Sunday, September 30, 2007


So Rick and Kylee have been requesting pictures. Unfortunately, I have had the hardest time finding good pics of everyone right now. I have a million adorable pictures of Sarah and some of David, but I am lacking on the older boys. I am going to post a couple - one of the family with our surf board - yes we did try to use it. I am told it was a terrible beach for surfing because of the way the shoreline was - I don't understand what that means. I think it was just our friend, Joel, trying to help us feel better because we were terrible!!! I wiped out so badly (and so quickly, I might add) that I had sand in my nasal passage. I think I just scooted across the bottom of the ocean on my nose. It was fun, but when we try again, we will go to a different beach. (Then we will know if Joel was just being nice or not). On another note, that day we must have seen 20 dolphins (or several of the same ones many times) and two seals, swimming just of the shoreline. It was incredible. They were near enough that Joel tried to swim out to them and other people down the way were out as far as they were.

The next picture is of David playing soccer - he loves it and is such a little athlete! We enjoy watching him play. The last is just a picture of Sarah and I that Brent took this morning. Sarah's hair is in a ponytail, so she looks a little different. I must tell you that Brent put the ponytail in her hair. I was impressed!!!

I will try to get more pictures posted, but I am not great at doing that. Basically, I am not great at taking pictures anymore. I just get busy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Raising Kids . . .

For True Greatness - I am not good at reading books - terrible, in fact. I loved to read when I was a kid, but I have such a hard time staying focused with all the different things going on in life now. But, we were given a book by Dr. Tim Kimmel last year and I have been determined to read it and have started it several times. It was given to everyone who attends Pine Cove, at least I think so, because his introduction talks about the truly great kids who work there. I kept starting it and was so interested, but then I would not take time to read and would end up starting over because I had forgotten. Well, I picked it up Thursday, determined to finish it by the end of next week, and I have completed more than half of it in two days. I love it, and I think every parent needs to read it, especially in this day and age. (I don't push parenting books, either. I think that can become so controversial and divisive, but this book is different.) I wish I read it even before I had kids, for those of you who are just starting out or haven't even started. I even think it would be beneficial for people who do not have kids because there are so many lessons in it for me as a Believer, not just as a parent.

The main thrust of the book is that we should be raising our kids to be truly great, not just successful, but most of us are raising them to be successful, not necessarily truly great. Obviously, we don't think that consciously, but it is what we do. He raises the question, "Success is important in our society, but was it important to Jesus?" That is what the book is all about. I love how Dr. Kimmel defines true greatness. He says, "True greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others." I love that definition! In chapter 2, he explains the difference between success and true greatness. One thing he said is, "The successful come, achieve, and then leave. The truly great touch people's lives in such a way that their impact lasts forever." I could quote Dr. Kimmel all day, but I won't. I just want to highly recommend his book and then quote him occasionally. He does a great job of backing up his points with scripture, and I really appreciated one chapter that focused on the beattitudes.

Okay, enough of my book review. We are doing well - busy as usual. We are into soccer season and have met some nice families. Brent and Eric are coaching Jason's team together. David and Jason have both played very well and are enjoying the activity. Brent's parents were here as I mentioned in the blog about the trees. They were hugely helpful and it was such a blessing to have them here. I am thankful that I have in-laws that I enjoy! We spent two days with them in LA after they returned from visiting Rick and Kylee in Hawaii. There is this restaurant in LA called Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles that we have wanted to eat at so we went there. It is a popular place. The waffles were the most delicious waffles I have ever tasted, and the chicken was tasty also. We ran around and had fun showing Brent's parents some of LA. The boys enjoyed two days out of school. It was a nice, much needed break!

We have so much to do on the church side of stuff, so you can pray for that. Our boundaries had become terrible (working constantly), so we are trying to take weekends off as much as we can. It was a nice day today with soccer and then just being at home. You can see Brent's blog for all the upcoming church events. Thanks for your prayers. I'm going to try to read another chapter in the book before bed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GIANT Trees!

Brent's parents are here! It is so fun to have them. They have been such a huge help! Brent's dad has worked hard on our ice cream truck. He has also dealt with stuff that we just haven't had time to get done. The kids are enjoying their grandparents who they miss so much! It's just been wonderful! On Saturday we took them up to Sequoia National Forest to see the giant Sequoia trees. I am posting some pictures of our day. The trees are amazing. Hopefully, you will all want to come and see us so we can take you to see them also!

