Tuesday, February 22, 2011

24/7 Youth Winter Retreat!

The theme for our Winter Retreat was 24/7 - emphasizing the need to pray 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It was all about teaching the students how to pray, the importance of prayer, types of prayer, etc. WHAT A WEEKEND!

I love teens in that for the most part, they can have fun doing ANYTHING at all! This year the fun included tubing, ice skating, bon fires, messy games (of course), worship, chatting, board games, etc. We just loved hanging with them and getting to know them better.

There were a total of 52 adults and students in attendence at the retreat and each and every one of them had an incredible attitude. The DEFINITE high point of the weekend was Sunday night. During Sunday night's worship service a strong salvation message was presented. Our Camp Pastor, Joe Bowman, laid it on the line for the kids and it was POWERFUL! A total of 6 students gave their lives to Jesus Sunday night with many others rededicating their lives and giving up issues and habits in their life that needed to be gone!

I was privileged to pray with one young lady named Marie. Marie is a foreign exchange student from Germany living in Norwood Colorado. She was one of the students that I mentioned in my last post that was not a believer. Throughout the weekend I noticed that although she had a lot of head knowledge - it just didn't appear to be real to her. However, Sunday night it clicked and Marie gave her life to Christ! After praying with her, Marie described the experience like this, " I have been walking around in a room of darkness, and now someone has turned on the light and I see! I get it! It's real to me now - Ronnie it's in my heart!" What a treasure to hear these words!!!

Thank you all so much for the prayers! Please continue to pray for these young people as they grow in the Lord.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Preparing for Weekend #1 of 3 being out of town!

Whooza! Looking at the calendar and realized that I will be out of town the next 3 (possibly 4) weekends in a row...busy busy but so exciting!

This weekend is our Area Youth Winter Retreat at Hesperus Baptist Camp. Joel is the director of the camp and I am really excited about all that is planned and what God will be doing in my own life as well as in the life of the students.

There will be about 55 adults and students at the camp this weekend and it is all about PRAYER 24/7. As Christians, I believe that we do not fully grasp the necessity nor the power of prayer in our lives - I know I don't anyway! Prayer is our communication with God - it is a 2 WAY conversation that involves talking and listening. This weekend we will be helping the students learn the types of prayer, the importance of prayer and just more about prayer. How exciting!

As much as I LOVE youth camps and retreats - the night before is always a little chaotic and hectic around our house! For the first time, we have 2 of our own kids going with us - so excited about that! We have already sent Kestra and Tyler to the two grandparents homes for the weekend which is good because the rest of us are frantically doing laundry, packing, getting paperwork together, etc! Whew!

I wanted to share with you all some ways in which YOU can help us and that is by praying for the following requests concerning this weekend:

1. Joe Bowman, pastor at FBC Norwood Co, is our Camp Pastor this weekend. Joe is recovering from the flu and pneumonia. Pray for his energy levels and that he will be able to effectively speak the words the Lord has for the students.

2. FBC Norwood is bringing 2 students that we know of who are not Christians. There youth got together and did a fundraiser in order to pay for these two kids to come to camp - how cool is that? Pray that this weekend they will hear words of truth that will pierce their hearts and cause them to long for Jesus!

3. FBC Hesperus has a young lady coming who lost her brother in a car accident not that long ago. This young lady is still hurting deeply and struggling to regain balance in life. Pray that we can reach out to her and that she will feel the arms of Jesus around her this weekend.

4. Joel is also recovering from flu like symptoms and needs both his energy level and his voice to hold out through the weekend.

5. Pray for all the students this weekend that their hearts will be open to hearing the message God has for them. There are many who although profess with their mouth to be Christians, are not walking in a way pleasing to the Lord. Pray that they will see the need to not only talk the talk but walk the walk!

I will try to post a blog at least once this weekend to let you know how things are going and will for sure post one on Monday or Tuesday with a recap! Thanks in advance for your prayers...with that, I am off to switch another load of laundry, pack a bag, get blankets and sleeping bags together...etc!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Chaos and Blessings!

Let me start off by saying - I didn't take near enough pictures to capture the entirity of the day! In fact, I only got one - that of our "new to us" van that we will get tomorrow if all goes well on the money end!

