Our family

Our family

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lake Days! Family Time!

Last week we were able to get away for a few days to a cabin on a lake. We are blessed to have wonderful friends who allowed us to use their cabin for a few days. Hannah and Josh were able to come to the lake also, along with my sister Jenn. There is no television, no internet, and minimal distractions at the cabin. We visited, played games, spent a LOT of time outside, went tubing, waterskiing, and used the paddle boards. Roger drove the boat, and we found some water skies in a  closet. I told the boys that I would try waterskiing, and their mouths dropped incredulously. I have water skied before...um, a very, very long time ago. But since the boys seemed to think it highly unlikely that their mama could do it, I was determined to give it my very best shot! I got in the water, put on the skies, waved to Roger that I was ready, and away we went! And....I did it! I got up on the skies on the first try!! I have to admit that I even shocked myself!

It was a wonderful few days, and we truly treasured our time there. The kids made memories that they will look back on as they continue to grow, and we invested in their lives in an important way. We went up on Wednesday afternoon, and we came home on Saturday afternoon. Roger had to work on Wednesday, so Jenn and I went up with the kids. Roger was exhausted from seven straight days of work, so he decided to come up on Thursday morning after a good nights rest. He brought up the boat with him, and we had such fun! We took a trip on Friday afternoon in the boat to get ice cream, and that was a special treat for our children. I soaked up their dirty faces, delighted eyes, and sun-kissed skin. I sure do love these children that God has entrusted to us!

I had been asked to play the piano at a different church on Sunday, and when the secretary sent me  the list of songs, I wasn’t familiar with some of them. When we arrived home on Saturday afternoon, I went to get the music and then headed right to our church to practice for a bit. Anything that is in a     hymnal I can usually figure out fairly quickly (and I generally know all of those). However, the newer  contemporary choruses can be a bit trickier for me. I wouldn’t say that I’m an overly talented piano player so I actually have to work quite a bit to figure it out all correctly. That was a bit of a challenge as I was short on time! However, the church was very gracious and kind. I enjoyed the Sunday morning and Sunday night service. Roger was working so he was unable to come with us, but the messages were very good. My heart was blessed and encouraged. The pastor spoke on one of the fruits of the spirit on Sunday night. He spoke on the fruit gentleness. These fruits of the spirit are evidences of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, and I was convicted of how much I need to ask God to give me the spirit of gentleness. Sometimes I am not gentle in my dealings with my children, my spouse, or  around me. Yet this is a fruit that can also help point people to Jesus! I need to be gentle as it is a reflection of Christ in me. It’s easy to get sharp with my kids, respond grouchily to the 100th question, or be irritated at what they are doing. But...do I respond with gentleness? It was a good message. I’m glad God brought me to church to hear His Word preached. And I am thankful to be asked to play the piano and use whatever ability God has given me for His glory.

Okay, enough writing...I have lots of pictures to share!
 

     

    

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summer Break & Upcoming Fun!

Last week we celebrated the Fourth of July, spent some time with friends, and spent a lot of time outside! Roger has been working long days as of late, but we are getting away for a few days at the end of this week with our family along with my sisters.

Last Tuesday the boys had some friends over for the day. Wes and Levi attended the boys school two years ago, but the boys have maintained the friendship. It was a good day for the boys and they enjoyed tromping around in the woods, nerf guns, being loud, and getting in the water at the park.

Wednesday was the Fourth of July, and our family was up early! A local town hosts a kids fun run (a mile long) and a 5k race. The boys and Emma all wanted to do the fun run (and it’s free), and the race started at 8:00am. It was already starting to get really warm by 8:00am. Chandler placed sixth last year, and he really wanted to try to do better this year. He was off like a shot with Wyatt and Travis not far behind! Roger had walked down the course a bit, and by the time Emma reached him she was crying! She wanted to be done with the fun run, and it wasn’t fun anymore! But you know, when you start something, you need to finish it! Roger refused to carry her, and she cried for most of the mile. She kept saying that her tummy was hurting, which it very well could have been with the heat and her anxiety! However, she did finish...and she wasn’t quite the last one! That might be her last “fun” run for a while, but she did do it! Garett was towards the end of the pack as well, but he doesn’t get too bothered by people beating him! Chandler finished second in the race with a time of 5:36! He was a little bummed that he couldn’t quite catch the first place runner, but he gave it his all. Wyatt finished sixth with Travis right on his heels! I had decided to run the 5k race, which isn’t a very long race, but  it was hot! I usually try to run right away in the morning, so by the time the race started at 8:30 the temperature was already getting uncomfortable. I finished fifth in my age group with a time of 25: 42.    I am about 30 seconds slower than I was two years ago, so maybe my age is catching up to me?! In the last two hundred meters there was a lady ahead of me that I wanted to catch. I did manage to catch her, but by the time I crossed the finish line my head was pounding and dizziness was closing in...it was too hot for me! I told Roger that I was glad I managed to catch the lady at the end, but then when I looked at the results in the paper, I realized that she was 52 years old! I mean, she was right behind me and she’s 52! Suddenly, I feel like I have a lot of work to do to be where she is when I’m 52!!

After the race, we went home. I needed to pick up a few groceries for the Fourth of July dinner wenwere having with my sister, Hannah, and her husband, Josh. We had originally thought about going to the parade, but no one (except Emma) wanted to sit in the hot sun and watch the parade! Instead I went grocery shopping, and then we headed to the lake. Our friends, Allison and Jason, invited us to their cabin on the lake for the afternoon. I don’t think the boys really got out of the water the whole time we were there! I even got in the water, so that tells you that the weather was hot! We came home around four, and we had dinner with Hannah and Josh around six. It was a low key evening, and a time to just relax and enjoy family. We didn’t make it to the fireworks much to the disappointment of our children, but Roger has had some long days! There will be an opportunity for us to see some fireworks later this summer, so the kids will look forward to that.

