Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Update

Okay, here's the update on our situation in a nutshell...

1) We heard from Monticello last night. They are still undecided and want to hear Doug yet again. We are not totally at ease with that, but after talking to one of the search committee members in a little more depth, Doug agreed to one more visit. We will be going May 25, combining it with a weekend visit to Doug's parents in Monroe, LA (about two hours from Monticello). Please pray that the Lord will really make clear to them who they need to call to be their pastor, whether it's us or not.

2) Doug has applications out for several secular jobs. We have not really heard back from anything except some insurance sales jobs. Doug is NOT a salesman, so this would really have to be clearly directed from the Lord. Working a secular job would allow us to continue fellowshipping with the church where we have begun to establish ourselves here in our area. Or it would allow us to work with a church in Olive Branch - a small struggling church with an aging pastor. All parties are praying about Doug stepping alongside this church to help its growth. It would be a position requiring income to be provided from another source.

3) There are a few other church options. Doug has resumes out in multiple states with various associations and state conventions. He also has some resumes out with specific churches. A friend of my mom's has contacted Doug about a position at her church; a lady at our current church has given Doug's contact information to the church she attended for years and years; a church in central MS had Doug come preach for them and talk to them just last night about the possibility of moving down there.

Those are the options we are aware of, and that's where we stand. Everything just seems very iffy right now from our perspective, and deadlines are looming. But, God's never late. We constantly remind ourselves of that face. GOD IS NEVER LATE! Praise the Lord! Just pray that we will have the peace and trust to hang on through the length of time where it seems like God is late. Any of you who have been through uncertain times know that stretch of time always seems to exist, but He always proves Himself in the end! He is so good to us!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Of Teeth and Hearts

Ah, we are experiencing the wonderful adventure of waiting for teeth to come in! Poor Steven typically goes through several weeks of the final stages of teething, with those little teeth visibly bulging against the gums. Please pray with us that those two canines will just decide to poke on through soon! We are all ready!

On a different note...When we arrived at MDO yesterday, Angela shared that she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart! I'm not sure what motivated the statement - I don't know what she and Olivia were discussing as we pulled into the parking lot. I asked Angie if she knew what that meant and she said no. So, we talked a bit about it as we walked into the building, and she seemed to show indication that she was beginning to process it all. I absolutely love watching the spiritual awakening in children - those moments when they begin to sense that there is more to their spiritual being than just the idea of going to church, singing "Jesus Loves Me" and living in a home where Christian principles are taught and lived.

Not to leave Olivia out! We are still progressing nicely in school. I'm learning ways to be a little more flexible in meeting her learning style needs, which are so very different from mine. As I become more flexible, though, she enjoys it even more - as if she didn't enjoy it before! Her reading is exploding. We've taken a break from her second grade readers because she was moving through them so quickly. Between her library books, her school books, and the books from our shelves she wants to read, she was finding herself without opportunity to read Little House in the Big Woods. (So unlike her Mommy who sticks to one book at a time!) So, she was thrilled at the idea of putting aside second grade books for a week or two while she finishes Little House in school. She greatly prefers reading silently to reading aloud - one area she is like her Mommy! So, we're working on improving those read-aloud skills, and we've discussed the myriad of reasons for developing those skills.

Speaking of school - time to get back to it. Science is calling!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peaches!


We're going to have peaches this summer! We're so excited! Here is just one of them - they are getting big and they are now fuzzy to the touch. It will be sad if God does move us and we aren't able to reap the harvest, but someone else will enjoy them. We're just thrilled to be able to watch them grow!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sisters

I can't lie - I absolutely love homeschooling! Do I always feel like doing it? No! Is it worth it? Without a doubt!

Here are the girls after going through our science study of the five senses. They have workbook questions that follow most of their readings - here they are doing them together on the couch. Olivia does all of the reading, and together they come up with the answers. Then either Olivia writes, or they take turns gluing and sticking answers in the appropriate location. (Sometimes Mommy will write for them as they verbalize, just to give Olivia a break from writing!) One of the ways Olivia cements what she learns is to verbalize it, and talking through it with Angela is just the ticket to solidify these lessons. I can't tell you how good it feels for this Momma to watch her girls working and learning together, grasping these concepts, and having fun doing it! It's a priceless gift. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Snapshots

I took a few pictures of the girls on Sunday, so I thought I'd post them.
Olivia was so proud to be able to wear this dress. It was passed down to her by a sweet friend from our church in Joiner, and Olivia has been so excited about getting to wear it. Now that spring has sprung, she had her chance! She looked precious, but I'm not biased.

