Thursday, February 28, 2008


Matt and I chickened out on our walk this morning. Instead, we went to the grocery store! Daniel was up so he tagged along! By 7:00 am we were at ShopRite! I LOVE the grocery store this early in the morning! The shelves are newly stocked and there is no one there! I think I have found my new time to go grocery shopping. I usually go at night after the kids are in bed, but I REALLY hate leaving the house at night. I would so rather be doing laundry, cleaning, or grading papers. So I think 7:00 am is going to be my new time - now to just pick a day! I think if I can get going a little earlier I can also get my Target and CVS shopping in on the same day. Then I would have the rest of the day to concentrate on other things.

It is so cold! We go for a mid-morning walk with the Darrow children - about 15 minutes long - and Daniel DID NOT want to go!!! He had already been out in it and knew what was in store! He was finally convinced, but it was an extremely short walk today! I so can't wait for Spring to come. I am ready for fresh breezes, pretty little flowers and longer daylight! Soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Sight to See!

Some of you may remember my concern when I believed Sarah would NEVER learn how to read. She had absolutely NO interest in the written word. She thought it torture to be made to sit and listen to a book and even more so to actually have to tell me about letters, sounds and put them together! Well, after dinner yesterday I found her like this in the dining room! I just laughed! She was actually taking time out of her free time to read! I currently can't keep her supplied with enough books! For her reading log she has over 1800 pages read - and those are just the books I have remembered to record - I know there are several I have forgotten! I thank God for his faithfulness and that He has now given her the desire to read. In fact she just completed reading the book of Matthew in her Bible. Please continue to pray for her as she grows and matures in her faith.

This morning Matt and I started walking. We walked for about 30 minutes, from 7:15-7:45 am. It was good and fun. He has his father's long stride!! He really keeps me going! It was good to start our day off talking and focusing on what we would try to work on as far as attitude and school. My legs felt good, too! I hadn't stretched them in some time. We are going to try and make this a daily event. I think it helps put Matt's mind in the right direction for the day and gets some of his energy to use! It is difficult to get the kids enough exercise when your yard is small and you can't let them out by themselves. I'm going to try and figure out a time when Sarah and I can go walk (she would rather run!) in the afternoons.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Too Smart

I often do not understand the way God works in my life. I am one of those people that just knows He is and tend to not think too deeply about it. I know some people think I am a deep thinker, but I'm really not...being quiet tends to give people the idea that I think deeply. My first born son, however, is an incredibly deep thinker - has been pretty much since birth. I often ask God what possessed Him to give me a son who thinks so deeply. Is it to cause me to think more deeply? Is it to cause me to really depend upon Him to give me the answers because I have not a clue as to what they are? Is it to remind me, once again, I am not in control - He is? I believe it's all these things and more. Today was another opportunity for growth! On both of our parts. It was a stressful day that ended with a good discussion and a resolve to try some new things to get through school and family life. Pray for us as we try these new skills and work on dealing with anger issues. Pray for my deep thinking son - that he would not over think the simple act of God's love, and ours, and would accept it freely and willingly.

Another prayer request is for my brother-in-law as he goes in for surgery tomorrow. I believe they found a cancer spot on his back and they are removing it tomorrow. Please pray that it would go smoothly and they would get it all.

I promised pictures from the kids fun in the snow - here are a few.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good Morning Snow!

Daniel woke up to see our front yard covered with snow! He LOVED it! We'll have to take him outside to see if he likes it as much up close! Matt and Sarah are disappointed as we DO NOT take snow days! The joy (or curse in their minds!) of homeschooling!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Back to Awful

Today has been awful - and it's only 12:30 pm. Matthew has been as trying as he can be. I have decided that all I can do is pray - pray that God would soften his heart, pray that God would open his eyes to the many blessings he has been given, pray that God would help him to be cooperative instead of argumentative. I am also praying that God would help me to say the right things, do the right things and love him even though that is really the last thing I feel like doing. It's terrible to admit - but I do not like this person that has been living in my house for the last few months. Please pray that I would love him unconditionally and for me to discover exactly how that is shown to him. I never imagined that parenting would be as difficult as it has turned out to be. I guess it's a good thing we do not know the future. Based on events at the moment I never would have embarked on this path.