It felt like summer break last week as the responsibilities were low, the weather was beautiful, and it was a good week for just some down time. I took the kids to a cabin on a lake for a few days. I went with Teri (Kevin’s wife and Kevin is Roger’s boss). They have a cute little cottage on a lake, so the kids and I headed there on Thursday afternoon and stayed until Saturday. We had a good time ojust.  relaxing. The boys practically lived in the water while we were there, and Emma got in and out of her bathing suit like five hundred times! I told her she could just leave on her swimsuit, and then she would be ready to get in the water whenever she wanted to again. But she doesn’t like to be wet, so  she would get in the water for a while, change to dry clothes for a while, and then back into the     swimsuit! But since she’s mostly capable of doing it herself, I certainly didn’t see any need to    change her mind. I enjoyed my time getting to know Teri better, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to do this with the kids. We made lots of memories and soaked up the time together.

On Monday I took the children with me down to Portland. My sister, Jen, is coming in for a visit! The children are so excited! It will be good to have her visit with us for a bit, and it’s one of the signs that summer break is here. We don’t have any major plans except to spend time as a family with aunt Jen, and I’m hoping that Roger and I can squeeze in a date together! We look forward to these visits, and I’m thankful for the time and energy that Jen invests in our children.

Roger has been working more days than usual this month as we will be going away next month as a family! Roger’s Family is having a family reunion ...out in South Dakota! It’s a 33 hour drive from here (one way) so earlier in the summer we just didn’t see any possible way that we would be able to go! Obviously, family  is important to us, but so are time, finances and the  desire to put the children in the Christian school again.  We just weren’t sure how we would be able to manage to get our family all the way to South Dakota, but by God’s amazing grace and provision we are going, Lord willing! I will be flying out with the kids a few days early so that we can visit with my parents in Wisconsin. The boys are very excited about flying on a jet and seeing Nana and Papa! Roger will stay and work a few more days and then fly out to meet us to drive the rest of the way out to South Dakota. God has worked out hundreds of details for our family to be able to make this adventure work, and it will be good to see all of Roger’s Family. The cousins are growing up and these family reunions become a bit harder to coordinate as everyone spreads out, grows up, and has more responsibilities. I’m thankful that God provides this opportunity for our family. I certainly wish it was closer in our direction,  but God has proved Himself strong once again! As a family, we are looking forward to spending all that time with Roger. He enjoys his job, and we are extremely thankful for his job. He works with a great group of people (for the most part) and we have truly been blessed by the friendship of Kevin and Teri. God provided this job for Roger in His perfect timing, and also provided a Christian school for the children to attend. I am so blessed! I am reminded once again of  the verses  in Ephesians 3:20-21,  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that workers in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” 

 

  

 




Monday, July 2, 2018

VBS...Vacation Bible School or Very Busy Season?!

Summer break is here!!! It’s week three of official summer break,  but with Vacation Bible School in the rear view mirror, we are ready to relax!




Last week was so busy, tiring, and exhausting! It was also exhilarating, exciting, and awesome! Every day brought about new challenges, and those challenges consistently pointed me back to my Heavenly Father to cry out for guidance, strength, energy, protection, and a passion for Him. Last week, I was reminded of the verse in Matthew. Matthew 19:26 states, “ But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I realize that Jesus was closing a parable here, but this encouraged me last week. Vacation Bible school is an event that requires many, many hours of preparation work, prayers, planning, etc. But truly, it is God who brings the children. We can invite and encourage, but it is God who brings those dear little ones to us each day during VBS.

We started off our week last Sunday with a church picnic that included two other area churches. It was a combined singspiration service with a picnic following. Also, our church had a group of seven people come from Canada on a missions trip to help us with VBS. It was nice to have extra hands to help set up for the picnic as the work went faster. We had a quite a few people attend the service and stay for the picnic. Roger and another man in church grilled the hotdogs for lunch, and I am so thankful for Roger’s willingness to help out. He has interests and ways to serve that he enjoys too, but he never hesitates to pitch in wherever needed. He painted and prepared both the backdrop and a moose for me this week. I could’ve never have done all the work I needed to do without Roger’s willing heart and capable hands. I am blessed to have him by my side. We finally left church about three after cleaning up from the picnic, having a short meeting with the team for VBS, and doing some last minute final touches to a few things. It was a quite a long day to head into an equally tiring week, but God’s grace is always sufficient.

I greeted the dawn on Monday morning as I was up early. The first day is generally the hardest. The kids haven’t yet learned a Bible lesson, they don’t know what’s on the schedule next, and they are the hardest to excite on the first day. Roger left for work early, but not before taking the time to pray with me over the day. He knows the work and heart that has been poured into this, but also that our desire is to see God glorified and to point the children to Jesus.  I arrived at church with my kids early. It looked like rain and it was drizzling just a little. We set up the registration table inside due to the drizzle, but thankfully, Allison (one of the ladies from Canada) was willing to take some of the kids outside. We definitely wanted people to know that we were still having VBS, and that we were prepared no matter what the weather was like! Thankfully, God cleared the skies a bit so that the children could go outside at game time. God brought us 76 kids that first day!! One of my friends, Hannah, had come from another church to help me with the preschooler class. I had not originally planned on teaching, but one of our teachers had to back out. Hannah agreed to help me, and I am so thankful for her! She has three little ones, but faithfully showed up each day of VBS and rotated teaching days with me. We averaged about eighteen kids every day in the preschool class, so we needed lots of extra hands! Jocelyn (one of the teens from Canada) also helped in that class and was a help also. We didn’t lose any of our kids all week (except for that one time when one of Hannah’s little ones went to her car to get a water bottle). It was a great week with that class, and that age group is a lot of fun. Although tiring, it was a good class. Also on Monday a dear friend from church gave me a gift of money. She knew that I would be having several of the team members stay in our home, and that I would have a bigger than usual grocery bill. I was so blessed by her thoughtfulness and generosity!


I came home on Monday afternoon more tired than I can remember for a very long time! The kids   were excited about VBS, and I worked hard to keep them excited. I do love and enjoy working with kids though, so it’s not hard to be excited about this week! I think the adrenaline rush was over in the afternoon, and I needed a nap! Thankfully, I was able to take a quick rest which gave me time to be still and pray. It was a good day.

Tuesday was day two of VBS! We had three teen boys staying at our house this week, so I asked to borrow a van from Rogers work. Kevin graciously gave us the use of his big van, so that I could get everyone to church every day. God brought us over 70 kids again on Tuesday! Praise the Lord!

