Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

 Hey, everyone!  Happy New Year!!!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  We had a great time with my family.  Lots of food and games.

One of my presents was a new camera so that I don't have to use my pathetic phone anymore.  Hopefully I will REMEMBER to take pictures, and maybe even upload to this blog.

Here are my first few pictures.  Apparently Jason was the willing candidate to this set!

Me and my littles.
Just lots of happiness

If you didn't know, Jason loves to dress up for church.  He gets upset if I pick out an outfit without a tie, and he has been quite disappointed that he did not have any suits in his current size.  So, he got a new suit for Christmas.  He wore it the very next service.  Here is he styling for us.
He's so handsome!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut Tragedy

My thoughts and prayers are with the families touched by the tragedy in Connecticut right now.  I can't even imagine the horror.

Sweet Jesus, send your peace and comfort right now, when all is chaos and pain.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

West Coast Conference 2012

The first full week of November is always West Coast Conference in Fresno, California.

We've attended in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011.

When we attended in 2010, Elder Morton had four young men speak during the morning sessions who had all grown up going to West Coast Conference and are now ministers.  I believe they all said that they had never missed a year.  I know that was true for Bro Joel Booker, at least.

Justin was just a baby that year and Jim turned to me and said "I want Justin to be able to say that."  So, we set in our hearts that we would go to West Coast every year.

Last year it was easy.  We were blessed with the finances early in the year, and since my brother was getting married right after WCC, it was a no-brainer.  We went and had a great time (You can read about our whole trip by clicking on the "The Long Trip" tab)

This year we have had a difficult financial year.  This past summer seemed like the absolute worst for us with the rising cost of food and gas, and lots of vehicle woes.  West Coast was just not going to happen this year.

Then, at the very last minute, we had a financial blessing occur and we suddenly had the money to go to WCC.  Even then, we didn't make our reservations until two days before we were to leave because my very practical, frugal husband kept wondering if he should save the money for bills and sundries.  But, he finally said "I asked God to provide the finances, and he did, so I need to uphold my end of the bargain."

So, two days before the conference, we "hotwired" a hotel room for $63, packed our clothes, gathered snacks and light meal preps and made our plans to attend.

We are sooooooo incredibly glad that we went.

The conference was wonderful.  Every single message was right on target, especially in light of the election day results.

Some of my highlights:

Bro Jimenez:  PeeWee Herman, skinny jeans, Goo-Goo Gaga, and Justin Beiberlips

Bro Miraflor:  Fear Not...even "four more years"

Bro Meyers (Now, Bro Meyers is one of our daughter work pastors, so it was a special treat to be able to hear him preach at WCC.  His message was especially good as it addressed some feelings that I've been having):  What got you into this will get you out.  Daniel and the Lions Den:  Daniel's prayer got him thrown into the lion's den, it also kept him alive while he was in the lion's den.

Bro Ham (He was the one that I was most looking forward to hearing.  Although Bro Hyler introduced him as though no one knew him, Bro Ham is well known to VPC Glendale.  He preached an extended revival for us in 2008 and has been back several times since.  We also got to hear him when we visited Bro Trevino's church last year after WCC.  I was waiting for him to greet the conference with an "Ain't God good?" but he didn't.  Jim said maybe he reserves that until he's been around awhile):  Traveling from house-to-house without leaving your home.  Paul wrote about idle women who were traveling from house to house, gossiping and causing trouble.  When we are on the computer, playing around with social media, even visiting blogs, we are traveling from house to house, even if we never leave our home.  We need to be careful and be mindful of how we spend our online time.

Bro Seals:  Honey...

Bro Mantooth:  The story of their burning car and the police officer asking over and over if everyone got out.  Be a good saint (Pastor Garrett:  he just solved all of our pastoral problems!).  Pray for your Pastor and his wife and family.

Bro Meade:  His mom getting 12 kids ready for church.  The story of Bro Meade praying for the Holy Ghost in his car while on the way to church (I cried!).

We also met some folks from Canada and overall just had a great time.  Jason and Justin went to the children's church every night, and then were really well behaved during the morning services.

Our hotel was awesome!!!  We hotwired a hotel room and wound up at the La Quinta Inn and Suites Northwest.  It was about 10 minutes from the conference, but it was a great place to stay.  The hotel staff was so friendly and service oriented.  In fact, the whole trip was that way.  I was blown away by the great service we received, especially after hearing years of complaints about service in general nowadays.

Like I said, we hotwired our room for $63 a night, plus we paid an extra $10 a night for a roll a way bed.  The hotel offers free breakfast, and it's not bad.  Cereal, muffins, toast, waffles, scrambled eggs and sausage.  Not the best, but definitely good enough to fill your tummy.

Then, for lunch we went back to our faithful Hometown Buffet.  We like to go there because it's affordable and everyone is happy.  We always eat a good filling meal.

Here's something funny:  On Thursday, Jim left a good tip for the "waitress" or whatever they are at Hometown.  When we walked in on Friday, the same waitress saw us and hurried over to put her name on our tag to be our waitress again.  Jim said "Wow, what Pastor said is true:  they really do remember you if you leave a good tip!"

That was the only meal that we ate out.  We packed sandwich fixings, hot dogs, canned chili and ramen, along with snacks and ate that for dinner.  It worked out really well and Jim was really pleased because we spent far less on food than he had budgeted.

Our daughter is twelve this year, so Jim gave her permission to attend the youth function after church on Friday night.  She had a wonderful time and got to play chaperone to a sparking couple, which she loved.  Mom had to get up at 1:30 in the morning to go pick her up (oh, the sacrifices we make, lol)

We did so well financially on this trip, that Jim agreed to take us to Knotts Berry Farm on Saturday!

So I quickly made a hotel reservation and we drove down Saturday afternoon, arriving soon after 4.  Knotts sells discounted tickets after 4, so it was very affordable.

Knotts is small enough that we were able to do most everything we wanted to by about 9.  We split up; Jim took the older ones on the roller coasters, while I took the littles through Camp Snoopy and some of the tamer rides.  I was pleasantly surprised that there was plenty for everyone to do, and the crowd was small enough that we hardly had to wait at all.

By 9 we were all tired and hungry, so we enjoyed a sit-down dinner at the Johnny Rockets in the park.  We were almost done when Justin fell off of his chair and bumped his head.  He cried hard, but I think he was more tired than anything else.  He had a small bump on his head.  The waitress and a manager came running and so I asked for some ice.  When the manager came back he said that he had called the EMT to come and look Justin over.  I was embarrassed because I knew that it was no big deal, but I understood that they had to do it for liability.  Thankfully, the restaurant was pretty much empty.  The EMT quickly pronounced him fine and we were on our way.

We spent Saturday night at the Radisson Suites Buena Park which was a fantastic hotel.  Very spacious room with a separate bedroom.  The free breakfast was made-to-order which did take awhile, and the place was packed, but it was yummy.  We got on the road at 11 and headed home.

