Our family

Our family

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thanksgiving!

                                                           Travis at ice skating lessons

This post is a little dated...obviously. But it has some memories in it that we want to remember.

Like most Americans, we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. Roger and I were just discussing how fast the year flew by. A year ago we were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family in Wisconsin. Now we are getting ready to start a Thanksgiving celebration in a different state entirely. I'm going to miss seeing my parents, my sister, Jen, and many close friends gathered around our table. However, we are looking forward to dinner with my sister, Hannah, as well as Roger's parents.

The past week was a busy one which is of no surprise to anyone! I spent a lot of time at the school helping prepare for the school fundraiser auction on Friday. Since we are new to the school, this was a different experience for us obviously. The boys were very excited about it along with most of the kids in the school. Roger had to work on Friday, but he did make it to the auction part. The boys were "runners" meaning that they worked with the other school kids bringing the items to the auctioneer and then people would bid on them. We had been given 136 items to auction and it was everything from gift certificates to toys to jewelry to antiques and anything in between. I, along with two other moms, worked with the kids getting the items in the right order and having the kids take the items out front. There were some moments of chaos as we worked to get the items in the right order and tying to make sure the kids didn't switch what they were carrying with another student! All in all, I thought it went really well. Of course, I have nothing to compare it to, so I'll let you know next year how it really was...if I help out with it again. The drawback to helping in the back is not getting to really watch the auction or participate much, but that's okay. It helped us stay on budget! πŸ˜€ Roger could've bid on items but he was helping with Emma, and he was exhausted after working all day. He left with the boys and Emma shortly after the auction was over as he had to be at work at 4:30am. The auction dinner started at five pm, with the auction itself starting at 6:30pm. It was about 9:00pm, when we finished selling the last item, so the kids were ready to be done.

There was a slight hiccup in the events of the evening that I heard about the next day. I am really not going to even say what happened, other than I could use some extra prayers. There was a storm in my life, and I'm waiting for God to send the rainbow. I do believe that the challenge is past and behind me, but it was painful to me. I was hurting, but God sent grace and mercy to me. I rejoice in who He is, and that I can think on things that are true, lovely, good report, and pure. We truly do serve an amazing God.

On Sunday we were able to have a family from church over for lunch. It has been such a long time since we have been able to do that, and it was an encouragement to me. Lunch certainly wasn't anything fancy, but the fellowship and friendship was great! We are starting to settle in at church, matching names and faces, and getting involved with church activities. I am playing the piano for a ladies Christmas group which is a blessing to me.

Roger's parents arrived on Wednesday, November 23. It's been a while since we've seen them and we enjoyed spending a few days with them. Roger and his dad left early on Thanksgiving morning to drive to New Hampshire. Our vehicle was ready to be picked up. It's nice to have a vehicle back!  We celebrated Thanksgiving with Roger's parents along with my sister, Hannah. After a large meal, we went to the Breakwater Lighthouse to walk it off! It was a Little chilly out by the water, but it was a good walk. Of course, that also meant that we now had room for pie!

Hannah and I spent some time together on Friday. We are not crazy Black Friday shoppers by any means, but it was a festive day together. It actually was not very crowded any of the places we visited. I'm not sure if  Mainers aren't really in to Black Friday, or if they had already done their shopping with the stores opened at midnight. Maine has a law that prohibits Black Friday shopping on Thursday, so some the stores opened at midnight. At midnight, I was sleeping in my bed! Hannah and I are terrible about taking pictures when we spend time together, but we should try harder since we are making memories.

On Saturday, Roger went to work and his dad was able to go with him. The weather wasn't great, but Roger did get in a few flights. The kids and I took trash to the dump, cleaned up the house, and took Grandma to the Maine Prison showroom store. It's  a store that sells wood working projects that the prisoners have made. It was a fun, low key day.

On Monday Roger had to work, and his parents needed to get to the bus stop in Portland to catch a bus to Boston. I certainly  didn't mind taking them down to Portland, but I decided to take Travis with me. It would've been a tight time line to get back in time to pick him up at 11:30. We made it to the bus stop on time, and I enjoyed my time with our two youngest children.

