Sunday, January 29, 2012


Wow! It's been awhile since I blogged...I really haven't disappeared, just life has been BUSY!!

Quick update on life:

Joel - doing AMAZING at leading our Children's Ministry here at FBC Borger. We had an awesome Children's Team Retreat last weekend where we found purpose, direction and were able to start really moving ahead and getting some things up and going!!! We are REALLY excited about church, the ministry, and all God is doing in this area! He will start another semester of classes in the next week or so - looking at transferring from Liberty to Wayland's Virtual Campus but not sure if that's going to pan out or not. It would be SO amazing for him to graduate from Wayland where he first started but at this point we are just ready for him to be DONE and have that past us.

Ronnie - well, I am not "officially" working full-time but have taken a longer term sub job as an aide with a pre-kindergarten teacher (the youth pastor's wife). Her regular aide is out on maternity leave. It is EXHAUSTING but so much fun! Let me tell you, I have a new appreciation for those who work with children 5 days a week! Ha ha! I am also overseeing the lesson plans for Hannah's homeschooling although Joel and I both grade and help her with assignments. I am really LOVING it!!! Seriously, I kind of wish I could take the courses with her but oh well! LOL

Hannah - she is really taking to the homeschool thing! She talks to us more about her assignments and classes than ever before. Since I am working, she takes her school stuff and sits in the lobby outside Joel's office and does her school work. The staff has all been very supportive of us in this endeavor so the church is her "school" for now! Ha ha! She has also built up quite the little babysitting business and is enjoying her own $!

Malachi - doing great. Pretty much in the Jr. high boy thing - friends, band, messy room (which we make him clean), etc.

Kestra - has had the BEST semester ever with good grades, making lots of friends and totally soaking in the Jr High life! Ha ha!

Tyler - ever the fire ball and on the move! He is doing okay in school although would much rather be building, exploring, cooking, anything else really! He has had some bullying issues but for the time being that seems to have been resolved.

In the midst of all this, God has really been speaking to me about re-grouping. I have felt that since the end of Christmas break I have been in "maintenance" mode. I have simply been going through the motion, no real point, no excitement, just go mode. However - this past week has been a WAKE UP CALL!

It started with the retreat! For the first time in a LONG time, I was EXCITED about not just a single area of ministry but about what God was doing in the life of an entire church and how He was going to be bringing about renewal and LIFE!!! I believe that the Children's Ministry may be the catalyst for that, or it may just be one of many little sparks that ignites the FIRE but I am very confident that SOON First Borger will be on FIRE like it hasn't been in some time...hope to post more on that soon.

It continued with the sharing of our "words" in our Sunday School class! As I began to see how God was speaking to each of us individually it dawned on me that as we grow individually and get excited as individuals - we will then get excited as a class, as a church, as a community, etc!!! I was so giddy when I thought about it - the impact will be ASTOUNDING and definitely contribute to the FIRE in our church...

It ended with 65 hours of SICKNESS! Yes, you heard me...for 65 hours I was basically in my bed with a few exceptions and going to the Dr. I got strep throat for the first time EVER and it had me down flat...UGH! Yet, during that time I began to realize that I had just gotten in the routine of going through the motions but the fire, the passion, the PURPOSE was gone. I had let "life" take me from the purpose of my creation - TO BRING GLORY TO GOD.

This morning, the pieces all fit together and I saw this giant picture of what God was showing me the past 9 days...COME BACK TO ME. Because of my "busy-ness" I had gotten away from my quiet time, my joy, my passion, my purpose. I shared with our family today that if the reason we were created was to bring Glory to God - then EVERYTHING we do must center on that purpose. So when we allow anything to stray us from that purpose - we lose site of God. That's what had happened and as it happened to me - my kids followed my lead and it began to happen to them. Suddenly, I realized why there was disconnect, disharmony, etc - the purpose had been lost: TO BRING GLORY TO GOD.

So, this is my "re-group" time: time to capture that purpose and the joy and passion I have for that purpose. God blew the whistle, called the TIME OUT to my life and said "Ok, get your head back in the game! Remember the purpose to what you were called - to bring glory to me. Now, go back to the game BUT REMEMBER THE PURPOSE!"

