Friday, March 28, 2008

Easter, etc.

I was going to post a picture and write about Easter, but the pictures are not very good. The lighting was terrible, and really it didn't feel much like Easter. My poor kids didn't even get to hunt easter eggs. I did get them baskets, but I did not get any pictures of them with their baskets. It was just a bad year for any of that. It's a good thing that these traditions are not what Easter is all about. Thankfully, whether it's a "good" Easter or a "bad" Easter, Jesus still died for us and still rose again! That is what it is all about - the rest shouldn't matter. It's always a good Easter because I will be spending eternity with Jesus! (If you think I am trying to make myself feel better for not being more on top of it, you are probably right!) Church went well - we had at least seven new family units visiting, and regardless of what Brent says, I think his sermon must have been good. I was in children's ministry so I didn't hear it, but we have received a lot of compliments! We know that at least a couple of those families will be returning, so that is exciting! It was a beautiful day outside, and we were able to stand outside and talk with the visitors after church while the kids played on the bounce house. It was a great morning!

Beyond Easter, I have a couple funny David stories. To add on to the speech therapy blog. Today, he went for his second session. He was so excited to go to school. On our way home after that and after running a couple errands, I asked if he wanted to go to the park. He said he did not. I said it would be fun because he would be able to play with friends. He said, no because he had already played with a friend this morning. The only place we had been was to the school, where he is in speech alone with only the therapist, so I asked which friend. He said, "My friend at school who plays games with me!" Yes, that would be the speech therapist - they play card games to help with enunciation!

The second story is this. We were in the Dollar Tree today. Some music was playing and a new song came on. Only the opening few notes had played when David said, "This sounds like Everybody Dance Now." First of all, I did not know he was paying attention, nor did I know that he knew that song title, not to mention what music it went with, and he was ABSOLUTELY correct. It was that song. The lady behind the counter burst into laughter. Furthermore, David started dancing. And when I told him to stop so we could walk outside, he said that his body wouldn't let him stop dancing when that song was playing! This has become a new excuse for him. Yesterday his body wouldn't stop going to get the Gameboy when it was off limits. While it is cute at times, like when he was dancing today and not doing anything wrong, it is not okay when it is an excuse for disobedience. However, might I say that he is so darn cute in his disobedience. IT'S TERRIBLE!!!!

Now to talk about how proud I am of Jason. I was at his school today with David and stopped in to take some stuff to Jason's classroom. His teacher proudly announced to me that Jason made the HONOR ROLL. This is a HUGE deal! He has struggled so much this year and has worked hard to get caught up both at school and in tutoring. He did not think he could ever make the honor roll, and he did it! In addition to that, his teacher told me that Jason was supposed to be Student of the Month this month, but they could not get in touch with us to let us know. So, he will be Student of the Month next month. I am so very pround of him. He has worked so hard!

Friday, March 14, 2008

David Goes to Speech Therapy

Many of you know that David's speech is at times less than intelligible! While it has improved, it is still tough to understand, unless you are us! Today was his first appointment with the speech therapist, who I just found to be wonderful! I took David to Jason's school, which he was sooooooo excited about. He thinks he should be in school since he turned five. We walked into the therapists office, and he (the therapist) stood up and said, "Hi, I'm John." To which David reached out his hand and said, "Hi John! I'm David!" as if it were a peer and they were 20 years old! They then did the little evaluation, which proved just as I suspected. I told them that David does not enunciate or say final consonants, which is exactly what happened in the evaluation. He can say all of his sounds correctly (even his Rs, which are usually last to develop - between ages 5 and 7), if he just takes the time to do it, but he just doesn't. There is no way to correct a child who does not say there final consonant on nearly every word. You would never get through a whole sentence without complete frustration on the part of the adult and child. John said that David has created his own dialect, and needs to be taught proper English. On the positive side, he said he can understand 75% of what David says, and with many children, he can only understand about 25%. I guess that made me happy. It's not as bad as I thought! He will continue to see David a few times, but also gave me some activities to do with David at home. David talked about school a lot today. He loved going and is excited to do the exercises, so I think it will be fun! David going to school is going to be so interesting. His teacher will either love him, or He will drive him/her crazy. It was nice that John saw the good in him even though he was wiggly and up and down in his chair and changing subjects, etc. David kept him laughing through much of the one hour session with all the little things he says. I pray for a teacher who will see the positives in David in order to make up for the thinks that drive many teachers crazy. He CANNOT sit still. We practice, and it is terribly hard! And he talks A LOT, and apparently in his own dialect!! But he is one amazing kid, and I truly can't imagine our home without the joy that he brings!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


