Just Call Me Granny

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

We are so excited to tell you that we are going to be grandparents. And yet our announcement comes with some mixed emotion because none of our children are married.

Scott and I both grew up in Christian homes, and one of the pillars of our faith was “no sex outside of marriage.” This boundary stems from many passages in the Bible. In Timothy 5 Timothy explains single men and women should treat each other as brothers and sisters.  In Romans 12 Paul urges us to keep our bodies holy and offer them as a sacrifice to God.  In Hebrews Paul says straight up marriage should be honored and the marriage bed kept pure. In Genesis 2 we see the first description of marriage and in Ephesians the husband wife relationship is paralleled with Jesus’ relationship with the church.  There’s plenty of scripture to back up what our parents were drilling into our hearts and minds all those years. So what did we do? We drilled the same into our kids’ hearts and minds.

But how do you mesh that with real life? 

Kiana went away to college last fall and honestly fell head over heels for a guy on the football team.  It seemed as though there weren’t any Christians around except for one, and he was a cutie.  He was quiet and shy, he was tall and strong, and he could recite more scripture than Kiana could.  Kiana says he reminded her of Scott; not the Scott that you know in public, but the Scott that she knows here at home.  Having never experienced a connection like this before, the relationship moved quickly and they made a baby. (I suppose having inherited super fertility powers from her parents didn’t help.) They didn’t realize it at first, and they continued to date and grow in their relationship.  They started praying together at the end of the day, they took walks in the park to avoid the frat parties, they met in the cafeteria for lunch.  It was, and is, a very sweet relationship.

You can imagine our shock (and her shock) when we found out Kiana was pregnant.  Our baby is having a baby, and boy do we love babies, but it will come with great sacrifice … or will it?

How do we mesh this with real life?  With great joy, with grace, with trust and faith in a God who is so much bigger than our feeble rule-following ways here down on Earth.  Is God grieved by the moment Kiana and her man stepped over the line?  Yes, I think He is.  Is he limited by that, surprised by that, overcome with grief by that?  No, I don’t think He is.  Did Kiana have to get pregnant that night?  Nope, many women don’t.  So how do Kiana and her man, and Scott and I, process all of this? We choose to celebrate. We are grateful for this gift, this precious new person, and we see her as someone who was always meant to be.  We embrace Kiana’s road to motherhood as God’s calling on her life, not as a sacrifice or a road block or a less-than-ideal path.

So if you see Kiana out and about, please say “Congratulations.”  She is worried about what you are thinking about the youth pastor’s daughter, but she is proud and excited to be expecting a baby girl.

And dear sweet baby girl, we can’t wait to meet you.  You have a mother and a father with sweet hearts, great talent, a deep relationship with Jesus, a reliance on the Holy Spirit, and a love for God the Father.  You have eleven aunts and uncles, four great grandparents, a country manor to run around, and a grandfather with a big heart and a great sense of humor.  And I, as your grandmother, promise to hold you with great pride and tender love. Dear sweet girl, you are in good hands.

I Peter 1

“love one another deeply, from the heart”

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[c]

And this is the word that was preached to you.

Spring 2022

A lot has changed in the last six months!   

Tai spent 70 days at Newport Academy in Orange County, CA.  Strangely, California was the only state that accepted our insurance, but Tai quickly adjusted to their laid back style, surfing, yoga and all.  We have nothing but good things to say about Newport Academy.  They took great care of Tai in a warm, family environment. Our family therapy sessions were especially productive.  Our insurance abruptly sent Tai home with only 24 hours’ notice, (Newport warned us it could happen) so Scott was on an airplane on Thanksgiving Eve. Tai spent a few weeks in PHP and then started in public school in early January. 

We are very proud of Tai as he builds a new life in our new town.  He is earning solid grades, he is exceling on the football team, and he is working at a golf club on the weekends.  Reactive Attachment Disorder and other diagnoses still make life a challenge for Tai. Scott and I struggle to navigate the highs and lows with him every day.  We believe with all our hearts that we are meant to be a family (I hope you are reading this Tai!) so we work and work and work to love each other.  We believe our hard work will pay off.  I press in to the verse Isaiah 61:1 on a daily basis.  This was my theme verse when I did a summer project with Cru many years ago, and it is ringing true in this season as a mom. 

