Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of you had a Thanksgiving as wonderful as mine was. We started the day with a delicious pancake breakfast, followed by the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and then some football intermingled with early dinner preparations. After a light lunch, we relaxed a while before finishing our dinner.

The only downside of the day was that our sweet little Steven didn't feel well. He woke us up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning wheezing - scared us not a little bit. He felt a little better yesterday than he did on Wednesday, but he's still wheezing and tired even today. All symptoms point to a not-so-fun experience with croup. Today he seems to be pretty happy despite the residual wheezing, so hopefully we're on the mend!
The girls decided they wanted to dress up in honor of our Thanksgiving celebration. It was really sweet. I might be biased, but aren't they pretty?
And here is the feast, for which we were incredibly grateful! I am thrilled and blessed to be married to an incredible chef who created quite the masterpiece. After much praying over and considering Thanksgiving dinner, Doug settled on Cornish game hens, having seen his favorite TV chef create a delicious looking Cornish game hen dish. We ended up with our hens cooked three ways - one on the grill, one oven pan fried, and a third cooked on the rotisserie, all with different seasonings. They were absolutely mouth-watering! He also cooked twice baked potatoes, green beans prepared in the traditions of both the Browning family (green bean casserole) and the Hibbard family (sweet-n-sour green beans), and an apple crisp (that we actually still haven't gotten around to eating!). I tossed a salad and tried out a couple of new homemade roll recipes - we definitely have a favorite now! Top it off with our favorite punch, and we had a delicious feast!
I am so thankful for so many things, and I am trying more and more to be very verbal about those things. I am thankful for you, our family and friends, who love, support, and encourage us. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may you have a wonderful start to your Christmas season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A video for Pop-Pop

We were asking Steven last night whether he was Mommy's boy, and he responded with "I'm PopPop's Boy!" He repeated it this morning, we were able to catch him on cell phone video. So, here's one for you, Dad. Happy Thanksgiving from your grandson!



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Silly Kids

These are just a few silly shots I thought I'd share for the fun of it.
Steven wearing Angie's headband from the museum.
The girls in their headbands and sunglasses from the museum.
My men in their suits. Aren't they handsome?
Silly Angela, thoroughly ready for winter weather. She wore that hat and scarf around the house for two days - don't really know why! It's not even new!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Field Trip

Friday was field trip day! We try to find museums and such (as many free as possible!) every month or two to take a school field trip. So far we've barely scratched the top of the list of things we can go see! Since it had been two months since our last true field trip, we knew it was time. How fortunate we are that part of Grandma's job is to coordinate educational activities related to some of Louisiana's military museums! Her office is located at the Military Museum in Ruston, so that's where we headed on Friday. We had a great time seeing Grandma and PopPop, of course, but it was also lots of fun to see the museum.

The best pictures were outside, but there are a few inside, too. Many of these are of Steven in front of various aircraft. From the moment we arrived, he wanted to head outside to see the airplanes and helicopters! He was ecstatic! He'd park himself in front of one and say, "Take a picture of me in front of the __________, Mommy!"

Here's Daddy explaining the tank to the kids.
This is what Doug wanted to take home! :-)

Explaining how some of the big guns worked.

Coloring in Grandma's office after the tour.
Steven in his patriotic shades - he ran around while the girls were coloring. I called his name to check on him at one point, and his response was, "I'm not touching anything! I'm just looking!"
All in all, a fun day, with some great visits with Grandma and PopPop thrown in the mix.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching up by sharing blessings...

I realized today that I didn't blog much last week! I guess the week just got away from me. I have a lot of things to post this week. I want to start by sharing some thankfulness with you.

God is just incredibly overwhelming us by granting us so many answered prayers and blessings. I have already shared a bit how He is blessing our grocery budget. Well, He has also blessed us once again by providing all of the winter attire needed by our children. As we were sorting through all of the clothes that had been handed down to us, we noticed that Steven was a bit short on play clothes. Last week several boxes of clothes were handed to us by our music minister's wife (mom of three boys!), including play clothes! Woo-hoo! The other things we noticed we were lacking were for Angie. The girls love to wear a dressy Christmas dress the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and then again on Christmas Sunday. Well, Angie had outgrown hers. But, God led me to my sewing cabinet where He had already provided some precious material and a sweet little pattern for a dress she loves! I finished it yesterday and it is hanging in her closet awaiting next Sunday. The other thing was a warm every day coat. She has a very dressy one (also a hand-me-down), but it really wasn't the kind of coat she could really play in. So, we started praying. Yesterday one of the girls in our church came up to me after church holding a coat and asking if we could use it. I was nearly in tears! As we were leaving church I handed it to Angie and she immediately knew our prayers had been answered. She was so excited!