Sarah is doing well. She has her first sleepover tomorrow night and is beyond excited! She has been completing her work and even cleaned her bedroom! You know this is serious when she cleans her bedroom! Please pray for me as I am not fond of sleepovers and some of the events that take place at them - ex. truth or dare, etc. But the woman that is doing the sleepover is completely trustworthy and I know she won't let anything like that go on! Pray that Sarah gets some sleep!

Andy is teaching Teen Club tonight. Pray for him as some of his regular leaders are out of town or sick. Help has been thin lately, but the number of children hasn't lessened. We are extremely thankful for PBU students! Pray for their safety as they travel back and forth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

He's Better!

This is what happens when you leave a 2 1/2 year old alone for 30 seconds! As you can see he got into the diaper rash cream and decided to rub it on his face! Thankfully nothing got into his eyes or in his mouth - but his skin is baby bottom soft!!! He is definitely feeling better and back to his old self!

Matthew again got his work completed - even after a few tears and outbursts of how unfair I am as a teacher. He is starting to realize I only give him what a normal fifth grader can complete. As he talks with some of his friends who attend school he is getting the idea that he gets no more or no less school work than they do. His only advantage is that he can move ahead as fast as he can progress. He was talking with one friend who actually gets demerits if he works ahead of the class - Matt was floored! He felt bad that the friend had to wait on the rest of the class to catch up.

Tonight is Preteens. Matt is starting to struggle with wanting to go to Kids Club - he's ready for a change, namely preteens. It would be very easy for me to just stay home with him, but I need to set the example that even when we don't particularly want to do something, if God calls us to do it - we do it! I always enjoy it when I am there - it's the getting there that is difficult! Pray for Andy as he speaks on Caleb and how when we expect great things from God we can attempt great things for God. Please pray for our preteen/ young teen girls as they are starting already to think and deal with boyfriends and all the pressures that that entails.

Update: We had 41 kids out tonight! Many of them new! It was a great night!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Powerful Prayer!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for praying for Daniel! His bottom is completely better! He stopped having problems on Saturday and is back to his normal, happy, loud self!!! Another great bit of news is that we now have him going to bed WITHOUT us sitting in his room! We have discovered that if we put him to bed, pray with him, and then close the door - he doesn't get out of bed! YEAH!!!!! What a breakthrough! He is definitly becoming a three year old. THe next thing is potty training! I have started stocking up on Pull-Ups as CVS has been having spend so much get so much back in ECB's the past few weeks. I plan to start in May as soon as school is done. He doesn't seem to be itching to get that task accomplished so I think it won't hurt to wait that long.

The "plague" as we like to call it has hit a number of our staff this week. Andy is feeling run down and achey and poor Frank was out all last week feeling terrible. It seems to have hit Jeff as well and they have to leave for Florida tomorrow to visit a supporting church! Please pray that this terrible virus would end and leave for good.

Matt has done better with is school work today. It is 4:30 pm and he only has to finish diagramming his sentences from English and penmenship. It's not to say we didn't have some attitude showing up, but he is making an effort to do better and we are not putting up with anything. We have decided to try a reward for the end of the week. If he finishes all his work each day for the next five days then I will take him to the movies on Saturday. He really wants to see "Spiderwick Chronicles" since he has read the entire series. I read the books and they are neat. It will be interesting to see what they do with the movie. We'll see if we get to see it this week or not - I hope we do!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Conversations with Children

This was a recent conversation I had with Matt and Sarah:

Sarah: "Mom, you have a lot of beautiful blond hair right there." (Sweet girl pointing to my bangs)
Matt: "Yeah, look at it all! Your hair is getting lighter"
Sarah: "I hope mine gets more blond this summer."
Matt: (Upon closer inspection) "Wait, it's not's white! WOW!! You have a lot!"
Mom: "Thank you for pointing that out Matt."
Matt: "Your welcome!"

