Saturday, November 16, 2013

Congratulations, Jason!






Teaching a child to ride a bike is an excellent parellel on parenting.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Parent-Teacher Conference-Jason


Two weeks ago I met with Jason’s teacher, Sis Aldridge, for his parent-teacher conference.

Jason is brand-new to school.  This is his Kindergarten year.  I did not send him to K4.  I did do some preschool with him at home, but chose to mostly just allow him to learn through play.  I did not teach him to read or write before sending him to Kindergarten.

Though I feel pretty strongly that children should be allowed to learn through play before enrolling them into school at age 5, I admit to feeling nervous when I discovered that almost all of Jason’s classmates where going to K4.  But Sis Aldridge and I discussed it numerous times and she always assured me that the benefit of being home with mom that extra year usually outweighs the benefits of putting them into formal schooling early.  She was sure that Jason would be on track with his classmates in no time. And I’m thankful that I got that extra year with him.

Sis Aldridge did spend three weeks with Jason during the summer to assess where he was and let them get used to each other.  One of the benefits of a small, private school ;) This was really helpful with first-day jitters.

So, we had our first quarter parent-teacher conference.  She showed me the tests that she’d done on Jason, and he is right on track.  Jason is a quick learner and loves following rules, so he is challenged by the other kids and follows right along to quickly pick things up.  (Yes, he’s a follower)  He has picked up cursive and is learning his blends.

I asked her again “Do you think it has hindered him to not have been in K4?”  Her response was no, that you could tell that he was properly matured and secure.  She had nothing but praises for him.  He also has great behavior.  I’m very proud of Jason J

Friday, November 8, 2013

Parent-Teacher Conference-Tyler


Tyler’s first quarter at Pieceful Solutions ended at the end of September.  I was invited to come in for a parent-teacher conference, and I must confess that I was very nervous about what I might hear from the teachers.  I knew that Tyler’s time with Pieceful Solutions had been deemed successful from our stand-point, but, truthfully, I was very afraid that I was going to hear stories about disobedience, defiance, and refusal to do schoolwork (after all, I homeschooled him for three  years.  I have experience!)

I don’t know if I can truly describe for you want an emotional experience that the parent-teacher conference was.  I cried twice.  Not with frustration, but with joy.  Yes, we all acknowledged that Tyler can be difficult, but the amazingly positive things that they shared with me where so overwhelming.

The Language Arts Teacher, Miss Tasha, shared that Tyler is a wonderful writer.  Really???  I couldn’t get him to write two sentences for me on anything other than Binga and Toad.  She said he’s a wonderful, imaginative writer with solid paragraph structure, and she actually wants Tyler to write a class blog!  And last week the students had to write an opinion piece; Tyler received the only 100% in the class.

The Reading Teacher, Miss Sue, shared that she is amazed with Tyler’s reading comprehension.  She pointed out that there was a point about the book they were reading that she had tried to hammer into the students, but Tyler was one of only two students who got the point and remembered it for the test.  She was very impressed with the fact that Tyler had liked the book so much that he requested I get it for him and he read it in one day.

The Math Teacher, Miss Diane, who is also Tyler’s Homeroom teacher, had similar positive things to say about Tyler’s math abilities.  They also praised him in Science and Social Studies.

We then talked about his behavior.  They said that they had noticed when he went in for placement testing that he had some behavior issues, so they cracked down on him from the very beginning.  It was rough for them, for him, and even for me, but he had to see that others didn’t behave the way he was behaving.  His behavior has improved so much, overall, and he is getting lots more “yeses” than “nos”.

The teachers showed me a chart that Tyler had filled out.  The chart listed goals and Tyler was asked to rate himself , coloring different colors for mastery, doing good, or needing improvement.  There was a good balance on the chart and the teachers said that they felt he was humble in his scoring of himself.  I cried for two reasons:  one, because self-awareness is hard for a typical person, must more so for an autistic child, and two, while he was humble with his scoring, he didn’t score himself as awful in everything either.  I felt like he demonstrated a healthy self-awareness and self-esteem level, which is so important

The other thing that made me cry was their praise of me.  I heard them say to me that I did a good job teaching him, helping him, being a support to him.  I think every parent has feelings of failure, feelings where they wonder why on earth their child is acting this way, why their discipline is not working, why this child will not do xyz.  I will go out on a limb and say the feelings are even more pronounced when you have a special needs child, such as autism.  Their behavior can be so difficult to manage you just feel like you’re constantly in a battle with no success and no end in sight.  It’s not until someone on the outside can look and see the difference that you see how far you’ve come and how your hard work really is paying off.  And those moments when they say “Mom, you’re doing a good job” are the moments that give you the strength to keep going.  That’s what the teachers gave to me that day.

