Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Sneak Peak at the Graduate!

We're heading to an evening of celebration, but I thought I'd share this quick picture with you.  More to come soon.  What a wonderful day it is!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


What a beautiful time we had last night at the Baccalaureate dinner for our 2011 graduates.  We are thankful for Dominique and Maureen Orsini for opening up their home to us for this special occasion.  Haley went early with her friend Catherine to meet the other graduates to prepare for the evening.  They set the table, helped cook the food, and enjoyed one another's company.
When Tim and I arrived we were greeted with hors d'oeuvres and fellowship with other families.  We were then escorted downstairs where the table was set for 11 of the graduates and their parents.  We heard words of encouragement from parents graduating their last child and a charge from Stacey Ipsan for our young adults entering the world.
A delicious dinner was graciously served by the underclassmen while we chatted with those around us about plans for the future.  After dessert and coffee were served, we had a time of praying over our graduates, thanking God for what He has done through our schooling and praying His hand on them in the future; a picture of the culmination of what we've all done over the last 18 years.  We parted with the prayer of Frances Havergai in his hymn that I'll leave this post with.

Take My Life, And Let It Be

Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love,
At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King,
Always only for my King.

Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold;
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will and make it Thine, it shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Staying Focused

I really had good intentions to write all these entries leading up to Haley's commencement.  However, unlike a school graduation where the parents show up for the ceremony - we're the ones putting it all together.  The "to do" list is a mile long and I'm trying to focus on getting it done.  There will be time when it's over to share all that has been happening.  We had a brief setback yesterday as we learned of a dear friend, Jan Harriot, going home to be with the Lord.  We press on, making the most of our days.  It's all coming together and I must say, we're quite excited!  Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dodson Dawgs

Haley & Janna on the first day of Kindergarten

When it came time for Haley to start her formal education, we felt led at the time to send her to public school.  It was the same Nashville Public School district that I taught in, so we thought we'd give it a try.  Her friend Janna from across the street was not in her class, but they were ready to start their adventure together.
Haley's Kindergarten Class

Kindergarten went well under the teaching of Ms. Libby Francis.  She improved on her reading and math skills and enjoyed all the fun activities.  Field trips included the pumpkin patch and Purity Dairy. 
Haley & Mama on a field trip

While Kindergarten was in a separate school, she moved to the main school in First Grade.  While Kelly Simpson was her teacher, she learned to love to read as she had an "Author of the Month."  She joined Brownie Girl Scouts at this time and continued making new friends.
Haley on the first day of First Grade

Haley's First Grade Class
We don't regret our public school years, as we felt that's exactly where God wanted us at the time, and He used us to reach those around us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

From the First to the Last

First Day of Kindergarten - August 1998

Last Day Senior Year - May 2011

Ready to Take Off

Well, today's the last day for Haley to go to school.  The time has gone so quickly since we dressed her in her saddle shoes and plaid, gave her a lunchbox and new backpack, and dropped her off at Kindergarten.  Today, it was jeans, her Senior shirt, a small tote (she only has one class today), and she drove herself and Bekah.  She confessed to feeling a little melancholy as I kissed her and saw her off.  Now to finish up a few straggling loose ends before the big day arrives.

A Mother's Day Out

I remember when Haley was born thinking about how absurd it was to put children in a "Mother's Day Out" program.  I mean after all, I wanted to be a stay at home mom to be WITH my children, so why pay money to drop them off somewhere.  Then Bekah was born 19 months later.  It was not easily juggling a toddler and a newborn.  My next door neighbor sent her daughter to Mother's Day Out at a nearby church, so I decided to check it out myself.

Mrs. Judy's 2 Year Old Class

What I found was an excellent program directed by Karen Davis.  It was solid in doctrine and the ladies there were so loving and kind.  Haley was 2 when we enrolled her for the first time.  Her teacher, "Mrs. Judy" Grenley came for a home visit a few weeks before school started.  She got to know Haley in her own environment before coming to "school" the first day.  When I did take her to "school" she learned stories from the Bible, active songs that taught Bible truths, and how to sleep on a rest mat.  She got to go to the playground or play in the gym on a rainy day.  She loved "Bo and the Puppet Show" put on by Tammy Patterson.  Not only was she making friends for the first time, some of the lasting friendships I hold today started from other parents in that class.

Mrs. Susan's 3 Year Old Class

Haley then moved on to "Mrs. Susan" Campbell's 3 year old class the following fall.  She was introduced to The Donut Man, letters and sounds, and began to take field trips to the pumpkin patch and sheep farm.  While many of the same children were in her 2 year old class, she made new friends as well.  Bible stories were taught weekly and they started memorizing verses.

Mrs. Lena's 4 Year Old Class

As a 4 year old, Haley was under the instruction of "Mrs. Lena" Boyd.  She learned her "ABC's" - a verse for each letter of the alphabet complete with sign language, put on a Christmas show, took more field trips, and enjoyed Thanksgiving feasts and Valentine Tea Parties.  When she came to graduation, she was well prepared for Kindergarten.

Preschool Graduation

Graduation Day

It's hard to believe I said "never."  Involving Haley in this fine program not only exposed her to many rich and wonderful experiences, but gave me the chance to get the grocery shopping done and house picked up so I felt like a refreshed Mommy who could better serve her.  Her teachers, who were also experienced moms, encouraged me through the preschool years to teach Haley in the way she should go.