So - the morning start off GREAT! I had helped Kestra and Tyler make cupcakes for their classes yesterday and they were all ready to go... I had the day off from driving the special needs suburban so was able to drive our kids to school this morning.

On the way to school, we were all laughing and cutting up - just enjoying the day! We were even letting the stuffed cow I got from my secret sister drive! Ha ha. Dropped Hannah and Malachi off with an "I love you!" and headed to the Elementary with Kestra and Tyler....enter CHAOS!

We all got out of the car, complete with two trays and one plate full of cupcakes, Kestra's Valentine box, etc. Tyler realized his backpack was in the very back of the Expedition, so I opened the back and pulled it out. Little did I know that it was OPEN and that all his Valentines for his class would go flying all over the parking lot... Once I realized the problem, I set down the cupcakes and was trying to help him get it all together.

Tyler was a little disoriented, stressed, thrown off, etc - what do you know? He stepped RIGHT on Kestra's tray of cupcakes!!! YEP - you guessed it, smashed a whole section! Ugh! I must say though - Kestra was SO NICE! She just patted Tyler and told him it was okay!

We then proceeded to get it all gathered up (minus smashed cupcakes) and get it into the school - Whew!!!

Next stop - looking at a 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan with Joel! This is the BLESSING! We had set aside the day to look at cars and were headed to Farmington to do so. I had seen an ad in the paper about this van and so we had made arrangements to see it. It is wonderful! The price was right - something we could afford with our tax refund, it was in GREAT shape and all was well!!!

So - if all goes well tomorrow as far as getting the money from our bank to the sellers, we will be the new owners of this van and we didn't have to look at any others!!!

Then, it was off to Farmington, NM! We went to the Christian bookstore, Hobby Lobby, and Target AND my absolute favorite - OLIVE GARDEN! So, enjoyed the day with Joel! Tonight we are praying and praising!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Proposal....


I told you on Feb 4th I would blog about Joel's proposal on the anniversary of it...well here it is (or will be in about 2 hrs) the 16th anniversary of him proposing!

Well, in all honesty his proposal was in two parts - the ACTUAL proposal was on Valentine's day 16 years ago. We were on a date and as was our custom most of our dates ended in prayer (yes Joel and I REALLY were prayer partners). This particular evening though - Joel was a little less spiritual and a little more strategic!!!

As he was praying he said "and Lord bless our marriage and life together, that is IF Ronnie says yes..." I have no idea what the rest of the prayer was - I wonder why? Ok, so seriously who can say no to a proposal in a prayer? Ha ha!!! I wouldn't have said no any way (wink wink) but we won't let him know that! He didn't have a ring at the time, but being the clever quick on his feet guy he is - after I said yes, we drove to WALMART!!! Ha ha ha!!! Yep, he spent a whole $0.25 and bought me a ring from the toy vending machine....cracks me up to this day but I loved it!

Well, part two of the proposal was about a month later when he gave me my REAL ring! We were going to Pampa to see his family and for me to meet his sister Jana. On the way there, we detoured to Palo Duro Canyon. Joel got out and went to the back of the car and came back with two champagne glasses and apple juice and a small box. He then said, "Will you really marry me?" and opened the box with the ring in it... He later confessed that he wouldn't DARE show up with me to meet his sister without an actual ring in hand! Big sisters are useful!!!

So, there you have it - the proposal! I love that Joel is unconventional in how he does things because I never know what to expect!!!

(Don't worry - no more mushy posts til July...)

Monday, February 7, 2011

3 teen/preteens in the house: The good, the bad, the ugly!

When Joel and I realized that our daughter Kestra was on the way - we realized that we were going to be BUSY with 3 children under 3 running around (later would be 4 under 4)! I remember thinking through - the diapers, the potty training, the runny noses, the laundry, etc.
What I DIDN'T think about...the attitudes that I would see at ages 13, 12, 11! Ha Ha!

I don't regret for a moment having my kids close together - even though I didn't plan it at all - but there are times (like today) that I just go - REALLY? How can I deal with this? Let me try to share a run down...

