Our family

Our family

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Year?! Already!!

A year ago on June 15, 2016, we turned on to a dirt road leading to a house at the end of a dead end street. We had arrived in Maine! So many things have happened in a year, and God has been faithful every step of the way. I remember trying to comfort my children in a hotel room somewhere in Indiana on that first night after leaving Wisconsin on June 13. Little did my children realize that mom didn't sleep well that night either as she also cried herself to sleep. We were moving 21 hours away from all that was familiar and dear to our hearts to begin life together as a family complete again in Maine. Roger had already been in Maine since the end of February so we were ready to be together as a family again, I just wasn't prepared for the long summer ahead of me. But all that is behind us now, and we've been together as a family in Maine for a whole year. We have learned so many things in a year, and it would be impossible to share them all. However, I thought some of you might want to have a glimpse of some of the new things we've learned and experienced.

1) Moxie- a Maine made soda. It was first marketed as a health elixir, but then began to be sold as a soft drink. Everyone has a different opinion of what it tastes like ranging from sasparilla flavor, to tasting like bubble gum, to tasting like an over done cola! Personally, it's not my favorite drink, but my kids don't seem to mind it.

2) Pink hot dogs...yes, they are really pink! Emma likes these hotdogs, but I think it's strictly because they are pink! It's a hotdog in a natural casing and the casing is pink. The boys don't care for them, but maybe it's because they are PINK!

3) Trash- a pain in the back side to get rid of! Recycling is HUGE around here, and you actually have to pay to get rid of trash. It's 2.00 for a large trash bag, and it has to be taken to the "transfer station" of the town you live in. I can see why people have huge piles of trash in their yards as it's an inconvenient hassle to try to get rid of stuff! At our particular transfer station all recyclables must be sorted according to the number in the little triangle on the bottom of the container. Since recyclables are numbered 1-10 this can end of taking far more time than you want to spend on trash!

4) Mainers- a term given to people that have lived their entire life up here. As a general rule, Mainers are conservative liberals. I say that because they want gun rights and free speech, but they also have no problems with accepting marijuana, same sex marriages, transgender or whatever else might seem acceptable. This is certainly not true of all Mainers, just so you know!

5) Traditionalism- so much history is in New England, and Maine is not any different. I'm referring mostly to traditionalism in churches in this particular setting. When we visited so many churches back when we first moved here, this was something that Roger and I both caught a glimpse of. Many of these churches meet in old, old buildings, and along with the buildings sometimes comes the traditionalism of the way they've done things for 200 years or more! I'm pretty sure some of these organs in these church buildings are well over 100 years old! (Organ music is not my favorite by the way!)

6) Family ties- these ties run deep and run strong out here in Maine. So many people are related to each other and their family tree has been seeded, planted, watered, and flourished right here in the same 60 mile radius. It's not a bad thing at all, it's just hard to figure out sometimes who is connected to whom!


7) Grocery bags- bring them with you! Along with recycling, I've learned to bring my own grocery sacks when shopping! Many places down by Portland charge a .05 fee for a plastic bag. There is a petition out to outlaw styrofoam as well across the state. These people take environmental responsibility to a whole new level!

8) Organic- huge deal out here! While I love our local farmers market, I simply cannot afford the prices for our family! Everything is organic and expensive! While I love organic food, how about just keeping the pesticides to a minimum and reducing the price?!

9) "Down East" - this one took me a bit to figure out! When a person says that they are from "Down East" they aren't referring to Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, etc., They are actually referring to a geographical location in Maine known as "Down East". Because of where Maine is located the shoreline does not always run North to South. The shoreline can actually be due east. "Down East"  refers to a shoreline section in Maine which is more East than North. A bit confusing to me at first, but I think I've got it now!

10) Rolls- this does not refer to a dinner roll as my mind would tend to think of a roll. Instead this generally refers to a hot dog or hamburger bun, but they're always called "rolls".

11) Fiddleheads- a vegetable that I had certainly never heard of before moving to Maine! It's part of the ostrich fern family, and it grows in wetter areas. We actually found a few on our property and might have better success next year as we will know what we are looking to find! It's a green vegetable that is kinda a cross between broccoli and asparagus. It is delicious!

 

We've learned many more things, but I must close for now. We love and appreciate each one of you.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Almost...Almost Done!!!

Last full week of school has almost been completed!! Hooray-we are on the home stretch!! This last week has been quite insane. Since we have kids in four different classes, I've been going in about four different directions!

We started off on Monday with a sense of drag, as everyone wants to be done. However, we aren't "done" yet, so we must keep on going! We made it to school on time, and I talked with several of the teachers about plans throughout the week. In the oldest class at school, we have a long term sub finishing out the rest of the year. The former teacher is moving away from the area, and the position needed to be filled. It was exciting to see God work to bring the perfect person along. It's actually a lady from our Bible study group! She's been a school teacher, already fingerprinted and has a background check complete, and is qualified for this group of students. We serve an amazing God! Since I knew her from our Bible study group, I stopped in her classroom to tell her I was praying for her. I could tell she was a bit frazzled with the newness of it all, and right then I asked God to give me a way to encourage her if possible.


 I left the school with Emma in tow to head home to our house which was happy to have my undivided attention for a bit! While I was giving our home my attention, Emma was giving her play horse a bath in the sink up stairs. Suddenly I heard her hollering for help and that she was all wet! Oh my! Sink was overflowing on the floor, child was soaked, soap was everywhere, and water covering the floor! We managed to get most of the mess cleaned up and then I realized that I was going to be late to pick up Travis! It's when you are in a hurry that every slow vehicle is out for a Sunday drive! We were only a few minutes late, and the office was very understanding of our tardiness. We took  Roger lunch at the airport and headed home. I realized that perhaps I could encourage the new   teacher by making a meal. Now, what did I have at home that I could make without stopping at the grocery store?! We had been given leftover spaghetti from a church event, so I had that to start  with. I added sauce, cheese ( that makes everything better), sausage, and the noodles. There I had a baked spaghetti dish! I also put together a salad and some no bake cheesecake dip. It was a simple meal, but I really felt like it was what God would have me to do. When we arrived back at school in the afternoon, I gave the meal to the teacher. She had tears in her eyes as she said, "Sarah, this is a God thing! We arrived home from New York last night, and I need to go grocery shopping. I'm exhausted,  and I didn't want to go. God used you to bless our family today!" Yes!! How exciting is that?!

