Lauren’s Christmas Concert {2016}


Lauren played in a band concert on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, with the local homeschool band. Here are a few videos for our family (and anyone else).

James Bond Theme (Advanced Band only)

In the Mood (Advanced Band only)

Silent Night (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

Frosty the Snowman (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

Jingle Bell Rock (Intermediate and Advanced Bands)

I took the first four videos with my Nikon, but my battery got dangerously low, so I took the last one with my iPhone.

We are pleased that Lauren is able to play with the advanced band after only two years of playing ever. Of course, it’s always great to see and hear Dad’s trumpet being put to good use. I know he would be proud.


We are so thankful for the many opportunities we have here in Oklahoma. The Lord is so good to us!

Merry Christmas!



Remember Me?

Hi! My name is Valerie. Thanks for stopping by!

Life has been so busy lately that I almost feel like I need to introduce myself again and start over from scratch with this blog. I mentioned in a previous post that our family decided to throw caution to the wind and participate in our homeschool group’s co-op classes, which are held once a week. Co-op only lasts about three hours, but the toll it has taken on my schedule has been seismic. (I guess I didn’t realize how rigid I was in scheduling department. Oops.) The kids are loving their classes which include art, P.E., volleyball, and choir for the younger ones; computer science, knitting, and young entrepreneurs for the older ones. I help out in two classes. We just completed our fourth week and are finally adjusting to the change.

I have also been working part-time at our church as my husband’s secretary. I am responsible for packing and mailing the Watchman Press materials and helping to get them printed. I am currently typing four Sunday school lesson books written by Bro. Forrest Keener, a former pastor of Bethel who labored here for over 40 years. The books need updating, and that’s taking a lot of work. I am not a fast typist and I homeschool the kids every day, so my hours have been confined to a few days a week in the afternoons. I have completed one book. Yep! Only three to go. Between homeschooling, house work, and church work, I have been too tired to do my favorite hobby: blog!

In the few minutes I have right now between loads of laundry and supper time, I wanted to stop in and say hello and share a few photos of our school year so far. (Some of these pics are from as far back as August…I’m behind in everything these days.)


Matt with an art project.


Working hard. Definitely had to bronze this moment.

laci-everything-is-matterLaci did a little science project, demonstrating that “Everything Is Matter”.


Matt with two of his books for first grade. The book on the left was used by each of the kids. Lots of memories sitting beside them, helping them sound out words, fighting sleep. *sigh* Good times.


Here’s Mitch working on a science project.

Matthew has been learning some poems for first grade. He doesn’t always want me to video him, but he said I could for this most recent poem, “The Secret”.

Moments like these make homeschooling worth every minute.

I have also had less and less time for my second favorite hobby – reading. I have a few books to write about, and I do hope I can do that soon.

The dryer buzzed…gotta run. 🙂

THANK YOU for reading!


Spring Piano Recital {2016}


It’s a musical time of year for us! Mitchell, Leslie, and Laci had their spring piano recital on Saturday, April 30. Their teacher, Mrs. Hall, is a sweet lady who not only teaches the basics of music, but also of hymn playing. Mitchell is our standby pianist at church, and he was needing to hone his skills regarding church music.

Leslie played her piece from memory and had a moment of forgetfulness, but she didn’t quit. She started again and did her best with poise. This was Laci’s first recital, so it was an extra special evening for her. Mitchell did very well, despite a few foibles. They all did their best and we are so happy they have the opportunity to learn music from such a kind, Christian lady.

They will be playing these same pieces for a music competition next Saturday, so this recital doubled as a great practice session before they face the judges.

It was a fun evening for our family, and if you’re interested, here are the videos:

Thanks for watching!


The Symphonic Honor Band Concert

On February 6, 2016, Lauren took a long-shot and auditioned for Southern Nazarene University’s homeschool symphonic honor band. I say, “took a long-shot”, because she has only been playing the trumpet for a little over a year. We knew the competition would be fierce, after all, homeschoolers from all over the state were auditioning! We were thrilled – ecstatic really – to hear that she made it! She was eighth chair out of nine total, but she made it!

On Friday, April 22, she and one other girl from our regional band went to Oklahoma City to practice all day with the honor band. They spent the night and then rehearsed all morning of the 23rd, to perform that afternoon! The only drawback was that none of our family could attend this exciting event with us. I was seated near the front and center of the auditorium to get good videos for our loved ones. Actually, Terry and I were both videoing at the same time just in case something went wrong.

Lauren is near the back of the group, so she is not visible to the camera. I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat as I heard my dad’s trumpet being played in such a grand setting. His melody, charisma, and enthusiasm can still be heard through his granddaughter.

I think he would have been proud.


There was a slight glitch in our recordings, so the “Salvation” piece is in two parts. The second part is here:

I want to thank the wonderful people of Bethel Baptist Church for their tremendous encouragement to Lauren. They have invested in her life, in all our children’s lives, as if we were their relatives, too. But then, I guess we are family, the best kind of family, God’s family. From the bottom of this mother’s heart, I thank you.

With love,


Matt Gets His Own Cup

Here’s an old video I found and recently uploaded to YouTube for our friends and family. I “caught” Matthew getting his own cup from the cabinet in a way that would not require his climbing on anything. I thought it was pretty creative. It was taken on May 19, 2015, when he was just four years old. I hope you enjoy it.


The Christmas Concert


Lauren is thoroughly enjoying playing in the homeschool band! She had the opportunity to play at a Christmas concert last Tuesday night. I wanted to share her performances for loved ones near and far away who would have liked to have joined us.

This last one was my favorite of the evening.

I hear Lauren practicing long and hard everyday, but I admit that the long pauses in her music and the odd portions which have no true rhythm on their own, sound much more lovely when I get to hear her perform with the entire band. The other instruments fill in the gaps; they add their melody to her harmony and vice versa. I love hearing them play! It is wonderful that she is learning music and teamwork at the same time. Our band directors, Mr. and Mrs. Haas, are excellent!

Lauren is in the “Advanced Band”, which, as the director explained to us, means you have been playing your instrument for 3-5 years. For Lauren to be in this category after only 1.5 years of experience was a great blessing! I know her Papa would be pleased, and I can’t help but hope that he was able to pause for a moment in Heaven to listen.

Thanks for reading, and for watching.

With love,


Lauren’s First Band Concert

I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again – I am so grateful for the opportunities the Lord has given our family in Oklahoma! Lauren had her first band concert today with the Texhoma Homeschool Bands! Lauren took trumpet lessons for a year, beginning last year, and we have been with the homeschool band since August. She is loving it. She is playing my dad’s trumpet, which he played in high school. He earned a scholarship to college with his ability. Lauren hasn’t quite reached that level, but she is working hard. I have to admit, hearing her play made me misty-eyed. I wish Dad could have been there.

Here are the videos of her performance for our loved ones far away, and anyone else who might be interested. 🙂

I forgot to press the “HD” button, so they are a tad blurry, but the main thing is the sound, and that came through well.

(This one’s my favorite!)

They played at a very nice nursing home in town, and the residents were so sweet to come down the hall and have a listen. Thank you for joining us for this “virtual concert”! 🙂

With love,