"We are all handmade people created by a God who is not safe or small." Rend Collective Experiment

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Summer 2014~

The blessing of summer. I love summer. I love that it's time to pause and play, and to rest and relax, and to spend time with friends and family. I have loved the parties,the graduations, the celebrations, the beach days, the pool days, the bike rides, the zoo days, and the museum days. What I have loved the most though is the people. I love spending time with the people we love. Our friends, our family, our new baby cousin, our bunches of cousins, Aunts, Uncles and so on.. Early morning coffee clubs, and late night movies, with daytime hours floating in the sea in between. We have had conversations where we laughed until we cried, and ones where we cried until we laughed. What a gift. The gift of time to love the people in our lives well. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

1 Samuel 1:27~

Two years ago today we met our sweet son Samuel! He was just shy of 5.5 years old. We had been prepared for him to be scared of us and for him to cry at our first meeting, but instead he came right to me and wrapped his sweet arms around my neck and said, "Mama." It was so amazing. We had sent him a pillow with a picture of Jim and I on it with our welcome package and the caregivers told us he would show it to everyone and tell them, "This is my Mama and Baba. They are coming for me." Oh, how precious is the faith of a child.

He remembers very well our first meeting and our days in China. It tickles me to hear him talk of that time.

We had to recreate the scene with what he calls his "China clothes". He had on a mint green sweat suit underneath his puffy pink jacket and jeans. He was toasty warm.

Yes, his China clothes still fit him. Even that teeny tiny little shoe still fits his little foot. He had two of them on when we met. I am pretty sure the other one fell behind the shelf in my closet.

It is believed that Sam-Sam has a rare form of dwarfism and that is why he hasn't grown very much. He has been given a clinical diagnosis and we go to genetics next month for further testing.

He is a little fish in the water. He absolutely loves to swim.

I love this picture of him. He is so full of joy.

Small, but mighty! He loves to climb.

He's a great older brother to these guys. They have so much fun together.

They are precious friends.

What an amazing blessing our son is! We thank God every day for letting us be his parents. We are blessed.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

These two. Sweet Pea and the Wee Boy. Still the best of friends. Love them. Love their relationship.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reaching new heights..

Katie asked me a few months ago if I would train her to run her first half-marathon. Upon hearing about this Hailey and Joel wanted in too. Crazy kids! LOL. So, we have been training. We have been having a lot of fun and some good and challenging runs. This past Saturday was the longest run we will have before before our race. We did 13 miles. It was mainly good. At mile 10 it was getting really hot and humid. I asked Katie if she was doing ok and began we trading back and forth badly misquoted parts from the Lord of the Rings to inspire us to greatness. Having a partner during a challenging run can really make so much of a difference in one's attitude. So much like life is easier when we have people around us who are encouraging us or praying for us. Or sometimes you just need someone to listen and say, "Yes, this is really hard and it stinks, but you can make it through." One of the greatest blessings we have on this journey we are on are the friends and family who love us and spur us on. I am so thankful for the people God has given me. I pray I will be a voice of encouragement and a prayer warrior for them too.

It won't be long and Lily will be taller then her big sister. The Pediatrician had predicted she would be the shortest girl of the family. I guess not!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lessons for the Teacher~

We started school a few weeks ago and someone was a little excited to do his new Pre-K book.

Could we bottle this exuberance and excitement for the next 13 years?

It seems like just yesterday that I was starting our schooling journey with this guy . Now he is in his second year of college. I am not sure how time goes by so very quickly, but it surely does.

I hope I am a little wiser than I was in those early days of homeschooling. I am so very far from knowing it all, but there are some lessons I have learned along the way.

1. God is faithful.
-He is so very faithful to provide what we need for each and every day. I have spent too many days worrying about tomorrow and it's needs instead of being thankful for the provisions He has provided for this day. I need to rest and trust in Him. He is faithful to provide "Daily bread".

2. I am not patient.

-If you are a homeschooler you have no doubt heard the phrase from someone else, "I could never do that, I just don't have the patience." Well, the truth is I don't have the patience either. In my flesh, I am not a patient person. That is why each day I must walk in the Spirit. In the Spirit I have patience. When I am walking with Him and He is working through me He gives me all the equipping I need to do the task He has called me to do. That is why each day I must be in His Word, in prayer, and worship.

3. Some days are hard.

-There are many, many glorious homeschooling moments. Seeing a child take off in reading is one of my very favorite things about teaching. It's wonderful. There are days when the science experiments are fun and educational, and the multiplication tables roll off the third grader's lips effortlessly. There are days where you read aloud outside, and the sun is shining, and the wind is blowing, and all is right in the world.

