Thursday, November 29, 2007

Conversations with kids

I've had a few 'interesting' conversations with children this week.  Some of them were serious, some funny, some that just made ya go "huh?".  I thought I'd share a few of those with you.

Conversation #1:
Tonight, Savannah told me "I wish Jesus would come back tonight!"
I said "Yeah, me sure would be good wouldn't it?  Why do you want Him to come back?"
Savannah said "Oh, so you can go spend forever with God, get to see what Heaven's like....and you'd get to skip all the negative stuff in this world......"
She paused & I was thinking how incredibly wise she is....and then she finished her thought.
" pollution & homework."
Conversation #2:
At school this week, one of the kids in my class came in with a big goose egg on his forehead.  It had a little bruise on it.  I hadn't noticed it til he pointed it out & said "Ms. Liz, I have a great big boobie on my head".
(Boy is it hard to keep a straight face when a precious nearly-3-year-old little boy says something like that!)
Conversation #3:
On the way home from church Wednesday night, Sarah was whining about how she was hungry because she didn't have a snack at church.  Honestly, my kids are fed plenty, I swear.  The thing is, she is used to her Wed. night teacher bringing a snack for the class and since she didn't have one that night, Sarah was just whiney.  On the nights she's at home, we don't give her a snack at 7pm, so it's not like she's in the habit of having a snack every night at that time.  She wasn't hungry...she was just whiney.  So we're in the van driving home & she was whining about not having a snack & we began this very normal conversation that turned to something really cool!
Me:  Sarah, quit whining.  You don't need a snack.
Sarah:  Yes, I do....I'm staaaaaaaaarrrrvvvviiinnnng!
Me:  Oh please.  You ate breakfast this morning, had a snack w/ your class at school, then ate the lunch I packed you, then had a snack when you got home from school, then ate supper.  You are perfectly fine kiddo!
Sarah:  But (teacher's name here) always has a snack for us at Daisies...I'm soooo hungry.
Me:  (tired of listening to her whine about it)  Sarah, that's enough.  Quit.  There are lots of children around the world who don't have enough food for 3 meals a day, much less several snacks.  You've had plenty to eat today, so quit.  No more whining!
Samuel:  That's right Sarah.  Some countries don't have the same freedoms we do because they didn't have enough people die when they were fighting in the war.
(pause to giggle, then you can keep reading....)
Me:  Um, yes, Samuel.  That's right.  Some countries don't have the freedoms we have, but what does that have to do with Sarah wanting a snack?
Samuel:  Well, some countries don't get to eat anything they want--their country tells them what they can eat because they lost the war.
(giggle some more, then keep going...)
Me:  Well, sort of....  There are a lot of countries where women aren't allowed to vote or to even show their face in public, they have to wear clothes that cover up their faces, except for their eyes.  There are other countries where the government tells you where you can live, work & go to church.  We're really blessed that we can make all those choices on our own.
Savannah:  Why don't they let the women wear regular clothes?
Me:  Well, they think that the women are just property that the men own, so they don't let them go to school or vote in elections & things because they don't believe that women need to do that.
Savannah:  I would not like that if I lived there!  If I did, I'd tell them that's weird.
Me:  No, wouldn't say anything because you'd get in trouble or hurt if you did...and besides, those women have never lived any other way so they don't realize it's weird.  We're pretty lucky huh?
Savannah:  Yeah, I don't want to live there.
::::I was thinking about how I could make this a spiritual lesson as I drove & listened to their great childlike wisdom for a while & so I ended up reminding them that our greatest freedom is the freedom we have in Christ.  Freedom from sin is definately the most fantastic freedom we can enjoy every day.::::
Samuel:  You know mom, in some countries they dig tunnels & have church in there.
Me:  (I had to think on that for a while before I realized what he was talking about.)  Sweetie, they're called "underground churches" but they're not really IN the ground.  That's just what they call them because it means they're secret or hidden.  People don't actually meet in the ground.
Savannah:  Yeah, it's like the Underground Railroad where they freed the slaves.
Samuel:  Huh?
(Savannah explained that to the best of her ability & the other kids listened intently.......)
I just found this all so profound & humorous....I mean, we went from a whiney kid's begging for a snack to discussing the Underground Railroad.  :)  Gotta love kid conversations!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

my kiddos' eyes

Yesterday Samuel had his first ever eye exam.  He's done the annual ones at school & the pediatrician, but this was his first dilated eye exam to check his eye health & vision all at once.  He wasn't too thrilled about the dilation spray, but aside from that, he handled everything really well & the exam showed that his eyes are perfectly healthy in all ways.

Today was Savannah's eye appointment.  Some of you may not know she was born with a birth defect that affected her eyes.  As a toddler/preschooler, she had 4 surgeries to correct the problem & then wore bifocals for 5 years before she was considered "cured".  Today was her check up with the eye doc who did all of her surgeries.  She was given another 'thumbs up' today.  Vision was good and all her surgical repairs are still in place, nothing  has 'slipped' since the last surgery & everything is fine.  Yahoo!  We don't have to go back for a couple of years!  The funny thing is, the doc could tell by something or other he did in the exam that within a couple more years, she'll need glasses for nearsightedness, although she's not quite there yet.  It's sorta funny that after all the 'stuff' her little eyes have been through in her lifetime, she'll need glasses for a "normal" thing now!  That's ok, though.  The rest of us are all nearsighted & have glasses for it.  We can certainly deal with that!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tradition #2

Today I made our traditional Rainbow Bark.  This is what it looks like.

It's super simple!  I took 1/2 a package of almond bark & melted it, then stirred in 1/2 a bag of M&Ms.  (Mind you, I'm talking about the 1lb. pkg of almond bark & the big bag of M&Ms, not the single serving sized bag.)  Take the mixture & pour it onto a sheet of wax paper & spread it out.  Put that into the freezer for about 15 minutes to set.  When you take it out, break the candy into chunks & have Rainbow Bark.  Very easy to make & YUMMY!!!

update on prayer request

Thank you to all of you who prayed for Anna last night.  She went on to Heaven at 1:25am this morning.  She is free from her pain now, but her parents and siblings are left with a hole in their hearts now.  Please continue praying for them in their grief.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The beginning of the Christmas season

Today was the day that my kids & I shared our first tradition of the Christmas season.  I love this whole late November to New Year's Day stuff.  It's my favorite time of year because we have created so many fun traditions with our kids.  I love watching them get excited about all our family 'stuff'.  Sure, they're excited about the coming gifts, too, but they really get excited about just doing the silly stuff with Larry & I, too.