The joy of blunt children!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Diapers, Diapers, and more Diapers!

I have to admit - I am TIRED of changing diapers! Poor Daniel has had to have his diaper changed at least once an hour the past two days. It's a good thing CVS has them on sale next week with great ECB's in return! His bottom is raw and I really need to keep on top of keeping the poo from sitting on his delicate backside. He is tired of me changing his diaper. I even had to get him up tonight because he had a messy diaper in his sleep - something he hasn't done since he was an infant. At least he is getting more solid and hopefully the end of this nasty virus is in sight. If he isn't better by Monday I am going to have to take him to the doctor. Please pray for him to get better. He is drinking plenty - can't keep his cup full! So I am not concerned about dehydration. But he is looking a little skinny - he needs to eat and be fattened up!

Tonight was the Valentine's Dinner at church. Andy and I had a great time. We sat with Cheryl and Daniel. They have a son in Teen Club that Andy works with. They are not talkers and so we had to really engage in conversation and pull information out of them. We had fun playing the games that Bill always makes up and Lawrence gave an excellent devotion on what true love is. Our friend Denise babysat the kids and they had a blast playing the Wii with her! They love it when Aunt Denise comes over to play!

We actually have NOTHING planned for tomorrow! I am so excited! I do have to take Matt to the library to borrow the last of the Spiderwick Chronicles. Our library has lent their copy out so we are heading to my favorite library - Elkins Park! They have the friendliest people and almost always have the books I need or want! Matt is excited he has read this whole series in about a week. It's the fastest reading he has ever done. Now he wants to go see the movie. I'll have to see what the reviews say about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love and Mercy

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

I thank God for his mercy and great love. Yesterday was one of the hardest days I have ever had to encounter. I won't go into details, but raising an intelligent 10 1/2 year old boy who hates school is the hardest thing God has ever called me to do. If it weren't for the morning and knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for everything we do, I don't believe I would be doing anything! And surely my son would have been 'consumed' if not for God's great love. Please pray for Matthew. He is a tough kid and his heart needs to be softened. I do not know what means God is going to use to get through to his heart, but pray that we would recognize it and that we would be diligent in listening to what God has to say to us in reguards to our son and how he should be raised.

Daniel is feeling better, but his poor bottom is red as a tomato. He has the runs terrible, and since he hates having his diaper changed we sometimes don't get it as fast as we need to. He is finally eating again and drinking up a storm! He woke up this morning BEGGING for breakfast! He is really funny!

Andy finished up his food prep course last night. He will get his certificate in a few days. Tonight he has Teen Club and then the Valentine's Dinner tomorrow night. Saturday will be his first night off in a week. Please continue to pray for him as he struggles to balance life and ministry. He desires to be working with the kids, but at the same time spending time with his kids. Pray that he would find a happy medium.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Backyardigans and a Bucket

Today my baby is 31 months old. He has made it 31 months without getting physically sick - vomiting. Today that streak ended. He was not eating breakfast and giving Andy a hard time about not wanting to eat when he erupted. He is amazing, though. He hasn't cried or complained and he just keeps going about his business. He didn't even come to me when he got sick again - I discovered it when I picked up his blanket and found yucky stuff! So, I grabbed a bucket and told him what to do - now he carries his bucket with him. He is insistent upon watching Backyardigans, though, which I am inclined to let him do since he doesn't feel well.

Matt and Sarah are a bit distracted since I am trying to help Daniel out and aren't finishing their work as well as I would like them to. I am working on getting them both more independent with their work - not having me hang over their shoulder telling them "keep working" - but they are fighting me on this and want me around as they do all their work. Hopefully, this skill will come with age as I can't see myself attending college with them and telling them "keep working"!

