Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The kids had a great Christmas. We celebrated on the 23rd. We spent a quiet morning here - just the 5 of us. We opened gifts and just relaxed. The next day we went to the park and played and then went Christmas light looking in the evening. We had hor dorves both days and tried to keep things as easy as possible. It was definitely a change from last year... Nathan got a scooter and the weather was nice enough for him to actually go outside and ride it. It's a long ways from the snow we had the past few Christmases.
Presents this year included lots of "Littlest Pet Shop", a Webkinz apiece, some movies and Wii games, puzzles, Nerf guns... It was a lot of fun. As of today, I've cleaned up all the decorations with the exception of the tree. Its on the schedule for Saturday.
For New Years Eve, Lowell and I are going out. I am very excited about it!! We haven't been out in quite awhile and I've missed being 'just us'. I love spending time with my husband. I love that, after all these years (it'll be 14 in June!!) we still enjoy each other's company. We legitametly like each other. And I think that's special - and precious in this day and age. I feel totally blessed that my husband appreciates our relationship enough to nurture it. He makes us a priority, and I love that. He even dedicated me a song the other day... :)
This year hasn't been the greatest, that's for sure, but it has definitely had its share of blessings. We made the move to Arizona; my Masters program is coming along nicely; Lowell and I both have jobs; our kids are healthy and doing well in school... We are incredibly blessed and thankful for all that God has done in our lives in 2009. And we're excited about what He has planned for 2010~ :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Lowell and I have had a chance to learn more about this lately in a decision that we've been trying to make. We have been on our knees in prayer about what path to take for the future of our family - seeking to understand God's will for our lives. And then we heard an interesting sermon... The topic was on God's perfect will versus His permissive will. To clarify, this is a belief that is very common in churches that says that God has a perfect will for each person - a very specific path that they should take throughout life, and that He also has a permissive will - the life that a person leads when they don't exactly stay on the path or make choices that aren't aligned with God's will for them. The pastor likened it to hopping from one lily pad to the next in an attempt to find the "right" path across the river. Then he explained the silliness of this belief, especially when applied to the hunt for a spouse. If, for example, a person chooses the "wrong" spouse - a person outside of God's perfect will, whatever children they may have won't fit into God's perfect will. They won't even have a chance - and, because they weren't ever supposed to exist, they won't have mates that are within God's perfect will either.. And on and on..
That being said, while I had never had it explained to me or had this label placed on it, I know now that I grew up in a church believing in the perfect/permissive will of God. I had been taught to agonize over each decision to be sure that I was living in accordance to the will of God; that I attended the 'right' college, made the 'right' job choices, etc... But then after listening to this pastor, I have come to question that belief. This pastor explained that God's concern is the heart of a man - not the occupation. God is not limited by the choices that we make. He can use us wherever we are, so long as our hearts are open and obedient to Him.... So, this has made our decision much easier... As long as we are following God's word and keeping our hearts pure and open to His direction, the rest is just details.
In my attempt at metaphor, I tried to compare this to our Christmas tree... The ornaments on the tree may be beautiful and the twinkle lights may be relaxing and hypnotic, but they can be moved about the tree without making much of a difference in its beauty. However, unless the star at the top of the tree is pointing heavenward, there's a problem. (Like the tree is falling over :)) So, yes, we have some decisions to make but the details are no longer so important. The focus for us now is that our hearts and lives are pointing heavenward - the rest is just colorful balls and twinkle lights.
Monday, December 7, 2009
35 in the evenings and the low 50s during the days... Not cold by any standard compared to this time last year, but once your body has acclimated to 110, 50 is freezing!! :) Even Lowell, who is usually quite comfy in freezing weather has mentioned the change in temperature. He's now wearing long sleeves. That was his only adjustment. :)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I love their passion for life and their joy!
And I love to snuggle with them and hold their little hands.
And I love to hear their explanations of the world around them and to help encourage their curiosity.
I frequently ask them if they know just how much they're loved... And then I tell them than they just don't have any idea. No words can express the love in my heart for my babies.
