Friday, August 31, 2007

New friends . . .

When I arrived in Bakersfield, I was introduced to a website called It is a place that you can go and join different groups. I joined a group of stay at home moms just shortly after we arrived. The idea is that periodically the women will get together. Tonight, after three months, I finally attended a meetup. It is a little strange going to a restaurant to meet a bunch of women you have never even laid eyes on. In my case, I was a little lucky in that I had met one of the women at a scrapbooking party several weeks ago when she invited me to her home after seeing that I enjoy scrapbooking, so I was not all alone. She offered to pick me up, so we could go to the event together. Neither of us knew anyone and we barely knew each other, but we found the other ladies, and seven of us (complete strangers) enjoyed dinner together. It was so much fun getting to know other moms! I am so glad that I decided to go, and I am so thankful for Trina calling to take me with her. I doubt she will read this, but if so, Thanks Trina!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Balance! and Loneliness?

I was just thinking this morning about how good God is in the way he provides for us. Specifically, I have been thankful for my husband and the perfect match he is for me! It's kind of silly because nothing in particular happened, but James asked me a question yesterday, and I heard myself saying, "You need to talk with your dad about this because he will be able to help you more than me." The question? More or less it was this, "We are studying evolution and watched a film about it and about how there are good mutations which caused evolution, but I don't believe in evolution, so when the question was asked on my worksheet, 'Are there good mutations?' I answered, 'No.' When my teacher gives it back and marks it wrong, I want to ask him to change my grade because answering yes would have been against my religion." Well, I kind of giggled, but I knew where he was coming from. On top of the fact that he just does not agree with evolution at all (and has strong convictions like his mother), when I was home schooling last year, we did a whole section of science from this book about creation versus evolution. At the time I could not remember this next thing that I am going to write, so I will have to tell James tonight, but it said that MOST mutations are bad, such as birth defects, and most of the time they are medically corrected. Basically statistics show that good mutations are so unlikely that evolution is not possible but not that there are NO good mutations. (I know there are two types of evolution, and it was talking like from one species to another, not within the species). I really need to ask Caroline Casselberry to send me the book we used so he can review it. Anyway, I am such a black and white person, and so is James, and I agree with James that his teacher should not ask questions that are so controversial with a right or wrong answer. James should have the freedom to express what he thinks, but I did not think his response to the teacher would go over well. However, I had no idea how to help him. So, I told Brent and had James talk to Brent, who just so quickly came up with a perfect answer for him, which would allow James to answer correctly without compromising his convictions. I am not on top of things enough to figure that out. What if I did not have Brent? In this case, James would have argued his point unintelligibly and probably would have gotten on his teacher's bad side.

This is only one little stupid example, but things like this happen all the time, and I rarely express my thankfulness to God for providing me with someone who complements me. I am so black and white. Things are right or wrong. There is very little gray in my world. Brent, on the other hand, is so full of grace and love and sees all the gray that is out there, and helps me, when I let him, learn to extend more grace and love to others. I don't tell him enough how thankful I am for him, either - so if you read this, Brent (and I haven't already told you), thanks, and I love you!

On the flip side, I can also help Brent to see things from my perspective, which sometimes is necessary. Sometimes a foot has to be put down and sin needs to be called what it is. There is this amazing balance that God provides to each of us through the other. Unfortunately, we don't always see the blessing in that because it can also be amazingly frustrating to be so different. My prayer in my marriage right now is that I will clearly see and appreciate Brent's perspective and hear him when he tries to share what he thinks with me and that it would be the same the other way around!

I was having coffee (okay a orange cream frappacino that has no coffee flavor in it) this morning with my friend, Amberly, who I have grown to love and appreciate so much since we moved here. We had a great conversation about how we are each doing. In the course of that conversation, she asked how I was doing with loneliness. It kind of caught me off guard and in a good way. One thing I can say about being here is that I don't feel lonely. Yes, I miss my friends and family in Bartlesville and long to be with them. I would like to just call each of you and be able to schedule lunch, but it is not possible, and that bums me out sometimes. But I do not feel lonely here, and what a blessing that is!!! We have been so warmly welcomed, and I have quickly formed friendships that I feel will last a lifetime, and I am so thankful for how God has provided these relationships. Thanks, Amberly, for asking because I don't think I have stopped to appreciate that blessing that God has bestowed on me!

