Category Archives: Christian faith

Feeling Sad and Nostalgic Today . . .

Two years ago, I left my very best friend “Annie’s” house for the last time, because we were getting ready to move from Michigan to New Mexico, for my husband’s job. At the time, she and her children lived about two and a half hours west of us, having moved to be near her family about a year after the death of her husband. We had for years, spent our kids’ birthdays together, either at her house or at our house. It was the best thing, too, because she and her children love my kids, no matter what their differences and difficulties have been, and always treated them the same as any other kids, even though they aren’t. That has not always been the case in the lives of my children. Kids can be so mean, once they realize another kid is different, you know?

So anyway, we realized that there was no way we would be able to go there in June for the birthdays of her two oldest, which are two days apart, and since “Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” share a birthday in May (being twins, you know), we decided to go and spend a few days at our friends’ home in May, and just do all four of the kids’ birthdays over a couple of days! Over the years, we were often able to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time because we both homeschool.

We did my boys birthdays on Tuesday, the 15th.

My friend is really awesome at making themed cakes. This is what she did for “Mr. Loquacious”, who really wanted a Lego themed party . . .
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For “The Puzzler”, who loves all things Thomas The Train, this is what she made . . .
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Here I am with the kids, waiting for the candles to be lit . . .
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And here is my dear friend, getting the candles ready for the birthday boys. The picture is a little blurry, though!
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My boys, very happy with their the cakes . . .
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Later, after presents, because we ALWAYS do “Pin the something on something”, I had ordered a pin the Lego shark in the water kit and a pin the smokestack onto Thomas set. Here are all the kids with the Lego mask blindfolds on, trying to hit the right spot.

“Mr. Loquacious”
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“The Puzzler”
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“The Batman”
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“The Artist”
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Next up, we have my Friend’s children . . .

“J. L.” . . .
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“L. E.”
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“L. A. ”
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Here’s how they all looked in the Thomas blindfolds . . .

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As always, I had ordered goodie boxes with themed favors, so each kid got a Thomas one and a Lego one!
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So, that was the party for my twins, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the 16th, we had a birthday for “J. L.”, and his sister “L. E.”, whose birthdays are two days apart. Their birthday was chocolate theme. You can’t go wrong there, right? 🙂
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Everyone loved their parties, and their presents!

Wednesday evening, we went to my friend’s church, Midland Baptist Church. While we were there, we got somebody to take one final picture of “Annie” and me.
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The next day, the 17th of May, 2012, we had to leave and go back to Port Huron, so I could get to work on packing and readying for our moving sale. I had done absolutely fine the whole time we were there, but when it was time to leave, the hardest thing was to not cry. And I didn’t, until we were out of sight of the house, then the sobbing started, so I pulled over and sat for about 30 minutes until I was OK to drive.

I miss my friend “Annie” so much. For years, we had been each other’s support system, we both have been raising challenging children, although the challenges were and are different. We always knew we could call on each other if we needed someone to keep our kids when we had to do something. In fact, she kept mine for 4 days when I went for my bariatric surgery in 2011.

We began as unlikely friends, who became very close. “Annie” has been my confidante, my Titus 2 woman in my life. I will always love her, and all of her children, so much, and will never stop missing them.

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Filed under Best Friends, Birthdays, Christian faith, Church, family, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Special Needs Children

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . Music At Both Ends Of The Week!

We began on Sunday evening, when the Kids Sunshine Choir did the special during the evening service at our church. You can check them out in the video below. 🙂

During the remainder of the week, we went a little light on school, as I’ve been dealing with some health issues, and my doctor is currently trying to regulate some new medications for me. Meanwhile, it often affects my days, so we’ve mostly been just working on some review things that you’ll be reading about soon! 🙂

We skipped out on homeschool park day yesterday, I was so tired, and slept a lot. 😦 Today, however, we made it to piano lessons. We’ve switched with another family, and now we are going Friday instead of Thursday. That way, the kids get to continue with their regular homeschool park day, when we’re able to make it.

I found out from our piano teacher (yes, “our” teacher. “The Batman”, “The Artist” & I are all taking lessons!) today that “The Artist” is really an advanced student, and that when she was at his level, she was required to practice an hour per day, 7 days a week. He’s not real keen on that, so I said we’d work up to it. He’s already doing 40 minutes, so beginning Monday, we’ll add 5 minutes each week, until he gets to an hour. She did say that on days when the time really isn’t there, he’s to do a MINIMUM of 30 minutes. Here’s a short little video I took when we got home, after I convinced him to play just one song for me to post. He sounded much better at lesson, but he just wanted to get it done with when I was recording, LOL!