     


Tuesday was the big "tye dying" activity for Garett and Chandlers class! They were so excited about the afternoon activity and I was a little bit nervous about pulling it all together. To start off the morning, my phone decided it would no longer function. It refused to charge, wouldn't turn on, and was just a thorn in my side! I dropped off kids at school, ran to Walmart as I developed a sudden fear of running out of tye dye, and ran home to rinse the shirts so that they would be damp. By the time I arrived home, I knew I would be tight on time to get the shirts rinsed in the wash for the activity. But I figured I'd just wash them on the rinse and spin cycle and be done with it. Oh no....that's not what happened! The washer "froze" mid cycle and refused to do anything. By now I was officially late to  pick up my kids (for the second day in a row!)  my phone was dead, the washer was mal-functioning, and I was a mess! I realized at that moment, as I sat in the floor and cried out to my Heavenly Father that I needed a nap and some serious down time! But...what was I to do?! I found the emergency trac phone that we purchased a while back and managed to find the number for the school to tell them I  would be late. I turned off the washer, and had to wait for the whole cycle to run again...yes, it about   killed me! 😋 Finally...everything was ready to go. Thankfully, I have some good friends at school who kept an eye on my kids until I could get there. I managed to arrive for the last half of my lunch duty commitment, and then we prepared for the activity. I squeezed in about ten minutes at a Vacation Bible School planning meeting, and I just said I'd do whatever needed doing. So, I guess I'll find out what I'll be doing soon! 😀

The activity was so much fun for the kids! Half of the key to a successful activity is being prepared. We had more than enough tye dye colors, the kids managed to stay mostly clean, and they had so much fun. It was rewarding to see how excited they were about it, and I was thankful that God  calmed my heart and my mind to enjoy the time spent with this class. I didn't get any pictures as I was too busy with twelve kids with tye dye colors, asking for help, and provide supervision!   Thankfully, another mom, Charlie, helped out with this activity also so that made everything progress a bit more smoothly and clean up was a bit faster! It was a tiring day, but God ended up reminding me of so many of His promises...He is faithful, He loves me, He will supply my needs, and He will  direct my steps.

Wednesday was a PBA (parents group meeting)  and a beach activity with Wyatt's class. Of course the tye dye  shirts were waiting for me when I woke up! Now they needed to be rinsed out! I was up before 5:00am to start rinsing them out in the bathtub. Garett came to help about 5:30,  and he cut off the rubber bands while I rinsed the shirts. We had lots of color all over the bathroom when it was done, but we finished the job before we needed to head to school! The class was excited to see the results of their imaginations and creativity, and I'm glad I was able to assist in that project.

The parent group had their last meeting of the year. It's been a good year in the sense that we've helped to provide volunteer hours, fund field trips, make and serve hot lunches, coordinate several fundraising events  encourage the staff with gifts. I'm not sure how God will continue to direct my involvement in this particular group, but I am praying for His clear direction.

After the meeting, Emma and I ran a few errands and came back to pick up Travis. It was time to head to the beach for Wyatts class activity! I didn't even bother to pack flip flops as I knew I wouldn't even want my toes wet! The weather was sunny, but only about 60 something degrees. Since it has not been very warm lately, I knew the water would be freezing! Apparently another local school had also planned their trip to the beach for that day, but there was plenty of fun for all. It was fun to see the kids dig in the sand, play and laugh with each other, and enjoy the sunshine. Travis and Wyatt both did get in the ocean water, and then promptly wrapped themselves in towels! For me, I enjoyed sitting in a chair watching my three youngest children play, visit with other moms, and reflect on the blessings God had provided through the school. I always have fun visiting with Allison, and since one of her children is in Wyatt's class, it's another opportunity to visit with her. Another mom,  Bethany, also has a son in Wyatt's class, and I was happy to have the opportunity to just visit informally and casually with them. It was relaxing to me  as the  week has been so crazy!

Late in the day, when I checked my Facebook messages, I discovered that we had received one from some old friends of ours (the friends aren't old, we've just been friends for a long time!). Josh and Joanna had felt inclined to give the boys a gift  of money towards a dirt bike. It was such an unexpected gift that I was taken by complete surprise! A dirt bike is something that the boys have talked about for a while, but it's not even been on the radar for interests to pursue! We are praying that God will direct us to the right one as the boys would certainly enjoy that during these summer days! Sometimes I just am stopped in my tracks at God's goodness to me. I mean, I shouldn't be  surprised as He IS God, but yet He sometimes outpours His love at the most unexpected times,  and it completely strengthens my faith and encourages my heart.

Thursday was Roger's day off this week. Due to the company being a pilot short this month, Roger has had only one day off this week instead of the normal average of three! Thursday is also Emma's morning at school, and it was so nice to have the morning together. We did so many fun things, like put together a shed, pick up trash, wash vehicles, and other awesome activities! (Okay, I might be a bit sarcastic, but there is a feeling of satisfaction in hard work!) I was able to get my hair cut this morning as well since Roger was able to pick up Travis and Emma. I was asked to help with a water balloon activity for one of the classes, which meant filling water balloons. If you've ever filled water  balloons, you will remember that this is a job that takes forever and the fun is over so quickly! I had been given water balloons to use, but they were a bit old. While trying to fill them with the kids last night, we realized that this was taking forever! However, we did come up with a solution! Someone very smart invented a way to fill 100 water balloons in 60 seconds! You can buy theses packages of water balloons that come ready to fill with a garden hose. Although they are more expensive than  regular-fill-yourself water balloons, this method saved us so much time that it was a very, very worthwhile investment! You might not believe this, but when I went to the store to buy water balloons (and I was going to get the fill-yourself kind) God directed us to a different store than Walmart. Here we found these easy fill water balloons on sale!! (God has been very merciful to a tired and busy mama this week!) The boys thought this was the coolest invention ever, and they were almost disappointed it was done so quickly as they made it to bed on time! 😋

Friday was the final chapel for the school year, and also it was the awards chapel. The whole school sang a few songs, and it brought tears to my eyes to hear them worship the Lord through song. I am so very thankful for this school! The boys each received some type of character award, and I am so thankful for the young men they are becoming. We have much work to do yet in the few short years they are under our roof, but I am so thankful for the challenges as well as the victories!


