Our family

Our family

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Difficult Decision



Sometimes life is hard. We are faced with difficult decisions, wearying trials, and it's hard to find peace, joy, and contentment. However, those difficult decisions are a thousand times harder to make when it involves our children. Roger and I have dedicated each of our children to the Lord, and I often have to remind myself to not take them back from Him. Jesus sometimes asks me, "Sarah, do you trust me?" Sometimes I reply, "Of course, Lord, but before I commit 100% what are you asking from me?" That's not the proper response, of course, but sometimes -often- I have to fight the flesh.

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The whole truth of the matter is that God loves my children more than I do. He loved them, and me and you, enough to send His only son to die for our sins...that's an amazing love! But sometimes love is faced with difficult decisions, and that I see where I was this week.

Last week on Friday, I met with Wyatt's teacher. Roger was at work, and we met during the art class hour at school. I had my two youngest children with me, which makes meetings interesting, but they did very well. Wyatt has been struggling for a while now in the school. His teacher was giving him extra reading lessons twice a week, but Wyatt still wasn't mastering the material. He has been working so hard in school. He's been coming home, and he has been writing out his spelling list several times, asking me questions about things he didn't understand, and asking to stay up late to study extra. He is in second grade! His teacher commented on how hard Wyatt has been working, but he still is not passing the class. We've know for a while that Wyatt has struggled with reading. He took speech lessons for two years in Wisconsin, and I didn't feel like he was a strong reader at the end of last year. However, when the suggestion was brought up that perhaps Wyatt should repeat first grade, I cried. Oh, how I cried! I cried for my sweet little boy who has been working so hard, I cried because of the struggle it's been. I cried because I felt like I failed him.  I cried because I knew how disappointed he would be if we decided to make the choice to move him back. And even now, almost a week later, I still have watery eyes. Travis asked me if my eyes were okay, and Emma kept asking me, "mommy, okay?" Wyatt's teacher is filled with love and compassion for her students. I knew any suggestion that she made was in Wyatt's best interest. But it's still hard to hear that we needed to make a decision about whether or not to keep him where he was or move him back. Nothing was decided verbally at the meeting due in part to Roger's absence, but I knew what my decision would be before I left. Would we pray about it? Oh yes, many, many times in the next few days, however, in my heart of hearts I knew God was asking me, "Do you trust me?"

I wore my sunglasses the rest of the afternoon simply because I didn't want Wyatt to question me. The "mommy guilt" was almost overwhelming at times as I questioned my homeschooling abilities. Did I not give him enough last year? What if someone else had been his teacher the past two years? How would Wyatt respond? Maybe our kids are struggling because I just didn't do a good job? Oh, the struggles I had racing around in my mind. I know how hard I worked at homeschooling, I know the hours my mom and I put into education, but how the doubts flew!

When we got home, I went over again all the papers from Wyatt's classes. I reviewed the grades, saw the struggles, and revivisted my decision. And I prayed. I prayed for Gods peace to surround us both. I prayed for his love to encircle us. I prayed for Wyatt to chose to trust us, as I was learning again to trust my Heavenly Father.

Roger and I prayed and discussed what we should do, and I explained that really how could we make any other decision except to move him back to first grade. Reading is the foundation for so many
things, and if Wyatt loses confidence in his ability to do school in second grade, I feared that his frustration would only build. Roger has had many struggles with past education experiences, so he knew what a big decision we were making. But Roger also knew from his past how much better it would've been if he had really mastered some concepts early on in his education.

So, we made the decision to move Wyatt back to first grade. Now the next hard step...to tell our young son of our decision. Roger had to work on Saturday, and there is no way that I was telling Wyatt on my own. However, it gave me a chance to talk to my sister, Jennifer. Always practical, her response was "Someone has to be the oldest kid in the class. This is not the end of the world. If it's best for Wyatt, do it." It was reassuring to hear from my sister, also a teacher, how it's really not the end of the world to go back a  grade.

By Sunday afternoon, Roger and I knew we had to find a moment to talk to Wyatt. We brought the school papers, and asked him about school. He told us that he enjoyed school, but it was really hard. We discussed his current grades, and asked him about going back to first grade. Oh, how the tears fell! He was adamant that he did not want to go back to first grade. We explained how it's not the end of the world, and he would still be in the same class with the same teacher. He was not convinced. Finally, I asked him, "Do you trust Mom and Dad to make the best choice for you?" He replied "Yes, but I don't want to go back to first grade." We prayed with him, encouraged him, and told him why we thought this would be the best decision. After discussing it a bit longer, he asked if one of us would take him on a date. Roger wasn't feeling that good on Sunday, so I agreed to take him on a date. Roger said he would meet us at church, and then go back home with Emma. I was a bit suspicious that Wyatt wanted to go on a date to see if he could convince us to change our minds. But that wasn't really the case. He was sad and really just needed some extra love and encouragement. He did ask me if maybe he came home and worked on school work then he could stay in second grade. I told him that I wanted him to be able to be a boy and come home and play. Working on extra stuff every once in a while is fine, but he needed to remember that he is seven not seventy. He shed a few more tears before bed that night, but he seemed to be willing to trust us.

