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. πŸ™‚

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,


It’s Recital Time!

Lauren, Mitchell and Leslie competed in the Schubert Festival, a musical competition in our town, on May 2nd. Those who received a “superior plus” rating were allowed to play at a recital the following week. Lauren and Leslie both received this honor. Mitch was a close second, earning a “superior” rating for his arrangement of the song “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen.

Here are the recital performances, in case our family would like to hear them:

My sweet Lauren was so very nervous. She takes after her mother in that way! This was her first time to play with an audience staring back at her. I was pleased with how she kept going, even after becoming distracted. This was a wonderful experience for her. I wanted to get a photo of Lauren with her teacher, Mrs. Pihulic, but she did not attend the recital.

It was so special to hear my dad’s trumpet being played after all these years. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still hear him belting out “A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)”, “Reveille” and “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”. He was able to earn a scholarship to college with his trumpet. I just hope Lauren can receive the same enjoyment from it that he did.

Leslie was less nervous this time around, since she just went through all of this in March for another competition.

Thanks for tuning in,


Leslie’s Party

I just wanted to pop in and share the photos of Leslie’s birthday with our loved ones far away. I hope you enjoy them!


Leslie loves chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. She is easy to please!

For the meal, she requested homemade tacos, which we all love.


She wanted to get a 2DS for her birthday, but we don’t usually spend that much money on the kids’ birthdays. Instead, we gave her cash to go toward it. When she combined that money with other cash gifts from friends and family, she had more than enough to get the 2DS. She had her heart set on the “sea green” one.


You may notice that I had to put my hand over Matt’s mouth to keep him from blowing out her candles. He’s kinda sneaky, but I’m sneakier. πŸ™‚

Leslie had a great day filled with friends, fun and food. We are thankful for our sweet Leslie Anne!


Leslie Turns Ten


Leslie, before her big soccer game, last Tuesday.

Today, our Leslie Anne enters the double digits! I cannot thank the Lord enough for adding her to our family. She is the first baby born to us after my dad’s sudden death, and she certainly helped to fill the ache in my heart. Each of our children is a unique gift from God and I count it a great honor to be their mom.

A few things about our girl:

L-oving – Leslie is an adoring big sister. She has always looked out for Laci and Matthew and loved them like a mini-mother.

E-ntertaining– Leslie (along with her trusty sidekick, Laci) loves to plan little “shows” for us. She has done plays, acrobatics, bicycle tricks and piano pieces for our enjoyment. She’s also been known to tell hilarious jokes. πŸ™‚

S-unny – Leslie’s smile can brighten any situation. I remember the myriad of emotions I felt while holding her right after she was born. That was the first time I caught a glimpse of her delightful grin, and I’ve loved it ever since.

L-adylike – Leslie has always been prim and proper. When she was two years old, she began carrying a purse in all of her play. She now likes to fix her hair and come up with cute outfits to wear. I have a feeling she is looking forward to the day she can wear makeup, too, but I hope I have a few years before that happens. πŸ˜‰

I-maginative – Leslie’s days of playing “pretend” are about over, but she has always had a great imagination. She could spend hours playing with her Barbie dolls or playing dress up when she was younger. I know she will continue to imagine great things, but in a different way now that she is growing up.

E-fficient – Leslie loves to organize and straighten things. Nothing brings her more joy than to see shoes lined up in a row, shirts neatly folded and a closet arranged by item. This began when she was just a tiny toddler. I remember buying some counting bears to help her learn numbers in preschool. She found far more pleasure in placing them in groups by color than in counting them! She is still like that: neat, precise, orderly. She finds the most efficient way to do her school work each day and follows through with her plan. If you have a job that needs doing, Leslie will get it done in the fastest way possible.

My prayer for Leslie, and all of the children, is that they grow in the knowledge of the Lord. This begins with God’s grace in salvation. Leslie was born on May 17, 2005, but she was born again on November 21, 2014. I pray that she walks closely with the God of her salvation all of her days.

Thank you for stopping by on Leslie’s special day!

With love,


Leslie and the Competition

Leslie Anne began taking piano lessons in June of 2014. She had the opportunity to play in a piano competition this past March. Since she has been playing for less than a year, we didn’t have really high hopes that she would win. We knew it would be good for her to get out there and try though. She was the only one in her division in our district, so she automatically advanced to the playoffs! This meant she would go on to play in the state competition in Ada, Oklahoma, on April 11th!

Here is her playoff performance on March 28, 2015:

We have kids doing all kinds of things these days! I had to take Lauren to her driver’s ed class the same day that Leslie was going to Ada for her piano competition. Terry drove her the four hours round trip to compete. She did not place, but she performed her piece beautifully. As her teacher said, “She represented Lawton very well.” That made me smile.

I snapped a photo of her on her big day.


All of the district finalists were allowed to perform at a recital in a lovely historic home downtown. Leslie was one of about 23 performers that evening. Here she is her final performance of “Pyramid Power”:


Leslie and her teacher, Miss Hickman.

We enjoyed seeing our shy little Leslie face new challenges and receive encouragement for her efforts. All of our talents are to be honed and perfected so that we may honor the Lord. Our hope is to do just that with our lives.

Thank you for reading!


Leslie’s Baptism

It is my joy to share that our middle child, Leslie (age 9), was born again of the Holy Spirit of God on November 21, 2014. She had told us she was saved a few years ago, but we felt that she was just mimicking the things she had seen in others. We waited for her to mention it again, or to request baptism, but she didn’t. We took that to indicate that she had not been regenerated and we continued praying for her salvation. If you are familiar with my salvation testimony, which includes two false professions of faith as a child, then you understand why I am careful when dealing with any child about their eternal soul.

In November, Leslie tearfully came to her dad and shared that she needed to be saved. She trusted in Christ alone and at that moment was born into God’s family! Again, prudence dictated that we wait and watch and pray for a time, which we did. About three weeks ago, she came to us again, this time requesting to be baptized. She is a shy girl, and was very nervous to come before the church and testify that she was saved, but she did it.

I wanted to share the video for our loved ones who pray for our children. We are blessed with many family members who model lives dedicated to Christ. They encourage our children by their sincere faith and genuine love for the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Here is my view, taken with my iPad mini:

Lauren took this view from the auditorium using my Nikon and my zoom lens.

We praise the Lord, from Whom all blessings flow.


Vintage Valerie: Cute Little Leslie

While doing some digging through old photo files, I uncovered these adorable pictures of Leslie Anne. This was taken right after we moved toΒ Hope, Arkansas, to pastor Grace Baptist church. This photo was taken on May 16, 2008, the day before Leslie’s third birthday. I loved her cute blonde bob and this Western outfit that her Grandma Basham found for her somewhere. Of course, she is a lot like me: STUBBORN. So when I asked to take a photo of her, this was the reaction I got:

IMG_0976 IMG_0977

Oh well. I still love it! And I love her, no matter how saucy and stubborn she is.

She has grown a lot since this photo was taken, outside and inside. She trusted Christ as her Savior on November 21, 2014. Even before that, I saw a more tenderhearted spirit begin to blossom within her. The Lord has had to do (and is still doing) a work on my own stubborn heart. I pray He will do that same work upon Leslie – and each of our children.


Today, Leslie is my little helper, organizer and planner. She loves to clean and play with Barbies. And when I want to take her picture, she’s a willing subject.

Thank you for reading.