Okay, I realized that if I write an essay on every day of VBS, this will be a very, very long post! I’m going to hit on some highlights and praises of the week instead.

1) On Wednesday, Allison, Hannah, our pastor’s wife, and myself made lunch for the team, and a few others. I wasn’t sure exactly how much spaghetti I would need, but God made it stretch enough to feed everyone.

2) God provides a meal for our family and the team from Canada on Wednesday. After VBS and lunch, the Canadian  team was talking over their plans for the rest of the day. They didn’t have a place to go for dinner so I invited them to come to our house for supper. I certainly enjoy having guests in our home, but as I walked away I immediately started thinking about what I would make for supper. I walked outside to check on my kids, and a lady from church (Robin) was walking in to pick up her grandkids. She said, “Hi, I made you supper.” My mouth about dropped open as I realized that God had just answered a prayer that I hadn’t even prayed yet! She had made chowder and fresh bread and enough to fed all of us! God is just so good!

3) After  cleaning up from lunch, I gathered my tribe to head home. Poor Chandler had a migraine, and he hadn’t even eaten lunch. I was going to head right home, but realized that I should take Roger some leftover spaghetti lunch. We headed out to the airport to give him lunch. When we arrived at the airport, the paparazzi was there interviewing Roger. Okay, I’m kidding! Two guys that were taking a media class had to make a video on a small local business. They had come out to see Roger’s  work, and had followed Roger around for the day to interview him. They wanted a few pictures of our family with him at the airport, so we all climbed out of the vehicle. Chandler wasn’t too crazy about having anyone take any pictures, but he did well. I will be excited to see the video these guys will make.

4) Allison invited us down to the lake to swim on Wednesday afternoon. Although tired, I wanted to just sit, relax, and fellowship with my friend. The kids were so excited to go to the lake, and even Emma got in the water. They also had the opportunity to go tubing, so that was so fun for them. Poor Chandler missed out as he wasn’t feeling well, but these headaches really knock him down.

5) Thursday was a rainy day, but God still brought us over 70 kids. The teen guys from Canada did a great job with games all week, so even though we were inside, the kids had a wonderful time. Roger had off on Thursday, so it was nice to have him around. After VBS, he helped me make supper for the team that came over for dinner. Roger made enchiladas which were delicious! We also had fruit, chips, salsa, guacamole, and Oreo dessert. I had originally thought that I would need to make lots and lots of popcorn on Thursday evening for the closing program on Friday, but Allison beat me to that job! She had it all done before I could even offer to help. I’m so thankful for her thoughtfulness.

6) Friday morning dawned beautiful and sunny! I was so glad to wake up on Friday morning and spend time with my Heavenly Father rejoicing that He had helped us through the week. The kids   commented at breakfast that they wished that VBS could go for another week! Meanwhile, I was singing at the top of my lungs “Praise the Lord” and “This is the Day”!

7) We had a good turnout of parents and guest for the closing program. It ran a tad bit long,  up it’s hard to squeeze everything in that is important! The children had brought in over $400.00 in the  penny offering! That’s a lot of pennies! The offering is going towards a VBS that will be happening  in Mexico in a few weeks. I was thankful that the penny scale never broke, and that Allison and several others were willing to count all those pennies every day! One little girl brought in about five dollars worth of pennies every day. She told Allison that her dad had gotten them from the bank. The pennies had been in rolls from the bank, but she had opened them all up and put them in a baggie! I got a good chuckle over the little girls face as she told Allison how hard it was to unroll them all!! And every day, Allison would re-roll all those pennies after the offering! Ah, I love these kids!

8) After the closing program, we had root beer floats and ice cream on the back church lawn. It was good to interact with all the parents, and to try to make connections with them. Then it was clean up time! I’m so thankful for many hands that made light work! It’s a big job to get everything put away, but many people stayed to help. The back of our van was full of VBS stuff that I would need to put away, but the church building was back in order for Sunday.

9) On  Friday afternoon we went down to the lake with the team and many people from church. The kids were excited to play with their friends, and I was thrilled that the week was behind us. God had certainly shown Himself strong by bringing us children, protecting us from harm, giving each worker energy and strength. VBS is an opportunity to interact with all kinds of kids, church kids, unchurched kids, great kids, naughty kids, rich ones and poorer ones. Yet this week they were all able to learn about God’s Forever forgiveness. They memorized 1 John 1:9 that they will hopefully remember all of their lives. I am thankful that I was able to have a part in this week. We surely serve a great God! I’m thankful for each person that was willing to have a part in VBS, and for those who prayed, gave financially, and gave of their time and efforts. My prayer was that God would be glorified  and to point the children to Jesus. I do believe that God answered those prayers.

10) Saturday morning - Roger took the team on a scenic flight before they left for home. I’m thankful that Roger had the opportunity to take them, and that his boss was willing to allow it to happen. They all seemed to have a great time on the flight, and the morning was beautiful weather. They all came to our house for breakfast before packing up and heading out. I made blueberry coffee cake, egg casserole, and fruit. God has blessed us with a home that allows us to have guests, and I was very thankful that our kids were able to see teens that had a desire to serve God this week.

Although a busy and tiring week, I just cannot help but sing the praises of my Heavenly Father. He brought the team from Canada to help us. He brought children to VBS. He gave strength and energy when I should’ve had nothing left. He truly is worthy of all our praise!

I am going to include a you tube video that was made from Rogers interviews. He is such a hard worker, man of deep faith and convictions, great dad, and wonderful husband. I truly enjoy watching this video as it is a small picture of what Roger does every day.  https://youtu.be/4n0VIvt2TQE


This week is over. Summer break has officially begun! I have a low key week planned, and a few fun activities for our children. I’m looking forward to some down time and for sitting still. The verse I have claimed for this week is  Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Summer Vacation?! Or Not Yet?

Today marks the ending of our first week of summer break! It’s hard to believe that last week we were finishing up the school year, as this week went by so quickly. We’ve been busy as a family working on decorating, setting up, and preparing for Vacation Bible School next week. Roger has been busy working, and when he’s not doing that he’s been painting a backdrop or cutting out a cardboard moose! Somehow the details always come together, but we definitely want to do our part to be prepared.

