Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pizza Party Host

As I was uploading the pictures, I used up all the available space. I don't want to forget the picture of Grandma (Nana) who hosted the get-together. Thanks Grandma!

Thanksgiving 2

Well, there's always the turkey and dressing, but then there's Marians! For those of you who have never been to the Dayton area, you don't know what you're missing! Grandma wanted all of her family to get together so she decided to throw a pizza party. It was complete with cousins, second cousins, and cousins to be. I'll come back to black Friday when I get the picture off of Haley's camera.

I Want To Be Thankful

Our Thanksgiving holiday was a great one. We headed to Ohio Thursday morning, the six of us, my mom, and the two dogs. Mark & Jessica hosted a wonderful meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, buffet potatoes, cole slaw, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and rolls. We finished it off with pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. James, Ann, and their children from Iowa, along with Grandma who is 89 years young, were able to join us this year. As we are still mourning the loss of Jerri, there's plenty we can be thankful for. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:4 that we should "rejoice always." Family is one of the first things that comes to mind. I hear of so many that have big productions of family drama over the holidays. While we all have some family sqabbles, ours was limited to the drama queen herself (Rebekah) who forgot class was cancelled for the holiday. Her good humor keeps us all laughing. We were also able to visit with my Dad and Patty, my cousin Angi and her family, Papa and Maggie, and Brittney and Scott from Michigan (no, there's no blue and gold at their house). We are also thankful for friends. If we mentioned each of you by name, we'd break the computer. We are thankful for our posessions. Even though all of us are facing tough economic times, we're still part of the richest 5% of the people in the world. (If you're reading this, you probably are too). We're also thankful gas was inexpensive for our trip! We are thankful for the members of our church where the truth from the Word of God is boldly taught and preached each and every week. We're thankful for the Christian Educational Consortium where our girls are being taught by intelligent and wise teachers. We are thankful for a Godly scout pack and dance studio. We're thankful for a great neighborhood where we classify the ones who live on our street as "friends" more so than "neighbors." Most importantly we are thankful for God's grace. That He sent His Son, Jesus to take the punishment for our sin. We can't imagine life without Him. All thankfulness belongs to Him.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thoughts of Thanksgiving

I remember when I was a child Thanksgiving being so different than it is today. We spent the week making construction paper turkeys, Indian costumes, and essays of what we were thankful for. We had our Thanksgiving meal at the home of my Grandma Anderson. Her kitchen was small, so we kids had to stay out. There was always football on in the background and my cousins and I took our first look at the Wish Books from Sears, JC Penney, and Mongomery Ward. It was at that time that we made our Christmas list. I will say that later years on my Papaw's side, the list needed to be in by August. We gave thanks as a family and sometimes ended the night with a fight armed with cans of Reddi Whip. Nowdays, the Christmas decor has been in the store since Halloween, several already have their trees up, and the shopping is almost done. While we made the decision 14 years ago to hold decorating for Christmas off until after Bekah's birthday, I confess to visiting to see the latest ads. We see that Thanksgiving has become the holiday to skip over to quickly get to Christmas. We're going to try to focus this week on being thankful. It is a concept that is being lost in today's society. I'm reminded of LaRita, a friend in Nashville, who is such a gracious person. She never ceases to tell you "thank you" for anything that you do for her. She's taught her children to do the same. I want to be more like her and will challenge myself to thank others, not just this week, but all the time. I'll begin first by thanking you for being our friend. Thank you for taking the time to see what is going on in our family. Have a blessed Thanksgiving week!

The First of Many Ammendments

I knew I'd forget something (and "thing" may turn out to be many "things" as I have my second cup of coffee). David and Becky greeted us when we returned with a delicious meal that we were able to eat on for days! It was so nice not to have to cook as we faced the pile of laundry, mail, and "to do" list.

List of Thanks for Last Month

I promised that I would publicly thank all who helped us get through our difficult time last month. I hope I don't leave anyone out, and please know that this is specific to our immediate family, as I don't know everyone that would cover Dennis or Mark and Jessica's families. Scott and Val were with us when we received the initial news and immediately began to pray. Val and the kids offered to come up from Nashville to be with us. All of the teachers at CEC have been generous and understanding in the girls missing two weeks of school, giving them ample time to get things made up. Tim's boss was phenomenal in allowing him to take as much time off as needed. Renee took care of submitting our Boy Scout Popcorn order. Tammy, Molly, and Mary took care of the 1st and 2nd grade choir. Amanda took care of the school age class during Bible study. My mom took care of our dogs. Jen took my mom to the store to get more dog food when we ran out. Jen and Julie did an awesome job on our yard. Dick and Carol brought food for us while we were at the nursing home. Grandma bought us all a wonderful meal at Bob Evans. Paul & Jeanette made sure we had something to eat while we were at the funeral home. Aunt Karen, Aunt Nancy and Tom sent beautiful flowers. Aunt Karen, Mr. & Mrs. Busch, Cherie, and Mrs. Carnes are among many that came to the funeral home to support us. The members at The Gathering Place provided a great meal after the funeral. Diane, Deanna, Jen, Jenny, Aunt Rosie, and many of Dennis' neighbors brought lots of food to have at the house! Many gave donations to the Alzheimer's association and/or bought Gideon Bibles. The flood of cards and e-mails was huge. George & Connie put their own grief aside and made sure that our families were taken care of with food, crafts, games, tissues, or any other necessity during the long days at the nursing home. To all of you, we are so grateful! There is a special place in our heart for the leaders and members of Ninth and O Baptist Church. Thanks to all of you for your continued prayer support. You are our second family. I'll close with a quote from 1 Thessalonians 3:9, "How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?" May God bless you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ode to Granny's Thanksgiving

Ode to Granny's Thanksgiving

Let's begin with the corn pudding

Turkey to carve, potatoes to cook

Granny didn't have to look in a book.

