Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Photo Dump and Random Commentary

In honor of the end of 2014, here is a photo dump, with random commentary.

This is for my good friend, Amy Gardner.  She thought that "Dress Up Like a Cow" day at Chick-fil-a was a scam, so I sent her pictures of us dressed up.  This is the only one that turned out non-blurry ;)
Justin loves playing at the park.  I am continually thankful that we choose a house next door to a park, and for a wonderful husband who takes the kids to bigger parks all over the area.

This picture was sent to me by Justin's awesome babysitter, Sis Doreen.  So thankful for her!
Such a big help...Yeah.

"Oh, did you want to sleep here, too?"  Even though the little have their own beds, it's not uncommon for them to find their way into our bed on occasion.
Jason has been praying for the Holy Ghost on occasion.  I am so thankful for Bro Matt Garrett, pictured here praying with Jason.  He is the Bible class teacher and in charge of devotions and chapel at GCA and has been such a big influence on both Jason and Katelyn.  When Jason saw this picture, he said "Bro Matt was saying 'It's Holy Ghost time for Jason!'"  Thanks to Tanya for sending me this picture of Jason praying at chapel.

Jason loves to dress up for church.

Katelyn and Adain made a volcano for Parent Night.  Thank you to Sis Mantooth for rescuing Mt Failure at the last minute.
What will happen???

Cute kid and a photo bomb

Jason lost his first and second teeth

Tyler learned how to make pizza in his chef class.
Hanging out with Jason
Katelyn and Jim celebrated their October birthdays.
Typical Tyler

Christmas 2014
The boys love Pastor Garrett, especially when he gives them giant candy canes.  Back story:  The Sunday night before Christmas, Pastor cleared a portion of  the platform and brought in a rocking chair and a big box of something.  He sat in the rocking chair and invited all of the children to come up.  Both Jason and Justin went up.  Then Pastor pulled out a giant candy cane and told the kids they would be getting one after the service.  Next thing you know, all of the young people flooded up to the platform, too.  It was quite funny.  Then Pastor read the Christmas story from Luke 2, stopping at various places to lead us in the singing of Christmas carols.  It was a wonderful memory making event.

 I saved all of our baking and Christmas stuff until after school was out for break and I was done with work.  So Monday and Tuesday were spent making enough junk food to feed an army (note:  it's almost gone.  How did that happen??...tugs on "broken zipper"...the fast starts in five days)  Jason and Justin were huge helps in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, my teenagers didn't want to spend too much family time together "in the hot kitchen.  I ate plenty of it.  Does that count?"

Ignore the dirty dishes in the background.

We made cookie with candy cane kisses in the middle, these pretzel-kiss-M&M things and homemade Twix, among other things.  These three recipes are awesome to make with kids.  The boys enjoyed unwrapping the candy and placing it just-so.

Yes, Jason is in his pjs and Justin needs to brush his hair.

Just a sampling.

The only Christmas present picture I was allowed to take.  We enjoyed a very busy and fun Christmas.  Christmas morning we opened presents as a family.  Then we went to my dad's and had brunch.  Came home and put dinner in the oven, then went and picked up my mom at the airport.  The kids convinced her to open presents that night, so by the end of the night, they were quite spoiled.  It was fun!  We missed our family members that didn't get to come; maybe next year!

We enjoyed some fun outings with my mom.  One night we went to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park.  Of course it was the first really cold night this year and we froze!!!  Thank God for hot cocoa.  The train ride was definitely worth it, though.  However, we nixed all other plans that involved being outside at night!  While at the park, the kids saw Piglet, Pooh, Tigger, Elmo and Cookie Monster.  I love this picture of the three kids.

The littles got ties and bibles for Christmas.  My mom snapped this picture before we went to church the Sunday after Christmas.
Look!  Katelyn's floor is clean and you can open the door!

Tyler and Yoshi chewing bublegum.
Tyler will only take pictures if Yoshi comes along.  Ty got this shirt from Kate for Christmas and he loves it.  Pray for Ty as he starts his new school on the 5th.  Of January.

Last, but not least, a little sign from Cracker Barrel.  I thought it was appropriate with the fast coming up.

Love you all!!  Happy New Year!  Can't wait to see what 2015 has in store.

Special thanks to my personal spell checker, Katelyn :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Help Wanted

I am looking for someone who would be willing to meet me at GCA every morning at 7:30ish and drive Tyler to his school at 83rd Ave and Thunderbird by 8:15.  I will pay for your gas.  This job will begin January 5 and be for the remainder of the school year, with renewable options.  We might also discuss options for the return trip.

If you are interested or know of someone who might be, please leave a comment, or text me if you know my number.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

So, Tell Us Already!