Travis' class was going bowling after school was  over at 11:30 am. I knew that I already had way too  much to do to be able to go bowling. Our church is having a Bible conference for the next three nights and Roger and I are doing the children's program. I still had some things I needed to pick up for that, and to be  honest, I was just tired  from everything else that had already occurred this week. Another of the kindergarten moms offered to take Travis to bowling with her child, so that worked out perfectly. Travis was happy to go, and I was thankful for the opportunity to prepare for the missionary story. Emma and I ran a few errands to finish up the preparation for the evening, and I felt much better about being prepared. When we came back to pick up everyone from school, the excitement over it being the last Friday of the school year was contagious! The kids were happy to head home and play outside for a while! We are looking forward to taking advantage of any warm weather that might come our way!

Roger ended up meeting us at church as he wasn't able to get away earlier than 6:30. The boys were not very excited about coming back to church for special meetings, but God was at work in their  hearts. After the service, Garett commented on how much he enjoyed the music. A family came to sing during the Bible conference and the music was very good with a guitar, violin, and voices singing praises to God. I was thankful that Roger and I did the Childrens program even though we didn't have very many kids. While I think it is important for kids to sit in church and through special meetings, I also think it's important to remember where they are at in life and how we can best reach them for Jesus. I have been teaching the "Sunday School Charlie" story, and the kids have been  enjoying that story. As I dug it out of the box in the basement, I was reminded of when I  taught it in Alaska. I didn't have any flannel to back the pieces with so I ended up cutting up one of Garett's flannel shirts. That flannel is still sticking to the back. 😀
  

  

It's been a busy  but good week. I'm thankful for only a few more days of school. 😀

A few moments to remember from this week:
*While at the pastors house for a get together on last  Sunday afternoon, Chandler found a pocket knife in the woods. He knew it wasn't his, and he took it into the house to return to the pastor. One the way home.  he told me, "Mom, I really wanted to put that knife in my pocket. But I knew it wouldn't be right, so I took it in the house!" Moments like that make my heart so happy! It's hard to make the right decisions sometimes, but I was thrilled that he made a good choice.

*Travis was traveling with me this week, and he needed to use the bathroom. We weren't anywhere near a bathroom place, so I stopped on the side of the road. It was not a busy road! He opens the door,  and announces "Wow, what a view! This is a good spot to pee!" It was the view of a swampy area, and all I could think of was "Hurry up, mosquitoes are coming in!" It made me chuckle as I thought about his unhurried approach to life! 😜

*While helping in the kitchen last week for a spaghetti supper, I was asked to help move a nesco filled with sauce to the table. It wasn't that heavy, so I picked it up. However, the steam escaping was quickly burned  my hand! By the grace of God, I managed to set the nesco down in the counter before it spilled to the floor. My hand is still quite sore, but it is getting better every  day.

*Travis asked Jesus to come into his heart tonight...Saturday night. We came home from the Bible conference, and we were talking about the evening. In the missionary story during children's church, I've been stressing the importance of salvation as well as being a missionary. Travis announced that Jesus had died for him too...yes, He has! I asked him if he knew what he needed to do to be saved. He said, "Yes, I know I'm a sinner. I know Jesus died and rose for me. I need to ask him to come into my heart." And there at our dinning room table with a few tears in his eyes, he asked Jesus to come into his heart. I know that the angels in heaven are rejoicing with us tonight!



Saturday, June 3, 2017

June? Already?!

In case you haven't realized it, school gets out late around here! Our last day will be on June 14th, and I am looking forward to it! Don't get me wrong, the school year has been great. I'm just ready for a break! 😀 In Wisconsin we were generally done around the middle of May,  so it's been like having a whole extra month of school. However, it's just the way the school calendar is around here. I do like having breaks during the school year, and now we are ready to clean out backpacks and throw away lunch boxes! (I never understood why a kid would need a new lunch box every year, but now I do! Those things get nasty...even with disinfectant and putting them in the dishwasher!)

Last Tuesday when I attended the Bible study down in Tenants Harbor, I was blessed by an outpouring of love for my birthday. One of the ladies, Shelia, had put together a cake and snacks in celebration of my birthday. These ladies have blessed me so much. I don't attend church there, but this Bible study has encouraged and challenged me. These ladies have taught me so much about faithfulness in the Lord. I am so blessed!

With the end of the school year coming to a close also begins the mad rush of fun activities for the kids, class trips, and extra activities! I've discovered that I cannot depend on my brain to keep track of everything, and I must but it in my calendar on my phone with an alarm to remind me! I'm going to be helping Garett and Chandler's teacher with some year end projects including a trip to the beach, tie dying activity, and a play. Wyatts class is also taking a trip to the beach, but it's a different beach on a different day! And we have a host of upcoming church activities, Bible study, the parent group meeting, and one more hot lunch...yes, I need to use my calendar! I'm not complaining at all as I look back across the school year at all that the kids have learned, friendships made, their Biblical foundation made stronger through their teachers and influences. It's been a great year, and Lord willing, the kids will be returning to the school for the next school year. I've been blessed to be able to be involved in the school, and working alongside these teachers that have poured their lives into my children. (At times, I get over involved! I'm working on balance!)

I've decided that spring is not going to happen in Maine! We've had a few warm days where it was actually about 70 degrees, but for the most part I still walk around with a jacket! The kids have put their rubber boots to good use, but I am praying that we will see some warmth occur soon! I'm behind on getting our garden together, and Chandler is anxious to start "growing stuff". I asked him what kind of "stuff", and he replied, "stuff we can eat, of course!) He wants to plant lettuce, beans, cucumbers, and a few other vegetables. We did put our blueberry bushes in the ground, and the boys have been faithful at watering them as they definitely want those to survive! 😀

Last Thursday I was able to get away with my friend, Allison. We took a field trip to the big city of Augusta...just the two of us! It was such a good time of fellowship and fun, and although it took us most of the school year to find a date, we did it! Roger had off that day, and he agreed to do lunch duty for Allison. I'm blessed to be married to a man that doesn't mind working with the kids at the school either, and willingly heated up food, supervised lunch break, and helped make a fun day for me. The day passed by all together too quickly, but it was a good day.