As we thought on Thanksgiving last week, I came up with some thoughts about our move to Maine. We have much to be thankful for, and I want to remind myself and our children of that often.

T- Transition 
     Transitioning to Maine has helped us draw closer together as a family. It has strengthened our personal convictions as a couple and as parents as we looked at various churches deciding what one God would want us to become a part of.
H-Home
    God has blessed us with a home at the end of a dead end road. It's 20 minutes from Roger's work, and it's 20 minutes to school and church. It's a good spot for us.
A- Attitude 
    A good attitude has been imperative in our move to Maine. Having five children watching how I respond has deepened my relationships with them as we weed through our emotions, facts, and feelings.
N-New experiences 
    We are truly blessed with having so many new experiences. The boys have been able to fly with Roger, hike to numerous lighthouses, try lobster, swim in the Atlantic Ocean, and so much more.
K- Konnection
      Yes. I am aware that connection starts with a "c". I'm thankful that Maine has provided an opportunity for Roger and I to re-connect in our marriage and our family. With Roger being gone for training most of 2014, living in Arizona for some of 2015, and moving to Maine in 2016, we have needed this time together. We've grown closer to each other and our Heavenly Father during these last few months.
S- Salvation and school 
      Salvation is clearly not just a Maine idea, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention how thankful I am for my salvation. Salvation is a free gift offered by Jesus Christ, and I don't ever want to forget what He did for me at Calvary.
       School....The Christian School ranks high on my list of things I'm thankful for in Maine. It has been a bit of a silver lining, and we ar thankful that the boys have the opportunity to attend there.
G  Great job for Roger
       Roger is enjoying a job that is a special opportunity for him. He has a grea boss and working at Penobscot Island Air is enjoyable for him. Roger has a special aviation talent, and I'm thankful to see him using his talent at a job he enjoys.
I   In laws
     We were not sure if we'd have anyone for Thanksgiving dinner other than ourselves and Hannah. I'm thankful that Roger's parents were able to join us. Rogers dad played many games of ping pong with the kids, and Roger's mom kept my baskets of laundry folded and the socks matched!
V AdVentures
     We have been able to explore so many new things in Maine. There is so much history here, and so much to see and do.  My favorite part is that much of it is free!
I Islands 
    As in every state, Gods handiwork is beautiful! We are blessed to live in the mid coast region. We have enjoyed flights over the islands, and we are soaking in Gods beautiful handiwork!
N Needs
   Garett came up with this one. When I asked him why we are thankful for needs, his theology seeemd a little shaky. Howeve, it was an opportunity to assure him that he is right. We do need to be thankful for needs. Our needs present us with the opportunity to ask our Heavenly Father for whatever we need and to praise Him for whatever He does!
G Glory to God!
  To God be the Glory! We have seen the hand of God on our lives and the lives of our children. We look forward to another year to praise the Lord!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Vehicle? Maybe...

So many things have happened in the course of a week both in our lives and in our country. It's been an exciting week to be an American, and I'm was/am rejoicing in the choice of the American people for a new leader. Apparently...in case you didn't know, people are shocked and amazed that Mr. Donald Trump is the president-elect! And now we have riots and protests in the streets against the decision that was made by the voters. Did you know that 90 million eligible American voters did not vote?! I wonder how many of those protesting actually voted?! I firmly believe that the reason that we have such protesting and violence is mostly because we raised a generation that was given anything that they pitched a fit for, and now they are suprised that it's not working! You all know about the parents in the grocery store that tell their children five times that they can't have candy. Then the child lays down on the floor screaming and kicking.  The embarrassed parent leans over and whispers "Get off the floor and you can have candy". It shouldn't be a suprise that the child bounces up and gleefully grabs the candy! Should it be a surprise to us now that these children have grown up that they act the same way? I think not! However, while I think we need to have grace and patience with those that are disappointed for the outcome of the election, they need to grow up.

