Friday, November 20, 2009

An Amazing Compliment

I think I received the best compliment I have ever received on one of my children today, and it makes me so proud of him and so thankful for how God is molding my children. I stopped in Jason's class today to take him a lunch. His teacher quickly touched base with me to see how he has been doing. After a couple sentences, she asked me if I remembered what shirt he was wearing yesterday. I did not, so she told he me was wearing the shirt that says "The Church Has Left The Building" (our Gone for Good shirt for church). I nodded, and she said, "I don't think I have ever known a child who was more worthy of wearing that shirt." She then went on to tell me what a great kid he is and how he epitomizes what the shirt says. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm just so proud of who he is growing up to be, and I can't thank God enough for how he is molding and growing each of my kids, but specifically Jason!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How Long Do We Wait?

I have almost finished a book called The Tangible Kingdom, which Brent has really been wanting me to read. It was first recommended to me by some friends, Seth and Callie, who we just love!!! I really like the book. I think the authors are humble in the way they present their way of doing church, which is sometimes hard to find, and I think they bring up some excellent points. We asked another friend to read the book as well, though, and she called to talk to us about it with a few concerns, which got me to asking myself this question . . . How long do we wait to tell someone about Jesus??? Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, the authors of The Tangible Kingdom, make the point that we need to be living our lives in such a way that others want to have life like we do and will ask questions to learn why we are different. My friend's question was, how long do we wait? Some may never ask, and if we love them the way God has called us to love them, we can't wait in case they don't ask because it robs them of their opportunity for eternal life, their opportunity to know Jesus and to be all that He wants them to be. (That's put into my words!!! But essentially that is what I heard her say.)

It's a tough balance, that's for sure!!! And I have pondered this for the past couple weeks and come to this opinion: If we are not living life in such a way that makes people want what we have, then when we propose it to them, they will not listen. However, if we wait for them to ask, my friend is right, we may miss the opportunity. There is this incredible video on You Tube that Brent showed to me a while back of the comedian, Teller, that I think is just incredible, and it speaks to this on some level. Check out the link. Again, this has made me really think. If I do believe in Heaven and Hell, then I sure better be telling people about how they can spend eternity with Jesus. But I also must be living my life in such a way that people are attracted to Jesus.

In addition, I must be doing more to surround myself with people who may not know Him. The other thing that I have concluded is that I cannot do this on my own. And thankfully I don't have to. God has given me the Holy Spirit to lead and prompt me to do and say what He wants when He wants. However, I do have to pay attention and be aware of His promptings. That is where things can get tough. Sometimes it's hard to obey, and sometimes it's hard to get a clear understanding of what to do.

I wanted to quote something from the book, but sad to say, right now I cannot locate it in all of the piles around my house. That is a completely separate blog post that should include lots of tips from the FlyLady, which I receive daily and ignore:( When I find the book, I will find the quote and post another blog!!!! It is a good read and both challenged me and encouraged me as I try to live out the Great Commission.

*Note: I don't really think Hugh Halter or Matt Smay would disagree with this balance. The book just focuses on how we live more than on what we say!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Kids

Since it has been a while, I thought I would give a brief update on each of the kids . . .

James started high school this year!!! Oh, my! Seems like just yesterday Brent and I were lying in bed on his 8th birthday. I remember saying to Brent with teary eyes, "We are half way until when he drives. Next year we will be half way to adulthood." We are now a year and a half from driving and 3 1/2 years from 18 and then graduation. It flies, people! It really does. I am so proud of him. As do many teenagers, he drives me crazy some of the time, but he is overall an incredible kid! My favorite thing about him right now is his discipline (in some aspects). He is up every morning (more or less) at 5:30 to do his Bible study, work out and get ready for school. His friend Jacob gets here at about 6:45 and they walk to school together at about 7:15. He continues to have a heart for the lost, and I am both excited and worn out over the number of kids we have in our house on weekends. I want them here, so that makes me happy, but it sure can be messy and loud!!! The best thing is that the kids seem to like to be here, even though we will not leave them unsupervised and even though we probably don't have a coolest house on the block! James is playing soccer for a recreational league right now. He will start conditioning for the Freshman soccer team at his high school in October. He is in several clubs in school, and he is working hard academically. He still has dreams of going back to Oklahoma for college - gives me a lump in my throat to think about him being so far away.