Roger was called off of work last Friday so we had an unexpected day with him home. His flying is due largely on the weather, so if the weather is good, he flies all.day.long. But if it's rainy or too foggy to fly, then sometimes he gets an extra day off. It all comes out in the wash as he switches days to make sure he's getting enough hours in at work. And I'm thankful for the opportunities to spend time with him when the weather is not cooperating. I played the piano for chapel services and did nursery duty for the Bible study group. I'm thankful for this group of ladies, and I pray for them often.

To summarize the rest of this week as it's already Friday again, we hosted people in our home for dinner, had an overnight guest, enjoyed some family time at Sams club, hosted a pilot pizza get together, and attended the school talent show! If I write down all the details in between those events, we will be reading for a looooong time!

We hosted Sunday dinner at our house with some friends of ours from South Carolina, as well as our pastor and family. The Faulde family is from South Carolina, but also the pastor and his wife that I went to Haiti with in January. We had a good visit, but the afternoon passed too quickly!

Roger had a pilot friend from Arizona come for a visit this week also. Jon flew in for just an overnight trip, but we squeezed in a walk to the lighthouse, eating lobsters and crabs, and flying with Roger. Interestingly enough we ate crab legs this week because they were given to us for free! Crab legs are normally rather expensive, so we've never had them before. It's interesting to me that in Maine, we eat crab or lobster as it's sometimes given to Roger. Yet in Wisconsin, we were often given pork or beef. The kids really liked the crab and almost all of them preferred the crab over the lobster. It was cheap, and it was good. 😀

To summarize...it was a good week! 😀
Memories!  

Friendships 

Our boys 




Monday, May 22, 2017

Fiddleheads and Birthdays!

Fiddleheads! A new culinary experience for us, but they were delicious! 
We tasted "fiddleheads" for the first time this week. They are a bit like asparagus and broccoli. We found a few in our yard, but not enough to feed our family. We purchased some from a farm market near us, and everyone gave them a try. Wyatt and Chandler thought they were "okay", but the other three gobbled them right up! Travis says, "They taste like chicken!" Um...no, they do not! 😀 It was another "Maine" experience, and one that was fun to try! Now that we know what to look for in our yard, I will be more earnest about searching for them next year. They have a very short growing season, and you have to eat them before they grow into an actual fern. 

Life...it's busy, it's messy, and it's not always fun! However, I know that I am right where God wants me to be. We've been experiencing full days with school, days of sunshine and warmth, and working around whatever hours Roger is home with us.
 
  
Memories!




  A little over a week ago was Mother's Day, and Roger did a good job of helping the boys "treat" mom. Travis and Wyatt woke up early on Sunday morning as in around 5:45am., so they went with Roger to pick out flowers and get coffee for mom. Since we've not been together as a complete family for the last two Mother's Days, it was an especially special day for me! 😀 Our church had a missionary speaker on Mother's Day, and since our pastor and family were out of town, we hosted them for the afternoon. We also had Nick and Hannah over as Nick led the singing for church services that morning. It was a full afternoon with ten kids, six adults, and a downpour of rain outside! All things considered it was a good time of fellowship, and I enjoyed getting to know both Hannah and the missionary's wife better. Roger still agreed to cook out on the grill, so he grilled  hamburgers and hotdogs in the rain! 😀

I attended Bible study on Tuesday, and celebrated my 34th birthday on Wednesday! 😀 A friend brought me a small cake when she dropped off her kids at school. It's nice to be remembered...and my kids were thrilled about cake!! The weather was beautiful on Wednesday, and I enjoyed a long walk with a dear friend. We were able to get practically the whole morning together (along with Emma) and it was a good time to share burdens and pray together. After picking up Travis from school, we picked up lunch and went to have a picnic at Rogers work. I'm thankful that Rogers boss does not mind if we drop by to see Roger and visit together. We are learning to squeeze in time wherever we  can! After school, I treated the kids to ice cream...and I had iced coffee. Since I knew that Roger would be home later, I didn't bother with a cake for myself, and the kids were fine with ice cream. I have a lot to be thankful for just in the simple fact that we are together as a family again. It was a good day! My friend, Beka, from Wisconsin, sent me a very appropriate coffee mug. It's in the picture below! It's a good reminder to pray for many of my mom friends!
  
  Birthday Blessings! 


On Thursday on dropped Emma off at school and went to pick up stuff to make lasagna. We are  having a grandparents luncheon at school on Friday, and some of the moms are making lasagna. I'm thankful that the kids were able to ask two older sets of grandparents in the church to be their surrogate grandparents. I also realized that we were going to have a lot of people to feed for this luncheon! I had originally signed up to bring only two lasagnas, but after talking with a few other friends that were helping with the lasagna, we realized that we would need more pans of lasagna. So back I went to the store to get more ingredients! I picked up Travis and Emma from school, and we went to visit some older people that we know. Travis was not particularly excited about visiting these folks, but I tried to remind him that this is one way we can serve Jesus. We need to have our eyes open to those who might be discouraged or lonely, and the kids can do a much better job of cheering  people up than I can alone! We only stayed for a short visit anyways, as I went back to the school to help set up for the grandparents luncheon. While I know the grandparents are going to enjoy this event tomorrow, this event is a lot of work!! However, many hands make light work, and we were able to get almost everything set up before school was over. I picked up kids, and went home to  make...yes, you guessed it-lasagna!! 😜 I ended up making five pans of lasagna, and since I was already making a huge mess in my kitchen, I fed that to my family for supper! I made two pans of veggie lasagna and two pans of meat lasagna for the school event. I've actually never made this kind of veggie lasagna, but I guess we will see how it turns out! I usually make my veggie lasagna with meat but without noodles. I discovered on Tuesday that I was supposed to use noodles  but not meat! Wow! I guess it's  a good thing I discovered what I needed to make before I showed up with the wrong kind of lasagna! However, it looks delicious so hopefully my Pinterest recipe came through with flying colors! 😜