Today we started our season with decorating the house, putting up the tree, singing to a Christmas CD & drinking our "Christmas drinks" (eggnog, cider, hot chocolate).  Most of the rest of the day we layed around & watched TV or movies under blankets in the living room.  It was a great day!!!  They're already looking forward to going to see Christmas lights, but I think we'll wait a couple weeks to start doing that!

Today I had to do something that we've always threatened to do but never have had to go through with.  We've always told the kids that if they snoop around & find presents, whatever they find will get taken back to the store.  They all know that most of the gifts are hidden in my dresser or in Larry's closet (because of the way the door to his closet opens up, we can safely hide stuff on the shelf behind the door & they can't see it unless they actually go INTO the closet & close the door to look behind it).  I guess, on the up side, at least he was honest about it.  Samuel came & told me today that he'd been in Larry's closet looking at his tools (umm...yeah...sure) and saw one of his presents.  I'm really bummed because I really LIKE this present!  But I have to follow through w/ the threat or next year he'll be snooping around looking for stuff thinking "she won't take it back".  Ugh....guess I'll be making a trip to Target in the next few days.  Anyone need a Knight in Shining Armor dress up set for your little guy?  I'll make you a good deal on it!  :)


Prayers for a friend's child

I was given this link a few months ago by a friend & have been following the journey of this family ever since.  The little girl, Anna Jane, is in her last days...  likely her last hours.  Her family are strong believers and I don't doubt that God will pull them through this horrible time, but I'm sure they'd appreciate your prayers none the less.  Anna Jane and my Sarah are the same age, so I can empathize with her mom's feelings about her daughter.

Our tree is up!

The kids & I spent the morning decorating the house for Christmas, putting up the tree & ornaments & drinking eggnog and hot chocolate while listening to Christmas music on a CD.  Of course, it was followed by a very traditional Christmas lunch of Lunchables (ha ha).  It's rainy & yucky outside, so it was a perfect day to decorate for Christmas!  Here's the finished tree & my three little darlins....

And ya know...if I only find this (below) under the tree on Christmas morning, that'll be ok!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I am thankful for...

1.  My sweet husband.

2.  Savannah & all her silliness.

3.  Samuel...he's such a charmer, even without many front teeth.

4.  Sarah-- such a beautiful 1st grader!

5.  My church & all the wonderful people there.

6.  My family  (there are wayyyy too many to post all their pictures here!)

7.  My home

8.  A wonderful family vacation taken earlier this year that we all so desperately NEEDED....and our most awesome host!


9.  Best friends, both online & in real life

Kathy F

Bethany F (for a little while longer til she becomes Bethany L!!!)

Kristi/Krissi P.

and 2 sisters who function as best friends, too.....



10.  a very personal & intimate relationship with God

11.  and a fabulous job which I love immensely.......and a great batch of kids to share my days with!

(I would post pics of my kiddos too, but I suspect most of their parents wouldn't want me to do that!!  So you just imagine cute smiley kiddos & you've got a good mental image!)


What are you thankful for this year??  Post a comment here or email me & let me know!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I felt the need to re-read this post this morning, so I thought I'd re-share it.  :)  It's from a post I wrote in August titled "He is Faithful".

In times of pain, He loves me. 

In times of joy, He loves me. 

In moments of fear, He loves me. 

In seasons of grief, He loves me. 

In times of celebration & excitement, He loves me. 

In the times of happiness when life is good & I barely acknowledge Him at all, He loves me. 

When I mess up, He loves me. 

When I do well, He loves me. 

When I fall down, He loves me. 

When I lose a friend to cancer and I cry & ask WHY, He loves me. 

Worse--when a friend loses their child to cancer & I ask again, WHY, He loves me.

Worse yet -- when more than one friend loses their child to cancer & I ask WHY, He still loves me.

When I stand in church with my arms outstretched in worship, He loves me. 

When my children give me reason to scream, He loves me. 

When my children give me a reason to CHEER, He loves me.

His love for me is not conditional.  It is not bound by my feelings on that day or my circumstances at that moment.  He loved me when He formed the earth.  He loved me when He created man.  He loved me when He walked on the earth.  He loved me when He died for me.  He loved me when He ascended to Heaven.  He loved me when my mother was born.  He loves me now, He loved me then, He loved me before I was even formed in my mother's womb.  His love is truely EVERLASTING, constant, eternal.

He is faithful to me when I am faithless.  He is faithful to me when I ask Him "WHY".  He is faithful to me when I need Him, and faithful to me when I don't think I need Him.  He is faithful.  He doesn't sway, He doesn't blow with the breeze.  He is faithful to me when I screw up.  He is faithful to me when I am laughing.  He is faithful to me when I cry.  He is God, He is EVERLASTING.

When I am sick, He is God.  When my child is hurting, He is God.  When I ache & mourn, He is God.  When family members die, He is God.  When a child is born, He is God.  When I lay down at night to rest and when I rise in the morning, He is God.  When I honor Him and when I don't, He is God.

He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  The everlasting Father, the Holy, righteous, blameless, pure spotless sacrifice for MY blunders...for MY faults...for MY sins.

Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!  He is FAITHFUL.

(partial lyrics to the song I am talking about here are below--I included the parts that really slap me in the face & throw me across the room to recognize how wild I am about Jesus--and maybe part of the worship experience is the actual music itself, so if you haven't heard this song, you ought to!)

Everlasting God Lyrics
Artist(Band):Chris Tomlin

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

Chorus:  You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Monday, November 19, 2007

Storm still raging outside, but calmed within

I typed up the last blog post a couple hours ago & just posted it about 45 min ago.  And true to His character, God used music to calm His child (me).

I had to run to the store & on the way to/from, I was listening to my "in the SPOTLIGHT" CD.  It was a CD the youth pastor handed out at church with a lot of current artists on it. 

The first song, "Hold Fast" by mercy me was the first thing to really strike deep within.  The chorus says  "hold fast, help is on the way.  Hold fast.  He's here to save the day.  One thing I've learned in my life is the only thing greater than my strife is His grasp, so hold fast."