It was a wonderful trip and I am so thankful that we got to go.  I came home strengthened, encouraged and renewed.

We're already looking at hotels for next year!!!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Ain't God good?

I just want to give God praise for his goodness and faithfulness to our family.

I know that we are not the only ones struggling financially, and I know that there are lots who are struggling much worse than we are, but, you know, sometimes you forget that.

Especially when the vehicle start acting up the day before you plan to go get the emission testing done.

So I want to take a moment to remember the good things:

First, for a very special unmentionable blessing.  God saw a need and met it in a way I totally did not expect.  I felt so humbled and loved.

Next, the boys have been needing church clothes.  I finally saved some money and went to the thrift stores and found a few pants, but no shirts.

Our church bus ministry is having a rummage sale tomorrow, and were already setting up tonight, so when we went to pick Katelyn up from youth service, I hopped out to see if there were any church clothes.

I found a bunch of church shirts for Jason and Justin!

Then, I asked the ladies that were setting up if they would set aside any size 12 shirts for me, because Tyler needed shirts.

One of the ladies said, "Oh, I have some of that size that my son outgrew!"

I said that I would be more than happy to buy them from her.

She said "No, they are hand-me-downs.  I just didn't know who to give them to."

I am so thrilled to finally have the church clothes that my boys needed!

Finally, while at the sale, Katelyn found this dinnerware set.  It was $15!  It's Pfaltgraff's Filigree set and retails on Amazon for over $100.  It's an 8 piece set, plus an oval platter in perfect condition.

I was going to let it go, but Katelyn insisted on buying for me for Christmas.  She's such a sweety!  I'm thrilled to have some nice dinnerware again!

There are also some other financial possibilities on the horizon, but I don't want to count my chicken while they are still eggs, so I'll save it.

Thank you, Lord, for your blessing to me!

Praise Report: Tyler gets to go to Occupational Therapy Again!

Praise Report:  Our insurance will start covering Occupational Therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder in January 2013!!!!

Children with ASD often suffer from Sensory Integration Disorder.  They need a strong sensory diet to help them manage their sensory issues, and an Occupational Therapist can help to identify the areas of concern and develop an appropriate sensory diet.

When Tyler was first diagnosed with Asperger's in December 2010, one of the items on our care list was to take him to an Occupational Therapist.  He had an evaluation done in February 2011, which identified numerous sensory issues, and we proceeded to set up a schedule of weekly visits.

However, there was a hiccup with our insurance.  We had been led to believe from the medical office that our insurance would cover the visits; in fact, they paid for about ten of them.  Then, the insurance company discovered their error and quit paying, leaving us with the bill for the final three or four (thank God that they did not require repayment for the other that they did pay for!).  We appealed, but it was denied based on the grounds that there was no clear evidence that occupational therapy helps ASD children.

We were so disappointed because Tyler loved going to therapy.  Craig, the OT, had a big platform swing hanging from the ceiling and Tyler spent a lot of time in that swing.  One of the things he had to do was to lay on his stomach and Craig would throw bean bags.  Tyler would have to maneuver the swing to where he could pick up the bean bags.  Lots of fun!

But, we couldn't take him anymore when the insurance stopped paying because the sessions are just too expensive.  I've tried to increase his sensory diet at home (shaving cream, anyone?) but we don't have all of the equipment and I'm not trained as I should be.

About a week ago, Jim called me from work and said "Guess what?  We just got out of a benefit meeting and they said that they are going to start covering ASD!"

We weren't quite sure what that meant, so when he got home we looked up the new benefits guide and sure enough, it says that they will start covering occupational therapy for ASD!

I am so thankful for this change.  I have been praying because I feel like we came to a stand still and I wasn't sure what, if anything, God wanted us to do next.  Thank God for open doors!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Best Kind of Different

I am halfway thru The Best Kind of Different, by Shonda Shilling.



 LOVE IT!!!

If you are at all curious about what life with an Asperger's child is like, read the book.  She describes it perfectly.

What a relief to know that we are not alone.

Friday, October 5, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

If you're a Pinterest fan, you've seen those e-cards that start out "That Awkward Moment When..."

Well, yesterday, I had my own moment.  If I made a card, it would have said:

That Awkward Moment When...
 You're stuffing "baking scraps" into your mouth, 
and then you remember... you're supposed to be on a diet.

Which then reminded me of another card I could make:

That Awkward Moment When...
You've made your child a peanut butter sandwich, 
and you're licking the stray peanut butter off of your finger 
and then you remember...you're fasting.

Anyone else been there???

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Interact, Interact, Interact!!!

I am almost done reading the book that I blogged about yesterday, Look Me In the Eye.

Once I got past the nonsense of his life with KISS (seriously, how could that NOT be nonsense), I really did find the book extremely helpful in understanding how Aspergians think.  The author is extremely gifted at being able to articulate exactly how his thought process works, and it's actually rather hilarious, especially given that I myself live an Aspergian.

One chapter that helped me the most is titled "Becoming Normal".  I wish I could just copy the whole thing here for you, but copyright laws prevent that, so I will try to summarize:

He believes there is a continuum from autism to Asperger's to normal:  children who are turned completely inward from birth all the way to children who are turned completely outward.  Then there are the kids in the middle, who can focus their minds inward and also have some ability to relate to the outside world.

He talks about his exceptional mathematical abilities and his lack of interpersonal skills.  Then he says that as he has gotten older, his interpersonal skills have increased, but he feels that his mathematical skills have diminished some.  He says "Later, there were periods where my ability to turn toward other people and the world increased by leaps and bounds.  At those times, my intense powers of focused reasoning seemed to dimish." (p. 208)

He believes that there are some autistic children who are mid to high functioning who "do not receive the proper stimulation and end up turning inward to such an extent that they can't function in society, even though they may be incredibly brilliant in some narrowly defined field,"

He then goes on to say that he believes that ages 4 to 7 where the most critical for his social development because he "cried and hurt because (he) could not make friends."  He says "Fortunately, I had enough satisfactory exchanges with intelligent grown-ups ...to keep me wanting to interact...I can easily imagine a child who did not have any satisfying exchanges withdrawing from people entirely." (p.209)

"I suspect that grown-ups drew me out enough as a child to keep me engaged and on a path that led to being functional in society.  Adults were able to deal with my conversational limitations better than children.  They could follow my disconnected responses, and they were more likely to show interest in anything I said, no matter how bizarre.  Had I not been drawn out by interested grown-ups, I might well have drifted farther into the world of autism.  I might have ceased to communicate." (p.210)

As I read these words that I've copied above, I couldn't help feeling so incredibly thankful.

1.  That Tyler was not born completely turned in.  I hear the stories of mothers who have never heard their child say "I love you, Mom" and my heart just breaks.  I am so incredibly thankful that Tyler IS attached to me, in fact I am pretty much his strongest anchor, and that he is not afraid or unable to express his love for me.