On Monday morning, I told his teacher that we had made our decision. She asked me several times I feel we were sure. Although I was in tears, I assured her that we had spent much time in prayer, and we had made our decision. She said that the change would take place on Tuesday morning if we were confident in our decision. When Wyatt came home, he realized that he had a different spelling list. I reminded him of our decision. Although he was initially upset, by the time Roger came home from work, he seemed to be excited that maybe he could get a one hundred on his spelling test. I was a little worried about how Tuesday would go, but Wyatt faced the challenge head on. He had a good attitude, his teacher worked hard to make the transition as smooth as possible.

On Wednesday, Wyatt had a pre-test for spelling. If he made a one hundred he would not need to take the test on Friday. "Mom, I made a 100% on my spelling test!", were his first words to me when I picked him up. I was so excited for him! His week has been full of good grades as well as a fabulous attitude, and I am so proud of him. Roger and I have been praying for him to make this transition well, and the Lord has been answering our prayers.

Travis announced to me yesterday, "Mom, I know why you decided to put Wyatt back in first grade." I was like, "oh, really?" He replied, " Yeah, it's because I love him and this way we can be in the same class next year." (Grade one and two are combined, so they will be in the same classroom next year.)  Well, that's not exactly the reason, but I'm thankful for the brotherly love.

So, once again, I learned a lesson in trusting my Heavenly Father. Although this was a painful decision to make, and I still struggle with feeling like I failed my son, God is faithful.  He has brought us joy and laughter this week. I'm at peace with knowing that God directed us in our decision, and this was the best choice for Wyatt. Although we probably still have a few more bumps in the road as we transition, we rejoice in the faithfulness of God and his tender mercies toward us.

Our love,

Friday, October 14, 2016

Another Adventure in our Lives!

In a nutshell our lives can be summarized in the following statement: still looking for a vehicle, Roger is still working a lot, still adjusting and working on schedules and routines, still working at trusting the Lord to lead us day by day.

Truth of the matter is that we are adjusting to life here. We've been here for almost four months, and while I still don't refer to it as "home", the transition is happening. Roger has been working four or five days a week, but I frequently remind myself that the days are getting shorter! I will be delighted when it will get dark early enough that we can all sit down to dinner together as a family again. Mom and the kids is not the same as Mom, Dad and the kids.

We had the pastor and his family over last week on the day Roger had off. It's not possible to have people over on the days that he is working, and I don't really like taking up the day that he had off for other events. However, we want to make this church our home church most likely, and we wanted to get to know the pastor and his family better. We had a great time of fellowship, and I feel that Roger and I are both more comfortable with the church after hearing his heart and vision. The have a son about the age of Garett, so the boys were delighted to have nerf gun wars with a new friend!

The children had a long weekend from school this past week as they had off for Columbus Day. We decided to take a trip to the "Big City". I was able to use a coupon on a hotel room in Portland. We left on Sunday afternoon and came back on Monday afternoon. It was a quick get-away as a family, and a bit too short, but we had a good time together. The boys had two things that they wanted to do in Portland. One was to go swimming and the other was to eat at Sam's Club! The hotel had a nice sized pool, a fabulous free breakfast, and it was a suite of two rooms. The kids went swimming three times while we were there. We did go to Sam's club on Monday, and the kids had lunch there. There are very few places that we can feed a fmaily of our size for $15.00, and Sam's Club is one of them! The boys also asked to go to the mall. Roger and I were curious as to why they wanted to go, but we said yes. When we got to the mall, we realized that they were looking for the sporting goods store. At the mall in Wisconsin, they have a sporting goods store where you can shoot at targets. We explained that not every mall has that kind of store. Wyatt replied, "You mean they only have clothes and shoes here?! Let's go home!" Yeah, no one was interested in shopping! We explored a bit of Portland and located a few places that we would like to visit in the future. It was a fun time. It was very different from how I would've spent a date with Roger, but we had a good time together.

Roger had off on Tuesday and he went to check on buying a vehicle. Back to the one we originally looked at, actually! However, the Toyota Highlander had already sold. The disappointing part is being back at square one again. But the advantage is knowing that God has a better plan! We keep looking, and God will provide at the right time. We have a budget that we are working hard to stick to, and because we don't want a vehicle payment, we are petitioning God to bring the right vehicle to us. I know when the time comes to say "good by" to the suburban, I'm going to be sad a bit. We've taken that truck so many places like Alaska, South Dakota, North Carolina, Arizona, Maine, and all states in between! It's been a good vehicle, but it's time is growing limited. Oh well, it's just a vehicle, right?