Immediately after 'Hold Fast' is a Jars of Clay song that I love.  It's called "There is a River" and it's such a pretty song about the cleansing power of Christ.  The cleansing not only at salvation from our sins, but from the things we shoulder & carry around day to day that we were never meant to bear the burden of alone.

As I cried a few tears & listened to the songs, God asked me very clearly "Would you do it all again?".  My answer was immediately "in a heartbeat".  And with that, a peace settled over me that only God gives & He reminded me to let Him give me one day at a time (in this struggle to move on).  To let HIM shoulder the weight of the pain.

And just like that (snap!), the struggles of today's conflicting emotions disappeared.  Sure, it's still be an emotional afternoon/evening, but I'm going to be ok.  Thank you for the continued prayers.

It is finished.

Today while I was at work, Larry called to ask me about the time for Samuel's class Thanksgiving program today.  While we were on the phone he shared with me that Jerry & Betty had called.  They went to court this morning and the custody arrangement for Andrew & Kourtney is now final.  I put it out of my mind & refused to let myself dwell on it at all the rest of the day.  I just didn't want to think about it, so I stayed busy with my class and then with Samuel's class this afternoon.  When I finally got home & quit running from one thing to another, it hit.  I had to dwell on it for a while & let me tell ya... it's like starting all over again.

I mean, on one hand, it's over and we can quit worrying about things.  But on the other hand... it's really over.

I know this is best for all of us.  I know they're doing well.  I know that Jerry & Betty love them and are taking good care of them.  I know that my family is better without them here, hard as that is to admit.  I know that our time with them was just for a season & it's exactly what God needed us (& them) to go through during that timeframe.  I know that we made the right choice in letting them go.  I know all that.... but the finality of transferring custody is just another reminder that they're gone.

And so our world keeps turning, our days move ahead, our lives will go on.  And somehow, I must move forward.  Can someone draw me a map & tell me how to do that?  I'm not exactly sure how one goes about doing so.  I know that the rest of the world has long since healed from the 'loss' in my life, and I thought I was doing ok, too....but the reality of things being finalized today has thrown me for a loop.  It's very hard to put into words how I feel tonight.  Happy for them, but saddened all over again.

My heart hurts for so many reasons, and not all of them are about my sadness.

All of our lives are forever changed.  My children still bear the scars of the year Andrew & Kourtney were here.  Savannah and I just had a conversation about all her pain & hurts on Saturday.  She still struggles with anger & forgiveness.  I know it will come in time, but in her little mind, she looks back on that time & all she sees is that someone moved in & ruined her family and made her spend a year of her life in fear.  I hate that she felt that way for all the months they were here, and I don't want to see her struggle with this.  Sarah still talks about missing Kourtney--her 'sister' & best buddy.  Samuel mentions it now & then, but I think he's the most resilient of them all.  My heart will always hold a wound that can't be completely healed.  No matter what damage they did to my biological children & to our home, I hurt for the pain and all the turmoil A&K have had to live through in their short lives.  I hurt for the fact that I couldn't fix their pain.  I hurt because we had to give them another notch in the list of issues to work through.  I hurt because they were my children (in my eyes and in my heart) and I had to let them go.  

Their lives will never be 'ideal', but that happened long ago before their mother died.  Their futures are shaky, but with lots of love & guidance, they will survive...after all, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger ya know?

And so tonight is a night full of emotion and confused thoughts.  Happiness & sadness.  Celebration & grieving.  Joy & mourning.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Good day w/ the family

On Friday, Larry began a week of vacation days, so since he works for the church, we couldn't very well attend our church today.  The guys on staff are all told to go into hiding & run away when they're on vacation, so no Rose Heights for us this week!  Anyway, with that in mind, we visited our old church today.

Bethel Bible Church was our 'home' for 7 years ('97 to '04).  When we joined the church, Savannah was about 15 months old and when we left she was 8 years old.  They congregation at Bethel saw us through years of financial & physical turmoil, supported us in so many ways, offered their homes & prayers & friendships and were some of our biggest 'cheerleaders' through Larry's years in seminary.  It's been 3 years since we left and while a lot is the same, so much has changed!  We have fond memories of our years there, so it was nice to visit & see old friends today.  Samuel wanted to go to the childrens' program during the worship service, but the girls stayed with us.  He had a blast!  The teachers of the childrens' program are both friends from our years there so they had a ball getting to see our little man today.  Samuel was almost 5 when we left Bethel, so he still remembers things about the church.  Sarah, on the other hand was almost 4, so I guess she was too young to have many memories of her years at Bethel.  Several ladies there today commented on how they enjoyed seeing her because they remembered holding her in the nursery when she was an infant.  It's fun to see your children through the eyes of others & today was one of those days where they all shared sweet memories of my kids' early years of life.

After church,  the kids asked if we could go out to eat.  While going somewhere to eat wasn't really in the budget for this week, we'll stretch things elsewhere to make it work.  It's a special day when we're able to sleep a little later, drive to & from church together, sit together throughout the service, etc.  At our regular church, Larry has to go in before we're all awake and he stays later than the rest of us, so today was a treat!  Anyway, all that said, we decided to make it a special day by going somewhere to eat together.  While our "special meal" was only Dairy Queen in Gresham, it was a nice treat for us all!

We came home & took a nap for a while and then went to visit my dad.  Larry & Samuel went a little early to do some squirrel hunting (they didn't get anything).  Daddy is progressing slowly.  Recovery from this surgery is very hard & painful, so I know he is feeling terrible, but he's making progress.  Larry has been there every day since he had the surgery (at the hospital or their house) so he's seeing his daily progression.  I feel bad for both he & mom because I know they're getting little sleep, but they seem to be handling it well.  Keep praying for his recovery if you think about it while you're on your knees.

Tonight Samuel put together his first book report on a book we read together over the course of the past couple of weeks at bedtime.  He reads alright, but I knew he'd never make it through a chapter book in time to turn in this project so we read together.  He read one of the Adam Joshua Capers books.  He liked it a lot so I think we may be getting a couple more Adam Joshua books for Christmas!

All in all, we had a great day full of family togetherness & fun.