This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, and you too, can link up a post about your week! Just click the graphic below for the guidelines, write your post, and link it up!

As always, I’d love it if you join me on all of my “Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” box at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! Also, if you do enjoy “My Journeys”, please, go to our Facebook page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Church, home education, Kids, Music, Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-up . . . Revival Meetings and Some Silliness!

Well! This has been a very busy week! Our church had special meetings this week for our Family and Friends Revival, from Sunday through Wednesday. It was so good, too! Our guest speaker was Brother David Hetzer, and he was just wonderful! He has also been a speaker for our youth camps in years past.

We also were treated to The Epleys coming to sing for us! My family had last seen them many, many years ago, back during the early years we spent in Port Huron, MI. They came with their children and sang at the church we attended at that time, and we just loved them! We still listen to their music in the car! Well, now, We are in New Mexico, and they came to the church we are members of here! These days, their kids are grown and raising families of their own, so it’s just mom and dad singing now. I did not get a good video of them during the meetings, but here is one from youtube of them singing one of the songs they did for us. I hope you enjoy it!

It was a busy but good week! Monday and Tuesday, our church provided a meal at 6:00 for everyone who came before the meeting at 7:00, and then Wednesday we did potluck at the same time. Our pastor says we’re “the eatin’-est church in town”, lol!

Before all the business, we had a bit of silliness at our house one evening after supper, when my husband and some of the boys started fooling around with one of “The Puzzler’s” Christmas gifts, as you’ll see in the video below. They were sure having fun!

All in all, it was a pretty good week! 🙂

This post is being linked up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. If you’d like to write about your week and link up, please click the graphic below for the guidelines.

As always, I’d love it if you’d join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” space at the top of the blog, and never miss an update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook page and “Like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, Mesa Baptist Church, The Epley Family, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

Is There A Family With Special Needs Children In Your Church?

How well do you relate to them? How well do your KIDS relate to them? Here’s the thing . . . when these kids are little, they are cute, and their “issues” are much more easily overlooked. A child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and mental retardation, who is also on the autism spectrum, gets lots of understanding when he or she is a toddler. Believe me, I know. My oldest, “The Batman”, IS that child. He was adopted at age 2, and he isn’t a cute little toddler anymore. It’s so much harder for him now, because he KNOWS he’s different now. He regularly asks me (yet again) if his “friends” know he has these disabilities, hoping (yet again) that maybe they don’t, that somehow, he has successfully hidden it. And yes, he does try, so very hard, to act like the other kids who are teens, not really understanding that it isn’t working. He wants to be accepted so very badly, as do all kids like him, as do, in fact, all kids, whether disabled or not.

So. Do you have a kid, or kids like this in your church? Do you know how to treat them? Do your own children know how? Because if not, you need to learn how to accept them where they are, and for the person that they are, even when that means cutting them some slack if they are annoying. Most of the time, they truly do not understand that they are annoying.

If you have a family like this in your church, here are my suggestions:

  1. Befriend them. And I mean for real, not just in the superficial way that so often happens. Befriend them. Spend time with them. Have dinner with them. Take part in other activities with them. We’ve been fortunate enough to find friends in our church here who do want to spend time with us, people who have been to our home for dinner (on holidays, no less!), or who have had us to their homes for dinner. But, we’ve also, in years past, been part of churches where we felt very excluded.
  2. Learn about the disabilities their children deal with. You may find yourself surprised to discover that an awful lot of the time, what you think is bad behavior, annoying behavior, etc . . ., is directly attributed to the disability, or multiple disabilities working together against the child. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times over the years I’ve been told, either directly or in a round-about way that my child would be more pleasant to be around if I would “just discipline him more”.
  3. Don’t just befriend the child/children, befriend the parents. Do they ever get to go out without their children? We all know how important things like regular date nights are to a marriage, but do you realize that most couples with children like this RARELY get regular date nights? Do you know that there is a higher rate of divorce among couples with these children?
  4. Try harder to understand the behavior in kids like this, ESPECIALLY when they have reached the teen years and beyond.  “Children with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure activities. The disorder makes it hard for them to communicate with others and relate to the outside world. In some cases, aggressive and or self-injurious behaviors may be involved.” My son is pretty high functioning compared to many others with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental retardation and autism, which has been attributed to the fact that we took him out of school right after kindergarten and began homeschooling him, but even so, he still does, and always will, have serious problems when it comes to social interaction.