Fast forward to yesterday... I got a call from work asking me if I was still interested in switching to graveyard shift. Oh boy, was I ever!!! The position, for now, is temporary - only until the end of the year but I am rejoicing. This is the change that I've been praying for because our schedules will now allow me to sleep when my children are at school and to be awake and attentive to them when they come home. I'll be able to help them with homework and get them ready for bed. I can start reading bedtime stories again and I can be there for whatever school functions come up. I am so thankful and I feel so blessed. I was able to keep my two days off - Wednesday and Thursday, so that I am still able to go to school and have the same days off as Lowell. Now my prayer is just to make it permanent! Thank you to those who helped me life this up in prayer, and thank you, thank you, Lord for once again blessing me and answering my cry for help.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It may not seem like much to you, but to me, these are huge accomplishments! These are signs that God is working within me and that I'm growing! I'm becoming better at controlling my irrational thoughts and worries... And I'm becomming more at peace with who I am. And I'm so thankful! These are things that I've been working on for years... I don't want to sound like I've got it down, check the box, close the file - but I'm getting better. And that's good enough for me!
I feel so humbled each time I see God working in my life. And I'm so very grateful for the knowledge that He's still working on me. Remember the song from when you were a kid in Sunday School? "There really ought to be a sign upon my heart; don't judge me yet, there's an unfinished part. But I'll be perfect, just according to His plans; fashioned by the Master's loving hands. He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars; the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be - He's still working on me." Funny how much truth can be held in a little children's song...
My job is going well. I've begun to feel comfortable in the role that I'm asked to play as Family Advocate. I enjoy working to help these women become more independent and to help their children survive the transition with as little scarring as possible.
On the job front: Lowell very likely is going to be offered a job on Monday! :) We're very excited! Because of this exciting development and also just because he wants to, Lowell's dad will be coming down to stay with us for the winter. He was anxious to get away from the cold Olancha winter and will be very appreciated here as a live-in babysitter. Lowell will be working graveyard shift so he'll have to leave for work before I get home. Chug will be there with the kids and can also possibly help get them ready for school in the mornings. Because Lowell's job is on the far eastern side of Phoenix, we are going to look to relocate. We've been looking anyway at houses... It is very possible that we may buy a house in the very near future... Please be praying about this for us!! Anyway, this new job will pose quite a commute for Lowell from our current location on the far west side of Phoenix. My school and work are pretty centrally located, so I think my commute will stay the same, I'll just be driving westbound on the freeway instead of east.
The kids are good. Nathan presented a social studies project on India last week. Each of the students completed their project and then stood up in front of the class (and the parents who attended) and presented their information. Thankfully, I was able to make it! Nathan's body said that he was nervous, but when I asked him afterwards, he denied it. Irregardless, he did a great job! :) The teacher was very impressed with the quality of their work as well as their oral presentations.
Chloe is going to be singing with her class at the Fall Festival in Buckeye next Friday. I'm completely bummed that I am not going to be able to attend, but Lowell has promised to tape it for me. Her class is going to be hosting the goldfish toss booth as well as the picture booth and they'll be singing "De Colores", a spanish song about colors. Chloe loves school and is thriving. She's so smart and has shown great athletic ability! In PE when they race, Chloe only has one other girl who provides competition. And often, she beats a majority of the boys too! Nathan has even stopped racing her because she beats him every time. :)
Jillian is doing great too. She loves staying home with Daddy because he spoils her rotten. She's also learning a lot - both from us working with her and also from her siblings. She's mastered the concept of "counting on" which is a kindergarten (or higher) level skill. For example, if you're adding 5 and 6, before you've grasped counting on, you'll first count 1,2,3,4,5 and then 6 more. After a child has learned to 'count on' they will start with 5 and then count 6,7,8 etc.. She loves to add and has started grasping subtraction as well. She doesn't have all of her letter sounds down yet so that's what I'd like to work on next.
School, for me, has proven very trying these last couple of weeks. With the potential of moving looming on the horizon and with Chug coming down to stay, there have been a lot of extra projects to accomplish around the house in addition to my already jammed schedule. My homework has definitely suffered. There were a couple of mornings when I honestly should have been doing my homework, however, that I blew it off in exchange for a couple of hours of playing with my babies. And I don't regret it for a moment... That being said, I have decided to only take one class this quarter. With this being holiday season and with Lowell beginning a new job, there are going to be too many transitions for me to be able to do work that I will be proud of. And besides that, if I'm paying all this money for these classes, I'd really like to learn something!! :)
Last week we got a special visit from my friend Britany, her husband Stony and their neice Kizzy. We met at Grand Canyon so that Britty could see all the changes they've made. The kids played on the lawns and we just enjoyed some time together. It was way too short and I forgot to take a picture of us but it was still wonderful to see them! Hard to imagine its been 7 years since I've seen one of my dearest friends... Its another reminder of how important it is to take the time to stay in touch... And that's why I'm blogging now! :)
I appreciate all you bloggers out there - Diggie, Kristin, Moron, Britty, Leeda... I love feeling like we're connected even though hundreds of miles separate us. So thanks for taking the time because I really do love reading about your families. And thanks for stopping in to see what we're up to. We love you each and miss you all!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Also, I was able to spend time with my co-workers. All in all they are a great group of women... Tonight we got on the subject of 'been there'. For example, we can empathize with women in pain because we've been there. We may never have been physically abused, but all of us have felt betrayal by someone we've loved... And we may never have lived in a shelter, but we've been destitute at one time or another.