I was able to go on a walk with one of the moms from school this week too. I'm enjoying getting to know some of the moms better and recognizing whose kids go with which mom! We also had our parent meeting for the month. The parent group is getting ready to put on an auction in November to raise money for various items needed either for the teachers or the students. I'm just kinda along for the ride this year as it will be our first year participating...obviously! I've been trying to help in ways that I can as in supervising a lunch duty, participating in parent meetings, getting fingerprinted, and playing the piano once ina while for chapel. The students participate in chapel every week with a different classs leading every week. However, as we have children in every class but one, I attend about every week.

On Thursday, I visited with the Pastor and his wife from a church near our home. I had visited two weeks ago, and she had asked me to come back again. It's a good opportunity to think about others. I hope we can be a blessing to them. Their upbeat nature has certainly encouraged me! It did make for a long day though. I had grocery shopping to do, lunch to take to Roger and a few other errands. It meant that I didn't come home in between picking up Travis and the other boys. Needless to say, by 3:00 pm., we were ready to go home! I also took Travis and Emma to the farmers market and the park today as we had extra time and the weather was beautiful!

On Friday Emma and I attended chapel. I was blessed to be able to play the prelude and one of the songs. The church just replaced their older piano with a beautiful baby grand piano. Wow! It was a refreshment to my soul to play through some hymns and arrangements today. After chapel I sat at the piano with a new friend, also a pastor's wife, and we played through some of the hymns as duets. Abby has been a blessing to me through the parent meeting, her friendship, and our mutual love of the piano. I wouldn't say that either of us are fabulous at playing the piano, but we both know the blessing it can provide to both the listener and the one playing.

Emma and I spent the rest of the morning enjoying a walk through the beautiful Maine countryside with two other school moms. The fall foliage is just breathtaking, and it was a beautiful, crisp morning walk. There are lots of trail options and gorgeous scenery to behold around these parts. Since I definitely enjoy the outdoors, it's been wonderful to have so many options to walk and hike.
When I picked up Travis, one of the boys other teachers asked to set up a meeting to chat about some things. My heart always gets a wee bit nervous hearing those words, but she assured me it wasn't a behavior problem or a character issue. She suggested meeting at 2:00, which I was more than willing to do. It just meant we didn't have enough time to go home...again. So I took the kids on a walk, to a playground, to the library, and then back to school. Whew! I was tired by the time 2:00 came around. I do love each of the boy's teachers, so I knew that any concerns expressed were out of love. We discussed, in depth, one of the challenges that one of our children are facing. It was a hard meeting for me, and I'm not ready to express what we need to do. However, Roger and I could use prayers for grace and wisdom. I'm not the type for drama....or at least I don't think so, so I will come back and revisit this topic again.

The truth is that we are abundantly blessed. The darts that Satan throws are painful and ugly, but God's grace and love are more powerful and stronger than Satan. Roger will be working against this weekend, and he is struggling with a cold. I'm sure that he would appreciate the extra prayers also.

Our love to you, Sarah
Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Family Flights, Fingerprinting, and Blessings

The beautiful colors, crisp temperatures, and later sunrises are all reminders that fall is here. It is truly a beautiful season, and we are enjoying the foliage of New England. It's hard to believe but we have been in Maine for almost four months now! Most of the time the days have flown by, and we have truly enjoyed the memories that we have been making.

Because I want to help out in the school on occasion, I needed to get fingerprinted and a background check done. I was able to get an appointment in Brewer last Thursday. Since Roger had off that day, he was able to take kids to and from school, and I had a day without children. My sister was able to meet me for lunch and a few errands, and it was an enjoyable day. I do love our children very much, but a reprieve is nice every once in a while.

I also went to a ladies simulcast at our church last week. It was the womans "Cry- out" simulcast put on by Revive Our Hearts ministries. Wow! It was such a blessing. I learned so much about my prayer life, and it was a time of spiritual refreshment and revival. I wasn't able to stay for the entire thing, but the part I went to was truly a blessing.

Last Saturday was a beautiful day, and Roger's boss offered to let us take the plane to one of the islands. We put the family in the plane, and Roger took us across to Matinicus island. We took a hike on the beach, and the kids gathered shells, rope, and old lobster buoys. They also collected cans and bottles. We came home with lots of treasures...in their minds, anyways. We enjoyed the time together, the boys and Emma all enjoyed the plane ride, and it was another memorable event. It's a special blessing that Roger has such a good boss, and one that loves our children.

Roger's company had a company picnic last week to celebrate the end of the summer tourist season. Our entire family was invited to the picnic. I was a little nervous as the picnic was inside at the home of one of the pilots that lives in an older home with lots of antiques. Even though they were the only kids there, they did great. I was very pleased with their manners and calmness. I know it wasn't the most exciting event for them, but they do enjoy Roger's boss also. It was a good summer, and I'll have to get the stats from Roger on what the company accomplished this summer.