Anyways, Roger had to work in Wednesday and I had to get up and get everyone going for school. We prayed together as a family, and expressed to our children that no matter what the outcome of the election would be, we would still praise God. God was still going to be in control on Wednesday morning, Roger and I would still work to raise our children for His glory, and life would go on. We have continued to pray for our nation, and I would encourage you to do the same.

                                                            Travis and Emma

I spent some time on Tuesday walking with my friend, Allison. When we came back to church, I played the piano for a while as that always soothes my soul. Then Emma and I picked up Travis, did our lunch duty and headed off to vote. It was a bit like stepping back in time as we filled out the ballots on paper rather than doing them electronically. However, it went smoothly. Maine was also voting on the legalization of marijuana, raising of minimum wage, an extra tax on people that make more than $200k, and on more gun regulations. I voted "no" on all of them. Unfortunately, the only one that didn't pass was more gun regulations and while I am very thankful for that, I'm not too thrilled about the other referendums that passed. Don't worry though, I'm not planning on having a fit over it!πŸ˜„


Wednesday was the day that I was rejoicing in what God had done. I'm not under any illusions about the president elect. He desperately needs our prayers.  However, one of the two major candidates was going to be the next president. Mrs. Clinton would have been a difficult one for me to rejoice over especially as I think about what her moral standards appear to be. Our nation is in need of intense prayer right now, as we are a country divided. As Christian people, we need to pray for our nation and ask God to specifically  work in our country. Also today was an early release day from school for the kids. The teachers are going to a convention, so the kids have a few days off of school. I went and helped with the ice skating lessons again today, as a friend was willing to watch Emma for me. Roger was unable to get off work, but I do enjoy going with the kids.



On Thursday Roger had a day off of work. He spent the day looking for a vehicle...and he found one. We decided to drive down to look at the vehicle. The kids weren't necessarily thrilled about driving to New Hampshire to look at a vehicle, but since there were not any other options, they came. πŸ˜€They are good travelers, and we made good time to the vehicle place. We took the Honda Pilot for a test drive, and the boys pronounced it a good vehicle! I liked it because it seats eight, had about 100k, and was in our budget that we could pay upfront for it. Roger was able to convince the man to go a bit lower, and we left with two vehicles. It made for a bit of a long day, but we are rejoicing in God's provision. The only drawback is that we couldn't get it insured until Monday. Friday  was Veterans Day, and the insurance place was not open on Saturday or Sunday. However, it is now
insured and we just have to go to the town office to pay the excise tax. I had never heard of such a tax before moving to Maine.

Friday was "sister day"! I wish I was better about take pictures when we go do stuff together, but we had a fabulous day. We went down to Freeport to check out the outlet stores, and to do some Christmas  shopping. I really enjoyed my time, and I so appreciated  Roger's day off. Roger is a fabulous dad, and I am blessed to be his wife. He loves me. 😘

Saturday found Roger back at work, and me and the kids hanging out at home. It was a good day for them to just be at home, out in the woods, raking leaves, building forts, and playing with legos. I do love them so much, and I enjoy the days when they are home from school.

Also this past week, Roger hit a deer with his car. The bummer part is that the deer isn't dead, and the car is damaged. When it rains, it pours! Of course, property taxes are due this week also! 😳Rogers boss loaned us a second vehicle so that Roger could get back and forth to work, and I could take the kids to school. We have done some great advertising for his work this week since the vehicles have the logo on the sides. I also drive very carefully! 😊 Roger broke a brake line on the car, lost a headlight and mirror, and dented the side panel. The good news is that the car will be driveable again. It won't be pretty, but it will get us around. His car is currently at the shop, but I am rejoicing that we can get it fixed. Hopefully, our vehicle troubles are behind us, we can get them all registered and Maine insured, and we can go back to putting aside money for the next thing. Oh, God is so good to us! If I have learned one lesson over the course of the past two years, it's about how God will provide
for our needs. I wish I could say that now I pray about stuff and don't worry, but then I'd be lying. I'm working on it!