Hannah age 13 in 8th grade: decides to use SARCASIM every other word both to her siblings and to us. Although most of the time quiet - when she wants to talk, it is TALK NON-STOP and she doesn't think anyone else needs a chance. Also, being the oldest - she has an argument for EVERYTHING...I promise she would make a great lawyer! Ha ha! Of course, we are also dealing with the hormones and that is challenging all on its own! She also knows all there is to know about everything - just ask her and by the way - I know NOTHING!!! Hee hee

Malachi age 12 in 6th grade: Oh Jr. High boys!!! LOL. Caught in that stage between wanting to be a kid and wanting to be a teen, his emotions go up and down. Right now - they are more down than up! He cries over the littlest things - UGH! Another issue with him is that he tries SO hard to relate to Hannah and her interests when in fact - he just doesn't get it (then again neither do I)!

Kestra age 11 in 5th grade: Just entering this world of the pre-teen, the hormones are raging and she too is struggling between the child and the teen! She has gone from my sweet happy go-lucky smiling face - to testing the boundaries, talking back and crying over apparently nothing. Most of the time she will jump right back to that sweet girl but there are times that I just want to scream!!! LOL.

With all of this - I still wouldn't change it! As the kids have gotten older, I have realized there is a new kind of fun! Instead of playing on the floor with toys or watching veggie tales - we talk about friends, boys (with Hannah), shop, watch movies, etc. I do try to encourage my kids to talk to me and in turn I do have to make myself LISTEN and not react! Ha!

I guess the one thing that I am learning about raising kids- every age range has its ups and downs - its challenges and rewards. As much as I don't like the attitudes - ok they really make me want to scream - I am also in no hurry because more and more I am realizing the time I have them is SHORT! Hannah will graduate 4 years from May!!!

Through this I am seeing my own reltionship with God in a different light too! How often, do I get an attitude with Him? How many times do I throw a fit and cry over nothing with Him? Yet, like I have seen the GOOD times with my kids and I am able to forgive the bad and ugly times - God LOVES the times that I just sit and share my day with Him, He loves to hear me talk about my highs my lows my challenges and blessings! I want to be that with my kids - the place where they come and know that NO MATTER what, they will be loved, forgiven, and encouraged. I want them to know that I LOVE spending time with them and sharing in their day...May I always have an ear to listen and an understanding heart for them!

So - yes, tonight has been a tad frusterating and I did want to tie them up in a straight jacket with duct tape on the mouth; I don't want to trade it for anything! I know that my kids feel comfortable sharing and talking with me! Thankfully - the GOOD days really do out way the bad and ugly ones...


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Love of my Life...


Feburary 4, 1994...a night that would change my life forever and for the better!

My last post was pretty negative and down. I hated to have that as my most current post and so I have been thinking about what to blog about and it occured to me that tomorrow will mark the 17th Anniversary of Joel and I being together as a couple. I know - sort of weird that I would remember the exact day that we started dating but it was definitely a non-conventional story and so I wanted to share!

Joel and I truly were best friends before we ever started dating. I would talk to him about everything and ask his advice about everything as well! I even asked his advice about guys!! Ha ha!

Prior to our dating, Joel realized that he cared a lot about me but wasn't ready to admit it. So, in order to deny it - he would attempt to avoid me! One time, I called the Student Center at Wayland and asked Joel's roomate Will (who worked there) who all was at the Student Center. I was just trying to decide if I was going to go down there or not. However, Will told Joel I was on my way and what did Joel do? He hid behind the Big TV down there!!! I arrived with some of my friends and we began playing pool, cards, and just hanging out. We were there well over an hour! Guess where Joel stayed THE WHOLE HOUR? Yep - behind the stinking TV!!! Ha ha ha - to this day I think that is hilarious!!!

Anyway, on February 4 1994 there was an all night Lock-In at one of the local churches for the college students. I had gone with several friends and Joel was there also. Like I said, we really were close friends and so I knew the things that irritated him or perhaps I should say PEOPLE that irritated him. Yes, it's true there are very few, but Joel does have people that rub him the wrong way! Well, there was one girl in particular who had a MAJOR crush on Joel. She literally would stalk him and call him and pretty much bother him insestantly. She even paid over $200 at a date auction fund raiser to go on a date with him - Joel being the kind tenderhearted guy he is endured it and was so kind to her!

If you know me - you know that I have a habit of stating what I think and then thinking it through later and often I have to appologize - this was no exception! At the lock-in this particular girl was literally following Joel EVERYWHERE! Finally, at one point I caught her away from her and decided to help my "friend" Joel out. I walked up to her, with my friend Sharon by my side, and asked her why she was following Joel all the time. Her response was something to the effect that it wasn't my business. So, what did I do? I matter of factly stated "Joel and I are dating so you had better get used to it!" Ha ha ha!!! As we walked away, my friend Sharon quietly asked me how I was going to tell Joel this. Um??? Hadn't thought about that!