We also got mid-term report cards last week. It's hard to believe that we are already five weeks into the school year. We had some worried children that they were going to have to repeat their current grade. I explained that just because they have a struggling grade now does not mean that the whole year is down the drain. I have a few children that are struggling in a few areas. Part of it is switching from A Beka  curriculum to Bob jones curriculum as scope and sequence is a bit different. And part of it is that school comes with many challengers for some of them. I want them to pass and I want them to excel. However, the more years that I parent, the more I realize how much more important it is that my children have intergrity and character than flying grades on a report card. Don't get me wrong, I desire to work on grades too; but character is something that is so very important in life. I do so love these little boys...boys that aren't so little anymore...and our Emma, but oh how I desire them to grow in the riches and knowledge of Jesus Christ. The school has some wonderfully gifted teachers, and we are so grateful for their talents and skills.

In spite of mid-term reports, we also received a huge blessing this week. Some dear and wonderful friends of ours sent us a gift of money for the boys education. It practically covered another month of eduction for the boys, and that is such a big blessing! I love it when the Lord encourages me as it is always at just the right time. We are so blessed by these wonderful friends who love us and pray for us.

We have begun the difficult task of searching for another vehicle...ugh. We either will be sacrificing on space or on gas mileage. Right now, since I'm doing most of the driving around with the kids we  are leaning towards sacrificing on space. We have been strongly encouraged to buy a vehicle with four-wheel drive, so we have looked at Toyota Highlander and a Honda Pilot with third-row seats. Both of these will seat seven, which is what we need, and get much better gas mileage than the suburban. We took a test drive in a Toyota Highlander here in town, and Garett wanted us to buy that one. When we asked him why, he said "well, it will work. And then we can be done shopping!" I wish it was that simple, my son! I don't know how soon we will actually purchase a vehicle but we are looking.

All in all, we are doing well this week. We appreciate your prayers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Changes and Challenges, but Praises along the Way!

                                         Fun Moments

I blog so that I can try to grasp some of these fleeting memories, and I still feel like I'm failing half the time at keeping a journal of our lives!! Truth is that I thought I would have a bunch of spare time once the boys were in school, but the truth of the matter is that I do not have a bunch of spare time! I also thought that three weeks into the school year, I'd have a routine down pat. However, I find that a lot of the days I'm still coordinating my days schedule on the fly. A lot depends on Roger's work schedule, what I happening at school, grocery shopping, or if I get invited to visit with a mom after morning school drop off (that one is my favorite!). 

The boys are adjusting to school life, but we are still in transition mode! It's a new curriculum, a long school day, different teachers, and a whole new world. The older boys completely bombed (majorly failed) their first spelling test. One of the boys told me he only missed two words on the whole test, until I realized that actually he had only gotten two right! (That was a big disappointment for the child!) Needless to say, spelling is something we are working on more faithfully in the evenings. Garett did tell me, "Mom, we've been going to school for three weeks. I haven't had to go with you to Wal-mart or the grocery store yet. That's awesome!" Garett does not enjoy any type of shopping so that is one big benefit in his eyes that he has not had to come along on any  of those excursions. 

We had a family from the church over for dinner a little over a week ago. It was a good opportunity to get to know this family better and their kids also attend the Christian school. They have four kids and we have five, so we always have a crowd of kids when we are together! Also along those lines, Roger and I have committed to staying with the church associated with the school. We feel that this is the best choice for our family right now, and God has provided peace to go along with that decision. It's not a perfect church by any means, but since we are imperfect people, it's a good match. It's a body of believers committed to serving Christ, mentoring new believers, encouraging kids to follow Christ, and loving the Lord...it's a good fit for us. 

Also a little over a week ago, I was able to meet up with a college friend and her family. This was a special treat as I haven't seen Helaine in over ten years,  but the conversation was smooth and enjoyable. She and her husband, Phil, are on deputation to raise support for their journey to France as missionaries. God worked it out that they could come and spend an afternoon with us. Roger was able to take their family on a flight, they stayed for supper, and I'm hoping they will be back to Maine again sometime! 

This past week was the first meeting of the parents group for the school. Since the meeting takes place in the morning after school drop-off, it's mostly mamas and young ones. Emma is glad that the meeting takes place in the church nursery! Even though this was my first time attending the parents group, I can appreciate this group. They work hard at praying for the teachers and the school, doing various fund raisers, and helping strengthen the parent/teacher relationship. I'm excited about being involved with this group. I volunteered for several things that they needed help with even though I have no idea what I am doing! I will be helping out with Tuesday's lunch room and recess coverage. I am also a "room parent", which basically means that I just check in with the teachers from time to time to see if they have any classroom needs, I think. I am also helping with the auction in November. Apparently it's a really big fundraiser for the school, and they need an extra set of hands. Well, okay, I guess I can do that too! 😊 The parent group is another way that I can be involved with the school, meeting simple needs, and keeping my ear to the ground for my kids. I'm looking forward to it. 

