Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Its Off to School We Go!

When Kinsley was 1.5 years old, a neighbor down the street said “You better get her on wait list for preschool.”  I was completely floored that I should start thinking about preschool when she was still so very young – and so while I did start thinking about preschool and what we should do for her, I didn’t put her on a wait list.

Fast forward 2 years and we are starting school.  But not at a preschool.  Yes, you read that right.  A lot of moms (and people in general) have a lot of different opinions about homeschool vs. public school, preschool vs. no preschool, private school vs public school, start at 2 years old vs. start at 3 years old, etc, etc.  Granted, it has been really helpful to hear a lot of different opinions and then to spend lots of time with the Lord seeking His wisdom about what we should do.  I never thought I would be the homeschool mom, being that I HATE teaching and being creative (it just doesn’t fit well with the giftings of an accountant or this type A momma), but I knew that if the Lord made it very clear that it was what He wanted for us and changed my heart, He would equip me to do it.

So, after mulling over lots of options like preschool, doing it myself, being part of a small church co-op of moms and rotating children, etc., we decided that I would just do some preschool things with her at home this year.  The plan is to send her to preschool next year so she learns how to be away from us in preparation for kindergarden, but again, all of that is dependent on where the Lord leads us.

I found this great (FREE!) curriculum online that gives lesson plans for 28 weeks and breaks down every day into a bible adventure, theme adventure, abc and 123, and life skills.  She has everything spelled out (great for us type A personalities) and it uses things that you probably already have on hand.  It is four days a week which I was really hesitant about, but each day only lasts about 30-45 minutes.  So far, we are loving it.  We only had a meltdown one day, but it didn’t last long and we were able to learn everything later.  She is really picking up on the alphabet, bible lesson, and asks to do school everyday.  It is so fun watching your kids learn!  Here is the link in case you want to check it out:  http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/kids/gods-little-explorer-preschool-curriculum/.  We are just praying that it continues to be fun and she continues to learn.

I still don’t consider myself as “homeschooling” – just learning together with a little more structure :).  I knew that if I didn’t find something to help me think of creative ideas and to give me structure, I wouldn’t do anything and I felt like she needed something to capitalize on the fact that she WANTS to learn.  I have had to remind myself to just go with the flow and if she isn’t getting something that day or doesn’t want to do it, no big deal and not to force it (which is hard for the over achiever in me)….this isn’t going to make or break whether she learns to read or knows how to count…it is just to help her start learning.

Here is a pic of us starting school on the first day:

And here is one of Ed taking Kinsley out on a daddy-daughter date before the school year kicked off.  So thankful for a husband that wants to make daddy-daughter dates a priority.

And the fun doesn’t stop….

I love what the Lord has called us to do.  It is not all easy – getting stood up for appointments, having people say “no” to Jesus, meeting with people to ask them to partner with us prayerfully and financially, spending summer away from our home and friends,etc. – but it is all worth it.

The Lord is so gracious to remind us of the worth of what we are doing over and over again throughout the year, but I think we especially feel it at this time of year.  When we meet new freshmen who are searching so desperately to fit in and are torn between what they grew up believing and the “new” and “exciting” ideas and choices that seem to await them at college.  Or when we talk to students who came to college so concerned because they didn’t know any people, let along any other Christians, and are so overjoyed to find other believers who desire to share about Christ with others.  Or when we meet a student who grew up in a home with parents who don’t personally know the Lord and they haven’t really ever heard about Christ but have so many questions and are crying because we are sharing with them something they are so desperate for.  Or when I hear from Samantha, one of my teammates, about a conversation she had on campus with a Muslim student that lasted multiple hours and resulted in the Muslim student wanting to connect again to ask more questions.  Or when we meet the Vice President at Bladen College (a college where is impacting many other students and faculty) and he says that he really believes in what Cru does because he was involved in Cru at Campbell University (a small university that we are currently reaching out at) and we are reminded that we don’t know what the Lord has planned for these students or the impact they will make after they graduate.

Let me just be honest…last year was tough.  We faced a lot of administration struggles, drama between a student and her ex-boyfriend who was harassing our students and our staff members (including Ed), and just learning to lead and work together as a team.  This year has already started out much better and we are excited to see what is going to happen.  Let me share really quickly a few fun things that have happened:

1 – Mariah, a student leader of ours with Impact at UNCP, got to see a girl place her faith in Christ!  It is fun to see that happen – period – but even more fun when it is a student seeing it happen with another student.