These are pictures of David's birthday party. We had it in our backyard and the kids played in the newly built sandbox! Brent finished it about 30 minutes before the party!!! He has always wanted a sandbox for the kids - he has fond memories of his when he was a child! They are enjoying it (all four of them), as you can see from the pictures below.

This is what Sarah looked like when she woke up this morning. This is not terribly abnormal, although this morning it seemed extreme! It is amazing how much different curly hair is in the morning, as opposed to straight hair!

Finally, here is a picture of "a lot of Davids." David is fascinated by how many images of himself he can see when he puts the mirrors just right! He always says, "Look, it's a lot of Davids!"

My sister-in-law, Kylee, has been asking for more pictures. She has so many of her kids on her blog, but I get frustrated waiting for them to upload. Hopefully, you will see this Kylee!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Refreshing Weekend AND a Good Monday

Thanks so much to everyone for your encouraging words on my last post. I am doing okay, really. And while I say that church planting is hard, it is rewarding and wonderful too! I hope I didn't give anyone the wrong impression!

We had a really, really nice weekend. We were able to get out for a few hours on Friday evening with some friends (the owners of the facility where we meet for church). It was such a nice time. They are a fabulous couple with lots to teach us and who are very encouraging to us also. We had David's birthday party on Saturday. He has never had a birthday party with friends, so he was excited. We invited the kids from church that are his age, the kids in our neighborhood, and a friend from soccer and basketball. We just had a party at our house. I will upload pictures as soon as I find the cord to the camera. It's been lost, which is frustrating! It was great to have our neighbors in our home, as well as our other friends. It was nice for them to meet each other as I keep praying for our neighbors to attend church. Now they will know more faces than just ours. A couple of the neighbors who we have really been trying to build relationships with did not come, but the others did.

We decided to build David a sandbox for his birthday. Our backyard is not really big enough for a swing set, but it is big enough for a sandbox, so Brent worked on that all day while I prepared for the party. It was nice to have a day NOT doing church stuff and accomplishing something big at home. I wanted David to have something to do in the backyard because otherwise he ends up watching too much television when I have casework to do. So, now he has a great activity! He loves it! The one downside - there is sand all over the house. Even in our bathroom, don't ask me why, the floor is covered wth sand. I hope it is because Brent was building it and this will not be a regular occurrence. But it is worth it!

I hope I don't sound like I am complaining, but having that day of "rest" was so refreshing! We did have to set the church up that evening, but I felt so ready to go and do it. I was eager and excited for Sunday, even though I knew the attendance was probably going to be lower because we knew of two families who were out of town. And Sunday was good - low attendance and all!

Then today I was at the park. I ran into a lady who knew we had started a church, and she was asking some questions. Come to find out, her husband is very skeptical of churches, but he has recently decided he wants to attend, so she wanted information. It was a great conversation! Who knows if God will lead them our direction, but I am excited for the opportunity to talk to her and to pray for their family!! I also ran into another lady who lives very near us (yet we were both at a park 20+ minutes north when there are parks all over the place down here) who is new to town from Longview, Texas, where her husband worked at Le Tourneau (the school Becky Casselberry attended). I was on the phone with Caroline when they arrived at the park! It's funny how God puts us in certain places at certain times. I didn't get to talk to her as much as I hoped, but I hope to run into her again! David really enjoyed her older son.

Thanks again for all of your sweet comments and words of encouragement and thanks to God for a few days of refreshment and encouragement!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Church Planting is Hard!