So today I just appreciate God, My Provider, because He has provided so much for me - more than I could begin to list.

Monday, August 27, 2007

One week of school down!

I am excited to report that the boys did pretty well all week. James did great! Although, he is on a new level of having to stay organized, and it may kill me!!! One of my friends said that they think junior high is all about learning to organize and keep things in order, and I think it may be true, but he will make it. He made a couple of friends and told me last night that one of them is a Christian. He asked some sweet questions last week. One thing he asked was at what point do I tell other kids that I'm a Christian. He said that he wanted his friends to know but did not want to scare them off, so we had a good conversation about that. He also asked how he prevents bad language from becoming a part of his vocabulary when he hears it all the time now. Apparently, he is a little concerned he will start cussing because it is so common around school. There is also one boy who was around at lunch, at least one day, who was talking about terrorism and being inappropriate (joking about it, which is absolutely not okay in our house), and he wanted to know how to handle that. I am just excited that he is talking to us about it. Pray that we will have wisdom on how to answer the questions. Really, I just want him to stay completely away from that one child, but at the same time, he could be a great witness. He did tell me that he told the kid that he was being completely inappropriate, so I am excited about his courage!

Jason did great on Wednesday and went happily Thursday morning. Then during the day on Thursday, he had some academic struggles and came home very discouraged, but Friday he did very well on his test, and I had a pretty good talk with his teacher this morning. I know it will take his teacher a little bit of time to figure everything out, but he seemed to think Jason was doing okay. The class sizes are pretty big. The kids get prizes for good behavior, and poor Jason told me last week that his teacher would never know he was being good because it is impossible to tell who is being good when you have to watch 30 kids. Jason has a very sweet boy in his class, whose mother I met and is also very nice. He was just so kind to Jason all week, and that was very helpful. The boys are adjusting well, and I am so thankful that God has provided in so many ways.

David and Sarah did okay with their brothers gone last week. I started doing a little bit of schoolwork with David since I did not get him into preschool. He really enjoys it and has learned three letter sounds. It just gives us a little something productive to do during the day.

I spent a long weekend with my grandmother, aunt and cousins in Palm Springs. We had a nice time. I have never been close enough to do anything like that, and I really enjoyed the time with them. It was nice to have a little break from the kids, but I did miss them. I got home last night in time for dinner with some new friends. We had a great time and laughed a lot while the kids swam in their pool.

I am studying Leviticus right now in my Bible study. I always have such a hard time making it through Leviticus and Numbers and decided I needed to get a study guide to help me understand all of it. It is still so hard to really grasp, but it makes me appreciate so much what Jesus did for me and all the freedom I have because of Him! I am also reading a book called Raising Kids for True Greatness. For those of you who don't know me as well, I am not a big reader, and I really don't read many parenting books, but this was sent to me and I liked the title. So far, it is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it (though I have not come near finishing it). It talks about the difference between true greatness and success and has really challenged my thinking about what is really important in raising my kids.

It's been a week or more since my last post, and this pretty much updates my life. We are just busy! Brent and I sat down and made a list this morning of things that need to get done. It's no where near finished, and I am already scared of it, but God is good and will help us accomplish it. Have a great day everyone!

Monday, August 20, 2007

We made it through the day . . .