2 – After filling out lots of paperwork, we have been approved to go to on Wake Tech’s campus.  We aren’t allowed to just walk on anytime we would like, but we can come for Bible study and special events.  We have to go to campus next week to get our official IDs.  This is a huge answer to prayer!!

3 – Ed met 4 guys at Campbell University who are believers and are interested in being involved there.  We had all girls and 1 or 2 guys last year, so our prayer has been that we would find solid guys who would attract other guys and want to make a difference.  Pray that they get involved and Ed can continue meeting with them!

4 – Ed met with a faculty member at Wake Tech north and we are going to start mentoring their student leader and equip them to reach their campus.  They already have two faculty members and 20-25 students involved and saw 5 students come to the know the Lord last year.  I love when we can step in and be a part of where the Lord is so very obviously moving!

5 – We had a student leaders day this past weekend and were just reminded how great our student leaders are.  Because we have so many campuses, it is so very crucial that we have great leaders who want to reach their campus and are aligned.  They sacrifice and put in so much and we are so thankful for them!

6 – UNCP is a school that was originally started for Native Americans who reside in Pembroke, NC as part of the Lumbee Indian tribe.  Because there are so many Lumbees there, we are trying to launch a ministry called Nations geared toward Native American students.  We have a few volunteers who are Native American (one is even planning on joining staff this year!), one student leader, another potential student leader, and are planning on launching a bible study in the next few weeks.  We have been dreaming about launching this ministry since we got here and it is fun to see how the Lord is beginning to make that dream a reality!

I could go on and on with all the Lord is doing!

This is an excerpt from an article explaining the importance of the first few weeks on campus and why this “fall rush” is such a big time for us:

The first few weeks on campus offer a unique opportunity that will not be duplicated during any other time during the school year. The harvest is never more plentiful than it is during the opening weeks of school. Studies have shown that students are more responsive to the gospel in September than they are in May. During the first couple of weeks on campus, students are looking for friendships. Peer groups and schedules are formed in these critical first few weeks. Christian students come to campus looking for a place to plug in and grow.

Please pray that the Lord would move mightily and would work on students’ hearts as he allows us to interact with them and share about who He is!  Pray that we would have persevere and that the Lord would provide energy for us to do what He has called us to do (Ed worked multiple 12 hour days this past week and that is taxing on the whole family!).  Pray that we would see fruit and growth in students’ lives, in the movements we currently have, and in the ones we are trying to launch!




DIY Update

I have heard from quite a few people that they like hearing about my DIY projects.  Like I have said before, I have a list going of projects I want to complete this year and I have a goal to complete one each month (minus the summer when we are gone from home).  I had a few that I had bought supplies before but never completed for one reason or another – so it amounted to two weeks filled with completing them!

When I pick out a DIY project, I always have two things in mind:

1 – Is it something that I can make cheaper than I can buy?  I don’t care if the cleaning solution is homemade or the dress is cute, if I can buy it cheaper and I don’t have to do it, I will buy it.  If the mozzerela stick recipe has 1500 ingredients, there is no way I will spend that much money to make it – especially when I can buy them from the store for $4.

2 – Is it something that I need?  With two little ones, ministry, and friends, I don’t have a lot of time to sit around and make things.  So, it has to been something that I really need (or it has to be REALLY cute!).  I had quite a few things on my list to make that I ended up nixing because I decided I didn’t really need them.

So here is the result of this month’s experiments:

These crib bumper pads turned out WAY cute!  We had a store-bought one on the front, but found that Kinsley liked to chew on the sides too when she was little, so before Emerson could grow any more teeth, I decided to protect the crib.  These were only about $10 to make and so much cuter than the clear one on the front.  Love that they add a little pizzaz.

This tub and shower cleaner recipe called for half vinegar and half dish liquid.  The idea is that you put the solution in the wand, leave the wand in your shower, and clean every so often.  Since cleaning the shower is like #99 on my favorite list of chores to do around the house, I was up for trying this!  The result:  It works well, but I need to put a cup in the shower to use to rinse off the sides after I have used the wand.  I have to keep trying this before I can make a decision about whether to keep or lose.