We were told this when we began this whole adventure, and I believed it, but it is so much more real now that we are in the midst of it! I shouldn't complain because I do believe it is where God wants us to be. My husband has an incredible vision, and I love to watch him as he makes this vision clear to others, and I know that he would not be happy if this was not the journey we were on. And the truth is I like Church planting - I like what it can become - but all the steps that have to be taken to get there are not fun for me. The hard thing is that it is not always fun for Brent either, even though we are where God has directed us. God does not always take us down paths that are fun and easy. In fact, often he takes us down very difficult ones so that we can learn and so that others can learn and so that He can be glorified. I look at my own history; I look at the lives of my friends and family; most importantly, I look at the Bible. I read about Paul. His path led him to prison on more than one occasion. Jesus's path led him to the cross. And there are many more examples, all of which we can learn from.

My question is, "What am I supposed to be learning right now?" Sometimes it is so easy to look for what others should be learning. I need to just look inward! However, while I know that, it is still hard, and I feel like writing about it and not necessarily about what I need to be learning, just about the frustrations. It will be interesting to look back on this one day.

Sometimes we feel discouraged not because of what people say but because of what is not said or what is lacking. We have been experiencing some of this. On the other hand, people can also use their words to be so discouraging without probably even meaning to be. I am grateful that we have a lot of encouragers in our lives, but we have a lot of discouragement also. It seems like it often comes from the same place over and over, which is a struggle. Sometimes I just want to slap people and say, "Do you NOT get it?" Why is it that the discouragement always speaks so much louder than the encouragement. My opinion on that is that we are not listening closely enough to the encouragment and hearing God's voice in it. If we did, it would be much louder than anything else! God does not discourage; He corrects, He teaches, but He does not discourage.

Another area that is hard is trying to figure out what to do next. What does God want us to do? If He would just write it on the wall or email us, we would be so obedient. I want it to be so obvious, but it isn't always. We are seeking to do God's will in every step, but we are having such difficulty seeing clearly what our next steps should be. The church is not where we dreamed it would be after two months, so we are trying to figure out what is next. How do we reach the people? What people does God want us to reach? What strategies should we use? We have tried to build relationships, and I feel we have done a good job of that! But it takes time, a long time with some of the non-christians that we have relationships with, such as the Sikhs who live across the street. We have taken the truck out and given out a lot of ice cream, as well as cards about the church, but that has not produced results yet, either. What is next? Everybody has different opinions about that.

The schedule that we are keeping is hard, too. I so wanted to have a few days away at Spring Break, but that is not going to be possible, I don't think, which is frustrating to me. When you are church planting, and don't have a large launch team, it is impossible to work only five days. Pretty much, Brent works five very full days and two partial days. There are nice things in that he can take breaks here and there during the day and he is around the kids since he is officing at home, but it is not ideal. It would be much better if his office were not here, but that is not the situation in which God has put us for now.

The final thing that is hard is that I feel like everyone thinks I am trying to befriend them in order to get them to attend our church. I seriously doubt that is the case, but that is how I feel. I feel like all of my life is about recruiting, and I don't like it. I hope people realize that I am just like everyone else. I want friends, people who I can enjoy life with, who I can share with and who I can learn from. If they want to attend our church, that's great, but it is not my reason for befriending people! I have kind of shyed (sp?) away from inviting people, which is not good either. I say this a lot, but this is another one of those places where there is a fine line to walk on in order to keep balance.

So, now that I have finished that, Lord show me what it is that you want me to learn from all of this. How can I grow to be more like you as a result of church planting? And what should our next steps be?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

David is 5!!!!

Today is David's birthday - it's not been a very exciting day, but we did take him to Chili's for lunch, which he requested. We had gift cards left from Christmas, so that was nice!!! We opened a package from Brent's parents. We are going to truly celebrate next week with a party at our house with a few friends. He really seems a lot bigger to me - I know it is part psychological, but he is growing up. These pictures were taken today in the new Sooners jersey Grandma and Poppy sent. He was so excited to have a jersey "like his brothers."

He really needs a haircut. Jason had a haircut this week, so I tried to convince David to get one too. He usually likes to be like his brothers, so I said something to him about getting a haircut like Jason. He said he did not want one, so I said, "Don't you want to be like Jason?" He said, "No, I just want to be like myself!" I thought it was sweet, so no haircut, at least for now!!!!