After they got back home & everyone took a nap, we passed out Easter baskets.  They each got a coloring book, a crazy straw, a bath fizzy thing, a Christian book about Easter, a cross-shaped notepad and a chocolate bunny.  After they dug through those, Larry hid some eggs in the yard & they went out to find them.  When they came in, while they went through their hunted eggs, we did the Resurrection Eggs with them.  We asked them what each symbol meant & they did pretty good on those.  There were a few that we got some FUNNY answers to, but overall, they did pretty good.  After we did the Resurrection eggs, Larry read the story of Jesus's time on the cross & then His resurrection from the Bible.  Andrew was pretty proud of himself when he reminded Larry & I of a detail we had forgotten -- the earthquake when Mary went to the tomb to discover that Jesus was gone -- and then we read it & found that he was right!  Smart boy!

We ate supper after that & the kids are outside playing now.  (Well, everyone but Savannah!)  Before bedtime tonight, we'll do the Resurrection Rolls that we didn't get to last night.

All in all, we've had a good day!  Happy Resurrection Sunday to all of you, too!!!

Saturday April 15 PM

The visit went well today.  Kourtney wanted me to go w/ her, so I took the kids back to see G.  Larry stayed in the waiting room with the other kids.  The reality of the whole situation sorta hits ya square in the face when you are sitting in a room with a bunch of men in striped uniforms, watching them talk on a little phone through a glass window from their families.  Although I'm happy to see that everyone being visited there seemed to have people who were happy about seeing them, it's just sad to have to experience that at all.  Andrew & Kourtney were not the only children there.  There was a darling little boy, about 2 years old, sitting next to us talking to his dad.
After our visit, we went to my FIL's house & let the kids play there while FIL helped Larry fix something on his trailer.  The kids seem very well adjusted & understand the difference between being there to visit & staying there like they had before.  They gathered up another few toys & some CD-Roms to bring home with us.  I went out & peeked through a storage shed where they had some stuff stored.  Kourtney said there was a box of toys in there & wanted to go in & see if she could find them.  In looking around, I was hoping to find a box with their baby books in it, but never did.  I did, however, find a box of their clothes, some shaped cake pans (which Kourtney said her mom had bought, but that she wanted me to bring them home & make her a cake in them), a box of pictures (yahoo---we wanted to find some baby pictures of them!) and a couple other small items.  I'm glad we decided to look for those was sorta like looking through a treasure chest & finding little things they had missed.  Hopefully we can look a little more thoroughly later.  I'm still determined to find their baby books & some other snapshots of them to save.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday April 15 AM

First of all, I'd like to publicly wish my nephew Cory a happy 19th birthday!  I can hardly believe that you're nearly 20 years old!  Gosh...that makes me.....yes, you can say it....OLD!  :)  I love you sweetie.  I hope your day was good yesterday despite the fact that you had to work.  Getting older isn't so much fun anymore, is it?
Today we will go visit G at the jail.  We've only done this one other time & it's a pretty emotionally charged day for all of us, so keep that in your prayers.
When we get home tonight we'll dye some eggs & do the Resurrection Rolls with the kids (if you don't know what this is, check this website:  Resurrection Rolls  They are a yummy visual reminder of Jesus's sacrifice for us on the cross, and His resurrection.  The kids love them (and so do I!).  Tomorrow morning we'll go to church & then after we come home & have naptime, we'll do the Resurrection Eggs with them, let them hunt some eggs and then give them their baskets.  It ought to be a fun day!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Thurs April 13

Voila!  It's done!  Larry got Andrew from school this morning & took him to the dentist.  Within a little over an hour, he was back at school.  Boy that was quick & painless.  :)  I'm glad it went well!

Today was Andrew's class Easter party...and Sarah & Kourtney's too!  Since I was at work, I had to miss Andrew's, but I got to be there to see Kourtney hunt eggs.  She did great & got lots of yummy candy!

This afternoon, the kids convinced me to turn on the sprinkler & let them get wet!  They had a ball!

On Monday, I will be calling to register all 5 kids for a day camp at the Discovery Science Place this summer.  Savannah has attended a day camp there the past 2 years & has loved it!  This year everyone is old enough & wants to go!  Of course, paying for 5 kids is a little different than paying for 1, but God is providing & we're sooo grateful!