Could we have gone and bought one? Probably. God is taking care of all of our needs. But, it's so much fun to lift our needs up to Him and then see how He meets those needs, either by telling us to go to the store while He allows our finances to cover the need, or by dropping it in our laps.

Speaking of dropping things in our laps...we're not quite sure how He's going to use this next one, but we can't deny that He handed it to us! So, we'll be obedient and see what His plan unfolds!

Doug and I have always wanted to learn a language together, but we've just never really settled on a language. Nothing really appealed to us, until lately, that is. We had seen commercials for Rosetta Stone and we talked about how fun it would be to learn Polish, of all things! We just laughed and said that if God wanted us to learn Polish, especially with Rosetta Stone, He'd have to just drop it in our laps. We knew He could, and we knew that if He wanted to, He not only could but would. Yet, it was still a surprise when it happened! Total strangers - members of a crew called Nailbenders - were parking their RV on our church's property while working on a new BCM building here on our local university campus. This particular couple seems to go to each of their "jobs" looking for ways to invest in the next generation of ministry. Well, when they came here, they felt very strongly that their investment was to be in the Hibbard family, and God told them to pay for Rosetta Stone - specifically (and no, we didn't tell them we wanted it)! Now, if that's not God dropping it in our laps, I don't know what is! So, like I said, although we don't exactly know how He's going to use Polish in our lives, we're excited about learning it. We trust that since He knows what's coming in our future, we'll just take what He hands us and go with it.

There are so many other ways He's blessing us day to day. I'll try to be more diligent about sharing those things as I blog. But, I wanted to share those two things with you. I want to encourage you to present your requests to God - not to your friends, neighbors, loved ones, church, or anyone else. They might still end up being the ones to help, but if you let God lay it on their hearts, then He gets the glory! Isn't that where it belongs anyway? He wants to supply all our needs, if we'll just let Him do it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Incredible Helpers

Can I brag on my kids a bit? For what seemed like forever, we were in the phase where I knew I needed to teach my kids to do chores, but it was so much easier and quicker to do it myself! Some days I just gave in and did it myself, but other days I really did try to work with the kids and teach them how to do the chores. It seems like a switch has just been flipped over the last week, but suddenly all three of my kids seem to be ready to do chores - yes, even Steven! I guess there's just something about being the youngest of three that makes his chore learning curve different from the girls' at that age. I don't know.

Anyway...besides having learned how to handle the chores like cleaning bathrooms (including floors), sorting and folding laundry, emptying trash cans without my help, sweeping and mopping the hall, and dusting (of course, these are in addition to the things they've done for a while, like cleaning their rooms and putting away their clean clothes), they have also surprised me in what they LIKE to do. The girls like to wash dishes!! In fact, they beg me to let them wash dishes! Now, keep in mind, I'm not talking about plates, cups, and silverware. Those things go in the dishwasher. Doug and I empty and refill the dishwasher, clean off the counters, and prepare the sink for the girls. Then they wash what's left - the pots and pans that need to be scrubbed; the things that are too big for the dishwasher; the things that need more attention than the dishwasher can give. And they're good at it! I typically don't have to go back and wash anything. I'm so proud of them!

As for Steven, remember the video of him loading the washing machine? Well, it's a daily occurrence now. As soon as the girls bring the sorted laundry to the laundry room, he's ready to go. He and I go into the laundry room where he proceeds to toss each item of clothing into the washing machine, stopping to cackle delightedly after each toss. It's quite the game to him, and it really makes loading the washing machine something I look forward to each morning.

I know these helpers are a gift from my loving Father, and I'm so thankful for them. It's so neat to watch them grow and be a part of their development! Lord, give us wisdom to mold them well!

Monday, November 17, 2008

On our sidebar you can see ministries that our family supports through prayer always and finances when possible. It is called Shevet Achim. I won't describe the ministry here because you can click on the link to see it, but I would like to ask you to join me in prayer for those who are ministering and the families who are grieving and waiting. Below I have pasted an email that just arrived in my inbox sharing some of what the Shevet Achim staff have had to deal with this week alone. If the Lord leads you to give, please do so. But, above all, please pray with us. Thank you.

Dear friends,

Last night in an Amman hospital another baby died due to a heart condition. He was not one of the children we invited from Iraq for screening. But I am feeling the weight of it nonetheless; he was the third infant to die before my eyes this week.

His wailing mother pushed past us out of the room in despair. I watched as the nurses wrapped his small body in blue plastic sheets, and taped them shut with white adhesive tape. The bedding was removed, the vinyl mattress wiped down. Soon there was no sign of what had taken place.

