January 2012

Posted in church, Everyday Life on February 1st, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

My blogging style has changed – maybe temporarily, maybe permanently.  It’s evolved, if you will, to meet the growing needs of my family.  I no longer have time to sit down 5 times a week and write about my thoughts, my plans, my stories, my ideas, nor do I have the time to detail my agenda.  With 5 kids now and all of the new things we’re doing (new baby, homeschooling, new career for both Hubby and I, new ministries…), I rarely do find myself sitting down and when I am, it’s rare that a computer is in front of me.  So for awhile, I will just post updates on the members of my family and our lives.  This will still serve as a way to keep in touch with those who read my blog (those especially that I cannot find as much time as I’d like to talk on the phone with because of all the noise in my house – phone conversations are nearly impossible at certain times of the day!), and my blog will also continue to serve as a family diary for us to look back on someday and enjoy together.  Updates:

Family – we began homeschooling last fall, and we still like it.  We’ve had to make some adjustments to our planned curriculum since new little bro Luke (born Oct 7 2011) is quite a happy though demanding handful.  We began co-op on January 9, which is a local program they have here at a church for homeschoolers.  We go every Monday, and each grade level participates in 3 different classes taught by the moms of the group.  Since it’s our first year, I don’t have a class to teach yet – I pulled nursery duty.  Yep – 3 hours every week working in the nursery with my little Luke and about 5 other babies – Luke is the only boy.  My husband asked me how I managed that one (because I LOVE babies!), and I don’t know – lucky I guess!!  Apparently there are some ladies who don’t want to deal with diapers and fussy babies and all that, but for me, there couldn’t be a better job for me to serve at co-op.  My other kids really like co-op.  Beeber (age 3) is in Preschool, and he came home the first week with a “carrot project” – the top of a carrot in a cup of water.  It was supposed to grow some green out the top, but ours didn’t.  He didn’t seem to mind though.  It’s funny because when he handed me his carrot as I was picking him up, I thought it was the remainder of what he had done with his snack until the teacher explained it to me – haha!  Disney is in Kindergarten at co-op, and she really likes it.  Since we’ve decided to homeschool our kids beginning at 2nd grade, Disney is also in public school preschool, and she loves both of them!  The older girls enjoy co-op too; it gives some of the structure of school without all the unnecessary rules and drama, and the classes are taught from a Christian perspective.  I like that the kids are held accountable to other adults besides their parents for their assignments and quizzes.  The Sunday-Monday rush is taxing for our family since we have seven bags to pack Sunday night for co-op AFTER a big weekend spent getting ready for church service, but it’s worth it and we are settling into a routine.  Wednesday sees us leading groups at youth group, and we had a friend offer to take the 3 middle kids to AWANA and they really like that.  Thursday we have Bible study, and as I said, much of our weekends now consist of planning Sunday church service and TRYING to find time to rest and relax.  Overall, we’re busier than ever, but I feel happier than ever – God is so great!  I felt so run-down and was having a really hard time for a few months, but I had some checkups with the doctor and think I got the problem solved.  I feel better than I have in years and I can’t thank God enough!!  Now we just have to get Hubby some more sleep since he is waking with Luke all night, every night AND working 2 jobs, not to mention all of the help he gives me around the house.

The past few months, I’ve learned better to accept the circumstances of life as seasons that are constantly changing.  I’ve also learned to better accept that the way things are now are most definitely going to change in a few months.  I’ve learned to look forward to seeing what God has in store for my family rather than to let the ever-changing dynamics of our lives fill me with fear, dread or worry.  As far as things at the new church, we’ve set up a wonderful childrens ministry, and we have about 20 kids that come every weekend.  This is an AMAZING thing when you realize that the church had 0 kids attending only 4 months ago.  We have been contemplating ideas for a youth ministry (tweens and teens) as well as some other things, and only God knows where we will be with that in a month or two.  As I tried to say, things change so fast that it’s difficult to update it all on my blog, especially when this post alone has taken me a few weeks of having to put it aside and come back to add more later in order to finish it!