Pray for Andy this week. His schedule is full as he has to get re-certified for the food bank on top of his other weekly activities. He has to take a class at the Philadelphia Community College. He was there last night and will go again Wednesday night. He was disappointed he had to miss God Squad last night, but without this certification he can't get food from the Philadelphia Food Bank to feed the kids that come to God Squad and Teen Club. It is also the food we hand out at Kids Club and give to needy families. We also have the Valentine's Dinner this Friday - so he is out every night this week. Pray for energy, strength, and that he would be able to accomplish all that he has before him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tired Boy!

The kids are worn out. This morning I had to wake Matt and Sarah at 8:30 am!!!! They never sleep that late! Daniel was up at 7:00 am, but I found him like this at 11:30 am. He was supposed to be playing in his room, but decided to try and call for me at the gate. I guess he called too long - probably ten minutes! He was one tired boy! We have had a lot of late nights and a lot of running around and I think it is starting to catch up on them. It will be an early bed for everyone tonight!

Please pray as we begin school again this week and go for several weeks straight. We have had several sporadic weeks and the kids have gotten out of practice of doing school on a schedule for several weeks at a time. At the moment they are grumpy and argumentative, but hopefully they will get out of their funks and get school finished. I fear it is going to be a long day. The below picture is how we all feel - Daniel just expresses well!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I Love.... things!!! Who doesn't?!?! I love to visit a blog called She is really wonderful at posting great coupons she finds from all different kinds of stores. She is usually where I get my CVS deal ideas from. Well, this past week she posted a coupon for the Picture People for a free 8x10 and a free sheet of Valentine wallets. My mom had been "complaining" that she hasn't had a picture of the grandkids for quite sometime. So I called my sister and made arrangements to meet her at the mall last night(she lives right next door to it!). The kids were amazing! We never know what to expect from Daniel - sometimes he will be cooperative, other times he is a nightmare! Last night he chose to be cooperative and we got some really great pictures - not as great as my friend Carisa, who usually takes my kids photos - but ones my mom will cry over when she sees them! We ended up getting my mom a 10x13 photo and my sister and I each got an 8x10 and split the wallets. They also had another great deal going on where you could order 12 postcard photos for $12. They are much bigger than the wallets and only $1 a piece! We ended up buying a set of these as well to give out to aunts and uncles and other friends of ours. Here is a sample of the postcards:After the pictures we went over to spend some time at Lisa's house. The kids love to play with Sam and they often don't get the chance as Sam's schedule is difficult to work around. He spends half the week with my sister and the other half with his dad. It was really great to see him last night - laughing and having a good time with his cousins. Lisa also made the most incredible brownies I have ever tasted! They were Paula Deans recipe with three full size Hershey Bars! Totally sinful!

We are home today and the kids are thrilled not to have to go anywhere! It is almost 11:00 am and they are all still in their pj's! It will be tough getting them out of them today! I am off to finish my laundry and clean some bathrooms!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

We're Back!

We arrived home about an hour ago and the kids are sorry they had to leave the spaciousness of PopPop and Grammy's. They are back to their arguing and bad tempers. I wonder if the closeness of our house contributes to the arguing? PopPop and Grammy said they played really well together - I think they were being nice! We so appreciate the fact that they watched them fro three days! It's a lot of work and I am sure they are tired. They will sleep well tonight!