Across town Amman’s expensive cafes were filled with people enjoying themselves. On another night I could have been one of them. It is so easy to be unaware of what is going on around us. Children are dying simply because no one cares enough to help them.

For this purpose I believe we are in the world. To care. To speak up for those who have no advocate. To fight against their invisibility, which allows the rest of us to go on with our lives in comfort.

So I’m going to keep speaking up. And I’m writing to ask you to speak up too. We don’t have enough money to help all these children. But we can make some noise—first of all to God. And also to our friends and family, groups and congregations.

I went to that hospital last night to see one of the babies we did bring from Iraq. Havan, eight months old, is the most urgent case from Tuesday’s heart screening. He was rushed into the ICU with a chest infection and high fever.

Today he’s doing better, so we do still have a chance to help save his life. His visa to Israel is ready, and a world-class hospital is waiting there to do his arterial switch surgery. We can take him across the Jordan River as soon as he is discharged from the hospital in Amman. But at this hour we still need $7975 to cover his expenses. And after him there are six more children also waiting with us in Amman. Their stories and what it will take to help them are listed on our website at http://shevet.org .

Will you join me in not keeping silent?

Jonathan for Shevet Achim

Spiritual Things

It is always so neat to see spiritual growth and understanding in children - and for us to be reminded of how we are supposed to see things as well! This morning we had one of those moments.

Olivia was confused about some questions in her devotional this morning. The questions were
» In my heart, am I really wanting to know and have fellowship with God?
» If I am not enjoying fellowship with God right now, what might be my problem?

She came and told me that she really didn't understand the questions. Well, to back up a bit, God had already prepared me earlier in the morning to discuss this with her. I don't usually put on any makeup on my at-home days. I just don't bother with it. But, this morning, I felt impressed to put on some makeup. Not much - just enough to truly feel presentable. I asked myself as I stood before the mirror why I was actually doing it! Was I vain? Was I thinking that I wanted to look better than normal in case someone dropped by or we happened to make an unplanned trip out of the house today? Then the Lord laid on my heart that He wanted me to present my best to Him not just on Sundays but every day. He wanted me to put Him above all else, and part of that would come through presenting my best self to my family inside the walls of my house, not just to the world. Now, it really doesn't have anything to do with makeup. Plenty of women can present their best selves without a touch of makeup. But, when I put on a makeup - even just a bit to smooth out the uneven tones on my face - I feel more like I'm presenting my best self.

So, back to the question with Olivia. She just wasn't sure what it meant to be fellowshipping with God. It doesn't make sense to her - anymore than it ever made sense to me - to just call God our friend. How do we be friends with Someone we can't even see or touch? The Lord laid on my heart to share with her that fellowshipping with God means making Him a part of every thing we do, no matter how big or small. I told her about the makeup. Well, she had just finished washing the dishes. She looked at me with excitement in her eyes and said, "I get it! I didn't just wash dishes so that we'd have clean dishes for our next meal. I just washed dishes because I need to take care of what God has given me!" YES!!! That's it exactly! She understood in that moment that fellowshipping with God is not necessarily what we do, but the attitude and thought pattern we we have while we're doing whatever we do. It has impacted her entire morning - and mine as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silly Steven & Bristle Kitty

Just a couple of sillies from the past few days...
I heard rumors that Angie was creating a bristle block kitty, but I had no idea how good it would look! I don't know if the pictures really do it justice, but this really did look like a colorful cat! I was quite impressed. I really do love building block toys so much more than the newer toys that do everything on their own! Bristle Blocks, Legos, Lincoln Logs - they all so greatly challenge the imagination to creations limited only by the number of blocks you have!


Here are a couple of videos of Steven. You'll have to turn your volume up because he's quiet, which is very rare for him. Well, at least he's quiet in part of the song! :-) The song is Steven singing This is the Day in Arabic. In the other video he's "reading" out loud. Like his sissies, he loves his books, and he's trying to mimic them - they read aloud to themselves and to each other, and he wants to be big like they are.
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There's no new video or picture of Olivia right now, but I do have to brag on her. She's really stepping up to do the big girl things around the house. She practically begs to wash the dishes, and she's not afraid of those pots and pans, either! What a big help she's been.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Schedule

The Hibbards are trying something new. Our family schedule has not been working, and we've not been getting things done around the house. It seems as if we were only getting school done. Now, I do know that getting school done is a big deal, but there's a home to keep in order as well! After much prayer, Doug felt led to suggest a total change in schedule - housework in the morning and school in the afternoon. We are on day three, and it's working! The girls are getting their chores done in record time, I'm getting my chores done in record time, and school is much more peaceful in the afternoons without the loud Steven constantly in the midst of everything. In fact, yesterday school was also done in record time! Plus, it seems that I will once again have time to do the "extra" things like blogging without sacrificing house work in the process. I also am actually chipping away at that to-do list that keeps getting put on the back burner. Please pray for us in this new schedule that it will remain effective and that the Lord will lead us to any changes we need to make. We so greatly want, as a family, to be better stewards of our time and resources every day.