Maybe one day we will have something wise to say about adoption or mental health, but for today all we can say is Ask For Help.  And don’t be picky about where your help comes from.  Do not rule out someone’s help because their faith is different from yours.  Be open to learning from people of different faiths and different backgrounds.  Be open to people challenging your thinking, your filter, your pre-conceived ideas.  Be ready to be challenged and get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Ask for help and receive it from anywhere and everywhere. 

I’m not saying all help is good. Trust me, we have met people this year who were not out to help us. But take the “help” you receive and come back to God’s word and examine it.  Come back to the privacy of your home, sit with your spouse, and talk it out.  Come back and pray over it.  Ask God what He wants you to learn in that moment.  And then ask Him to lead you to the moment and the next person.  Add it all to your bucket of learning. 

Scott and I are learning from good help and from bad help, and that is making us wiser.  The bad help will save you time in the future; you will recognize it quicker and you will have more confidence as you turn it down next time.  As Scott and I humble ourselves and tell our story over and over again, as we meet every and any professional who will give us the time of day, we learn.  And that learning is priceless.  That learning is life, right?  We hope that over time, with God’s anointing, our learning will turn into Godly wisdom, and our Godly wisdom will turn into Kingdom Building, and that’s why we’re here on Earth.

On a fun note, we bought a house.  We listed our old house on October 31, 2021 having no idea where we were going, and we were in our new house by December 17, 2021.  We were two parents determined to get our son out of Coatesville.  God led us to an incredible home in the country that had been vacant for quite a while.  It is 50 years old and most features are original, but it is our house.  We like to call it Pollock Manor. 

Here’s a few pics:

Our kitchen backsplash from 1972

Our pool area has been such a fun project. Next up, power washing!

We have almost three acres, a lot of good climbing trees, a flock of baby chicks, and hopefully a barn cat in our future (to chase the rats … seriously).

Thank you for praying us into our next season of life.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

A New Beginning

Friday, September 17, 2021

Tai is now a resident student at Newport Academy.  We want to honor Tai and respect his privacy as much as possible, so we won’t say much more.  But we also really value all our local church families and our community of friends and co-workers and neighbors, so we wanted you to know what’s going on.  And let’s be honest, your kids may know our kids, or you may notice Tai isn’t with us when we’re out, or you might have heard this or that, and Scott says my last Instagram post was a bit cryptic, so that’s the scoop.  We don’t mind sharing our ups and downs, it just took us some time to pray and seek the Lord on our next step.  We want God to use every part of our lives for His glory, the good and the bad.

If you think to pray for us, our main prayer request right now is that our insurance company would continue to see the value of Newport and that Tai would be allowed to stay as long as possible.  Please also pray for Tai as the Holy Spirit leads you. 

And if we can ever encourage you in any way, please just ask.  We don’t know much, but we’re always happy to listen and pray with you.

Keep on keepin’ on, my friend, and may the Lord fill you with his Joy 🙂

Psalm 19:7-9

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

Happy Angel Day

Wednesday March 17, 2021

Fifteen years ago we were tucking in our infant son for the first time tonight. What a gift.

Thank you for praying for Tai these past ten weeks. Tai is genuinely working hard to sort out his hurts. He has built a strong connection with his therapist and we are all on a much healthier track. We can feel your prayers knocking down the strongholds in Jesus’ name and we are grateful. Please keep praying.

Psalm 68:5&6

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,[c]
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

2 Chronicles 20

Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

We believe in Prayer

January 20, 2021

I don’t think I ever told you, but Tim accepted Jesus as his Savior.  It was a completely organic conversation last Christmas.  I was so glad that Scott was home when the conversation began.  The three of us sat in our bedroom and talked about Jesus and salvation for a long time.  A while back I shared Tim’s salvation as a prayer request on our blog, and the night it happened I thought about our blog and I was so grateful to imagine that maybe someone was praying for Tim. 