There ARE days however when learning and teaching are just hard. There are days when you and your child put your nose to the grindstone and "Just Do It". That is o.k. That does not make you or your child a failure. I know I always felt horrible when learning became hard for a child. However, I have learned that learning hard things is a part of schooling. Learning to push through is a skill that your child needs to learn. There is a sense of satisfaction when you learn to master that which once seemed impossible.

4. Some of the greatest lessons are not taught from schoolbooks.

-There are days and moments when the greatest thing you can do is to close the books. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5-6. These verses are so well known to me that I don't even have to think about saying them. They roll off my lips, and I can finish them without thinking. I have taught them to our children. Do I really know them and believe them and what they are? They are me asking God to write my schedule. There are days when friends and family are going to need me to rearrange my life to serve them, pray with them, sit with them at the hospital, bring them a meal, get on my knees for them. I must be open to the fact that some days God has another plan than my neat little schedule, and I need to embrace it.

5. The Homeschool Catalog(Pinterest) Family has their moments too.

-When we started homeschooling the internet was not all that it is now. We relied mainly on homeschool catalogs for information. Inevitably, those shiny catalogs would come in the mail and there would be pictures of happy families, dressed in matching outfits, gathered around the kitchen table, in an oh so immaculate kitchen..Oh, homeschooling looked so neat and tidy.

Today we have Pinterest, and other social media, where people share pictures of their finer homeschooling moments. I love this! It's great to see people enjoying their lives and their days, and their children. However, I must keep in mind it is a brief snapshot of their day. They also have moments where there are books and papers strewn about, and where one child can't find a pencil, and another is daydreaming out the window instead of doing his schoolwork.

6. I have to be careful of the people I let speak into my life.

-In the early years of homeschooling I spent a lot of time listening to convention speakers, and reading books by homeschooling experts.

-I would have told you that I was an "Eat the watermelon and spit out the seeds" kind of a reader. However, I will confess that some of those seeds that I thought I spit out actually got lodged, and took root. There are a lot of people with ideas and concepts that they feel should embody the lives of all Believers, especially homeschoolers. I need to follow the Holy Spirit and not another person.

7. I am thankful. I am so glad God has allowed me on this journey. It is a blessing each and every day. I am thankful He is still teaching me, because I have so much left to learn.

I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4

Plundering the Krispy Kreme~


Did anyone else plunder their local Krispy Kreme yesterday? We did. Oh my, what a fun little diversion in the middle of our school day.

They were so excited to get a little piratey. We practiced talking like pirates the whole drive over. They wanted to know how to say "Thank You" in pirate. We settled on "Tank ye"..though I am not sure pirates are big on manners.

The people at our local KK could not have been sweeter. They were so excited and fun. We ran into two sweet families and that just made it a party.

Jim called me while we were there and asked, "YOU at Krispy Kreme?? Do I even KNOW you anymore?" LOL, hey you have to splurge every now and again.

Since I can't have dairy, and Katie can't have wheat, we drank coffee. The family that gets hyped up together, stays together..or something like that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

We have really enjoyed watching the American Ninja Warrior show as a family this past summer. Every Monday night we get attached to the Competitors as they share their background stories, and then... we collectively moan as they fall, or cheer wildly for the few who complete the course.

I am not sure why it has captivated us so, but I do know it has taken park days to a whole new level.

Climb the cargo net with arm power only?

No problem.

Traverse the playground perimeter with your fingertips? Fun!

The little guys have embraced their ninjaness too..

Mighty little men.

Love these kids. They make every day an adventure.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Summer 2013~

This week we began our 2013-2014 school year. It is exciting to begin a new season of school and learning. It is hard to say good-bye to summer though. I once heard a preacher on the radio say something along the lines of your favorite season should be the one you are in. I see the wisdom in that.. but I have to say, summer will always be special to me.

When I remember the summer of 2013 I will remember-

Summering in the Psalms with a group of ladies I love
Early morning runs
Pool mornings
Beach Days
Movie Days
Sunrise walks with Jim
Late night Netflixing with our oldest children
American Ninja Warrior Nights with our youngers
Crafting Days
Exploring Days
Zoo Days
Park Days
Race Days
Days with Friends
Graduations and Weddings
Time with Family
Games, games, games
Water Balloon Parties and Kickball Parties

I could go on and on. There were hard days as well. Our dear friends are walking through trials that have broken our hearts and have brought us all to our knees. God is good though, and we weather the storms together with Him as our rock and guide. We are very blessed.