Also this past week, Emma and I were invited to go on a walk with some other moms. Due to scheduling conflicts, it ended up just being myself and two other moms. Personally though, that's probably my favorite way right now. I don't really know anyone very well, so a smaller group gives me more of an opportunity to get to know someone. It was a beautiful day for a walk out to the lighthouse, and it provided an unexpected opportunity for fun in the middle of the week. I am thankful. 

Hannah and Josh took the kids for the day on Saturday so that Roger and I could celebrate our anniversary. The kids were thrilled to spend the day with Josh and Hannah, and I was glad to see them so excited to go. Roger and I had a good day together. A few mistakes along the way as we tried to combine business with pleasure, but it was a good day. We had decided to take out suburban and trailer to Portland as there was a  couch that we wanted to look at there. It was a couch off of Craigslist, and we ended up buying it for our house. The disadvantage was that we then decided to go visit downtown Portland. It's kinda a cute section down there by the water, but it was also Saturday, which meant not a lot of parking was available. We ended up not being able to find a parking space anywhere near the area, so we decided to forgo that idea. We decided that maybe we could stop at one of the other towns on our way back and do some window shopping and walking. Well, apparently, everyone else had the same idea...and parking for a suburban with a trailer was not happening. We ended up coming home to drop off the trailer, and then we headed back out. However, by that time, a good chunk of the day was already gone. Oh well, you live and learn! We did use a gift card to a nice restaurant in the area, and we spent lots of time talking. The day was not a complete disaster, just should the opportunity arise, we will plan differently! 

All things considered, we are doing well. The loneliness and homesickness is starting to wane a bit, but at other moments the intensity of it threatens to overwhelm me. I'm enjoying my moments with Emma, but we both need to find some type of routines to our mornings. I want to use this time wisely, but at the same time I'm distracted by all the other things that are easier to do with only one child versus five! Roger is still working extremely long days; truthfully, I thought he would be slowing down a bit faster. It's okay though as these days ARE getting shorter! Fall is going to be beautiful here. The leaves are starting to change, and the mornings can be cool. I'm looking forward to fall, and exploring new adventures with the kids. I would like to take them to the apple farm, and there are several festivals coming up. Change can be hard, but it's necessary. It forces us out of our comfort zones. It causes me to depend more on my Saviour, and provided opportunities for me to point our children to Christ. 

Have a blessed day! 
                  Before and After Photo of the Kitchen...top is before :) 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Our First Week of School!

Since I last wrote, we attended the open house for the school, started and completed our first week, celebrated our second holiday in Maine, went to a country fair, and enjoyed a picnic with another family! 
                            First day of school.                            Garett is ten!!! 

I really wanted to keep up with all the new experiences of last week, but Roger worked for six days straight. It was all I could do to keep my head on straight! We attended the open house on Travis's sixth birthday on the 25th. Roger wasn't sure that he would make it, but he was able to meet us there. It was a little bit of a challenge in the sense that we are completely new to the school, and I have no idea how things work out. And it's hard not to feel like an outsider when everyone else already knows everyone. However, it was a good experience by the end of the night. Since the weather was nice, the kids went outside. A bunch of other kids and parents eventually wandered out, and Roger and I were able to meet several other families. It gave me great peace of mind to know that on Monday, my kids would already know some of the other children in the school. 

On Sunday night, we spent some time trying to answer the kids questions and calm nerves. Honestly, they were all really excited to go except for Travis. While I have great peace in knowing that God's hand is in this, it is still a big step for us! Everyone had a hard time falling asleep, but the boys were up early and ready to go in the morning. Roger had to work, so I brought the kids to school on my own. Since we were there early, the kids played on the playground and I had a chance to visit with the teacher. I am confident the teachers are fully qualified and capable, I was just worried about how the kids previous education would hold up. 

Travis was very uncertain about school, and he was rather clingy when I dropped him off. He looked like he was about to cry, but he managed not too. Emma, on the other hand, was very upset that she couldn't stay at school! She wanted to go to school with Travis...and Travis would have gladly switched spots! Emma and I stayed in town for the morning, and picked up Travis at 11:30. He was quiet most of the way home, so I tried to engage him in conversation about the day. I asked if he learned anything, and he replied "no". He said that the teacher wanted to play some games, and the teacher said that the games would be fun. Travis said he didn't think the games were fun, and that the teacher was trying to get them to learn something. "But," Travis replied, "I already knew it." I am thankful that kindergarten is only half-days. Travis has enjoyed coming home in the afternoons and having the toys to himself! 

It was a good week, albeit a bit long for everyone. Garett celebrated his tenth birthday on Tuesday, and he took cupcakes for a treat for his class. I have a hard time believing that he is already ten! He's learned so much and has so much more to learn. He has a sweet spirit, gets along with everyone except his brothers, and I'm so thankful for him. 

