The Night Before Homeschol


Twas the night before homeschool,

When all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring,

Not even a mouse.


The children were nestled

All snug in their bed,

While visions of the school year

Danced in my head:


An adventure for the oldest

As he starts something new;

Comm Central on Mondays;

Mom hopes lots of homework too!


2nd and 4th await the girls,

Learning English, Science and Math;

More Bible verses to memorize

So  we all stay on the right path.


My boisterous 4 year old will learn to write

And practice 1 + 1,

Colors, shapes, and logic too;

He’ll have lots of fun!


We’ll all need a dose of patience

As baby sleeps and grows;

We expectantly hope  for a good year,

Trusting  the Lord, who alone knows!


Endings and Beginnings


Life consists of many beginnings and endings. And Josiah’s beginning was in 2012 when I felt God’s call to trust Him. Trust Him with our family size. Again. After 4 kids, I was feeling like our family was possibly full. Two boys, two girls, almost perfect. But, I was not content. God was calling me beyond this picture to something….I didn’t know what at the time. My Bible study notebook from that year, in which we studied Genesis (which means beginning) is full of quotes that was preparing me for the hard years ahead: “Yielding your rights to God will  result in loss and gain,” God’s will is not a guarantee of no problems. Following God’s will is going to be tough for a while.” I thought the “problems” would involve space and monetary issues. Not  a transformation of my heart.

A few months after surrendering control, God blessed us with a pregnancy. But this baby’s life ended a few weeks after it began. And so in 2013 I began another year of Bible study, a bit bruised. But, I learned to give my expectations to God. And again, He was trying to prepare me for what lay ahead: “Despair often leads to grace” is one of the things I wrote in my notebook.

The despair came in 2014 with the loss of Cora. And that fall, I started Bible study broken. What I thought was the beginning of new life kept ending. God answered all my hard questions and reassured me that I hadn’t misunderstood His directions.  And He kept asking me, Do I trust Him? After all the losses, do I still believe in following His will? God gave me so many points to ponder! “Being at the center of God’s will can cause problems,” “Faith will open my hand to receive God’s promises,” “A believing heart magnifies God; an unbelieving heart magnifies problems,” “I will not fear because God will not fail,” “Am I ready to move forward with God’s plan?”

I healed, with a holy scar on my heart. And, again, God blessed us with another pregnancy at the start of my Bible study. Appropriately in 2015, our study was on Revelation, the last book, the end, of the Bible. And the year started with this promise: “I have confided in you a word of hope.” And I clung to that hope for 9 long months. And I rested in the thought that “My job is not to win the battle, but to follow the battle plan.”

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13.

I mulled over that verse as I waited for the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of Josiah’s life on earth to come. God knew I would need those words during my hospital stay. For when we checked into the Labor and Delivery room, I was assigned the same room where I had given birth to Cora. Fears crept in during the long night of labor, especially when Josiah’s heart rate dropped and the nurses had to abruptly stop labor until he stabilized.

But God had carried us through 4 years of trials and He wasn’t stepping away from us now. God turned an ending, Cora’s life, into a beginning, Josiah’s life. He’s constantly weaving pain and joy together, to create a new harmony. “To all who mourn…He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” (Isaiah 61:3)

We chose Josiah Samuel’s name to express what we’ve learned through it all. Josiah means “God supports” and Samuel means “I hear God.” God has provided for all our needs through these ordeals; we have seen His hand, heard His word, clearly. When I look at my baby boy, I see so much more than tiny features and innocent eyes. I see God and the promise of many beginnings for him and us, yet to come.



Fantastic Four


Today is Jacob’s 4th birthday and while he’ll have to wait a few weeks for his official party, we celebrated all day, inbetween Christmas stuff!

While the older 3 were having their Christmas piano recital, he spent some time with Granny.


Some more presents at home from Nana and us.



Then we took an afternoon trip to see Santa.


Charlotte asked for a horse, which made Jacob say he wants a cow, so Celia then asked for a pig. I immediately asked Santa for some land!

Then tonight just Daddy, Mommy and Jacob went to the mall to get him his frist Build a Bear.


At first he wanted a Stormtrooper bear, mucho $$, which means we wouldn’t buy an outfit. But, when he saw the Batman outfit, he quickly decided that a puppy was what he wanted. Good choice! We’ve named him Batpuppy.