They also told me that Tyler was proud of me and bragged to everyone that I got a job J

And I was diligent to lavish my praise on these hard-working teachers.  I do not know how they can work with these children day after day.  It truly takes a special person and these ladies and men are amazing.  They have made such a positive difference in Tyler’s life.

Tyler has friends.  We went to the Arizona Science Center with a classmate and his mom during Fall Break and that young man called Tyler his best friend.  I was shocked.  Tyler’s always talking about this kid and that kid.  He loves school, and while he enjoys that occasional day off, he craves the structure, routine, and experience of going to school.

A couple of weeks ago Tyler and Jim went on a father-son campout at the school.  Jim said that Tyler found a boy from his campus and hung out with him.

I love seeing Tyler happy.  I have to reminder myself that this a process, but so far, I call the process a complete success!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jason had a photo session done today.  He did a terrific job and it was so hard to pick just one pose (I could have purchased all of them for only $450).

Here is a link to view the pictures:
https://parkwest-peoria-az.portraits.com/-jennifercaldwell/gallery

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Like Father, Like Son.

"I wanna be just like you, 
'cuz he wants to be like me..."

Father/Son Camping Trip

Last night Jim and Tyler went on a Father/Son Campout, hosted by and held at the Mesa campus of Tyler's school.  Jim purchased a tent and sleeping bags for the occasion.  Tyler had a great time doing a practice run putting the tent up and making sure that he had packed everything on the list.

Jim said that Tyler had a great time, hanging out with another boy named Tom from his campus.  They roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and ate lots of candy.

They arrived safely home about 8:30 this morning and Tyler went down for a long nap.

This is a first for them and I'm so proud of them!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Chapel

Once a month, chapel at GCA is geared towards the younger children.  The elementary choir sings, and the high schoolers usually do a puppet show or skit or something.

This month, Katelyn's music club was responsible for putting on a puppet show.  I really wanted to see this and the elementary choir sing, so I arranged to telecommute today instead of driving in to the East Valley.

I was so glad that I went!  I took pictures, please excuse my camera, it does not take zoom pictures well.

First, the puppet group did the praise singing.  They sounded really good!  I was very impressed.  I know it's not easy to get up in front of your peers and sing into a mic, but these girls have conquered that and know how to sing for the glory of God.



Then the elementary choir sang.  This is the second time for Jason.  I didn't get to see the first time, but I heard that he didn't sing at all.  This time his whole personality shined; he sang, jiggled his leg and bopped his head...when he wasn't busy looking around, at least.  It was so fun to see him being himself and having fun.







The choir sang "This little light of mine" and "We win!".  They did an excellent job.  I just wish the mics were louder or whatever is needed to make them sound louder.

Finally, the puppet show.  They did three (two, sound malfunction) songs and Bro Matt treached in between.  I didn't get to hear it all, though, because Justin was being a pill and I had to take him out.

I'm so thankful for a wonderful school that my kids can be involved in to explore their talents while being used for the Lord.

Great job, kids!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

She's a teenager!

HAPPY 13TH BIRTHDAY, KATELYN!


I wanted to scan some of her baby pictures, but my scanner isn't cooperating.  So we'll try to get that post up later.  For now, everyone make sure you wish Katelyn a happy birthday. 

And sing to her. 

She loves it when people sing to her.