Roger worked every.single.day. Last week, so that was a bit tough on everyone. The kids wanted to tell daddy about their day, but he often wasn't getting home until after their bed time. Sometimes mom just isn't all that exciting to tell stuff too, and they just wanted to talk to dad. The only problem is that so do I! I feel like I have to take a number and stand in line to tell him my story too! Oh well! Thankfully, the tourism season is almost over and the days are getting shorter. Less daylight means less time to fly to the islands, so we should start seeing more of Roger. I am reminded that God knows where I am in all of this too. After last week, I can see the Lord's hand very clear in providing the opportunity for the kids to attend school. It would've been challenging for me to be the mom, teacher, chauffeur, cook, referee, and everything else last week but thankfully having the kids in school did help my sanity...I hope! :) 

On Friday Roger and I celebrated our eleven years of marriage. It might be that we celebrated at the airport over cups of iced coffee and with Emma along, but we celebrated! I praise the Lord for Roger every day. We definitely don't see eye to eye on everything, but he loves me and I love him. He's a gifted pilot, a wonderful father, a considerate husband, and he prays for me and our children every day...I am blessed. Sometime later in the month, my sister, Hannah, and her husband, Josh, will be taking the kids for the day so that Roger and I can have some time by ourselves. I am more excited about that date than about Thanksgiving and Christmas! We are doing well, but miscommunication can happen easily when Roger is gone early in the morning and home in the later evening. I usually heat up supper, he talks to the boys for a few minutes, he eats supper, showers, and he's usually asleep before I finish cleaning up the supper table. It is what it is...but like I said, I'm looking forward to that date!! 

Saturday was a low-key day for the kids. After a full week of school, and a whole new schedule, I knew some down time was needed. They spent the day messing around in the fort, playing in the sand box, and helping me with chores around the house. We did go to the dump, but we still have a big pile for Roger to get rid of. It would be challenging for the kids and I to get rid of the broken hot tub, dishwasher, refrigerator, and washing machine. Good night...everything else better keep working!! 

Roger was able to come home in time for us to all have supper together on Saturday night, so that was a good blessing. The kids shared about the joys and struggles, and we had a good time visiting with them. 

On Sunday afternoon, we went to a fair. It was a fairly large fair with harness racing, various vendors, a museum, the midway, lots of animals, a yoked oxen competition, as well as draft horses pulling lots of weight. Hannah was able to meet us at the fair, and all my kids enjoy her company. The harness racing was interesting, and I would've enjoyed watching more of that. We watched them warm up the horses for the race, and then Travis announced he needed to go to the bathroom. We were gone for two minutes, and we missed the actual racing part! Oh, the joys of parenting! Oh well, there is always next year. Hannah, Emma, and I came home earlier in the evening, but the boys wanted to stay for the monster truck competion. They had a wonderful  time watching the monster trucks and getting covered in dust! An older couple found them to be delightful and bought them two huge bags of cotton candy! The boys thought that they had died and went to heaven. :) I'm thankful that Roger was willing to stay with them for that event as I wasn't too interested in a monster truck competion. 

Labor Day: 
God provided exactly what we needed....fellowship. The pastor of the church we attended on Sunday as well as a few other times, invited our family out to their camp on a lake. The pastor and his wife have a son about the age of Chandler, and our children have enjoyed getting to know him. We arrived down at their camp about two and we stayed until about seven pm. The hours flew by! Another family from the church was there with their children, and it was a delightful time of fellowship. We learned so much about the pastor and his family, the church, their vision for the future, and their love for the people. I enjoyed visiting both with the pastor's wife and the other family from the church. It's been a long time since we've had several hours of Godly company and fellowship, and it was truly a balm to my soul. The rest of the Pastor's children came down later in the afternoon, and it was such a sweet time of visiting. Roger mentioned on the way home how he really wasn't all that excited to go, but the conversation was easy going and relaxing. While Roger gets to interact with people at work, he too has been missing Christian fellowship. We both came away feeling blessed and encouraged. God is good. 

On Tuesday, Roger and I dropped the kids off at school. We decided to take a drive down the coast a bit. Maine is beautiful and there is so much to see. Emma came along too, of course, but Roger and I were still able to finish several conversations that we started last week. It was a good morning. It's much easier to get everyone dropped off and picked up with Roger home. He was able to pick up the older boys, and I was delighted to not have to wake Emma up from her nap. It just works out a lot smoother with Roger able to help. 

                                           Enjoying the memories!

We are in our second week of school, and it is going better than last week. Although Travis would still like for Emma to go to school instead of him, he is warming up to his teacher and classmates. Who knows? Maybe he will learn something this week! :) Chandler had a very rough first day last week, but he seems to be transitioning well. He and Garett are in the same class, which has both pros and cons. :) Garett is good at many things, but school is hard for him. I'm thankful that the teacher/parent communication seems to be good, and I will work to keep it that way. 