Angie looked adorable, too. She picked a sweet little dress that made her look like such a "little" girl - something Mommy and Daddy need every now and then! She looks like a big girl so often!

Then there's Steven...

When we got home from the park yesterday, they needed baths just to cool off enough to eat! As I was dressing Steven after his bath, he got ahold of two pacifiers from his bed and stuffed them both in his mouth at one time. This was a big deal because Steven is VERY insistent that his pacis be in his mouth precisely right, and he doesn't play with them! So, this was quite the funny and rare moment. You can tell he's having fun with it!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Play Dates

It has been such a blessing to have local friends! Yesterday, for the first time in nearly two years, we were able to go out and join some friends at a park. (We used to love meeting our friends the Choates on the seminary housing playgound when we could coordinate our playtimes. Such wonderful memories!) We did school as quickly as possible and then headed to a park in Southaven to join other moms and kids from our church. Here is Angie playing Duck, Duck, Goose with a few kids. Beside her with the dark hair is Katie, and next to Katie with the pink shirt and blonde hair is Lydia, our pastor's daughter. The other little girls are from another church group who were playing the same day.
Olivia and Katie are playing on the swings in this picture. Katie is the homeschool friend who came to spend the morning with us on Friday.

Last night we went to our pastor's house for dinner. Olivia began crying when she thought we were leaving, and it dawned on me that it's really been a long time since she's had local friendships. Typically when we visit friends and family in their homes or they in ours, it's a "catch-up" time. We get as much play and visiting in as we can before we leave, because we know it will be a while before we do it again. All of that occurred to me as she was crying last night, and I was able to explain to her that these friends live close by, and we will typically see them several times a week! We don't have to stay and stay (although we did stay until WAY past bedtime because we were having so much fun!) because we know it's easy to visit with them again. That's something we'll all have to get used to, but we're really enjoying getting used to it again! God is so good to bless us with relationships, especially as we are approaching the time of leaving MDO.

If You're Happy & You Know It

video

Steven's favorite songs are "If You're Happy and You Know It" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands (aka "Lallow!"). Here is a video of his participation in the first of the two! You can tell his favorite verse is shouting "Horray!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friends

I think I shared with you - but I can't find it so I'm not sure - about Olivia's after-care class at MDO dwindling. She is now one of only two girls, and that girl only comes one day a week. Olivia is so social, but she just hasn't had much in the way of social interaction lately. We've really been praying about that.

Well, God is answering! There is a little girl named Katie whose parents Doug and I are getting close to. She is six and homeschooled, and she and Olivia hit it off almost immediately. They have sat together at church, and Katie came over this morning to spend some time playing with the girls while Mom and little brother went to the dr. God always provides! I meant to take pictures while they were playing, but it didn't happen this time. I'm sure I'll get a picture soon of Olivia and her new friend (and Angie's too!).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So Different!

I have realized something as I've been teaching Olivia. She's just not like me! In praying about how to work with those differences, I found a book about learning styles. Now, I don't want to stick any of us in any category, but I felt that maybe this would help me have a little bit of insight into how to take my extreme left-brained perfectionist and schedule-oriented disposition and allow it to work better with a right-brained artistic free spirit who hates the restriction of time and schedules! WOW! We both have started the learning style assessment, and already I can see that she and I are on the opposite ends of the spectrum in several areas. I really always thought that Angela would be the most challenging to teach, but I'm discovering that I might have been wrong on that one. Olivia might need the very things that I find a waste of time! She might need the games and the creative teaching methods - the things that drive me nuts. I want to just learn something, and the games distract from the task.

So, please pray with us as we learn and grow together. Pray that the Lord will give Doug and I great ideas to really minister to a child who thinks very differently from her parents. Pray that we can get excited about creative teaching instead of being frustrated by those things. And, pray that we know when to allow creativity and when to remind her that sometimes she does still need to fit into the schedule and structure of our family and the world around us!