2.  I am so thankful that God directed our path so that I can have Tyler at home with me right now.  Do not misunderstand me:  I am, and will, always be a huge supporter of GCA.  However, home with a loving adult who takes the time to steer Tyler towards functionality is a much better option for him.  I am his advocate and can take the time to do the things that he needs to do to achieve success.  When I look back on this road we've traveled, I am so amazed at things that were put into place years ago that now enable us to be right were we need to be.

3.  I am so thankful and grateful for the adults in Tyler's life who go out of their way to make the effort to interact with Tyler:  Bro Burbank, Cheri Bagato, Sara Kash, Bro Salas, the Muths, the Tarpleys, Matt and Stephanie Garrett, and others that I'm forgetting.  You really are making a difference.


Finally, I know that I've been challenged to look outside my world and make an effort to interact more with those around me, especially the ones who may otherwise be ignored because they are a little "weird".  We may never know the difference that we make in someone else's life.

Interact, interact, interact!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Aspergian Logic

"Same problem with the ramen today as yesterday.  I hate October."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reading a book

I'm reading a book that several people have recommended to me since Tyler's Asperger's diagnosis.

I'm struggling with the book because I don't normally read secular books with language and this one has some, but I'm trying to just skip it so that I can glean whatever it is I'm supposed to from this book.

And, yes, it does have some helpful parts, although, in my opinion, one of the big differences between the author and my son is that the author grew up really fast; he was on his own by fifteen, but my son tends more towards immaturity.  However, the author does give lots of insight to the thought processes of an Aspergian.

What strikes me about this book is the horrible, abusive family that the author came from.  His mother was mentally unstable and his father was a drunk who would routinely beat him.  The author dropped out of high school and was on his own by 15.

I couldn't help drawing comparisons between the author's family life and ours.  I felt a little like Job:  Lord, our family is good, upstanding Christians.  We don't beat our kids, we don't drink or do drugs, we take our kids to the church every single day.  Why is our son suffering from Asperger's?  Shouldn't we be exempt?

But, just like Job, I have to remind myself again and again that just because we are children of God doesn't mean that bad things won't happen to us.  Pastor made a comment the night of School Orientation that we will be seeing even more of these types of diseases (also referring to Downs Syndrome and a protein processing disorder) in the church as the coming of the Lord draws closer.

Also, like Job, I have to remember that God may be allowing this to come because we are His children.  I'm not saying that God and the devil made a deal :), but I will say that my walk with God has grown in the past two years.  It had to.  I can't make it without Him.

It also makes me wonder how Tyler's life will be different because we are a Godly family.  What will he be saved from that he might otherwise have encountered if not for our Christian life?  We may never know.

Another thing that really stands out to me in this story is the sin.  The author was, and still is, brillilant with machines, and he toured with KISS during the 1970's, building their special effects for them.  The drugs, alcohol and immorality he mentions in a remote fashion make my stomach sick.

I was reading a portion of the story to Jim last night, where the author states that he never was tempted by all of that because he hated to lose control of anything, and that was exactly what drugs and alcohol did, and we just nodded our agreement.  Why would anyone want to do that????

Anyway, I'm about half way through this book and it's definitely made me think.  If nothing else, I'm so thankful for our Godly life and the promises that we have through him.  We are not guaranteed a perfect life here on the earth, but we have the promise that every disease, imperfection, disability will be made right when we get to Heaven.

Even so, Lord, come quickly!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Where've You Been?

Tyler keeps saying to me, "You haven't posted on this blog since August??"

It's not that nothing has happened!  It's because we are so busy!

School started for Katelyn on August 26th, and it's my job to drive her to and from school.  The boys and I stay for chapel every morning, such a blessing.

Once we are home, school takes up a lot of my time.  Tyler needs a lot of one-on-one help with his lessons right now (long division, yuck!); planning and prepping for Preschool is very enjoyable, but very time-consuming.  I am seeing great results, though, so it's definitely worth it.

The only funny thing that I can remember right now is telling Justin he was cute and hearing him say "I'm not cute; I'm a boy!".  That's not to say that we don't laugh a lot around here.  We'd go insane, otherwise :)

Don't forget that I post regularly on my preschool blog.  Each Friday I post a review of what we did the past week; I'll have this week's up as soon as I help Tyler with his schoolwork.  Check it out if you're missing pictures of the littles.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Catching up

Justin is in the "mine" stage right now.  Everything belongs to him and he had it first.

The other day he came out holding a toy that belongs to Jason.  He showed me the toy and then held it to his chest and said "It's mine.  I got it for Christmas!" 

I laughed and said "No, that's Jason's.  He got it for his birthday." 

"Nope.  It's mine."


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Justin also copies everything that Jason says.  Jason will come to me and tell me a story and Justin will come and stand right next to him and parrot everything that he says.  It's especially funny when he repeats something that makes absolutely no sense to him!

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We have devotions with the kids every night.  Our devotions are very laid back and geared for the younger set, who call it "Sing Songs and Pray!"

The littles like to sing and run the aisles or stand on the coffee table.  Katelyn, of course, joins in the singing.  Tyler usually covers his head and says "No singing!"

One of our favorite song right now is This Little Light of Mine.  We also sing lots of One, One, One, Deep and Wide, I've Got the Joy, I've Got the Holy Ghost, Building Up the Temple, and If You're Happy.

We always end devotions by singing Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children.

After we sing a couple of songs, I quiz the kids on the week's memory verse.  Then I read a story out of the Read and Learn Bible.  Jim prays and then we sing our ending song.

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The other night I started devotions by singing Everybody Will Be Happy Over There.

Tyler asked where "over there" was.

Heaven.

Then he asked if there would be "nummies" (good food) there.

I said I didn't know for sure, but that the Bible says it will be the marriage supper of the Lamb.  I then said that I had heard someone (Amy or Sis Tabla?) say one time that it would be so interesting because God would be satisfying all kinds of different tastes since there will be so many different cultures and eating habits represented in Heaven.

Then Tyler wanted to know if he would be able to jump high in Heaven.  The three of us had an interesting, fun discussion about what Heaven will be like, what we know and what we don't know.

I just love when we get to have conversations about spiritual things, whether they are deep and serious, or light-hearted and fun.

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So the next morning, we were on our way to school.  Tyler was being a grump so I countered by starting to sing Everybody Will Be Happy Over There.  Really loud.

Tyler yelled "No!  Don't sing that!  Besides, we aren't over there yet!"

"So you don't have to be happy yet?"

"No!  Not yet!" 

He's not going to be happy any sooner than he has to!

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The same day  Tyler came to me with his Assignment Page.  He held it up and said "I am not going to read backwards that far!"

I had written 72-29.