Update: I haven't even posted this post, and it is already outdated! So....the vehicle we bought is causing us some concern. Roger drove it to work on Monday, and it started to run very loudly. Oh no! We noticed ...I mean, Roger, noticed that a patch job had fallen off the exhaust. We took it to a car inspection place and service person that many people from school go to on Tuesday. The mechanic
inspected the exhaust and also looked it over since we mentioned to them that we had just bought the vehicle. The mechanic discovered some things that need repairing which is a problem since we just
bought the vehicle! Roger immediately called the car dealer that we had bought the car from and expressed his strong disappointment...okay, it was more like anger!  Roger does not have the angry very often, but he felt that the dealer had misrepresented the vehicle. Roger told them that we would be bringing the vehicle back to them the next day. They said they weren't sure how they would solve the issue, but they would look at the vehicle. We both just wanted our money back, but knew that they wouldn't want to do that because of the title and giving back our money. However, something had to happen.


I asked my friend, Allison, if she would take the older three boys after school. Because the kids have ice skating on Wednesday, we felt it best if we didn't leave until after that. Travis and Emma had to come with us, but they did great in spite of a long day in the car. Roger left a bit ahead of us because I didn't want the kids exposed to that adult conversation. We had told our children of the situation, and we had prayed that we would specifically see God work. Chandler asked why would God let us get a vehicle that wants to take all our money. It was a good opportunity to express why we trust God even when things are hard. Perhaps God allowed the muffler piece to fall off so that we would realize that other things are wrong with it. I will say that the boys are learning the power of prayers as we adventure through life.


                                                                 Ice Skating!!
I picked up Travis early from school, made arrangements for the older boys to go with Allison, and started down the road. It was a long day. By the time we arrived at the car shop, Roger was through discussing the problem. He explained what the other mechanics had found and how disappointed he was with the dealership. They didn't see it as their problem at first, but at Rogers insistence they agreed to put the car on the lift. The mechanic admitted that there was a problem, but he wasn't willing to give our money back. He asked for an opportunity to "make it right to us, and he said they would fix it. I'm not sure how much confidence Roger and I have in that, but we are praying that they exceed our expectations. Would you please be in prayer for that also? We drive a lot, and we need a vehicle that can go a long time for many years. God is faithful and I'm thankful that He sees the big picture.

I have had the opportunity to learn a few things this week.
1) It takes two hours and forty-two minutes to get to the car dealer in New Hampshire.
2) New Hampshire does not have income tax, which I already knew, but it's a cool fact.
3) If nothing else, Roger and I have been able to have two separate conversations that have been at least two hours and forty-two minutes long.
4) We found a car mechanic for future reference near us.
5) We have some good friends in Maine
6) The whole situation could always be worse. πŸ˜‰
The beautiful sunset...and our vehicle 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Heart Full...and My Vote on Tuesday!



"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." Patrick Henry

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism." George Washington



Oh my! My heart is full this week, and I have much to write about in the story of our lives.

Monday: As you might remember, Monday was October 31. The kids had a full day of school, but we also signed up to participate in our church's "Trunk and Treat Event". I didn't realize until Sunday that most people decorated their trunks for the event. So, I went home and went directly to Pinterest! I gleaned a few ideas, but you would've still needed to use your imagination on Monday night to figure out what I was trying to create! (Roger is the artist, not me!) We've never participated in an activity as this one, but it was fun. The kids had a good time helping pass out treats, playing the ring toss game we brought, and visiting with other kids. I know a lot of Christians greatly frown down upon Halloween events, but I can also see what a community outreach this event was to the town. We did have to look for kids, they came to us! It was a wonderful opportunity to give the community a safe event, and for the church to present our children's ministry and other ministries. The boys have never dressed up for Halloween, but I told them they could be anything they wanted to be as long as it was something we already had a home. Garett was a soccer player (who about froze since he wore shorts). Chandler and Wyatt were ice skaters with roller blades. Travis was a lobster man. He declared that this would be easy because all he would need is rubber boots and a trash bag. (We do see a lot of sternmen around town wearing rubber boots and carrying a trash bag.) Travis built his own lobster trap by tying two milk crates together. Roger was working on Monday so he wasn't able to be there, but it was a good opportunity for the kids to serve others. We did have to have some discussion on the way home about Halloween, but I was thankful for the opportunity to again assure my children that "this is the day that the Lord hath made." Satan may try to take that day, but we are "lights on a hill" and today we had the opportunity to share Jesus. (You may disagree with me, and that's fine.)