Emma would like to go to school, so I think we might start learning our alphabet at home. She likes to be read to, so we will have to plan some trips to the library. I've also dug out some of my old piano books and started to play the piano again. Emma likes to hear the music, and she's rarely critical. I know it's not going well when she puts her hands over her ears! The boys have expressed an interest in learning the piano, and since we are counting pennies, I think I will try to teach them myself.  I just have to be disciplined to sticking with their lesson time and making it work! :) We will see. We are still so very new into the school year that I don't want to rush any decisions right now. It's definitely one that needs more prayer and thought. 

Well, this post became a bit long and wordy, but oh well. If you made it to the end on reading it, I offer my congratulations!! :) Hope you all have a wonderful week. God bless. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bloom Where Planted

                                      Even in black and white, it is beautiful! 

We are preparing to enter a big week in our lives. Travis will turn six on Thursday, school will start on Monday, Garett will turn ten on Tuesday, and Roger and I will celebrate our eleventh anniversary next Friday! 

The past week was a rough one for me. I found myself short on patience, lacking grace with our children, and just generally struggling with discouragement. I'm sure my children probably thought I was losing my mind on several occasions. As often happens, after a mountain top experience such as having the blessing of having some of the boys eduction paid for, the devil hurls darts at every corner. To mention just a few things: the wash machine quit working, the pantry door accidently got locked from the inside so we couldn't get into the pantry, the dishwasher broke, our insurance cards managed to get lost in the mail, Roger worked many long hours, and my children looked for every opportunity to annoy each other! However...by the grace of God, we did survive! 

I was texting with a friend about some of my struggles this past week, and she reminded me that God would help me bloom where He planted me. I thought about that, and I think my blooms are in a drought. I can see a few buds forming, and maybe the blooms are coming. I know that reaching out to our neighbors, the pastor of the local church here, and those around me is a good start. My heart longs for fellowship of another mom in my season of life, but I know that God does have a plan. I pray often for my kids to develop Godly friendships in school, to be a Godly testimony, and to seek Him with their whole heart. It just recently occurred to me to start praying for those same things in me. 

And in the midst of struggles and trials, God gave blessings in the form of distractions and people. I'm very thankful for my sister, Hannah. We went to her house on Thursday, and then we went and picked wild blueberries. That was such fun for the kids and myself! I had never used a blueberry rake and neither had my sister. The boys amazed me with how fast they caught on to using the blueberry rake efficiently. We picked fifteen quarts of blueberries in about forty minutes. Hannah needed ten as she was planning on freezing some. I knew that the boys would probably want to come again, so I just picked five quarts. By Friday afternoon, I had about three cups of blueberries left...and I didn't make anything with them! My children received a hefty dose of antioxidants from the blueberries, and I guess I shouldn't complain about it. They are very, very small berries, but they are deliciously sweet. When I made muffins with the remaining few cups of berries, I cut down on the sugar simply because of the sweetness of the berries. It was another fun Maine adventure. 

                       Blueberry Adventures! 

We also had our first family over for dinner last week. The pastor and his wife, from a local church,  came over for supper on Tuesday of last week. We had such a good time of fellowship. They both are from Maine and have lived in this state all of their lives. They conversations hold such a wealth of information about the state and area. It really was a sweet evening of conversation. They left our house with plans to do something again in the future. The pastor's wife called me on Thursday to thank me for the good time, and to invite us over to their house sometime in the next few weeks. I am looking forward to that. 

Roger finally had off on Saturday, and he spent much of the day trying to fix the wash machine and the dishwasher of which neither was successful. In between that he was busy trying to take the boys on individual dates. The boys are getting older, and we try to catch molehill problems before they become mountains of problems. He needed to spend some one-on-one time with them. I appreciate the fact with in the middle of everything that he needed to get done, he spent time with them. Also on Saturday, we had a small birthday celebration for all of our August birthdays! Hannah and Josh came down for the evening, and we had cake, birthday presents, and fun. Since Emma, Travis, and Garett all have birthdays this month, we combined everything into one event. It was fun for the kids even though I know they missed having friends to invite. 

On Sunday we visited yet another church. I can see why people like to see our family come...who wouldn't want a bunch of kids to come to church?! However, although it seems like more people attend church than in Wisconsin the majority are older folks. This was a church that had the liveliest pastor and music group but the most senior citizens in the congregation. I think we noticed a total of two children in the  group that was there on Sunday. Do I think we could be a blessing to that church? Absolutely! And there were some things that we really liked about the church family. However, not only would there be a lack of common age friends  for our children, there would also be a lack of common age friends for Roger and I. Now don't get me wrong...I love older people! I can learn so much from them, but Roger and I are both praying for a church that has a variety of ages of people in the congregation. Like I said in an earlier post, we've seen opportunities to serve at every church we've visited. And we pray daily, sometimes hourly, for peace about a church. It may seem like we are picky or taking too long, but since this is a place we are looking to invest in the lives of others as well as the place for our children to grow in their relationships with the Lord, we aren't going to be rushed into this.