Time to move on to math and science. Let's see what game we can play to get through those pesky flashcards!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This and that


Well, winter is breathing its last this week! We had just found brand new peaches on our trees, so we did not welcome the news of another late freeze. The late freeze last year killed the two or three baby peaches we had. This year we tried covering the trees to protect them, but it will probably be a few days before we know if it did any good. We won't have many peaches, I'm sure, because the trees are still very young. But, it would be fun to have a few!

The cold Sunday gave the girls great delight, though, as they proudly wore the shawls Nanny had made for them. The shawls received quite a few complements at church, which delighted the girls even more.

A few things have been running through my mind as I sat down to create this post, so I thought I'd go ahead and share them with you. I know there are several prayer warriors out there who have been covering us in prayer, and this will just give you a nutshell idea of where we are right now.

Keep praying for Doug and I as we actively work to roll that anxiety off our shoulders and surrender it to the Lord. The visible provision to meet all of our financial obligations will last through May, and it's amazing how six weeks can seem like such a short length of time when you look at it from that perspective! We are truly seeking to just rest in Him. He has never let us down before, and He won't now. Of that we are confident. There are a few possibilities in front of us, including the church in Monticello, but we have not received any clear direction.

Just to let you know, we do have a For Sale sign in our front yard. It's not so much that we are actively trying to sell the house, but that we want to be open to whatever the Lord has for us. Please pray with us that if we are to sell and move that He will provide the perfect buyer.

The other desire right now is for Doug to be able to work solidly to complete his Master's degree. We are seeking a lot of direction as to whether this should be his MDiv or an MA in speech communications. He will always want to have an opportunity to preach, even if it's in an interim or pulpit supply position. But, his passion is teaching, and he would love to be a speech professor at a small university. So, our prayer is that the Lord will guide us regarding which degree he needs to seek and will provide everything needed to pursue that degree actively instead of just a few classes here and there.

So, that's it! That's what's been rolling around in my mind this morning. Let us know how we can pray for each of you, and thank you for your love and support of us!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spring Program

God is so faithful! I know many of your prayed for our MDO Spring Program - in fact, we had SO many people praying from all over the place! I love to be able to share how God answers prayers because it really reminds us that He is interested in every aspect of our lives. Thank you, thank you for praying for our program. It was such a success! The children sang their little hearts out and spoke their verses beautifully. The teachers did their parts cueing the kids, and everything just ran beautifully. I believe our Lord was truly glorified, and we're praying that seeds were planted. Here are a few pictures from the afternoon:
Olivia stuffed some inserts into the programs before she went to help hand out programs. She said she didn't get to hand out many programs because the boys in her class jumped out and handed them out so quickly - ah, the joys of being the only girl in the class! She had fun, though.
Doug played with the camera a bit before the program. This is one of my good friends Steffeny and me before the program started. Steffeny is technically my boss - she is the Curriculum Director at MDO (and does an incredible job!) and I am her assistant. But, God has granted us such a blessed frienship through working together. It is so amazing how He does that! We love working together because He has taken our strengths and our weaknesses and merged them to produce quite the fun team. It's been a great year working with Steffeny!

And here is the girl of the hour! Standing in the middle of all of the boys!!! She sang her heart out. The cutest moment, though, was when she saw her daddy with the camera and stopped to pose and give him the cutest picture grin!! Don't they all look precious? They did such a great job, and we were SO proud of all of them!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Colors

Steven has not been a happy boy for several weeks. Oh, he's had his happy moments, but he's not been his normal happy self. I think it might be related to how unsettled we've been with church. That's always been a big part of his life, and we'd been to a different church every Sunday for weeks! Lately we've been to the same church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wed night - he's been able to become familiar with people. And, he seems to be happier now. In fact, he had a horrid day yesterday, and I was afraid that there would be no way he'd stay in the nursery for us to go to church. But, he was great, and he's been happy ever since! YAY!