Jason is in 6th grade, which is still elementary here, and for that I am thankful! He is loved by everyone, still a charmer. His teachers love him, and his peers love him. He recently ran for student government at his school. He ran against his two best friends, Jennifer and Ryan. I was so proud of him and the way he handled the whole situation, which could have been hard on relationships. Jennifer won, but the three are still great friends! He had to give a speech in front of the 4th, 5th and 6th graders, and he did a great job. It was a great experience! He is working so hard in school, which does not come as easily to him as it does to his older brother, but he is diligent! He decided not to play soccer this fall. He prefers to have his evenings and Saturdays free. It's much harder to get him to commit to something. He is, however, taking a trampboarding class. This is at the gymnastics center. He wears a foam board on his feet and then jumps and does tricks on the trampoline. In addition to being it's own new sport, it is supposed to help people prepare for wake boarding and snow boarding. He loves it and can do all sorts of flips on the trampoline! He also thinks very highly of his coach. He has really grown in his relationship with the Lord also. He frequently invites people to church and comes home talking about who does and does not know the Lord at school. It has been fun watching him grow and develop in this area.

David started 1st grade, despite our concerns that we might have needed to hold him back. He had such a hard time sitting still in kindergarten, and his fine motor skills were terrible. We had several meetings last year to try to make a determination about 1st grade, and the decision was to move him on with lots of work over the summer on those fine motor skills. Well, our good intentions in the summer fell short, and we did not work with him like we should have, so I was worried. However, there were some interesting things that happened in the summer. First of all, we changed bedrooms around, and David ended up with his own room. He started being so responsible and keeping it so clean. It was incredible! One day Brent asked him why he was keeping his room so nicely, and he said, "God told me to." If only we all listed to God so closely!!! The other thing was that just before school started his gymnastics coach came and talked to me and told him he could not believe the change he had seen in David's attention. He had made a 180 degree turn. His coach also said that his strength and ability were incredible and he wanted to recommend him for a pre-competitive gymnastics team. I was less excited about that than about the fact that he was listening and obeying better. After much deliberation, we have allowed him to do the Rockets (the team he was recommended for) and he is loving it. We will see where this leads. I can't imagine that we will be doing competitive gymnastics for long, but he LOVES it, so who knows. Anyway, even with that knowledge, I was still incredibly nervous about first grade, but he got the teacher we requested, and off he went the first day as excited as could be. At the end of the week, I spoke to his teacher. She said he had been just perfect and was keeping up just fine academically. We are now 5 weeks in and there are no problems. His speech teacher, who has been with him since he was 4, observed him in the classroom and then talked to me. He could not believe the change. It's so exciting, and it is making school so much more pleasant!!! He sits still and listens and has not yet been in trouble!

Finally, my sweet Sarah . . . she started pre-school. It has taken some adjusting. She has a friend at school, and as long as Zoe is there, all is well. She also loves her teacher, so that is good. She is playing soccer for the first time. It is super cute, although all she really wants to do is hold her friend, Holly's, hand and run around. She's not real competitive! She is also in gymnastics and she likes it. However, her favorite thing in the world is babies, and she does not think it is very fair that her three closest friends all have baby sisters. That's not going to change, so we are trying to teacher her how to deal with disappointment:) Her independence continues to develop, and she is very bossy to her brothers at times. She is messy and does not keep her room or any other room clean. I am waiting for God to have the conversation with her that He had with David. She loves to color and cut and glue and other little crafty type things that the boys never cared about, so that is fun!!! She has a bright smile and says the sweetest, funniest things. She keeps us laughing!!!

I feel so blessed to have the family that I have. I wouldn't change any of it. Brent is amazing and such a great husband and father. We are not perfect; we make mistakes all the time, but God is faithful and carries us through it, and protects our kids and grows their character. It's fun to watch, but it passes too quickly!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blog Update

I have been meaning to blog for a while again, but where do you start when it has been so long? I have tons of cute stories of my kids and great stories of what God has been doing in and through me, but I have just NOT had time to sit down and write it all. Spring and Summer were hard. I really struggled in the spring with stress and sadness that I had never experienced before - I think I was depressed, but thankfully I am doing better now. Summer was good but very, very busy. We traveled more than we have ever!!! It was a HUGE blessing to get to do all that we did, and there are so many to thank for making it possible. My most recent trip was to Palm Springs with my grandmother, aunt, and girls cousins - very fun!!! While there, my cousin, Cindy, told me I really needed to start blogging again, so for the past three weeks I have been thinking about doing that. Now Fall is here, although you would not know that by our 102 degree weather the past week, but it is here. School has started, and our schedules have sort of settled down - sort of! I don't think I can go back and remember all the blog-worthy things in my life, but I can try to start from today!

