December 31, 2010

Jan 2000- December 2010

It is good to sit and reflect on the blessings that have been showered on us. It is good....but not always easy. Today I am thinking about and thanking God for the blessings He has showered on me and my family over the past 10 years.  We started out the year 2000 in fear that we would lose electricity and water for some amount of time.  Well, some people started out the millennium that way. I started it out asleep on the couch in my living room 26 1/2 weeks pregnant with our second child while my 16 month old was playing with his daddy. The electricity never went out, and Y2K was just a scare.  On the 3rd day of the year 2000 I was admitted into the hospital in Shreveport where I stayed for 6 weeks.  Ben and I began the year only seeing each other on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for 6 weeks, and he was learning what it feels like to be a single parent. The year 2000 was  begun with lots of prayer by us and for us. What a good thing to know! God carried us through some very scary times during the birth of Jacob and gave us a wonderful son to add to our family!
In 2001 we felt God calling us to the mission field in WA state, so we packed up our family and moved far, far away.  After we had been in WA for only 1 month our country was attacked and we felt alone and scared, but we continued to trust God. 
The beginning of 2002 brought about the news that we would have a 3rd child! We were unprepared for this and very excited! It was scary because of all the complications I had with Jacob, so we decided to leave WA and return home to TX for the birth.  Annalisa was brought safely into this world in September 2002, and our days have never been dull since then!
The beginning of 2003 had Ben taking photography courses and graphic design classes at the local college. He was getting very good at what he does when we approached his 28th birthday and a very serious accident involving him and our oldest son Cole.  Once again we lifted up prayers of our own while others faithfully prayed for us, and God not only healed Ben and Cole, but gave them both a greater love for Him.  So many people grew closer to God because of the accident, and so many relationships were forged.  God has been faithful to us through every step.
2004 began with me substitute teaching for the 1st time. I got my teaching degree in 1998 while I was pregnant with Cole, but up until 2004 I had not worked outside of the home.  I really enjoyed the school where I was substitute teaching, and I was offered a job there within a few months. I taught 5th grade for a year, and in 2005 I was offered a job in Longview. Ben had returned to school for photography and graphic design and he was "stay-at-home" dad to Annalisa.  He was also getting better and better at playing the guitar and leading worship.
I taught 3rd grade from 2005-2007 at which time we felt the need to sell our house and move.  The 2 years that I taught 3rd grade were very difficult for me emotionally, physically and mentally, and I needed a break.  We moved to CO in August 2007 and Ben became the worship leader at our church there in September 2007.  In 2008 we had to move out of the house we were renting and we didn't have a place to go so we moved into our pastor's basement.  We lived in the basement from June until November when we were able to move into a house we had purchased and totally renovated.
2009 began with us finding out we were going to have a 4th child!!! This was VERY unexpected as it had been 7 years since we had a baby!  After we found out about our newest blessing we found out that the pregnancy would also be overshadowed with complications and scary moments.  Looking back on it, it doesn't seem so bad because I can see where God carried us through all of those scary times.  Benjamin was born in August 2009 and is the delight of the family.  I couldn't imagine life without him!!!  Throughout that year we continued to lose income in various ways, so we knew we would no longer be able to stay in our home that we loved so much.
2010 began with us putting our house on the market and praying for it to sell quickly. We sold it at the beginning of May and moved back to TX. We have been in Riverside since then and Ben has a job at a bar-b-que restaurant in Huntsville. We also answered a call for Ben to be the worship pastor at Needham Road Baptist Church in Conroe, TX. We are currently looking for a job for Ben in Conroe so we can move closer to the church, but so far we haven't found anything.  We had to give up our car at the beginning of this past week, so we are totally trusting God to provide for our family in all ways.  We know He will.....the hard part is waiting for the blessing!  I know it will come, and I know it won't be what I thought it should be, but I know it will be so much better than anything I could ever have thought of! And the coolest thing is that God knew all about it before I was even born!!!
So, as you can see .....the past 10 years have been quite a journey for us!! We have loved every minute of it and wouldn't change any of it. I love how God is forming my kids hearts and how they are learning to trust Him because of all we have been through and are still going through.
God is good all the time.....and all the time God is good!!!!

November 4, 2010

I've Been Busy!

I have been so busy I haven't had the chance to sit down and write a new blog for quite a while now. At the beginning of October I put some of my crafts out at Fair on the Square in Huntsville. I sold a few things, but I was mostly disappointed as I have been at every other Craft Fair I have gone to.  For some reason I don't stop making things, though! Making things is cathartic for me!  I had Super Hero Capes like these:

 Since then I have started personalizing the this one:

Or this one for a girl with her initial on it:
I also made crayon rolls and "travel books" for kids:

Since then I have started using my machine to embroider items such as these cute onesies:

And I have learned how to do some "in the hoop" projects and make items like these quilted monogrammed keychains:

And this Christmas gift card/money holder that doubles as an ornament:
And one other thing I am working on is aprons....for children and adults....but so far I have only made a child's apron:

