Archive for August, 2012



During the summer, we had an Olympics themed kids program at church.  The kids enjoyed posing in some of the cardboard cut-outs!

Who doesn’t love sychronized swimming?

poor Asher having to pose for this!
weight lifter!!
body pump!
you can do it!!

back to school 2012!

It’s a big day for mommy!  Back to school!!!!  This year will be different in that Asher is going to preschool everyday half day and at the same school as the girls.  He goes in the afternoon, so that means everyday, from 11-3 I have kid-free.  Wow!!!  I haven’t wrapped my head around this new freedom yet since today was day 1, and I, of course, was busy editing back to school pictures!  🙂   Who knows what I’ll do tomorrow afternoon!
My kids, so excited about the first day, were up and dressed at 5:45 this morning! I mistakenly started doing pictures too early, and so some of these pictures are before the sun was up, which I’m not a fan of. Oh well, it’s realistic I guess. Back to getting up soooo early! 😦

I had a little fun in photoshop!  Ella is holding a picture of her first day of prek 2009
Rilyn is holding a picture of her first day of kindergarten

My third grader!

I have them write their own name on one side of the chalk speech bubble so I can remember their signature each year!

Here is Ella and her best friend, Anna. Matching “first day of school outfits” since 2008!

our new “gymnasts!”

Ella and her first grade teacher!

she was Rilyn’s teacher too, so you know I love her!

Rilyn actually has three teachers: reading, math, and science. This is her homeroom/math teacher!

He’s an Aggie!!!!!!!! (this is very important to Rilyn!)

Asher’s turn!

his third and final year of preK…

Asher, and his best friend, Caden. These two will rule the school in no time! (back to school matching shirts since 2010)

we’re tough!
we’re strong!

The first thing the afternoon preschoolers do is march to the cafeteria where they eat lunch with all the big kids. It was so cute to watch them!

Asher discovering his pb&j!

Having two older sisters means getting to ride the school bus home with them! He’s been watching this bus drop off his sisters for his whole life…finally HE is on it!!

my kids getting off

Acting like he is all cool getting off the bus for the first time.

I’m a bus rider pro

I wanted to have a special snack for the kids when they got home, so I baked homemade chocolate chip cookies and cut them in the shape of their new grade level! It was a hit!

3rd grade!

Ella did complain that because she had a “1”, she got the least amount of cookie. We had to have a talk about being thankful!

“Next year mommy, I will have a BIG “2” cookie!!”

Asher got a “P” for preschool!


The kids all had GREAT days of school with no complaints! Thank you Lord!


somebody’s daddy is a pastor!

After taking Ella, my 6 year old, out on a back to school date, she told me, “Mom, you’re my best girl!  Well, actually, there is one girl I love more than you.”

“oh ya, who is that?” I said, really not knowing who she would say.

“God’s queen!”  she shouted.

My eyebrows definitely raised at that one, and I said, “Who is God’s queen?!?”

“Mom, you know, the church!!”

“Oh, you mean Christ’s bride, the church?”

“Yes, His bride!  I love her more than you, but that’s the only girl I love more.”

Somebody’s daddy is a pastor (of finance-but still)!  😉

me and Ella

DR trip-day 8

Friday was beach day for the group at Caberete!  But for us, more importantly, we were meeting our girl that we sponsor through Compassion!  We started sponsoring Darianny two years ago, and purposely chose her because she was from the Dominican Republic, and in between Rilyn and Ella’s ages.  We knew that one day, we wanted to go on a family mission trip through our church to the DR, and then, maybe we would be able to meet her!  It was hard to believe that nearly two years later, our decision was coming to fruition!  I contacted Compassion 2 months prior to our visit to set up the arrangements, and Darianny was driven 3 hours from her village to Caberete, a resort beach, on Friday morning.    This is the photo we prayed over/stared at on our fridge for the past 2 years:

And this is Darianny meeting Rilyn and Ella Friday morning:

big smiles!

After talking with Darianny, through the translator Compassion gave us, we learned that she wants to be a fashion model when she grows up! She was very excited when one of the gifts we brought her was some stylish new sunglasses! Look at her strutting her stuff!

future model!

This was Darianny’s first time at the beach, and the first time out of her village! The joy on her face never left all day!


She LOVED the ocean! She never wanted to get out!

me and my girls!
Darianny asked how salt got into the ocean  🙂

After a yummy lunch of pizza, we took the girls to a bead shop where they each got to make a necklace! We learned that this was Darianny’s first time in a gift shop too!

new handmade necklaces!

We got ice cream afterwards of course!

Darianny got watermelon flavor ice cream!

What a special experience to meet her! It was the perfect ending to our trip! We hope that when we come back in a few years that we can visit Darianny again, this time in her village!

our family with Darianny
goodbye hugs

The last hour we had at the beach after Darianny left was spent relaxing and soaking in the sun!

Thanks Dominican for the life changing memories!

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”      1 John 3:17-18
Thank you to Makarios, to all our friends and family who generously donated money to our trip, and those who donated supplies for the students of Makarios so they can receive new clothes, shoes, underwear, and school supplies on their first day of school in September!  God bless you all!

*to read day 7, click here. To see my photography blog pictures of the DR, click here*


DR trip-day 7

Thursday was Makarios’ end of summer school carnival day!  I took pictures, James grilled almost 400 hot dogs (with help!), and the girls got to help the “balloon dart” booth a little, and walk around the carnival and participate in the games along with the other kids.