Love you, girlie!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Updates


I’ve got a lot on my mind, so I thought I’d give y’all an update:

Katelyn:  13 in 10 days!  I cannot believe that my first baby is going to be 13.  I’m ready J  I think she is, too.  Kate is a wonderful young lady who loves the Lord, loves her church and her school, and loves her family. She is doing great meeting the challenges of transitioning into high school, loves all of her teachers and gets along with most everyone. She is enjoying singing in the youth and school choirs and using her talent for the Lord.  She bares a lot of responsibility on her shoulders as the oldest and the only girl, as well as the sibling of an autistic child, and she is learning to bare it with grace ;)  I lean on her a lot and I’m very proud of her.  I love our time together on the ride home from school when she “downloads” to me.  Precious times.

Tyler:  Tomorrow Tyler will finish his first quarter at Pieceful Solutions and will receive a much deserved (for the teachers!) two week break.  I am so overwhelmed by the changes that this transition has made, not just in Tyler, but changes that have affected the whole family which I’ll talk more about in a minute.  I think one of the biggest things is that I faced the fact that there is not going to be a “cure”.  I think we all hoped that going to this school would suddenly make everything all better.  And while we have seen a lot of improvement, and others have noticed a lot of improvement, Tyler can still be very difficult to manage.  Just sit by us in church sometime if you’re not convinced.  But, on the plus side, Tyler is much more active, much healthier as he is eating more food (not becoming less picky, more of a compromise between him and I), much more interactive with people, having lots more experiences (cooking, computers, music, karate, yoga, field trips) and being held accountable for his actions.  This last one isn’t at all fun and I struggle with it because, well, it’s work!  Yeah, it really is.  I feel like I’m in a battle every.single.minute.  But the results are worth it.  I hope.  I haven’t exactly seen them all yet…I have a parent/teacher conference tomorrow, so I’m interested to see what his teachers will say.  One of the greatest things is when Tyler gets in the car with me after school and he talks to me on the drive to GCA and tells me all about school.  I love that he is interacting and creating relationships with people.  My one constant concern is his spiritual life.  Please continue to help us pray.  Thanks J

Jason:   Finishing up his fifth week of Kindergarten!  He is doing fantastic.  Jason loves accomplishment, so he loves to show me his papers and tell me what he’s learned.  He seems to be fitting right in, making and strengthening friendships.  Last Friday he stood on the platform with the Elementary choir for the first time, but sources tell me that he didn’t sing one word.  He does know the song, though, because he and Katelyn sang it for my mom for her birthday J  And yes, I hated to miss that.

Justin:  The one who is probably most affected by the recent changes.  Unlike his siblings, who are all in school while I am at work, he has had to be placed into the care of someone else and notices that Mom is gone.  He cried the first couple of days when Jim handed him over to Sis Doreen, and told me several times that he wasn’t going over there anymore.  He stopped doing that by the second week and does well now, except he cried yesterday.  She said he stops crying as soon as they drive away and he seems to enjoy being with her.  They do preschool, go to the library for storytime, he takes his nap.  They come back to GCA when school is over and I pick him up while I’m getting Katelyn and Jason, so he’s only with her for 7 hours.  It works out good.  Also, funny:  Since going to Sis Doreen’s Justin has become completely potty trained, he is only on the paci at bedtime, and, truly a miracle---he is no longer scared at church!!! 

YES!!  I truly believe God healed him.  I prayed a lot about that situation and Jim and Katelyn both said that they prayed about it.  Just last week, Justin declared that he wanted to go to church.  I was holding him and he got a little agitated when the music started.  Pastor Garrett started to sing whatever old song it was.  Justin looked at him like he didn’t quite trust him for a minute or two, then seemed to decide it was okay, and literally, got over it.  He’s been fine since and declares every service that he’s going to church now.  He didn’t even want to go to nursery with me Sunday night when I was working.  I was nervous about how he would react Sunday night to the loud choir music.  Jim said he was fine and actually clapped during one song.  When I asked Justin about it later he said “yeah, I clap now!”  Thank you, Jesus!

I am seeing a bit of acting out from Justin, but we’re just trying to be firm and loving.  I have been asked multiple times if we are going to put Justin into K4 next year.  The answer is:  I don’t know.  We’ll see what next year brings.  For now, we are very happy with Sis Doreen.