That kid is a hoot!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thoughts From The Woman With the Issue of Blood

Last night I read Mark 5:22-43.

This is the story of the healing of Jairus's daughter, and also the healing of the woman with the issue of blood.

Jesus was on his way to Jairus's house to heal his daughter.  While he made his way there, "much people followed him, and thronged him"

In the midst of all of the people was a  "certain woman which had a issue of blood".  She decided that if she could "touch but his clothes" that that would be enough for her to be healed.

She did just that and "straightway" she was healed.

Jesus, in the midst of all of those people, felt her touch him, stopped and inquired of her, spoke to her and blessed her.

Then he continued on his way to Jairus's house, where he healed his daughter.

As I was reading this story, I remembered a conversation that I had with my husband a few months back.

We were on our way home from a wonderful service where God's spirit had moved mightily, a heavy time of faith, healing, deliverance and rejoicing.

I turned to my husband and said "Wow, the Spirit was strong!  I was looking around the church and thinking 'Lord, this church is packed with so many needs.  I don't want you to worry about my little need, tonight, Lord.  Please touch these bigger needs.'  I was weeping and praying for these people and their big huge needs."

Boy, did I sound so spiritual and selfless, or what?

So, it really surprised me when my husband (very gently) rebuked me by quietly saying "Would you limit God?"

Ummmmm....

Is God's power so limited that he can only heal so many at one time?  Does He have to look around the church and say "Okay, I only have six miracles to give out today, so, hmmm, who looks most worthy?"

Not so.

God is all-powerful.  He is limitless.  

He was on his way to Jairus's house to heal his daughter when he healed the woman with the issue of blood.  The Bible does not tell us specifically whether or not he healed anyone else while on that journey.

However, it does tell us later, in Mark 6:55-56 that "As many as touched him were made whole".  He healed every one that reached out to him.

That brings me to another point:  Don't be put off by the crowd.  Our church is a small building packed with lots of people.  When the altar call is given, we all throng to the front and fill the aisles half-way up the church.  The ushers are trying to stack the chairs as quickly as they can, and, frankly, its easy to lose that fervent feeling when you're shuffling your way down the aisle, trying to get as close as possible.  By the time you come to a stopping point, it's a struggle to pray and you've all but forgotten what it was that you were going to pray about.  Add small kids, and, well, sometimes you think you'd might as well just go home.

But the woman with the issue of blood did not allow herself to be put off.  The Bible says that there was a multitude of people thronging Jesus and I doubt that they were all praying, singing and other spiritually-invoking behavior.  I bet there was a lot of pushing, shoving, name calling, and other non-spiritual attitudes as the crowd made their way down the street.

The woman didn't let that stop her.  She pushed her way closer to Jesus, enduring elbow jabs, shoves, and angry words.  Finally, in the midst of all the craziness, she reached out her hand.  "If I can just touch him."

And, in the middle of all the chaos, Jesus felt her touch.  With all those people thronging him, he was enduring lots of touching, so this wasn't something new.  But, he felt the desperate touch of that woman.

He turned to her, spoke to her, healed her, blessed her.

There have been times, like last Sunday night, when I was so grateful to the preacher for saying "Those of you in the back, come first."  I got to be right in front of the altar, was prayed for by a minister, was blessed and encouraged.

But there have been times when I couldn't get out of my pew.  And I felt frustrated because I couldn't go down to the altar.  I couldn't physically push my way to the front.  But symbolically, I pushed past the hindrances around me and made my way to Jesus.  And God met me at that place, He met my need.
Just as God is not limited to a number, God is not limited to a place.  He's looking for our surrender, our desperation.

So, if you have a need, make your way to Jesus like the woman with the issue of blood.  He is more than able, more than willing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

God Always Knows

God always sends what I need, when I need it.

From a word fitly spoken during a Sunday night service, to finding a blog like this.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Would you help us pray, part 2

Last night Jim and I made the decision to pursue the possibility of enrolling Tyler into Gateway Academy.

Gateway's tuition is $22,500 yearly.  We don't have that kind of money.

Last night I spent time researching scholarships online.

I applied for one last night and just received an email that we have been pre-qualified for a 100% scholarship!

Now, that does not necessarily mean that we will be receiving any money any time soon.

This scholarship committee, APESF, meets monthly to award scholarships.  We missed this month's deadline, I believe, so will be considered next month, I think.

If they have the money, we could be awarded a full 100% scholarship as soon as next month!!  That's a big "IF" though.

My head is spinning.

This is a Scholarship Tuition Organization, which, if you've been around GCA at all, you know that means that people donate money, then receive a tax credit.  So, I'm not going to ask any of you to donate, because I know how important GCA is.

I just want to ask, would you continue to help us pray?

We are going to the school on Friday for a tour.  We looked at pictures online last night and Tyler is open to the possibility, which is huge.

And today was the first day of Connections Academy school, which is what he does currently, and it was rocky to put it lightly.

Please help us pray that if this is the answer that we've been praying for that God will open the doors and remove the obstacles.  Money is nothing when God gets involved.

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Would you help us pray?

Jim and I are praying about the possibility of enrolling Tyler at Gateway Academy.

However, the tuition is much more than we could possibly pay.  I am looking into scholarships.

Would you help us pray that if this would be a good thing for Tyler, as we feel it very well could be, that the doors will open and the funds will be there?

I really feel like this could be an answer to prayers for Tyler's future.

Thanks so much!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What Faith Can Do

Just heard this awesome song that popped up on my Pandora station:

What Faith Can Do, by Kutlass

They are not one of my favorite groups, but I love this song!  Come to find out, it's co-written by Scott Krippayne, who is an awesome song writer.

Anyway, here's the lyrics, and here's the song on Youtube

Enjoy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Crazy Caldwells

Katelyn tells me that this page has been on her blog for awhile, but I just discovered it yesterday when someone left a comment!

Anyway, I thought it was a wonderful piece of writing.

The Crazy Caldwells

Friday, July 27, 2012

Update

It's been a busy week here at the Caldwell house.

I haven't been feeling 100%.

Jason puked while I was at the store yesterday (so thankful I wasn't home for that!)

Justin jumped off of my bed while I was in the other room and hurt his foot.  We thought it might be broken, but it's not.  Just a sprain.  He spent two days in the lazy-boy and now walks with a limp.  So funny:  when we have devotions before bed, the boys always want to "sing songs and pray".  They run the aisles around my coffee table while we sing.  So, Wednesday night we sing and Justin makes to start running the aisles.  He realizes that he has a hurt foot, and slows down to a slow limp, one time around.

Took Katelyn grocery shopping last night so we could have some girl-time.  Bought ice cream cones at McDonald's, then tried diligently to not spill them all over the nice interior of the Expedition!

Tyler's been busy seeing how many different ways he can beat his DS game, and figuring out how to do all the glitches.  And denying the fact that school starts in 12 days.