Talking about the things I've been through I was reminded just how blessed I am, just how much I have to be thankful for. Even sick and totally overwhelmed with all the things I'm behind on, I have soooooooo many things to be thankful for. And I feel blessed that I was reminded of it because it changes my whole perspective. I know that my husband would never hit me, but there are other issues that these women struggle with that and... but for the grace of God, go I! I have been at the crossroads of suicide and I've been at the place where I was completely relying on someone else for, well, everything. Those places are dark and they are anything but fun... But they have shaped the relationship that I have with God today. And they've shaped my relationship with my husband and my ability to help other people.
So, strange as it may sound... I remembered tonight just how thankful I am for those times. And, definitely, I'm thankful that I'm not going through them now! :)
I am so blessed, and I'm just thankful for the reminder.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Another lesson that seems to keep presenting itself is learning that I have two ears and one mouth for a reason. :) I really need to practice closing my mouth more. Not because I am saying something that is wrong or hurtful or even inappropriate but because I need to learn to be okay with silence, number one and number two, that I need to practice being a better listener. I was listening to myself tonight and I realized that a lot of the jokes that I make at work are sarcastic and that, maybe, someone didn't understand my intentions. So, I'm going to work on being more attuned to what is coming out of my mouth as well as attempting to limit the amount of talking I do... We'll see how it works! :)
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Nathan had his walking stick and his flashlight that he wears on his head... Silly little one! :) Jillie didn't like walking, she was much more content riding on Daddy's shoulders and viewing life from above. That is unless she had the binoculars... She didn't quite grasp the concept and instead enjoyed using them for a different purpose...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
The kids have been in school for 2 weeks. Nathan has finally stopped freaking out when he's is left and Chloe has always been fine. However, Lowell and I are not fine. We are really unhappy with this school and are seriously considering enrolling the kids into the charter school as planned. Well, they're already enrolled, they would just start school there at the end of this month. There are pros and cons both ways. But we are really upset about some of the things that are happening here at their school... Nathan is not thrilled about the idea because he finally got settled, but we are thinking that it may be for the best... I'll keep you updated.
I have this week off of school - I just finished Pharmacology and I'm going to start Intro to addiction counseling and Professional Ethics next week. I was blessed by being able to borrow the Ethics books from a girl who already took it. The next few weeks will be a little dicey with getting used to working full time as well as taking two classes instead of only one... Its all about time management, I've been told. We shall see! :) I think its going to be about stress management too! Nows the time for me to start practicing meditating on the Word, for sure! He is the Prince of Peace, after all!!! :)
Sunday, August 16, 2009
One part of my job will be leading groups with the women who live in the shelter. Lowell loves to tease me by reciting the part of 28 Days (the movie about rehab with Sandra Bullock) "Together we're better, we're better together. Yeah, us!" Anyway, he thinks its funny. I will also be working with the children in the shelter. I'm sure I'll also be helping out with housekeeping, intakes and will have tons of paperwork too.
We didn't go to church today. Neither one of us slept very well... Yesterday we discovered a wildlife preserve about 10 minutes from home and so, today, we're going to go take some water bottles and sandwiches and go hiking around. Lowell said we'd take our Bibles too and we can read a story to the kids and talk about it; our own little version of church. It is a little cooler today, only around 100 degrees. Chloe is sitting next to me, reading Pinkalicious. She has grown in her ability to read sooo fast! She's quite astounding! :) Nathan is reading the Hardy Boys books but still does better when he's reading to either Lowell or I. There are quite a few vocabulary words in those books that he doesn't know and, if left to his own Now that he's understanding and appreciating the story, he really likes these books. I'm impressed with his reading ability too.
I finally found a program that will take Jillian and who has funding assistance available for us so that we don't have to pay for her to go to preschool. In about a week, we start all the application process and she can't hardly wait! I have one more class and then I'll be finished with pharmacology. My next class is Intro to Chemical Dependency Counseling and I'm taking Ethics online so, I'll be taking twice the class load and working too... :) Can't be too busy, can you? Intro to chemical dependency counseling is different from pharmacology because, right now, we've been learning about the physical effects of drugs and how they work in the brain - affecting chemicals and creating addiction. In this next class we're going to be studying different ways to treat addiction and addicts. I'm looking forward to it. In Ethics, we are (obviously) going to study the different ethical issues with being a counselor.