We also got him pajamas for his Snoopy at home.


Sweet boy and sweet dreams tonight!


We’re having a….


Are we more concerned with things going well or knowing God well? That was one of the points in my BSF meeting yesterday morning. And that thought stayed with me all day as I awaited the ultrasound of our little baby. The last two months have been a roller coaster of emotions, and all of my own making. There have been no medical scares  with this pregnancy. Just my own anxiety weighing me down at times. “Far be it for me to not believe, even when my eyes can’t see” has been my song. Yesterday we got to see what God has been doing.


He has been fashioning a healthy, strong, lively baby boy. The ultrasound tech spent a long time with us, examining every inch. He’s measuring on schedule. We watched him suck his fingers. We captured his first footprint.


So while I rejoice in what God has done, I continue to pray for the sustaining of this little one. But I take heart that it’s not my job to win the battle, but to follow the battle plan.  So I will fight with my prayers for our baby boy and trust that God will provide us a victory song at his birth.

God’s Hope


It has been a while since I’ve written. Summer was not kind to our family. My sister was divorced; broke our family’s hearts! My brother-in-law is really my brother, considering I’ve known him since I was 8! And we all miss and love him still, despite the feelings of anger that accompany divorce. Divorce really is a type of death. Then, my sister (same one!) was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. More tears and more testing of faith. We are all battle weary.

Still, God has great ways of communicating love to us. This past week I walked into the Bible Study Fellowship lecture and the hymn we’re singing is “Have Faith in God” (same one as at Cora’s funeral.)  Then, when the teacher says this: “Have you experienced a death you wish was make-believe? [check] Or a marriage you wish was on a happy road? [double-check] Or a diagnosis that won’t go away?” [triple-check!] you KNOW God is speaking to you. She just described my life experiences this past year! So, while I was trying to hold the tears in she continued, “God has confided in you a word of hope.” And that’s when the overwhelming assurance flooded  me that this baby was safe.


God has placed His hope in me. And while I understand our ultimate hope is Jesus, He can give us good things to hope for as well. Like health, stability, and a baby to hold.

So really, I have two hopes in me: Jesus and the baby He’s holding.

Psalm 16:8 ” I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Join with us in praying that God sustains this little one until He can breathe the breath of life in her/him on May 6, 2016.

On the Trail Again


It’s been a while since we’ve gone on a new trail. Almost a year. After reading about Conner Park in my Trails of Central Arkansas book, we headed there this morning.


It’s a beautiful pond the city stocks full of fish. The blue trail circles the pond. We followed the blue trail to the green trail, which takes a wider loop above the pond. This walk took less than 10 minutes, so we decided to follow the red/yellow trail northwestward. After a while the trail forks: yellow-left, red-right. After reading in the book that the yellow trail eventually has great views of WLR, we took it. The book did warn me that the yellow trail is hardest. It has a good ascent and eventually becomes very narrow.


At one point,  the trail is so narrow, if you misstep, you’re falling/rolling down the hill. I had to hold Jacob’s hand and walk behind him. I took this picture right before reaching the power pole fork.


It’s not fog, but my camera was cold from being next to our waters, so it fogged up when I opened it to take the picture. I like the filter effect.

At the power pole, you choose left or right again, still on the yellow trail. Once you’ve reached this, you’re out of the woods and into the bright sunshine. Still waiting for those good views, we went left. The trail becomes very vertical at this point, mostly climbing on small rocks. Unfortunately, Andrew had a scary encounter with a bee. And as I was not enjoying the sunshine beating down on my head and Jacob kept tripping every third step,  I decided we better turn around. Hopefully we’ll return in much cooler weather and enjoy pretty leaves and no bees.

Back down when we reached the yellow/red fork, we took the red. It’s a slow ascent/descent, undulating through small valleys. There are many little bridges on the trails, which I’m sure come in handy when it’s recently rained.


Eventually the red trail leads up a small hill to another fork and there is a playground!


This actually belongs to Grace Church and is adjacent to their parking lot.


After a while, we headed back down the red trail (which would have been the right fork) and joined the green trail, which lead back to blue. Full circle!