Last Friday I launched my new blog that I'm hoping to grow into a successful part-time endeavor, and I hope to have fun with my kids while doing it!  We've had a few bumps, mostly learning all that pesky HTML, but I'm excited about it.  You can read more about my week by visiting today's installment of "Following the Plan Friday".

Tomorrow I'm hosting a baby shower, so I must go clean and cook.

Friday, July 20, 2012

IT'S OFFICIAL!

WOOHOO!  CELEBRATE!  I'M 35!!!

In honor of my birthday, I've launched my brand-new blog:


A Weekly Plan For Teaching Your Preschooler At Home

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Couple of funnies

I have large cushions that make up the back of the sofa.  Justin straddled one of the cushions and rocked it back and forth like a rocking horse.  When I looked at him, he said "Horsey.  Moooo!"

.....................................

Katelyn told Jason "Hey, I have a treat for you!  You get to clean the kitchen for me today."

Jason looked at Katelyn with a little half smile on his face.  I could tell that he was processing what she had said, trying to figure out if this was a good thing or not.

Finally he looked at her and said "Nice try, Katelyn!"

Justin, on the other hand, started saying "Treat!  Me Clean!  Treat!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spur of the Moment Trip to California

Saturday night a week ago Pastor Garrett announced that there would not be church the following Tuesday night due to some church remodeling that would be going on.  I turned to the family and jokingly said "Well, then the kids and I should go to California."

Next thing I knew, I was making phone calls and packing suitcases.

Jim was so nervous about the kids and I traveling alone.  He checked and double checked the van, gave me financial instructions and generally worried.

Monday morning I woke up at 5 to get ready and load up.  Jim ran in from the other room and started brushing his teeth.  He paused and said, "I just have to pack!"  Hallelujah!  He was able to contact his boss and get permission to take the week off since it was slow and he had the time.

By 6:30 A.M. we were on the road.  I am sooooo thankful that my kids travel well.  Traveling at night does not work for us, so we have to travel during the kids awake times.  They love it, however, and either entertain themselves with all the toys and books that I pack, or are content to just look out the window.  It does make the trip so much easier. 

We are able to drive from Phoenix, AZ to Modesto, California in less than twelve hours.  That includes four quick potty breaks and an hour long lunch break.  So, we pulled into my mom's driveway at 6 P.M.  She treated us to a pizza dinner and we enjoyed hanging out.

Tuesday we drove to Jim's parents where we planned a two night camping trip to Clark's Fork, above Sonora and Strawberry, California.  Did a little shopping.  Lots of hanging out.  The kids played Wii (and fought a lot over who's turn it was, oy!)

Tuesday was also my brother's birthday, so we asked my inlaws to watch the kids while Jim and I went out to dinner with my brother, his wife, and my mom.  It was so nice to enjoy a delicious dinner without kids.  We talked and laughed while we eat, then went over to Jordan and Gina's house to check it out and talk and laugh some more.  It was wonderful.

Wednesday we loaded up the van and Jim's parents loaded up their camper and we headed up the mountain.  It wound up being hotter than we had hoped, so that was a little bit of a bummer.  And we forgot the coffee!!!  Horrors.  But overall the camping trip was good.  The kids got to spend quality time with their grandparents and enjoy the great outdoors.  Justin and Jason spent a lot of time playing in the dirt with sand toys that I had bought.  Justin was filthy the entire time and I think he had the most fun!  Katelyn and Tyler played lots of sports games, plus UNO and Skip-do.  We went on a couple of hikes down to the river and got a little wet (Justin got a lot wet!).  I think roasting hotdogs and marshmallows was the favorite.

Friday we came back to civilization and showers.  Jordan and Gina came over to my mom's with dinner (I love a girl who brings chicken nuggets for the kids!).  We talked and laughed some more.  It's funny to see my brother married.  I'm so happy for him.  Gina is perfect for him.

We had bounced around a few ideas of what to do on Saturday with my mom, but in the end decided to stay in town.  Everyone was tired of driving and we would be heading home the next day, another 12 hour drive.  So Grandma took the kids to Toys R Us and Hobby Lobby and bought them each something.  Then we went to lunch at the Golden Corral (I've learned that, when given the option, go for the buffet.  Quicker and the kids have a variety to choose from).  The afternoon was spent packing and playing with new toys.  After dinner we went to Boomers/Camelot to drive go-karts and play putt-putt.  The night was finished with a trip to Cold-Stone Creamery.

Sunday we drove home.  Now the house is a mess with laundry and suitcases to unpack.  But I'm glad that we took the chance to go see some family and make some memories.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Secret, secret, I've got a secret!

Can you keep a secret?

No?

Oh, good!  Because I want everyone to know about this!


On July 20 (my 35th birthday!) I will be launching my brand-new website, The Preschool Plan.

The Preschool Plan is a free weekly lesson plan to help you teach your preschooler at home.  Every lesson plan includes a step-by-step teaching plan, a list of materials needed, and a preparation guide.

We will be officially kicking-off on July 20 with a fun giveaway, so be sure to set your calendar.  And please tell all your friends about it, because the more friends that you refer, the higher your chances of winning!

While you impatiently wait for our launch, please go to my Start page and read about how and why this website got started and what exactly we'll be doing.  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Don't forget:  July 20!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crossing it off the list!

Remember about a month ago when I wrote a list of my summer "want-tos"?  I think the buzz word is "bucket list".  Anyway, high on my list was that I wanted to take the older kids to the Arizona Science Center and the younger two to the Children's Museum.

Well, today, we were able to cross those off the list that for a grand total of thirteen dollars (cost of one admission and parking) thanks to culture passes and two weekends.  Culture passes are awesome and FINDING them is like finding treasure, so getting three of them to the places we wanted to go was HUGE.

So many times we think that we are not receiving miracles or blessing, everyone else is.  But God sends these little things to remind us, and if we look for them, we will find them.

I'll post pictures later, but I'm so thankful that, in only about a month, we get to cross that off our list.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Preschool Links

Jason will be starting Kindergarten in the fall of 2013.  This coming school year, I want to do some home-preschooling with him, mainly letter and number recognition, scissor skills and tracing.

I found some great resources online and thought I would share them here.

I found this page extremely helpful in listing skills that children need to already have when starting kindergarten.  This will be my launching place as I plan our daily activities.




10 easy steps for helping your child learn how to read in a natural, everyday environment.  Excellent!


This site has lots of printables for scissor skills and tracing for beginning cursive.  Both of my older children struggled and still struggle with penmanship and I remember Sis Aldridge telling me that they needed more finger exercises, so that's where these activities will come in, along with lots of playdough play.  I will not be teaching the actual letters because Abeka has their own style and so I don't want to add any confusion.  I will be focusing on fine motor skill development, not the actual writing.
YES!!!  Cursive writing readiness worksheets.  Waves, circles, etc.  25 pages.