It did not start out so well, but God is good! James woke up in a great mood and had a great attitude. Brent took him and he went off like it was just another day! I guess he got over his anxiety yesterday. Jason, on the other hand, was a mess. We left for our walk to school, and he was great - happy all the way, but when we arrived, his face just showed all his anxiety. Then we had to wait for his teacher because he had before school duty. He did not arrive until the bell rang. In the meantime, a very sweet mother walked up to me and introduced herself and told me her son's name. He and Jason ended up sitting together, but when I left, Jason was crying. I spent the day praying for both of them while I went about my other tasks. Brent and I both discussed that it would be nice if the first day of school was only a half day so we did not have to wait so long to check on the kids. I walked back to pick Jason up and he came out and snuck up behind me. He was all smiles. He hung out with that sweet boy for the most part and made one or two other acquaintances. He loved his teacher, but through the night, he was teary again several times and said he did not want to go back tomorrow. I guess that at one recess, he could not find anyone he knew and that bothered him a lot, but otherwise, he had a good day. Tomorrow should be better as he gets to know more kids. I don't think I have realized how insecure he is. I know that he is much more attached to us than James, but some of that is age, but I think he is kind of afraid of making new friends. When he was little, he made friends with anyone. That seems to have changed, but I am just now realizing that.

James made two friends. He made it to all of his classes on time, and overall had a good day! I was so proud of him. I asked him this evening when we ran to the store together if he was scared this morning. He said he just kept praying, and he felt fine. Then he said throughout the day, he kept seeing all the things God provided for him and stopped and said thank you. He is such a great kid!!!! I need to remember these things when his preteen behaviors are driving me NUTS!!!!

Thank you for your prayers! I will definitely still appreciate them as they continue to adjust, but I think it is all going to be fine. I still have some concerns about Jason's academic abilities, but we will see as we go along. He will be assessed this week in all areas, I think. So, I should know something soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

School starts tomorrow!

The boys start school tomorrow. It's been a stressful day as a result. James got up early this morning and attended the junior high group at one of the churches here. I encouraged it because I was hoping for one more chance for him to connect with some kids who might attend his school. It did not turn out so well. James came out of class upset. He said that the kids made fun of him for answering questions. He said that when they asked questions, he would wait to see if anyone else answered, but after some silence, he answered. He said each time the kids laughed at him. He said, "If kids think I am a geek at church, they are really going to think I am a geek at school." Now, as an irrational mother, I was just heart broken and wanted to go shake some kids, but as a rational mother, I thought that he may have misinterpreted something innocent. Unfortunately, the youth pastor was not there today, and I did not know who taught, so I couldn't go and ask about the situation. It just got James down. It was a bummer! We spent some time tonight praying and reminding him that God is in control and cares about his relationships and will provide and will also teach him during this time. I know he understands that in his head, but it's always hard to transfer to the heart. It was a good conversation, but it is so hard for me. I want to take him to school tomorrow and personally find him a friend, but obviously that would not work! So, if you read this, say some prayers for James tomorrow. Jason was doing pretty well at bedtime, so I think he will be okay, but he could use some prayers also. We all could! It may be a tough morning. I am going to walk Jason to school with his friends, Anthony and Carissa, and their mother. Brent is going to take James to school. I will let you know how their days go. Thanks for your prayers!

Friday, August 17, 2007


So, Brent told me tonight, that blogs are supposed to be short! Remember, I said this was all new to me. I did not know that rule! I will try to do better this time. It has been a busy week, but a good week.

I have had an amazing opportunity to volunteer at a youth workshop for teens who are in foster care or in difficult living situations. There are nine amazing kids in the group who have been so brave and vulnerable to share their lives with strangers. I have truly enjoyed every minute of it and will be sad when it ends tomorrow. I am hoping that I will be able to continue to have a relationship with one of the girls by mentoring her. What is really incredible is that this workshop is conducted by a social service agency that was actually started by a church! The church was doing so many incredible things in the community that they decided to start a separate agency, but it is in the same building as the church and everything. While we have no goals of starting a social service agency, we sure hope that we can make a significant impact on the community and can learn a lot from this church. I have enjoyed being able to utilize my social work skills. I am glad I am not working full time, but when I am in those meetings, I realize that God made me to help people.