I have had a couple of requested items like this hot pink and black pillowcase dress:
 And this camo and purple pillowcase dress:
I am also still busy making and selling Christmas ornaments! So, as you can see I have been a busy little bee! On top of all this I am still a mother of 4, a wife, a cook, a chauffeur, a problem solver, homework helper, bath giver, diaper get the idea! I also go to school on Wednesday mornings for 3 hours at our church for a class called Faith Bible Institute. It is a 3 year course and goes through the entire bible. I really enjoy it and have learned a lot!
We recently accepted the position of Worship Leader at Needham Road Baptist Church (a.k.a. The Church @ 242) in Conroe, TX and Ben's first Sunday is Nov. 7.  We are certain that is where God wants us serving, and we can't wait to see how He will use us there!
Cole played with the band at his first football game this past Tuesday and he really liked it.  He was also awarded "Park Pride" which means that he has certain privileges that other kids don't have. You earn it by having good conduct, showing initiative, and being picked by your teachers.  He gets free admission to all Mance Park athletic events, a front row seat at all Pep Rallies and assemblies (which he isn't excited about), the privilege of eating outside of the cafeteria, he doesn't have to have a hall pass, and he doesn't have to report to the gym in the mornings like all the other students.  We also got this super sweet bumper sticker that says "I am a Park Pride Parent and I'm Proud!"  What better way to embarrass your child for life than put that on your car?!?  Cole wanted us to just throw it away, but Ben put it on his guitar toolbox to which Cole rolled his eyes...yes he has started rolling his eyes!
Jacob had AWESOME grades....all A's and B's. He is doing so much better in his classes than he did last year. Of course it helps that he likes his teachers and they like him!  He is still having a bit of trouble with the other kids making fun of him or picking on him, but I think things are getting better.
Annalisa had straight A's and only good comments from her teachers. She loves school and always does well.  She comes home telling me about the boys who want to marry her or told her she was cute that day! Oh man, I am NOT ready for her to get any older! LOL
Benjamin is growing so fast! He learned how to climb up in the chairs--which scares Cole--but last night I turned around and yep, he was on top of the table! I knew it was only a matter of time before he did it!  He is so much fun and the kids tell him all the time that they are so happy we had him!  That makes my heart happy!

October 5, 2010

Museums and Tents

It seems like when we lived in CO there were alot more things for a family to do on a weekend than just play in the yard. There were so many places you could go and just sight see or hike, and I have been getting antsy to get out of the house and DO SOMETHING!!  Ben found out that the Sam Houston Museum in Huntsville is open on Sunday afternoons, so a few weeks ago we took the family there after church.  There were a lot of things to see outside before you even went in the museum:  2 of Sam Houston's houses, the blacksmith's shop, cabins, the outdoor kitchen, Sam's law office, and all of the property he lived on. It was very pretty outside, and I was so glad not to be at home!  We went in the museum and spent a good hour and a half to two hours walking around and learning all about Sam.  The kids really enjoyed it, so that was a plus!
The kids on petrified wood at Sam Houston's house
After we got home, Ben thought it would be fun to camp out in the front yard with the kids. He isn't real big on camping in the woods because he is HIGHLY allergic to poison ivy, but we knew the front yard would be safe!  Ben, Jacob and Benjamin proceeded to put up the tent while Cole looked on. He was asking, "Who would want to sleep in a tent outside?"  But towards the end of the tent erecting he decided to join in.  Ben, always doing what most people would not do, also thought it would be great to watch a movie in the tent with the kids!  So, he set up a TV, DVD player and fan.  They took popcorn and rootbeer outside and watched Kung Fu Panda inside the tent!  Jacob and Annalisa thought it was the coolest things ever, but after the movie was over Jacob decided he didn't have enough room in the tent (could be that Ben's twin size blow up mattress along with the TV, DVD player and fan were taking up most of the floor space), so he came inside to sleep. Annalisa was the only one who stayed out there all night long with Ben!  I am so thankful that my kids have a daddy who will do those kinds of things with them and spend time with them! He is so awesome!
Jacob and Benjamin getting it started!

Jacob loves to build things, so this was a lot of fun for him

Jacob and Ben did most of the work

Benjamin was helping as much as possible!

Cole finally decided to help!  He told me, "Mom we are country folk, but we aren't really camping folk."

All of my boys after the tent was erected

Inside the tent!