This is a great list of things to do to help develop your children's fine motor skills
Developing Fine Motor Skills.  Things to do to prepare your preschooler for the writing necessary in school

This is one more website for great preschool printables: art pages, scissor skills, number recognition
a variety of free printable preschool worksheets promoting early childhood education.  Colors, numbers, shapes, etc.

If you would like to follow my Preschool Pinterest board, click here

Have fun!


Monday, June 18, 2012

And a little child shall lead them...

Justin found his missing microphone, so the boys started playing church.  They sang some songs and did some baptizing and asked lots of questions about the Holy Ghost until I announced that it was time for bed.

Jason informed me that, along with our nightly reading of the Read and Learn Bible, we needed to pray.  Well, who was I to argue?  We haven't been consistent recently, and, you're right,son, we do need to pray!

So, we all prayed together.  The little boys are so funny.  They always insist that they have to have hankies when they pray.  Then they pace back and forth and repeat whatever they hear us say.  But, the Spirit of God fell and we were touched.

Then Jason said "Okay, you're done praying."  Lol.  So we got the Bible and turned to today's story.  It was about Joseph and how he prepared Egypt for the famine.  I wanted to remind everyone about the previous story, so I said "Remember how Joseph was sold and his brothers told his dad that he was dead?"

Jason nodded his head and solemnly said "Yeah.  Poor Joe."  It tickled all of our funny bones!

Then, after I had put the boys to bed, I started my personal prayer time.  The boys came in and insisted that they needed to pray, too.  So I put them to bed with hankies and could hear them in their beds "Oh, God, we love you Jesus, hallelujah."  I just love it.

Like I told Jason tonight, you can get the Holy Ghost anywhere, even in your bed!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Enjoying Summer

So, have you noticed a lack of "What I did on my Summer vacation" posts this week?

There's really nothing to report.  We haven't done any projects this week.  We've been very content to just "be".  We did host a Princess House party on Monday, go to the library on Tuesday and go grocery shopping on Thursday, but we haven't felt a need to fill every minute with planned activity.  We may or may not do a project today.

I was thinking about and realized that the same thing seems to happen every summer. Why?  I have come to the conclusion that, when school lets out, kids are still in that "every minute must be planned" school mode, so it takes them a week or two for their minds and bodies to wind down, for them to adjust from having the teacher tell them everything that they must do to being able to think of things themselves.  That's why the first few days of summer we have that structured feeling where mom is planning activities, etc.

Then, after a week or so, or in our case Camp Meeting hits, and the bedtime gets a little mixed up and you begin to wake up later and feel a little more lazy and relaxed.  Kids become more content to sit around and read a book, or make up their own imaginary play.  The house is actually cleaner even though you're home more, so there's more time to sit down and play a card game.  And suddenly you are at the end of Summer and wondering what happened to all those plans you had.

And that's okay!!!  I'm not going to feel guilty for not doing everything on our "summer bucket list" as the popular saying seems to be this year.  I'm going to enjoy relaxing with my children, try to go with the flow and thank God for every moment.

We have been savoring the cooler evenings, enjoying lots of time out at the park.  One day we did water balloons.  Wow, it takes forever to fill up enough balloons for all of us and they were gone so fast!!

But it's been fun.  Tomorrow Jim is taking Katelyn to the Arizona Science Center.  We were able to pick up a culture pass at the library, so he just has to pay for parking.  Jim's never been, so it will be fun for him and good for the two of them to have dad/daughter time.

And we carry on...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Weekly Menu update

So it's been a month since I instituted a rotating weekly menu plan, in which we have the same seven meals every week.

I asked my family the other night what their thoughts and feelings were about it.

Overall, they seem to like it, Tyler especially.  He's getting foods at dinner that he likes and will eat, with the exception of the fried chicken, which surprised me because he used to like it.  However, he is complaining that it's too greasy, so I may need to work on my standard recipe a little.  He did eat it last time, though, after I cut the meat off the bone for him.

He also said he likes getting parmesan noodles twice a week.  I make tettrazini and spaghetti and I save out his cooked noodles so that he can eat them plain.

Unfortunately, the tettrazini is the one dish that everyone else is giving the thumbs down to.  We all like it, just not enough to eat it every week.

But I'm kinda stuck on what to serve in its place.  The tettrazini meat comes from the whole chicken that I serve on Sundays, so I can't afford to insert a different kind of meat.  I could substitute another chicken dish, but there is nothing else that Tyler likes.  I could just continue to make and serve the noodles just for him, but part of the whole point is NOT to serve him (and his little imitator) a different meal.  Ugh!

There are a lot of things that I'm enjoying about this weekly menu plan, and it kinda surprises me.  As much as I love to cook and enjoy trying out new recipes, it has been so nice to just know what I'm going to make, when I'm going to make it, and let that be that.  There's no "hmmm, I don't feel like making that, so what else can I make?", no "oops, I forgot an ingredient to this new recipe", and it really has cut down on eating out because, for the most part I choose quick and easy meals.

Shopping is easier because I have a master list and just check everything off of the list.  It helps me to remember to buy everything.  I have had to adjust some amounts, finding out that we really do go through 4-5 dozen eggs within two weeks, as well as 6-8 lbs of butter.

As usually, the snacks have been a stumbling block, but, really, it's not for lack of food, it's lack of choices, which is something we just have to get over in our minds (especially you-know-who).

I used to be a huge advocate for variety in meals, lots of options, etc, but I am coming to the realization that we really do need to see food as a necessity in life, we eat to live, and not as entertainment.  We seem to constantly be looking for that fun and interesting food, pleasing to our palate, and we bypass the healthy and affordable standbys.  I didn't think so before, but now I'm convinced that it really has made us spoiled.

And don't even get me started on meat.  Ugh.  I would LOVE to serve more meatless meals, but certain people in this house prowl around like I've starved them if they don't have meat on their plates.  So I've compromised and am now serving meat with every meal.  But, they are more "Less Meat" meals.  One whole chicken is stretched into two more meals, chicken soup and tettrazini.  I buy four pounds of ground beef and cut it into six portions, so we get meat in our tacos (mixed with beans), in our spaghetti, and on our tostadas (again, with beans).  The meat is there, they can see it and taste it, it's just not the focal point of the meal.  I'm not serving steak.

So, I will continue on for now.  I am tweeking certain things here and there, but overall we are happy with it.

Oh, and I do stay in budget.  Except for when I have weeks like this one where I have to buy diapers, wipes AND toilet paper.  Oy!  It's gonna be a tight one this time around.  "Justin, what to go pee-pee in the potty?"

Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Day 4

This is day 4 because we skipped Wednesday and Thursday due to Old Time Camp Meeting.

Today's activity was "Staycation Camping".  I made a tent in our living room and we did a craft under it.  We also have Chex Mix S'mores.  The kids plan to sleep under the tent tonight, but I don't think it will actually happen.