Two humorous things from this weekend:

On Friday, Sarah brought home a picture she made at school about her class's recent field trip to a farm.  It's called "Books Alive" because they visit this farm & move from station to station.  Each station includes an animal they can touch, pet, play with, etc.  The person at that station reads them a book about the animal and so the book comes "alive".  On her picture, she wrote a little summary about going to Books Alive.  Larry & I have read & re-read it this weekend, each time getting such a giggle out of what she wrote.  While we know what she MEANT, what she actually wrote is so funny!  This is definately one to put in the baby book so she can get a laugh out of it as an adult.  It says " favorite part of books alive was the hores."

Tonight, I was helping Samuel clean up (his mess in) the bathroom & he stopped cleaning to tell me " know, we're not supposed to work on the Baptist."  Huh?  He repeated it & then I realized what he was meaning......the SABBATH.  LOL!  Um, right dear...we shouldn't be working since it's the Baptist today.

Have a good week!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Nov. 16th

My dad is at home, recovering from his spinal fusion surgery he had on Tuesday.  Thankfully mom is there to take care of him 24/7......but I know how difficult this is for both of them.  Having lived through this a year ago, I really feel for both of them. 

Daddy's begun having those violent muscle spasms in his back like Larry had.  Poor thing....those things are AWFUL.  I remember Larry being jolted awake from a sound sleep by one of those spasms & he'd just jerk all over & start screaming.  Please keep praying for dad's healing & recovery.  It'll all be worth it after he's healed up some, but the recovery is going to be a booger & will take lots of time.  Pray for mom to get to rest whenever Daddy does because she's probably getting just as run down as he is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My nutty children

This morning we were all getting ready for school & work.  The kids were (supposed to be) getting dressed & putting on their shoes & socks so Larry & I closed our bedroom door to get dressed.  After a couple minutes, we could hear lots of giggles and silliness.  The funny thing is, we were just watching a video about a funny little boy thing.  (Here's the link:  We were laughing about the "boy-ism" of this kid when we decided to go check on our own precious rays of sunshine.

Remember, they were (supposed to be) getting dressed & ready for school.  Larry walked out of our bedroom & came back giggling.  Turns out, the girls were behind Larry's recliner & Samuel was standing in it, leaned over the back of it, fighting them with his Light Saber.  ha ha!

Of course Larry corrected their behavior & sent them on their way....but not without a grin on his face I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

update---daddy & cat

Daddy's surgery went well.  Everything was very routine & straight forward, no surprises.

When I left for work this morning, the cat had been removed.  :)

All in all, a good day.  LOL!

cat in the road

Yesterday morning, as I was leaving to take my kids to school, I noticed a cat sleeping out by the mailbox (right up against the curb) of a house a couple blocks away.  I worried that something was wrong with it for it to be out that close to the street, but there weren't any obvious signs of it being hurt--no blood.  Plus it was laying in a very natural position---not like it had been hit by a car & that's where it landed.

When I came back from taking the kids to school, it was still in the same place & I realized that it wasn't sleeping---it was dead.  I wondered if the people who lived in this house were also out taking a child to school & would find it when they came back.

When I left for work about 45 min later, the dead cat was still in the same place.  I parked by the curb & went to the door to tell the owners, but no one answered.  There was a truck in the driveway each time I'd passed by the house so I thought someone might be home.  No one answered the door & I needed to get to work.  The people had probably taken the kids to school & went onto work, I assumed.

Sure enough when I came back home about 1:45pm, the cat was still in the same spot.  Surely the people who live there will come home from work & find the cat & do something about it right?

At 5:45 last night, I took the girls w/ me and we headed to the church for a ladies' night event.  It was still there.  Yuck.  Now I'm getting grossed out.

I told myself that SURELY the people would've come home by this morning & found the cat. was still there when I took the kids to school this morning.  Ok, somewhere in there, it goes from "poor Fluffy" to "disgusting dead cat in the street".  Thankfully, when I came up the street heading back to the house, there was a city truck on the street & I flagged them down & told the guy in the truck about the cat.  He said he'd call animal control and/or the police & get them to have someone remove the dead cat.  Obviously the owners are out of town or something and I hate to have them come home to a missing kitty....but it's grossing me out!!!  I'm sure there is some sort of public health issue with having a dead animal laying in the street where little kids play!

So there's my concerned citizen report for the day.  Let's just hope they show up & actually get thecat today!

My dad

Please remember my dad in prayers today.  He is having the same surgery that Larry had in Oct 06.  He is having a spinal fusion done.  They had to get up at 3:30am & be at the hospital by 5:30 this morning.  His surgery was scheduled for 7 or 7:30, but I suspect that, like most hospital schedules work, he's probably just now getting started.  (It's 8:13am as I type this.)

He watched Larry go through this, so he realizes how difficult the recovery will be, but he was ready to get it DONE.  Boy I remember feeling that way w/ Larry last year, so I know they're anxious to get this over with.

Please pray for the doctor's steady hands and for a smooth recovery for my dad.  His name is Don & he is 62.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Birthday date & assorted weekend stuff

Tonight, Larry took me out for my birthday dinner.  My sister kept the kids (Thank you, Jennifer!).  We went to Johnny Carino's ( & I had the chicken milano (it's under the classic italian list here:  YUMMY!  Of course, after having eaten some of the bread & olive oil, some salad, drinking my drink a little & eating 1 fried cheese thing I was only able to eat about 2 bites of my chicken.  That's alright though...I brought home the rest!  It was a nice night out w/ my sweetie.

This weekend, the kids got a copy of the Target Wish Book from the mail.  Watching them go through it & circle things they want gave me mixed feelings.  On one hand, it reminded me of my childhood when Granny would give my sisters & I the Sears Christmas Wishbook & have us pick out our Christmas gifts.  Watching how excited they were made me grin.  But on the other hand, I saw an ugly side of my kids that I don't usually see.  We never have asked our kids to "make us a list" for Christmas gifts.  They don't realize that other children do this.  We've always felt like it breeds selfishness & greedy-ness for them to sit around dreaming up extravagant list of "gimme, gimme" items, so we've never asked them to create a list.  And ya know what...on Christmas morning, they're happy with WHATEVER they get because we are usually good about listening to things they've mentioned being interested in during the year, so they tend to get things they've wanted anyway.  Now, relatives have asked what they want for Christmas & so we try to have a short list on hand for that, but otherwise we don't do "wish lists".  Anyway, watching them devour the wishbook from Target was sorta weird for me.  Sarah circled just about every item in the book, giggling maniacly as she did ---which is totally out of character for her because she's usually very generous & giving to everyone.  I guess it's alright for her to want a few things, but I was surprised to see just how MANY things she circled.  Savannah put her name by a few things, mostly all items I already knew she'd want.  Samuel looked at the book w/ the girls but never got a chance to mark things he wanted w/ a marker.  Yet.  I guess we'll see how he does.  Anyway, I found that interesting.