Monday, January 16, 2012

A WORD for 2012

Okay,so when the same challenge or assignment is given from various area of your life, it's probably a good idea to think about it and probably even do think?I haven't been in my regular Sunday School class for some time due to filling in for some other classes at church but yesterday I was able to make it. The assignment to the class was to find one word to focus on for this year...Interesting, just a few days ago I had read two blogs that talked about doing this SAME thing! So, I have been mulling this over and have had a word that just keeps coming back to me but I wasn't sure....

This morning, I turned on the computer to read another blog I follow, one by my lifetime mentor who posts "just a thought" each Monday morning. Guess what her blog was about today? YUP...One word for the year 2012. That settled it - I knew that God was calling me to have a word and to focus on it at least for this first part of 2012. Even more, I KNOW what the word is...I don't really like it, it's not something that comes naturally to me, yet it has already been a recurring theme in my life this year - yes the year is ONLY 16 days old and this has come up several times...Ready? Here it is...ugh...I don't want to, it will stretch and bend me, it may hurt at times, but my word.....FLEXIBILITY... There, I did it, I got it out! Well, to take it from a spiritual aspect, I thought "Here is my out, it's not in the Bible so I won't have to do it!" Just to be sure, I decided to Google Flexibility in the Bible...BLAH!!!!! There were so many, the exact term flexibility is used but the trait, the characteristic is there...being willing to lay aside what one had planned and go a different direction...To top it off, do you know the NUMBER 1 passage that was listed....Genesis 12...I blogged on that passage back in June 2011 Yes, the passage that applied to you think that perhaps God was preparing me for this new year and this new word? Here are some areas in which I have already had to learn to be flexible this year:

1. Schooling options for Hannah: I never would have thought that any of my children would be in anything other than "public" schools. So, to even look at something different took us off guard. Then we were CERTAIN that she would go to the Christian school here in Borger - that door was shut for a couple of reasons but the biggest would be that they didn't have openings. After that, it was an on-line school. I was SO sure of this that I went ahead and withdrew Hannah from HS and we began to prepare for that. I can honestly say that God is the one who led us to withdraw her. THEN...we found out that there is an extensive waiting list for the on-line school and the odds of her getting in - slim to none. Guess what that left? To full on homeschool...not something I EVER imagined us doing and yet here we are and ALL 3 of us, Joel, Hannah and my self, are excited about it!!!

2. Areas of ministry: Just to be honest, I have struggled since we moved of exactly where I need to be in terms of "hands on ministry". If you spend any time at all around me you will learn that there are two areas that are close to my heart - Moms of young children and Special needs children and their families (even special needs adults). I am PASSIONATE about these areas, I get all excited, giddy, and hyper when I think of ways in which to minister to them! Since moving here, a lot of time and effort has been spent on getting the overall children's ministry in place...not an area that I get even remotely excited about. I do love my preschoolers...but beyond that I just am not called to the general children's ministry. I CAN do it, and I do it when needed but it's not what excites me...unless...there is a child with special needs! Then my heart melts, my arms love them and I want to think "How can we reach them?" This is ANY type of special needs....learning disabled, behavior, physical, emotional, etc. I also get REALLY excited about helping moms who have young children be better moms and wives! I get them, I was there, I resonate with the "no adult conversations". Anyway, a lot of time was spent on just getting settled and going and I just wasn't feeling like I was "fitting" in the ministry picture....Until...I asked Joel this weekend where he could use me, where did he really need me the most. He responded, "Well definitely still with moms of the younger kiddos but I have been really praying about a structured ministry to families of special needs children - do you think you would be interested?" DUH!!! He KNEW the answer...just needed the timing!! So...that is my "new" direction!

3. To work or not to work: This is ALWAYS the question with me! I have a degree in Business Management and Marketing, I love the business world and specifically Human Resources. Yet, since moving here, there really hasn't been a lot of openings for that area. On the other hand, I have been offered SEVERAL jobs in the schools as a para-professional aide...unfortunately they were mostly helping in Jr High Math...NOT my thing! One was with preschoolers with special needs - definitely an area I enjoy but the timing, pay and work environment really weren't something I was ready for. I don't have to work full-time but do need some part time work. I am still working for my Dad typing appraisals and am thankful for that even if it is not with people. I am also FINALLY able to sub here and that is okay, but again not my thing...However, every time I have looked into another job the door has shut...hard! In talking with Joel and praying over it - we are both open to me working again full-time BUT there are some very specific criteria that we feel need to be met for it to work for our family...a) In Borger or surrounding area(not commuting too far) b) reasonable and regular hours - no weekends or late nights c) flexible (Ha ha-there's that word) we often are out of town for ministry d) pay a minimum of $30,000/ year e) in the Business or HR field. We believe that if the Lord wants me to work full-time outside the home - there will be a job that meets these areas! So - have to be FLEXIBLE and wait for the right job!!!