The Influence of the Local Church

In Joshua Harris' book, Stop Dating the Church, he points out among many things that the church is where God's Word should be faithfully taught and be a place where we can find and cultivate godly relationships. Most Sundays and Wednesday evenings throughout her life, Haley has been in church.

Baby Dedication - Mother's Day 1993

On Mother's Day in 1993, Haley made her first trip to church at the age of 2 weeks old.  We stood before the congregation of Dalewood Baptist Church and vowed to rear her in a home where she was taught the Holy Scriptures and be encouraged to love the Lord our God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.  She was lovingly cared for in the nursery and read Bible stories from an early age.

Kingdom Kapers Vacation Bible School

Because of a move to the other side of town, we joined Tulip Grove Baptist Church when Haley was 3 years old.  Along with Sunday School and Extended Session, she started attending preschool choir and Mission Friends.  It was at this age that she started developing strong friendships with children that were being brought up in like-minded homes.  She continued to learn more about God and strengthened those friendships as she became involved in the children's program.  She learned how to worship through music in children's choir and music camp each summer.  Seeds were being planted that would later grow into her love for missions as she earned all 6 charms for her Girls in Action bracelet.  She was able to hide God's Word in her heart as she participated in AWANA, culminating in earning her Timothy Award, at the same time as being a 3 year State Winner Superior in Children's Bible Drill.  Her summers continued this growth and cultivated friendships through Vacation Bible School, Centri-Kid, and Terrific Tuesday activities.  Before moving to Louisville, Haley enjoyed a brief time in the youth, enjoying the challenge of youth choir, Acteens, and youth Bible Study.  Involvement in these activities gave Haley a strong foundation to later build her faith.

C-Group led by Tricia Latham

Moving on to Louisville, we joined Ninth and O Baptist Church.  Shortly after we came, they were without a youth minister.  However, several young men training at Southern Seminary to be youth pastors stepped in to make sure there was no lag in growing these young people for the Lord until Rene Gomez took over the position.  She was given solid teaching from the pulpit; challenging, but understandable at the same time.  While Haley believed for a long time that Jesus was her Savior, it was during our time at Ninth and O that she made the decision for Him to be her Lord and was baptized.  She was discipled through small groups  by caring adults like 3D (Developing Deeper Disciples) and C-Groups.  She enjoyed fun activities like MGM, Student Life camps, Centri-Fuge, and Wednesday night worship.  She was given the opportunity to serve not only in the children's department, but became a sought after worker in the nursery.  She especially enjoyed loving on the young babies while their moms went to Thursday morning Bible study.  Her interest in missions was watered and cultivated as she worshipped regularly with those training for the mission field, and later took a foreign missions trip herself to Ecuador.  Strong friendships were bonded during this time as these young people encouraged one another to pursue holiness.

Senior Banquet 2010

 A move to Northern Virginia landed us at Woodlawn Baptist Church.  Here Haley is growing through concepts learned in Sunday School, congregational worship, and Wednesday night youth group.  She serves monthly in the nursery, and ministers to many of the young families by babysitting outside of church.  She's enjoyed afterglow activities on long weekends, the Senior banquet, and had a great time at camp last summer.

As Haley is now a young adult, we are thankful for the influence the local church has had on her upbringing.  While we have always believed it is our responsibility to train our children in the ways of God, having others come alongside us to encourage and offer expertise in areas that we're weak had been a huge blessing.  It is now our prayer that she will always be involved with the body of Christ for continued growth, accountability, and service.

Monday, May 16, 2011

AWANA Awards

As it appears that Haley is getting all the applause lately, our other children are doing things to make us proud as well.  Over the last four years, Hunter has been involved in the Truth and Training Clubs of the AWANA program.  He started off at Ninth and O and finished up at Woodlawn.  During that time leaders have encouraged him to work through four books, learning key truths, memorizing scripture, and encouraging daily Bible study.  He got off to a slow start, but finished strong to earn his Timothy Award, the highest award of the TNT program.  As the TNT director, I was also privileged to hand out another Timothy Award to Jessica Edwards.  She is my beautiful, young sister in Christ.  All of the children involved worked hard to earn a total of 12 book awards, including Holly, who earned her Excellence Award.  I am excited to see what God is doing in all of their lives.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Senior Prom

Well, homeschoolers in Tennessee and Kentucky have opportunities for a prom experience.  We haven't quite found that here in Virginia.  Last year our church held a nice Senior Banquet which made a sufficient substitute.  This year, well, Haley and Bekah were about the only high schoolers so it didn't happen.  So they start talking to their friends in Louisville and decide that we should go there.  After much consideration, we agreed.  It was supposed to be a wonderful evening - a cruise on the Belle of Louisville.  Then a dark cloud began to shadow of the night to remember.  The rains came down and the floods came up and the cruise on the Ohio River was cancelled!  We had only days to throw something together.  We decided on dinner at the Olive Garden followed by bowling.  It's the perfect ingredients for a Tim Hawkins song, but a good time was had by all.  I can't say enough about the fine group of young people we were with.  A time for young men to be true gentlemen and young ladies to be princesses.  Dinner was delightful, bowling was a blast, and what would the night be without being topped off with Krispy Kreme and a cup of coffee?  While it wasn't the typical high school prom, it certainly was "A Night to Remember."