Pounds won't be lost with the cranberry sauce

When it came to the kitchen, Granny was the boss.

Delicious green beans and creamy cole slaw,

It was all loved by Papaw.

Pumpkin roll was tasty and sweet

Spending time with family is a special treat.

by Haley Stauffer

Another Blog Blackout

I know it's almost been a month since I've posted and that seems odd since I was posting more than once a day just a few weeks prior. There has been much going on in our lives, but there are some areas where I worried that I may say the wrong thing. The best thing in those times is to keep my mouth (or fingers) shut so that I don't offend. Too, we were SO far behind in school, chores, laundry, you name it that I haven't had the time to make this a priority. Haley had a few school assignments that I wanted to post though. I hope you enjoy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cookie Sheet Cake

Over the last few weeks you've had the chance to read about some things that made Jerri special. I thought it would be nice for you to get a "taste" of how wonderful she was as well. Cookie Sheet Cake was something that was handed down from her mother ("Ma" or Helen), and is a big hit with the whole family. A big thank you to Linda and Brittney for making and bringing one to the dinner after the funeral. They would make it in a big jelly roll pan. Depending on the size, she would sometimes leave a little of the batter out in a small pan for them to have at home, then take the big pan to the event they were attending. There are two choices for icing. Tim prefers the caramel, but both are delicious.

In a large sauce pan over the stove mix on medium heat:
1 Cup Water
1 Stick of Butter (or margarine)
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
-mix until it comes to a boil, then add:
2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
-take it off of the heat and add:
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
-place it in a jelly roll pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
-while it is baking, wash out the pan you just used and re-use it for the icing. I also like to use a nylon whisk that Pampered Chef has to keep the icing smooth and free of lumps. Start to make the icing over low heat as soon as it comes out and pour over a warm cake. Be careful, it may overflow a little.

Chocolate Icing:
5 Tablespoons of Milk (Jerri always had skim)
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Tablespoons Butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar (1/2 cup at a time)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel Icing:
1 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Cup Brown Sugar
-bring this to a boil, then slowly add
3 Cups Powdered Sugar


Friday, October 31, 2008

Returning to our own bed

We have a few things to tie up (or clean up) here in Dayton this morning then we will be heading home. I guess I should say, our temporary home, as we too are just passing through on this Earth. The funeral was beautiful as a funeral can be. I will later share some of the details. Computer time has been very limited lately, and that's why I haven't updated. :-) I am trying to upload the slideshow album of Jerri's life, but I'm having difficulty. I will make a CD and take it to our computer and try it. Haley, Abbi, and Bekah wrote wonderful memoirs of Granny. I want to share those too, along with some other thoughts. I have a HUGE thank you list that will likely pop up as well in the next few days. If this experience is the first time you've seen our blog, I'd like to invite you to stay. We usually share the fun things in our lives. We have seen over the last two weeks how God's grace is sufficient to sustain us in tough times. As we return to the daily routine, we will continue to rely on that grace as we begin to heal. We can't thank you all enough for the ways you've stood next to us. We love you all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Evening

Dennis, Tim, & Mark went to the funeral home this morning and made some final arrangements. The viewing will be on Wednesday from 4-8 pm at Newcomer Family Funeral Home in Beavercreek. It's on Dayton-Xenia Rd. just west of Fairfield Rd. (across from the old Dunnigan's) The funeral will then be on Thursday at 10 am at the same place. Burial will be at Miami Cemetary. You can view the complete obituary at Everyone seems to be coping. We tried to do a little school today as we are already so far behind. That's okay, as what we've experienced in the last week is certainly an education. If nothing else, it's about how family and friends stick together in tough times. It seems like difficult situations bring out the best and/or worst of people. Food has been pouring in as well as offers to send it - even as far away as Nashville! We've been going through lots of pictures. The funeral home does a slide show and asked for some. They showed up with a box of them today and they sent them back home for us to do ourselves - their limit was 30. Bekah has faithfully been scanning and cropping. That is one reason why I'm just now getting the computer. Her job is about half done. Over the next few days, I will be typing some of the letters the kids have been writing to/about their Granny. They are quite touching. Tonight we're watching Monday Night Football. Go Titans! Thanks for all of your prayers!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning

It was a little rough yesterday afternoon and evening. We are thankful for all who were there to help clean out her room at the nursing home. In doing this, I was given a thought. There were many times when we wanted to give Jerri gifts and didn't know what to get her, as there was really not anything she needed. Many of you may have similar situations. What we discovered yesterday was that stuffed animals make lovely memories for grandchildren. She had several all over her room, and each grandchild has at least one that they have to hang on to. I remember last Christmas Holly was adamant about getting her a snowman to sit in her room. Actually, it sat out all year. She was able to take it home yesterday and we will be able to have it for many Christmases to come. I want to also thank Megan for taking the younger kids out to play while our teenagers were able to work through their emotions. Most everyone is grieving in a healthy way. There are a few than need extra grace and prayer. We were able sit down together as a family for dinner as Dennis took us out to Golden Corral last night. Tim & I spent the rest of the evening going through old pictures and Dennis and the kids got some sleep. I believe they have an appointment for Monday to make final arrangements as far as time goes. I must say, we are so thankful for Dennis & Jerri's insight as they took care of the fine details a long time ago. It makes it so much easier now. As I learn of them, I will pass them along. I don't know what today holds. We will take everything one day at a time. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Healing is complete