As we get into the middle of November, I am beginning to get excited about the season that is upon us!  THANKSGIVING is my favorite holiday.  Ya know why?  No one has figured out a way to mess it up yet!  At Easter, we have the bunny & eggs & baby chicks & all the commercial stuff that goes along w/ Easter.  Christmas is advertised in July & August and children are prone to greediness at that time of year.  Don't even get me started on the commercial size of Christmas.  Pretty much every holiday has been messed up in some way by commercialization & yet, no one can commercialize Thanksgiving b/c no one makes money off of our being THANKFUL.  Interesting, huh?  Of course, that's why the stores just skip right over Thanksgiving.  You see Halloween costumes by September, quickly followed by red & green decor.  You rarely see much of a display of Thanksgiving items.  And ya know what?  I like it that way!  I'm proud that we still have one holiday where we can just be thankful & not ask for or expect anything!  Join me this year in creating a tradition with your family of listing all the things you're thankful for & reminding each other how thankful you are for each other!  If I've learned anything this year, it's how precious family and friends are...and how much we have to be thankful for.

Ok, stepping down off my soapbox & heading toward bed now....enjoy your Monday.  God bless.

My pretty girls!

I am really impressed w/ the school pictures this year!  We've gotten the girls' pics back, but haven't received Samuel's yet.  Aren't they beautiful?

Here is Sarah (1st grade)

And Miss Savannah (6th grade)

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I found another picture of Samuel as a Tunnel Cat last night.  It was on the local newspaper's website.  This one is probably the best one of all---clearly taken from a closer angle than anything that I took pics of!  He's in the denim jacket with the white noise maker things.

Today we went to my sister's house for my nephew's graduation party.  Way to go, Curtis!  His best friends & his dad, my brother in law, all gave short speeches to congratulate him on his graduation.  This is my sister, my brother in law (diploma in hand) & Curtis.  Good job, sweetie!  We're all proud of you!


Friday, November 9, 2007

Birthday report

My birthday began yesterday at school when 2 of my kids showed up with gifts.  What sweet mommies & kiddos I have!  I came home with a scented oil/candle diffuser thingy (what do you call that?) and a really cute picture frame.

This morning was a little kids woke up (all of 'em!) on the wrong side of the bed & prior to school hours, they were all grouchy & fussy.  Ugh...

When I got to work, my secret pal had left me a birthday treat---the new Karen Kingsbury book!  YAHOO!  I can't wait to get started on it b/c the current K.K. book I'm working on is kinda dry & I am having a hard time getting into it.  Time to toss it & move on I think!

As if that wasn't enough, my Mon/Wed/Fri class proceeded to give me a card & a sizable Target gift card which I have been encouraged to go & use entirely on myself---nothing for the kids or my house.  Hmm...that may be harder than I think!

One of the kids also brought me a card that she had 'signed'.  I loved her "handwriting" in the card.  Too sweet!

After I left work & picked up the kids at school, I decided golly....I want a birthday cake!  So we went to Brookshire's & I bought myself one.  It's not a 'true' birthday cake---not the pretty decorated thing w/ flowers on the top & such.  It's a 2 layer red velvet cake--yum!  They also had the cheesecake slices dipped in white fudge that I I got one of those, too.  I ate it this afternoon but saved the red velvet cake for us to all enjoy together tonight.  (hello sugar coma!)

Tonight, Samuel was a "Tunnel Cat" at the HS football game.  You see, in our little hometown, we're the Wildcats.  Every home game, all of the 2nd-4th grade teachers pick 2 children from each class to be a "Tunnel Cat".  They line up right before the football game & they get to run onto the field through the football players' tunnel.  They run shrieking & squealing down the full length of the football field and have a blast doing it.  Being a Tunnel Cat is quite an honor that must be earned through good citizenship, good conduct, etc.  We're proud of our little Tunnel Cat.  Here are the pics I took.

In this one, they were just lining the kids up before their "big moment".  Samuel is sitting behind a crowd of teachers, but you get the idea of how many little Tunnel Cats there were.

This is right after the tunnel came open on the end & they started running out.  I know it's probably close to impossible, but there are 2 white 'stick' things sticking up in the air above the crowd of kids' heads, way in the back of the crowd.  See them?  That's Samuel!  Those white sticks are these inflatable noise maker things.  He ran with those banging them together while hooting & hollering.

This last one is when they were walking the crowd of kids back down to where they started so the parents could pick them up.  Now you can see the white noise maker stick things better.  He loved being out on the field like that!

We came home for showers & to eat a piece of my birthday cake after half time.  It was nearly 9:30!  Yikes...the poor kids who played that game won't be home til wayyy late.  Thankfully we still have a few more years til our kids are at the high school!

All in all, the day was great.  Tomorrow is my nephew's graduation party (Way to go, Curtis!!!).  Sunday morning is church, but Sunday night Larry is taking me out to dinner.  Yahoo....grown up people food!  No kids meal choices!  I'm excited.

Thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes today!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

32 Facts about Me

I promised that I'd post this today.  It's almost midnight & I'm tired, so I'm posting it now.  Just don't read it til Friday if you happen to still be up!