So, of course, the big change is that I am working now.  I am finishing my third week working at a community college on the East Valley, about ten miles from Tyler’s school.  I can truly say that God put me here.  It’s a wonderful environment, with the flexibility that I need.  I am currently working part-time, only during Tyler’s school hours.  Tyler and I leave at the same time that Jim leaves to take the other kids to GCA.  I drop Tyler off and go to work.  I leave work, pick him up, we travel to GCA and are there to get the other kids when they get out of school.  We head home and I can make dinner and all that good stuff.  I can definitely tell that I’m not home to do the “extras”-we haven’t had homebaked goods in weeks!-but we are keeping up on the laundry, dishes, cooking dinner, trying to keep the place picked up.  It’s working.  Also, because of the way the office is set up, should I ever need to work full-time, I can see the possibility in the future of being able to swing it due to the openness to telecommuting.  I feel like God is positioning me for success.  I am so thankful.

So.  I’m working.  Sometimes it’s incredibly hard to believe.  When I walked out of the office at GCA on March 10, 2008, I had absolutely no intention of ever working again.  I had finally achieved my goal of being a stay-at-home mom.  This was what I was meant to do.  I would be home with my kids, I would be available for my kids as they got into their school years and teen years, and I looked forward to volunteering, being involved in the church and school, and helping with my grandkids when the time came.  I thought  many times “Thank God I’m not working out in the world anymore.”  I have been very vocal about my feelings that every mom should try their best to stay home with their children.  (Let me interject here so say that if I have ever hurt your feelings, I’m truly sorry. Please accept that.)

Have I changed my mind now that I’m back to work?  No.  Not one bit.  I still truly believe that the absolute best place for a mom to be is at home with their children, and I believe that every family should try as hard as possible to make that happen.  No question about it.  Young couples, start from the beginning of your marriage positioning yourself so that Mom can stay home with the kids.

We tried very hard to find a way for me to not have to work.  For months Jim would tell me “No, just wait.”  He was as committed as I was about me staying home.  If you’ve been a long time reader, you remember me saying that my working was not an option because Justin was still at home.  But we very quickly realized that, if we wanted Tyler to be able to attend Pieceful Solutions, which we felt would have long range benefits not just for Tyler but for our entire family unit, that we, as a family, would have to make some sacrifices in other areas.  $1000 a month for gas was not acceptable.

When that realization came that I would need to work, the weight of pain on my spirit was crushing.  I did the only thing I knew to do; I went to the Lord in prayer.  I spent many prayer sessions pouring my heart out to the Lord, crying and asking God to make a way for me to not have to work.  Finally I was able to surrender to the Lord.  I asked God for very specific things regarding my going back to work.  And he answered every one of them.

 And I was so thankful when He dropped a name into my heart to watch Justin.  We picked a godly lady in our church who just recently quit her job to be a stay-at-home mom and just needed a little extra income.  I am thrilled with our choice and know that God’s hand is in it.

I have some other thoughts and feelings about my going back to work that I don’t want to post here, but feel free to ask me if you want to.  Just know that if I could be home, I would, but God gave me the next best thing.

So, that’s our update.  Oh, wait!!!  I forgot to tell you:  I got a car!  Yes, we traded in our van for a Chevy Cruze.  It’s a little car that gets about 33 MPGs, so we should see a big gas savings.  The kids can all fit in it for the 13 miles from GCA to home once a day.  If we all need to travel together, then we use Jim’s Expedition.  It’s very weird driving a car again, but I love it.  I got a red one.  I’ve always wanted a red car J

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Student of the Week

Jason's Kindergarten class has a tradition in which the "Student of the Week" gets to take "Judah" home for the weekend.  Judah is a huge stuffed dog.  He comes with a special backpack full of books and a coloring book.  The student has to bring everything back on Monday so that Judah can go home with a new student on Friday.

Sis Aldridge forgot to award Judah at the end of school Friday, so Janessa caught me when I went to go pick up Katelyn from youth service.  She said that Sis Aldridge wanted Jason to have Judah this weekend, but she forgot to send him home.  She went into the classroom and got Judah for me to take home.

Jason was already asleep when I got home, so Katelyn sat Judah on Jason's bed for him to see in the morning.  Jason says that he did see Judah when he woke up, but he didn't bring him down or say anything to us for awhile.  When he finally did bring Judah down, he was full of smiles and happiness that he was the chosen student.