Jason being silly inside the sleeping bag.  Just realized this should be turned, sorry!
Our tent.  It's hanging from the fan and I was very worried that the kids would pull down the fan.
Tyler did not want to be under a girl colored tent, so he made his own with a table and his sheet
Jason adds glue to his "log" craft stick.  I was so impressed with how "into" the craft he was and how carefully he applied the glue.

Add his felt fire

Justin wasn't quite able to follow the craft, so first I had him cut up some construction paper.

Then I laid down lots of paper all around him and he went to town dripping glue everywhere.  See the pieces of purple paper he tried to apply?

Katelyn creates

Katelyn was quite ambitious and created a 3D fire scene.

Tyler's fire circle.

Tyler cuts out fire

Tyler shows off his creation


Happy 15th Anniversary!

Katelyn made this for us.  It's beautiful and going on my bedroom wall.
Thursday, June 7 was our 15th anniversary.  We didn't plan much because of the Camp Meeting and our recent house purchase, but Jim did surprise me with a Mocha Coconut Starbucks :)

This song sums it all up :) (please note that I don't advocate country music or Youtube.  This is from our pre-VPC days. I"m sorry if you're offended. Oh, and it's just words.  I didn't know how to imbed just music.)
Love you babe!

Summer days 2 and 3

Katelyn rolls and cuts
 I deliberately didn't plan anything specific for Mondays, thinking that we would use the day to clean the house and rest after a busy weekend.  Apparently the kids don't need to rest, so they were quite anxious to pull a boredom buster.  Ty was thrilled to get "Make cookies with cutters" and that kept them busy for quite some time.

Katelyn did most of the mixing and measuring, rolling and cutting, but they both did a great job decorating.  I didn't have any frosting, nor much powdered sugar, but I did find some marble ice cream toppings that look like nerds, jelly beans, red hots and writing icing, left over from Christmas gingerbread houses and forgotten in the freezer.  They had a blast.

Tyler decorates a bear
 Tuesday's activity was painting.  I attempted to do Handprint caterpillars, but they were mostly happy just to make a mess.
Justin

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jars

Thanks to various blogs, pins, etc, including a comment from my friend Adrienne, this morning I made a boredom buster jar and a "you've been naughty, do a chore" jar.

I took some craft sticks and wrote ideas on both sides.  For the boredom buster, I wrote things like "Play restaurant" or "Read a story to the littles".  For the chores, I wrote easy things that don't get done nearly enough like "Wipe down the front door" or "Wipe down the washer and dryer".

If they are bored, they can choose ONE stick and must do what is written on either side of the stick, their choice.  They can only choose one stick per day.

On the other hand, there is no limit to the number of chores sticks that they can pull in a day ;).  Again, they are written on both sides, so they can choose which one to do.

So far I'm pleased and my door, washer and dryer look much better!

Day One of Summer

Today was the "first day of summer" for us as GCA ended yesterday.
On our list for today was making Homemade Playdough.  The kids love to play with playdough, plus I figured that we could save it and use it later.  I'm a genius that way :)

Here are Katelyn and Tyler mixing up the first two batches of playdough.  It was actually a bit difficult to stir as it thickened.  Tyler pooped out about halfway there, but Katelyn was a trooper and saw it to the end AND helped me make a second batch. 

Here I am adding salt to my batch.

Katelyn and Jason show off the final product.  We made four batches of the recipe, each a different color.  Each batch made about 1.5 to 2 store-bought containers worth.  It was sticky while hot, but as it cooled off, we kneaded it and it was the perfect consistency.  The kids do complain about the smell though.  I think the cream of tartar must have an odd odor.  I don't use it on a regular basis in my cooking, so I'm not familiar with it.


After the playdough, I had Katelyn make brownies.  Last week she made brownies for her prayer partner, Shelbie, as a graduation gift.  Katelyn had the great idea to use cookie cutters to cut the brownies into cool shapes.  It had so much more "WOW!" than plain square brownies.  Here she is with the brownie cut outs that she made today.


One day down.  How many to go??

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Camping

First of all, I want to say "Thank you" to the Lord for our beautiful new house.  I actually have a post written all about it, but just don't want to publish it yet (shrug).

Yesterday, my good friend Katie came over with her kidlets to check out the new house.  We were talking and hit upon the subject of camping, as she just went camping with some friends.  She was telling me all about it, and it just struck a cord with me.

I've camped once.  In California.  I was deathly afraid that a bear was going to come and attack us in the middle of the night.  Besides that, it was fun.

We haven't done it again, since.  And we should.  We have three boys.  They need it.

So, it's "on the list".  We have no equipment, so will need to save some money and collect some gear before we can go.  Hey, by the way, camping equipment makes great gifts!

Based on Katie's recommendations, we are going to try Ponderosa or Christopher Creek first.

Funny:  our new house is next to a park.  We love it.  We've being trying to spend as much time there as possible before it gets too hot.

Last night the weather was beautiful so we stayed out until it got dark.  The kids rode bikes, dug in the sand and played on the equipment.

Jim said "This is what you do when you camp.  This is "staycation camping".  The only thing missing was hot dogs and smores, lol.

Friday, May 25, 2012

And that was the end of that!

Nice clean house.  Boys napping after a fun play date.  Relaxing with a brownie and Pinterest.

Then Justin walks in holding a leaking bag of lentils.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer fun list

I spent my work time this afternoon searching online for summer fun ideas.  This is what I've come up with so far.  Thanks to the various websites I was on, too many to name.

Make our own game
·         Plain sitting down bible quizzing
·         Make large stand-on squares
o   These squares can have “things to do” on them, like “jump 5 times”
o   Can also play with the squares without the bible quizzing.  Sky’s the limit
Scavenger hunts, themed or not
Write and put on a play
Write and illustrate a book
Make sugar cookies with cookie cutters and frosting
Play “hide the item”
Do Science experiments, lots on my pinterest boards
Make a tent and have a picnic; indoor camping
Play the games that we have (novel idea!)
Cash in our report cards for Chuck E Cheese tokens; check out other options (I have this pinned, I think)
Invite a friend over
Invite a friend over for dinner, plan it and do it; play restaurant; be hospitable
Water balloons
Check out “college for kids” for cheap classes (estrella, Glendale, etc)
Check out the library activity schedule
Make an indoor obstacle course
Check out the classes at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Joanns
Organize our photos
Go to the art museum on free Wednesday
Big puzzles
Buy plain white sneakers and paint and decorate them (would have to be super cheap)
Make paper plate hats
Play the bucket game using sandpails, boxes, etc, like the bowling game at Chuck E Cheese
Make water dropper art with vinegar and food coloring and a pan of baking soda
Make a living room race trace with masking tape.  Go all over the place
Paint wooden frames, etc
Make an indoor bowling alley
Play balloon tennis with paper plate paddles
**I’m using some of these ideas to make my own Summer Olympics complete with awards.  I think we’ll invite some friends over, too.
Indoor Hopscotch with tape and pillows
Paper Plate Hop
Shaving Cream painting
Make Art Collages, themed
Make a rainbow sensory rice table and play in it with beach toys
I repined a “10 favorite boys activities” list that I need to go through
Paper plate ring toss
Water piƱatas
Play restaurant
Listen to or read online books
Let the kids do the grocery list (pre-printed), shop online and cook

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cleaning

My daughter is a messy.