32 Facts About Me on my 32nd Birthday

 1.  I am turning 32 today.  I was born at 11:36am at ETMC in Tyler.  (It was called Medical Center Hospital back then.)

2.  I met my husband when I was a couple months shy of turning 17, therefore I have officially been with him for 1/2 my life now.
3.  I have lived in 10 different houses in my lifetime.
4.  I felt a call to ministry of some variety when I was 14.  I never knew that would mean being married to a pastor.  I have a deep desire to work in a Crisis Pregnancy Center or an unwed moms home (something akin to Living Alternative's ministry) one day.  {See to see what I'm talking about if you don't live locally.}  I would also love to live in a foreign country meeting the physical & emotional needs of some tribe of unknown people (who speak English of course...ha ha) so that I could later meet their spiritual needs as well.
5.  I love talking to & forming relationships with kids & adolescents.  Having a very open & honest relationship is so vital to encouraging them to make right choices as they get older.  I have the best time chatting with all the kids on our street as well as my own kids.  We truely talk about anything and everything & I have found that the neighbor kids come to my door to tell me silly things too, just because they like talking to me.  Love that!!
6.  I would like to teach/work in an abstinence education program.  The discussions & talks by one lady (Hi Ruth S.!!) who was at youth camp when I was a teenager have stuck with me over the years and I would love to be someone else's "Ruth".  I will never forget all the talks she gave & the time she invested into all us crazy Smith County Baptist girls at Timberline Camp!
7.  I have the best kids in my class at school and awesome parents, too!  (Hi guys!!)  I adore my job.  Teaching preschool is fabulous!  Not only do I get to spend the day with sweet little kids, but I get to see their eyes light up when they figure out how to hold a pair of scissors properly, when they learn how to use the "squeezy glue" & not just a glue stick, when they get totally potty trained & come to school, yanking up their dress to show me their new Dora panties.  (grin)  I get to be there to watch them come to grips with the fact that not everything is "MINE" & it's actually more fun to share with a friend & play together.  I get to hug them when their mom/dad isn't there & snuggle them when they feel bad.  I get to hold them and love on them when they're feeling sad or scared and I get to paint with them every day!  I get to see the little boys chase each other in the riding cars on the playground and share tea with the little girls while wearing a silly dress up hat.  I get to make a mess & read stories in a funny voice and jump up & down to test the motor skills of my students.  I get to help them develop skills & friendships and learn about all sorts of fun themed units.  I get to have a fun, exciting relationship with them & watch them grow throughout the year.  (But I've gotta tell you, though....the end of the year is horrible......I hate to see them go.  I always cry on the last day.)
8.  I only read non-fiction books until about 2 years ago when my MOPS buddies convinced me to give a few fiction books a shot.  I kept telling them that I didn't have time for fiction stuff, but Francine River's book "Redeeming Love" was THE BOOK that convinced me.  I fell in love w/ that book & went on to read several more of Mrs. Rivers's books before moving on to Karen Kingsbury.  I am sooo anxiously awaiting the release of the next book in the Sunrise series (in February)!  I also love good biographies.
9.  I'm a People magazine nut.  I get one every week!
10.  My favorite book of the Bible is Psalms.  God took me there during a time in my life when my only choices were to fall off the deep end or turn to HIM.  Reading words like "rip off their heads & throw them into a pit" coupled with "You are so mighty & wonderful God, I love you!" was exactly what I needed during that time --- to see that someone elsestruggled so greatly but was so astounded by the love of God was like therapy for me.  To this day, I still run to Psalms very often when I struggle with anything.  It's such a powerful book.
11.  I grew up Southern Baptist, married an Independant Christian church member, moved to a Non-denominational Bible Church & later became Pentacostal.  I'm either really well rounded or totally crazy (you decide).  ha ha
12.  My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden.  I usually only get to eat there once or twice a year because my sweetie thinks it's too "fancy".  The truth is he's just too much of a redneck country boy to enjoy a refined dining experience.  Plus, he doesn't like "noodly stuff" as he calls it.  He usually takes me there for my birthday & maybe our anniversary.  He's learned to like it over the years, but would rather pick a steak place for himself.  (which is what we usually do for his birthday)
13.  The best day of my life was 8/20/94---my wedding day.....which led to the other best days of my life (when I had each of my kids).
14.  It's been 7 months & 3 weeks since they left and I'm still grieving the loss of my other 2 kids.  I guess that's not something you ever really get 'over'.  We received the final custody papers in the mail on Monday.  When we send them back & they're filed into court in their new county of residence, it will be official.  (and for those of you just joining me.... this will catch you up: A new season  then go onto part 2 from the link on that page)
15.  I love to write.  Maybe you already had guessed that, though.  I hope to write a book called "That Was Not Part of the Plan" one day.
16.  I took dance lessons for about 5 years when I was a kid.  Loved jazz, hated tap, enjoyed drill team but not enough to try out in high school.
17.  My favorite color is red.
18.  I have 2 older sisters, Cindy & Jennifer.
19.  My all time favorite movie is Grease.  I have it on VHS, but I want to find the DVD of it w/ all the fun special features.  I love chick flicks---particulary romances & romantic comedies.  My favorites are The Lake House, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Serendipity, The Wedding Planner....that sort of thing.
20.  I'm a big sap.  Little things make me cry.  (but the little things are usually the best things aren't they?)
21.  I love cold weather.  Here in east Texas, we have warm springs, SUPER HOT summers & still-hot back to school months.  When Fall really kicks in (it has recently) I love it.  But when WINTER gets here, I reallyyyyy love it!
22.  I have a very organized mind.  I am extremely anal when it comes to paperwork & details, but the "big picture" usually gets totally lost on me when it comes to my house.  I am a "pile person" meaning that everything is organized into piles....ha ha.  It's not bad enough for "Clean Sweep" to pay me a visit, but let's just say I need notice before you drop by to say hello.  :)
23.  I love roses...particularly red ones.  And sunflowers.  And daisies.  And lilies.  Oh heck, I'm a girl...I love getting flowers of any kind.  But don't give me a potted plant.  It'll be dead before morning.
24.  My husband is my best friend.  Have I told ya lately how much I love the guy?  He is the most amazing guy.  I'm so lucky!
25.  I grew up out in the country & learned to drive in the pastures & backroads.
26.  My youngest 2 kids are 10 1/2 months apart.  Seriously.  No, we didn't plan that.
27.  If I could be anywhere else in the world right now, I'd pick a cabin in the woods up in the mountains somewhere.  The quiet, the peaceful surroundings, the smells & sounds of nature, the giggles of my kids chasing crickets out from under relaxing!  (oh and by the way, I'd just blink my eyes & be driving, no flights....)
28.  I have a ton of online friends that I've "met" over the years.  For a long time I was a stay at home mom with very little access to the world outside my four walls, so I met people online who were in similar places in life.  (moms, people in prayer request email groups, etc)  I've talked to probably 80% of them on the phone at one time or another & have met a few.  One of my very best friends is someone I met online & have only talked to by phone/email for the past (almost) decade.  Hi Bethany!  One of these days I'm going to show up in Moberly, MO & surprise her!  (or you could come here ladybug!!!  hint hint!)
29.  I would love to be rich enough to flip a house successfully.  It would be so much fun!
30.  I love all of the real estate shows on HGTV & TLC.
31.  I dip my Chick-Fil-A fries in Mayo.  Weird, huh?
32.  I don't like coffee or tea.  I drink primarily water most days, but include milk, juice & Dr. Pepper in there too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Samuel in the tent