The nice thing about blogging as a mom of younger kids is that younger kids have no idea that I’m sharing about their lives on a public blog.  It was such a blessing to write about Theo’s journey–to share, to process, and to ask for prayer.  He was not negatively affected by my sharing.  It didn’t hurt his feelings or violate his privacy.  It was a blessing. 

The tricky thing is that those little kids grow up and become teenagers.  A mom of teenagers can’t really blog about her teenagers.  You just can’t.

Today I asked Tai if I could share a little about his recent journey.  I wrote this post last week, but Scott and I knew we would need his permission to publish.  I explained that we have some faithful men and women who read our blog and who are diligent in praying for us as they remember.  I cited Theo’s sickness, Tray’s broken wrist, and Tim’s salvation as examples of the saints praying for our family.  I was nervous asking him, but he said yes right away.  It was a gut reaction.  In spite of all that he’s going through, he knew prayer was the answer.  He said I couldn’t post a picture of him, so you can hold me to my promise.

Tai is really struggling right now.  He is struggling with being home full-time.  He is struggling with his learning difference and feelings of inadequacy.  He is struggling with his relationship with God.  And he is struggling with his adoption story.  As Tai learns more about life and love and human relationships, he has become very sad that his biological mother gave him up for adoption.  And as he learns more about manhood and respectability, he has become very angry that his father didn’t step up in the months leading up to his birth. 

We started Tai in counselling at the Peacemaker Center back in September, which we highly recommend, but it wasn’t enough.  Tai really spiraled over the course of three months. Our low point occurred the week of Christmas just as we were bouncing back from Covid.  We knew we needed help, and we just starting praying for ideas and resources and people who would know what to do.      

Tai is now participating in an Intensive Outpatient Program, or an IOP, to address his anger and hurt and depression and anxiety.  It has been a really difficult season for us all.  We have explained to our kids that every family has problems; every family gets sick from time to time.  And when those problems bubble up we have a choice to make.  We can either stay sick or we can seek to get healthy again.  We are choosing healing and emotional health and help and we want them to know we’re not ashamed of that. 

As you think of us, will you please pray for Tai?  Please pray for a breakthrough, victory, healing, a deeper understanding of Christ’s love for him, a vision for his future, a soft heart for God’s ways, a hunger for God’s word, and healing in our family.  Will you please pray for Scott and I?  We are sad. But we are also laser focused on God’s promises for Tai.  Tai was created in the image of God.  Tai has a hope and a future planned out for him.  God will not leave Tai nor forsake Tai.  Tai has every spiritual blessing through Christ Jesus. 

It takes a village you guys, and we’re so grateful for each one of you.

OK P.S. I don’t think I need to say this, but if and when you see Tai, please say hi, please ask him how he’s doing, but please don’t mention my blog, ok? It would just be respectful of you to not catch him off guard like that. xoxo

James 5

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Ephesians 1 (modified)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed Tai in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose Tai in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined Tai for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him Tai has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on Tai. With all wisdom and understanding, may he make known to Tai the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him Tai was also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that Tai, who was the first to put his hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And Tai also was included in Christ when he heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When Tai believed, he was marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing Tai’s inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for Tai, remembering Tai in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give Tai the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that Tai may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of Tai’s heart may be enlightened in order that Tai may know the hope to which he has called him, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday January 19, 2021

Happy New Year!  This is really the first time I’ve had the chance to sit down and write, so please let me say Happy Thanksgiving!  And Merry Christmas!  And we survived COVID!

AJ woke up the morning of November 16th and came to me and said, “Do I have a fever?  I don’t feel so good,” and man, was it a bit of a whirlwind from there. 