Before I stop writing for the day, I do want to share an amazing God story we got to witness this past Sunday.  My husband had been up late most of last week writing his sermon, and there was a pancake supper at church on Saturday night.  I ended up staying home with my boys because I was feeling run down and Luke was crabby and oozing things from places (you don’t really want more details, trust me…  baby stuff).  So late Saturday night, Hubby decided to start telling God in prayer that he needed rest, and I was doing the same.  Sunday morning, I was making my runs for church – I am the designated driver for the childrens ministry.  Many of the kids that come to our church need rides because their home situations are…  let’s say complicated.  Our church is located in the middle of the country about 6 miles from town, so I make 2-3 trips there in the morning to pick up the kids and to drive my own family.  Sunday we saw a man riding a bike on US Route 6; his bike was pulling a trailer that normally is used for pulling children, but his was loaded with supplies.  I wondered if he was homeless or someone who was making a long trek because it isn’t all that unusal to see someone journeying down US 6 – our little corner of the world seems to be on the way to everywhere!  So we see people journeying down 6 from time to time, but not usually in the winter.  On my last run, as I pulled into church, I noticed the man on the bike was also pulling into church.  I got the kids settled, then went out to welcome him.  Turns out, his name is Michealangelo, and he had been on his journey on his bike for FOUR MONTHS!  He’s from Los Angeles, and he began by biking north in California, and then coming out this way headed to New York – because God sent him on this journey.  He saw the sign for our little church on US 6 and decided to stop.  Michael has amazing faith, and he had amazing stories to tell!  My husband asked him if he would share some of these with our congregation, and Michael obliged, even after sharing his concerns about the way he was dressed.  I don’t have the time to go into all of the amazing details of the personal touches that God put on this story – I’ve already burnt the eggs that I was cooking and the house smells disgusting.  But I will sum it up briefly:  Michael’s unexpected visit meant that my husband’s sermon that he had carefully prepeared was not used last week because we were treated to the testimony of Michael instead.  So my husband can rest a little easier this week knowing that his sermon is already prepared.  Also, we’ve been talking in our own family and at church about really living a Godly life and what that looks like; we’ve been trying to make opportunities to GO OUT and serve God rather than just sitting around, doing the same old things for US.  Michael’s testimony reaffirmed these concepts – here is a man who has devoted his entire life to doing what God wants him to do.  He left the life that he knew and WENT OUT THERE and is sharing the Word…  And here I am frustrated because my words are failing to convey the story…  And I wish I could find the links to the info about this guy on the internet.  Hubby found them so maybe when he gets home from work I can ask him and add them to my blog.

But anyway, it was a magical Sunday, and I am thankful that I got to be a part of it!  I will leave you now with a little update about my little Luke – he tried his tot wheels for the first time in January.  He likes it, but only for short periods of time.  He is a grown up little guy in a baby’s body with a baby’s attention span.  He loves to stand, and practice walking ALREADY even though he is not yet 4 months old.  He also loves to watch other kids in action – his sisters and brother and also the kids at co-op and at youth group.  WOW – I really have to blog more often!  Once I got going, I had so much to say but not enough time to say it…  sorry that I was kind of all over the place, but that’s the price I pay for sitting down and trying to do this with all these kids running around and my many tasks to accomplish!  Until next time…

 

lukes first time in tot wheels.mov

One Foot Out The Door…

Posted in church on September 20th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Changes abound!  So many things happening that I can’t keep up writing about them on my blog.  It seems like every time I sit down to relax, I’m doing something with the kids – playing board games, homeschooling, doing puzzles, cuddling while we watch home videos together…  Mommy and kid time is so much more important than blogging, of course, so I’m not losing sleep over it…  but I do miss blogging, and I know I will miss having a chronicle of these days for future reading.  I was just looking back at my blogs from the past; looking to see how I felt after my cesarean 3 years ago, hoping to maybe find some tips for recovery this time around.  It was so nice to read about what was going on in our lives at that point, the challenges we were enduring, how the kids were growing, what they were doing, that kind of thing.  But these days, if I have a kid in my lap, there is NO extra room to have a laptop nearby!  As of Friday September 16, I am 36 weeks pregnant – home stretch for sure!  While my belly is not bulging nearly as much as it did with my previous 4 pregnancies (I’ve actually LOST weight since July, but dr said baby is growing fine and that’s what matters), I am looming large these days, and the seemingly most mundane of tasks is an effort on my part and seems to take me forever.  I am blessed with an awesome Hubby who has really stepped up around the house to keep us running despite the craziness and challenges that a 4-kid household brings.  Very Honorable Mention goes to my oldest daughter who has also been amazing lately with her willingness to help.  She has gone above and beyond, not only doing everything that is asked of her but also coming up with her own ideas to pamper pregnant mom, following through with these ideas, and also excelling in our newly designed homeschooling program.  A few weeks ago, Taylor surprised me with a manicure/pedicure, and she even kept going outside to check on the little ones while Mom’s nails were drying.  The other day, she came up with the idea and made me breakfast in bed.  Her emotional and spiritual growth lately has been amazing to see, and hopefully I will have the time to blog about the lesson in forgiveness that she taught our whole family.

So how is the homeschooling going for us?  If you remember, we began homeschooling our two eldest this year – 6th and 2nd grades.  Many people have asked how it’s going, so it’s time for a formal update on the blog…  It’s going GREAT!  Thanks for asking!  We began with a very planned out schedule, but we’ve found it necessary to be more flexible.  We’ve also tweaked our planned curriculum here and there and attended our first homeschooling book sale and picked up some things to supplement our curriculum.  All normal and necessary parts of the process, and we’ve seen the kids become closer with each other and us their parents, all while getting to watch them learn new things up close.  I can’t wait to jump in as a full time homeschool teacher, but my patience is being tested since I have to wait until I recover from my planned cesarean in October.

