Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Kiddos

For the past two days, I've been sick in bed with something...terrible headaches, nausea, cold-like stuff. However, we have done school every day from the confines of the master bedroom. Yesterday afternoon, my kids came down for a photo session. To be honest, I knew Jett would have on his new Alabama shirt. Jim and Regina O'Brien gave him this shirt and he LOVES it. He modeled it again for him (he wore it the day before as well, so it wasn't like I hadn't seen it yet). Kaitlyn was sporting a cowboy hat which was nothing new for her. But Madison was of course the creative one....a skirt on over her clothes with a belt around it....she cracks me up. We had a little diva show right there. At least I have free entertainment.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mrs. Mary and Mr. John.....

Mrs. Mary and Jett in Arizona.

Jett often comes out with the funniest things....we laugh every day at something he has said! So, here are a few tales from him lately.

Jett loves Mr. John and Mrs. Mary Crisp. In fact, he thinks they hung the moon (which is just fine with us....). They are a couple in our church who exude compassion, encouragement, love and service. They are like surrogate parents to us here in Birmingham and surrogate grandparents to our children.....all that to say that we adore and love them dearly!

Mr. John and Mrs. Mary have gone on two trips with us to Arizona, and their servants' hearts are immense. Not to mention that Mrs. Mary is one of the finest cooks of ALL time! One time, we had fried shrimp and hushpuppies at our house, and now, Jett won't eat shrimp anywhere else except Mrs. Mary's house. When we were at the beach, he would say, "This is not Mrs. Mary's shrimp." Enough said.
Mrs. Mary called our house during the last trip to Arizona (we were set to arrive in a couple of days). Jett hollers out, "Hey Mrs. Mary" to the phone. So, I ask him aloud, "Jett, what do you love most about Mrs. Mary?" Without hesitation, he says, "Mr. John!" Mary and I laughed so hard about that one. Jett loves Mr. John beyond belief.
Yesterday, I am teaching him his Bible story for the day, and he happens to be reviewing the nativity (I know it's a little early for that). I am pointing to the picture and showing him Mary riding on the donkey. I point to her tummy and say that baby Jesus is in there and they are on their way to Bethlehem. "If this is Mary on the donkey, then who is this (pointing to Joseph)?" I say. With no question, Jett exclaims, "That's Mr. John!" Oh, the joy...and the laughter. Jett thought Mr. John was the father of Jesus. For him, Mary and Joseph didn't happen 2000 years was just a few weeks ago. How awesome that he associates the love of an earthly man he knows with the earthly Father of our Lord.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It ALL Belongs to Jesus

Jett in Arizona this past week!
Jett and our good friend, Josh.
Sunset in Arizona - God is unbelievably good!

Lately our family has been talking about materialism as it has been a topic of conversation at our church. When we lost everything in a house fire in January of 2005, we learned that lesson at a new level. While we have a great house and many new things, we don't hold tightly to any of them. If you need it, then you can have it. Our's God's house! It all belongs to Him.
So, over the past month, when we are discussing Pastor David's messages, Jett brings it all down to one phrase, "It all belongs to Jesus." Then, he quickly points to things and says "That's Jesus' shirt" or "that's Jesus' food" or "that's Jesus' table." He will say "Thank you Jesus' for letting us use your .......fill in the blank here with whatever he just saw. It is a childlike statement that rings true for all of us.
Recently we were talking about some friends who might be selling their house.......Jett said simply "It's not their house, it's Jesus' house." Wow...he's right! He gets it. When you come from having nothing and depending on Him every day for survival, you know what it's like to have faith in Him. Childlike faith. Survival faith. Real faith.
May we all say "It belongs to Jesus" so that we can give it faith.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

School, School, School

Our family enjoying the art of playing cornhole in Indiana!
Madison enjoys a ride with Laura Johnson on the paddle boat!
Jett absolutely loved the tire swing at Heather's grandmother's house in Indiana.
Kaitlyn loves to be a part of the children's ministry during worship time....she loves the games and helping the younger kids.

Many of you may already know that we homeschool our 3 children. Over 5 years ago, I was the counselor for a local elementary school (and loved it). God specifically spoke to my heart and told me that I was to take my oldest daughter home for school. I specifically said "No, you have got to be kidding..." I argued and battled with God for several weeks. I had mentioned to my husband who thougthfully just said "hmmm." Then, I gave up my battle and obeyed the Father. JT knew it was coming.

At the time, there were several things we didn't know about homeschooling: it is time consuming, people consider you weird, tends to be isolating during normal school hours, there is no break for the parent, etc.... However, there are also many wonderful aspects to it: seeing my children really "get" something; hearing every word they read; teaching a 4 year old to read who just learned to speak English, studying in our pajamas, and so much more.

Right now, we start our school day at 8:30 in the morning. With three children, we have to adhere to some type of schedule (although it fluctuates) so that everyone gets necessary time with Mom and/or Dad. So, we begin our day with the pledges and morning work (checking the temperature, the calendar, the number of days in school, and some vocabulary quizzes for the girls). Then, Madison begins penmanship and Kaitlyn starts math (which has a computer program with it when she gets stuck). I start with phonics and reading with Jett. He is already to say all of his vowels and their sounds as well as most of the ABC's. He can sound out many three letter words by himself. He is SO proud! Then, he begins working on handwriting and I start reading with Madison. Kaitlyn moves on to her penmanship during this time. Once Madison is finished, I allow Jett to listen to one of the school CDs (it either has a book or chart to follow along with ) while I call out spelling words to Madi and let her recite her poem. Kaitlyn always finishes handwriting early so she starts on her computer work (usually finishing it later in the afternoon). Then, Madison heads off to the computer for Bible, science and typing while I lead Kaitlyn's reading, spelling and poetry.

At that point, Jett is finished for the day and plays with either school games or toys in his room. Lately, he's just been "reading" books on his bed.....One of the girls will practice piano for 30 minutes while I lead the other one in the grammar lesson (actual work to be done later) and history. Then, we switch. Before you know it, the day's over...somewhere around 12:30 or 1:00.

Just this week both of the girls planned, preprared and served a full dinner to the family. I was there to help them but they pretty much did it by themselves. On Monday, Madison made a cheeseball with crackers (it was a HUGE cheeseball), steak sandwiches with chive butter and an apple/walnut salad. She also had gingerbread cookies for dessert (she decorated them like each family member). Kaitlyn's dinner was Thursday night, and she had 9 people to serve. She made a tossed salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing, mashed potatoes, ranch chicken (so yummy) and chocolate mousse. Both of the meals were outstanding! I was so proud of them!

We are now geared up for the next 2 1/2 weeks without Poppa. He has left for Arizona to lead trips there. Jett and I will join him for 4 days next week. The girls are going to stay with their Memaw during that time, but Jett is just not ready for that. We will miss JT greatly but will stay focused on school and getting our house in order while he's gone. Thank you all for your prayers!