I think I'm ready to share some of the big news...In true fashion, I will give you all the back story, etc

Just in case someone doesn't know:  Tyler had autism and goes to a school that is a one hour drive from our home.  In order for this to work, I had to leave the home and get a job close to his school.  We've been doing this since July of 2013.

Recently I heard about an opportunity for a job that would be coming available in the near future.  As soon as I heard about the job, my heart leaped and I knew without a shadow of doubt that I wanted that job.  No questions.  And the job wanted me.

However, there was a big huge obstacle:  the job is in the West Valley, not the East Valley.  So, I prayed and prayed and wrangled and tried every single idea that I could think of to figure out a way to get this to work.  Nothing.  Finally, I wrote the words "Beauty in Submission" on a piece of paper that I keep on my mirror and gave the job up for the time being, believing that God would work it out in his time.

A few days later I was searching the internet once again for autism schools in the West Valley and a new submission jumped out at me.  The address was right, the website looked fantastic and when I googled the school, I actually found it on a best schools list.

I asked my husband if he was interested in checking it out and he was, so I reached out to the school.  They invited us to attend their Open House that was happening in a couple of weeks.  We did and were very pleased with what we saw.  The program is newer than Pieceful Solutions, but there is a lot of opportunity.  Tyler was comfortable in the environment.  I went up to two different parents and talked with them about their experiences and they both had good things to share.

Jim and I decided to go forward with having Tyler start there in January.

This has been one of the hardest decisions that I have ever made.  I am so worried that I've made a huge mistake, that the school will be horrible for Tyler and that we'll completely regret the decision.

But every time I go back to the Lord and question again, he sends me a confirmation that this is the right thing for our whole family.

I will now be able to take the job that I want.  We will all be on the same side of town, letting me be available for all four kids.  If I'm sick, I can actually call in sick instead of taking my sickness to the office because Tyler can't miss school!  There are so many good things about this move.

How is Tyler taking it?  Well, when I first told Tyler that we were thinking about having him switch schools, he cried for an hour.  Then he was willing to look at the website and the pictures, proclaiming the whole time that he wasn't going to that yucky school.  For the next few weeks, any time the subject was brought up, he would remind me that he wasn't switching schools.  He felt better after we visited the school, although he did ask me if he could finish the school year at PS and start at Aurora the following school year.  We decided not to do that BTW because of the job that I'm taking, mainly.  Now he just makes comments about some of the classes that he is going to miss out on or his friends, so I'm trying to work with him on maintaining friendships and seeing if we can do some of the class material at home.  I think he's come so far at PS that he's going to do fine at Aurora.

So, that's most of the big news.  Even now I feel teary eyed because we love PS so much it's hard to leave, and I don't want to make a huge mistake.  Once I'm in the middle of rush hour traffic, however, I find myself counting the days :)

Please continue to keep us in prayer.  God is so good!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Little Piece of News

Remember my great big prayer?  Well, the Lord said YES!  I'll fill you in on all the exciting details as soon as we finalized the last detail :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just a Random Update

I've been pretty quiet here lately.  Not that life has been quiet; in fact, it's been a roller coaster ride of late.  But, putting it into words is so hard.  Ya know?

Ok, first the kids:

Katelyn is well into 8th grade, and overall doing great.  When she feels like she's not doing great, I remind her that these are important life lessons she's learning, and she will be stronger for them.  Right, Kate?  I'm very proud of my---FOURTEEN!--year old.  In September Jim let her go to Youth Alive, a fun whirlwind trip to So Cal for church and Knott's Berry Farm.    She's been involved in lots of youth functions, and celebrated her 14th birthday with a surprise lunch, balloons and treats at school from her fantastic mother followed by dinner at Red Robin (where else?)  She thought it was funny that a new/old/returned-from-Alaska classmate, Josh, has his birthday on the same day and they unknowingly planned dinner at the same restaurant that night.  She has found out that she likes sushi and can't wait until she can drive so she can socialize more as her parents are duds.

Jason looooves 1st grade.  He is something else...very Type A (wonder where he gets that from?) about his school work and stresses out if something is not right.  I've had to tell him numerous times "Jason, you are my third child to go through Sis Ward's class.  I know the routine.  Be calm!"  A good friend sent me some precious pictures of Jason praying at chapel one day.  Jason told me to save the one of Bro Matt Garrett praying with him as my wallpaper on my phone, and told me "Bro Matt kept saying 'It's Holy Ghost time for Jason!'."  He hasn't gotten it yet, but that's only because he hasn't prayed recently.  It will come :)

Justin is something else.  Right now he's testing his limits and seeing just how much Mom and Dad will let him get away with.  Sigh.  It's exhausting cuz if you let up one time, boom, back to square one (have we moved from square one yet??  Really, where did these stubborn children come from?  Certainly not me,  certainly! --snort).  But, when he's not testing limits, he's learning how to ride his bike!  Yes!  He asked Jim to take the training wheels off of his bike and as soon as Jim helped him balance, he was off.  He was riding like a pro in no time flat.  So proud of my baby.  He's getting so big!