Last week was full of field trips and fun times for the kids-they greatly enjoy the last week of school. I went with Garett and Chandler’s class on a Puffin/Nature cruise tour. It was a bit dreary and chilly on Thursday to be out in a boat, but the class had a good time. We did see a few puffins, some porpoises, quite a few seals, and a few bald eagles. Although on the chilly side (did I mention that already?!), the kids enjoyed the tour, and I was thankful for the opportunity to go along. Friday marked the last day of school as well as our field day. We are dependent upon parents help to make field day happen for the kids, and it seemed like we were going to be short on volunteers. However, God brought the right people along to help coordinate a  half-day of outdoor fun and a picnic lunch for the children at the school. There’s something a bit bittersweet about wrapping up another school year. It marked the completion of another school year, and also the fact that our children have become older. While happy to finish up the school work, our friends will be missed over the summer break. We’ve come to love and appreciate the teachers and staff at the school, and I’m thankful for all that they invest in our children. The close of another year means that change will happen again in the fall, but I’m rejoicing in all that God did during the school year.

 

   


Roger had the day off last Saturday, so we spent the day on outside work, grocery shopping, and  preparing for Sunday. I had been asked to play the piano at a different church on Sunday morning. I was more than willing, but was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t do a good job. Every church is different in how songs are sung and led, but I was willing to do my best and prayed that God would get the  glory. I was happy to find out that I already knew the songs that were to be sung on Sunday, but I knew that out of the five songs, one song might be a stickler. The songs were “There is a Redeemer”, “Great is thy Faithfulness”, “I will Sing of The Mercies of the Lord”, “Blessed Assurance”, and “Amazing Grace”. Any guesses as to which song I was a bit nervous about playing? “Blessed Assurance”! I feel like the timing on this one can be a bit tricky for people and some churches sing it worshipfully and contemplative, while others sing it confidently and enthusiastically that they have a Blessed Assurance in Jesus! During the practice time, a few of the people that were helping to lead the song for the congregation said that I was playing it too slowly (very rarely do I get told I play too slowly!), so I sped it up to their speed. However, when we went to sing it for church, I was playing at one speed, and the song leader was singing at a different pace! Quickly made some adjustments, but I looked over at Roger to see him smiling in the pew. We had just had a discussion that morning on this song! Oh well, I’m rejoicing in the fact that I have a Blessed Assurance, and no one seemed to mind a few errors! It was a good  church service and we enjoyed visiting another local church in the area. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to praise the Lord through music. God encouraged my heart through this opportunity, and I’m thankful that He gave me the opportunity to worship Him in this way.

Sunday was also Father’s Day, so we were also thankful to spend the day with Roger. I am truly blessed to have him as the Father to our children. He enjoys spending time with them, and even after a fourteen hour day at work, he will still come home to play sports with the boys in the backyard. He tries to help them with their interests, and he works to give them practical applications that point them to Jesus. He invests in their lives on a daily basis for eternity, and I am so thankful for him. And also on Sunday, I was handed some money for next years Hait Missions Trip!! It was quite a bit for  the trip as in two -thirds of the amount needed!Roger and I have been praying that God would make it abundantly clear about whether or not I should return to Haiti! It would appear that God is making the path clear! I am so very excited and thankful!

On Monday morning, I went to the church building to start preparing the spaces for VBS. The boys weren’t exactly excited about coming with me, but Emma was thrilled because she thought she was going to school! Travis asked her, “Why would you want to do that?!” He’s so thankful to be done with the school year, and told Roger that he hopes the summer never ends! Oh, I do love that sweet little boy,  but School is a fact of life, I’m afraid! Allison was at church working in the church office.  I stayed busy organizing and moving chairs and tables downstairs while the boys and Emma played outside. Allison and I had planned to go to the lake that afternoon, but the weather looked a bit dreary in the morning. We decided to go on Tuesday afternoon to which the children were disappointed about, but that’s life. Allison and I worked on organizing a closet, which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with VBS! However, it was a job that needed doing, and after a few hours, everything  was in its place again...for the moment at least! By then it was lunchtime, and the kids were hungry as usual! We headed out to the airport with some lunch for Roger, and spent some time visiting with him. We were all thankful to get home in the afternoon and the weather actually turned out to be quite nice.

Tuesday afternoon we went to the lake. Allison had invited us to come to their cottage on the lake, so we packed some lunch and headed off to the lake around eleven. While the day was sunny, it was very windy at the lake. It definitely didn’t feel like summer temps to me,  but that didn’t stop the boys from getting in the lake! Emma decided that she would much rather ride her bike around or play with the toys, but she had no interest in getting in the water! Annah also came to the lake with her kids, so the boys were delighted to have Josiah and Caleb to play with in the water, with the kayaks, and the fishing poles! Chandler did catch a small fish, so he was excited about that!

Also on Tuesday we discovered that someone had been using Rogers bank card to make charges! Roger had called me on the way home to say that he was going to stop and get some items he needed to paint the backdrop for VBS. I checked our online banking and was horrified to discover that someone had been using our money at Walmart in California! That meant two calls to cancel the bank cards, and some time spent with the bank on Wednesday! However, it’s all resolved now and moving forward.

Wednesday was a busy day with prepping for VBS, setting up, and just the mental intensity of hoping that everything is being covered. We didn’t get it all done on Wednesday, so we would have to try to finish up on Thursday. Thankfully, Annah offered to watch the kids for a few hours on Thursday so they wouldn’t have to be at the church again. It’s been a bit of a long and not very relaxing first week of summer break,  but I think the light is at the end of the tunnel. I mean, I hope it’s not an oncoming train! Allison has been coordinating pre registration for VBS and we already have over forty kids signed up. We also have a group of teens coming from Canada to help us next week. I’m exited about what God is going to do. And I would definitely appreciate your prayers for VBS.

