Ten Years of Love & Laughter

My Laci Elizabeth turns ten years old today! Hard to believe my cuddly, sweet Laci is almost as tall as I, and already in the double digits!

Laci has a very loving heart. She is always leaving me love notes in surprising places, like on my pillow or in my Bible. Just a few weeks ago, I found this one on the keyboard of my laptop when I opened it:

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She expresses her love in art, too, because, while all of my children show creative talent, she is the one who loves to draw.

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Her binder has her version of the British flag.

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“Why Laci, what big lips you have!”

“The better to kiss you with, my mother!”

Laci is a friend to her little brother, which is a blessing. I often hear them playing games together and it always puts a smile on my face. On Fridays, they often build forts and sleep in them. She has had a hard time watching Leslie, who is 18 months older, move closer to the teen years. The Barbies have been given away, for Laci didn’t enjoy playing with them without Leslie. But she is finding her place in our ever-changing home, which is good preparation for an ever-changing life.

Laci has a tender heart. If we have to correct her behavior, she usually comes to us later with a heartfelt apology, or leaves us a note saying she is sorry.

I can’t believe my “baby girl” is already ten years old! If I keep thinking about it, I know I will grow melancholy. (Why must the years pass so quickly?!)

Happy birthday, Laci! I am so thankful that you came into our lives ten years ago. I love you more than words can express, and I am so proud of the little lady that you are.

With love,

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Seventeen and Sweet as Ever

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Today, our sweet Lauren Kassidy turns 17. Lauren is our firstborn and has carried the burdens of that place in the family very well. She has set a good example for her siblings by being hard working, honest, and trustworthy. She has faced many challenges in her few years: six moves for one thing, and the intense pressure of being a “PK”. She has been with me the longest and through some of my darkest valleys. She has endured a lot of pain herself, but still keeps smiling and making others smile, too. She is a testimony of the grace of God, how He can heal our hearts and carry our burdens, and turn our mourning into dancing. When I want to quit, I need only glance down the hall at my Lauren to get encouragement.

I have many wonderful stories about Lauren, but I think my favorite is the time Terry was going out soul-winning at our first church in Texas. When she heard she could go with her dad, our seven year-old Lauren eagerly ran for her Bible and notebook, and clipped a pen to her shirt, for writing down prospects’ information. Her enthusiasm was contagious. (Of course, I had to take a photo.)

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Whether she’s seven, seventeen, or anything in between, she has always been sweet.

Lauren has a vivid vocabulary and a sharp wit. She is a thinker, and it’s hard for her to hide her frustration when she sees injustice occur. She is passionate about her interests, and therefore, she does nothing by halves.

When I held her in my arms seventeen years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. My prayer was simple: Lord, help! And He did exceeding, abundantly, more than I could ask or think.

I love you, Lauren, and I’m so thankful to call you mine.

Happy birthday!

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Another Milestone for Mitchell

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Today, my firstborn son turns 14! I say it in every birthday post I write, but only because I realize it anew with each passing birthday, so here I go again: It seems like yesterday he was a tiny baby! I can still see his little body swaddled tightly in a baby blanket. Today, he is the same height as his father.

Here is my favorite story about Mitchell:

My dad died suddenly on July 29, 2004, and Mitchell turned two on August 8th. A few weeks after his second birthday, the grief of my dad’s death hit me out of the blue as I was working around the house. I sat down on the side of the bed and wept. Mitch was toddling around the house, and since he was so little, I didn’t think he noticed my tears. I was wrong. He didn’t say much at that time in his life, but he had loud actions. He walked over to the dresser, opened the drawer where Terry kept his handkerchiefs, pulled one out, and handed it up to his distraught mother. I still get misty eyed when I recall it. I took the handkerchief from him, said “Thank you”, and swept him up in my arms. He was the comfort that my aching heart so desperately needed.

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Here is Mitch, around age two.

Each of my children has brought me measureless joy in their lives. On that summer day in Kansas, Mitchell brought me measureless comfort, and I shall always be grateful. He still kisses me goodbye, (even in front of his friends) and each evening, he kisses me goodnight.

I pray that whatever the coming years bring to Mitchell, he will always keep that sweet smile and loving heart.

Happy birthday, Mitchell.

I’m so thankful for you.

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Now He Is Six

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Matt petting a baby kangaroo at the library.

Today, my youngest child turns six years old! He has brought joy to all of us.

His sixth birthday reminded me of this poem:

Now We Are Six – A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
Now and forever.

Even though I am a bit sad to see his baby days fading fast into the rear view mirror of life, I am also glad to see him grow. I enjoy hearing him talk, which is something I’m still waiting for someone to say about me. (haha)

Some things he has said:

“Is it illegal for kids to get a tattoo?” He asked me.
“Yes. But even if you could get one, they never come off! So I don’t think it’s a wise idea to get a tattoo.”, I said.
“You mean they use Sharpie?”

Yesterday at the library, he observed a tiny girl wearing a backpack that had a leash. Her grandmother was holding the leash. “That’s just cold.” He said. “She should be holding her hand.”

At lunch the other day, the girls were asking me if Matthew would get regular chores when he turned six. Matthew piped up and said, “Seriously, I need to start doing some work around here!” Of course, we all chuckled at his honesty.

He is known for saying, “On it!” when asked to do a job. He often says, “How’s my best mom?” when he sees me in the morning.

Yes, I do miss being able to rock him on my shoulder, but I also love feeling his arms around me.

Happy birthday to our sweet Matthew Ron!

With love,

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Happy Birthday to My Leslie

Today my sweet Leslie Anne turns eleven years old! I just wanted to write and share a few thoughts about her. She is stubborn (like her mother), but that also means she is determined. She is becoming more of a young lady now than a little girl, and while that is somewhat bitter, it’s mostly sweet. She has turned into my go-to girl for questions on fashion because she loves putting outfits together. She is also my Flip or Flop watching buddy (or any HGTV show) and we enjoy discussing whether we love or hate their ideas.