My child has battled these disorders for 20 years now, almost 21 years. He has problems when it comes to communication, he has difficulty with timeline, and definitely with social interaction. He is also, when you really take the trouble to get to know him, to befriend him, and help him to feel that he is safe to “be himself” with you,  one of the kindest, most giving and loving people I have ever known, in my whole life.  But, if he feels unsafe to “be himself”, he becomes anxious. He will pull his eyebrows out, and has, at times, pulled large patches of his hair out of his head. He doesn’t “get” social cues most of the time, and often, when someone is “joking around”, he doesn’t get that, either, and thinks they are serious. Sadly, sometimes they actually AREN’T just joking, because they themselves don’t “get it” when it comes to kids like this.

There are children like mine in many, many churches, and if they are fortunate, they are loved, accepted, and have friends. Is this the case in YOUR church? Are these kids included, loved, and treated as though they truly are your children’s friends? Are you teaching your children to be kind and caring, even if those children are “weird”? Because you do your children a disservice if you aren’t teaching them this. In all of their life, both now, and later when they are grown, your children WILL have interactions with people who are “different”. Will they be kind to them? Or will they be intolerant of the differences? Will they stand up for them? Or will they join the bullies, because they themselves fear being bullied?

I have other kids who do not have as significant disabilities as “The Batman”, and it is my goal, which I hope I’m being successful in, to make sure they are learning to help their brother, and other kids like him. To stick up for them, to befriend them, to care about them. I believe this will make a difference in THEIR lives, even later, when they are grown and on their own, which I believe some of them will be able to be. I want my less disabled children to grow up with empathy, and caring hearts.

As believers, I think we need to be aware of these things. My kids, just like all those other kids who are “different”, will never be “safe” to just be themselves in most settings, but more than anything, if you are a believer, I want you to know and understand that outside of their own home and family, the one place they should never, ever have to worry about being able to “be themselves” is when they are with their church family. Look around your church. Are there kids like this? Are they REALLY safe to be themselves? With you? With your children? With their Sunday School teachers? With ANYONE? Because they should be, and if you’re not sure you agree, then maybe you need to read more about Jesus, and how He was with children. The church isn’t just a social club. It is a family.

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Filed under adoption, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Special Needs Children

Weekly Wrap-Up . . . New Years Week . . .

This week, we had our mid-week service on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. We had a potluck fellowship at 6:00, followed by the service at 7:00. Two of the boys at our church are home from college for Christmas, and they, along with two of the boys from the teen group each were given the opportunity to preach for about 10 minutes each. I thought they did an awesome job! The service ended around 8:30, and we went home to get the boys to bed. In fact, my husband and I did not stay up late, either, because he had to get “The Batman” and “The Artist” up very early, so that he could get them back to the church in time to leave with the youth group for winter retreat, in Colorado.

On New Years Day, the rest of us kind of had a lazy day. I wasn’t feeling real great, and napped off and on, but was better by that night.

On Thursday, friends from church came and got “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler” for an overnight with their kids. I ended up with most of the day yesterday and today to myself!

I told you yesterday what I would be doing with the time, and I did. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve decided to join in with the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats. As I told I would, I cleaned out and inventoried my pantry, fridge/freezer and deep freezer. I’m embarrassed to say I had to throw out a bunch of stuff. That’s the other reason I’m doing this, so I can learn to keep track of what we have, and use it up, thereby being a better steward.

So, I have rather a lot of odds and ends in the pantry, but very little meat, veggies or fruit. So, before I head out in the morning for groceries, we’ll be going over what we have and figuring out what we need to go with it.

I will update on the pantry challenge at least a couple of times a week. Not necessarily every day, because I have other things scheduled for posting too, but I will keep up to date on this. 🙂 You can find out all about where I got this idea by clicking the graphic below . . .
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Today while the kids were all still gone, I worked on my ministry cards. I have my own tiny ministry at church with my hand-crafted cards. So far, I have eleven ladies and one family on my encouragement list, and I make them a card every week. I bring them to church to give them on Sunday. I really enjoy it, it feels good to encourage others!

I also worked on getting my blog planner printed out so I can either get it into a notebook or have it spiral bound at an office supply store, and printed out the words to the song I’m singing next Sunday evening, so that the pianist and I can practice it.

Then, it was time to go pick everyone up! We got back a little while before my husband got home, and then he cooked supper, hamburgers and hot dogs, the extras we didn’t use on New Years Day. We also had the rest of the potato salad, coleslaw, and some potato chips. It was nice. 🙂

How was your week? Why don’t you write about it and then link up with us over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers? Click the graphic below to read about the guidelines . . .

