Archive for the 'Family' Category


swimming lessons

(Going Public part 3)

One of the biggest obstacles Julie and I face as we continue to wade through the issue of our children’s education is trying to determine how much influence we allow the world to have on each child and when.  Of course when it comes to the world ‘out there’ it is really a matter of trust and timing; eventually they will have to swim.  We want our kids to be able to swim and navigate through the waves…that is, not to drown in the waters of the world around them.

On the one hand, it is easy when our eyes are fixated on the world to become overwhelmed and perhaps over-protective of our little ones to the point that home schooling is the only option.   (Note: we definitely see a place for homeschooling, but the question for us is whether that is for our family…not whether it is right or wrong.)

On the other hand, we fully trust that God is Sovereignly in control of our children’s future and that it would take more faith for us to send them out, and thus, for our family (at least for Rilyn….this is a year by year issue), public school is the answer.

Through time in the Word, prayer, and discussion with each other we are convinced that the answer is not black and white.  We know that we are called and given the responsibility to train our children (Prov. 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.).  From this truth, we feel the weight of a responsibility to influence each child in a way that will draw them closer to their heavenly Father.

We also know that ultimately God is in control and has the Ultimate influence on everyone and everything (Romans 11:36, “From him, through him, and to him are all things, to Him be glory forever Amen!”)  From this, we are able to draw a peace and courage that God never calls us to do anything apart from him.

So what is our calling?  What is God telling Julie and I?  Something that helped us is the analogy below:

None of us who have children want them to drown.

But how can we prevent it?

One way is to keep them away from bodies of water deeper than two feet.  It works.  Kids won’t drown if they don’t get into deep water.

But we can also guard them from drowning by another method:  teaching them to swim.  Though it isn’t foolproof, it works rather well and provides more freedom.

In the same way, we should teach our kids to “swim” against the currents of the world.  Avoidance of the world is ineffective-children eventually go away to college or start their lives and encounter all the things we guarded them from.

They will be more ready to face worldly currents if we have taught them to swim. (Dennis McCallum, “The Postmodern Puzzle”, The Real Issue March 1998)

Public school is an excellent pool in which to train our young sons and daughters.  Yes, it’s deep and noisy and the water’s cold and sometimes the chlorine gets in your eyes.  Sometimes you get splashed by other swimmers.  But this is preparation for even bigger bodies of waters to come.  Someday they’ll have to swim in Lake Michigan.  (David & Kelly Pritchard, “Going Public”, pg. 27)

Obviously, none of us want our kids to drown… but even more so, we desire our kids to do more than stay afloat…we desire for them flourish, to live life to the fullest….to swim like Michael Phelps and win the race…(1 Cor 9:24).

We didn’t throw Rilyn into the pool as a baby…it wasn’t even until age 3 that she took her first lesson…Julie and I both know that one day she will dive head first into the the waters of this world…so we start today with the swimming lessons. For each parent, this will look different.  Have you ever been to a 3-5 year old class learning to swim?  It is often obvious which kids are ready to learn and which kids are still afraid of the water.  In the same way, each child will  learn to swim at a different age…but we mustn’t let their first lesson be the first time they go into the pool by themselves!

Rilyn’s swimming lessons              From May 2008

Going Public Part 1
Going Public Part 2


Daddy’s Day!

James, Happy Father’s Day!  I couldn’t begin to imagine a better daddy for our children!

My favorite thing to watch is when you lead our family nights/devotions and how the girls cling to every word you say about our Heavenly FATHER.

Rilyn’s favorite thing about you this year was when you visited her at her preschool.

Ella’s favorite thing is when you color with her.

And Asher, well, he told me he loves when you shoot hoops with him on his Little Tikes basketball hoop.  😉

We love you!!!!

From June 2009

my birthday girl

God made me a mommy by blessing me with Rilyn FIVE years ago today.  She is such a sweet little girl who simply desires to please others through obedience and kind acts.

She is artistic.  One of the best gifts I could give her today would be a ream of printer paper!  She sits for hours at our kitchen table creating art for her family and friends.

She is a girly girl!  I asked her a couple of questions yesterday and her answers, I think, sum up her ‘girlyness’.

Mommy:  What do you first think about when you wake up?

Rilyn:  Princesses.

Mommy:  If you had a million dollars, what would you buy?

Rilyn:  a wedding dress (James, do we have a savings account started already for the girls’ weddings?!?)

Mommy:  If I was a genie and granted you three wishes, what would they be?

Rilyn:  First wish would be to be a beautiful princess.  Second wish would be to be a beautiful queen.  Third wish would be that all my friends would be my sisters.

Rilyn is a lover, not a fighter.

Mommy:  What are you most scared of?

Rilyn:  Ella hitting me.

I was interested in finding out Rilyn’s vision for her future in her wise old age of five.