Week 1 AJ strictly stayed in his bedroom with his own designated bathroom and Tai moved down to the basement.  We thought we were really outsmarting this virus until eight days later when Kiana woke up with a fever.  It was at that point that Amaya sheepishly admitted she lost her taste over the weekend, and we knew that were losing control. We quick put Kiana and Amaya up in their bedroom, and moved Cali and Lucia out into other bedrooms, and began serving three young adults all of their meals upstairs (?!) while the rest of us continued to zoom downstairs, including Scott who wasn’t allowed to go to school.  The next day Tai and Theo woke up with a fever, so we sprang AJ out of isolation jail early and sent him to the basement while we continued zooming downstairs.  Our humility didn’t last long as Scott and I proudly thought we were amazingly healthy middle-aged people who were outsmarting the virus, when Scott literally came down with a fever while carving the turkey on Thanksgiving Day.  Let’s just say I didn’t have any turkey that day. 

One by one each kid came down with a fever and I eventually just let everyone out of their rooms.  It was exhausting to serve meals upstairs anyway.  We conferenced called with the Health Department to just try to gain wisdom on how to handle such a large group of people who were sick with a virus that was so unknown.  The depressing news was they said I would have to quarantine for 24 days, the isolation time plus the quarantine time, since I was caring for young kids who couldn’t isolate.  Essentially every time someone new came down with a fever, I had to reset my 14 days.  I was missing work and our staff was doing an amazing job cleaning without me, but it was driving me crazy not being able to work.  The only catch, the nurse explained, was if I could test positive and then complete my 10 days of isolation (which only meant stay in our house since everyone was now sick). It was only then that I could claim immunity and return to work.  So, I started getting tested every week.  Weeks 1 and 2 I was negative, but by Week 3 I was positive. 

It was around ten days after Thanksgiving that I was seriously worried about Scott.  I wore my oximeter around my neck and checked his oxygen levels constantly.  He was faithfully taking vitamins C and D and zinc, and he had just started a second round of steroids.  I was thankful that his doctor didn’t mess around and kept the drugs coming.  By Day 18 Scott could finally hold a conversation and walk up and down the stairs without losing his breath.  We were grateful. 

Thank God for Amazon because I while nursing everyone back to health I had completed our Christmas shopping and managed to resurrect our three artificial trees around the house, and we slid right into Christmas and New Years.  I still haven’t taken the trees down yet, it just seemed like Christmas went too fast this year.

Here’s a pic of us right before Scott’s fever started. And yes, I am the type of woman who will drag her pandemic stricken family out of bed for a Thanksgiving selfie.

So, with great tardiness we say Happy Thanksgiving! 

And Merry Christmas!  And Happy New Years!

We are grateful that we survived a round of COVID 19, and we pray we don’t have to do that ever again.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the many families who have had more severe COVID experiences.  Our next door neighbor passed away last weekend and we are so deeply sad for his wife and children; he was only 55.

Isaiah Chapter 40

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Happy 6th Anniversary!

October 23, 2020

Happy 6th Anniversary!  Six years ago today we were admitted into CHOP’s Oncology Department, (affectionately known as “3 South”), and we began the fight of our lives.  That means six years ago you began praying for us, and we are grateful that you did!

We continue to see God’s blessing on Theo’s life as he is taller and bigger and stronger than ever.  Theo is on a six month rotation now at CHOP.  His physical and bloodwork back in August looked great, and we aren’t due to go back until February 2021. 

I keep meaning to share highlights of our COVID birthday parties with you.  I have so enjoyed the challenge of trying to make each person’s birthday special as we hurdle the restrictions of COVID…

But what I really want to share with you is a little about PLEXUS.  Lately I’ve been giving more thought to nutrition and buzz words like “gut health,” “prebiotics,” and “probiotics.”  We are enjoying a season of stability right now, (I am thankful), and that means I have a little extra brain space. I believe in this season that God wants me to dig a little deeper and really think about our family’s nutrition.  I am an ALDI customer for life, it has become my one and only grocery store (minus diapers and Cheerios:), but as I grocery shop and cook day after day, I’m realizing no matter how many fruits and vegetables I serve,  we all have gaps in our diets.  