Please rejoice with Jerri as she is in the arms of her Heavenly Father. She has recognized Jesus and her mind is now whole. Please pray for us as there are still rough days ahead. At 2:30 PM the Hospice nurse informed us that she was taking her final breaths. She continued to breathe those final breaths until 3:00. She was strong to the end. She passed with those who love her most gathered at her bedside. We read scripture, prayed, and sang as she entered into Heaven. I will update as soon as I know more. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, 12:48 PM

When I created our blog several months ago, we named it "Stauffer Strong" after the Army slogan that was out at the time. We are now finding the true meaning of the word strong. Jerri is one strong lady! She has a very strong heart and continues to hold on. Dick, Carol, and Linda came by and brought some food (thank you). Maggie (Papa's wife) and her son Townsil are here as well as Connie M. and her son Jeff. They are continuing to medicate her to keep her comfortable. From the point we are at right now, I can tell that the immediate future is going to be quite difficult. We so appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, 11:22 PM

Jerri is very close. She is having some apnea breathing. This all started minutes after I returned with all the kids. We're all here along with George & Connie. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, 6:17 AM

We arrived and Tim & Dennis were in the room. Mark went down to get some sleep in the family room. Her blood pressure has dropped a little, but no other significant change. The nurse said it was a miracle she was still living. It's all in God's timing. Daisy, the nursing home dog, is sleeping at her side on the bed. She is a precious comfort. Jessica is about to run home and get some clothes and such. Thanks for your prayers.

Saturday, 5:42 AM

We made it through the night without a phone call. Jessica and I are heading to the nursing home. Kids are sound asleep. I will update when I get there.

Saturday, 12:05 AM

Jessica and I left just a little bit ago to bring the kids home to get some sleep. Mottling has moved up to her knees and they were treating her with wet towels when we left. She continues to be medicated as needed. It was a hard good-bye tonight. Dennis, Tim, & Mark remained. Tim called shortly after we got here and said he was going to retire for a few hours and they would rotate getting some sleep. I think I may do the same. Jessica and I have talked of going back up there in a few hours to be support to our husbands. Jerri is very peaceful. Several hospice nurses have said that they see two ways that people leave this earth. One group is peaceful like Jerri is, the other is very restless, or even grab for bed coverings and such. They say that those who are peaceful are Christians or are sure of their salvation, the other group is not. I am convinced that beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jerri has her name written in the book of life and she will very soon get to meet her Lord and Savior. The kids are getting irritable. I believe that some of this in part is their grief. They're not ignorant and are very aware of what is happening. Of course Haley is very clued in, whereas Madison has a slight idea of the whole situation. Then there's everything in between. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday, 7:42 PM

Jerri is declining. All immediate family are here and probably won't leave at this point. The kids are being exceptional. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, 4 PM

Still no change except the weather. It's rainy and cool here as I'm sure it is in your neck of the woods also. I've spent the day in the car. Jessica and I went to get Papa and bring him out. What an honor to serve our elder generation as they have so generously served us. I then went back to pick the kids up and bring them out. It looks now like it's about time to take him home and go get Abbi. All the men were able to shower and freshen up. Dennis left for a while to go get a haircut. Jerri looks peaceful and comfortable. April is our nurse today. She inspires us with 7 children! Thanks for your prayers.

Dick & Carol

Dick & Carol have been Dennis & Jerri's neighbors in Beavercreek for a very long time. They have been known for sharing food, tools, you name it. More than just neighbors, they're good friends. Jerri and Carol would walk together. In the early stages of Alzheimers, Carol would take Jerri to Fairfield Mall and they would walk together. This picture was taken sometime in 2007 as well.

George & Connie

George & Connie are life long friends of Dennis & Jerri. They were in each others' weddings, Jerri went to nursing school with Connie, and they've spent many summers together on vacation in Panama City Beach. I would say they're more in the "family" category than "friends." They have always been the first responders if Dennis or Jerri need anything, and they're always willing to put in long hours if needed. Our kids have called them "Uncle George" and "Aunt Connie" for a long while. They are very special to us all. This picture was taken in the summer of 07.

Eroy & Jerri

Here is a picture of Jerri and her dad, Eroy. Whenever we come to Ohio, we try to go out to get Papa and bring him to see Jerri. Sometimes the visits were emotional, but I think they were a good thing. Papa is one strong man! A WWII vet, he has survived his wife and two sons. Jerri is his remaining child, the only daughter. She did so much for him, caring for him after Ma's passing. They have a special relationship. Papa and his wife Maggie have been able to be out at the nursing home recently thanks to Deanna bringing them out there. This picture was taken in May 2007.

Friday, 7:30 AM

Jessica and I were just awaken by the phone. My first thought was, "why didn't he call my cell phone which was right by the bed!" I now know why, it was Beavercreek Schools' substitute teacher line! The kids are resting peacefully. We only had to tell them one time to go to bed and they were fast asleep. I did call Tim. There is not much change. Her respirations are increasing, blood pressure is the same. They did give her more medicine overnight. Mark is in the room, Tim was on a couch outside the room, and Dennis is in the family bedroom down the hall, so they are all close by. Since I am good and awake at this point, I will look for some pictures to post and share.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday, 10:30 PM

If I could sum up our day in one word, it would be exhaustion! I think everyone feels the same way. Dennis, Tim, & Mark remained at the nursing home tonight. Jessica and I brought the kids back to Dennis' house. This way, we are close if we need to go. If it's the middle of the night, we will just leave the kids with Haley & Bekah and allow them to rest. We were looking for something for the little girls to sleep in since they weren't prepared to spend the night. We found a few of Jerri's nightgowns. Jessica suggested to the girls to wear "grannydowns" tonight. I took their picture, but for whatever reason, I can't get the reader to accept my camera card. They look so cute! I will eventually post them. Tensions are beginning to rise with the kids, but I must say that their behavior has been exceptional considering what they've gone through in the last two days. Edna is Jerri's room mate. She has a terrible cough. I was able to help her get some water tonight and had the chance to pray with her. Shortly after he cough ceased a little and she went to sleep. Thanks again for your prayers. Goodnight!