Judah is also enjoying his time with us.  Turns out, he likes coffee.


Congratulations, Jason.  I'm very proud of you!

Monday, September 2, 2013

This Habit is a Keeper

We have entered into a new and very busy stage of life for us:  four kids attending three different schools (we're calling Justin's sitter "preschool"), Dad working full-time (that's not a change) and Mom working part-time during school hours (HUGE change!).

Even though I don't start my new job until next Monday, when school started last week I immediately felt the stress level kick up and my need for organization and routine kick in.

Now, while I absolutely hate to clean, I love routine and organization.  I thrive on things being just so and running like a well-oiled machine.  These are my sanity savers, and with four kids, you gotta have them.

Some are obvious, like meal plan.  Duh.  By the way, when packing six lunches, it's super necessary to menu plan those too.  Otherwise you run out of food four days before payday/grocery day.  Ask me how I know.  Feel free to check out my Pinterest board where I have a Lunch Ideas for the Kids board  that I pin good tips that I find.  I actually read these pins, too, and update as necessary, so there's some good stuff there.

Others are not so obvious.  Like this one:

Yes, this is a boring picture of two hampers sitting in the middle of my hallway.

See, we all know that laundry must get done.  But often it's a "oh no, I need my PE shirt today, hurray, rush" kinda thing.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  I did not buy my kids five uniforms this year.  Katelyn has two, Jason has three.  So we know by counting that uniforms have to be washed on Tuesday night.  No exceptions.

Tuesday night is also church.

<Insert scream here>

We have approximately 1.5 hours to get home and get ready for church.  No one has time to be searching for dirty clothes, etc, etc.

So, last week, I set out these two hampers on Monday night and declared that all school related clothing that must be washed in order to be worn before our big washing session on Saturday must be put into it's appropriate hamper that night.  All socks, undershirts, etc that get thrown everywhere except into the hamper was located and sorted.

Then, when we got home Tuesday afternoon, everyone immediately changed, put their dirty uniforms from that day into the baskets, and one basket was thrown into the washer.  This took five minutes tops to do.  When the load was done, the loads were immediately switched, and the first load of clothes was dry before we left for church so that we had time to quickly hang up wrinkle-able stuff.  The second load dried while we were at church.  It worked beautifully and everyone had the clean clothes they needed to get through the rest of the week.

The hampers are out again tonight, even though we didn't have school.  I'm trying to establish a good habit so I don't want to mess with it.

This habit is definitely a keeper.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

5 years of service

My husband received a plaque at work today for 5 years of service.







The past five years have not been the easiest.  He can tell you some interesting stories.  But he has remained faithful.  I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Through the years

I found these pictures and thought the comparison was fun!

I don't have a picture of Kate with Sis Aldridge on the first day, so here is one at Kindergarten graduation June 2007.

Tyler and Sis Aldridge August 2007


Jason and Sis Aldridge August 2013


"Click"

And, the final puzzle piece just clicked into place.  I am now an employed person!  I receive a great job offer today for a college close to Tyler's school.  It's a half-time position, so I only have to work while the kids are in school.

THANK YOU, JESUS!!!!

First Day of GCA (updated with pictures!)

August 26 was the first day of school for Jason and Katelyn!

Checking out his desk at Orientation

All ready to go!

Jason is in Kindergarten this year.  He has the same Kindergarten teacher that Katelyn and Tyler had, Sis Aldridge.  I hope she plans to hang around for two more years :)

Jason and Sis Aldridge

Sis Aldridge sat him next to his good buddy Jonathan Sesma because she noticed that they have a similar personality, and because Jonathan was in her K4 class last year, so he knows the ropes and can help Jason along.

Jason and Jonathan
Although Jim will be taking the kids the rest of the school year, I wanted to do it the first day as I couldn't imagine not seeing him off on the first day.  So we walked to his classroom, him with his big black backpack on his back and carrying his orange lunchbox, me with all the bags of supplies.  Sis Aldridge allowed us to go into the classroom to drop off all of the stuff and take pictures.

The whole class.  Jason was feeling a little nervous and uncertain at this point and it didn't help that the sun was shining in his face here.