There you have it! My word for 2012 is FLEXIBILITY! I want to be willing to bend and change directions or plans should the Lord lead!!! If you have a word for the year - I would love to hear it!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Detours, Divertions, Twists...

So, you know when you think you have the path all figured out and are going along just fine until...wham! Things change, take you off guard and you are like - hmmm... Okay God, what's this mean? Well that is sort of what has happened with us the past week in more than one area of life. Now, no need to panic - not anything life shattering or earth shaking, just little diversions and twists that we didn't see.

So, my last post was about Hannah and the BIG decision to enroll her in an on-line school. Well, Monday I began to panic just a bit because I hadn't heard from the school and didn't really know what the deal was. It was a week before classes and we had heard I called.

The response I got - she has everything in, she is just on a waiting list until their are openings; shouldn't be a big deal. WHAT??? I didn't realize there was a waiting list and it is a week before the semester starts...but ok. So, based on that conversation - Joel and I began to talk and pray about our "Plan B". We then decided that because Hannah is already doing SO much better being at home, and has really had a positive attitude then keeping her home regardless of the circumstances is really the best option. Yet, in the back of both of our minds, we believed that the on-line school would still come through...

Today is Thursday, still no word from the school. I decided to call again...same response but a little more info, she is 1 of 126 on the waiting list! AHHH! They have until the 27th of this month to see who has a spot and who doesn't and we have no idea where she is on the waiting list. So....we decided to begin implementation of Plan B. We had already started her Bible Course this week that we added on our own. We like the curriculum because it is easy for parents to do and yet challenging for her as well as offering a lot of flexibility.

I still paniced just a bit but after a GREAT conversation with a wonderful friend who not only homeschools but was homeschooled her entire school career - I am encouraged and even EXCITED about this new opportunity....

Twist # 2: Based on the above situation, I am going to have to rethink a little on my subbing. I am still going to sub but will really have to be consistent on only doing 3 days a week so that the other days I can be involved somewhat in Hannah's schooling. I am currently comitted to a long-term sub position that is through the end of January but after that, I will more than likely go to only 3 days a week. We have already had several people offer helpful advice and ideas for homeschooling - all of which we are taking and considering while at the same time realizing that our family is unique and we need to tailor it to what works for US. I say this because should you offer us advice - we welcome it - but please understand that we may or may not use it. We really feel like we need to have a tailored program for HANNAH and her personality and some of the issues she has been facing.

Twist #3: Tyler has also been struggling at school. We were very blessed in Bayfield to have a Special Education teacher that was AMAZING beyond words as well as to be in a District that was top of the line and wonderful. Borger, has not been quite that experience. We have had some issues with the curriculum and methods they are using with Tyler. There have been some communication issues with the teachers (although somewhat better). In addition to this, just this week Tyler told us about some bullying that he is getting. All this adds up to...a very stressed mom and a very concerned dad. Fortunately, there is another smaller school district nearby that Tyler possibly has the option of going to! We have heard that this district is a lot better in their special education and what they can over for Tyler. We are beginning to research this possibility and consider moving him there.

I know some may be wondering so why not send Hannah to this other school district or why not homeschool Tyler and if you are having issues in the school why leave Kestra and Malachi where they are. The answer simply is this: We know that each of our children are unique, learn differently, have different social needs, and react differently to situations. Hannah needs the atmosphere of home and the ability to learn at her pace and be challenged. Tyler is more active, has some unique learning needs and disabilities that we believe a professional teacher can deal with more effectively. As for Kestra and Malachi - they are currently doing GREAT in the school they are in. Kestra is really thriving and overcoming a lot of the learning delays she has had in the past. She is a very social person that thrives on and is challenged by being in class with other students. Malachi is doing well too and we really want to see him learn to take a stand and be a leader among his peers. It is still very much our belief that we need to make decisions based on EACH child and not all of them as a, yes there is a chance that we will have kids in two different school districts as well as one at home! Ha ha - that just SOUNDS chaotic but then again - that's pretty much the way we roll! LOL

Through all of this, I have really had a peace that God is at work and we are doing the right thing. Yes, it makes me nervous to start homeschooling - much less at the HS level but I know that God is in it and "I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength." Phil 4:13. Yes, I am more than a little nervous at the thought of pulling Tyler out mid year and switching schools - but again, I believe that God is calling us to at least explore this as an option.

