Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thank you

When Anna died, I had to decide what to do with her things.  I knew I couldn't keep them all, but I couldn't bring myself to take them to Goodwill or sell them at a garage sale.  It was important for me to know who would be wearing her clothes and playing with her toys.   One of the larger items was a Little Tykes kitchen.  My girls spent many hours playing restaurant with that thing.  One day at church I happened to hear the mother of one of Anna's friends mention that she was thinking about getting her daughter a play kitchen.  So I called her and offered her Anna's.  When she came to pick it up, I told her that when she was done with it,  she could give it to the church nursery.  This morning we were visiting our "old" church and the children's minister told me that this family had called and told her that they would be bringing the kitchen to donate to the church.  I would never had expected them to do this because they moved to SAN ANTONIO.   This is a rather LARGE kitchen and I don't know how they are bringing it from Texas.  I am EXTREMELY touched that they would take the trouble to do this... that they would remember something that was said 2 1/2 years ago...and that they would care so much about my feelings.  Thank you Canady family.  I hope Anya enjoyed the kitchen as much as Anna did. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Last Day of School

We FINALLY had our last day of school.  There is a LAW in Virginia  that says schools can't start until after Labor Day.  I'm sure we will enjoy those extra days in August, but it sure was hard for my kiddos to go to school until June 18th.
Jacob celebrating with friends the night before the last day of school.

I remember how hard it was to send the kids off to new schools this year.  I am so thankful for how the Lord got us through the transition.

Audra and Will headed off to school--a very happy day.

Jacob received his middle school letter at the awards ceremony.  I'm sure that will mean a lot to him now that he is in HIGH SCHOOL!

We celebrated by taking 7 kids to the drive in.  They were showing Toy Story 3 and the new Karate Kid.
My favorite part was the two hours before the movie started.  The kids played ball and we visited with friends from church.

I think this was about the time when Richard was having to jump the car because the battery died before the movie even started!

I love me some teen feet!

When you go to the drive in, don't forget your hula hoop...

...or your bean bags!

The drive in was fun, but getting home at 2am was NOT!  I will have to rest up before I do that again.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dad's Day

Happy Father's Day to Papa and Pop.  Thank you for raising us and now loving on our kids.  We love you!
Happy Father's Day to Richard and the other dads who are "in the fight" for their kids' lives.  "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you." (1 Chron. 28:20)

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1)


Thursday, June 17, 2010

5th grade graduation

Audra's 5th grade graduation celebration was much easier for me than Sunday's service.   The ceremony itself was boring, long, your typical graduation ceremony.  But when it was over, the kids changed out of their Sunday best and into their Survivor gear.  The tribes enjoyed a school-wide scavenger hunt, gummy worms, water games, cake, inflatables,  watermelon, obstacle course, chips, door prizes, cookies, DJ games, sno cones, a visit from the middle school cheerleaders, chicken, a slide show, and pizza.  Much fun was had by all as they celebrated the end of elementary school.
Audra "before"

Audra "after"

Audra and her fellow tribesmengirls

Did I mention that there was food?

Enjoying a sno cone while listening to the DJ 

Thank you PMS cheerleaders!  (Pocahontas Middle School)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Uh-oh, you lost it!"

Once upon a time (20 years ago) I had a summer job working at a residential school.   I was assigned to a class of 6-11 year olds.  There were four teachers and about 8 kids.  I was hired to work with a  cute 9 year-old pixie I will call M.  She required one-on-one attention 24/7 and I was the 8-3 shift.  Evidently there was not a school in CA that could handle M so she was sent to Kansas... and to me.  M had a hard time with many things... transitions, the word "no",  things not being perfect, and with being out of control.  I was supposed to facilitate her learning while controlling her behavior.  M had lots of "triggers" that would set her off.  For example, saying, "It's time to go to music" would be enough to throw her into a frenzy.  I always knew when it was coming because she would say, "Uh-oh, you lost it!" several times right before she let loose.  She would start with hitting and biting herself and then move on to tearing up the room and then scratching, hitting and biting whoever tried to stop her (me).  I was shown how to put her in a safety hold (to protect herself and others) and then I was expected to carry this raging 60 pounds of anger several hundred yards from our portable classroom to the main office--while listening to her repeat "Uh-oh, you lost it!"  In the office was a padded room where I would put M while she calmed down.  (Maybe they didn't have padded rooms in CA.)  By the end of the day I was exhausted.  I wanted to quit many times, but I stuck it out and was glad I did.
Today I felt like M.  I too have triggers that set me off.  Today it was at church.  Graduation Sunday.  No problem right?  Big problem.  The music for the slide show was the same song that Richard had used in a slide show he made of Anna.  The combination of the song and the pictures of the kids growing up and graduating was too much.  I started shaking... then crying--not the "tear running down the side of your face during a touching song" crying, but the "What is wrong with that woman?" crying.  ("Uh-oh, you lost it!")  Richard was out of town so my sweet friend put her arm around me and held me while I sobbed.  Luckily I didn't need a padded room.  As soon as the song was over, I took a deep breath and I was fine.  Self conscious, but fine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cross training