Tonight I had the opportunity to have a meeting with a group of young moms who have very little support in their lives. About 21 were invited. I hoped for maybe 8 to show up, but only four were there (and one doesn't really count because she came with a friend and is not a mom, but she was really nice anyway). Initially I was a little frustrated because it takes time and energy and money to prepare for something like this, and it is frustrating when people do not come, but it was such a blessing to have the time with these four women. We just talked about parenting issues for about an hour and a half. This was not a church event, but I was able to share my convictions about certain things and talk about how God has used me and grown me through my kids. I was able to facilitate the girls visiting with each other and realizing that there are other people out there in similar situations. My ultimate goal for this, besides an opportunity to mentor and share my life, is to help them connect and be a resource for each other. By the time the night was over, two of them were talking about babysitting for each other, and one of them asked if we had to wait a whole month to get together again. She said she needs this more frequently. Once again, it's cool how God works things out. In many minds, even my own on some level, the small number equates to lower success, but I was thinking as I drove home about how adding to that group could have taken away from the openness and willingness to share and the relationships that were built as a result. I still hope that next time we have a larger group, but I am thankful for how God worked out this evening! It was fabulous! I'm thankful to the ladies who came and thankful that they shared with me and allowed me to share with them.

On a little side note - I felt really, really old!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Poem

. . . given to me by all of my kids, written by James. I think it's worth sharing!!!

On this day dedicated solely to you,
I have no gift that is the perfect match.
Nothing I can purchase, make or do
Will be able to fathom or unlatch
The effort you take to try to teach
Those who stubbornly refuse to learn.
No ordinary love could create the patience to reach
Your own blood, your words which they scorn.
So as a feeble, sorry try
This gift we give to thy.
Go on a date.
Stay out late.
We'll get the little ones in bed.
We'll sweep up every crumb of bread.
We love you tons, Mom.

Jason said, "He's a poet and didn't know it. He can rhyme anytime!!!" My kids bring a smile to my face!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I don't know why I am shocked at the insensitivity of other believers, but I am. Forgive me for my moment of venting, but I don't really think there are too many who read this, and it is good therapy to put it down in writing. Tonight someone (from a partner church) was helping us set up for services tomorrow. I am so grateful for the people who come week in and week out to assist us, but a few of them just don't get it. Believe me I am excited at the recent growth of our church. It is fun to see as the seats fill up on Sunday mornings, but I can see how God has used us over the whole past year, even on Sundays when there were only 20 people at church. It makes me sad that so many people only see the value in the number who attend on Sunday morning. Tonight this person said to Brent, "It's great to hear that good things are happening now." This is as if no good things were happening before our numbers went up. Though our numbers have increased and I am excited for the new friends and the new opportunities to partner with people in ministry, most of our recent growth has been through other believers joining us, not through the transformation of lives. It makes me sad that people cannot see that when we only had a handful of people, some of those people were people who were just seeking God and coming to a saving knowledge of Him, people whose lives may not be different if Kaleo had not existed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to take credit. I know God could have used anyone to send the message to these people, but I am glad He used us, and that exciting things were happening, even when things were smaller. I wish people could see that more clearly. And I am so thankful for the encouragers we have in our lives who make up for the moments when others, in their moments of insensitivity, are so discouraging.

Monday, January 26, 2009


When we first started this adventure in church planting, we were looking at going to LA. I remember visiting several times, sometimes with kids and getting crazy looks because of how many we have and sometimes without kids, noticing that there just weren't very many kids, and often when we saw families, there was only one child, sometimes two and often very spread out in age. I remember thinking that we might not need a children's ministry in our church, except for our own children, and being sad about that but trusting God.

I knew coming to Bakersfield was different than being in LA, but even here we sometime got some looks. And I remember during the first or second week of living here, we were walking through Lowes with all the kids, and some guy stopped me and asked if we had four kids. He just looked shocked. He did follow the question with, "so do we, but we never see anyone else who does." I must say that since that time I have met several people who have four children, and we have some friends with five, so it is not completely uncommon. However, I am beginning to think that people must think Kaleo means Large Families Wanted! We had 37 kids at church on Sunday, just about half of our total attendance. I still think I am in awe! 37 kids is a lot of kids!!! It was great! One other thing is almost all of them are boys. Of 17 in one room, five were girls. So that thought of not needing children's ministry is out the door!!! Now we just need more people to serve and love on these kids!!!