This afternoon, Samuel went into his bedroom to work on his homework alone.  We usually do it together, but he's been doing so well lately that I decided to give him a try on doing it by himself.  A few minutes after he went into his room to work, he called me & this is how I found him.

Yes, that's right.....he set up a tent in his bedroom floor to work in.  ha ha!  He actually had a little 'desk' (read: cardboard box) set up in there to work on, so I couldn't fuss too much, but I thought it was pretty cute & oh-so "BOY"!

Fast forward 5 hours to bedtime.  I put him to bed ON his bed.  It's 11:45 & I just went to check on him to make sure he was still covered up & THIS is what I found.  (snicker, snicker)  This is the first thing I saw when I opened the door.
I had to laugh because he had once again set up the tent & climbed inside for the night.  See?
Cutie pie!
Don't worry......I gave him another blanket after I took a picture.  What a little sweetpea.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The "Maybe" Recruiter

Tonight, we all went shopping for the Thanksgiving banquet our church does every year.  We bus over all the residents of the Salvation Army homeless shelter & serve them a fancy, formal Thanksgiving dinner on china with a full place setting, nice tablecloths & such.  We have a short church service for them & serve them like waiters would do in a nice restaurant.  It's a really blessing for us and for them.  Anyway, when we got done shopping for the groceries, we went to eat dinner at Chili's.  The parking lot was pretty full & we had to park near a military recruiting office & walk across a parking lot to get there.  On the way in, Samuel asked me what the building was that we parked by.  I told him it was a "Navy Recruiter".  He asked what that was & I began to explain.  In the middle of my explanation, Savannah piped up & said "Hang sounds like you're talking about the Army, but what's a MAYBE Recruiter?".  I guess she thought that if you went to that office, you were MAYBE going to join the military.  ha ha!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend review

What a full weekend!

It started at 7am Friday morning.  I met some of the other teachers from Oak Tree Academy on the parking lot to a grocery store in Whitehouse & headed for a training conference/workshop in Longview.  What a fun day.  It was long & we sat a lot, just listening, but the workshops I went to were all a lot of fun with good info!  I went to "Science fun with preschoolers", "Fine Motor Skills: Write Outside the Box!", "Child Abuse & Neglect" and "Boys, Boys, Boys!".  All 4 classes were really good.  Any of you teachers out there who'd like to see copies of the handouts & my notes, let me know.  I'd be happy to share.

Friday evening, Larry had a wedding rehearsal and a football game to attend and for whatever crazy reason, I was really wiped out, so the kids & I hung out at home & watched TV til bedtime.  I actually zonked out at 9:45 Saturday night, so I was really tired!  I slept straight through to Saturday morning, too!

On Saturday morning, Larry hit the hunting trail bright & early.  His alarm went off at 5am & he hit the door, ready to blast himself a Bambi.  He didn't get anything that morning, but he had fun.  Saturday evening, he did the wedding that he'd done the rehearsal for the night before and the kids & I went grocery shopping.  It's been a while since I took all three kids w/ me, but they actually did quite well.  I guess they had better...they are old enough to handle it after all!

I did a little better last night on staying awake til closer to my normal time, but even still I took a nap yesterday afternoon & then another one today!  I guess I'm catching up on my rest.

This morning we had church.  After putting off finishing my November lesson plans & class newsletter for a week (!!!!), I sat down tonight & finished them.  Whew.  I'm always glad to get that accomplished.  I love doing it, but it does take some time to get it done & around here, I just don't have much "spare" time.  Now that it's done, I'm ready for a full week with the kids at school.

At the end of this week, I am having my 32nd birthday.  Going on the inspiration of another blogging friend, on Friday I will post "32 Facts about Me".  (She recently turned 34 & posted 34 facts --- it was fun to read!)

Larry & I finally made it onto the Rose Heights Church website.  He's been on there for a long time, but last November (yes, really a year ago!), we had professional pics done for the site....and they're finally on there!  Check it out:  It's not the most flattering pic of me...and my hair is quite a bit longer now, but at least you can get an idea of what we look like.  Feel free to browse the rest of the site if ya want to see what our church looks like.

And one last thing!  Years ago, I attended Youth Camp at Timberline Baptist Camp in Lindale, TX.  I loved it!  One year in particular, a neat lady named Ruth Stoddard spoke to the entire group of kids (boys & girls) about abstinence.  She spent the week with us, speaking each day at our mid-day meeting.  She was humorous & silly, but at the same time, very serious.  She worked for Josh McDowell with the "Why Wait?" program.  She was incredibly candid with us, answering questions for us til 2am in our cabins.  She spoke to us on our level & was quite influential to me in concreting my belief to wait until marriage.  Of course I already knew that I wanted to wait til I was married, but her talks & the relationship she built with us that week at camp were very powerful & I have always remembered her & wanted to thank her for what she did.  WELL--- on a weird whim, I looked her up on myspace a few weeks ago.  She was there!!  I was a little surprised to see that she has a page, but I sent her a message anyway, asking if I had the right person.  Turns out, I did!  She wrote back this weekend & we've been writing back and forth ever since.  It's been really neat to connect w/ this person from the past and share with her the impact she had on my life as a teen.

I have a passion for abstinence education for our own kids and for teen pregnancy centers.  I'd love to work for Living Alternatives in the Fatherheart home (if you don't know what that is, ask me!).  I'd love to do for teens today what Ruth did for our youth group way back when.  Maybe one day God will lead me there....we'll see!