Speaking of God's provision--- in the past 48 hours, we've been blessed twice.  First we got a gift card to Walmart (that'll buy the groceries this week!) & then today Larry had an anonymous card with cash inside mailed to him at work.  It included some type-written scriptures, so we don't know who sent it....but we sure do appreciate it!!!!  God is sooo good!  Thank you Lord, and thank you anonymous givers!!

Wed April 12

Tonight on the way home from church, Andrew announced that his cap had fallen off.  I didn't think too much of it because I figured that we could get it when we were back at church on Sunday.  Then he said it again "No, I mean my cap fell off."  Ummmm...ok.  So?

Then it hit me---he meant the cap on his tooth!  Oh boy!  That's a whole other story!  Since my mom was a dental assistant for years, I called her & asked what we do to fix this.  A trip to the dentist in the morning is in order!  Oh my....I hope he does ok!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tues April 11--Revelation

Both Andrew & Kourtney had somewhat of a "revelation" tonight....albeit sad ones.  :(

On the way to church for DivorceCare, Kourtney asked me "Mama, when will my daddy get out of jail?".  When I told her that it would be several years, she made some sort of sad noise...didn't exactly cry, but just sort of moaned.  I know we've explained this before, but it was like it finally "hit her".

At bedtime, she said something to Sarah about having a key to her "daddy's jail".  When Andrew heard that, he just laughed & then said "if we did, we'd go get daddy out".  I said "honey, if you got him out, the police would be upset & they'd come to get you".  He asked why & I told him that getting someone out of jail who's committed a crime is against the law...and that he'd be in trouble for letting his dad out.  He looked a little stunned & said "But daddy hasn't committed a crime."  When I explained that drinking beers & then driving was wrong, he said "You mean daddy was drunk when he had the wreck??".  After I said yes, he just went on about what he was doing & never seemed to be effected by that, but it surprised me that he has never "got that" before now b/c we have answered all his questions before & he knows that daddy's in jail b/c he broke the law.  I guess it just takes hearing it w/ the right words at the right time.

Sad night....but I suppose one that had to happen.  :(

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday April 10

This morning is Andrew's ARD meeting at his school.  We've only been to one ARD meeting so far, so seeing how they do the "end of the year" stuff will be interesting.  I'm anxious to hear what they plan to do for/with him next year.

This weekend, Kourtney called Larry "dada".  She said it in a teasing way, as if to say it like it was a joke.  Larry paused for a minute & said "But Kourtney, you have a dada.  You don't need two of them."  She giggled & shrugged her shoulders & moved on.  Later, she called him "dada" again & again he reminded her that she has a daddy.  She seems to go in spurts on calling me it may be the same with Larry.  I know he wants her to love him, but he's struggling with her calling him dad.  He tried to convince her to come up with some funny/silly/cool name like "Uncle Dad" or "Larry Boy" or "Uncle LarryBoy".  She hasn't picked one yet & seems to say "Uncle Larry" most often.  Please continue to pray for her as she figures out what we are & what to call us.

Andrew & I finished his grief workbook (the one from MADD) this weekend.  He couldn't bring himself to write anything else in the whole book -- he just claims that he hasn't had the feelings that the book suggests (anger, sadness, etc).  The walls seem to still be there as far as his feelings are concerned.  Now & then he mentions his mom or dad in a way that shows some emotion, but basically he's pretty closed when it comes to the topic of his parents.  Kourtney, on the other hand, will talk about them all day long without slowing down.  She & I also did a few more pages in her workbook.  She acts like she understands the concept of mommy being gone, but I think her little 5yr old mind is still pretty confused.  On a page where it asks you to list people who help you feel better when you're feeling sad (about her mom's death), she listed "mommy" & "daddy", several pets (which she doesn't have here), her teacher at her old school.  Poor baby is going to take a long time to adjust, I guess.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Sunday April 9 AM

You've probably all read this story before, but I got it in an email again this morning & re-read it.  I hope you enjoy it, too.

 Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff.
  She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during
  this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope
  snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens.

  "Great", she thought. "Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet
  from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and
  now my sight is blurry."

  She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the
  ledge. But it just wasn't there.  She felt the panic rising in her,
  so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that
  she may find her contact lens.

  When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing
  for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now
  that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not
  clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible
  verse "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth."