September 22, 2010

Saturday Fun

Last Saturday was the first Saturday Ben had off since before the kids started school, so we planned to spend the day doing some fun stuff. The older boys wanted to go with their Papa to the model airplane show in Monaville.  They had a lot of fun and got to see lots of cool RC airplanes. I think they have both decided that they now want to build and fly their own RC airplane, so this is a job for Papa!  He already got a game for his computer that is a flight simulator so they can practice flying without actually crashing anything, and they LOVE it! Yesterday after school the first thing Jacob asked me was if he could go over to Papa's house to play that game!  Papa is going to have a good time with the boys teaching them to build and fly RC planes.
Since the boys were going with Papa, we decided to let what we did be Annalisa's choice.  We started the morning off with breakfast at What-A-Burger and then headed down to Conroe. After a quick stop at Guitar Center (NOT Annalisa's choice!) we went to the mall. Ben knew there was a water taxi you could ride, so he purposely drove next to it while looking for a parking space. Annalisa saw the boat and immediately started asking if we could ride it. Then she saw Barnes & Noble (her FAVORITE library) and asked if we could go there. On our way through the mall to the water taxi she saw Marble Slab Creamery.....gotta add that to the list of things to do!  We rode the water taxi around the Woodlands and Annalisa got to sit at the very front of the boat.  We went from there to Barnes & Noble, and when we walked in the front door Annalisa said, "I LOVE the way libraries smell!"  My kids have always thought Barnes & Noble was a library because they can sit in the kids' section and read the books (we don't usually buy them anything even though I am a book lover! We usually take them there just to pass some time).  So, we went straight to the kids' section and Annalisa got hung up looking at American Girl books.  They have some really neat ones that are for crafts and stuff, but she got very excited about one that teaches you how to fix your doll's hair. It came with a special brush that won't damage your doll's hair and a DVD with tips and tricks.  She was SOLD! Nanny gave Annalisa $25.00 for her birthday, and the book was $19.95, so we were getting it!  
 After Barnes & Noble we went to Red Robin for lunch and back to the mall because Annalisa had seen the carousel there---who can pass up a carousel? Me!!  This carousel was doing circles at close to 30 mph and I wanted to throw up just standing close to it. I was sure that some kid's vomit was going to land on me during one of the rotations, but thankfully I was able to get far enough away into a "safe zone"!  Annalisa's horse was appropriately named "Flash", which is the nickname her Uncle Bub gave her when she about 2 and always wore light up shoes.  After the death defying carousel ride, we were on our way to Marble Slab when Annalisa spied The Disney Store! It is nearly impossible to get by The Disney Store without going in if you have a kid under the age of 11.  There were girls in there trying on The Little Mermaid costume, which was very pretty, but was $100!  IT IS A COSTUME for a 7 year old!!!! Are you kidding me?  So, we got our ice cream and headed to Sam's--also not Annalisa's choice, but we told her at the beginning that we had to go there before going home.  All in all it was a good day for everyone!  
When we got home Annalisa immediately began to watch the DVD on how to fix Julie's hair and she was putting it into all kinds of braids and ponytails!  I can't leave you without telling you this, though:  Nana came over to bring us something, and while she was here Annalisa was fixing Julie's hair.  She told Nana, "You always have to spray a little bit of water on her hair before you brush it."  Nana said, "Oh, really? Why?"  Annalisa said, "To keep the flies away."  Nana and I both tried really hard not to laugh at this point because Annalisa was so serious.  She said, "Really! It says so right here..." She turned the pages of her book frantically looking for the picture of the misting bottle with the read, "Always be sure to spray some water on your doll's hair before brushing to help maintain flyaways."  I love my daughter and the way she is always able to make us laugh!!!

(Benjamin was not forgotten or left out during this day of fun--he was with me, Ben and Annalisa all day long, and he enjoyed it very much!)

September 14, 2010

Life Goes On......

It seems to me like the summer just FLEW by! Where did it go?  I have no idea!!!  How is it that sometimes the days are long, but the years are always so fast?!  I now have a 12 year old!!!!  And a 1 year old!!!  As well as a newly turned 8 year old!!!! And a 10 year old who is already counting down the months until his birthday in February! It is hard for Jacob when he is the only one who doesn't have a birthday in the 2 week period at the end of August--beginning of September, but once February gets here and he is the only one with a birthday he will enjoy it very much!!  In addition to the 3 kids' birthdays this summer, I also celebrated a birthday of my own and Ben had one too. For some reason I am still older than he his.....he can't seem to catch up to me--or pass me for that matter!  We are only about a month and a half apart, but he never lets me forget that I am older!  We have now started the routine of going to school.  The kids are in the 4th week of school now and I think we are getting it all figured out!  Benjamin wakes me up at 5:30 so I can change his diaper and nurse him back to sleep (yes, he still nurses in the morning).  I wake Ben up at 6:00 so he can get ready to go to work. I wake the older 3 kids up at 6:30.  On the mornings I feel like being a good mom I fix them breakfast.....all other mornings they get cereal. I am ashamed to say that I have only been a good mom for 3 mornings out of 3 weeks of school.  Well, hey I average 1 morning a week! Now that I look at it that way, it's not too shabby!  Thanks to Papa (who lives next door), he has been taking all 3 of them to school. They leave at 7:10 and he gets them all dropped off by 7:45. It helps me out so much because I don't have to wake Benjamin up to take the kids to school. He usually sleeps until 8:30 or 8:45.  It also gives me my quiet time with God in the mornings....and trust me I NEED THAT!!!  I feel so off-kilter when I don't get it, and it can ruin my entire day.  Ben has been working 7-3, so he picks the kids up from school and brings them home. They usually get here around 4, and Benjamin is always so glad to see them! Cole is in the highest level of band at his school, so he has sectionals on Tuesday afternoons from 4:30-5:15 which sort of throws a kink in things as far as driving in to town so many times, but it isn't too bad. Today he said he is just going to go to the band hall after school and stay there until sectionals starts, then I will pick him up at 5:15.  He is growing up sooooo fast!!!  I am not sure if I am ready for it.  Jacob's year started off rough.  He is new and it is a new school for all 5th graders because it is the first time that all of them are on 1 campus. There are multiple elementary schools, but only 1 5th-6th grade campus, and 1 7th-8th grade campus, then 1 highschool.  Anyway, several kids have been calling him names like 'tubby' and giving him a hard time about being a big kid. That is very hard for Jacob because he is very self-conscious about his size and 10 year olds have feelings too!  It makes me so angry that kids can be so mean.  I think things are getting better or else he just doesn't tell me anymore, but Jacob has such a big heart. I pray for him to do well and not give up no matter what others are saying or doing around him.  I pray for all of my kids every day. It is a tough world out there and I want my kids to know God, love God, experience God, trust God, and believe God in everything. I know I am not always the best mom and I am far from perfect, but I hope that one thing I do right for my kids is pray for them and give them back to God.  I am so blessed that He gave them to me.