Leslie with her cousins last Sunday.

Leslie and Laci with their cousins last Sunday.

She loves to play the piano and is quite good at it. She is also becoming a very good singer. It’s a special blessing that I get to homeschool my children. In so doing, I get to watch them develop their talents. It’s as though I am watching a rosebud blossom, opening up more and more to reveal its beauty. I am doing all I can to cultivate it, nurture it, and enjoy its lovely fragrance.

Leslie, the model.

Leslie, posing like a model. 🙂

Leslie has a cute way with words. She recently heard me and Terry discussing the GOP nomination right before she had to write a paper about her own prayer requests. Her paper said, “I am praying that this war of authority will end soon.” (referring to the election) We all got a good laugh at that, but then, she always makes us smile and laugh, just when we need it most.

When she was four, Matthew Ron was born. She has loved him and watched out for him since the day he came into our lives. When he started to walk, and needed help getting up into a chair or on my bed, she would get down on her hands and knees and become a human step for him. That’s my Leslie: sweet, strong, caring, and sacrificial.

I love you, Leslie. It is an honor to be your mother.

With love,

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Laci is Nine

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Our sweet Laci Elizabeth is nine years old today! We are so grateful to have her in our lives. Here are a few things we love about Laci!

L oyal – She loves her family and defends them. We often have to remind her to remain calm in such situations! I do love the way she desires to protect those closest to her.

A crobat – She can tumble, twist, and twirl like no other in our family. She has always loved the trampoline, pretend ballet, and cartwheels. Somehow, she has done all of that without breaking a bone!

C uddler- This girl loves to hug and snuggle up with me or her dad. She loves to hug ladies at our church, too. She will always be my “cuddler”!

I nquisitive – Laci is always asking questions about the Bible, about the world, and about life! She never runs out of questions, or of things she wants to learn. She is working hard learning to knit, and is eagerly anticipating piano lessons, which she gets to start taking now that she is nine. I am thankful that she wants to learn things and help others.

Laci is growing into a sweet young lady. She says she wants to be a teacher someday. If she does that, I know she will make a loving, cheerful teacher, because that’s the kind of girl she is now.

Happy birthday, Laci! We are so thankful for you, and we love you very much.

With love,

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Week Two is Finally Through

We began the week with a great shock. Last Sunday, the Labor Commissioner for Oklahoma, Mark Costello, was tragically murdered by his son, Christian. He was stabbed to death at a Braum’s restaurant in Oklahoma City. We didn’t know Mr. Costello, but we know some people who were close to him. They have had only kind things to say about him. We did have the opportunity to meet him at the Stephens County GOP Fish Fry last May. Our hearts ache for his wife and four other children as they laid him to rest last week and who now must watch as their son and brother is prosecuted for this crime. It came to light that Christian suffered with mental illness. Mr. Costello and his wife have tried to help him in that fight for many years. It just goes to show that everyone – even those who walk in the marble halls of the state capitol – have burdens that are hard to bear. We should take every opportunity to show kindness, to offer a helping hand, and most of all, to share the Gospel with those we meet.

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Mark Costello and Leslie, Laci and Matt at the fish fry last May. Mr. Costello gave out the cute elephant hats that the kids are wearing.

We began another busy week of school, which included the beginning of volleyball and the second week of band. Mitch is getting to play volleyball for the first time this year and so far, he likes it. Lauren is really enjoying playing in band. I’m so thankful for the many opportunities the kids have here in Oklahoma. We homeschool our children so that they can learn the Word of God and Christian values in their curriculum, not to isolate them from the world. However, there are many activities that require a large number of people in order to do them, like sports. I’m so thankful for our homeschool group leaders who make these activities available for us.

The little girls made me smile this week with this Lego version of their dad:

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Matt enjoyed using play-dough in phonics time to make some letters. Here’s his “I”. He also made “U” and “E”.

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In our school, we believe the Bible should be studied by adults, children AND stuffed animals. 😀 Matt arranged his bear this way to wait for him to finish his work. *Awwww!*

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I use these felt pieces to teach patterns and practice counting with Matthew. Laci used them to create a felt masterpiece!

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When Matt gets a little unruly in school, I just shove him in this cabinet.

I’m *just kidding*.

We celebrated Lauren’s birthday on Thursday. Hard to believe I’m old enough to have a sixteen year old! She sure is a blessing to her mom.

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Her giant cookie decorated in orange and black – OSU colors!

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Leslie gave her a note and a tract that looks like money. She said, “You’re worth a million!”

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Matt drew her a picture, and enjoyed eating his portion of the cookie, as you can see!

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We gave her a season of The Big Valley, because that’s what she asked for. She sure is easy to please! And I can’t think of a better role model than Victoria Barkley. 😉

By the end of the week, I was pretty wiped out. I have been losing my voice a little each day, which for some reason, seemed to please my entire family (?), so by Friday I was tired. I decided to retreat to my “happy place”, Mayberry, North Carolina. “The Pickle Story” puts a smile on my face every time I see it!

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We had a wonderful day in church today. Great spirit, great singing, and of course, great preaching from my pastor, and even from my Sunday school teacher! [That’s an inside joke. 😉 ] I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be in this place. I still struggle with loneliness and homesickness from time to time, but when I do, the Lord reminds me of the wonderful people here that I am blessed to serve God with. I sure do thank the Lord for them. In fact, I think they are the sweetest people on Earth.

I hope you all have a great week. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow for my “Theological Term of the Week”! I’m sure you’re wishing I’d go ahead and post it now, but patience is a virtue.

Thanks for reading,

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