We attended another local free event on Sunday afternoon. This one was held at a local farm stand and orchard. They hosted a neighbor night, and invited everyone in the area for a free meal on their property. Like most Maine events that we've gone to, this one was alcohol-free and family friendly.  And it was free food! The kids had a great time playing on the tractors and swings. It's been fun to experience different events around here, and to see the kids reactions to the activities offered such as the lobster crate race, the Moxie chugging challenge (a Maine soda drinking contest), and harness racing. I'm thankful for the life experiences that they are enjoying first hand. 

We rejoice in God's sovereignty  and thank Him for his goodness to us. We are blessed. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A BIG Blessing and a Birthday!

                                            Lobster Festival!! 

The big, big blessing and praise is at the bottom of the page, so be sure to read that part! 

This is a link to photos from the Lobster Festival: 

Since August has begun, we've celebrated Emma's third birthday, met with Wyatt's teacher, and participated in our first ever Lobster Festival! 

It's hard to believe that Emma has turned three! She's fully potty trained, even at night, knows most of her alphabet, and is becoming fiercely independent! She's keeps her brothers busy as she has figured out how to open drawers, closets, boxes, and other things that the boys use to store their treasures in. Emma's favorite color is pink, she doesn't like being dirty or wet, and her brothers are her best friends and worst enemies. It was a quiet birthday, as Hannah and Josh were working. They are coming down later in the month for a family celebration. Emma was happy with her birthday present of a pink back pack from Nana and Papa, a new toothbrush set and clothes from aunt Jen, and five dollars from Grandpa and Grandma. Emma celebrated her second birthday in Arizona, and she had her third birthday in Maine! 

                           Happy Birthday Emma!! 

We also met with Wyatt's teachers this week. She also gave Travis a kindergarten screening test. She has been teaching for many years, and I can tell that she is comfortable around children. Travis did not excel at the screening test as I thought he would. He's had half a year of kindergarten, but he apparently forgot all he learned! Oh well, he did pass and he is ready for kindergarten. As inconvenient as it might be to drive back and pick him up from half-day kindergarten, I'm looking forward to having him home in the afternoon. Wyatt also did a bit of screening and he is a little behind where he should be for second grade. It's hard to know though how much of that is actually behind, and how much of that is ten weeks of summer break! I am reviewing with him over the next several weeks though, just to try to help him along. Wyatt seems to like his teacher, and I think she will be a good teacher for him. We are two and one-half weeks out from starting a big change in our lives. Our children are excited, and I am looking forward to seeing how God uses this experience in their lives. 

The Lobster Festival was this past weekend. It was all things Lobster!! It's a five day festival that is held at a local town near here, it costs money to go on Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday is reserved for family fun day, and it is free. There was a big parade on Saturday that was free as well, and the kids received enough candy for a year! The parade was one and one-half hours long, with various bands, lobster floats, candy throwers, fire trucks, and did I mention lobster floats?! Oh, and also a float for hosting the woman who earned the title "Maine's fastest knitter" at the festival on Wednesday. Roger was working, so I took the kids to the parade. Roger has been working a lot, and I find myself praying for rain just so that he will get to come home early! I had a good time with our kids though, and it was a good introduction to something that occurs every year in the first week of August around here. 

On Sunday, the festival offers a kids fun run, a 5k race, and a 10k race. Garett and Chandler both wanted to participate in the kids fun run, and I decided to run the 10k. My policy with race events on Sunday has always been that I have to be done in time for church. The race started fairly early in the morning, and I finished before church! It was a good reminder that I can push my body harder, and it was a good reminder on Monday that I'm not 23 years old any more!! 😚

We spent the afternoon at the festival, watching the lobster crate races, the family events, and eating unhealthy food. It was a good time as a family, and the boys have decided that they would like to participate in a few other events next year. I am thankful that Roger had off so that we could enjoy the day together. 

And, I've found someone to come to our house for supper! We ran into the Pastor and his wife of one of the churches that we visited at Walmart, and I invited them to supper. We are having dinner with them on Tuesday evening. I'm looking forward to having dinner and fellowship with them. God is good. 

Rogers brother, Nate, is coming to visit for a few days. I know that Roger is looking forward to having his brother around, and I'm thankful that the Lord worked it out for him to come. 

Now...for a really big blessing!!! Did I mention that God is good?! So, the director of the school board sent me an e-mail this morning. She mentioned that someone had sent in a check to cover the boys registration fees of $225.00 each, and enough extra to cover almost two months of tuition! How awesome is that?! I have been praying for God to show himself strong in this school decision, and He is doing exactly that. While I cried tears of joy, I was rejoicing that God continues to show himself strong. I don't know who sent in the money, but it was used to bless my heart more than words can express. 

"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3: 20-21