I guess that's about all that has happened this weekend.  Talk to you again soon!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Costume drama/trauma

Ok, now that I have a little more time to explain, I'll share the story about last night's costume anxieties.  LOL

First of all, you should know that the PLAN was for Savannah to go as a mummy.  We had planned to wrap her in toilet paper & call her a mummy.

We usually buy costumes for Halloween on eBay WAYYYYYYYYYY in advance, but this year, Halloween snuck up on me & everything we tried to bid on was already wayyy too high priced (in my opinion anyway!) so we didn't get a 'real' costume for anyone.

Ok, so last night we needed to leave the house by 5:15.  We had eaten & were ready to put on costumes to leave at 4:55.  First Samuel put on his.  Five seconds & he was done, holding his candy bag, standing at the door grinning ear to ear, jumping up & down squealing "let's go, let's go, let's go".  It was clear he was excited & ready to GO!

So now it's 5:00 & I send Sarah to put on her Strawberry Shortcake costume while I start wrapping Savannah in TP.  I got out the tape (thinking I'd have to stick on the first couple strips & then could wrap everything else on top of that).  I wrapped & I wrapped, but every few INCHES, the TP was break & I'd have to tape it down.  It was a lesson in futility to say the least.  About a 1/2 a roll of TP (& about 6 ft. of tape!) into this little project, I gave up & said mummy costume.  Clearly we should've attempted this prior to 15 minutes before time to leave, but at that point it was quite clear that the mummy costume was not working.  I knew she'd climb into the car & sit down & it would split down the back or something.  Ugh.  That's when panic hit both of us.  Savannah started crying & throwing a pre-teen hormonal fit about how she'd just skip Halloween & not wear a costume.  I reminded her that meant no candy b/c she couldn't do the games without a costume (ya know, you use those moments of parental liberty to make up rules like this).  While in the middle of this........

Sarah came into the room, crying that she'd spilled something down the front of her costume & it was now wet & looked like she'd wet her pants.  Panic further ensued as she sat down in the kitchen floor to sob about her wet costume.

During all this, Samuel's still giggling & grinning at the front door with his candy bag singing somegoofy made up 'candy' song which ticked off his irritated sisters to no end.  Between sobs, they both expressed (ahem...) distaste for his song.

I quickly ripped Sarah's costume off & threw it in the dryer & then started making suggestions of what Savannah could wear instead of the mummy get-up.  I suggested Larry's Boy Scout leader shirt, saying she could put it on & go as a Boy Scout.  She was being a fusspot by then & just shrugged her shoulders & gave me a grunt.  I figured that meant no, so I moved onto the camo shirt that was hanging in Larry's closet next to the Scout shirt.  She perked up & mentioned her Army soldier hat (a camo cap our cousin who is actually in the Army gave her after Basic training).  WooHoo!  We had a hit, so she took off w/ Larry's shirt to hunt for the cap.

I turned back to the utility room to see Sarah slouched on the floor in front of the dryer, face in her hands, shoulders shaking as she cried "I don't want to be Strawberry Shortcake again."  She wore the costume last year & it still fits, so I had figured it would be fine, but apparently she wasn't too happy with my choice.  In an effort to get rid of the tears & get us OUT THE DOOR in the next 5 minutes, I suggested she wear Savannah's costume from last year (a Barbie pumpkin fairy---no, I don't know what it is either, but we still have the costume hanging in my closet, so I yanked it out).  We figured out immediately that it was wayyyy too long for Sarah, so back into my closet it went.  We ran to Sarah's closet to survey what she might have in her clothes.  People tell us often that Sarah looks like Dora the Explorer, much to her dismay (I think it's the haircut).  I suggested that she could wear a pink Tshirt & throw on a backpack & call herself Dora but she didn't like that.  She's never been real happy when someone tells her she looks like Dora, so I guess it wasn't nice of me to suggest that.  She was pretty frustrated with me for suggesting it.  LOL!

I checked the clock & it was now 5:12---we literally needed to leave in THREE minutes.  I decided it was time to make an executive decision.  "Sorry babe, you HAVE to be Strawberry Shortcake.  It's all we have.  I promise to do better next year & get costumes earlier, but tonight, this is IT."  I told her to get the hat for the costume out, brush her hair & put it on & come to the living room while I ran to get the wet costume out of the dryer.  Luckily it was dry!  I ran back to the living room to the tune of Savannah squawking in her bedroom about the camo cap she was looking for.  I went into her room & found her looking a bit like an ostrich---her head was buried under her bed looking for that cap & her rear end was poking out.  I had to bite my lip to keep from giggling because we were in a serious crunch for time & I knew we HAD to find that hat really fast!  She came out from under the bed about the time I walked in & looked at me, all teary eyed, and told me she was really upset that she couldn't find the hat.  The cousin who gave it to her is something akin to Wonderwoman in her eyes, so not being able to find the special hat was breaking her heart.  Oh boy......

As I listened to Samuel giggle about candy from the next room (still!!!), I reminded her how short we were on time & suggested she use the camo handkerchief instead for her head & assured her we'd find the hat later.  She agreed & tied it on as I walked out to the living room.

With one final peek at the clock (5:14), I called for the kids to come line up by the door for our annual costume picture before leaving.  I got these two almost immediately.

But alas, Strawberry Shortcake was weeping about not wanting to wear her costume hat in the bedroom floor.  One final moment of encouragement from mommy (GET IN HERE NOW!!!!!!!!!!) and she walked sweetly to the living room to pose for a pic, although not entirely happily.

We then ran to the car, hopped in & took off!

I worked the first hour of the carnival in a beanbag toss game booth for preschoolers & Larry took the 2nd hour.  Here are a few pics of the kids during the carnival.  Somehow Savannah alluded the camera all night!  Oops!

How quickly the weepy Strawberry Shortcake perked up when given a pony ride!

The other pics I took were a little dark & blurry, so I'll just skip those.  Refer to the last post for a pic of the post-carnival candy loot.

All in all, it was a great night, despite the costume trauma before we left.  And let me just say---Samuel never stopped grinning all night long.

Costumes, candy, silly kids!

I think they got a LITTLE candy.  :)

This is just before we left (below):

I'll have to share my (funny) costume trauma/anxiety story with ya later, but wanted to send a quick picture so everyone could see my silly kids last night.