Thursday, 7:30 PM

Our nurse, Monica, had to leave on a family emergency. Her grandson was rushed to the hospital. Please add them both to your prayers. Robert is our new nurse. He is very kind and helpful. He will be here until 8 AM tomorrow. There is still not much change. The kids have been great to this point, but they are starting to get restless. Bekah is feeling better, but Abbi has a severe headache. Immediate family and George & Connie are here. Connie brought a craft for the kids to do. I haven't seen it yet, but she knows how to take care of us. We had Cassano's for dinner. It was good, but just not what it used to be. Dennis was able to retire to a private room and get about an hour and a half of sleep. Thanks for your prayers.

Thursday, 1:45 PM

Jerri's respirations have decreased to 9 per minute, but she is comfortable. Dennis is getting some rest in a chair. Mark has his family here with us as well as George & Connie and Dick & Carol. Connie went and got us all some lunch. Monica is our nurse today. She is wonderful. Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, 9 AM

Tim called and said his mom was still strong. All of her vitals were unchanged from last night and the only thing bringing her down were the respirations. Dennis requested "real" coffee, so Tim brought him breakfast and coffee from McDonalds (sorry, Mark). I've made a pot and plan to bring it in the thermos. Haley and Hunter are going with me. Bekah and Holly are staying here to take care of Annie (the chocolate lab). It sure is cold here, but the Son is shining! I found another great picture. This one is of Dennis & Jerri Christmas 06. Her smile there was a rare gift, even at that time. They have been married for 44 years! Dennis is the picture of a great husband. He has faithfully taken care of her and been her advocate from the beginning.

Thursday Morning

It's almost 7:30 and Tim's heading back out to the nursing home. I will shower and follow behind. Some got a good night of sleep, others struggled. I woke at 1:30 with Bekah. She has a nervous stomach. I'm thankful that it wasn't my first diagnosis of a stomach virus. I don't know that I can deal with that right now. She has rested comfortable from about 3:00 on. Each of the kids is dealing wtih this in their own way. Some have chosen not to go back out today. We'll let them deal with it as they choose. I will update as I know more. I'm sure Dennis is exhausted. Pray for strength for him. I found a picture on his computer that was taken sometime this summer. I thought I would share it with you. From the left is Abbi, Hunter, Mason, Jerri, Bekah, & Holly. The back row is Jessica, Madison, Mark, Tim, LeAnn, & Haley.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Late Wednesday Update

We are at Dennis' house and Mark and his family went home as well. Dennis is still there with the hopsice nurse (a different one than who we had most of the day). As of 8:30 when we left, she was still hanging on. She had several visitors today. At one point, I think I counted about 30 people in the room. You should've seen the guy's face at Burger King when I ordered 30 sandwiches! We will try to get some sleep and face tomorrow as it comes. Until then, thank you for your prayers. It was through them that we were able to have ample time with her, tell her what we wanted to, and be together as a family. God is good, ALL the time.
We are still at the nursing home with no change. They have started giving her morphine for comfort.

Update #3

We made it safely at about 8:45 am, 3 hours after receiving the call. I am so proud of our children how they moved swiftly and efficiently to get us out the door. Thanks for you prayers. They are with us. Cincinnati was only slow on the KY side, but once we crossed the river, it moved smoothly. Jerri is about the same, breathing is shallow and difficult. Hospice is now with her. Our nurse is wonderful. Here are some names for your prayers: Dennis - Tim's dad. He's holding up quite well. We beat him to the nursing home as he went to school to finish lesson plans. Of course Tim and his brother Mark. Tim's grandfather, Eroy "Papa". He has lost his wife, 2 sons, and now his daughter. This is very hard on him. Jessica (Mark's wife) and I as we hold the family together. Haley, Abbi, Bekah, Hunter, Mason, Holly, & Madison as this is their first experience with a death so close in the family. George and Connie, close friends. Pray that God will be glorified in all of this and He will use this to bring all of us closer to Him and some to Him for the very first time. Jeanette - the laundry is in the dryer, no mold for us. :-) We love all of you who are reading this.

Update #2

We were called at 5:30 this morning and told to come now, so wet clothes in tow, we're on our way. If you go to CEC, the girls will not be there, please tell their teachers. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jerri update 1

We received a call this morning from Dennis that she hasn't eaten in 4/5 days and is not taking fluids. We were advised to come as quickly as conveniently possible. Mark called at dinner and confirmed we needed to come. The girls made it to school today and we're trying to work out things for tomorrow. Haley has to turn in a biology test and Bekah has Narnia auditions. We're trying to get laundry clean from our trip to Tennessee (will blog about that later) and cover all of our bases as we had several things planned over the next couple of days. I will update as we know more. We greatly appreciate your prayers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Speaking of birthdays - Val's 40th

We are so blessed to have a very special family of friends. They are like none other. And please don't think that because you're reading this and you're one of our friends that we don't value you - we do! Scott and Val have a friendship that has stood the test of time and distance. Of Val's 40 years, we've been blessed to know her over half of them and Scott even longer. Of course we would do everything in our power to attend her surprise birthday party. We got up early on a Sunday morning and fought strong winds from Hurricane Ike to make it there. Boy, was she surprised! Scott planned such a special time of remembering segments of her life and brought special people there to be a part of it. We especially enjoyed going back to their farm for a little R&R before getting back on the road. Val - you are a beautiful woman of God, wife, mother, and friend. We pray you are blessed in the many years ahead as you were in the first 40. We love you guys!