August 26, 2010

My Homework Assignment

Cole came home from school with a letter from his teacher stating that since the kids would be doing homework soon "fair is fair so we would like you to write a paper for us."  It went on to talk about how parents know their child best, and then it said, "in a million words or less tell us about your child at Mance Park Middle School."  So, I wrote about my child only to be informed by him this morning that I did it wrong!  "Mom, you were just supposed to write about if there is a certain way they need to teach me or anything special they need to know about me. Now the teachers are going to think I am a dork."  He was very disappointed, but since it was 7 am and the paper was due today, I was not going to re-write it.  Besides, the letter I got said, "tell us about your child."  It didn't say anything about "special needs" or learning styles.  Below is the paper I wrote that Cole was so embarrassed about.
We Call Him Cole
I have the great privilege, honor and blessing of being mother to one of the greatest students you will have this year!  His name is Timothy Cole Newton, and we call him Cole.  He is named after Timothy in the Bible (who Paul loved like a son), and the Tom Cruise character Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder.  In the winter of 1997 when we found out we were going to have our first child, we decided to wait until the birth to see if our baby was a boy or a girl.  We were so happy when our firstborn son arrived in the early hours of the morning on August 20, 1998. 
From the moment of birth Cole has been a rule follower.  It is only more recently that he is beginning to test the waters and be more daring.  He has always enjoyed and excelled at school, but due to several school changes in his life he is facing this school year with much trepidation.  Cole has a big heart, an infectious smile, and a witty sense of humor.  He is kind and caring, but doesn’t want to seem too soft.  He is very concerned with doing the right thing and not getting in trouble, however he doesn’t always speak up for himself if he is being wronged. 
Cole is an amazing athlete and musician excelling in baseball, guitar (acoustic and bass), and trumpet with a few years of violin under his belt too.  Drawing is also a talent of Cole’s and an outlet for him when he is bored or unsure of what to do.  An avid reader, Cole finished all of the Harry Potter books prior to 6th grade, and he continues to read for pleasure when he isn’t reading for coursework.
 Being the oldest of 4 children puts a lot of responsibility on a child, and Cole handles his well. He is a typical brother to his siblings but helps out whenever needed around the house.  Cole is a “homebody” and would rather stay home reading or drawing than go to a store or out somewhere, unless that somewhere is a baseball game!
At the beginning of the summer we moved back to TX from CO where we had lived for the past 3 years.  In CO Cole was in the EDGE program at Horizon Middle School.  Only 32 students were accepted into the program based on grades, standardized test scores, teacher recommendation, and student interview.  He did very well in this program and he needs to be challenged in his school work so he doesn’t get bored. 
I hope that your interactions with Cole this year help you to learn about his personality, character and heart as well as his intellectual abilities.  I hope to see him grow and mature socially and academically under the care and guidance of his teachers at Mance Park Middle School.

So, what do you think?  Did I do a really horrible job, and will this scar my 12 year old son for life?  He was especially horrified by the first sentence! Either way, it doesn't really matter....the paper has been written and turned in!

