This month officially marks the first adult child (does that make sense?) at our house.
That's right! Elsie is eighteen!!! Her dad and I were struck by how fast the last eighteen years have gone and how good God has been. When you hold that first babe in your arms, you have hopes and dreams for them. But you never know what will happen. God has been very faithful. Our Elsie is an amazing young woman who has exceeded our hopes and dreams by far.
Here are a few of her thoughts...
How old are you today?18!!! When I was nine, my only goal was to get to 6th grade because the 6th graders were so grown up and cool. When I was in Junior High, I thought all the high school kids were so old, let alone the college kids. Well, here I am - an adult at last! I don't feel "that old" at all.
Can you describe the kind of person you are?I absolutely love kids, especially preschoolers. I would spend all of my time with them if it was socially acceptable. I may seem to be quiet in large groups, but put me with a couple of close friends and you will find me VERY talkative. I could talk about the deep things of life all day, but if I don't feel like I have anything worth saying, I might as well read a book. I love getting to know God more each day. He is so good and He gives me amazing fulfillment and purpose.
Handmade dress by Elsie
Favorite color?Blue. I don't know why, but it just is.
Favorite person in the whole world?I'll start with the obvious answer: Jesus! Other than that, I really don't know. I guess I would say my family and my Bible Quizzing Internationals Team. They are the most fun ever.
Hardest thing right now?Probably learning to balance school, work, and activities. I just finished up working at our State Fair (Yea!), and it was absolute craziness to keep track of both jobs and online school and my other commitments. I really like being busy, but it is important to find the balance so that time with God and my family is priority.
Writing scripture in the sand at the beach
Favorite thing to do?It really depends on how I'm feeling: If I am upset... I play piano. Those dense chords help in getting frustration out. Ha ha! If I am feeling creative... I love to sew. If I am feeling joyful... I love to sign to worship songs in ASL.
Favorite food/drink?Water (boring, I know) and coconut rice. Most. Amazing. Food. Ever!
What do you not like?Lifeguarding an empty pool. Really boring. (Just a hint: Come to the Y, y'all!) Dealing with grumpy customers ( I destroyed a little girl's day and happiness because we were out of scone mix, I was told.) I just realized that they were both work related and kind of contradict each other. Oh well.
What do I want to be when I grow up?ASL Interpreter (for Deaf kids mostly)
My dear Elsie... there are not words to convey how proud I am of the person you have become and are becoming. I wish I had had my feet under me as well as you do at eighteen. May Jesus continue to be your best friend and may He lead you as you discover the differences that come with being an adult.:)
You're ready, and I couldn't be happier or more excited to see what God will do in and through you.
Love you more than words!
Today is the day that my parents celebrate 50 years of marriage! What a gift! I am selfish when I say that their marriage has been a precious gift to me. I have watched their marriage vows played out in front of me for more than forty years. I have seen with my own eyes what "better and worse" looks like and "richer and poorer." And through it all my mom and dad have stood side by side, determined to honor those vows that they made so many years ago.
Look at them. They were babies. Barely into their twenties and stepping into a life full of hopes and dreams. They trusted God and did an amazing job raising me and my two brothers. Life has definitely had its ups and downs. But that is common in every life that has lived more than 70 years.
They taught me who God is and that He loves me. They taught me to obey and honor my elders and to always be honest. They have lived life in a way that showed me to never give up, never give in and trust God in everything. I am so thankful.
A couple of weeks ago we all got together to celebrate. It is so much fun when we all get together! This is another testament to my parents and their love for family. It struck my parents, as they reminisced, that because of their marriage 50 years ago... they were no longer two, but twenty.
Thank you Mom and Dad! Your marriage has been such an incredible example to me and my whole family! Many blessings to you on this precious day! I love you more than words!
Today is Little Buddy's birthday. This past year has been a rough year for our precious boy. You would never know it by looking at those beautiful brown eyes.
Our family continues to pray that God will move in his heart and give him the ability to find rest in our family. If you think of Little Buddy, please pray with us for healing.
Below are some thoughts from Little Buddy...
How old are you today?I am 8! When I was six I asked my Dad if I would ever have a birthday on a Saturday. He figured out that I would have a birthday on Saturday when I turned eight! I am so excited that it is finally here!
Can you describe the type of person you are?I care about animals and people. I have a passion for poor people. I don't like to waste things. I like nature. I like how God made everything unique with different colors and qualities.