I really like this trail. There are no paved parts and could never be done with strollers.  This makes trail number 8 we’ve done in the book!

Life is Worth the Living


A year ago, in the middle of the night, in a darkened hospital room, heavy with silence, a little baby girl was born. She was complete, serene. She had fingers perfect for playing piano, long legs superb for dancing. She was so soft and so fragile.

hand crop

But I could never know more than what I was seeing then. She wasn’t completely mine. God had granted me only a glimpse of her. Her perfected self, her soul never tarnished by sin, had been welcomed home in heaven. Someone else was cradling her and filling her with love. And that Someone was doing the same for me.

God provides, heals, and gives.

As I think about my journey this year, my many encounters with God, my heart has changed. All those who belong to God will undergo this change.  “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.” (Deut 30:6.) It is a painful thing to be marked for the Lord.

My living children left physical scars on me whereas Cora has left a spiritual scar. My heart was cut to make room for the desires of heaven. I say yes more often. I’m less uptight about little things. I feed on the Bible. I enjoy the childishness of my children more. I ponder song lyrics. I sing on purpose.

If I had to pick a song to be my theme for the past year, it would be “Blessings” by Laura Story. It’s a song about unanswered prayer–at least not answered in ways we prefer. It’s a song about perseverance. About endurance. About drawing near.

Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near.
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise.


I have spent a lot of time in introspection this year. The boundaries of my faith were pushed and God was faithful. I completely let go and found peace. And now I’m ready to start living.

You make me brave, You make me brave
You called me beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave, You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises You’ve made.

Surviving and Thriving


This past week was VBS at my church. I’ve been dreading this week for a while. And not just because it meant daily getting out the door early, dealing with myriads of little kids, and being exhausted each day. Out of the last 6 years, 4 of those years something major happened to our family around VBS time. Andrew got the swine flu the last day of VBS in 2009, Celia had a broken arm in the summer of 2012, Charlotte broke her elbow at VBS in 2013, and we found out about Cora’s death during the week of VBS 2014. Summer is not my favorite season!

For a minute or two, I entertained thoughts of hibernating during VBS this year. Avoid it like the plague! But, I decided to kick Satan and that negativity out the door. So, we all went to VBS this year. Joey  and I even were the main teachers in a room. And we all made it. No sickness. No tragedy. Just blessed normalness!

We’re on a journey, o-o-o-oh!


Super Six


When I was a child, I remember attending a friend’s birthday party where each guest got to open a present. There was this table, piled high full of wrapped matching sets of presents. Each guest picked a pair, and the birthday girl and the guest opened the presents simultaneously, each receiving the same thing. It was magical for me to receive a present when it wasn’t my birthday! I even remember what I opened: a Hello Kitty address book! Months ago when planning Celia’s party (yes, my children start thinking about their parties almost as soon as the last one is over) she mentioned wanting to give everyone at her party a present. This conversation began after reading Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessing, which involves the princess deciding to let her guests have the presents that were intended for her. Remembering the party I attended as a child, I told Celia we could do that.

This weekend was the pool party. Very thankful the rain finally stopped!


Minnie Mouse theme


It was fun as mom to watch the happiness on each child’s face.

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She said it was the best birthday ever!


Week 2


This week we took a trip to Mud Island.


This was actually Andrew’s second visit, but since he was 24 months the last time he came, he doesn’t remember it. We did the whole tour, including the monorail:

waiting to start,


pretty views;

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the museum tour;

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and of course walking the length of the Mississippi River.

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When we came to the Baton Rouge, LA town map, Joey had to stomp on LSU.


We finally reached the Gulf of Mexico!


Joey standing on the southernmost tip of the Mississippi.


And a picture of our photographer.


It was a very tiring trip. We also paid a visit to the new Bass Pro in the Pyramid. Now that’s craziness! Two stories, with an accompanying resort in the store, a restaurant, a bowling alley, plus the world’s tallest free-standing elevator inside (which for $5 a head before 4 p.m., $10 after) you can ride to an open observation point outside. Uuhh, no thanks!

We crossed some tracks on the way to the car and Jacob had to stop and look for Thomas.


And what’s a trip to Memphis without a picture with the King?


This morning our cleaning chore was  Mr. Erasering all of the walls and door moldings. We scrubbed through 5 sponges!