Happy Birthday!

Celebrating August birthdays. Tim, his mom (Jerri), his grandfather (Papa), and his grandfather's wife Maggie all had a special day to share. Guests outside of immediate family included Aunt Rosie, Dick & Carol, and George & Connie.

Hands on Government Lesson

From the time our children were born, we've been teaching them about our wonderful country, The United States of America. We've been teaching them about the election process and get them involved whenever possible. We learned about John McCain being in Dayton the weekend we were going to be there, so we decided to take the kids, and even our nephew too. You probably heard before we did that McCain asked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. However, it's a little more exciting to BE a part of history rather than just watch it on TV. We try to teach our children that it's important to be involved in choosing our leaders rather than just sit back and let it happen. Is it always exciting - NO! However, it's a right we have to make choices in how we want our government run. I was surprised when we were coming home from soccer practice that Haley and Bekah said they WANTED to watch the Vice Presidential debate. They didn't make it all the way through, but I'm proud of them for trying. We want our kids to be informed on both sides so that even though they can't vote yet, they will make decisions based on their own convictions and not just because "that's who my parents are voting for."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Save the Date!

Please add June 6, 2009 to your calendar. On that day Haley, Bekah, and Holly will perform in their dance recital. The theme this year is metamorphasis. I've already heard some of the music and seen some of the dances. The costumes are being ordered this month. It promises to be a breath taker. As I learn more about times, location, etc. I will post. We hope that you can come.

CEC Barn Blast 2008

I haven't had the opportunity yet to share how much we appreciate the Christian Educational Consortium where Haley and Bekah go part time, but I will go ahead and share about the fantastic fall party they put on. This year it was held at a new location, but they didn't miss a beat. The food was plentiful. Activities were everywhere including a bonfire, hayride, square dancing, corn hole, hilbilly golf, and bobbing for apples. It was wonderful to see the families of teens get together and have such a great time. In the top picture is Bekah with the blue sweater and white bow in her hair. Haley is in line for food with a gray sweatshirt and braids.

Getting Caught Up

I can't believe it's been so long since I've updated. I guess that's what happens when you start school. That has kept us quite busy. It may take a while to go back and pick everything up, so I'll start at the present and occasionally go back to a few things. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Star Wars at midnight

Tim, Hunter, and some friends of ours went out at midnight last night to see the first showing of the animated Star Wars movie. Hunter thought it was the greatest thing. He got up rattling off about how good it was (in the eyes of a nine year old). Tim says he doesn't remember much of it. He was quite tired, but enjoyed the father / son time together. We girls opted to stay up and watch women's gymnastics.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Creation Museum

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that I will have readers that will disagree with me. That's okay. I do encourage you to read on though. We made our long awaited visit to the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky last week. I must say, it was well worth our time. While we have heard much criticism about it, we've also heard how wonderful it is. We agree with the latter. The Creation Museum walks its visitors through a series of state of the art exhibits scientifically proving that "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth." (Genesis 1:1) That goes against what we were taught in the public schools as a child. I remember learning "billions of years ago," and how we were evolved from an amoeba then a monkey, and so on. Looking at the solid scientific evidence they presented at the museum, it made me wonder, "so why don't others believe this?" I mean after all, if you take a pile of lumber and blow it up with dynamite (the big bang theory) you don't get a house! Everyone knows that. It all comes down to whether or not one believes that the Bible, preserved for many years, is true. It also depends on whether or not one believes in the one True God. While some may say they do believe in the Bible and God, they don't want to believe the account of creation and accept the responsibility that comes with it. So does it matter that we know how old the Earth is or how it got its start? Sure! What we think about the past decides what we think about the future. If one believes the words of the Bible including the account of creation, then they will most likely believe in an afterlife and how one will spend it in Heaven or Hell. Personally, I want to believe what the Bible has to say about creation. Would you rather believe that you were evolved from a monkey or "fearfully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139:14)" The criticism that the Creation Museum receives reminds me of our trip to the Grand Canyon a few years ago. All over the park you hear "billions of years ago the Colorado River carved out this canyon." There was no one that would even come close to supporting the idea of it being the result of a world wide flood. August is the rainy season at the canyon. We wanted so much to see a sunrise or a sunset. That didn't happen for us. Instead we heard something different. We camped in the park - great experience. One night a thunderstorm was coming through. When it thunders, the sound goes on for several minutes. There's nothing like it. It reminds me of the scripture in Luke 19 when the Pharisees ask Jesus to silence his disciples that were praising Him. His response was "if they keep quiet the stones will cry out." The stones cried out that night for sure! I highly encourage everyone to visit the museum, whether you agree or not. You can then decide for yourself.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kings Island