What is your favorite color?Bright Orange! It stands out very well. It shows a lot of my personality, because I like to stand out.
Who do you love to spend time with?My Mom. She is kind and generous and helps me through the hard times and rejoices with me in the good times.
When you grow up, what do you want to be? I would like to start a horse camp where other people can learn about horses. Or I could be a missionary or a pastor. I could also be a scientist.
What is your favorite thing to do?I love to play soccer. I like to run around.
What are your favorite foods?Injera (ethiopian bread), coconut rice, noodles and applesauce.
What do you not like?Raw broccoli. It doesn't have a lot of flavor. It's good with butter and salt and pepper when it is cooked. But when it is raw it is cold and icky.
Little Buddy, There are not words to describe how precious you are to me. If love alone could heal your heart, you would have been healed forty times over. I love your smile. I love the kind and tender heart that God has given you. I stand in faith that God will work out His amazing plan in your life.
You are smart and silly and so fast when you run. I am so thankful that God chose me to be your second mommy and look forward to seeing what you will learn about life this year.
Our Sunshine girl is celebrating her tenth birthday this week. I am in awe of this beautiful girl. She has grown in so many ways over this past year.
Below I will share a few of her thoughts. Please enjoy the photos from her "Frozen" birthday party yesterday. She is dressed as "Elsa," wearing a cape that her sister Elsie made for her and surprised her with. Squeals of joy came from her room at 6:30am yesterday.
Her best "Elsa" pose
How do you feel about being ten?I am really excited to be double digits. This means that I have been here almost five years.
What is your favorite color?My favorite color is neon green. It is bright and colorful and it goes really well with the other neons.
What are you looking forward to this year? I hope to do soccer and sewing. I’m also excited about being in fifth grade.
What are some of your favorite foods? I love French Dip Sandwiches, Egg Salad Sandwiches and Cinnamon Pull Aparts. I don’t like sausage and I love bacon.
What do you want to be when you grow up?I want to be a mom of twins. I want to play and coach soccer and sometimes I want to be a scientist. I think Ken Ham is interesting to watch. It would be cool to be a scientist like that.
What is a favorite memory of this last year?I loved playing soccer for the first time this year. I had a really good coach. He was really encouraging and tried to let us all play and was very fair.
What is your favorite game to play?Probably Risk. It is so competitive and it is really fun to play with my brother.
What is your favorite school subject? Reading. I like books about history and fiction, especially historical fiction.
What are you good at?I love to doodle and make bracelets.
Who do you love to spend time with?My brother Bookworm. He is a lot like me. He is competitive and he is funny. It is really fun to play games with him and play soccer too. He is just a lot of fun!
Who is your favorite Disney character? Elsa. I love the movie Frozen!
Sunshine - You have brought so much joy and light and fun into our home. I am so thankful to God for creating you and allowing me to be your Mommy. May God continue to reveal Himself to you as you grow each day to know Him more.
This time of year our country celebrates its independence with parades, fireworks and a very large consumption of hot dogs. (You know you ate one, or two:) Our family was like no other. We got together with family and had a marvelous fourth. We arrived home around 11pm and waited till 1am for the loud booming to subside.
The day after the merriment is a very special day for me. It is every year. This year, as well as others in the past, my request for the day was to get out into nature and hike in the woods. So my sleepy kids and husband obliged me. Our eldest daughter is off at the Bible Quizzing International competition. We missed her on our hike, but we know she is having a marvelous time in Canada.
We went on a hike that took us past the Greenwater river and up to the Greenwater Lakes. It was beautiful. There were many of these log bridges to cross. This one had rails on both sides. Many of them only had one rail. Just a bit of stress on a lovely day for this momma. We made it across each bridge safely and continued on our hike. On this trail, dogs and horses are allowed. I would love to see a horse cross one of the bridges.
We made it to our destination and enjoyed our lunch beside this beautiful lake. The kids pondered what made it green. What do you think?
I grew up camping and hiking in the woods. I am always happy and at peace when I am here. We live in such a beautiful place. God clearly enjoys beauty. He created so many wonderful things on this earth for us to enjoy.
How long has it been since you packed up the kids and went for a hike in the woods? May I encourage you to go outside and play! So much fun!
After seventeen years of parenting and schooling, our daughter Elsie has graduated from High School. Over the past two years she attended a community college in our area and has also earned her Associate of Arts degree.
We are so proud of her and the woman she has become. God is truly guiding her to do
His will and we are praising Him for the work He exhibits daily in her life.