August 24, 2010

Fun Filled Weekend

On my last blog I noted that Benjamin was sick on his 1st birthday which was not fun. What was also not fun was that Cole's 12th birthday was 2 days after Benjamin's 1st birthday, and Cole's birthday mirrored Benjamin's in much the same way. Where Ben went in to find Benjamin covered in vomit the morning of his birthday, I was awakened at 2 am to the sound of one of my children in the bathroom vomiting. I thought it was Jacob because he and Annalisa had both gotten sick the evening before, but Cole and I had stayed up until 10 making his requested cake, Tres Leches, and then we went to bed feeling fine. I woke up at 1:20 with the sickness and had gone back to bed to try to get some sleep, only to wake up 20 min later sick again. By the time 2 am rolled around I was a little delirious, so I sent Ben to the bathroom to check on Jacob, only he came back to tell me it was Cole. So, he found both of our birthday boys, on their birthdays, sick! Cole and I continued to be sick until 5:30 am at which point we were able to keep down some anti-nausea medicine Ben had picked up for us on his 4 am run to the store for a plunger! The night was filled with sickness and not sleeping! Soooo we spent the majority of Friday, which was Cole's birthday, sleeping. We had planned to take him out to lunch because traditionally we let our kids pick a place to eat on their birthday ,and we take them there, but those plans were canceled! Friday evening I started  Focus on the Family's The Truth Project at my church, and even though I wasn't feeling 100%, it was awesome! I spent all day Saturday doing it as well, and I was on information overload by 8 pm Saturday night.
I woke up early Sunday morning to make Benjamin's birthday cake and get ready for church. Mom, Logan, Dad, and Lynn all came to witness the kids' baptisms and celebrate birthdays with us. Ben and I are so proud to have been a part of our kids' baptisms, and we are excited to watch them grow and follow Christ!
It was HOT outside for the party, but beautiful, as always, in Ruby and Jim's backyard. Ben grilled hot dogs and we just spent time enjoying company. Benjamin was very tired during the whole party, so after cake and presents he went down for a 3 HOUR NAP!!! He hasn't napped that long in months! 
After Sunday evening church we made sure everything was ready for the kids' 1st day of school. Annalisa and Jacob were excited, but Cole was filled with trepidation. I know it is hard to be 12 and be starting a new school. I was so concerned for him and prayed--along with many others--for him to have a great first day. He wasn't excited when I picked him up, but he didn't hate it either, so that is pretty good! Annalisa hasn't stopped talking about it--even in her sleep--and Jacob is enjoying his school as well. I have started a college Bible course called Faith Bible Institute and after 3 years I will earn my diploma! I also spend my days taking care of my baby boy and all the other "mom" things that go along with it!
I hope everyone had a great summer and enjoys a new school year with new beginnings!

August 18, 2010

Benjamin Is One!

One year ago today I was HUGE and ready to have a new baby in my arms--not my belly!  One year ago today I was scared and excited at the same time.  One year ago today I was the mother to 3 beautiful children and anticipating the arrival of our 4th.  One year ago today I heard Benjamin's cry for the first time, felt his soft skin against mine and looked into his beautiful blue eyes. One year ago today I became the mother of 3 boys!  One year ago today I didn't know how happy one little boy's smile could make me every morning! One year ago today I didn't know how very blessed our family would be from the addition of one new life!  One year ago today I held my Benjamin in my arms for the first time and it felt good!  One year ago today I listened as the doctors told me that my baby had to be on oxygen and under the lights because he was jaundiced.  One year ago today I listened as the doctors told me my baby boy needed a blood transfusion and a blood exchange.  One year ago today I wondered how long my baby would be in the NICU before I could take him home.  One year ago today I delivered, loved, and prayed for my new son.  
This morning I woke up to his little cry and asked Ben to bring him to me.  He carried him to me with a pitiful look on his face as he said, "He threw up all over himself and his bed."  Oh! My poor baby!  I quickly took him to the bathtub to clean him up while Ben stripped his bed of all sheets and blankets and took them to the washing machine.  After I bathed him he fell asleep in my arms and slept most of the day on my bed as I sat next to him doing bible study and knitting.  All the while I was watching my sweet boy and wishing he didn't feel so bad on his birthday!  He has grown and changed so much over the past year! He started walking at 10 months and he has been 'on-the-go' since then.  He loves balls, Toy Story, and water!  The only fruit we have discovered that he doesn't like is grapefruit, and he is pretty much smiling all the time.  I love my Benjamin!!!
I made a slideshow of his 1st year, but it won't let me post if you click the picture below it should take you to the slideshow. Hope you enjoy!!!