Friday...exhausting, overwhelming and delighted it's over! That is how I would describe the day! Emma was tuckered out by lunchtime, and she ended up not sitting with her brothers and adopted grandparents. I had to miss our ladies Bible study, as I wanted to help in the kitchen to bake all those pans of lasagna! We had 15 lasagna pans that either needed to be heated or cooked. It's was an enjoyable experience spent with other moms though as we all came together to work on this event. I was mostly in charge of lasagna, and getting it all heated or cooked. By the time 11:30 came around, we were ready. The lasagna was dished and plated, and since no one complained of cold lasagna, I'm assuming it was okay! I guess the veggie lasagna turned out as it was eaten, and I had a piece of it as well. It was a good recipe, and I actually will probably make it again! 😀 Out of the fifteen large pans of lasagna, we only had about a pan and one-half left, so I'm thankful that I made two extras, as well as the other moms that made an extra one. It was a long, tiring day, but the grandparents seemed so delighted with the whole event. Following the luncheon, the school kids did a special chapel time with songs and verses. I can see why the grandparents loved it, and I can rejoice that it only happens once a year!

Saturday was a day at home for most of the day. Later in the afternoon, the kids had the opportunity to attend a birthday party of one of their school mates. He had his birthday party on his dad's.  lobster boat, and then we went out to one of the islands for a scavenger hunt and cake. The kids had a great time, as it is always fun to visit an island! The ticks were even on the island, and it's appearing that  they will be quite bad this year! Oh well, I'm certainly not keeping my kids inside! The boys all have short hairCuts, and we check daily for ticks. The weather was beautiful for a Picnic on the island, and I'm glad the kids had a good afternoon. They are adjusting and making friends, and it's sure to be quite a different summer for us this year versus last year!

 On the lobster boat 


 Sunday came around before we could blink again, and it was another beautiful day! The trees have really "popped" open with their leaves, and the grass is quickly growing again! (Roger was able to fix that mower that we were given! He spent a long morning on it, but the blade is replace, and it's working!) I'm so thankful that we have a local church body to worship the Lord together with and the opportunity to grow in the Lord. We had company for lunch today (third Sunday in a row...it's just the way it's worked out) Today we  had one of my college professors and her husband over for lunch. I just recently realized that Mr. and Mrs. Seely lived in the area, so I connected with them via Facebook. We invited them to lunch, and we had a great visit! It was so good to catch up with them, and to have "family from Northland" come and visit. We have plans to stay in touch with them, and I'm looking forward to the next time we get together!

Whew! That concludes another week for us, and it was a busy one. We are wrapping up the school year, but we are not done yet! We are encouraging the boys to "finish strong".  I'm reminding myself to "finish strong " also! I'm kinda tired of getting together lunches, making sure they have on  appropriate school clothes, and driving everyday! I can tell we are getting close  to the end of the year, as we are struggling to find pants that are not completely ripped through in the knees!  Just a bit longer!

Please continue to pray for Travis. He has been asking more questions about salvation, and we had a good discussion in the car the other morning on the way to school. These kids can certainly make me think as they've been asking questions about eschatology and heaven and hell. We were discussing heaven and how wonderful it would be, and Travis remarked that he hopes that Jesus " put some sand and mud in heaven". His older brother replied, "well, you don't even need to worry about what's up there, because you aren't going there!" I promptly told my second oldest son that though that is currently true,  he didn't need to say it quite like that! It wasn't his intent to be mean, but Chandler sees things as very black and white. So, we would appreciate your continued prayers for Travis' salvation and that the gift of salvation would be made clear to him.

Our love,
Sarah 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

34 Years in a Nutshell!

Tomorrow will be my 34th birthday! I had to think about that for a moment, as the years are passing so quickly. In my defense I have a lot of birthdays to remember, and mine just falls lower in my list of importance. 😀
Roger will be working tomorrow, but the important thing is that we are together as a family this year. For the past two years, Mother's Day and my birthday have been events that we've celebrated without Roger as first he was in Arizona, and last year he had already come to Maine. The last two years have been a bit of mad craziness in our lives, and I think we are both relieved to find some stability and routine to our lives. That's not to say that everything couldn't change quickly, but I'm enjoying where I am for the time being.

As I reflect back on my 34 years of living, I could count for a long time on all the blessings God has bestowed on me. However, I wanted to take a few moments to just look back on a few significant phases in my life.

1) On May 17th I came into this world. I think that's a pretty significant day in my life! 😜 I was born the second child to my parents in East Hartford, Connecticut.

2) My earliest memories are of time spent with my dad working on the church building that he was helping to pastor. Through my dad I learned the value of hard work.

3) My dad felt the burden to return to his home state, Wisconsin. He felt the Lord leading him to help start a church there or assist in one. We moved from Wisconsin while I was in first grade. Looking   back at how hard it was for me to leave my familiar comforts to come to Maine, I can relate some to how my mom must have felt as she said good-by to many dear friends.

4) Berlin, Wisconsin, became home for many years as my parents faithfully served in the church. Through their examples of faithfulness I learned the importance of being faithful to the local church,  and loving and ministering to those God has brought across my path.

5) I attended a week-long summer camp at a great Christian camp in northern Wisconsin for many of my elementary, junior high, and senior high years. It was through these Christian camp experiences that I was exposed to great Biblical preaching, Godly mentors, and a desire to know God deeper. It was at summer camp at about fifth grade that I surrendered my life to do whatever it was that God wanted me to do.

6) I attended a Christian school for my junior high and high school years. I had a piano teacher, Mrs. Hammond, who gave of her time and invested in my life both through her music lessons and her Godly direction. She instilled in me a love for playing in church and using my talents to serve God however He directed.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Life in Maine!

A week has gone by since I've updated the blog, and I know I'll forget something if I don't put my thoughts down in writing! Last Thursday I took the boys out of school early so that we could go to the dentist...hooray! (It's not one of my favorite things to do, but at least we have a dentist to go to!) Since Roger was working, it meant an hour long drive plus the four dentist appointments for the boys, and a long afternoon. However, the kids are fairly good travelers, and we made good time getting to the dentist. I was thrilled with how quickly the appointments went, and that only Wyatt has a small cavity! It's awesome that three of the boys don't have cavities, and that Wyatt's is a small cavity. After the dentist appointment, we decided to go to  Sam's Club. Since we were only thirty minutes from Sams club, it was decided that we should go there. (Thirty minutes may not seem very close, but compared to where we started at, we were right in the neighborhood!) The kids enjoy Sams club, and it was a cheap place to feed everyone supper. It made for a bit of a long evening, but I'm glad I took the time to do something fun with the kids.
 