Our family had lunch for free two days this week, so that made my day! On Friday it was customer appreciation day at the bank, and lunch was offered! Hooray! The kids had a little money to deposit in their bank accounts, and it was sub lunch, chips, and cookies for free! On Saturday, my friend Allison, asked if we were going to the Young Eagles event at the airport. It’s where kids can get a ride in an airplane and experience aviation. I wasn’t too eager about going, but when she mentioned that there would be free lunch, I perked right up! We were already out and about anyways with going to a few yard sales, and we had stopped st the airport when Allison sent me the text. Garett, Chandler and Wyatt all took airplane rides. Garett was the most excited,  of course; Wyatt’s pilot said that Wyatt was really quiet;  and Chandler said the the girl in his plane wouldn’t stop talking so he just took off his headset. Oh, the adventures with these boys are so fun! The boys and Emma went to Josiah and Caleb’s house after the aviation adventures. Their friends had also come to the aviation event, and the boys were delighted to spend some time at their house while I did a few last minute projects and errrands for VBS. I feel like I am mostly prepared now, just have a few ideas to put the finishing touches on. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve been this involved with VBS, and my hearts desire is that God will be glorified, the Gospel will be presented, and that seeds will be sown. God is so good, and I’m excited to see what He is going to do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Blessings!


 

 

 


What a week it has been for our family! We are looking forward to being done with school in just two short days! I am also looking forward to having Vacation Bible School behind us also as we approach the fast and furious deadline a week from Monday! God has graciously brought people to work in VBS, money provided, a group of teens coming from Canada, and the light is shining at the end of the tunnel...I think!

I just want to share a few blessings from the past week. Perhaps you get weighed down by the many things I ask prayer for, or perhaps I sound like I’m complaining at times (I don’t want that), and it’s good for me to reflect on all that God has done for us.

Last Thursday and Friday we were able to have a few extra boys at our house. Josiah is a friend of the boys from school, and his parents went to Ukraine last week to begin the final process of adoption. The boys were delighted to have Josiah stay with us on Thursday night, and even more excited when Josiah’s brother (Caleb) and cousin (Abel) came to stay overnight on Friday! It was a house full of boys, and they certainly ate plenty of food! I’m so thankful that God has brought good friends into the lives of our children. It was fun to hear them laugh and shout in the yard, even though Emma delclared that they were too loud and there were too many boys at our house! At the supper table on Friday night, Chandler, Garett and Josiah were discussing their history class. Garett told his friends that he would like to go to BadGuy City sometime. Chandler agreed, and Josiah says “I want to go too, but I’m not sure that’s the name of the city.” I tried to ask for clues about this city to which one of the boys replied that it was somewhere in the Middle East. I asked if maybe they were referring to Baghdad? They all stared at me for a moment and I could see the gears clicking in their minds as they realized that the city’s name was not BadGuy! We all laughed about it, and it never ceases to amaze  me what we think we say as adults and what children are actually hearing!

On Saturday afternoon the kids and I had the opportunity to go to a cabin on a lake. Roger's boss and his wife have a cabin on a lake, and I offered to come help open up the cabin for the summer. We didn’t get all the work done by any means, but we did get a few things accomplished! The kids helped for a while, and then decided to go swimming in the lake! The water was so frigid, but they all got in! I rarely swim in the water in Maine, and I am certainly not going in that lake! The had a great    afternoon playing around the cabin. I had a wonderful time visiting with Teri (Kevin’s wife) and working around the cabin. The kids were tired and dirty when we left, but it was a very refreshing afternoon.

On Sunday Roger was scheduled to have the day off. However, due to some new, recently hired pilots, Roger needed to take a flight with one of them. He missed out on Sunday school and arrived at church in time for it to be over! I was especially blessed by the opportunity to play the piano for the prelude, and I treasured the fact that I didn’t have to teach Childrens church. I certainly do not mind teaching, but it was a blessing to sit in on the service. Since Roger arrived right after church, he took the kids home while I did the grocery shopping for the week. It still takes a while even without any kids, but it’s a little easier to think through things and look for a coupon! I went to Walmart and while I was looking over the clearance selection, I spotted shoes for .50 a pair! Now these are not especially cute or practical shoes, but for Haiti, they will make someone’s day! I bought twelve pairs to take to Haiti. I am prayerfully considering going back should God chose to provide the funds. But God certainly blessed me by pointing me in the direction of shoes for .50!
Shoes for Haiti!! 


I was blessed on Monday by the opportunity to get my hair cut. It grows so quickly, and with school days coming to the close I wasn’t sure how I would fit that in. Roger had the day off, so he encouraged me to get my hair cut while he went out to Matinicus to mow grass. Emma had a field  trip at the park, so after my hair cut I went to pick her up. On the way, I stopped for a cup of coffee.
Guess what?! The car ahead of me paid for my cup of coffee! I don’t think that has ever happened to me before, but it made my day! I felt like it was my birthday!  Roger, Emma and I paid a visit to a couple in our church in the afternoon. The man had built me a scale for the penny offering for VBS. I am so thankful for willing people to help in this endeavor of VBS. Also, this couple in our church has a bunch of raspberry bushes. The boys have been wanting some raspberry bushes, but it hasn’t been in the budget to buy the bushes. This couple offered us several plants of raspberries, and that was such a blessing. Chandler and Roger planted them after school, and Chandler has been faithful to water them every day. He is hoping that the bushes will grow and spread and that he will be able to sell the berries (a business boy  at heart). He told the boys that the berries could make them some money, but everyone has to work and not eat all the berries!

Another blessing from this week was the awards chapel today. The Christian school that the boys attend has some wonderful Christian kids that attend there and it was a special blessing to sit and hear the awards called out. I had to fight back tears as I realized how God has absolutely blessed our family in providing this school for our children. It’s not perfect by any means, but we are so blessed and thankful to be a part of this school. And one huge, ginormous blessing is the fact that our school bills are behind us for this school year (2017-2018)! God used many people in very specific ways to answer our prayers and provide for the boys education. We actually have a credit entering the school in the fall, and I can’t sing the praises of our Heavenly Father enough as we are so blessed!