Benjamin's 1st Year

August 1, 2010

God Is Amazing

Near the end of July every year there is a faint voice in the back of my head reminding me what happened "x" number of years ago. This year it happens to be 7 years ago.  7 years ago I experienced the worst day of my life while we were at a family reunion.  I remember getting ready to go to the family reunion  and how we were all excited to have a mini-vacation away from home.  We left on a Thursday and got there that evening--our destination was the hometown of Ben's dad--Kingsland, TX.  The first evening we grilled, and Ben played his guitar and sang while we listened. He had just learned a new song--"Cover Me"--by Bebo Norman, and he was singing it for us before we went to bed for the evening.  I remember the conversation I had with Ben that night as we lay in bed.  For some reason we were talking about if something bad happened to one of our kids (we had 3 at the time). We were telling each other that if something bad happened at least we knew we had each other and together (with God, of course) we could get through anything.
The next morning Ben woke up and went walking to take pictures of the landscape. He had just started in photography classes at Kilgore college and was doing well.  We all had breakfast, and then it was time for jet skis!  Cole and Ben rode together on one while Susan rode another one with their cousin Noah.  I remember sitting in a chair by the lake eating Skittles and thinking they had been gone a long time--I was wondering when I would get my turn--when I saw a jet ski coming toward us. I was happy that they were coming back so I could take Jacob for a ride. But then I realized that the person riding the jet ski didn't look familiar to me at all.  It was an older lady and as she got off the jet ski she was saying something about a man and a boy in a skiing accident.  She was saying things that didn't make sense to my brain, but at some point it started to compute that the man and boy she was speaking of were my son and my husband.  I couldn't breathe. I couldn't find Jim and Ruby. I didn't know where my other 2 kids were. I couldn't think straight at all.  I asked her if they were ok, hoping she would tell me they had a few cuts and bruises--maybe a broken bone or two--but were otherwise fine.  Her answer was short and honest, "Ma'am, I don't know." 
How could she NOT know? That means it is worse than I want it to beWhere are Jim and Ruby?  How do I find Ben and Cole?
Finally I saw Jim and Ruby come towards me, and as I was trying to tell them what I knew it just wouldn't come out right.  Jim drove us to try and find them. He was calling 911 while we were driving because we had no idea where to go.  I heard him say, "life flight" and my heart sank.  My head was spinning....Life flight????  That's my 4 year old baby.  I hope he isn't scared. I hope he isn't hurting. My husband is injured. Will I get to them in time?
I had no idea who was injured worse, or even how they were injured.  Once we got to the area where they were located I went inside the ambulance. They had Ben and Cole in the same ambulance, side by side, but Cole didn't know Ben was next to him there, and Ben had no idea either.  Cole was awake and talking. He was telling the medics my name, his name, his age---I was sooo proud of him!  Normally Cole wouldn't talk to a "stranger" let alone tell them anything personal, but he was telling them everything they needed to know!  He was crying and telling me his head hurt.  The medics were telling me they thought he may be bleeding from his ear and they thought he broke his jaw.  They gave him some medicine to help him sleep until we got to the hospital.
Ben was laying next to him, but when I looked at him and called his name I was answered with a blank stare and glassy eyes.  He was unresponsive and they were about to intubate him.  The medics told me that Ben was going in the 1st helicopter because it was faster and his injuries were more dangerous--he had a closed head injury.  Cole was going on the 2nd helicopter and they were going to allow me to fly with him.  I watched them load Ben up and fly off wondering if I would ever hold him, or talk to him again.  There was no time for goodbyes, no "I love you's" was scary and heartbreaking, and went against everything we had discussed the night before. We had talked about getting through something tough TOGETHER. I knew that I didn't have Ben to help me be strong for Cole. I didn't have Ben to help me get through this situation--this wasn't something we were going to get through together, but I still had my son I had to be strong for.  I got on the helicopter with Cole, and I remember that I was still in my swimming suit wearing flip-flops. As I looked down at my feet they were covered with burrs from the grassy field I had walked across, and I was thinking, "That's weird. I don't even feel those sticking to me."  I was oblivious to the pain that they normally would have caused.  As we flew to the hospital in Austin I could see Ben's helicopter in the distance in front of us, and I asked the medics (through my headset) if he was doing ok. They told me that they weren't allowed to disclose that information over the airways because it wasn't secure.  I remember thinking that could mean that he wasn't doing well, but I had this extraordinary peace that came over me as we flew. I am not saying I wasn't still scared--I am saying I was at peace.  I felt God's arms around me at that moment, and I knew I was being prayed for.  I knew I could not pray a single word at that moment, so all I did was sing the Rich Mullin's song Hold Me Jesus (which I also sang during the birth of my 2nd son).  The words to that song are easy for my heart and mind to sing when no other words are available:
Hold me Jesus, cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of  my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace?
I know that He was my Prince of Peace that day. I experienced Romans 8:26 that day; 26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
How magnificent is it to know that as a Christian I have the Spirit who intercedes in me and Jesus who intercedes FOR ME!!!  I couldn't get my brain to think one straight thought, but my Savior, my King, my Prince of Peace wasn't waiting for me to be able to think straight.  He was already ahead of me and the prayers were being answered as I experienced it.
There is a LOT more to this story, but this is what I want to leave you with-- if you are a Christian, Jesus continuously intercedes for you before the Father! Hebrews 7: 25 tells us: 25Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 
If you aren't a Christian, or aren't sure if you are, would you like to have such a High Priest that can sympathize with our weaknesses yet was without sin? (Hebrews 4:15--15For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin).
Do you want to know the One who has appeared in the presence of God for us? (Heb 9:24--24For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;).
For more information on how to become a Christian:

July 13, 2010


I LOVE SUMMER!!!  I love the sun, the water, the time with the kids, the warm weather, and the birthdays! I love everything about the months June, July and August.  This is Benjamin's first summer of his life, and he is enjoying it to the fullest!  He would rather be outside than inside at all times!  He loves to swing, swim, play, eat watermelon, drive the golf cart, play with the water hose--anything really as long as it is outside.  
So far we have had a pretty full summer with quite a bit of rain that kept us indoors for a few weeks.  Annalisa went to her first camp (it was G.A. camp) in June.  She cried quite a bit the night before she left, but thanks to her wonderfully awesome and patient daddy she decided she would like to go.  Once she got there she had so much fun she cried when she found out we were picking her up a day early to go to a family reunion!  
The reunion was in Arkansas and we had a lot of fun there.  We played golf, had a washers tournament, ate homemade peach ice cream, listened to singing and guitar playing while watching the fireflies, and went to Oil Town.  