Our Homeschool Co-op puts on a wonderful graduation ceremony. Elsie graduated with twelve other students. They were able to play a slide show of their lives with a song of their choice. There was a time of worship, led by the students, where Elsie had the opportunity to sign as we sang.
At the end of the ceremony the parents were the ones to present the diplomas to the students. It has been a privilege and an honor to teach my daughter. Homeschooling provides such an excellent environment to foster deep relationships with my children.
Elsie is beautiful on the inside and out. I can't wait to see what God does in her life next.
I had the privilege of taking her Senior pictures last Fall. I don't think I ever put any on this blog.
Here are a couple that I like. She was very easy to photograph.
Her plans are to continue to pursue her goal of becoming an American Sign Language Interpreter. She will be staying home to complete an online program through the University of Northern Colorado. The program is online during the school year and she will also take classes on campus for a month each summer. We are currently praying that God will open up more opportunities for her to minister to the deaf community in our area.
May God guide, protect and bless each step that you take in the future!
Our daughter Elsie is a senior in high school and has been studying American Sign Language since she was nine years old. She knew after the first class that she took at our church that ASL was what she wanted to pursue as a career. We waited and watched as she continued in her studies.
She has shown a passion for this language and for the
Deaf Community that has been inspiring to watch.
Recently she was given the opportunity to begin signing for worship at our church. The first time she got up on stage and began signing to praise songs I became overwhelmed by God's goodness.
When our children are little we hope and pray that they will grow up to be who God has designed them to be. I was standing in church watching my daughter step into the role that God had designed her for. It was beautiful and it brought tears to see her doing exactly what she loves.
Please watch as she signs to a song of special music called
If you are a mom to a bunch of kids, or maybe just one or two, you might notice the "kid things" taking over the house from time to time. It might be the never ending science project, the lego project where the whole universe is being recreated or just an art project that won't dry.
I happen to LOVE all these kids and all of the "things" that come with them. I know there will come a day when my house is cleaner than it is at the moment, but that will invariably mean that there aren't as many feet pounding down my stairs and I will miss this time.
My kitchen window sill seems to be the collector of many things. Over the past week it has become home to my new friend "Hairy."
My little Sunshine is in a class at our homeschool co-op called "Upcycling." She has the most creative teacher in the world. They take left over things and make them new again. A couple of weeks ago she brought home my new friend and we have enjoyed watching him grow...
At our house the children keep growing and having birthdays. There have been several birthdays that I have not documented here. I am hoping that those kiddos will forgive me. I suppose the most important thing is that they were each loved and celebrated on their day.:)
Thirteen years old is a big deal at our house! I wanted to share with you what our family does to celebrate this milestone. Historically, the age of thirteen would be a mile marker toward adulthood. Many famous men and women in history were doing remarkable things in their teen years.
Our society today has trained parents to believe that the teen years are a time to be fearful of. We are led to believe that we should expect these precious little ones that we gave birth to will turn into rebellious young adults who lack self control and disrespect authority.
In our home we look at the teen years in a very different way. We celebrate this step toward adulthood with a different kind of birthday party.
A month or so before my child's birthday I ask them to make a list of women (or men, depending on the child's gender) that they believe has been influential in their life and in their relationship with Christ. These are the people that are invited to this very special birthday party.
Last weekend our Sweet Pea turned thirteen and we had a wonderful time with a houseful of women and their daughters. Sweet Pea wanted a Tea Party that included those cute little tea sandwiches and scones with devonshire cream. Yum!
There are no presents at this party. Well, not the kind of presents that a girl of thirteen would typically receive. Each women that was invited was asked to write out a letter filled with thoughts, encouragement, scripture and words that might help Sweet Pea as she moves toward womanhood.
After tea and sandwiches, we all gathered in the living room as Sweet Pea sat and listened to words of love and wisdom from her mom, dad, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, teachers and friends. I was in awe of the amazing ladies who have been a part of her life so far. What a privilege to hear all that God had shared with them about Sweet Pea. I am so thankful that she has such a godly community of women to share her life with.
After cake and more tea we had a time of prayer for the future of our daughter. She had such a lovely time and was overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of each friend who came.
She is already such a beautiful young woman. I am so thankful for the relationship I have with her. I know as she grows that there will challenges and changes, but I don't fear the years to come.
My next step is to take these beautiful words of wisdom and the pictures taken that day and create a memory book that she will have to look back on as she goes through the years ahead.