We have had some potential of surprise turns in other areas as well but I will have to delay posting on those until a later date...suffice it to say, God is at work in the Arrington Family and in Borger Tx....I can't WAIT to see what's around the next corner!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Those BIG parenting decisions....

You know those times as a parent where you know you have a BIG decision to make and you REALLY want to get it right? Well, Joel and I have found ourselves faced with one of those decisions and yet we are so very thankful for a Heavenly Father who has been there through the entire process!

Okay, first let me back up a few months to set the stage as to what led us to this point....

Way back in March or April, Joel and I began to talk some about the possibility of leaving our ministry in Bayfield Colorado. It was a big move for us as we had been in Bayfield for four years, LOVED the people and the community, our kids were secure and established in the schools - had friends and were thriving. As we discussed the possibility of moving, I made a statement to Joel that SHOULD we move - I felt like we would need to offer Hannah specifically the option of either homeschooling or on-line high school. In terms of our children's education we have always said that we would have them in public schools as long as the district was good, the kids were thriving, and we didn't have red flags.

When we moved to Bayfield in 2007 Hannah struggled A LOT! She was in 5th grade and really got off to a rough start. However, after the first year she sort of found her place, had a few friends and was beginning to thrive. So, fast forward to March and our conversation about moving - we knew that given Hannah's specific personality moving would be potentially hard and that she may have a hard time.

In June/July as we made plans to move to Borger, I will be honest and say that both Joel and I got lost in the move and forgot about our conversation about giving Hannah the option of on-line/homeschooling for High School. Hannah was excited about the potential of a new town, new school etc and so we just went forward with enrolling her in Borger High School. Looking back, I have to say that we probably should have put some more thought and consideration into what direction to go with Hannah's education...however we didn't.

We have now completed one full semester and Hannah has really struggled. The school is bigger, there are a lot of cliches, we had hoped she would make the basketball team but she didn't, she has had to deal with a lot! I won't go into detail because that is her story to tell but suffice it to say it has been enough to break a Mama's heart!

Shortly before break Joel and I began to talk in detail about alternative options for Hannah. The best we could tell we had 4 options besides Borger HS.

1. We could send her to a smaller school district near by - still a public school, but smaller and a little better off financially.

2. We could look into enrolling her in the local Christian School here in Borger.

3. We could enroll her in some sort of on-line High School.

4. We could home school her.

As we began to pray through and discuss each option, we were able to narrow some of them down. Enrolling her in the Christian School was not an option for January because they didn't have openings and we had some concerns about their rules. Full on Home schooling wasn't feasible given the fact that Hannah really is smart and needs upper level AP classes and it would be hard for Joel and I to help her through! So - this left us with two options: Change school districts or on-line school.

Last night, I began to just look at some on-line schools. I looked at Liberty Academy which is a Christian on-line High School through Liberty University. The curriculum looked amazing but it was a bit on the pricey side. I then looked at a K12 High School our brother-in-law recommended - Texas Virtual Academy. This is a public on-line school that is more like a charter school and is free! As we began looking at it - Joel and I were more and more excited. It had everything we had been looking for: parent involvement, upper level course work, flexibility and yet structured to a degree, and it would provide her the opportunity to expand her writing skills.

This morning, Joel had Hannah look at the web site and got her input. She was EXCITED! We talked about the fact that this would still involve structure, she would still have to get up and dressed every day, it was a lot of self-discipline and wouldn't be easy; yet we all felt like it was the best option to pursue....we just weren't expecting it to go as quickly as it did!

I filled out the on-line application and within 5 minutes we had a call for a pre-enrollment conference! Tomorrow Joel will fax the remaining paperwork and on Wednesday Joel will go with Hannah to withdraw her from Borger HS. TVA starts classes for the second semester on Jan 17 so that will be Hannah's first day.