train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8
Yesterday I told you about my physical training, but there is something I am doing that is even better for me than running.  While I  work out, I am also memorizing.   I have NEVER been good at memorizing scripture.  The references always messed me up.  I know enough key words to find the verses I want on, but that's all.  I knew I needed to do better.  When Martin and Gracia Burnham were kidnapped in the Philippines they encouraged each other with scripture they had memorized.  What if that happened to me?  Would I know enough to get me through?    Then a couple of weeks ago I heard a speaker who quoted long passages of scripture (not individual verses).  It was so refreshing to hear the Bible spoken rather than read.  So I tried it.  I started with Psalm 139.   I kept at it until I could say all 24 verses.  I was still working on it on Anna's birthday.  When I was tempted to be sad that day, I kept memorizing. Hiding that scripture in my heart has been my best defense against fear, sadness, and worry.  (You can't worry and recite at the same time.)  And having those words in my heart will be my best offense.  
Now I am working on the first five verses of Psalm 40 and I have a list of other passages (lots of verses, but only one reference) I want to memorize.
So I will continue to work out physically AND spiritually ("Cross" + training) because it has value for this present life and the life to come!

O LORD, you have searched me
       and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise;
       you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
       you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
       you know it completely, O LORD.
 You hem me in—behind and before;
       you have laid your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
       too lofty for me to attain.
 Where can I go from your Spirit?
       Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
       if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
       if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
       your right hand will hold me fast.
 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
       and the light become night around me,"
 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
       the night will shine like the day,
       for darkness is as light to you.
 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand.
       When I awake,
       I am still with you.
 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
       Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
 They speak of you with evil intent;
       your adversaries misuse your name.
 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
       and abhor those who rise up against you?
 I have nothing but hatred for them;
       I count them my enemies.
 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
       test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
       and lead me in the way everlasting.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Run with endurance

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
 I have started running and it's HARD.  Each day I push myself to go a little farther AGAINST MY WILL.  I like the feeling I have AFTER I run, not before, not during.  It's the same way with life.  We are running the race that God has set before us and it's HARD.  We have to do things AGAINST OUR WILL.  But even on my run today there were moments of respite and refreshing--the shade from a tree,  a cool breeze, and running downhill instead of up.   It's the same way with life.  There are times of respite and relief in the midst of our storms.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm... Ps. 107:29  
If you are running uphill, keep going.  It's hard.  It hurts.  Wait for those times of refreshing to encourage you.  The end will be worth it.  DON'T QUIT!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life is just a bowl of cherries...

On Saturday we wanted to make a new memory so we decided to go pick cherries.  Did you know that those things grow on trees?
They were so photogenic.  

They tasted as good as they looked.

Check out Will's new braces.  

There was a family cemetery near where we were picking.  One of these marks the grave of a Confederate soldier.

On Saturday I was missing Oklahoma and being around our friends who knew Anna, but I was still able to appreciate the BEAUTY of this place.

After the cherries, we tried picking strawberries but because of the rain there weren't many good ones left.  So we bought some homemade strawberry ice-cream instead.  Yum!

Thank you for the emails and notes this weekend.  It was SO nice to have other people remember Anna and pray for us on her birthday.  Thank you also to Sittie, Pop and Jennifer who took flowers to the cemetery.  That meant a lot to us.