We got home from the family reunion, and VBS started the next week.  The kids LOVED the Saddle Ridge Ranch theme and learned a lot of fun new songs.  Annalisa and Jacob accepted the LORD as their Savior a few years ago at VBS but have never been baptized. This year they both asked to be baptized, and I think we will do that sometime in August.  I am so excited for that day to get here!!!  

When VBS was over I met Granma and gave the older 3 kids over to her for the next week and 1/2.  While they were with her they got to go to another VBS--High Seas Adventure--at my brother and sister-in-law's church.  The kids really enjoyed that VBS also and came home with some more fun songs and dances!  The boys got to go fishing with Uncle Michael, and Annalisa got some good girl time with Reagan, Abbie, Emma and Sydney while she was there.  
We went to get the kids from Peepaw and Granma last Thursday then left on Friday to go to Longview for Alex's 1st birthday.  We had his party on Saturday.  Susan did such a great job with the decorating and food preparation. She also had a 30' slip-n-slide for the kids!! They LOVED it!! It rained, which would be disappointing for any mom celebrating her kids' 1st birthday, but Susan handled it so well!!  The kids thought the rain just made the slip-n-slide that much more fun! 

Now we are home and don't have any plans for a few more weeks---Jacob goes to football camp the last week of July, then Ben's birthday, followed by R.A. camp for the boys. After that is Cole's birthday, Benjamin's first birthday, school starts and finally Annalisa's birthday!  In the meantime I am hoping to get my Etsy shop back up and running soon. Whew!  God is good and I love my life!      

June 9, 2010

We've Moved!

I know, I know.....I am really bad about blogging!!!  So much has happened in the past month, I don't really feel like I have been able to stop and take a breath yet!  We closed on our house in CO on May 13 and we left CO on May 15.  The plan was to leave on May 14 in the evening, but God had other plans!  OUR plan was for my brother Michael to fly to CO and help me drive my Pilot and the 4 kids back to TX while Ben drove the Penske with all of our belongings.  The reason for Michael coming to help was that I don't do well driving long distances, and Ben....well once he gets started he doesn't stop!!  So, on Friday (May 14) afternoon Michael called to tell me his flight had been delayed an hour and a half.  Ok, not bad.  Then about an hour later he called to tell me his flight had been canceled altogether.  Why?  I still don't know except that God knew what we didn't know.....Michael wouldn't have been able to fit in any of our vehicles if he had come.  So, not only was Michael's flight canceled, but all flights from Dallas to Denver were canceled!  They told him the soonest they would be able to get him out of Dallas would be 2:00 pm the next afternoon.  We definitely couldn't wait that long, so after I reconciled myself to the fact that I would be driving I realized that it was for the best that Michael didn't come.  As we were trying to pack the truck we were quickly running out of room and we still had a lot of "stuff" that wasn't on the truck!!! We filled Ben's Pathfinder (which was being towed by the Penske) and tied 4 bikes and a lawnmower on top of it.  Then we filled my Pilot so full that I could barely see out of my side mirror.  After all of that we still gave away 2 computer desks, 2 chairs, a dresser and 2 bookcases, as well as everything in our pantry!  We just didn't have room!! I wanted to make sure I had room for my kids, and there was barely breathing room at that!  We didn't leave on Friday night because it was raining, and Ben was helping me out---he knows I HATE to drive in the rain...especially at night!!!  So, we spent the night at Brian and Stacy's apartment and got up Saturday morning to start the trip back to Texas.  The weather was great for the trip which made it easier, but when we got down to having 4 more hours to go, I wanted to die!!!!  I prayed, and danced, talked to myself, and sang at the top of my lungs to stay awake and not "zone out" while driving....then we pulled up to the house!  The kids found their swimming suits and got in Nana and Papa's pool and I relaxed on the patio while enjoying the warmer weather--it had snowed in CO the week that we moved!  Since we have been here Ben has led the worship at the first service on Sunday mornings and he has been to the prison with his dad a few times for prison ministry.  We have made many trips to Huntsville or Conroe for groceries and other things for our house. Ben has umpired 5 baseball games and played the bass guitar for one of our friends who is now a worship leader in Huntsville.  We spent one week visiting with family and friends that we haven't seen in a while and just couldn't wait any longer to see, and we have been in the pool quite a bit!!!  Ben and I have started running in the mornings....we go about 2 1/2 miles....and in the evenings (sometimes) we run with the kids.  This weekend is my family reunion, next week Annalisa will go to GA camp, then we will go to one of Ben's family reunions, and the next week is VBS and my birthday!  We are definitely busy!  We are learning to get along in the little house we have so graciously been allowed to live in....2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom! (less than 1200 sq. ft)  It is definitely a big change from the 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, full basement (nearly 3,000 sq. ft) house we had in CO!! I am also learning to "make do" with what little things of my own I have.....95% of our stuff is in storage! Despite the small living quarters and the kids not having any of their own "toys" or "things" they are very happy and have adjusted well which definitely makes things easier for everyone!  Benjamin is 9 1/2 months old and has started taking steps on his own, talks up a storm and is an all around happy baby!  We are so blessed with our children and family!  I will try to do better about blogging, but I can't make any promises!