We were looking for an affordable thing to do that was somewhat close to home and realized that Kings Island fit the ticket. Our childhood stomping ground still provides happy days to our children, just like it did for us. This year even Holly was tall enough to ride most every ride (she couldn't get on Firehawk or The Crypt). As a family we went from the Fairly Odd Coaster (Scooby Doo, Beastie, among other names) to the Rugrats Runaway Reptar, The Beast, The Backlot Coaster, and The Vortex. Tim, Bekah, and Hunter rode the Firehawk and gave it great reviews. Haley stayed back to give Holly someone to ride with on the smaller rides during that time. We decided the Racers just weren't as fun as they used to be with bigger thrill rides in competition. I chose not to ride the Delirium. I mean, someone had to take their picture, right? It was then off to Son of Beast and Flight Deck (one of my favorites). We couldn't go without having LaRosa's Pizza - yum! Of course there were the water rides (I don't like walking around in wet clothes, and again, someone had to take the pictures!). One of Haley favorites is the White Water Canyon. As we strolled through the park we talked of how things have changed since we were kids: the rides, the names, the scenery. I told Tim one thing has not changed - how I enjoy walking through the park holding his hand. We spent many of our high school summers together there. Something else hasn't changed too since its opening in 1979. As the sun was beginning to set, we told them there was enough time for one more ride. Their vote? the Beast - hands down! What we forgot to tell them was how it speeds up at night. That makes it the best.

Embassy Suites

It's so hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. We've been so busy that we forgot about summer "vacation." While Tim has completed his course and our basement is almost finished we prepare to start school without a getaway - until last week. We decided that since we were going to a couple of venues in Cincinnati that we'd spend some time in a hotel. For a family of 6, that would be the Embassy Suites. They comfortably sleep 6 people, they have a pool, and everyone loves breakfast. There's always a big variety of eggs, meats, fruit, french toast, cereal, and pastries. Our favorites include the made to order omelettes. Tim & Hunter got their meats, onions, and cheese. Me, well, it's always a veggie lover's dream come true: tomatoes, onions, spinach, mushrooms, and cheese. At least everyone went into Kings Island with a full stomach.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mini Vacation Time

Our blogs will stop for a couple of days and we took off for a little family time. Check back and we'll let you know about our adventures at Kings Island and the Creation Museum. I'll get back on the school thoughts as well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bible - One More Thing

I forgot to mention something else in our plans to do. We plan to read a chapter of Proverbs that is associated with the day of the month it is. For instance today we would read chapter 5 since today is August 5th. Each month we will rotate different translations and compare them. There's nothing like something simple!

Monday, August 4, 2008

On the Subject of Bible

At our home, Bible is not always a separate "subject" although we have enough hours to give it a credit. Our Bible teaching follows that of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 which says, "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." We do have several tools that we use to accomplish this goal. First of all, the church stands beside us and uses materials published by Children Desiring God (Desiring God Ministries) and AWANA. Both have provided a strong foundation for our children. For our youth studies such as Wild About You, His Girl, and Lies Young Women Believe are used in their 3D groups. For daily guidance and correction, I utilize For Instruction in Righteousness from Doorposts. I can't say enough about this reference. We will continue in our memorization of the Westminster Catechism and incorporate penmanship. I will probably also practice some Children's Bible Drill skills with Hunter and Holly. We will be doing a formal study of Bible history using materials from Veritas Press. We want our children to have a chronological understanding of the events in the Bible. Outside sources used to accomplish this goal include the Child's Story Bible, Victor Journey Through the Bible, and Bible atlases. A Biblical worldview is presented in each subject we study.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Record Keeping

One of the biggest struggles I had while teaching public school was the record keeping. Writing down lesson plans and then averaging grades was quite time consuming. A few years ago my homeschool mentor Bonnie introduced me to Homeschool Tracker ( This has been a lifesaver. I started out with the basic version that is free, but quickly learned how valuable the Plus version is. It now costs $49. but every time they develop a new update, you get it for free. (I think I paid only $35. for ours). This unique software helps you keep attendance, hours, and grades. During the summer I decide what I want our school year to be. We generally run from July 1 - June 30. I set holidays and vacations that suit our family. Then I set up the lesson plans for each subject for the entire year. This takes a little time, but I guess I need something to do while the kids are at the pool. On the weekend prior to our week of school I "assign" lessons to the days of the week. It may take 20 minutes for all 4 kids. I then print them each off an assignment sheet so that they know what to do each day. HT also averages the grades. All I do is input how many points possible and how many are correct. I classify it as homework, quiz, test, project, lab, or a custom named one and it will even do weighted grading. HT keeps track of field trips, a book log, and journal. The reports it will publish are phenomenal. I can print assignment sheets, report cards, and even transcripts! This makes it such a valuable tool for high school. There's still several things I haven't learned in using this, but for now I can't recommend it enough.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I just love this time of year! The store shelves are stocked with all kinds of school supplies. I must confess to my long time habit of sniffing crayons. There's just something about the aroma of formed wax creating precious memories of my childhood. Believe it or not, I have other friends who do this very same thing. Goodbye cardboard supply box and paste that you screwed off the lid and spread on the paper with the wand and hello thumb drive and vault box! I'll share some of my favorites with you. First of all, I skimp on the binders. We buy the under $1 economy type and they've held up well for us. I also buy the cheap notebook paper and spiral notebooks. What I don't compromise on is pencils. I only buy Dixon Ticonderoga. They may not be as cute as the others, but they have erasers that cleanly erase like none other! I have yet to find a good pencil sharpener. A friend recommended the old Boston that has 8 different sizes and you crank the handle. We may try that one out. I also buy Crayola crayons and colored pencils. My exception to this is I occasionally buy Prismacolor Scholar colored pencils. Prang watercolors have the most brilliant color for the price. We buy our specialty paper from Miller Pads and Paper. Their prices beat the local discount store and their selection is great. They supply us with high quality penmanship paper, sketch books, construction paper, and blank books. We only use graph paper for math (all ages) and they sell it by the ream. With Haley taking Geometry we added a compass, protractor, and a good ruler. The girls like to use Zebra pens and occasionally I'll buy them the cute Sharpie markers or highlighters. We color code with tape as much as possible to keep track of what belongs to who. Thankfully we bought Haley's TI-84+ calculator last year, so the only thing left for us to get is their stylish yet strong messenger bags from American Eagle. As you buy school supplies for your children this year, don't forget to take advantage of the low prices to stock up to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes or share with a family in need. Happy shopping!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Why Do We Homeschool?