Jason did get a little red-eyed when it was time for me to go, but he didn't cry.  I saw them off to chapel, then went and sat in the back to enjoy the first chapel of the year.  The Kindergarteners sit up front and are dismissed first, so I snapped a quick picture of him filing out.  Then I left.

If you've been around GCA long, you recognize "walk on the line".


Feeling better after a good chapel service.  Headed to class!
He was hot and sweaty when I picked him up, but he told him more than once that school was fun.  They mostly colored.  He ate all of his lunch.  He didn't take a nap.

And he has been quite anxious to get up and go in the morning.  I am so thankful because "someone" filled his mind with lots of ideas about how bad school was going to be, and I had to continually refute those claims.  Thankfully, I think he sees for himself that this going to be great!

My darling daughter is a seventh-grader this year!



So hard to believe that my little boy that I was pregnant with when I was working at GCA is now GOING to GCA, and that my first born is in Junior High.  Lockers, PE, changing classes, loooots of homework.  It's a whole new world for sure.  I am so proud of her, her spirit, and her desire to make this year a good one.  Katelyn, I want you to know that Mom is extremely proud of you, and I thank you for all of your help to me.

And a help she has been!  This week has been crazy busy.  And I love it.  I thrive on the busyness of needing to get uniforms into the wash, making dinner, getting everyone's lunch together, etc, etc.  That's where I get my energy (forget cleaning.  that's for the birds).

I'm just waiting for the final piece of the puzzle to click into place, which should be any day now.  I'll keep you posted.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers and support.  I am so thrilled with this new stage in life and were we are right now.  God has truly been faithful!

Update on Tyler

As mentioned before, Tyler started school July 22.  It was been a complete success!  Last Friday he came home with another boy's phone number and asked if he could call him.  Since we had just gotten home, I advised him to wait.  The boy wound up calling us first and invited Tyler over to his house.  He lived all the way back in Chandler, so we decided to try to plan something in advance so that we can work out logistics.  I am just so pleased that he is making friends and reaching out.

The school is really an answer to prayers for us.  He is in a structured facility that is meeting all of his needs.  He gets his academics (We got to choose whether or not to do homework, hallelujah.  We chose no homework for now.  Academics is not an issue.)  He also has cooking, music, karate, yoga, and independent living.  He looooooves cooking, and surprisingly, seems to enjoy music and karate (be careful picking on him, he just may surprise you!).  Yoga he can do without :)  He also gets Occupational Therapy once a week, and is supposed to receive Speech Therapy, but he hasn't mentioned it yet, so I don't know if he just doesn't realized it's happening or what.

The first few weeks were a bit of a challenge for him because he got into trouble a number of times for inappropriate behavior (burping and potty talk).  It's so easy as a parent to roll your eyes and say "Really?  He got into trouble for burping???"  But these kids need to learn when certain behavior is appropriate and when its not (though is burping and potty talk ever really appropriate?), so it's best to learn it now.  So I supported the teachers, and am happy to report that he has conquered that mountain.

We had one bad day in the fourth week when everything that could go wrong, seemed to for poor Tyler.  He cried and declared that he never wanted to go to that yucky school again.  Again, it would have been so easy for me to say okay, disenroll him and homeschool him again.  But I can't.  I can't shelter him.  We've been there, done that, not going back.  So I talked with him about facing challenges and everyone having a bad day, and "pushed" him out of the van the next morning.  And, would be believe it, he gathered the wind under his wings and flew!  He has been doing wonderful since then, and has stayed on "yes" every day since then.  I think he just needed that "break-through" day.

It's so funny to hear all of his little stories.  It's also funny to hear him and Katelyn discuss their difference schools, and hear Tyler say how much better his school is.  I always interject that each child is at the school that's best for them and it doesn't make one better than the other, but I'm so thankful that he love where he is.

I don't know what the future holds, but I am so thankful for the place that we are at right now.  It took a lot to get here.

Photo dump

Few pictures for you:

One day this past summer Katelyn and Justin decided to make cookies.  They took pictures along the way.


The stars

Mixing up the dry ingredients

"How does this thing work?"

Don't tell Mom that I ate raw egg...
Just plain cute
Yup, they're good!

Justin took this one.  She's quite a baker!