The rest of the conference was good. The speaker was mentally challenging - not mentally relaxing like in years past. He spoke a good deal on current trends in the church - the emerging church, different key words being used such as missional, etc. It was a lot to take in in such a short period of time. I feel physically relaxed, however, as I was able to get more sleep than usual and take some walks. Now it is time to get into the groove of school again. We will not get another break until April - I think. We only have 60 days left. If we stay on track we will be done May 9th. I would so love to be done by then. That will give me three weeks in May to get ready for the summer craziness! But I have also made up my mind to relax a little with school. It has started to become more of a chore than a pleasure. We are way ahead in math and English and a little ahead in spelling, reading, and geography. We are just a little behind in History and Science, but will easily catch up on those subjects because they will finish math and English so early. It all works out in the end. Matt wants to continue with Math throughout the summer so I may be ordering his Math before we know it. I think he only has about 50 lessons to complete - so he'll have ten extra days to fill in. He could be done 7th grade math by Christmas and move into 8th next year - he is a whiz at math! I don't know what we'll do when he gets to high school.

Please pray as I try to relax with the schooling - not so much that they aren't doing anything, but that we would find the joy in learning again rather than trying to just get through it for the sake of checking off a box! I really want them to enjoy the things they are learning and to remember them as well.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Time Away

Every year at this time Andy and I get the priviledge to go to a pastor's conference held at America's Keswick in Whiting, NJ. This is a great conference and I am always challenged by the speakers. When we first started attending this conference it was very hard for me to go as I had to leave my kids. But as a wise friend told me (thanks Laurie!) it's good to for all of us to get away for a little bit to regroup, reconnect, and realize how much we love each other. How true her words were! So, while the three kids are enjoying time with Andy's parents, we are enjoying time at Keswick.

Tonight was the introduction of the speaker, Phil Johnson. He is quite a powerful, and intellectual, speaker. The title of his message tonight was "Are we losing the battle for the Bible? How evangelicals are compromising the authority and sufficiency of Scripture without even realizing it." Quite a title!!!!! It was a great message but one that I think I need to hear about twelve times before I understand all of what he said. There is definitly a lot to think about. His basic premise was that the current trends in the church are eroding the authority of Scripture. It got me thinking about how I am doing with my three charges. Am I living a life where God's Word is the final authority and I believe it unequivically? Am I showing my kids where in God's Word I am coming up with my reasons for doing things or am I just relying upon my own authority? Am I guilty of not instructing my kids that God's Word is IT - the final authority - without error? So much to think about! I can't wait to hear what he has to say in the morning. We are going to buy the CD as we think Dad would LOVE his message - right up his alley!

Last night, Super Bowl Sunday, we went to visit friends, Kelly and Joe. We hadn't seen them in many months. It was great to talk with them and see their kids. Sarah and Morgan are only a day apart in birth and are the best of friends. I really wish we lived closer so that they could get together more often. Daniel was a riot as they have a real student guitar, which he found! He performed for us at half time! He was so funny - he LOVED this guitar and the fact that it actually made sound! Kelly got some great pictures. I'll have to get them from her and post them. Yes, we are horrible parents and didn't bring the camera. I need to learn to be more diligent about bringing it with me wherever I go.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Good Friends

Tonight we had the joy and blessing of going to the Hinson's for dinner. Even though we work together we rarely see each other socially. We had such a great time! I am so thankful that God brought them to Philly to minister along side of us! I really can't imagine what life would be like here in Philly without them! In the short time they have been here (4 years in March, compared to our 14 years in July), we have become such close friends and our children play extremely well together. I was especially grateful to not have to cook this evening! I am not a fan of cooking and would give it up in a heartbeat. But, unfortunately, my children and husband enjoy eating regular meals and therefore I must cook.

The school week is complete and Matt caught up on everything except for writing - I have no idea what to do about that area. I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination and Matt hates writing - usually the physical act of writing. But this week it has been the topic that our writing curriculum has come up with. I am praying about what to do. I have found a great website, , that I am seriously looking into. You sign up and pay for the number of months you desire to participate. The student is then matched up to a writing instructor and they e-mail each other daily with assignments and completed projects. I think if Matt is responsible to someone else for his writing he may be more motivated to do it. We'll see. I'll have to check the budget. But with all I am saving at CVS - who knows, maybe I've saved enough. LOL!