Mud!!!
 

Friday was a day filled with playing for chapel, attending Bible study, getting ready for company on Sunday, and attending a benefit variety show in the evening. A young woman we know is having a kidney transplant on Thursday, May 11, and a fundraising benefit was put on for her behalf. Roger ended up meeting me there, as he was working. I had been asked to play some piano selections before the start of the event, so I had to be there early. Thankfully, Roger was walking in the door when we arrived, so the Lord's timing was in that. It was fun for me to pick out piano selections, but I certainly did not realize I would be so nervous! I was thrown back to my high school days of playing a piano solo   and my  leg shaking so badly that it looked like I was twitching! Oh well! It was good for me. 😳
The variety show consistent of just that a variety of different types of singing or performances. Since not every performance was from a Christian perspective, Roger and I knew that we would probably be having some interesting family discussions at home. 😀 The Kid's choir from church was asked to sing, and that was a good opportunity for our children and others from our church to sing for Jesus.  One of the events was a dance group from the area, and although they were modestly dressed for  dancers, I knew it would be an interesting discussion at home. Sure enough, I asked the boys what they thought of the performances, and Garett's response was, "Well, it was a bit awkward. I just sank down in my chair and closed my eyes. " Attending this event was a way for us to show our support for this family, and I was thankful for the opportunity it provided to talk with our kids about why we do what we do and who we are in Christ.

Saturday was a day spent at home...hoping for the sun to come out! We have had a lot of rainy days, and I'm ready for some sunshiny weather. While the boys still go outside when it's wet or rainy, they don't stay out as long. I also feel that after several rainy, cloudy days in a row it leads to more arguments and fighting. The boys have constructed a dirt bike track in the back yard which has kept them entertained. It also means that when the yard dries out a bit, they will have the opportunity to plant grass seed! We have a stream flowing on the side of our yard (it only runs in the spring time) and that has also kept them busy with building dams, floating items downstream, and making sure that their rubber boots will hold water!😜 Roger did get home a few hours earlier than normal on Saturday due to the weather, so that was definitely a pleasant surprise. I took Chandler and Travis with me to the grocery store and Goodwill, while the other boys and Emma stayed at home and burned trash. It was a productive day, and it's a nice feeling to go to be tired knowing that you've worked hard.

Memories 

Since we would be having a family over for lunch after church, I decided to make crockpot lasagna, bread and salad for Sunday dinner. Generally I plan for a simple meal on Sunday, but I wanted to put some extra effort into it for our guests. I also had the privilege of playing the piano for church services on Sunday which always brings joy and peace to my soul. It's very soothing and refreshing  for me to play the piano, and I'm thankful my parents invested in giving me piano lessons. I want our kids to have the same opportunity if possible, so please pray that God will provide a way for that to happen. I'm willing to teach them, but I'd also like peace that is what I need to do. Anyways back to the church service! During the communion service, I noticed a bit of commotion down towards the front pews. A dear older gentleman was clearly having some health issues, and a few people were trying to assist him. From the piano, I could see that he was not a healthy color, and I was concerned. Another lady ended up calling an ambulance,  so we did not finish the communion service. I was  reminded of how dear these older people are to our church, and yes, they are aging every day! These older men and women have  stood in the gap and begged God to send families to this church. They've been faithfully praying and serving God for many years now, and are we raising the next generation to stand up and fill that gap? Am I raising our boys to become prayer warriors and faithful soldiers of the cross? Am I raising a daughter that will also be a prayer warrior and committed to Jesus Christ? Having an experience like that in church was just another reminder of how much I love these dear older folks, and how fervent I need to be in raising our children for Jesus. ( The older man was taken to the hospital, but he was released and sent home the next day. Praise the Lord!)


We had a good afternoon getting to know another family from this area. Nick is one  of our  pastor's sons and his wife is Hannah. They have two little children, and it was a fun afternoon getting to know them better. The afternoon was cut a bit short as we did have to leave early for church. On Sunday night we had our last night of the kids program for this year. While I've very much enjoyed helping and teaching the 3-5 year olds, I'm thankful that we are having a break from that for a season! The boys and Emma have enjoyed the Childrens program, and we are thankful that we had the opportunity to help out with this ministry. However... Hooray for a break!!

On Monday the weather was...rainy! Emma and I spent the morning at home after dropping the boys off at school. It's always nice to have some time with just Emma, and the laundry pile appreciated my undivided attention for a few hours! 😀

Tuesday was a bit of a break in the rain and clouds. Yay for sunshine! Roger took the kids to school, while I managed to squeeze in a short run. I'm thankful for whatever opportunities I have to run outside, and the weather was very nice. When Roger came home from dropping off kids, we decided to go on an actual date! We tried out this local cafe in our small town. It was actually quite impressive and we would definitely visit there again. I had lunch duty at the school today.  Since  Roger had the day off, we surprised the boys with Subway sandwiches for lunch. They always enjoy when Roger is able to join them for lunch break, and I'm glad the boys love to spend time with him. Travis had some special testing with his teacher after lunch, so I waited for him for a while. We are concerned about his progress, and we want to help him succeed in education. We will see what transpires, but we are praying for Gods clear direction.

Wednesday morning Emma and I hosted our friend, Bethany and her two young kids. We had originally planned to go on a walk, but guess what?! The weather was misty and overcast! Bethany stopped and picked up coffee for us, which I definitely enjoyed! We spent the morning visiting, sharing, and chasing three small children. I'm thankful for the developing friendships I have with moms such as Bethany. Their children are similar in ages to ours, so we share a lot of common interests and parenting concerns. Emma and I left early to pick up Travis so that I could help with hot lunch. Although it wasn't my particular hot lunch day responsibility, there was a need for a few extra moms to help out. I helped wherever needed, and then ended up having a good visit with another dear friend. It's helpful to bear each other's burdens, and I can see why this is a Scriptural command given in Galatians. I'm thankful for the moms that have come along side me in this first year of so many transitions and changes to encourage and pray for me.
 