Exciting times!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Follow up . . .

Just wanted to let everyone know that Sunday was a wonderful day!!!! We had our best attendance ever, but more importantly than that, four (instead of three as I posted before) people were baptized. It was so wonderful to see each of them and the fruit of what we have been doing and, more importantly, praying for!!! We had a picnic after church with great attendance and watched so many people connecting and building relationships. It was fabulous!!! We also got to make the announcement that we have a worship leader now!!! Yay!!! That is the result of much prayer, and we are so excited to have CJ, Darcie and Christian as a part of our church family! They are fabulous! Then, since the kids were out of school on Monday and we have the AMAZING season passes to Disneyland, we got up early yesterday morning and made a day of it at Disney's California Adventure in order to have some family time! It was a great weekend. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and your part in our lives and in our ministry. This is all part of your doing also!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday, Kaleo!!!

Tomorrow we will celebrate the first birthday of Kaleo!!! Just like with a child, it is so hard to believe a year has passed. When I think back over the year to the first service last January, I am in awe of how God has carried us through so much and through so many different emotions. It has been crazy. We were in a meeting yesterday with our management team, three pastors from partner churches, and Brent was talking about how there were times that we wanted to quit. It was so hard. (I'm using the past tense loosely. Certainly, I do not think the hard is over.) There have been numerous lessons in perseverance - really the same lesson, just over and over. In the midst of it all, of course, we saw great things, but as I blogged before it is so often easy to get bogged down with the not so great things, and to forget. The last two weeks have been very encouraging, and I am so excited to go and celebrate our one year anniversary tomorrow. We will be baptizing three people, which is wonderful. After service, we are heading to a park for a picnic. The weather is supposed to be a beautiful 71 degrees. It's January, and while I live in California, it's Bakersfield, and we do have cold temperatures. It is not supposed to be this warm in January. I think it is a nice little birthday present from God!!!

I need to blog more often about the great blessings, but I have been tired and lacking time since I started my job, but I did want to post something about tomorrow. I continue to hold onto the verses in Romans 5:1-5. This has been such an encouragement to me from shortly after we began our church planting journey. There are so many things in these verses, but the thing I have to remember and to focus on is in verse 2 ". . . and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." It is easy for my joy and my hope to rest in the responses of the people around me. My hope should rest only in God.

So, as we move into year two, I pray that we will have joy that can only come from the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. And that his joy will be evident to those around us, so much so that they want to know why. Brent says that sometimes he feels that all we are doing is being faithful. We go through periods of time when we do not see a lot of fruit, and it can get us down, but our job is to be faithful to what God has called us. I pray we will continue to be faithful and that joy would be seen in that faithfulness.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Thank You God . . . "

" . . . for making me. Thank you God for making me so pretty." This was Sarah's prayer a few nights ago. I guess I don't have to worry about her self-esteem!!! It's amazing how sweet and innocent such things can sound coming from the mouth of a three year old! I love it! We must now pray for humility!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Camera

I've had a million things to blog about but not a second to write. I need to catch up, and I need to post some pictures, but right at the moment, it's impossible. Which leads me to my camera story, which is very cool!!!

We went to Disneyland on the first and second of January. It was wonderful!!! I love Disneyland, and I am so grateful for the Christmas gift of Disneyland passes. We will enjoy Disney several times this year! We had been home for a week when we realized we hadn't seen our camera since we returned. I was just certain we had it, but we searched and could not find it. I remembered that as we were leaving the park, the princesses were out for pictures. Sarah was asleep, and I mentioned to Brent that we should try to take her picture with them because she won't go near them when she is awake. She's too afraid (yes, even of the princesses!) Anyway, we didn't end up taking the picture, but I was sure we had the camera at that point in time. Today, I decided to break down and call the Disney lost and found. Can you believe it? They have our camera. We left it there and some very nice and honest person found it and turned it in. And Disneyland is mailing it to us. When I tried to give them my credit card information to pay for postage, they told me it was on Mickey!!! What a wonderful place!!