Here we are standing on a tree trunk that has fallen over and broken.

This is another tree that fell over - you can see the root system.

James is crawling out from inside of the tree trunk.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Yay for Best Buy and Canon!!

Real quickly I need to share this fabulous thing that happened today. Then I have to clean for a couple more hours before going to bed. Brent's parents will be here tomorrow, and I still have a lot to do to get ready! But . . . I am so excited about this. Monday I took David and Sarah to this farm that is in town to see and pet the animals with some other stay at home moms. When we got home, I dropped our digital camera on the kitchen floor, and it broke. We bought it two years ago at Best Buy for somewhere around $500.00. We had saved Birthday and Christmas money in order to buy it. Brent's pretty particular about stuff, and we shopped and read all sorts of reviews before buying it and spent extra money to get the exact one that we wanted. I knew we bought the extended warranty, but I was not 100% sure it worked if you dropped the camera, so I was nervous because we do not have the money to replace a camera right now, especially not for the exact one Brent wanted. So, today I took the camera to Best Buy. Now, on the drive to the store, the sinful, fallen part of me was trying to figure out how I could tell Best Buy about dropping it without ever really admitting to dropping it, if you know what I mean. How could I make that warranty apply if there was a clause against dropping it. But, I am an honest person and felt very convicted that it would be wrong to do anything but simply fess up, so when I got to the Geek Squad at Best Buy, I told the guy that I dropped it and asked if he would check to see if the warranty covered accidents. He looked up my account and made a phone call and asked a couple questions. When he got off the phone, he said that Canon products are covered with an exchange program. I could go find a camera that cost the same amount (or about the same amount) as the Camera I was returning (when I bought the camera new). He then told me it was $475.00 and that the updated version of my camera was about that price, but with 8 megapixels instead of 5. So, tonight I have a brand new camera that is better than the one I already had. I took it to the kids' first soccer practices and enjoyed it very much! I want to kick myself for those thoughts of dishonesty coming into my head. I have a great example to use with my kids also. They always need to hear how honesty pays off. This world too often makes it seem that dishonesty is better.

I can't say enough good about Best Buy or Canon! Well, I off to continue the cleaning process.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good News!

Praise the Lord, the pediatric ENT said that Sarah is just fine. She said she was healing well and the stitches looked good and well-placed. She said we could return in 6 months for a follow up appointment but only if we felt it was really necessary. She expects we will have no complications. We were so thankful! Thanks for all of your prayers. For those of you who have not experienced major injuries to your children, especially blood related ones when you cannot identify the severity, I do not think it is possibly to describe the fear. Throughout everything with Sarah and with Jason years ago, I just prayed for them and prayed that whatever the outcome, I would glorify God because in my fear, I become afraid that I might not be able to glorify Him. I am so awed by watching the faith of people who go through the loss of a loved one, and especially a child. It is such a testimony to me.

I am also struck by the reality that I have very little control over my children. I can watch like a hawk, but things still happen, and I have to trust God with them completely. While there is fear in that, there is also freedom. I have three incidents in my life that I can think of right now that really speak to that. The first was when Jason cut his wrist and the ER doctor said that if the cut had been on more millimeter, it would have cut his main artery, and the chances of saving him would have been slim. The second was when the doctor was working on Sarah's mouth and said that he was just so glad she had not hit her parotid artery which was close to the injury. The third is a story involving James and a snake. He was at a friend's house and later told me that they were throwing rocks at snakes to kill them. Of course, as a mother, I told him he needed to stop doing that because it was dangerous. Later when I was expressing my fear to Brent, he said, "If God wants him to die by snake bite, there is very little you can do about it." While that is true, Brent was being silly and serious at the same time. He just wanted me to keep perspective. With four kids (or even just one), I could worry all of the time and be useless for God. Basically, our kids are in His hands. I am thankful for that because I can rest in the fact that He is in control. He kept Jason's artery from being cut (1 mm - I could never have controlled a millimeter). He kept Sarah's parotid artery from damage, and even protected that parietal gland that the ER doctor was concerned about. And thus far, He has also protected James from snakes or anything else that he might have gotten into without my knowledge. And He has protected David from who knows what, which could be a full-time job for any human! It is hard to let go of control, but sometimes it's not a matter of letting go, just a realization that I never had the control in the first place!