We also each have our own unique stress factors.  Take Theo for instance; Theo was on Bactrim for four years straight.  I’m sure it did a great job killing the bad bacteria in his body, but logically then it also killed the good bacteria.  Or take me for instance; I’ve been pregnant 14 times in 18 years.  I am super thankful that I still feel great, but surely there’s something off somewhere, lol.  Or finally, take my buddy Troy; Troy is four years old and only eats chicken nuggets and apples.  His picky taste buds leave a lot of gaps I’m sure.

So, that brings us to Plexus.  On the recommendation from a few friends, we are officially a Plexus family.  What is Plexus?  It is an entire collection of plant based supplements, all pointing back to the importance of gut health.  To my limited understanding, gut health is the healthy balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.  It is also the base of our immune system and so much more.

The Plexus products I am most interested in right now the prebiotic product called Slim, the probiotic product called ProBio5, and the multivitamins with probiotics, called XFactor Plus for adults and MegaKids Microbiome for kids.  Scott and I started the three supplements packaged as “Triplex” this month, and next month I hope to have Theo and the younger kids try the chewable MegaKids vitamin.

I’m stepping out in faith knowing that I don’t have much to lose. I hope to keep learning and as I do I’ll post more. If you’d like to hear more about Plexus please message me.  I don’t know much, but it would be fun to learn together!

Thank you dear Saints for growing with us in our Lord!

Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.

P.S. Did I use my semi-colons correctly?!

COVID-19 Week 4

Friday April 10, 2020

Hello!

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.

Tray

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.

Theos 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.

Cali's Plants

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
“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.“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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.“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. 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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“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]

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Another Milestone!

Sunday November 17, 2019

We’re excited to share that we’ve hit another milestone …. Theo is no longer a monthly patient at CHOP!

For the past 22 months we have visited CHOP every 30 days for blood work and every 90 days for a physical.  Theo’s counts are strong and we haven’t found any lumps or bumps.  Praise God!  His follow up routine can now be downgraded to blood work and physical every 90 days, which is a huge milestone.  Theo is doing really well as a 3rd grader in cyber school and he loves to ride his bike every day.  Please pray that Theo continues to heal and grow into the man God is calling him to be.

Theo Handsome

Since it’s been a while since I’ve written, I thought I’d give you a quick update on everyone else…

Kiana auditioned for a local theater over the summer as a dancer and earned the position of Teen 1 in their Christmas Show cast.  She is now in the midst of 44 Christmas shows over 8 weeks’ time and she couldn’t be happier.  It has been such a joy to watch her grow up into God’s calling for her life.  I love watching her on stage and if I could, I would go to every. single. show.  Please pray for protection and health over Kiana as she has 36 Christmas shows to go.

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In just one month’s time we will celebrate A.J.’s one year anniversary with our family.  A.J. is a joy to have around.  He is very gentle with our younger kids and loves to banter with the older kids.  A.J. spends two days a week in an advanced high school program and this past week he had a mock interview day.   We have been praying that God would reveal to A.J. what his life calling will be, and so far we’re testing out the idea of a math teacher.  You can pray that A.J. will continue to learn to balance work and play and that God will reveal to him a vision for his adulthood.

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Amaya loves photography and has become our go-to family photographer.  Our city hosted a photography contest this past month and Amaya was one of three winners who received a cash prize for their submission.  Amaya’s passions are photography, design and real estate, so you can be praying the God will open doors of opportunity as she pursues her passions through high school, college and adulthood.

Amaya Art Show

It was about this time last year when Tai was going crazy being home full-time with his mommy in the school room.  What can I say, I am always learning.  Between his love for people and his pursuit of becoming a man, my company just wasn’t enough.  We prayed all last year for a solution and through the help of friends found a Christian school not too far away.  The principal, vice principal and teachers have captured my heart with their commitment to prayer and scripture.  Tai also played football this past fall and was nominated Homecoming King at the end of the season.  You can pray that Tai will be quick to forgive and he will grow in his identity as a man of God who loves the city but goes to school in the country.