April 20, 2010

God Is Moving

It has been really hard for me to sit down and blog about anything.  There is so much going on with us, I am not even sure I know what I want to share! Since I enjoy giving updates on my children, I will start there.  On the Friday before Spring Break Annalisa's class at school hosted a Fairy Tale Ball.  The kids had been studying a unit on Fairy Tales, so they wanted to end the unit with a Ball.  They spent several weeks learning how to waltz with a partner, and they were very excited.  It was a day that they could dress up really nice and have a lot of fun. Annalisa was very excited about her daddy going to the ball because she knew there would be 2 dances that she could choose her partner for.....and she wanted to choose him!  All I know is she was BEAUTIFUL that day, and she danced great!  She was all smiles as her daddy walked out on the dance floor to waltz with her....he did add a few twirls and a dip at the end, too!  She LOVED it!
The kids had Spring Break the last week of March, and although we really wanted to go to Texas we were not able to.  The kids and I spent the days playing games and taking walks.  We also had to make sure and keep the house pretty clean for all of the showings we were still having.  Jacob was able to start his occupational therapy that week (he had been on a waiting list since last June!), and I have been so impressed with his willingness to try new, different foods since working with his therapist!  He is really benefiting from those sessions!
At the beginning of March Ben's dad sent Ben's resume to a church in Nash, TX, and they called us at the beginning of April saying they would like to meet us to see if Ben would be the right fit for their church (as a worship pastor).  We packed up the car and took a 2 day (18 hour) drive to Texarkana to meet them.  We really enjoyed being there, and we made some new friends, but they called after we got back and said that we were not what they were looking for. Even though it was confusing and disappointing, it's ok!  We definitely don't want to be there if that is not where God wants us! The kids had fun swimming at the they kind of got a mini-vacation out of the deal!
While we were in Nash, I apparently picked up a stomach bug of some sort because I woke up on Tuesday throwing up and continued to throw up for 7 hours the car!  Before we left the hotel, Ben went inside and asked them for a "bucket". They gave him an old ice bucket with a plastic bag in it.  He then went to the gas station next door and procured several more plastic bags and then gave them to me to use!  I must say that I am glad we made it home that day, but seriously--being sick in the car is NO FUN!!!  Thankfully none of my kids got the bug....Ben had a little sickness the day after we got home, but that is it.
During all of this time, Ben has had very little to no work.  His workplace has made some decisions concerning their employees and that has left Ben with no jobs, so he has been calling other people to see if he can work for them when they have jobs. It has been a VERY TOUGH month for us in all ways, but God is good!! Yesterday we got a call from our realtor letting us know that our house is under contract, and they want to close in 25 days! WOO HOO!  I only pray that FHA will move that quickly!  Also, I pray that the inspection and appraisal go well, and we can get moved soon.  For now our plan is to move down to Riverside next door to Ben's parents until Ben can get a job somewhere and we feel like we know where we would like to live.  That is the stressful part!  We have no idea where God wants us at this point, and I am being a stubborn child by asking Him to reveal it to us before school starts next fall! I would like for Cole to finally get to a place where he can stay until he graduates, but that may not be part of God's plan for our family!  Please pray with and for us over the next few weeks as we get our house sold and look to God for answers that may not come just yet.

March 21, 2010

New Projects

I have been knitting almost every evening.....I find it very relaxing and fulfilling. There is a sense of accomplishment each time I finish a project and know that I am able to gift it to someone.  I have made several new projects over the past few weeks and I wanted to share pictures of them with you:

Here is my first baby blanket.  It was very easy to knit and it ended up being very soft and comfy. My kids love it!!
Here are a few new dishcloths I knitted for my MIL's birthday:

And on this dishcloth (I already posted a picture of it previously) I had a friend add a crocheted border:     
Next, I learned how to make these cute little scrubby thingies to use when washing dishes:
And I finished up another scarf:       
Finally, the latest project to be completed in our house was not completed by was Cole's.  A few weeks ago Cole drew a picture and entered it in a contest at school. The contest was for this: 3 music stands were going to be donated to the school for a fundraiser. One 6th, one 7th, and one 8th grade student would be chosen to paint a music stand for the fundraiser. Cole's picture was chosen.  He was very excited until it came down to the actual painting of the stand! He never thought far enough ahead to realize that he had never painted anything and we had no idea where to start!  We have a friend from church who is a professional painter and he got us started with primer, paints and brushes.  Cole finished up the stand tonight, and it will be raffled off at the fundraiser on Tuesday night. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished project:
I think he did a really good job!