                        Emma thought the leaf pile outside was so much fun that she brought it inside!

Tuesday: Well, I was the impromptu music teacher today. The lady who normally teaches music was not feeling well, and I was asked if I would be able to teach. At first I said "no", since music class started in five minutes. However after I walked away, I walked back and said yes. I know how important it is for the teachers to get a little bit of a break to grade papers, or whatever they need to do. It was not a well prepared lesson, and I'm thankful that no one was critiquing it. However, I did teach four different music classes, and the teachers got a break. Emma was with me the whole morning, so she was ready to go home also. We played quite a few games of musical chairs and "name that tune". πŸ˜„ I also had lunch duty that day, so it was a bit of a long day. It was nice to go home  for rest time.

Wednesday: The school started their four week course on ice skating today. Oh, how excited the boys were about going to school today! A older lady in the church offered to watch Emma in the nursery to I could help out with ice skating. The school was asking parents to come along and help tie skates or go on the ice with the kids. Emma was perfectly willing to play in the nursery, and I was happy to help with ice skating....after all, it's fun exercise! πŸ˜„ Roger was able to get away from work for a bit to come out as well. It's a delight to my heart to know that our kids enjoy having Roger and I come along to their special activities. By the time ice skating was over, it was about time to help out with the hot lunch. The school serves hot lunch once every two weeks, and I usually help prepare and serve if needed. I could tell that the kids had enjoyed the morning of ice skating, but everyone was looking a bit tired! Travis was even ready to go home and take a nap!

As I look back on the week, I see how busy it was for us. No wonder we were ready for the week to be over! I'm thankful for the opportunities to serve, but writing about it also makes me aware of how much I need to guard against adding more things to our lives.

Thursday was a fun morning walk with my friend, Allison. We've become good friends, and she doesn't mind walking with me. πŸ˜„ We also usually enjoy coffee together, so I look forward to the days that we manage to get in a walk together.

Friday was chapel day at school. I have been playing the piano some for chapel, and it's definitely something I enjoy. It's a bit of a challenge to watch Emma while trying to play the prelude, but I think  we have worked something out. It reminds me of our days in Alaska when I would try to play the piano, sing the hymn, and give my children "the eye" which  meant "sit down and behave"! Oh, the memories!

On Friday we also went out to the Pastor's house for chili and a bonfire. Roger met us there, as he was working. He worked for eight straight days, so we didn't stay late. We did have such a wonderful time of fellowship, and it was an encouragement to our family.

Saturday....Roger was off work! Hooray!! We spent the day cleaning up the yard, taking trash to the dump, and preparing for the winter. The boys were thrilled when we said we were done for the day!  It was a tiring day, but we did get a lot accomplished. We ended the day with homemade pizza and several rounds of hide and seek. We are about to the stage where we don't have to hide anyone anymore or pretend to not see the child hiding under the couch cushion. We actually have to look these days!

Sunday...it's another day to worship the Lord together! Roger has off again today, so that makes my morning a bit easier. I was able to get in a quick run before church, which was a reminder that it's been a while!