  She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every
  stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is.
  Please help me."
  Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff
  they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the
  cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a
  contact lens?"

  Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw
  it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock,
  carrying it!

  The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When
  she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the
  contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens
  with the caption, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this
  thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what
  You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."

  I think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know
  whyYou want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and
  it's awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will."

  God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

  Yes, I do  love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He
  keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing,
  but with Him....I can do all things through Christ which strengthens
  me. (Phil. 4:13)

  "You Gave Me A Mountain" and I will carry it for you Lord!

Strep Throat!

They both have strep throat!  :(  We didn't get home til 11:30pm & they both crashed in 5 minutes' time!

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Sat April 8

Last night, Larry & I went to a fundraiser & had our very first "night out" since A&K arrived in February.  When we got home, our friend (who babysat for us) told us that Andrew was running fever.  Sure enough, he was passed out, still fully clothed on his bed & felt hot.  She gave him some Motrin before he went to sleep, so he slept soundly all night.  When he woke up this morning, he seemed ok but within the first hour or so of being awake, his fever was back & he went to bed for 3 or 4 hours.  I gave him another dose of medicine when he woke up & he was fine....til it wore off.  Now that it's worn off, he's back to having fever!  Poor kiddo!  He's felt really yucky all day when he's running fever.

Tonight when Savannah came to eat supper she announced (through teary eyes) that her throat hurt real bad.  Oh boy.......

Since she JUST got over strep throat, I'm thinking they may both have it.  Andrew's in the tub now & once all the kids are bathed, I'm taking he & Savannah to the doc to get a quick strep swab.  Please say a prayer for them.  I'll post later tonight when I get home as to what we find out.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Fri April 7

The past week has been 'trying'.  Many things have transpired, most of which I'd rather not post details of here.  This is why I haven't been posting.  I'm sorry to those who follow our journal daily & have been wondering where we are!
But God is good.  As always, He spends all His time chasing us around, offering grace & love and showing us His faithfulness while we fret & wring our hands & wonder what is to become of things.  I am not typically one to get nervous & worried, but this week I did.  Forgive me, Lord, for losing sight of You for a time.  You were always there, but I took a minute to peer down at the water & I sunk for a while.  I'm so glad to be back in your arms now that a little time has passed.
This week, we received a packet of information from M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).  In the packet, there were 2 grief workbooks for children.  I've been working through those with the kids & they seem to enjoy them.  I can tell, already, that they will be valuable & helpful.  The kids look forward to working in the books every night at bedtime.
This week, I overheard a conversation that Andrew was having with Kourtney that made me smile.  I believe he's finally "got" the idea that he & Kourtney will be with us long-term.  I had wondered, until now, if he really understood.  They were in the backseat of the van & I was in the front, so I didn't hear the whole thing, but I heard him tell her:  "Kourtney, you will be about 15 years old before daddy gets out of jail."  I don't smile because I'm glad that this has all happened, but I'm glad that they're beginning to grasp things better.
Kourtney continues to rotate between "mama" & "Aunt Liz" for me, most often calling me "Aunt Liz".  This morning in the van, she was sitting behind me drawing a picture in her notebook & was chattering away to herself.  It finally struck me that she was saying "Mama....Mama?  Mama!  Mama....." so I answered her (to see if she was talking to me) & she began telling me about the picture she was drawing.  I guess I need to get used to listening for that more often.  :)
A sweet note about Andrew---  last night, in his grief workbook, he filled in a page that looks like a family tree.  Instead of filling in family names, you're supposed to put the names of people who love you & are there to help when he has a problem or needs to talk.  When I went in to turn off the lamp, I read some of the names & saw mine, Larry's Savannah's, Eli (a friend at church), Chappy (our children's pastor), Milam (his teacher at school), Randall (his principal), a few other friends' names, his soccer coach, and most importantly... GOD!
Savannah has really struggled this week with her anxiety.  She's been on a stressed-out tear in the afternoons all week long.  I pray that she will calm down a bit next week.  I sure could use a calmer baby girl.
Sarah is still having a tough time with everything.  She loves playing w/ Kourtney & seems to like she & Andrew just fine....she's just sad that she doesn't get as much of my attention as she used to.  I'm sad about that for her, too, and am trying to make as much one-on-one time with her as possible.
Samuel is still taking everything like a trooper!  Our sweet little soldier, always the sunshine in every room.  :)

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Prayers, please

I can't go into details here, but I'd like to beg for your prayers.  We have discovered some very disturbing things in the past week and need prayer warriors covering us.