Next up….a knock-off Betty Crocker brownie recipe mix I got from www.moneysavingmom.com.  We tried these today in staff meeting and loved them!  To me, they were just as the good as the store brought Betty Crocker kind.  They were gooey and had great flavor.  And they were oh so cheap to make.  Definitely will put this in my recipe arsenal.

And this isn’t a DIY project (though I guess Ed and I did make her), but check out Kinsley on her new “big girl” bike.  We got her a used one because she had mastered her tricycle and she loves it.  Seriously, we have been outside every day!

Up in DIY next month (and for the rest of August):

Cinnamon pull-apart bread, Freezer Friendly Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cheesy Garlic Sticks, Stovetop Cleaner, Sink Cleaner, and Sunglasses Case

Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Sickness, Sickness go away!

Whew, it has been a whirlwind of a week!  Sometimes I feel like we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we just had time to sit around.  Anyone else feel like that??

We already knew the week would consist of unpacking and getting the house straight.  Then, with Ed starting back on campus next week but having a week filled with meetings and getting things in order this week, we decided that if we wanted to get our yard spruced up and tackle the project of putting a flower bed in the back yard, it had to be now.  And let me tell you, it is no small project.  Then, Emerson decided to get real sick on us for no apparent reason, and we spent lots of time in the doctor’s office (and by lots, I don’t mean an hour!)

We had our friend Andrew (who graduated with a landscaping degree and then has worked for landscaping companies) come over and give us some tips, so we can’t take all the credit.  I will spare you all the details on what all we had to specifically do with our yard, but wanted to share the results and brag on my amazing husband who worked SO hard in the heat and humidity to make it happen.  How could I forget Kinsley?  She also slaved away making it happen.  My favorite part?  The stepping stones and rocks that lead from the gate to the yard and deck….so pretty.

Now onto the constant sickness that is the saga of my kids’ lives.  We had a 9-month well checkup scheduled for Emerson on Tuesday.  Monday evening, she started running a small temperature but had not other symptoms, so I thought maybe it was teething.  Tuesday morning, I took Kinsley to run errands and Ed called to say he thought she wasn’t really feeling well.  When I got home about midday, she had a 103 temp.  I took her to the doctor’s office that afternoon for her well appointment just thinking I would ask them about it there.  Even though I had given her medicine, when they checked her at the doctors office, she still had a 103 temp.  After hearing that she had just been vomiting and had diarrhea last week and had only a high temp this week with no other symptoms, they started to be concerned that maybe it was bacterial and not viral.  So, they stuck her finger, took her white blood cell count, and then we super concerned when it came back at 23 (normal is 10-15 and high is 15-20).  They went into full action mode – they did a cath to get a urine sample, took her blood to send off a blood sample, and gave her two shots of robicillin, an antibiotic.  Poor baby was screaming her lungs off and took forever to calm down.

Then, they wanted us to come back the next afternoon, but wanted us to call if her temp went above 104.  Long story short, the next morning when she woke up, her temp was 104.4.  We called them, they said to come in that morning, took her white blood cell count again (which was still high), and then give her two more shots of robicillin.  They said to keep giving her medicine every three hours to stay ahead of the temp (if we waited 4 or more hours her temp shot back up)  We had to return the next day and because her temp had finally broken and her blood cell count was down, they didn’t have to give her another shot.  Basically, they just think it was a weird virus with a really high temp that lasts for a few days and shows no other symptoms.  Crazy, huh?

I am so, so done with our kids being sick (and us!).  I think because we all had RSV at the beginning of the year, our immune systems are really weak and we get everything.  Colds, norovirus, strep throat, hand foot and mouth, viral infections with high temps, vomiting, diarrhea, concussion and cat scan, and some of these have happened multiple times.  It especially stinks when you are looking forward to coming home and seeing friends, and you can’t, because you don’t want to infect their kids.

What has been really refreshing, though, has been through memorizing the book of James about perseverance and suffering, I am reminded that our suffering in the midst of sickness is really nothing compared to the suffering that others have gone through, especially the saints who have persevered to share the truth of Christ.  Also, we had a dear friend here just get diagnosed with cancer and I am again reminded that while we are sick, we will get better and it isn’t life threatening.  Really, life could be way worse.  Not to mention that it will all end as this life is so temporary.  It does stink, but that is okay.  Even through this, the Lord is conforming my life and making me more like him, and if sickness is what it takes to make that happen, then so be it!

I did one DIY project yesterday and it turned out great.  I have a few more planned this week, so I look forward to sharing those next week.