As always, I’d love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and never miss another update! And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please do go to our Facebook Page and “like” it. I’d sure appreciate it if you did! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Church, family, Kids, Mesa Baptist Church, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014, Weekly Wrap-Up

“Gone, Gone, Gone, Gone, All My Kids Are Gone”!

OK, so, let’s just be real here . . . I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kids, and if anything ever happened to any of them, my heart would be in shreds. However, as any of you who are moms surely know, especially if you are fellow homeschooling moms, sometimes, we just need a little break. Right? 🙂

So, my older two, “The Batman” and “The Artist” left yesterday with the teen group from our church for their annual winter retreat to the Cross Bar X Ranch in Durango, Colorado, and the twins, ”
Mr. Loquacious” and “The Puzzler” just left a little while ago for an overnight with friends from church who have two kids that are great friends with our kids. I am kid-less until late tomorrow afternoon when the teens return, at which time I’ll be getting the twins back as well.

So what will I do with my time alone, you ask? Well, write this post, for one, LOL!

I will also shortly, be doing an inventory of my pantry cupboard, fridge/freezer and deep freezer, in preparation for joining the Pantry Challenge posted by fellow blogger Jessica Fisher over at Good Cheap Eats.

You can read all about it by clicking the graphic below . . .

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She is doing a two week challenge, with specific goals. My challenge to myself is not for a specific time period, because I am planning to simply have us use up what we have, with a goal towards purchasing only the grocery items needed to round out meals made as much as possible from existing supplies. This will do a few things . . . it will save money, first and foremost. It will also force me to be more creative in meal planning and preparation, and it will help get these three areas emptied out for cleaning. I think it will also serve to show me where I need to make changes in food shopping, either because we have things that turn out to be something we don’t care for, or because it may give me the incentive to try harder to use more “real” foods, instead of convenient, packaged things. It will definitely help us become better stewards of what we have, which, as a Christian, I believe is something we should all learn to do.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I find in my inventory, and hopefully, how I plan to implement this whole thing, and we’ll see how it goes.

In any event, I’m going to give it a try. Anyone game to join me? 🙂

As always, I’d just love it if you join me on all of “My Journeys Through Life”! Just go and enter your email into the “sign me up” button at the top of the blog, and you’ll never miss another update! If you enjoy “My Journeys”, how about a little Facebook “like”? I’d sure appreciate it! 🙂

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Filed under Christian faith, Church, family, food, home education, homeschooling, Kids, Pantry Challenge 2014, Ultimate Blog Challenge January 2014

Lots Going On . . .

For the first time, in all of the years I have been singing special music at the various churches we have been part of over the years, this year I was scheduled to sing at Christmas! I really love this song, and our youth pastor’s wife Aubrey Grantham (who is soon also going to be our piano teacher!) did an AWESOME job on the piano! 🙂

Meanwhile, at 8:00 straight up this morning, I called the doctor’s office to get new paper prescriptions for “Mr. Loquacious” and “The puzzler”, as they cannot be faxed or e-filed to the pharmacy. I’m hoping they call me quickly to come get them, I have a few last-minute errands, and really would like to combine the errands with picking up the prescriptions, if possible.

I also need to call the pharmacy itself and check on whether they have ordered a medication for “The Batman”, because it wasn’t in stock for them to fill the other day, and the pharmacist on duty at the time was a floater who couldn’t order anything. 😦

We’re having breakfast, and then I plan to get laundry sorted and started washing, after which, while waiting to hear from the doctor’s office that I can come get the prescriptions, I’m going to work on cards for my wonderful hairstylist, Jody Muniz.  She chose different colors than what I used in the samples I showed her, so I’m trying a different look and will make one of each and send the pictures of them to her by text before making the rest of them. I think they will come out nice! 🙂  I’m also working on a set of cards for someone who won them from a drawing at one of my Close To My Heart gatherings, along with a set of baby scrapbooking pages for a friend who doesn’t scrapbook, but wanted them as a gift for her sister. Which reminds me, as you know, I am a consultant for Close To My Heart, and I want to let you know that there are a bunch of things being retired in order to make room for new, beautiful products! I have seen a sneak peek at the new things, and you’re going to LOVE them, but meanwhile, while you still have a chance to get them, you may view and purchase retiring items here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂

 

As always, I would love it if you joined me on all of “My Journeys”! Just go to the “sign me up” button at the top of the page and enter your email, you’ll never miss another update! 🙂 And, if you enjoy “My Journeys”, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” it! 🙂

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Filed under card making, Christian faith, Christmas, Church, Close to My Heart, family, Mary Did You Know, Mesa Baptist Church, singing