Anyway, that's not the point of my post - my point was to say that this morning he had me rolling in the floor laughing, which has not been typical lately. We were in his room getting ready to get him dressed. I had opened his bottom drawer with all of his short sleeve shirts and, trying to engage him in the process of getting dressed, I said, "So, what are we going to wear today?" He peered into the drawer and said, "Pink!" I just looked at him and asked him to repeat himself - not believe he'd said what I thought he'd said. He repeated himself plainly! I said, "Honey, you don't have pink - we need to pick another color." (Keep in mind, I've pointed out colors to him, but he's never repeated them or shown any interest in learning them!) "Pink!" he said again. "No, sweetie," I reiterated, "we need another color." "Lallow!" came his next request. "Okay, we can do yellow!" I found a yellow and blue striped shirt and showed it to him. "Pink!" he said again! "No, Steven - yellow and blue." "Lallow" he said cheerfully, and proceeded to happily put on his yellow and blue shirt. Through this whole exchange I was trying my best to keep from hooting with laughter at his insistent on a pink shirt! Ah, the signs of a boy with big sisters!!! His daddy just groaned and decided it was time for boot camp! :-)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Visits and Dr's Visits

Once again, the time rolled around for our monthly visit with the Shawas. When we moved in next door to the Shawas in September of 2002, Olivia was the only child among the two families - and boy did she know it! She was spoiled rotten, especially by her Uncle Jason! :-) Now there are five children, with the youngest being a little older than Olivia was when we met the Shawas. What was cute was that Emily was quite attracted to the oversized Pooh pillow Jason and Charlene had bought Olivia when she was Emily's age. Ah, time flies. Seeing them all five gathered around the table for lunch was truly a precious sight - seeing the blessings of these children the Lord has granted to us!

Every time we get together we try to get a picture of Olivia and Emily. Aren't they sweet? It used to be easier - little Emily didn't have a problem sitting in someone's lap. As she's grown older, though, we have to catch just that right moment. It's worth it, though! They're so precious!

Then, of course, Steven had to get HIS loving in again. Poor thing - he really has to work for his hugs!

Meanwhile, the girls decided to play a bit on their own. Angie was the doctor and Olivia was the patient. They had a great time - Angie continually reminding Olivia to come for her next appointment!

Steven is proud of himself - he has learned how to respond with motions and actions to "If You're Happy and You Know It," and he thinks it's the greatest thing in the world! At bedtime he typically has a specific song in mind that he wants me to sing. If I start the wrong one, he'll say, "No! Sing song!" I'll keep trying until he either snuggles down or grins from ear to ear - either one the signal that I've finally found the right song.

Angela has her Spring Program at MDO tomorrow. Olivia will be handing out the programs for it. She's excited about her role! Please pray for us that all will go smoothly and, above all, Christ will be glorified.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kucher

On the sidebar of the blog, I have listed several ministries we support via prayer and giving. One of those is an organization called Shevet Achim. They bring Arab children to Israel for life-saving heart surgeries that they cannot get in their own countries (primarily Gaza and Iraq). They also freely share the love of Christ with these children and their families. When I first read about Kucher, I was incredibly drawn to her. I could not get her gorgeous face out of my head. Her case was practically hopeless - she'd suffered from her illness for so long that the doctors weren't even sure at first they could help her. Her story, though, is one that shows the power of prayer - read it and let your faith be reminded of how our amazing God IS the Great Physician.


We pray for these children and this ministry regularly. Sometimes tears just flow with heartbreak and other times with joy. If you ever wonder if the fighting in Iraq has really done any good, just read some of the Shevet Achim stories and see how God is taking the sacrifice of so many and turning it into the opportunity for these children to have life!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Catching up again

Last week was one of those weeks, and I've really missed being able to just sit down and blog for a few minutes here and there! It's not so much that we had so many places to go and so many things to do...it was a pretty routine week. I think it's more that we were all just dragging last week. We were out of town three weekends in a row, our MDO mornings for the past three weeks were all early as opposed to having every other MDO morning being a bit later, and we were exposed to a lot of social situations that required more energy than we were accustomed to expending. I think we spent last week just recovering from the month! We're looking forward to April as our calendar is much emptier!

Steven is continuing to "sound out" his words, and it is definitely obvious that it's not just mimicry. This morning he saw our "egg plants" sitting on the end of the table to catch some sunlight. They are little ceramic eggs with seeds planted inside of them. You crack the top of the egg, water the seed, and watch it grow. Steven pointed to them and said, "e-e-e egg!"

The girls are very excited because we will be starting a book about George Muller in school this week. I'm not sure I'm so excited - it's not going to be an easy book for me! If you've never heard the story of George Muller, you should look him up. He was a phenomenal man who trusted the Lord in every teeny tiny detail - and every huge detail - of his life. He built orphanages and ministered to orphans during a time in England when orphans were left on the streets to fend for themselves or die. He never asked a single person for funds or provisions - only prayed that the Lord would provide. And provide He did! I'm praying that I will be very open to the teaching of the Lord as I read this book, and that He'll use it to teach our girls NOW to trust Him explicitly - a lesson that gets harder to learn the older we grow!