I had the opportunity to go down to the School beach with Garett and Chandler’s class on Tuesday afternoon. Emma and I had gone with Travis’s class to the beach in the morning, and then returned to the school. I had been unsure about what to do with Emma during the afternoon as the School beach is a bit of a hike to walk down to, and it’s very muddy down there. Teri offered to watch Emma while I went with the boys class. Garett and Chandler were so excited that I was coming on their field trip, and it’s a special delight to my heart when they want me to come along and be included. Emma went with Teri to McDonald’s for lunch, and then they went to the park. Emma told me that she also go to see some “cookie cows”. She had visited a farm with Teri that had the black and white cows that look  like Oreos. I was so blessed by Teri’s willingness to take Emma for a while, and Emma had such a good time.

A few other blessings from this week include Emma learning to ride her bike, and good friends like Allison. Emma has mostly mastered bike riding this week, and she has been enjoying doing it all by herself! (Me too) Allison and I have spent many mornings at school this week as we wrap up the school year, work on VBS plans, and try to squeeze in a visit before the school year is over. We shopped for our last hot lunch of the school year today, and I was so thankful as we finished up. God abundantly provided the funds to make hot lunch every Friday during the school year, and it was a great opportunity to serve. But I am very thankful to not think about that for a while!

You know what else blessed me? Handwritten notes! There is something very encouraging and refreshing about seeing a handwritten note that is written from a thankful heart. I was blessed to receive a handwritten note this week that greatly encouraged me. Sometimes it's the things in life that cost very little or nothing that can encourage someone the most. So while I did make teacher appreciation gifts for our children’s teachers, I also took the time to write notes to them. Maybe someone else will be encouraged by a handwritten note as much as I was this week.

Hebrews 13:16 “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” 


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Almost, Almost Done!!

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

A week ago we found ourselves enjoying warm, sunny, June-temp weather. This week we are experiencing much cooler temperatures, rain, and a bit of a lack of sunshine! Oh well!! We have seven days left of school, and these are the crazy days! There are numerous field trips and events happening with the five kids in school! We are looking forward to being done with the school year and on to summer vacation!

Last Wednesday we headed out to Matinicus Island to mow grass again. With the beautiful warm weather last week, the grass grew quickly! Roger was working that day, so I picked up the kids from school. We headed out to the airport, had to wait a bit, and then loaded up for another family fun event. Growing up I often remember my dad saying that “we are going to have family fun night tonight”. All three of us girls would inwardly groan as we knew that really meant - work!! However, those memories and events did teach us about hard work and working together. The boys weren’t terribly excited about mowing grass again, but their enthusiasm picked up when some friends on the Island brought them watermelon and cookies! Kim and Gary live out on the island, and Gary is the one who fixed the riding lawnmower. He also came down to the runway to help Roger get it started. While it still felt like it took us a while to complete the job, it did go a bit smoother and quicker since the grass was shorter and the riding lawnmower was working. The mosquitoes were out in force, but we survived and the job was done!

On Thursday Roger continued on with his ten day work streak, while Emma and I worked on some  things for VBS, shopped for hot lunch, and I worked on some music lesson plans for our last music  class that would be on Monday. These are some long days for Roger, but he is helping to train a few new pilots. And once school lets out, we are going to try to coordinate some summer family events    for our family. Roger is working long and hard now so that we can hopefully take some days as a family after Vacation Bible School. This event for our church will take place a little over a week after school gets out. I’ve been doing some of the leg work to help coordinate workers, decorations, places to have the classes, etc. VBS is never a quick and easy event, but I do enjoy the opportunity to prepare and plan for things like this. I felt a little bit like I was back in my college days as I prepared a mission statement, teaching ideas, and other such papers for our meeting. I did wonder after college if I would use my degree in church and Childrens ministries, but I was thankful this week for that degree. I find it hard to know if I’m doing a good job if Roger isn’t around to give me feedback, but I just continue to pray, prepare and plan to the best that I know how. I majored in college in church and Childrens ministries because I felt that those were important and needed areas in our churches. I still firmly believe that having a Vacation Bible School, a Sunday school for kids, and other such ministries are necessary and important. I don’t want to become complacent in a ministry just because I’ve done it for a long time or it’s tradition for a church. I want to be excited and vibrant about it because there are little souls out there that also need Jesus. I recently read an article stating the important of reaching children between the ages of four and fourteen. The article was stating that it’s in these basic children’s years that their view of God, basic theology, and major spiritual decisions are made. We cannot sacrifice reaching children during these vital years because we become complacent or settled in the fact “I guess we should do VBS because it’s what we’ve always done”. No! Be excited and intentional in reaching these souls for eternity! Okay, I’ll get off that horse now!

Anyways, on Friday I helped with yet another hot lunch. I think we are up to our 35 or 36 hot lunch of this school year. I’m kinda ready for a break on this too!  The mom that usually helps me with hot lunch wasn’t feeling well, and the other lady that helped us earlier in the year has hurt her arm. That left just myself for making French toast, doing potatoes, and making smoothies! I knew that I couldn’t manage all that, so I asked Allison to help me!  I know that Fridays are a busy day for her in    the church office, but she agreed to come make the smoothies. Google to the rescue! I always just  dump in some stuff to make a smoothie, but we needed to make a bunch of them. Claire had brought    us her blender, and that was a huge help!  This lunch was a bit of a hodgepodge as we try to clean out   our freezer. We had frozen some fruit from an earlier lunch, and it was Allison’s job to make it taste delicious! She succeeded! We had some happy children are hot lunch and the smoothies were a hit! Hooray!

Honestly, last week was long and hard for me. Roger was working a lot, I’ve been battling a lot of headaches, and it was a bit discouraging. Someone commented to me after school on Friday something that they thought I should have my children change. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t make my children change in the area that they were demanding (oh, I mean suggesting) however, sometimes there are just more gracious ways that somethings can be said. It put a damper on my day, and after already being tired from a long week, I just wanted to go home and mope about it. But that’s not a very good example to our children, it’s not the right response, and that wouldn’t fix anything, would it?! Instead, I took my children home, made supper, and thanked the Lord that the week was coming to a close!