Now for the big news: a few blog posts ago, I wrote about many doors opening for our family.  We were still determining at that time which paths to explore, and our prayers have been answered; the paths whittled down to an almost definite road.  Loonnngg story made very short is this: my husband was offered a job as a pastor at a local church, and he accepted.  This means that we will be, in effect, switching churches.  Talk about something that came out of the blue!  There is nothing about our current church that I don’t like, and I had planned on going there for years to come and raising our kids among our church community.  But, as we all too often learn, God has plans for us.  And who am I to argue?  I KNOW His plans are so much better than any road map I could have drafted for myself and my family.  So now comes the transition to the new church.  It’s a much smaller church, so among my husband’s and my first duties will be to acclimate ourselves into the new church environment and create a children’s ministry.  It will be challenging but also extremely exciting.  My husband has one final meeting with the regional governing board of the church to finish out the interview process, but everything we’ve been told by the elders of the church is that this is just procedure.  So, last Tuesday, I sadly gave my notice to my friend and mentor that oversees my 2nd/3rd grade girls Sunday school class.  Oh, how I will miss those kids!  I’ve known them and watched them grow for a year and a half now, ever since I had them as 1st grade students last year.  But as I said, who am I to challenge God’s plan?  While this all happened so suddenly in our lives, the chain of events and circumstances that led up to my husband being chosen to lead this church was so obviously orchestrated by God that there is no need to doubt whether it was meant to be, nor is there need to go into detail about exactly how it happened.  I will just say how much we KNOW that it was meant to happen, and that will guide me in the future if I ever begin to have fears or doubts in my own abilities to fulfill His work for me.

October 7 is when I am scheduled to have the baby, and 2 days later (while I’m still in the hospital) is when my husband is to spend his first Sunday at our new church.  As soon as I feel up to it, I will join him there, and our kids will follow as soon as we set up our children’s ministry.  That leaves me 2 Sundays to teach my current Sunday school students, or possibly just one if I decide to go and meet more of the congregation at the new church before I go into the hospital.  I may have one foot out the door, but I’m walking into a whole new world.  Because it is the world that God has designed for me at this point in my life, I could not be more excited!!!

And The Journey Begins…

Posted in homeschool on August 18th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , ,

Even before we were married and had kids, my husband and I have always liked the idea of homeschooling our children, but the time just hadn’t been right in the past so we put the idea on the back burner.  The idea resurfaced last spring, and we began to pray and meditate on it and to do some planning.  Over the summer we were able to visit with some of the families we know who homeschool, spending hours learning about resources, comparing curriculum, and getting to know their families better.  My worry-prone mind tells me it’s completely insane to take something like this on while expecting a new baby, but on the other hand, time keeps passing us by and our oldest is in 6th grade already.  Never being exactly sure about God’s plan for us ahead of time – how many children we will be blessed with or paths of service my husband might be called to in his career, etc – now seemed like as a good a time as any to try homeschooling our two oldest children.  Besides, I’ve been told that it’s easier to teach when there is a baby in the family rather than a troublesome toddler, which is all the more reason to start now instead of next year or the year after.  So in addition to “Mom of 5”, another new hat I will be trying on this fall is “Homeschool Teacher”.

I am 90-95% ecstatic and 5-10% terrified, depending on the day you ask me – but only because I’m worried about taking on all these responsibilities while enduring the lack of sleep that accompanies a new baby.  Other than that, I know we can do it – after all, we believe this is God’s plan for our family, so we can always appeal to Him through prayer for strength, endurance, and patience.  Also, I have tons of ideas; actually one of the main problems I came across when designing my daughters’ curricula was finding a way to include all of the subjects and ideas that I was so excited about.  I didn’t come close, but there are always future years.

Our 6th grade curriculum is complete: it’s designed and outlined, and we have the materials.  Our 6th grader is extremely excited about our adventure, and it helps to have an amazing support system through friends who homeschool – a good percentage of my daughter’s friends are homeschooled, and they are amazing kids.  Actually, ALL of the kids I know that are homeschooled are amazing kids, and the vast differences between the emotional maturity and the moral integrity of the homeschool kids and the public school kids in our church youth group was one of the leading contributors that led us to this decision.  As youth group leaders, my husband and I have gotten to know many of the kids in our small town.  They are all great kids, but seeing how distracted many of them are by all of the emotional dramas that are manufactured in the public school setting was both eye-opening and heart-breaking – another factor aiding our decision.

Tangent over – back to curriculum.  We are using A Beka curriculum for our 6th grader, and we found a complete set of workbooks and teacher guides on ebay for a great price – barely more than our school fees would have cost.  Taylor is extremely excited about her books; especially the art book which looks REALLY cool!!  And the great thing about A Beka curriculum is that it is Christian-based curriculum, which is very important to us and another key factor in our homeschool decision.  We also found a whole bunch of workbooks and textbooks the other day at Goodwill in mint condition and at a great price!  It’s incredible how many resources there are out there, and also surprising how fun it is to hunt, shop, and piece them together to make curricula!

Most of Taylor's A Beka Curriculum

I know it’s going to be a lot of work.  I know I’m prolonging indefinitely the things I might want to do for myself once my kids are old enough to take care of themselves – any hobby, job or career path I might have wanted to pursue when the time came to put all of my kids on the bus for the day is moot.  But I’m accepting that my career is Mom + Homeschool Mom, and right now, I can’t think of any better use of my time than the investment I’m making in our family and the futures of my children.

This summer we worked so hard on getting this homeschooling room ready!

 

Taylor's books are on the table