We are calling Steven Extreme Pooka these days. Yesterday alone he whacked his head on a corner wall and on the headboard of his bed. His forehead looks pretty rough! Last week he hit his ear and the side of his head on the headboard. I'm trying to teach him NOT to jump on the bed! He's so active - it's just hard to keep up with him!

I just have to share how God is doing awesome things in our family. I sat down to inventory our meat supply to see how much we still had left. We should have had enough to last us another week or two. As I inventoried and planned meals, though, I discovered that we have enough to plan for an entire month, and the Angel Food that we've already paid for will greatly add to that - we pick it up next weekend!

Now, please realize that we're not in a position of wondering where our next meal is coming from, but living is not cheap for anyone these days. Everyone is seeking ways to make their budget stretch as prices increase. We are seeking to be good stewards of every little thing God has placed in our hands and home. Before we plan our menus and create our grocery list, we're asking God to provide our every need and guide us in the planning. We have intentionally gone from just asking Him to take care of the needs in general to asking very specifically for His guidance in the planning, and we've seen a huge change in our grocery needs! The amount of money we're spending is decreasing phenomenally, and the food we have seems to be stretching just as amazingly. I can't explain it! I can't put it into words. But, I have to share it. God is so awesome to provide over and abundantly when we walk in obedience to Him. I love that! I love seeing His hand in our daily lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Bed and Silly Kids

Here are just a few pictures from the past few days...

Doug was burning leaves, and the Hibbard Family VFD - consisting of one devoted fireman by the name of Steven Hibbard - decided to take his firetruck to make sure everything stayed under control!
Steven's new bed.
What Steven was doing while we tried to assemble his new bed...
I told the girls to get ready for rest time, and this is what I found. I let them do it just this once.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Great Weekend

Well, we had flu shots on Friday morning, a first for us - and a reaction to actually getting the flu as a family earlier this year. That was three weeks we did not want to repeat! So, we took the Drew County Health Dept up on their offer of free flu shots on Friday. We all felt a bit under the weather over the weekend, especially on Saturday, but we seem to be better now. Just building up that immunity!

Several fun things happened over the weekend. First of all, Steven moved up in life! He now has a real big boy bed! We only had four months in the toddler bed, but after praying about it, we felt it would be an okay transition. Our neighbors across the street were getting rid of a wooden bunk bed (the kind that separates into two twin beds), and they offered it to us. As we prayed about how to best utilize it, we decided that it would be great for Steven. We were afraid it was too much for him right now, but it was also too big to store. So, after about a month of having it leaned up against the wall in our school room, we finally assembled the bottom bunk for him on Friday. He was excited, although at naptime he was very unsure. Once he realized he could sleep well in it, he was sold. He looks so little in it, which I like - it makes me realize that he's still small even though he really looks so grown-up these days!

I do have pictures, but they are still on the camera which is somewhere in the house (possibly still in his room!). So, I'll post them soon.

The other thing happened on Saturday. Late Saturday morning we got a phone call in response to a free ad Doug had put in the paper. The lady calling wanted three male kittens!! Woo-hoo! One of the kittens, Vizzini, had been under the weather over the course of the week, but he seemed back to his normal self, so we were able to pass on all three males. It was hard to say goodbye to them, especially Vizzini and Wesley - our precious gray one. But, it was such a blessing. Doug was only home from delivering them for about 10 minutes before a car pulled into our driveway. One of our church members brought her sister by, and they left with Princess, our sweet long-haired girl. So, we are now left with Smokey and Wilhelmina, who are staying with us, and Valerie. It has been SOOOOOOO much calmer around here, and the food and litter are so much easier to keep up with! Thank you so much for your prayers, and please keep praying for a home for sweet Valerie!

We're starting this new week a little distracted - we've had two weeks of less structure, and today we are really getting back into normalcy full-force. Steven is in a loud phase, and we had to struggle a bit to focus in school. But, we're working on him and we're glad to be getting back to normal - at least for a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving week rolls around! At the moment, though, all is quiet. Steven is napping, Olivia is reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Angela is reading what remains of her KG reading curriculum. (After she read the totality of Green Eggs and Ham to me in under 10 minutes just for fun this afternoon, I decided it was probably time to progress to a first grade reading schedule for the rest of KG. We are so thankful for Sonlight, which has advanced reading programs for each grade level - we'll need it for first grade!) The kittens are resting quietly for once, and I'm going to get a few things done.