One Sunday the boys looked so handsome that I tried to capture it.  You can see how well that turned out:







Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"No Slits?!?!"

Miss Valerie Nieves moved over to VPC about a month ago from another church, and she has a cute story on her blog about changing over her wardrobe and how God has blessed her with appropriate clothing.

It reminded me of a funny story from my move:

Most of you know that we lived in Modesto, CA, along with the Mantooths.  Adaina and I were good friends, and would hang out together with some other ladies who had children the same ages.  Our church was becoming more liberal, and we would share our frustrations with each other.  Adaina's parents, the Gibsons, had moved to Glendale several years before, and one day Adaina shared with us that she and Bryan were going to move to Glendale in about eight months.  She began to tell us about the church, which was Faith Temple at the time, and how things were different from our church.  One of our friends had a brother-in-law who pastored another more liberal UPC church in Phoenix, so she asked "Isn't Bro Garrett really strict?"  Adaina responded that he was and named one of the differences being that he didn't allow his ladies to wear slits in the their skirts.  I will never forget the shock and appall that filled all of the ladies that were listening at the thought of not being able to wear a slit.  How on earth was that even possible?  I mean, really.  (To put this in perspective a little, I was raised that your skirt must be below the knee, and any slit must not be above the bend in the knee.  It was very modest by most standards.  Short skirts and higher slits came in later.)

Time passed, the Mantooths moved to Glendale, and God became working in our own lives to lead us to Glendale.

It was the Sunday of Labor day when my husband came home from Sunday morning service and announced that God had spoken to him and told him to take his family and move to Glendale.  I knew in my heart that this was what we needed to do, but I also knew that I would need to give up some things.  I asked my husband for some time and walked away to go pray.  I will never forget praying and asking God "If this move is your will, please, make the "no slits" rule no big deal."

I got up from prayer and went to my closet and starting looking over my clothes.  And I was amazed at how many skirts I already had that didn't have slits!  Hey, maybe this wasn't going to be so hard after all.  And from that moment on, I embraced it whole-heartedly.

I am so thankful to the Lord for bringing us to Glendale, and for bringing Miss Valerie, too.  :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Praise Report

I only have a minute, so I have to type fast, but I wanted to shout this praise report.

As stated in previous posts, Tyler received an ESA scholarship that is paying for the majority of the $23,000/year tuition for his school.  Our part is approximately $2500, portions of which are due every month.

Well, we don't have the money the pay our portion of the balance right now.  Gas is killing us.  So, per instructions, I emailed the administrator and explained our situation.  I asked for a time waiver, stating that we would pay as quickly as possible.

I got a response the next day stating that the fees for the quarter were waived, just please pay the transaction fee.  I was so thrilled to hear that.

BUT, TODAY, I got a letter stating that our tuition balance has been waived for the whole year and we only have to pay the quarterly fee of $115, which is $460 total!

I am soooo very thankful for this miracle.  I know that they are hoping that the ESA will received more funding next quarter because of a new bill that was signed, so that may have played a part.  But, I know that my God did this for me to show me that he cares.  I have been fasting and praying about this situation because I need a job, or we need some financial miracles.  God is making a way were there seems to be no way.

This school is so good for Tyler and I'm so thankful to the Lord.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tyler Started School

This past Monday, Tyler started his new school year at Pieceful Solutions.  It has been a great week and a wonderful experience thus far.  I am so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity.

But, driving to Chandler twice a day is the pits.

I'm currently job seeking.  I have had two interviews, but have not been hired yet.  I have another interview on Wednesday, plus a ton of applications out.  My goal is an academic adviser or transcript evaluator position, but I am also open to administrative assistant/office coordinator.  I am trying to trust God for the right position, but, wow, job searching in a saturated market is hard work!  I really feel for people who have been job searching for months or years.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cowboys

 Yesterday we had some cowboys come to visit...

Yee-Haw!







Yuck, crickets taste disgusting!











Impossible to get these two to take a good picture together



Cowboys have manners, ya know.

Lost the gun fight

Don't mess with me!



(The black eye on Justin came from his attempt to get out of brushing his teeth.  He ran into his room, tripping and landed on the wooden railing of his bed.)