                                                                    Friends

Emma was supposed to go to school this morning, but she had an odd fever yesterday afternoon. She took a long nap yesterday afternoon, woke up very warm, and she acted tired. She had a fever until about three in the morning, and after that, she slept fine. She woke up a bit grouchy this morning, but she was fever free. I, of course, still kept her home from school. She was happy to go on a walk with her mama and my friend, Allison. It was a good morning of meaningful conversations to good laughs to just enjoying memories together. Allison tends to  be more of an introvert and I tend to be more of an extrovert. So together we are good friends! 😀

Since I didn't finish up this post yesterday, I'll go ahead and add the activities from today. 🙂 Roger had off of work, but he had a busy day with taking trash to the dump, fixing some things around the house, and driving to Bangor. One of our pilot friends from Arizona was in Bangor for the afternoon. As much fun as it would have been for us all to go, it would have been a long afternoon for the kids. Since we didn't want to get the kids out  of school early, we decided that it would be best  for just Roger to go to Bangor. I was able to g t some things ready for our company on Sunday afternoon, and I headed black to school a bit early. Tomorrow our church is hosting a give away sale. Everything will be free, and it's a wide variety of items. We have quite a few older ladies that I knew might need a hand with moving tables or setting up items, so Travis, Emma, and I helped with that for a bit. The only downside was that Emma and Travis discovered all the stuff that I had collected from our HOUSE! I kept reminding them that we were not taking our stuff back home!! After the older boys were done with school, they  helped out for a while also. It was a good way for the kids to get involved in a little project to help someone else.

We were also given a riding lawnmower today! That wasn't even an item on my urgent prayer request list, but God chose to bless us. It's an older mower, and the blade is currently causing some  problems it. However, it does run! Roger is planning to fix the blade, and we should have a riding lawn mower for the summer! It's exciting to see how God works  out all the details, and I'm glad the boys will be able to have the pushmower and the riding lawnmower for cutting the grass this summer. I actually like to use the pushmower...it's excercise! The boys are looking forward to trying out the riding lawnmower as soon as possible. Hopefully Roger will be able to fix it with some tools from work.

A few fun memories:
Travis was discussing something he missed in Wisconsin. I asked what he was missing about Wisconsin. He replied, "I'd like to go to that restaurant again where we ate  with the tweezers." I was a bit lost until I realized he meant chopsticks and not tweezers!

We were discussing heaven with the boys. We had discussed hell and why God didn't want us to go there. Chandler pops up with, "I know I'm saved. I'm glad I'm not going to hell, but do you think we will get to do things in heaven besides sing all day?!" He is concerned that he might be bored in heaven. So although I don't know what all we will be doing in heaven, we won't be bored!

Although these days of parenting are long and challenging, this is also an exciting time for me. The boys are growing and maturing, our conversations are changing, and I am so blessed to be their mama! Each day provides new mercies from the Lord as well as reminders that He is faithful. I'm thankful to be a mom, but these days we live in are dark in our society. It's encouraging to know that we have the Light of The World in our lives, and I can rest in him.

We are praying for Travis and Emma to come to know Jesus as their personal Savior. Travis has been asking many questions about heaven and hell. He knows that Jesus died on the cross for us sin, but he has yet to make a decision about placing his trust in Christ. I want to be sensitive to his needs, but I want him to make the decision. Please pray that he will understand that Jesus died for his sins, Jesus rose from the dead, and a home in heaven can be his by asking Jesus to forgive his sins and come into  his heart. (That is decision that can be yours also!)

Our love, Sarah

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Busy Days and Happy Hearts

I'm blessed to be their mama! 

Greetings from Maine
We had a busy week(s) the last two weeks with standardized testing for the boys at school, a hot lunch for the school, having a friend for the afternoon, a birthday party to attend, a speaking session for a missions group, two Bible studies, and just life! 
The boys enjoyed the variety of the afternoon activities last week during testing, but it certainly did make them tired! We worked hard at being consistent with bedtimes and routines to make sure that they were operating at 100% during the testing. Several of the parents got together to bring in healthy snacks for the classes to eat together. Since we have children in three different classrooms, it was quite a big pile of cheese and crackers when it was our turn! Thankfully, I volunteered for each of their classrooms on the same day. I did end up helping out one of the other classrooms by providing extra snacks, but it is my privilege to help out our teachers in whatever way I can. 
I attended a Bible study on Tuesday morning, although I probably should have forgone that event because of the business of the rest of the week. Oh well! It is always an encouragement to listen to a group of older ladies express the life lessons that they have learned and the blessings of digging in Gods word. 
Wednesday was a busy day as it was a hot lunch day. This was a fun one though, and probably my favorite of the year. We were supposed to have an outdoor picnic; but since we had our one day of spring weather on Monday, we had to have it inside. I'm being sarcastic, of course, about the spring weather, but it is certainly slow in coming. But the grass is growing, and the trees are beginning to show different hues of green. Anyways, back to the lunch topic! Since the picnic needed to be inside, I brought sheets and blankets to tape to the floor. We had make-your-own subs, chips, watermelon, and juice boxes for lunch. The kids had a good time, and the cleanup was so easy and fast! 
Later on Wednesday afternoon, I went to pick up our pastors son to play at our house for the afternoon. The boys enjoy having Austin over to play, and they certainly weren't bothered by the rainy conditions. They came in with wet shoes, sloppy socks, and dirty clothes, but with happy hearts and a refreshed spirit. I'm thankful that the boys enjoy being outside, and it was nice to give them a little variety in the middle of the week. 
Thursday was one of Roger's days off of work. We spent the morning together working on some various projects around the house, and then he picked up Emma and Travis from school. I was thankful that Roger had off this particular day as I had been asked to speak on my Haiti trip. I had to opportunity to share about my trip to the ladies mission group at church. One of the older ladies had come up to me on Sunday to tell me that she would pick me up for the meeting. Our church has a bunch of older ladies, and I've been introduced several times. However, I just can't seem to remember everyone's name. But I didn't want to tell her that I didn't know her name, so I just figured that I would figure it out by someone else calling her by her name. 😀 There were about eight ladies there, and guess what? They went around the room and introduced themselves. Hooray! It was a good opportunity for me to get to know these dear women better and to share more of the details of my Haiti missions trip. I don't know if God will make a way for me to go again, but I'm certainly willing to go if He should allow. It was a life changing experience! 
Friday is always a bit of a busy morning for me with the ladies Bible study at church and playing  the piano for the school chapel. I do enjoy these Friday morning opportunities to play the piano, and sometimes the voices of those young kids singing so enthusiastically will move me to tears. After the chapel service, we have a ladies Bible study at the church. We've been having a good turnout of ladies of about fifteen, and we also had another new lady join us. She lives in the area, and said that she had seen the announcement about the Bible study via the church sign. It was a reminder to me of  the power of the written word. She came because someone had put the effort to put the notice on the church sign that can be seen from the road. I thought that was really neat!  