May your week be blessed!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing in the Leaves

The girls have always had this image in their minds of building a huge pile of leaves and jumping in them. We've never lived where that was a possibility - not enough trees! Last year we "borrowed" some of Nanny and Papaw's leaves in Judsonia, but this year we had our own!!! I looked out the window yesterday morning and saw that a plethora of leaves had fallen through the course of the night and were still falling, almost like rain! So, for breaktime yesterday we went outside with a rake and large broom and managed to create a HUGE pile of leaves. We all had such fun - even Steven dove in! I was quite surprised at his willingness to jump in, as he is often a little leery of such things. The pile is still there, and the supply of leaves on the ground around the pile has been replenished. So, I'm sure we'll be out there several more times throughout the weekend. I think doses of Claritin or Zyrtec all around might be in order!
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When it was time to go back to school, it was hard to leave that wonderful pile. So, we brought school to the pile...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Miscellaneous

I found some miscellaneous pictures from the past week that I just had to post. These are in no particular order, just some I thought were cute and/or silly...

Steven in a basket...Get the camera! Take a picture of me, Mommy! (Yes, that is what he said.)
The girls are in that phase where getting to wash dishes is fun. Oh that it would last forever! (They do a great job, too, by the way.)
Wearing Daddy's glasses - upside down!
There is a tree in our front yard that the girls can climb. They're thrilled!
Calling those Hogs!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Little Promises

I must admit that the Hibbard family is not happy with the election results. Not surprised, but also not happy. But, God is so faithful to grant us little reminders that He is the One in control, not the President or anyone else in this world. I love that! Finances have been one of the big concerns for those of us who haven't quite been on board with Obama's plans for the economy of this nation. I would be lying if I said that Doug and I didn't have financial concerns. But, last night God gave us a sweet little blessing - just a neat reminder that He not only will take care of our needs and commitments, but He will also take care of those seemingly insignificant things that make us laugh. For several years now we've subscribed to a service that sends several of our favorite comics to our inbox every day. It's not that much money - $10 a year, which is a lot cheaper than a newspaper subscription. Last night, though, we got an email stating that our account would be refunded for our current subscription. Some change in their administrative processes and web services allowed the comic subscription to be offered for free!

Some of you will probably say that such a thing is just a coincidence, or at least that it has nothing to do with promises of God's provision in our lives. But Doug and I would disagree. Nothing happens by accident. When it comes to serving our Savior, His hand is moving all around us. Whether or not we see, recognize, or acknowledge it is left up to us. Doug and I recognized it as His hand. His reminder. His encouragement. If He can do something as far-fetched as give us free comics to grant us a laugh in the mornings, I think He can take care of the bigger things weighing on our minds, both financial and otherwise.

So, are we disappointed? Yes. Are we uncertain? Yes again. Are we afraid? No. We don't know what it will be like to be Christians, conservatives, or homeschoolers in the coming years in the United States, but if God is for us, who can be against us? :-) I really, really like serving our God. And the comics are fun, too!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet Prayers

There's nothing like watching a child learn how to pray. We've asked Steven to pray many times, trying to lead him in sweet little toddler prayers, but he's always said, "No thanks!" He has liked praying with others - holding hands and bowing his head so sweetly - but he has not tried it himself. Until lately. Over the past few days he has developed a love for praying. "Pooka say thank you Jesus!" is his typical indication that he wants to pray. Then he'll wait for our prompts and will start praying very sweetly. Such a precious age. It will soon give way to the age where he will pray for everything his little mind can come up with. I just love it!

Just to give you a run-down of the last week...

The rest of the convention was good. I got to go Wednesday morning and very much enjoyed it. Doug got some of the DVD's of the sermons I missed, and we've been catching up on those. All in all it was a very good trip. It was nice to see Alli and nice to see a few other people at the convention we'd not seen in a while.

The weather's been pretty, so we were outside a lot over the weekend. The kids climbed trees, rode bikes, and played ball. Olivia practiced starting and stopping to add to her new bike-riding skills. She's still a bit timid, but she's doing well. Hopefully we'll start Angie earlier than we did Olivia! :-)

We still have those kittens. The person who was coming to take two of them never came. We're hoping that two of them have other homes as of now, but we're really, really needing to get them moved on. Please keep praying that we will find homes very, very quickly, as in this week!!!