Contest 3
Photo credit: Amaya Pollock 2019

Lucia is an all-around doll.  She attends the same performing arts school as her older sisters and she’s an all-around talented young woman.  She takes vocal, piano, dance and drawing class and loves them all. She is managing her cyber schoolwork without my help this year and just finished marking period 1 with really good grades.  You can be praying that Lucia will continue to pursue the Lord with all her heart as she grows up this year.

Lucia 12

Photo credit: Amaya Pollock 2019

Tray was having a great year until we stumbled onto the truth about an old injury.  We still aren’t sure if it was the basketball game in September or the flag football game last January, but Tray crushed the scaphoid bone in his right hand.  He is now fully casted and fully frustrated by his new reality.  For a guy who loves every sport every day, and who excels in typing on his laptop in cyber school, this has been a real setback.  The doctor has said it could be months in a cast.  Will you please pray that Tray’s wrist fully heals?

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Tim is now seven and he is in second grade.  He is a thinker, he loves to draw and he loves to build with Legos.  One of my favorite parts of the day is reading with Tim.  He a joy to learn with and I can’t wait to watch him grow up.  You can pray that Tim will continue to excel in school and that he will put his trust in Jesus as his Savior.

Tim Handsome

Cali is in now six and she is in first grade.  Cali loves animals and loves art.  Her daily art project is painting objects we find outside like rocks and acorns.  Please pray that Cali continues to excel at reading and please pray she will also put her trust in Jesus as her Savior.

Cali Pretty

Troy is the sweetest three year old I have ever met.  He is fully articulate and relates well to men.  Our favorite imagination game is to walkie talkie about construction sites and emergency vehicles, and we play our game everywhere we go.  I caught myself at work last night reaching for my walkie talkie and I had to laugh, I hope the security cameras didn’t catch it.  You can pray that Troy will be kind to others and continue to grow into the man who loves God with all his heart.

Troy Adorable

Tennessee is now one and is an easy going baby.  He loves when the big kids play with him but he has learned to play by himself when we’re busy doing school.  You can pray for continued health and growth for Tennessee.

Tenn

I miscarried our new baby back on October 30th so that was a sad week.  We continue to trust the Lord with our family, believing only He fully knows our abilities, our finances and our future.  We believe each life is a gift and even each day of pregnancy is a gift.  This baby didn’t have a calling on Earth, but he was given a permanent place in eternity, and that is significant.  I imagine my nursery in Heaven filled now with five perfect babies.  I am completely content with the family that God has given us here on Earth, but I also wouldn’t say no to having another child.  It is the Lord who has written our family story for twenty years now and it has been a beautiful story of highs and lows.  I can’t imagine taking the pen out of His hand, so to speak, and ending this chapter on my own.  We look forward to discovering what He writes next, fully trusting in His love and Sovereignty.

Butterfly

Scott loves his school job, loves his church job and loves his new position as the Chaplain for our local high school football team.  The Lord has Scott with the most broken of children during the day, the most dynamic of teenagers mid-week and the best of student athletes on the weekends.  You could not design a better life for my husband. Please pray that God will continue to provide for our family through Scott’s hard work and pray that Scott continues in good health and energy.

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Photo credit: Joseph Good 2019

As for me, I love what I do.  I’m not sure what it is that I do, sometimes it feels like a little bit of everything and sometimes it feels like a whole lotta nothing, but in either case I love what I do.  I have reached complete peace and contentment about our home.  I used to pray for more land, more driveway space, more bedrooms, etc. but that has subsided.  We have organized 11 kids in a 4 bedroom house and it feels right.  I am praying for a deck, though, but I suppose that’s a first world problem as they say.

Adriel's wedding

It is well with my soul as we continue our journey here on Earth.  Thanks for reading along and we hope you are well too.

Colossians 3:13

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

(this is our theme verse this year as we live in our perfect 4 bedroom house together;)