Tyler is doing well.  I'm praying about something big right now, hopeful, but scared to death that I'm going to make the wrong choice.  Praying God sends me a great big sign!

I'm also praying about something else really big.  I'm not at liberty to share it yet, but, oh, I am so praying that God will answer this prayer with a YES!

In the mean time, I'll share that I am no longer employed at the college where I was the past year.  Something big and unpleasant happened that led me to understand without a doubt that my time there had reached its end and so I put my feelers out and looked for a new job.  God was good and I've taken a position at the community college closer to Tyler's school, doing a job that I think I will like.  I will stay here until God gives me a YES to my big prayer and I can go where my heart longs to be.

My hubby recently turned 40!  Unfortunately we weren't able to celebrate as big as I would have liked due to the situation above, but someday we'll take off and see Seattle, Honey :)

Other than all that, we are enjoying great revival at church!  Our altars have been loosed and folks are being filled with the Holy Ghost.  It's so exciting!

So, that's it for me.  Hope you all are well :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Yesterday Shelley Sims passed away. Shelley was such a wonderful person and she will be missed.  I have some many wonderful memories of Shelley. One of my first is that she and Perry got engaged soon after we started attending VPC, which was Faith Temple back then. I think they might have been the first ones that we got to hear a poem for, actually.

Then I remember the following year, 2006, we went to camp meeting the last time it was in Prescott. At some point we were talking to Shelley and Perry before we went and they were telling us about the place where they were going to stay for  amp meeting, a place called Apple Creek Cottages. We wonder up staying there in one cabin and the Sims were in another cabin. They came over to our cabin one afternoon between services and played Skip-Bo with us.

Shelley was one of those people who was always there. I remember her sitting on the back row of the right side of the church, taking attendance before service. Silly me thought it was funny to lean down and tell her "I'm here!" Now I look for her and miss seeing her.

Shelley always understood exactly what we were talking about when we spoke of  Tyler. She would tell stories about kids she encountered working in daycare, and share things that she learned. My husband said of her this morning, "I always felt like she understood." Shelley was always plain spoken, too, and I liked that about her. We could talk plainly with each other, with no pretenses.

I remember the couple of times that Jim and I would go very early to the church to pray before I took him to work.  Shelley would always be there, coming to pray after dropping Perry off at work.

One year I got call from Shelley. She wanted to give an anonymous gift to a mutual friend and asked me to be the go between.  She was always thinking of others.

Last Easter Shelley came into the nursery room, looking for a place to hang out as there was no space in the church.  She wasn't strong enought to chase toddlers, but she found her place sitting in the chair next to the door and holding whichever baby we happened to have that service.  She wound up coming in for all three services and holding babies. It was such a big help to have her there, knowing she was taking care of the baby, one less thing for me to worry about.  In between services on Sunday, we wound up having a long talk about her cancer and her hopes for the future. I will always treasure that time.

I willw miss Shelley. If memory is correct she is the first peer my age to die of cancer. It's sobering. But I know she's in Heaven with The Lord. I'm just sad for me, and Perry, and Ruthie and al pof us who will miss her dearly.

My husband told me this morning that, on my last birthday, Bro Perry came up to him and said, "do something nice for your wife for her birthday." I cried when I heard that. Let us not take one day for granted. Love one another and let them know that you love them.

Farewell, Shelley. Enjoy being in the presence of The Lord. We are jealous :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Psalms 27

I just deleted a bunch of thoughts that I needed to get down because it's not time yet. I will leave this, God is so good. Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

This Psalm was my go-to reading when I was really down recently. God's word is always faithful.

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto theLord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Some Pictures from our Summer

I had the boys make crowns

and wands

We made homemade pretzels.  All of the kids enjoyed shaping the pretzels.

Katelyn's masterpiece

Just a taste of the silliness that is normal life at our house...

more normal life...

Someone that Jim works with gave him this beautiful guitar.  We'd like the kids to learn, if they have an interest.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Some Animals Went to the Zoo

More blessings!

I was able to get two free admissions to the Phoenix Zoo, so Jim and the littles braved the heat and enjoyed the Zoo today.  They had a great time and couldn't stop telling me all about how they milked the cow, and Jason's favorite goats, and the snake they saw, and the mountain lion, and the monkeys, and the rhino, and...