Sunday had Roger working again, but this stretch is almost over. We have been doing the opening for  Sunday school for the last few months now, but it’s a lot different when Roger isnt there. It went fine, I think, but I miss him. After church, three of the boys went home with the Pastor and his family. Chandler had a headache so he came home with me. He’s been struggling with headaches again lately, so we’ve been back to having him drink a lot more water and take some melatonin to help him fall asleep easier at night. He and Emma did very well together all afternoon and I was able to finish up all the papers for the VBS meeting before church. I also made a rhubarb dessert for Roger, brownies for my music classes tomorrow, and one of the desserts for the eighth grade graduation on Monday night. Roger didn’t make it to church, but he called me just as we were leaving church. It was nice to have him home before it was bedtime for the kids.

Monday was a crazy day....and I knew it would be! It was my last music class for the year, and I wanted to do something fun with my classes. So I brought in treats, we played games, and we praised the Lord for some of the things He had done in music class over the past year. I’ve enjoyed this year of teaching music classes. I’ve been challenged, encouraged, motivated to learn and grow in music, and I hope be a blessing to these students. It was a lot of hard work, and I’m happy to have a break. I may be returning to that in the fall, we will see what God does. After music classes, I picked up Emma. Then we went home and I made a blueberry pie and an Oreo cheesecake for the graduation tonight. About four weeks ago, it was brought to Allison’s attention that there is generally a meal for the graduates, their families, teachers and staff, and classmates before the graduation. Allison had asked if I would be willing to help with the dinner. Well, yes! And my schedule didn’t look busy at the time! We planned a baked potato bar, with ham, salad, and pies for dessert. The weather was rainy on Monday, which worked out because Roger was done with work early. I had sent Allison a text saying I thought we both were a bit crazy! She replied that she was busy taking flowers from her sister-in-laws yard for the table centerpieces in the rain!! Yes, crazy! We didn’t have as many people as we had anticipated, but that’s okay because my kids had baked potatoes for lunch all this week!!

I had been asked last week if I would play the piano for the graduation. I was happy to help with music, except I wasn’t familiar with the songs picked out. I purchased music for the songs, spent hours practicing and listening to you tube videos...but there are many variations of the same song!    The song was one that is generally led with a guitar and a lead singer of which I had neither. It’s one thing to play the music as originally written and at the tempo originally written in, but it’s another  thing entirely when the audience has heard it differently on the radio! Truthfully, it was a bit discouraging and disheartening, but maybe someday I’ll get better at the delivery from the piano. I guess I’ll just keep working at that!

I went on a field trip on Tuesday  and another field trip on Wednesday. With five kids in schools, there are lots of field trips to go on! My sister, Hannah,watched Emma on Tuesday so I could go on the field trip. Emma was happy to spend the day with her, and after school we headed up to Hannah’s house for supper. Due to the rainy weather, Roger was able to come with us to Hannah and Josh’s house, so that was special for us. The boys have missed Roger, so it was good to have some time with him.

Today Roger had off of work!! Hooray! We were able to get in a long walk together after dropping the kids off at school. Roger headed home to get some things done while I went on a field trip with Travis’s class. He went to Home Depot, and those kids had a great time! You wouldn’t think that the Home Depot would be that exciting but the kindergarten and first graders loved it! They got to do a craft, tour the store, have a snack, and it was fun. I’m pretty sure that the kids will all go home and  report to their parents about the dog poop that was in the aisle! We were on our tour, when the smell of dog poop grew really strong! Someone’s dog had made a mess in the aisle, and it will create a  memory for sure! The snack that the store prepared for the students was delicious, and it far exceeded my expectations. They gave the kids juice, goldfish, granola bars, and lots of fresh fruit. I am thankful  that I had the opportunity to go on this field trip with Travis. It’s been a busy and full week, but God has been so faithful and gracious to me.

We are trying to enjoy these last few crazy days of school. The boys are delighted with all the fun activities that are happening, and it’s fun to see them excited. Emma has been learning in school the verse that states “a friend loveth  at all times”. Travis was annoying her this past week and she told him “Mrs. Robertson’s (her teacher) Bible says that a friend loveth at all times. Is that not in your Bible, Travis?” It’s been interesting as she has been learning Bible verses! I sure do love these kids!


  

  

 Field Trip Fun! Travis and Abel 

 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mini Date, Ticks, and School (What a combination!)

 

 

 



Just a week ago Roger and I were checking into our bed-and-breakfast for our mini getaway! It was a glorious thirty-six hours together, and we soaked it up! I’m thankful for so many friends and my sister for making it possible!

On Wednesday morning, Allison and I finally got away for a walk and some time together. The school year gets so busy that sometimes a month or more has gone by before we’ve actually been able to have a lengthy conversation! We had a great walk, spent some time shopping for bargains, and headed back to school. Originally, my sister, Hannah, had planned to come down on Wednesday afternoon. She would watch the kids, take them to school, and then take Emma with her for the day and overnight on Thursday. However, she sent me a text on Wednesday morning to say that Josh wasn’t feeling well, and she wasn’t sure she would be able to come down on Wednesday afternoon.  I immediately went through several scenarios in my mind of other possibilities, but my mind was coming up blank. My biggest concern was Emma on Thursday as she doesn’t have school, and someone  needs  to watch her all day. Hannah sent me a text a bit later to say that she was planning on coming down anyways, and it would be fine. However, I didn’t want her to feel like she should come down when she was concerned about Josh. So, I made a phone call to Claire, who was going to take the kids after school on Thursday. I explained my dilemma, and she said sure, the boys could stay at her house for two nights. That solved the boys. Hannah said that she could meet me at school and just take Emma with her back to her house. Emma would stay two nights  with her. Whew! Problems solved! Roger managed to get away from work a bit earlier than normal, so we checked in about 5:30pm. It’s been over 16 months since we’ve been away with just the two of us! We enjoyed supper together at a quiet local restaurant, took a walk, and enjoyed uninterrupted conversations! It was so nice to be able to have conversations where we did have to talk in “code”. You know when   you try to describe something without your kids figuring out what you’re talking about?! We discussed everything under the sun in the course of our mini date, and it was refreshing for both of us.  On Thursday, we were up long before it was time for breakfast! Our lives revolve around early mornings, so we were still up before six. We savoured coffee, went for a long walk, and came back and lingered over breakfast. The owners of the bed and breakfast are delightful people. She is the picture of southern hospitality, and her husband is from England. I enjoyed conversing with them, and I would strongly recommend the Blackberrry Inn. Roger had a flight physical scheduled for later that afternoon, so we wandered over to the town it was in. We visited several quaint shops, walked along the water, ate lunch at a cute local spot, and enjoyed time that was not confined to a schedule! Roger had to be at work by 5:30 on Friday morning, so I took him to work. When I got back to the inn, I realized that I wasn’t going to fall back asleep. So instead I went for a run. I can’t remember the last time I was able to go on a morning run, and I was reminded of why I like it so much. The streets are quiet, the birds are singing, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit with my Heavenly Father, and I enjoy exercise! My friend, Claire, joined me for breakfast since Roger was working. She dropped off the boys at school, and then came over for breakfast. She said the boys did very well, and I was glad to hear that they weren’t a problem.  My sister, Hannah, dropped off Emma at school, and I picked her up at 11:30. While I did miss our kids, it was so good to get away for a while. Truly, I love our  children, but when they move on with their lives it’s going to be important that I have a good relationship with Roger! I came back refreshed and recharged, and I am ready to finish out the school year...I think! I’m so thankful to all that made this getaway possible!