We're continuing to be blessed, again and again... :) I am thankful for all your prayers and letters! Keep em coming! We still haven't really gotten a social network setup here yet... So, I get a little lonely sometimes... Thankfully, my kids are never at a loss of things to do to entertain me. I just adore them, you know... they're amazingly wonderful, precocious and sweet. Blessings all around.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
In the past month, there have also been 5 murder/suicides here in the valley. They have all been families with small children and all have been attributed to financial stressors. It breaks my heart thinking about those small children who lived the last moments of their lives in fear from the people who should be loving them more than anyone else. I can only remind myself that they are currently being rocked and held by their Heavenly Father who will never, never forsake them.
I know that the world is full of people who are hurting. It is my sincere prayer that God will use me to show His love to at least a couple of them so that they can be delivered from their life of hopelessness and into the freedom that comes from letting God be the ruler of their lives... The pain in the world today gives Christians a perfect opportunity to show the love of Christ by being His representatives here on earth. It is our job - our comission - to be loving and to reach these people who are hurting. Lord, open my eyes to hurting people around me and show me ways that I can bring a little love and a little light into their lives. And then when they ask why, I can say "Because Jesus changed my life and poured His love out on me, so I'm sharing some of it with you."
And to all you readers, I'm sending some love your way today too! :) God Bless!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Today, for example, as the steam cleared, I saw that a line had formed in front of the door. First, Jillie wanted to tell me that she loves me and that she's hungry. She was very concerned that I may have forgotten these important facts during the 15 minutes spent in my watery haven. It is quite common to have this conversation with Jillie:
"Um....... I love you."
"I love you too, Honey"
"Um... I'm hungry."
"I know, Honey. You're always hungry."
"Hee hee... I know. (she smiles)"
Next, Nathan wanted to know if he could use green puff paint to turn his face into a camoflague mask. One stern look later, he retreated to his room. The Jillie jumped in again to inform me that she was 'soaking hot'. She didn't have any request, she just wanted me to know. As I tried to enter my closet and get into something other than a towel, Chloe shared with me that she was getting married. She put on a special dress and even a necklace that the prince gave her because when he sees her wearing it, he'll know that she loves him. She wanted my fake flowers to use walking down the aisle. Sure Dear, just don't use the vase. At this point, Nathan yells and Jillie comes running back in to tell me that she's getting married too but apparently her groom doesn't like to be kissed. Nathan swiftly follows complaining that "Jillie tried to kiss me! And I'm not big enough to kiss girls!" Now that I finally have underwear on, I come out of my closet and try to explain to Nathan that kissing your sisters doesn't fall into the normal girl kissing rules and that he should be glad that his sister loves him. Yeah, that goes over like a lead balloon. Finally all the children leave and I try to remember whether or not I put deodorant on yet... In steps my husband. Finally someone who won't want something from me... Then I notice that he doesn't look happy... It seems, that after living on the lam for 3 weeks, our cat has become very adept at catching lizards... And he wanted to share his new talent with us. Lowell is not amused and informs me that it is my job to retrieve said lizard that is now running around our kitchen.
Fully dressed, I'm off to catch a lizard, attend a wedding and get food for my ever-starving preschooler...
The 15 minutes of peace and quiet spent in the shower was worth it, though, right?
Friday, July 24, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have to share a blessing... Most of you know that before we moved, I worked with a lady who was post-polio. I took care of her house, took her on errands, helped with caring for her pets and basically did whatever she needed to be done... Most of my job, however, was to be emotional support. It wasn't always an easy job.. She was suffering from depression and was using a lot of alcohol. She was very lonely and isolated... But we worked together. And by the time I left, she was doing pretty well. After I left however, things started piling up and she got discouraged. And so she started letting things slide and ended up severely depressed... Then Lowell made his trip to Cali and stopped by. He took care of some minor problems she was having in the house and just visited a little. And I kept calling her. Waking her up and encouraging her long distance. And God worked on her...This past Sunday, she went to church. Got out of the house and got to church, by herself! She's been taking care of her house, cleaning up and getting things back together. She's been doing errands and taking her gradson to doctor's appointments. She gotten involved with a new senior center that is opening up where she lives... I could go on and on but I'm just so proud of her! And so thankful!!!! God is soooo good! And I'm so humbled and blessed that He used me to help bless her!!! :) :) :) Yeah!