She told me very matter of factly that:

When she is 10 she will be at Disneyland.

When she is 15 she will be graduating high school.  (Sorry to burst your bubble, sweetie, but that’s not going to happen.)

When she is 20 she will NOT be taking naps anymore.

When she is 25 she is going to be married, a teacher, and a mommy with four kids (wow!  A true mommy’s girl-minus one child)!

When she is 30 she will be cooking.  (I hope she will be doing more than that at 30!)  😉

And when she is 35 she will be sitting in a wheel chair.  (I told Rilyn that 35 was older than I am and I guess she thought that naturally old people sit in wheel chairs!)  😉


my oma does it, what about yours?

My Oma (grandma in German) plays soccer.

Rilyn-17 months old

My Oma carries canoes on her head.

From November 2008

My Oma has Battlefield (pc game) birthday parties.

From May 2009

Does yours?

James’ mom is super fun and our kids are blessed to have her!


happy mother’s day!

First, let me say Happy Mother’s Day to my dear mom!  I love you!

my sister, Jessica, brother, Jeff, my mom, and me!

For an early Mother’s Day/birthday dinner, we ate at The Melting Pot. The dessert was amazing! Dipping brownies and strawberries in chocolate and peanut butter is probably the best taste ever!

look at that chocolate dripping off of my strawberry!  Yum-O!

Here is Ella ‘toasting’, (and obviously she enjoyed the dessert as well!)

From May 2009

The kids all planted some flowers (ok, maybe not Asher…) next to their footprint stone in our front yard for Mother’s Day. How sweet!

From May 2009

The best part of the day was after church when James and Jeff Richardson took all 6 of the kids in one car and brought them home so Jen and I could go out to a leisurely lunch and shop! Wow!!! Thanks guys-that was the best ever!
I told James to take a picture of all 6 kids in the car so I could give him props on the blog!!!

Back row: Cole, Rilyn, and Ella.  Front row: Caden, Anna, and Asher


For Mother’s Day, James asked me to pick out a mother’s necklace that I wanted on

I just got it in the mail today and I love it.

But it made me think of some past necklaces that I used to wear 24/7…

From May 2009

I was the ‘st ends’ in this BFF relationship(I love ya Kristy)! What girl didn’t have this necklace growing up in the 80s?

And then, when James and I were dating, he gave me this James Avery necklace on my 19th birthday and I wore it pretty much everyday until I had Rilyn!

From May 2009

And then the kiddos came, and wearing things around my neck wasn’t the smartest idea unless I wanted to be choked or tugged at…
But I’m braver now, and ready to take on another necklace!

That is their birthstones above their names

these are the moments

Today was the first day that the good ‘ol wading pool came back out and I let the girls ‘swim’ in the backyard.  I had only two rules for the girls to follow:  No chalk in the pool and no sand in the pool.  They repeated the rules back to me and knew them.  I go back in the house and am pleasantly surprised how entertained they are and how much fun they are having.  I love watching them through the window when they think I’m not looking.  Awhile later I go back outside to find…dun Dun DUN…sand in the pool!  Rilyn immediately starts bawling when I asked who did it and she confesses that both her and Ella brought sand into the pool.  “Well, that’s it,” I said.  “No more pool for today.”  (Both girls are crying their eyes out now.)  You both broke the rule, and the consequence is no more pool/backyard for the rest of the day.  (You really would of thought I sentenced them to life in prison by the way they were crying-but this is how my girls are-DRAMATIC)  Then Rilyn, through her blurry eyes, looks up at me, ever so innocently, and asks if she is still going to heaven.

Wow.  I quickly say a little prayer for God to give me the words…

“Yes!  If Jesus is King of your life, nothing can separate you from Heaven.  Not the worst kind of sin you can think of.  And God wants to forgive our sins if we ask Him.”

I then explained to Rilyn and Ella that I sin everyday too, just like them.

“I think we should all ask God for forgiveness right now,” I said.

After our prayer and confession, I told the girls that God has now forgotten that they put sand in the pool!  Their sin is no more!  Rilyn then asked, “Does He still love me?”

“He will ALWAYS love you.  He gets disappointed in the wrong choices you make, but now He forgave you!”

“Where did our sins go?”

“Remember, when we went to the beach 2 weeks ago?  Our sins have been tossed in the deep part of the ocean.”

“Wow!” is all she could say.  And then they both wanted to cuddle.

Lord, let me be Jesus with skin on.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

Micah 7:19 He will again have compassion on us;
he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all oursins into the depths of the sea.

**Shock!  There are no pictures of the girls in the wading pool because I’m trying to cut back my picture-taking in May, (a little bit of a detox if you will), since I have over 250 pictures to scrapbook right now of Easter, Disneyland, and Asher’s birthday!

My photography business!

January 2020
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