Thursday, April 10, we will be having our annual musical program at MDO. This year the kids are singing the Word of God - Scripture put to music. It is amazing how He has already blessed our rehearsals and preparation for this program. Please pray that He'll continue to bless it and that parents who don't know Him might be impacted by the message. Angela will be in the program, and she knows all of her songs and the related Scriptures and their references. What a treasure. Olivia's too old this year, but she will be on hand to help hand out programs - and she's learning the songs from Angela! I love the way those two quote Scripture. Oh that they can maintain that and that I will be diligent in the same thing!

I didn't take pictures last week. There have been a few times I wish I had the camera out, but didn't. I'll have more this week...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Greece & Persia

Okay, I know I've posted twice today already, but I just had to post one more time. Have I mentioned before that I love homeschooling? Well, here's just one of the reasons...

We've been doing Sonlight's Core 1 this year with both girls, and it focuses on ancient history - pretty much history as it coincides with the time frame of Scripture. I think I've mentioned that we have learned about Greece and Persia, and about how huge Persia desperately wanted to conquer little, divided Greece to complete the Persian Empire's control over the known world. But, little bitty Athens managed to defend itself from huge Persia and her huge army on more than one occasion!

Meanwhile, this afternoon I had a dr's appointment and I had to take all three kids. They were phenomenal while we were there, and I was so proud of them! I decided to give them a special treat, so I stopped by Wendy's for Jr. Frosties. As the girls ate their Frosties, they were discussing the consistency of the cold treat. The small amount of melted Frosty around the edge of the cup was little bitty Greece. The rest of the Frosty was huge Persia! "Persia" kept decreasing, but good ole "Greece" never did shrink (well, until the last bit of Frosty was gulped down!). "Greece" managed to survive until after "Persia" was totally gone. I just laughed and laughed. I just love this! I can't imagine doing anything else with my little ones!

First Fishing Trip

video

Steven loves puzzles. Saturday morning he was begging for a puzzle, so I pulled out a new one. It's fish, frogs, and a few other things you might be able to fish from a pond. They are all magnetic, and there is a "fishing pole" with a magnet on the end to pull them out. He had a fabulous time "going fishing!"

Our Weekend


We had a very busy but very good weekend trip. We headed to Monticello mid-morning on Saturday and had a nice, leisurely trip. The drive was only about three and a half hours, so we didn't feel rushed and were able to take our time getting some lunch and then later stopping at the yummy little bakery we'd discovered in Leland, MS, to buy some more of their addictive cinammon raisin bread! Yum!

We arrived mid-afternoon, and after getting unloaded and settled we headed to the pool. Our kids rarely get to swim beyond piddling in the back-yard wading pools, so we never quite know what to expect from them. Olivia thoroughly loved it! Angie took a little while to warm up to the idea. Steven finally tolerated it, but I don't think he ever enjoyed it. He did look quite adorable in his swim trunks, though!

Saturday night we had a pizza supper with several members of the search committee and their families. (Just in case some of you aren't sure of what's going on, the church in
Monticello has Doug's resume. We went down about a month ago for Doug to supply preach, and they said they might take a while to decide on a pastor, but they wanted to know if Doug would be willing to supply again. He said yes. Then they called and asked if we'd be willing to come this past Sunday, bring the kids, and stay for a "get-to-know-you" luncheon. We were thrilled and agreed! So, back to the trip...) Sunday morning Doug met with the deacons, we had Sunday school and church, and then had our fellowship lunch. It was all really good, at least for us!

So, here's the scoop - there are currently four candidates. The church is spending a weekend with each candidate (we were the second of four), and then they will be making a decision. Would we like to go? Of course! We loved the church and the people. Both of our trips have really been refreshing for us. Do we feel like God's saying, "This is it?" We have no idea, and we were honest with the church about that. We are open and excited to see where God is going to lead us, but we are also willing to stay right where we are if that's what He's telling us to do. We still need full-time income, but we know Who owns the riches of the world!!! We fight anxiety daily, of course, but we're learning that trust lesson more and more each day!