Today we took the kids to Walmart. This summer they've been earning chore money and they've accumulated quite a sum. They've been great for the past couple of days and so we told them that they could use their money to get whatever they wanted. Chloe and Jillian got summer dresses and new flip-flops. Nathan got a new Spiderman web shooter, a truck and a car that drives. He was excited and the girls put on a fashion show... Such wonderful kids... Oh! Another blessing really fast - I got an email from a job to see if I wanted to schedule an interview... So... We'll see... :) So many blessings.... Let if rain, Lord!!!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
1. The kitchen floor and table are covered with Apple flavored cereal.
2. There is a rather large stuffed moose hanging from the doorknob wearing a crown, feather boa and carrying a gun.
3. Every now and then a little whiskered nose protrudes from beneath the couch to retrieve said cereal.
4. The house smells strangely of soap and toothpaste; the result of a toothpaste explosion and the subsequent attempt to clean up the mess.
5. My bathtub is full of Legos.
6. There is a construction paper trail of irregular black shapes leading to Nathan's bedroom.
7. The a/c is set to frigid while at least 2 windows are open to let in the beautiful 108 degree Arizona day.
8. There is a strange green striped alien on tv is singing an obnoxiously addictive song about a party in his tummy. Yummy.
9. All toy boxes are empty.
10. The laundry hamper has been turned into a fortress to be defended by the hurling of little plastic army men that now litter the hallway.
11. A corral for numerous Littlest Pet Shop animals has been made out of Jenga blocks in the cereal littered kitchen floor.
12. A Taylor Swift song is on repeat in the girl's room at a volume roughly equal that of a sonic boom.
13. Displayed on the foot of my bed is a large saucepan filled with a rabbit. The sign explains: Rabbit Stew.
14. There is much laughter, squealing and even more omnious, strange extended periods of silence...
These interesting episodes each greeted me today as I left my computer and went to put the kids to bed. Oh, and, my favorite, a plush snake suspended over the toilet seat in an attempt to scare Daddy. I must quit pushing my homework to the last minute!! :)
Monday, July 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I've tried going to the doctors. She did a full battery of tests and found that everything was perfectly normal. Then she asked the obvious question - am I depressed. The answer is no. But I have been questionning if this problem is psychological. My doctor also wanted to do a sleep study, where I go and sleep under supervision to see if I have sleep apnea or some other disorder. I don't think I suffer from sleep apnea. I know there is something wrong though for sure. I have nightmares frequently and I wonder if they play a role in my not feeling rested. I wonder sometimes if I'm just plain lazy, but I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that I'm lazy enough to sleep. And sleep. And sleep. Even when I sleep 7 or 8 hours a night, I could go right back to sleep. I could sleep 24 hours and then sleep 20 more. There are some days that I feel good; I'm able to get things done and even sit without falling asleep instantly... But those days are not very frequent. Certainly not as frequent as I'd like them to be. Needless to say, I need to get this issue fixed. I need to find some way to feel better. Its my prayer that I can figure this out. And soon. Until then, I have been trying to get on board with the idea of giving up sugar completely because I think this might help... If it doesn't, at least it will help with losing weight. For now, I'm just thankful for the ways I've learned to deal with it.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Speaking of vacation... I have to say that Lowell and I have been on sort of a three month vacay... Neither of us are working and while we certainly don't have a whole lot of money, we've been blessed with being able to spend a ton of time together! :) It was so wonderful to have him to help me set up our house; moving furniture is much easier with a man to help! :) In addition to the practical things, we've also been spending time together as a family. We even went to the zoo on Tuesday. The kids loved it. It was very warm indeed but the Phoenix zoo has added a couple of water parks. We didn't know about these new additions and therefore didn't have on appropriate clothes but this didn't stop my babies from getting soaking wet! :) I even got a little damp. I was the only parent playing in the spouts but I tried not to let that stop me from having fun. I did refrain from going down the water slide in order to keep some of my dignity. :)
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I also want to share a story about Chloe... I was standing in our walk-in closet looking for a new shirt because the one I was wearing was covered in Indy hair. I had my shirt folded up on itself so that the hair wouldn't get on all the clean clothes in the closet and I said "I need..." I was going to say I need a clean shirt but before I could finish my sentence, Chloe said, "I know what you think you need, but I think you're good just how you are." There are times when I pull up my shirt and pat my stomach and complain about how I need to lose weight. Apparently, that's what Chloe thought I was going t0 say. How very sweet and mature of her. :)