The upcoming election has been heavy on my heart. I feel like the very freedoms that our forefathers fought to protect and preserve are on the line. The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake and many Americans seem to be caught in a quandary about whom to vote for in the election. I'm not going to say anything that you haven't already heard or read, but we need to be on our knees for our country. As I was running this morning, the thoughts of the election were so heavy on my mind that tears started to stream down my cheeks. (Good thing we do not live on a busy road!) How much we need our God to intervene! Neither candidate is a great choice, but I cannot vote for anyone who wants to abort babies at any stage of life, does not care about our military, nor does she care about religious freedoms for Christians. I will be voting for Mr. Trump on Tuesday. I will not bury my head in the sand and think a third party candidate can win. I wish to protect my children,  and I love the U.S.A. I am praying for God to allow Mr. Trump to be the next president of this nation. I am so passionate about this election and what it  could mean for the future of  America that I have committed to fast and pray for two days. I'm not telling you that to get attention, but to encourage you to think about doing the same. Please be in fervent prayer for our nation.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Thankful Heart

We make choices in our lives on a moment to moment basis, and for this moment I am choosing thankfulness! It's easy to wish things were different or easier or whatever, but the truth of the matter is "wishing doesn't make it so". In light of the events of the past week, I choose to be thankful because it is the right choice. And November is coming up, so it's a extra special time to practice being thankful! πŸ˜€


1) I am thankful for a vehicle to drive. I wish I had my own vehicle but since ours broke down last week, I am thankful we have one to drive. Last week, I went to the park with a friend instead of heading home after picking up Travis. The Lord's sovereign hand was in that event as I noticed on the way to the park that the brakes felt "squishy". When I reached the park, I check underneath the truck. A brown liquid was streaming out of the bottom of the truck. I called Roger (who was proud of me for noticing πŸ˜€), and he talked to his boss. Roger's boss graciously allowed Roger to leave work to check on our truck and even sent Roger with the company suburban as a replacement vehicle! Roger was able to limp our truck back to the airport where it is currently sitting. We are now REALLY looking for a vehicle, but we have yet to find one that will meet our needs. It needs to sit eight as an extra seat is really nice, get better gas mileage than the suburban, still have lots of miles that it can go, and be the right price! And yes, God does have one for us! I am confident in that.

2) I am thankful for the dentist. We finally found a dentist that would take our insurance. Emma has needed to see the dentist for a while now, but we struggled to find a dentist to take our insurance. This dentist was able  to get Emma in on Wednesday. Emma was a bit of a basket case, but she did cooperate enough for them to decide to give her a referral to a pediatric dentist. She has one tooth that isn't right, and I have to set up an appointment for her to see the pediatric dentist. The receptionist told me as I was leaving that she had some cancellations for the next day, and she could fit in all the boys. It's about an hour drive to the dentist, but if all the boys could be seen in one afternoon, I was all about that! So back to the dentist we went on Thursday afternoon. Two of the boys have one cavity each, and two of the boys did not have any cavities. However, three out of the four received referrals to see the orthodontist! Yikes! Anyways, I am thankful that there are orthodontists and dentists to see to the needs of our teeth!

3) Roger spent much of the week working...no surprise there. But I'm thankful for the days that he can work, and it's getting darker earlier! Yay! Twice this week we were able to each supper all together as a family, and I am thankful for that.

4) I am thankful for the friendships that I am making. I went walking with a mom from school this week, and I was able to use my new carrier for Emma. A friend, Jenn, from Wisconsin sent me a new carrier for Emma. She noticed how much we go walking, and she decided to send us a new one. It came on a particularly disheartening day, and God greatly encourage me through her kindness. I go walking usually one morning a week with another mom, and I have certainly enjoyed her friendship to me.

5) I am thankful for our church. Now that we have committed to this church, it's exciting to be involved. We are starting to match names and faces, and we have been blessed and encouraged. It's also important that we keep a balance in it all. With having the kids in the school, and being a part of the church, Roger and I are realizing quickly that we cannot do it all. There are too many events that need help, but I am learning to guard our family times with a fervency. I do not want to experience "burn out" again, and I do not want our children to feel that they are only home for short periods of time. That's what it felt like this week with back to back dentist appointments and a special church event on Wednesday and Sunday afternoon. But we are on to a new week and new choices!

6) We are thankful for praying friends. Many have sent texts or asked how Wyatt is doing. Honestly, he seems to be adjusting just fine. I don't think all the mountains are behind us in this experience of moving back to first grade, but I know that many are praying for his transition.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Difficult Decision


 




                                                                  Wyatt

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,
Sarah

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.