Tonight we had a family over for dinner who is interested in helping us with the church. It was so fun to enjoy a new friendship. For those of you who don't know, Sarah is not a super friendly child, like my boys are. It takes her quite a while to warm up. We have seen this change some since our move, but she still has been standoffish to other little girls. This family, the Morrison's, have a daughter who is just a little older than Sarah named Holly. Well, Holly arrived tonight, and Sarah actually told me (in front of everyone) that she did not like Holly and did not like friends. She would have nothing to do with her. I apologized for her behavior tried to encourage her to act more nicely but then just let her go on with life. What can you do? She's two! They were here for a few hours, and by the end of the night, she was playing so nicely with Holly and did not want Hollly to leave! I am so excited! Maybe Sarah finally has a friend! I told her mother, Jill, that we would definitely have to get the kids together again soon!

Well, I don't think I'm sticking to the short thing real well again. Plus, I need to get to sleep. Goodnight.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Why Blog?

This is a question I have asked for a while. I just wasn't sure about the amount of time it might take me to write something or if I would even have anything much to write, but when Brent started blogging, and predominately about the church plant, I began reading his blog and then others and found that I kind of enjoyed it. Also, it occurred to me that Brent does not blog much about our family (I'm not being critical, just factual) and some people might want to hear how we are doing or what we are doing. So, I decided to try this whole blogging thing. If I blog once and never again, you will know it was not for me in the end.

So, we are pretty settled in Bakersfield, and we really like it here, despite all of the negative things we had heard. It is hot, but we really do not think it was any worse than Oklahoma. We love our home and have made some great friends! We do continue to pray for friends for James. He has a friend, but he will be going to high school, not junior high, so at this point, James will enter school not knowing anyone there. That is a little overwhelming to him, especially because the junior high has 1200 students in two grades, just a little more than his previous school, which had 80 in all grades (pre-k through 12). We just pray for and with him about it. I have to say that it is a little anxiety provoking for me as well. I do not believe I should be home schooling this year, and I know that Christian School is not an option, but sometimes I just want to shelter the kids from all that is out there, and keep them huddled inside the house. I am excited to get involved in the schools and continue to pray for opportunities there. And, if something happens and I need to pull them from school, my experience last year homeschooling, showed me that I can do it, which I did not think before.

Jason has one great friend who will be at the same school, so I am not as worried about him, at least not socially. Academically, however, I am a little nervous. I still question whether or not he is ready for fourth grade, but they will not hold him back based on my recommendation. They have to have a recommendation from a school teacher, but he does not have one other than me because he was homeschooled last year. So, what they do is put him in fourth grade; then if he is not successful, at 30 days, they will put him back in 3rd grade. Obviously, not the best thing to do for a child socially. Again, if that happens, I will just homeschool him in 3rd grade again and put him in fourth grade when the next school year begins.

As for David, they do not have pre-kindergarten here, so I looked into preschool - terribly expensive. One place I called was$220.00/month for two half days/week (8 a.m. to noon). Another was $190.00/month for two half days but they did include breakfast!!! The other was $120.00/week for three days. I never asked if it was all day or just a half day, but I assume all day at that price. Anyway you look at it, it is not in our budget. So, I have a couple more phone calls to make to see if the Mother's Day Out programs are any less expensive, but there are not very many because most women work in this city. I guess we will do play groups and some homeschooling. As crazy and active as he is, he is pretty bright, and I think if I work with him, he might enjoy what he can learn.

There's nothing to report on Sarah as far as school goes - thank goodness, she is growing too fast as it is. She is talking so much and is so sweet. She does, however, display a rather spoiled two year old side some of the time. She spends a lot more time on her bed now than she did a month ago! Like her mother, she is not a morning person and mornings are the worst. She gets mad if her cereal is not served just right. But for the most part, we just enjoy watching her and listening to her.

I am excited for the week because I have made some connections with some social workers here and will be volunteering at a youth workshop this week. I don't know what to really expect from it, so I will try to explain more later, but I believe it is for teenage foster children to help them learn different skills but first to address some of the baggage in their lives. I miss doing social work sometimes, and this will give me an opportunity to be involved in that. I am hoping to connect with a teenage girls who I can then mentor.

God is good. He provides for us in so many ways, both big and small. He has granted me this opportunity this week, and I know he will provide friends for James and direct Jason's academic path, as well as give me the energy to keep up with David without a break. He has provided friends for our family. He has provded for us financially. I just definitely feel blessed!