 Saturday was a beautiful day as the sun was out and the rain stayed away! Roger was working so I  took the  boys to an event at the YMCA. It was an open house for kids with various activities for them to do. It was fun for a bit, but there could've been a few more things to do. So, we decided to take a trip to the beach to climb on the rocks and look for sea glass. It's still hard to believe that we live so close to the coast and that there are many beaches to choose from! The boys had a good time climbing all over the rocks and searching for sea glass. By the time we headed home everyone was ready for a bit of down time. Roger was able to get home by 4:30, so that was a pleasant surprise for us. We cleaned up the yard, and Roger and I talked while the kids jumped on the trampoline. Suddenly we heard Chandler yelling for Garett to get off the trampoline. "Get off! You are getting blood on here!" I've learned not to get to worried about blood and the boys, but Garett did have blood streaming off his face. I left Roger to get started on looking at the issue while I went to get some paper towels. None of his brothers acted too concerned about him, but they were worried about the blood Garett had dripped  on the trampoline! Apparently Garett had been talked into trying a gymnastics move that he was not quite comfortable with performing. When he did the flip, he came down and hit his knee with his face along with having his lip between his teeth! Oh my! Yes, lots of blood and towels but the bleeding did stop. His lip is very swollen and busted, but he will survive. His biggest complaint has been that it hurts to get food  past his lips, so he has been very hungry! His brothers were impressed with how much his lip swelled up, and Travis did offer him one of his popsicles. Oh, the joys of boy hood! 
By Sunday morning, Garett's lip was very swollen. He agreed to take some medicine, so I know it must have been hurting quite a bit. Garett does not like to take medicine! I know it will get better, but it's going to take some time.

We had a bit of a rough start to our school week as the vehicle wouldn't start on Monday morning. I had already been a bit frazzled that morning with trying to get some extra chores done with the kids before they left for school. So the car not starting was the icing on the cake! Of course, I couldn't get ahold of of Roger, we don't live near others that go to the school, and Chandler was upset that they might miss gym class. After taking a deep breath...and letting go of a few tears of frustration...we moved on to what we could do. I had Chandler pray that he would make it to gym class, and I told the boys that now God had provided a few extra minutes for them to do a few more chores. I called Rogers work and learned that he was out on one of the islands, which I had figured as much. I just left a message at the office to please have him call me when he arrived back. I called the school to let them know that we would be late, and I praised the Lord that this was not the week of testing. (If the kids had been late last week, they would've had to make arrangements to make up any testing that they missed.) Thankfully, Roger was able to get out to rescue us a little after 8:45 am., so the boys were at school by 9:10. Gym classs starts at 9:30 am., so the boys were delighted that God answered their prayers. Emma and I ran a bunch of errands while waiting for Travis to be done with school at 11:30. I had left some medicine for Garett in the office in case he needed it. When I picked up Travis, I spoke with Garett's teacher. She said that she had been gently trying to suggest to Garett that he go take some medicine, but he was getting the clues. I laughed and said that Garett does not get clues, but I would give him instructions from his mama to get some medicine after lunch. 😁

Here is the funny story in all of that...Garett came home from school with a note saying that he had been given some medicine and an ice pack. I asked him if the ice pack had helped, and Garett replied, "Not really." I was trying to process why not, when Chandler announced, "He had it on his head, Mom!" I asked Garett why on earth he would put it on his head instead of his lip. He replied, "Well, the lady in the office said that this was the ice pack they gave to kids with headaches sometimes, so I figured that must be where it was supposed to go!" Oh.my.word. Well, moving on...I told Garett that tomorrow he should place the ice pack on his lip to see if that would help. 😜

I need to wrap this up, but I have a few praises.
1) We were invited to a birthday party yesterday. It was a such a fun time, and I'm so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to know the Philbrook family. The boys had a good time bowling, and it's so good to see them developing and making friendships also.

2) I made a dessert for the teacher appreciation dinner today. Lemon curd is amazingly delicious...who knew?! I'm thankful that the dessert was going to the school because that would've been hard to resist.

3) Someone anonymously gave $200.00 to the boys school bill this month. I can't imagine who that might be or who knows our family well enough to consider donating towards our school bill. But it so encourages my heart, and I am so very thankful.

4) I made a meal for a family that recently moved today, and it was a reminder of how thankful I am that God has blessed us with a home, a wonderful church family, and a great Christian school for the kids.

It is now the month of May...and hopefully warmer weather, spring flowers, gardens, and less mud! It is also the month that I can probably share about that prayer request from a few weeks ago. We are so thankful to each one of you who pray for us. We had to make some decisions concerning health insurance for Roger and I. With Roger's recent pay raise, we did not qualify for the state insurance. We are over the cut off limit by a very little amount but we still had to figure something out. It was a bit of a stressful time for us as we tried to refit  our budget, and nothing was coming together. The  cost for us to get our own health insurance is  almost triple what the amount of the raise was going to be. Thankfully, the kids will still qualify for state insurance. It is not our intent or desire to be dependent upon the state but it has been helpful to have health  insurance as we've been transitioning. We are in a difficult position to figure out all of the budget issues, but we did receive notice that we will have six months to figure it out. This paperwork has brought a bit of peace of mind, as we sort through the changes we need to make. We appreciate your continued prayers.

Our love to you,
Sarah ❤️