Friday April 10, 2020
I had a few random stories of faith that I was getting ready to share with you when COVID-19 hit, so hopefully one day I’ll get to it, but they seem a bit irrelevant now.
I just wanted to check in and share what life is like in our home as we complete our fourth week of Pennsylvania’s Stay-At-Home order. Obviously, homeschooling hasn’t been much of a transition for us. We started Kiana in a cyber school 12 years ago as a kindergarten student and every year or so since then we’ve signed up the next kid. We’ve been really happy with the school year after year, so if you’re looking for a recommendation please let me know.
Four of our older kids usually attend classes two days a week on campus, so life has changed dramatically for them. Kiana, Amaya and Lucia are pretty crushed that they aren’t able to dance and that their spring dance events were cancelled. To try to ease the pain we cleared out one of our basement rooms and converted it into an Arts room with a ballet barre on one side and artwork on the other side. They are now attending their classes via zoom, so they look forward to seeing their teachers and friends, but its just not the same.
Tai’s private school announced a tuition increase for 2020-2021 a few months ago, so we knew right away that we could not afford to send him back next year. When schools closed down a week before the end of marking period 3, and we just really felt in our spirits that we needed to withdrawal him and start that transition early. It was a heart breaking revelation, but we were struggling to keep up with our tuition payments, and the only reason we were even making those payments was to help him get out of the house, so it just made sense to bring him back home to homeschool. God has given us a new vision for next year that we are super excited about, so we hope to share that story soon.
Sadly, A.J. lost his paternal grandmother to cancer on March 24, 2020. You may already know that A.J. lost his father back in 2010, so the amount of loss that my sister’s kids continue to sort through really just breaks my heart. A.J.’s grandfather is doing a tremendous job of shepherding A.J. and his older brother through this loss. His gentle leadership and transparent heart are precious. He is a kind man and he lost his best friend. We see such great evidence of God holding them all together but we also acknowledge that this is a terrible loss for each of them. Please lift them up in prayer as you think of them.
Tray had his final hand appointment just days before the stay-at-home order was put into effect. After four months in a cast an MRI confirmed that Tray had Preisers Disease, a condition where his scaphoid bone had died. Thankfully the x-rays and MRI show new calcification which indicates that the bone is coming back alive with rest due to better blood supply. We are grateful for our doctor’s wisdom in making Tray sit still for so long, and we’re hopeful that he’ll be back to normal soon.
When school was cancelled a few weeks ago we asked the middle boys in particular to set a goal that they could achieve with their extra time. Tray’s goal was to learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube, and just as I am writing this he presented me with a perfectly solved cube.
We are also thankful that Theo was seen at CHOP exactly 15 days before that cardiologist was diagnosed with COVID-19. Theo passed his physical with flying colors and they shared that the new protocol is a check-up every 6 months, so he is cleared through August.
Now that we’re home more, Theo and Tai run around the block a lot together. Tray and Theo ride scooters together, and Tim and Theo ride bikes together. It’s a blessing to have a pack of brothers who share different hobbies, and its neat to see them break off into different pairs to enjoy different activities.
Theo also has an inner artist which he doesn’t like to admit, so his creative goal has been to work on this paint by number lion.
Another neat pair is Tim and Troy. They both have vivid imaginations, so they will often start the day with castles and dragons, legos and train tracks. Troy’s birthday is this month, so I made sure to order his birthday presents early because of the shipping delays. The only problem is successfully hiding the presents until his big day. I wrapped one in pink unicorn paper to throw him off, but I found it under his pillow that night. Then I put his gifts into a large Rubbermaid container in the back corner of our closet, and this morning I found the container pulled out and opened in our bedroom. So I continue to play keep away from the 3 year old.
Cali and I planted seeds in this dish on a whim after a friend from church shared a picture of her seedlings. It is seriously so cool to see them actually grow. I honestly don’t know what to do next, so that’s next on my list of things to Google, I’ll keep you updated.
I love having Scott home. He spends a good bit of the day in our (finished) garage on Zoom with his classrooms. He attends chats with teachers and therapists, students and parents, and we are grateful that he can keep working for both the school and the church remotely. He and our six oldest really look forward to youth group zooms, which are 3 times a week now to help keep everyone connected and positive.
Our morning devotion time is similar to what we normally do, but we now start at 7:30 each morning instead of 6:30 which is nice. We begin with Scott reading the Proverb of the day, then we set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes so we can journal (or color), and then we work on memorizing Matthew 6. We’ve taken one verse a day Monday through Thursday, and then we review on Friday. We just finished the Lord’s prayer this week, and we are reflecting on Matthew’s emphasis on forgiveness. Matthew even goes as far as to link our forgiveness of others to Jesus’ forgiveness towards us, so we have been discussing what it looks like to forgive, especially when many times you don’t get the apology you feel you deserve.
We also are keeping a list of people sick with the COVID-19 virus and we pray for them each morning as we conclude devotions. Prayer is a powerful tool and it is reassuring to know that we can make a difference in people’s lives even as we sit at home. If you know someone who is sick and needs prayer, please send us their name and we’d be happy to add them to our morning prayer list.
As for me, I start my mornings about an hour before devotions feeding the baby while watching as much news coverage as I can. I want to know everything that everyone thinks. It just helps me. But it also worries me. So I spend the rest of the day trying to forget what I learned and by the end of the day I’m relaxed again. I love to run on our treadmill, but I also love to eat, so I’m trying to somehow run more than I eat, but I don’t think I’m winning yet. I feel anxious as I wear my mask to the grocery store every third day, I shower as soon as I get home, I leave the groceries in the car for at least an hour before unloading. Again anxious in the morning, but it wears off as the day goes on. It will be interesting to reflect on these days six months from now, one year from now, etc. But in the meantime we continue to pray that we accomplish what it is that the Lord would like us to accomplish, living by faith, with wisdom.
You know Easter is my favorite holiday, so I’ll try to post again on Sunday to wish you a fabulous Resurrection Day. Until then, stay safe.
Matthew Chapter 6
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’