They got their faces painted again!

blue lips!
ice cream cutie!
balloon darts!
serve’em up!

The carnival was a success, and many of the student’s families showed up to celebrate the end of summer with fun, food, and a Gospel message.
After the carnival, we got ready to go to the soccer tournament final game! The girls made signs to hold up at the game and so the players could run through!

Can you tell Rilyn colored the “n”?  My girls LOVE rainbows!
cheering them on!
nice goalie block!

After the game, we headed back over to the Makarios school, where we had a trophy ceremony and medals for the winners and the participants. James helped a great deal in the soccer tournament with the refereeing, and he was being recognized here.

One of the sweetest things I saw in the ceremony was when a 10 year old boy got his medal.  He immediately walked over to his sister and put it around her neck.  No hesitation.  Just pure, unselfish love.  The sister was beaming with pride.  🙂

Here are the boys praying after the trophy ceremony. I love this picture because the boy on the far right is actually kissing his trophy while they are praying!

This was our longest day out in the sun. We were out from 8:30-5 p.m. and the kids were tired, but I don’t remember them complaining.   Rilyn even mentioned to me, in her cold shower that evening, how she couldn’t believe our trip was nearing the end, and how she wanted Asher to come here, so we could stay longer!  Whoa, that comment really hit me, because for the first time I thought about one of the reasons we came on this trip was to plant seeds in our girls’ hearts about being a missionary one day!  Now home, my goal is for us to start going through the Christian Heroes set which has biographies of Christian missionaries (written for children ages 5-10 to understand.)  They also have a series for children older than 10 here.

*to read about day 6, click here. To read about day 8, click here*


DR trip-day 6

Each new morning starts with roosters crowing in the Dominican.  Wednesday morning was no different, and at 5 a.m. the roosters start their songs.  We started the day at the Makarios school again.  The girls and I went through each summer school class again.  Ella  found Rebekah and the hand games resumed!

This is the arts and crafts room.

In science, they were making homemade ice cream!

shake the bag!
touching the ice cream that they just made!

Math time!


In the afternoon, we visited the village of Pancho Mateo. One third of the kids at the Mak school come from here.


There was a village basketball court, and we played there most of the afternoon. The village girls loved doing Rilyn and Ella’s “gringo” hair! And my girls loved having it done-over and over and over again!

girls will be girls!
Rilyn feeling relaxed!
time for another ‘do!
this sweet girl did a great job with Ella’s hair!

James played sports with the boys!


*to read about day 5, click here. To read about day 7, click here*


DR trip Day 5

Tuesday started out rainy.  And in the rain, Dominicans rest.  I kept imagining all the homes we saw earlier in the week with their roofs made of tin scraps.  All the rain that must be falling in their homes.  We drove to the Mak school still.

Do you see their skin?  This is how we were “glistening” with sweat all day every day!.
playing in puddles at the Mak house waiting to hear where we were going

I was slated to take pictures of the soccer tournament that morning in Tamarindo, but we weren’t sure if the tournament was still going on because of the rain.  There would be some very disappointed boys if we had to cancel.  Thankfully, the rain came in bursts, and so the boys were able to start play during a long dry period, and continued play in the pouring rain even when all of us took cover in the vans.

the light blue team won, can you tell?!

After lunch, we came back to the Makarios house with the remainder of the time to rest and reflect. We had an ESL class coming later in the afternoon, but that was it. I should of been reading my Bible, meditating on his Word to give me strength for the rest of the week, but I just didn’t have the motivation. It was a cool afternoon, the steady rain bringing respite. It felt good to just lie in bed. Our kids played happily with the Makarios host family kids (who were the same age as them!  Such a blessing!)
Later that evening, something someone said really hit me: Why don’t we keep reading our Bible everyday when it is so beneficial to us? I love the Bible! I love chocolate too, but I have no problem eating it everyday! So why do I struggle so much to read the Bible everyday when I love it?
Satan is at work.
Ella had a break down later in the bunk room. She cried because she wanted to go home and she missed Asher. When I asked her why she didn’t want to play with the village kids anymore, she replied, “Because I don’t want to play with sticks and rocks all day!”  Ella missed the comforts of home.  This mission trip was “rehab” from our “mistress(es)”, (the thing(s) we miss most at home that try to take priority in our lives over our relationship with God.)   It could be a person, a hobby, toys, facebook, a certain food…

I stayed off the internet and my cell phone for 7 days.  It was a great rest for me, and reminded me that I can be without those things and my world will not crumble.  With my cell phone (and my data plan!) I feel in control.  Lord, help me remember YOU are in control!

Rilyn was feeling it too, but not one to have outbursts like Ella, she journaled her thoughts.  She told me later that she drew a red heart with sin around it because she knew worrying and being fearful were sins and she needed to bring all these things to the Lord.

Darianny is our Compassion child we were going to meet on Friday

It was time for ESL class. On the agenda was the DR kids “buying” small toys (with tokens they had earned throughout the summer) using English words. My girls were eager to help with this!

“How much does that cost?”
“I would like to buy…”

The Lord ended our day with a beautiful sunset!  Tomorrow would be a new day full of God’s grace!

*to read about day 4, click here. To read about day 6, click here*

My photography business!

August 2012