Please pray for protection of all 5 children -- physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually ...everything.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Sunday April 2

Tonight was Samuel's first night to go to "big church" full time in the evenings.  They have childcare for kids 6 & under.  Since he's a big 6yr old now, he is coming to church w/ us.  He's done it a few times, but now it's official.  Funny thing is, my BIG 6 year old crawled into my lap & fell asleep on my chest about 30 min. before church was over.  Sniff, sniff....I love the big sleepyhead!  He can still light up a room when he walks in.  Thank you, God, for my sweet boy!

While tucking in Kourtney tonight, she said "Goodnight mama".  It has continued throughout the weekend (her calling me mama) & seems so sweet each time she says it.  Tonight I asked her again, "So, what will you call your mom if I'm going to be 'mama'?  Didn't you call her 'mama', too?".  She said yes....but then added "Now I have 2 mama's!".  <grin....I think I'll take that>

Andrew & Savannah spent most of yesterday afternoon taking apart mechanical/electronic toys in hopes of building a robot that they could sell & make millions.  Today it finally got out of hand when they grabbed one of Samuel's BRAND NEW toys (from his birthday party yesterday!) & started working on it.  Luckily, Larry walked in & caught them before they destroyed it.  He made them bag up all the MILLION pieces & parts of toys & throw them away.  We'll be buying an erector set or some sort of take-apart-&-put-back-together toy this week.  If we don't, I suspect we may wake up to a disassembled TV or refrigerator later this week.  :)  I'm glad they're curious & creative, but we need to channel that into something productive!  Maybe we have 2 little engineers on our hands....either that or mechanics....or microwave repairpersons.  LOL!

As we ended the weekend tonight at church, our pastor had people come up & give testimonies of miracles and/or healings they saw in their own lives.  Some people talked of near-death experiences, others talked about cancers that had been healed.  Larry told about how God had healed his broken scapula after the wreck 2 years ago.  Sometimes we see healing shows on TV that seem so sensational & unreal, but hearing people that we know personally talk about a miracle or healing that has happened in their own life was really cool.  The kids got to witness this & hear about the powerof God in the lives of these people & they were all pretty astounded at what they heard.  At the end of the testimonies, everyone who was sick, injured or hoping for a miracle in their life was asked to come to the front & be prayed.  Each one was surrounded by friends, family or Sunday School class members--whoever wanted to pray for them.  Larry went up b/c of his back problems & was actually still being prayed for after everyone was dismissed.  I know that God is going to heal Larry one way or the other!  I am hoping that God will do this in a mighty way so that the kids, who witnessed the prayers lifted for him, will be able to SEE God work in our lives in a big, big way!  Wouldn't it be cool to see one of them accept Christ or just come to a deeper place of understanding HIM because they get to witness a miracle in their dad's/uncle's life!?

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Saturday 4/1 -- 7 weeks

In the past 7 weeks, our lives have changed.    Because of the decision made by someone else, our world was turned upside down.  In the past 7 weeks, the lives of two precious children and their dad have changed.  7 weeks ago, a mother, sister, daughter, wife and friend died.  How quickly things can change ...things we're not expecting & unprepared for.

In the past 7 weeks, I've watched my church, friends & family reach out to love us.  For 7 weeks now, we've been showered with compassion, love & gifts.  In the past 7 weeks, I've seen two children transformed....and three others learn compassion & the power of God's love in a very dynamic, personal way.

Seven quickly the time has flown by!

It struck me as I was reading a devotional book today that 7 is the number of completion in the Bible.  We have 7 in our family's been 7 weeks.... and God asks us to forgive 70x7 times.  Profound?  Maybe not....but it seemed profound to me as I was reading this our 7th week.

That same devotional book reminded me to praise God for His many blessings in our lives.  Did you know that "blessing" means to consecrate (dedicate), sanctify (to make holy or purify) or bestow divine favor upon something or someone?  We all seem to use the term so loosely now days.  "Bless you", "what a blessing", "bless your heart!", "they were richly blessed", etc.  At this time in my life, I feel truely BLESSED.  Thank you, Lord, for enriching my life by sharing these two sweet kids with me.