I try to think of how a person who does not know Jesus deals with this, and I just can't even imagine. I know if I have to lose a child, it will be incredibly difficult - I have no idea how I would handle it, but I would have the advantage of being able to remember the God who I serve is ready for the child to return home. James used to tell us that he was not going to live to be ten. It was never a fearful thing. In fact, he never even really told us outright, just made comments like, "If I am ever ten . . . " instead of "When I am ten . . . " When I asked him about it, he just always said, "I would really like to return to Jesus before then. I want to be with Jesus." It was such a sweet, innocent love of the Lord. I was always in awe because I was terrified of dying when I was his age. It's still not at the top of my list, and yet for him, it was a way to get to Jesus. It was really cool! Of course, we were also relieved when we had his 10th birthday and he was still with us!!! You begin to wonder after a while. I pray for a faith like that for myself and for that strong of a desire to be with Jesus.

I don't mean to talk about dying and pain so much, but it has been on my mind. I want to be able to let go of my children when God asks (realizing that they are going home to their Heavenly Father), and I will tell you that when the alarm went off when Sarah was receiving her stitches, I did not feel ready - I don't suppose a parent ever does. I don't know what happened exactly, but she needed oxygen, and she needed it fast. All I knew was that beeping like that in a hospital was not a good thing, and I was scared, as any parent would be. But once again, he protected her, and here we are a week later and she is in the other room trying to manipulate her father and being a sweet (and picky) as can be with two cheeks on her face that are the same size!!! Again, thanks for all of your prayers!

Thursday, September 6, 2007


This is a picture of Sarah's swollen cheek. It's really not as bad as we thought it might be. The doctor's said it would turn black and blue, and it is a little pink on the side, but that all at this point.

This is just a fun picture taken tonight. She is wearing a dress that my mother made for me when I was her age. No, I don't think it was for a costume! It makes me feel a little old to think that I wore that. Of course, my mom always loved Little House On the Prairie and I think she may have been going for that look! I think Pine Cove should have a pioneer day next year because we would be all set for Sarah! She continues to do well tonight and is off to bed lying down (she had to sit up last night) in her own bed (she was with us last night)!!!!


For those of you who have not yet heard, yesterday Sarah hurt herself really badly. She fell while she had her toothbrush in her mouth. It is one of those things that you hear about happening but don't think it ever will. She was just standing there brushing her teeth, when David bumped into her and knocked her over. It punctured the inside of her cheek, and we spent 6 1/2 hours in the emergency room. She is doing okay right now. If you don't like gorey details, skip down to the next paragraph. Basically when she punctured her cheek, the fatty tissue from inside came out. It looked horrible. The ER doctor had to push it all back in there and stitch her up.

Our praise, the doctor and nurse were wonderful! I have said this before (and also in regards to Sarah - how did our sweet little girl, who is very calm end up with more medical problem?) but we so appreciated all of our friends in the medical profession in Bartlesville. We always knew people we could trust to call with problems. But so far, we have had good medical care here also, and I am thankful. The doctor who worked on Sarah last night has six children of his own, so he understood things from a parent's perspective, and we really enjoyed our nurse, who also has three or four children. She took great care of us and of Sarah!

The prayer request - The doctor is concerned about Sarah having punctured her parietal gland (a salivary glad) and thinks it could cause potential problems in the future. He recommended we take her to a pediatric ENT. There is not one in Bakersfield, but there is an excellent (or so we have heard) children's hospital North of Fresno, so he referred us there. He said that if the parietal gland is damaged, her saliva might fill up the tissue inside her cheek or cause infection or something. He thought she would need surgery. But in the process, we spoke to our friend and an ENT doctor in Bartlesville, Chuck Holland, who said he would not do surgery. He said that the chances of her damaging it are so slim, and the surgery is traumatic and that the worse case scenario of not correcting it is not as traumatic as the surgery. He said he would just leave it and keep an eye on it. So we have received two opposite recommendations. One from a friend who we trust but who has not seen Sarah and one from a doctor who is NOT a specialist in the field and who we do not really know (but who we did have a good feeling about) but who has actually seen Sarah. I think, for my piece of mind, we are going to go ahead and take her for a consultation at that hospital with the pediatric ENT to get another opinion. If it differs from Chuck, we will have a new request, but I am hoping that after we tell him what Chuck said, he will agree! I just know that as a mom, if I do not follow what the ER doctor says and something happens to my daughter, I will always question myself, and we do need to have her in for follow up anyway, so we might as well follow up with the specialist.