Through the month of August I will be writing a series of blogs that pertain to "Back to School." I will outline what we use in our homeschool and why, as well as highlight some of our outside sources. It's hard to believe that we're about to begin our 9th year! We first began homeschooling because of the flexibility. While Haley was in first grade, Tim's work had him scheduled with Sunday and Monday off. We had our family day while Haley went to school. The flexibilty came in handy during Tim's mobilization. It was a matter of picking up our books and heading out to visit him. Another reason why we homeschool is because we feel like our children receive the best individualized education that holds our Christian Worldview. Not all children learn alike and through homeschooling we are able to use the right curriculum that matches each learning style. If one struggles in one area, we can give it extra attention, while allowing them to excell in their strengths. We choose curriculum that is written with a Biblical perspective and/or is taught that way. Most importantly we homeschool because God has called us to. We see it as an act of obedience. Trust me, I've had many days when I've been tempted to enroll them in the local public school! I've pleaded with God at points (especially in this last year) to let me put them in school. God clearly said to me one night back in 2002 - "If that's what you want, I will see that you will be blessed. However, it's not the desire of My heart for your family." Tim and I together want the desire of God's heart. Does this mean we will homeschool until Holly graduates? Only God knows that. We still evaluate year by year. Do I look down upon my friends that send their kids to public or private schools? Absolutley not! God can be everywhere in every kind of school. There are excellent Christian teachers out there teaching in schools everywhere. We're just following His plan for us.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brothers - Meet Conner and Pierce

Many of you know that Hunter has feverently prayed for a brother over the last couple of years. His little heart was broken as he saw God give his two best friends baby brothers of their own (and they weren't asking for them). While he was convinced that God wasn't hearing his prayers, we were able to explain that God doesn't always answer in the way we expect Him to, but has a bigger plan. Before school was out, Hunter's prayer was beginning to be answered. (Despite the record number of people I've learned are pregnant this week, no I am not one of them). Our neighbors Julie and Johnny have two precious boys. She was needing someone to watch them this summer on the days that she worked (She's a great hairstylist by the way. I highly recommend her) and asked us. Through this need, Hunter has received not one, but two brothers for the summer. They have been with us 3 days and often play other times as well. They've played together, splashed together, attended Brown Bag Bunch and the movies, and have even fought with one another as true brothers do. I guess the only difference is, they sleep in their own beds across the street and we don't have to pay their college tuition. The beauty of this story is that they've been twice adopted. Before they were adopted by our family, Julie and Johnny adopted these two precious boys from Guatemala. They have truly been a blessing to us. It reminds me how we're adopted into God's family. While we don't deserve it, we have the opportunity to be called the sons and daughters of God.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pray, Give, Go, . . . Test?

Ever since I was a young girl in GA's I've been taught that you should pray for missionaries, give so that others can go, and possibly go ourselves. Today I have a unique opportunity to serve those who are about to go out on the mission field. There is a family in our church whose children need to take achievement tests as a part of their application. They needed someone to test them. I would've never dreamed when I registered with BJU to become an qualified tester that God could use me in such a way. I'm by no means trying to toot my own horn. I just want to encourage others to serve the Lord in "not so traditional" ways. Please pray for these 3 girls that they will best show how intelligent they are (they are very smart), that we can get this done in a timely manner, and that their results will come back quickly as well.

Done, Finished, Completed ! ! !

Many of you know that Tim has diligently worked through an online class over the course of the last year. This was a requirement for him to continue in his line of work. He has great news to share! Yesterday afternoon he mailed his final paper! It seems like all of us have poured ourselves into this so that he could get it done. We're all breathing a sigh of relief. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for him, encouraged him, and looked over his assignments and papers. We are very thankful.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Same Song, Second Verse

Haley and several high schoolers departed for Centrifuge this morning. She was quite excited! Pray for their safety and for God to do big things this week.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Holly's 7th Birthday Party

I made a few mistakes with this one, but for the most part, it was a good party. 30 little girls flooded our basement with giggles, excitement, and beauty. Mrs. Tara, Holly's dance teacher, blessed her with sharing dance moves with them all. Aunt Val, Aunt Gigi, Haley, Bekah, and Grandma were also of tremendous help. She spent the evening with the ones she loves the most. Even still, it was a little overwhelming. We are greatfully thankful to those who gave their time and love.

Surprise Visit

Holly and Hunter were surprised with a visit from "Aunt Val," "Aunt Gigi," Zac, PJ, Jenny, & Peyton. Holly was especially glad to have them be a part of her birthday. They were able to swim, dance, and stay up late playing their DS. In times like these we're reminded that true friends stick together during the test of time and distance. What a beautiful time of fellowship we had.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Off to Centrifuge

Bekah (white sweat pants) left Monday morning with Abbi (plaid shorts) and 11 other middle schoolers for a week of fun and fellowship at Centrifuge. They arrived safely, and talking to her the last couple of nights, she's having a great time. Her track choices include messy games and creative movement. She's purchased new clothes, loves the music, and shared that one of the girls with them has accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior! That's what camp is all about. I'll update more when she returns.