Its quite common for the floor of her room to be completely covered in clothes, art supplies, books and lots of GARBAGE.  Why she can't just throw the garbage into the trash can I will never understand.

When we moved into our new home, Jim told her in no uncertain terms that her room must be unpacked and everything must be put away before she could do anything else.

Katelyn proceeded to dump the contents of her SIX boxes onto the floor, stating that it would be easier for her to put things away if she just had to pick them up off the floor.

She started out great, but quickly lost steam when other things looked more interesting.

"No, Katelyn.  Go finish your room, " a parent would say, and she'd head back to her dungeon of torture.

"Okay!  I'm done," came the excited proclamation as she quickly headed to the couch with her book.

"Wait," I warned.  "Let me go inspect."

The room did look fairly clean.  But the story was told as I looked into her closet.

"Katelyn, why do you have boxes of junk here in your closet?"

"Remember?  You told me to put whatever I don't have a place for into a box for now."

"Yes, but this is not what I meant.  You didn't go through any of your stuff.  You just threw everything in here and shoved it into the closet."

"Yes, I went through it!"

"Then why is there garbage in here?  Look, papers, wrappers, water bottles...Katelyn, go through these boxes piece by piece.  The same for these dresser drawers."

She grumbled and complained, but finally, two inspections later it was done.

I was thinking about this later at Saturday night prayer and I thought of what a perfect analogy it was to our Christian life.

We begin with a fresh start, maybe as a new convert, or a new commitment.  We set out to do right, to clean up our life.  But soon we get tired, other things in life call for us, and for whatever reason, we decide that, even though the cleaning job is not completely finished, its good enough and we'll just stuff the rest into the closet of our heart to deal with later.

But the problem is that we don't take the time to completely remove all the sin garbage in our lives.  And, despite best intentions, we never go back to it later.  So it just sits in the closet, festering, until one day we notice a smell and discover mold and bugs.

The other night I was reading I Corinthians 6.  Starting with verse 9, Paul says "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdome of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkars, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

He continues in verse 11, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Cleaning!!!

We need to clean out, organize, get rid of the garbage in our lives.  Let our hearts, minds and spirits be washed by the blood of the Lamb.  Continually.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily Themes Draft

Monday:  Weekend Recovery.  The day will simply be spent getting the house back into shape from the weekend, catching up on laundry, resting, unstructured fun and 1 hour of reading in the afternoon.  Play a family game after dinner.

Tuesday:  Family Time.  This will be a time for art projects, silliness, etc in the morning before we get ready for church in the afternoon.

Wednesday:  Produce Run, Grocery list and "Bit of Schooling".  Run to Walmart for produce, etc.  Make grocery list for next cycle, teaching the kids the process.  Have Katelyn and Tyler write a book or a skit.  Do a preschool activity with Jason and Justin

Thursday:  Run around day.  Rotating shopping or library.

Friday:  Family Time.  Repeat of Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ten Things I Want My Daughter to Know

I am stealing this from the blog, A Design So Vast.  I just love it and found it very timely.  I personalized it just a bit

Ten things I want my eleven year old daughter to know:

1. It is not your job to keep the people you love happy.  Not me, not Daddy, not your brothers, not your friends.  I promise, it’s not.  The hard truth is that you can’t, anyway.

2. Don’t lose your physical fearlessness.   Please continue using your body in the world: run, jump, climb, throw.  There is both health and a sense of mastery in physical activity and challenges.

3. Don’t be afraid to share your passions.  You are sometimes embarrassed that you still like to play with dolls, for example, and you worry that your friends will make fun of you.  Anyone who teases you for what you love to do is not a true friend.  This is hard to realize, but essential.

4. It is okay to disagree with me, and others.  You are old enough to have a point of view, and I want to hear you express it in a respectful way.  So do those who love you.  Don’t pick fights for the sake of it, of course but when you really feel I’m wrong, please say so.  You have heard me say that you are right, and you’ve heard me apologize for my behavior or point of view when I realize they were wrong.  Your perspective is both valid and valuable.  Don’t shy away from expressing it.

5. You are so very beautiful.  Your face now holds the baby you were and the young woman you are rapidly becoming.  Traits from both your father and I combine into someone unique, someone purely you.  I can see the clouds of society’s beauty myth hovering, manifest in your own growing self-consciousness.  I beg of you not to lose sight with your own beauty, so much of which comes from the fact that your spirit runs so close to the surface.

6. Keep reading.  Reading is the central leisure-time joy of my life, as you know.  I am immensely proud and pleased to see that you seem to share it.  That identification you feel with characters, that sense of slipping into another world, of getting lost there in the best possible way?  Those never go away.  Welcome.

7. You are not me.  We are very alike, but you are your own person, entirely, completely, fully.  I know this, I promise, even when I lose sight of it.  I know that separation from me is one of the fundamental tasks of your adolescence, which I can see glinting over the horizon.  I dread it like ice in my stomach, that space, that distance, that essential cleaving, but I want you to know I know how vital it is.  I’m going to be here, no matter what.  The red string that ties us together will stretch.  I know it will.  And once the transition is accomplished there will be a new, even better closeness.  I know that too.

8. It is almost never about you.  What I mean is when people act in a way that hurts or makes you feel insecure, it is almost certainly about something happening inside of them, and not about you.  I struggle with this one mightily, and I have tried very, very hard never once to tell you you are being “too sensitive” or to “get over it” when you feel hurt.  Believe me, I know how feelings can slice your heart, even if your head knows otherwise.  But maybe, just maybe, it will help to remember that almost always other people are struggling with their own demons, even if they bump into you by accident.

9. There is no single person who can be your everything.  Be very careful about bestowing this power on any one person.  Trying to fill a lonely ache with other people (or with anything else, like food, alcohol, numbing behaviors of a zillion sorts you don’t even know of yet) is a lost cause, and nobody will be up to the task.  You will feel let down, and, worse, that loneliness will be there no matter what.  Only the Lord can fill that longing.

10. I am trying my best.  I know I’m not good enough and not the mother you deserve.  I am impatient and fallible and I raise my voice.  I am sorry.  I love you and your brothers more than I love anyone else in the entire world and I always wish I could be better for you.  I’ll admit I don’t always love your behavior, and I’m quick to tell you that.  But every single day, I love you with every fiber of my being.  No matter what.