So, I found Joel and I told him that I had told this girl that he and I were dating. Joel smiled and just said - "Ok. We're dating." I know - REALLY romantic right? Ha ha ha!! Thus began our official dating relationship! Our first official date was to see the "Lion King" - wow!!!

We had many ups and downs in our relationship - breaking up not once but twice (note: both times he broke up with me but that's another story), death of my sister, loss of our neice Brianna, etc. Yet, one thing I can honestly say - Joel truly was and remains both my accountability partner and my prayer partner. He has always been my steady helm when the storms of life rage.

Working with teens, we are often asked how we knew that we were "the one" for each other. Joel will say that he knew from before we started dating - which is what scared him I think! For me, it was the death of my sister. When I got the call about Sherri's death on November 3, 1994 - Joel was right there with me. Not only that - he dropped everything at college, despite being advised to not come, and drove me the 8 hours to Pagosa to be with my family. He was there during the funeral planning, the tears, the emotions - all of it! I knew that if he could walk through all of that with me - then I couldn't live without him!

Our engagement is another unconventional story that I will share on that special day (yep - remember that one too!). For now - let me just say that the past 17 years have been AMAZING and I am so incredibly blessed. Joel keeps me laughing, he holds me when I am crying, and he is the calm in the chaos! He is an incredible Dad and puts his family first above all else!!!

I love you babe and look forward to 17 more wonderful years as a couple!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

AGGGHHH!!

Today has been one of those days that has just been really hard to deal with! So much is on my heart and mind, I have literally been "on the go" all day and I am just ready to throw up my hands and scream...

A little 6 yr old girl named Elizabeth and her parents have been on my heart since last night (well really for 2 yrs but more recently since last night). Eli has been fighting a brain tumor for 2 years and last night took a drastic turn for the worse after having had several really good months. As of right now, she is on life support and waiting to see if her body will heal and regain strength...I have to wonder WHY? When everything was going so well, she was really making great progress - Why this set back Lord? Yet, I know that her life is precious to Him and that He holds her close to His heart.

Also found out today that my cousin's 11 week old daughter is in the hospital for the second time this week with RSV. She is not eating due to being so ill. Our son Malachi had RSV and it is scary...it is also scary to have your child in the hospital. So, my prayers have been with them as well.

I started a new job today - driving Special Needs students to schools in Durango twice a day. I have 4 boys in my vehicle and they are so much fun! However - I had a little "kink" in the plan for starting the day!

Tyler came down with a fever Sunday night. Yesterday he seemed to be better for a brief time but as the day progressed - he got worse. By late last night, he was fighting a high fever of 104.5 and very ill! So...Joel had to call in this morning and not drive his bus route, I had drove my route then got home about 9:30 only turn around and take Tyler back to Durango for an 11:40 Dr. appointment. The doctor confirmed what I had suspected - a very severe case of flu. By the time we got to the Doctor's office - Tyler was so weak and sick that they had to wake him up 3 times to examine him - he couldn't even sit up. From the doctor's it was off to Wal-mart for a perscription - where Tyler slept in the car while we waited for 40 min to get the perscription.

By the time I got back to Bayfield - it was time for me to get the school suburban and go back to Durango to pick up the Special Needs kids. My Dad was able to come sit with Tyler while Joel and I did our afternoon routes - thankfully!!!

Afternoon route took a total of 2 hours and 45 min bringing my TOTAL time in the car today to: 5 hours and 45 min!!! All within about a 45 mile radius....UGH!!!!

So - yes, I am exhausted. I don't like my baby boy being sick and my heart goes out to these other two children who are so ill.

I will admit - I get paranoid about Tyler being ill (see history in My Special Needs Story) because when he does get sick - it is never just a small "bug" or anything. It is usually pretty major and knocks him down pretty good! Seeing him laying on the couch with no energy, hot with fever, and so sad - breaks my heart!

Well - this is by far not the most positive post but it is the way today has gone and what is on my mind...as Scarlet O'Hara said "After all, tomorrow is another day!"