Taking the Bite out of 40

Too many bad things are associated with turning 40. I choose to look at life differently. So, as I enter this new decade I will share some of the things that made this milestone day special.

1. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. Tim - an awesome husband

3. Haley

4. Bekah

5. Hunter

6. Holly

7. A birthday card from my dad

8. Chocolate cake with buttercream icing from Ele Cake Company

9. Homemade German Chocolate Cake

10. A spirited cookie bouquet from Scott and Val

11. A trip to the IKEA store

12. Being able to buy things at the IKEA store

13. Several nice e-mails

14. Facebook wishes

15. "Mullins rendition" of "Happy Birthday"

16. The real version of "Happy Birthday"

17. I have never dyed my hair

18. I can see without glasses or contacts

19. I'm otherwise healthy for my age

20. Cheddar Broccoli soup from Panera bread

21. Marian's Piazza

22. My Aunt Nancy who turned 60 the same day!

23. Memories of my late Grandmother, Ella Bloom who would've been 95 the same day.

24. I've had the opportunity to read my Bible all the way through

25. I live in the best country in the world!

26. I have a clean house

27. I drive a vehicle that is paid for

28. Cheap gas in Carrollton, KY

29. Ninth and O Baptist Church

30. I'm registered to vote

31. Warm, sunny days

32. A neighborhood swimming pool

33. An almost finished basement

34. Time spent together finishing it up

35. Puppy dog kisses from Ranger and Dixie

36. Being able to drive up to get our niece, Abbi, so that she can go to camp

37. The chance to blog

38. Giggles

39. Bedtime prayers

40. Great friends like you who keep in touch

Sunday, July 6, 2008


What a beautiful sight! Bekah and Callie have been best friends since before they were two years old. Through thick and thin, and even hundreds of miles they still stick together. We were so blessed with a visit from Jeff, Susan, and Callie. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and we're so thankful for this opportunity. Hopefully they can visit with one another again soon.

Monday, June 30, 2008


For someone not familiar with Boy Scouts, you may be thinking about the Fisher Price toys that wobble, but don't fall down. However, a Webelo is a boy ages 9-11 that is transitioning from Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts. WeBeLoS stands for "We Be Loyal Scouts." Loyal to their task is exactly what 6 boys and their dads were last weekend when they attended resident camp. The first night there was no power due to storms, so dinner was delayed. The next night there was a line of severe storms that kept them in the dining hall until almost midnight. Many boys went home that night. Our boys stuck it out. Skills they learned will last them a lifetime. While Hunter completed many of the requirements for his rank, his favorite was earning his whittling chip. This enables him to carry a pocket knife to scout functions. He spent much of the day yesterday finding pieces of wood to whittle. Of course the shooting sports, scout skills, and swimming were a conversation too! These Webelos may have wobbled a little over the weekend, but they didn't fall down. You go, boys! Also, here's one of the first pictures of Hunter in his new shirt. They recommend that boys earn their uniform, so before he went to camp he spent a few hours helping to clean up our contruction mess and any other job Daddy came up with. At least from mom's point of view, he looks so grown up.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Financial Peace

Well, after many, many years of listening to Dave Ramsey and applying his principles of money management we finally officially went through Financial Peace University. What a great opportunity this has been. When we first started listening to him on the radio (it was called "The Money Game" back then), he helped us to get out of debt. Our goal now is to teach our children to use these guidelines in their lives so that they don't make some of the same mistakes that we did. If you're reading this and are anything less than a millioniare, I recommend you check out his website,

Friday, June 20, 2008

21 Years and counting!

Well, here we are celebrating our 21st anniversary. We've accomplished many things in these 21 years. Our latest project, finishing the basement, reminds me of what a marriage is about. We've worked diligently over the last few months to try to get it done. The latest is the flooring. It takes teamwork to measure, cut, and place each piece of the Pergo. I measure, he manages the saw, I lay down the next row, he hammers it in. Our first few nights didn't run so smooth. We had to get into the pattern, and at least I (LeAnn) made many mistakes in measuring or marking the correct angles. I got left to this, since I'm the math freak. But piece by piece, hour by hour, we've worked out a plan. Once this happened, the next few rooms went well. Then there's the bathroom! From where they dug up for the water fixtures, the floor was very uneven and rough. Before we can lay the tile, it has to be level and smooth. That's just like marriage. Before you can build, you need to have a solid foundation. I'm thankful that our marriage is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Then when we have things come up, we work them out, things run smoothly for a while, then there's a new conflict. Eventually, we're going to finish this project and a basement that we can enjoy will be the result. While completing our marriage will take a lot longer than our basement to complete ("for as long as we both shall live" we pledged in our wedding vows), our end result should be a family tree that hopefully the world can enjoy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cub Scout Day Camp - Day 2

Today was about 10 degrees cooler. Regardless, the fire department was to the rescue. They came and sprayed the kids to cool them off. You can tell Jackson, Hunter, and Holly didn't escape the drops (and neither did mom). It's one of those things they will remember forever. They made a covered wagon in crafts and played softball in sports. Hunter is proud of his bulls eye in archery today.

Cub Scout Day Camp - Day 1

There's one word to describe the day - HOT! It was well into the 90's and the humidity so high you could squeeze it out. For the most part though, young boys don't care about the heat, just the fun. We did the usual archery, bb guns, nature (which included finding a snake), sports (today was soccer), and crafts (they made leather totems). In the picture above He, Sam, and Ben are making volcanos. Below is the picture of his target. BB guns is one of his favorite activities. Holly had a great time as well at "little buddy camp." The girls stayed at home to finish up some school projects.