I leaped right back into the craziness of Fridays  after school! The two older boys had a birthday party that they had been invited to, so after piano lessons I took them to the party. It was at a mini golf course, and the boys were excited. I also had three younger children that were extremely disappointed that it wasn’t for them. It’s hard to see our children disappointed, but honestly, sometimes life is like that! I don’t want to be the “snowplow” parent that removes as many difficult obstacles as possible from their lives. I truly believe that disappointments, struggles, and challenges are a part of all of our lives, and I can help my children by helping them face those rather than remove them! (I know, it’s a weird concept in today’s society sometimes!) I took the three younger ones out to the airport for a bit, and then we went back to pick up the older boys. The older boys did have a good time, but it was nice to hear them tell their brothers that it would’ve been nice if you could’ve come too. Whew! It’s good  to know that they DO care about each other!!

Saturday was a bit of a rainy day in the afternoon, so we worked in the yard in the morning. The boys cut grass, cute down a tree, and played outside. Roger did trash and took Chandler to get his cans/bottles counted. That kid has made $33.00 this summer in collecting cans and bottles! I took him to the bank and then he had to go grocery shopping with me. None of the kids enjoy coming along when it’s time to grocery shop, but they sure do enjoy it when I come home with food!

Last Saturday, Chandler asked Roger to take him to the jewelry store. He had collected some more jewelry through several yard sales. He’s on the hunt for gold, as the price is good right now. Chandler checks the value of gold every couple of days, and he was anxious to see what his stuff was worth. I refuse to go to the jewelry store as that’s not my department! So off Roger went with Chandler and the other boys in tow! They went to the same store they had gone to a while back. Chandler dumped his “treasures” in the counter. The jeweler told him that most of his gold was costume jewelry, but he did have enough to sell. He told Chandler that he would give him $15.00 for his gold. Chandler looked over at Roger, but Roger said it’s not my decision. Chandler thought about it, and then said to  the jeweler, “How about twenty dollars?” This kid! The jeweler is a good sport and kind to Chandler. He replied that he had already rounded up to $15.00. Chandler looked like he was going to collect it all up and bring it back in at another time. The jeweler told him, “How about fifteen dollars, but I’ll give you this two dollar bill also?” Chandler thought about that for a minute, and then agreed to the price. So he spent two dollars and aquired seventeen dollars! I love our kids, and I am so thankful that Roger is willing to take him to the jewelry store! The jewelry person gave Chandler some tips on what to look for in good jewelry, and Chandler is excited about the challenge of finding more treasures. I think  what touched my heart most of all is when I saw Chandler put that two dollar bill in the offering plate on Sunday. Neither Roger nor I mentioned that he should give some money back to the Lord, but he did it of his own volition. That was special to my heart.

Monday was Memorial Day. Roger was working, so I decided to bring lunch out to him. We packed a picnic lunch for all the pilots that were working, and Roger’s boss also brought some stuff for the picnic. We had a feast of brats, hotdogs, hamburgers, and so much food! It was a bit on the chilly side for weather, but the picnic was nice. It’s always good to interact with the other pilots at Roger’s work, and it was a way for us to see Roger on this holiday. After the picnic, the kids and I headed out to a cabin. Our pastor and his extended family have a cabin on a lake, and they were having a cleanup day. The boys enjoy going down there, and even though it was much too cold for swimming, it was a good time. I spent some time raking and helping to clean up while the boys played with their Airsoft guns with the pastor’s son. It’s a great place for the boys to be boys, and they have a great time using their imaginations! At the end of the afternoon, the boys decided to have kayak races. I knew that someone would end up wet, but it’s life! Sure enough, Travis, Chandler, and Wyatt, all ended up being wet from the waist down! Oh well! They certainly had a good time, and I was glad they had a fun afternoon. We went home to take showers, check for ticks, and get ready for school the next day. The ticks aren’t too bad down by the lake, but they are pretty thick in our neck of the woods. Emma has to be checked over every single night, and most nights we pull two or three ticks off every day! Lyme disease is a huge deal out here, so ticks are soemthing  we are cautious and consistent about checking. The boys pull them off too, but they generally just take care of getting the ticks  off themselves, and then telling me that they had a tick. For whatever reason, it would appear that the ticks are more attracted to Emma, Garett, and Travis. Chandler and Wyatt seem to rarely get ticks, so it’s an odd phenomenon to me. I recognize that the ticks are bad, and we are cautious about checking for them, but we can’t live in fear either. These kids are already turning brown with the sun on their skin, they practically live outside, and they’d probably never come in the house if I was willing to throw food out on the back porch every once in a while! We are just trusting the Lord to help us spot the ticks, and we will continue to pray for His protection. God is faithful...always!

Hooray! That sums up another week in our lives, and we have thirteen days of school to go! Please be in prayer as we finish up the school year. Also, our Vacation Bible school will take place just a week after school gets out. There is always so much to do, and Roger and I have been working and talking about this for weeks now. Please pray for clarity of thought, wisdom, God’s protection, unity among those working, the children that will be coming, and that God will be glorified! We rejoice in WHO He is, and WHAT He is coming to do.

Colossians 2:6-7 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”