In the meantime, she had a tough night, though not as bad as we thought it might have been. She woke up this morning in pain, but we gave her some Tylenol with Codeine. We thought it would knock her out, but it didn't. She has been playing and acting pretty normal this morning. Her cheek is swollen, but not black and blue like they thought it would be - I guess that could still come. She wanted to brush her teeth this morning! I was afraid we would never get a toothbrush back in her mouth. And she can still suck her thumb! While I was planning and easier way to break the habit, I thought that this might do it, but obviously it is going to be a lot harder than I thought. She has eaten lot of yogurt and pudding!!!

Thanks so much for your prayers. We are so grateful for our new support system here! The Limiero's totally took care of our kids, and I knew I did not need to worry about them. Eric was here at our house prepared to take care of the kids, and I didn't even know it. Our friends, the Morrisons, who we were so looking forward to having dinner with, brought that dinner to our home at 8:45. Their daughter, Holly, brought Sarah a doll and a picture. When Sarah woke up this morning, she immediately asked for her doll from Holly, then named the doll Holly. Thanks so much!!! We are also so grateful for cheap or free long distance now, too. We were able to get people praying right away and have many conversations with our family and close friends from Bartlesville. Thanks so much!

Monday, September 3, 2007

If life serves you lemons . . .

For whatever reason, today, I have just felt unhappy. God brought something to my mind, and it has just been eating at me ecer since. Obviously it is something He is trying to use in my life to teach me lessons, but today I am just not enjoying it. And it frustrates me when things like that come up on otherwise nice days. I got to sleep in a little this morning. (Sleeping in, however, has taken on a whole new meaning since I became a parent!!!) The day was pretty laid back. I just cleaned the house a bit, went to get some groceries and have now been preparing to have some friends over for dinner. But in the course of all of this, some baggage came up and I find myself again trying to deal with it - AGAIN!! It is the again part that bothers me.

The saying, "If life serves you lemons, make lemonade" came to mind! Today I don't like that saying. I was trying to think of all the many reasons why I don't like it, and I think the main thing that came to me is that that saying indicates that it is all in my control. I should be able to turn the things that can cause bitterness into something sweet. Well, I can't always do that. I can put those things at the back of my mind and pretend they do not exist, but I cannot make them sweet. And the things I put out of my mind come to surface again in the oddest of times, and I can feel the bitterness and sourness churning in my stomach and worse yet, in my heart. But I do serve a God who make the bitter and sour become sweet! He wants me to give all of those things over to Him and allow him to use them in my life, but I have to be willing to submit to Him. That means I have to trust that He is controlling my current circumstances and my past circumstances, and while I can do that in my head, it is so much harder to transfer to my heart and to really live in a way that shows I am trusting Him.

The other thing about baggage and the feelings I have is the issue of forgiveness. I know that I have to forgive and I usually want to forgive. God has this amazing ability to forgive AND forget! I do not. I can certainly forgive, but I am not able, outside of a miracle, to forget. In a lot of ways I don't want to forget everything because those memories and circumstances are what God has used to make me who I am today, but I wish the remembering didn't also come with the obvious need to forgive again (if that makes any sense at all). I wish I could remember without feeling hurt or angry. I have come to realize that forgiveness is often an ongoing process. It is not always a once and forever thing. When we are hurt or angered (which I think is usually caused by the hurt), those feelings and memories come back to us and we have to do it again. In some ways, that is how God has to handle me all the time. Only, unfortunately, it is not a memory for Him; it is something I actually do, but he sent His Son for me so that all my sins would be forgiven! My prayer today is that I would remember what He does for me daily and be able to also do that for others. And that I would give to God the things that cause pain in my life, so that He can use them for good! He wants to do that for me and for everyone else, which is so refreshing.

On the flip side, I think sometimes God continues to bring things to the surface in our lives because He wants something very specific done. Maybe I am not responding the way He wants. If you think about it, pray that I would hear Him and know what to do, if anything, outside of my own life.

I think I would like to change the saying to, "If life serves you lemons, give them to God so He can make lemonade - the sweetest lemonade you have ever tasted!"