As with any decision, there are some down points as well. For us, the biggest was social interaction. Hannah is by nature an introvert but we know that she does need social interaction with kids her age. So, primarily this will come through her youth group but we are also hoping to get to know some other High School students who are home schooled or go to TVA in the area. She will also have the flexibility to do some babysitting during the day and/or get a part time job.

Another adaptation that we are adding is that of some Biblical Studies via traditional homeschooling. We really want Hannah to learn and grow in her walk with the Lord and this is a good opportunity to teach her to have a Biblical World View.

You may be wondering about our other kids. At this point, we have decided to leave them enrolled in Borger schools. Yes, we still have some concerns but we just aren't ready to pull them we have creatively labeled ourselves a "Blended School Family"! Ha ha! We are of the opinion that each of our children are unique in their personalities and needs and therefore, are totally willing to consider individual options for each one of them. So, should the need arise to consider alternative education for any or all of the other 3 we will definitely do that.

This is a whole new experience for us. We have never home schooled and although this is an On-line School it still is heavily dependent on the involvement of parents so there will be an element of home school. We are excited and nervous and definitely welcome prayers! For those of you who home school - we may very well be in contact!

Goals, Resolutions, Plans???

We have reached a new year...with each new year, you hear the question "What are your New Years Resolutions?" or "What goals do you have for the New Year?" I will be honest...I struggle with setting Resolutions or Goals. Why? For this simple reason, if I set them then I am more likely to fail..thus disappointing myself. Now, before you start YES if I involve the Lord and make him a part of my goals or resolution then in His power I can do all things...Yet, as good as that sounds, if we are honest we know that it is HARD to lay things out in front of the Lord. may be wondering what the purpose of this post is. The purpose is this...I am forgoing on making goals or resolutions but instead laying out a PLAN for the New Year. Still making the Lord the center of the plan and seeking HIM for guidance and direction but instead of just laying out goals - I want to have a specific plan to reach those goals!
Therefore, here are some of the crucial elements of my plan:

1. Seek the Lord with all of my heart. I know this may sound a bit cliche but let me explain. 2011 was filled with MANY moments of lack of trust on my part, times where I was filled with doubt and depression that I have never experienced before. In order to overcome those moments, I had to truly seek to rediscover and experience the Lord in a way that I have honestly never done before. I had to literally reintroduce myself to Jesus by studying the book of John in depth, chapter by chapter. If you have never studied John in depth - I highly encourage you to do so! You will fall so deeply in love with Jesus!!! So - in my plan for 2012 - I want to SEEK HIM like never before - not just go through the motions or the ritual but to truly seek him in a new and in depth way.

2. Develop MEANINGFUL relationships. This is a part of the plan that is going to be a little more difficult because it will require laying aside my "dependance" on the on-line world and seek face to face relationships with the people that are in my "world". Don't get me wrong, I am not walking away from FB or my blog but I want to be investing in the lives of those the Lord has brought across my path by spending as much or more time with them as I do on-line! My method of this is to make it a point to spend quality time with people each week - lunch, a coke, a walk, a phone call, etc.

3. Share the Gospel with all people I encounter...again, this may seem obvious but I want to be intentional in sharing Christ. God has called Joel and I into lifetime vocational ministry and second to my role as wife/mother I believe this needs to be my TOP priority. It has slipped down on the list due to my own doubt/fears (as mentioned above) but God has laid it on my heart to jump back in and get to work! So, whether through my life, teaching a Bible Study, encouraging people, etc I want to share the Gospel!

These are the 3 main steps of my plan...of course I DO have some other goals I would really like to accomplish but I am confident that if I will stick with these 3 steps then many of the other things will fall into place as's a few examples:

a. Lose Weight and be healthier - as I seek the Lord and get to know Him, I will long to honor Him in every area of my life - including my health!

b. Time with Family - as I seek to develop meaningful relationships, I will develop them with my kids and husband as well as extended family.

c. Work towards paying of debt - as I seek to know the Lord, I will want to honor him through my finances.

d. Get into the community - as I seek to share the Gospel, I will want to expand my "world" view!

"Be strong and couragous for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

This has been a life verse for awhile now but this year I want to apply it to this plan - I want to be STRONG in my efforts to implement this plan and COURAGOUS as I try new things that are out of my comfort zone....I CAN because God IS with me!!!!