A Better Plan...

We are finally settling in to our new home and conforming to a brand new pace of life. No more traffic... hectic schedules... long days out of the house... running to get fast food or carry-out for dinner (the nearest fast food restaurant is 30 miles away)... And we LOVE it! Of course, there are a few things we miss - the children still ask for in-n-out regularly and we miss our friends dearly. I would love to be able to attend CBS again - but the new life we have gained by moving here has been well worth the cost. We have a TON of family time now, we have survived our first "official" semester of homeschooling and we are surrounded by a wonderful cloud of witnesses here that encourage us in the Lord daily! God has been so good to us~ and yet we are so undeserving of his mercy and grace. While watching the movie "Up" today with the children I realized that this is our Paradise Falls. We have arrived. Thank you, Lord!

Of course, the transition has not been without a few hiccups. One day I am sure we will look back in laugh about them.

Just about a week after we moved into our new home, our black lab puppy (about 20 weeks old) was hit by a car and killed. The kids were devistated (as well as our 3 year old yellow lab) and Abigail kept saying, "Mommy, Lilah's cold...Lilah come home." This melted my husband's heart and 2 days later we had a new Lilah...a 6 WEEK OLD black lab puppy. Now let me tell you - 6 weeks old is WAY TOO YOUNG! But it was done and we loved her and Abigail was totally satisfied that Lilah was back home. About 3 weeks after our new Lilah came to live with us she was taken right out of our front yard. Apparently the town hoodlum needed a Christmas gift for his girlfriend and thought our puppy was the perfect thing! Unfortunately, we had no idea then who he was or why our puppy never came back from her potty outing. As daddy threw the 2 smaller kids in the car to go searching for her, Nicole and I stopped to pray for our puppy's safe return home. Nicole was confident that God would answer our prayers and that Lilah would be returned that night. Worried that she may be let down, I explained that we don't always get what we pray for...that sometimes God has a better plan for us and it was possible that God had a better plan for Lilah's life. Nicole looked at me a little funny and said, "You mean, maybe it would be better for Lilah to come home tomorrow instead of today?" I could only imagine the disappointment she would feel if we didn't find our puppy.
The next morning, David called the radio station to put out word and printed out a flier to put out at all the local hot-spots. Just as he was about to leave, we got a call from a young lady who said she had heard from a friend that we were missing our puppy and she thought that it was at her house. She brought our Lilah home at lunch time and we were thrilled! I guess God's better plan was to bring Lilah home "tomorrow instead of today."

As always, I was extremely humbled by God's grace towards the prayers of my children. Oh that one day I may have faith like a child...

Mark 10:14
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

James 1: 6-7
But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.

Lord, please help me to have faith that is as great as my 5 year old. Thank you.

The Beautiful Ballerina herself...

Samson and DeLilah together again.



"Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid."

John 14:27

As a Mom of 3 children under the age of 5, I often find myself seeking just a moment of peace in the middle of a hectic and noisy day. The wonderful chaos that consumes our home can be overwhelming every once in a great while (smirking). I try to keep us on a pretty tight schedule to keep our home running smoothly. But with speech therapy and ballet, bouts of illness and my husband's crazy work schedule things can easily get off course. As I contemplated John 14:27 this morning and considered my general level of "peace," I began to wonder what I was missing. I realized that as long as things go as planned - in other words - my way...I am a generally peaceful person. I can be productive and pleasant to be around. But the minute things slip out of my hands...it all goes out the window! I find myself running for shelter and craving that "moment of peace" to get me through the day. But what exactly is the source of that peace? My favorite song on the iPod (obviously tuning out the screaming in the background), 5 minutes on facebook while the children watch tv (which always turns into 20), a good workout at the gym, a nice big cold soda (hey, at least it isn't a beer, right), a telephone conversation with a friend? These may bring you peace in the moment....and if you are lucky it may even last for an hour...but is that really enough to get through the day? God tells us that He gives us peace, "not as the world gives..." The world, and things of this world, offer peace that is temporary and conditional. Peace that is rooted in our Lord and Saviour is unconditional and everlasting. No matter what comes our way we can have peace because we know that God is with and knows our current condition. We also know that He sees the big picture especially when we cannot. Furthermore, we know that He (and only He) has our best interest at heart and wants so much to bless us and prosper us. Only when we know these things and keep them close to our hearts can we trust Him with our lives, our circumstances, our disappointments, shortcomings, and chaotic lives and then truly experience His peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7). Peace that says...my house is sold and we have no idea where or when we are moving and that's ok by me. Peace that says...we are in God's hands and He will provide for our needs. That's the kind of peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace!

Question: Where do you run to for peace? The King of Kings or a temporary fix? Ask God to show you how to truly abide in Him today so that you may experience His unconditional and everlasting peace!

Let not your hearts be troubled, my dear friends,
neither let them be afraid!



That's right...I am a slacker.

Everyone gasps...

Never suspected it, did you?

It's true...I have been a horrible slacker when it comes to blogging. I didn't even wish you all a Merry Christmas this year! I am so sorry, so very sorry! Can you ever forgive me? After all...it's not like I am raising a 3 ring circus...oops, I mean 3 beautiful children, a yellow lab puppy (commonly referred to as Marley reincarnate), managing a home, and juggling my husband's constantly changing schedule. I really do sit around and eat bon-bons all day. Really. (Actually,I am horrified at the thought...bon-bons are gross).

So, have you forgiven me yet? Things really have been hectic! We had an awesome Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had a visit from our cousins on the East Coast and my kiddo's thoroughly enjoyed playing with Peter and Anna. My family was here for a total of 3 weeks and that was fantastic! The kids had a blast w/ Mimi and Bumpa and Aunt Ashley.

Since the start of a new year, we have changed our schedule a bit. Nicole is attending ICAP (Inland Christian Academic Program) for a Kindergarten 101 class. This is a homeschooling Co-op close to our home. She goes to class for one hour each Wednesday. While Nicole is in her class, Joshua goes to the "preschool room" for snacks and fun with some new friends. Fortunately, Mom got assigned to work in the preschool room the hour he is there...or else I am afraid he wouldn't be so excited about it. We are gearing up to officially start school with Nicole in the fall.

Here is the funny thing about me and homeschooling. I am a very type A, uptight person. I like a schedule. I like to know things in advance. And I do not like to take things lightly. But surprisingly...I am not the least bit stressed about how or when or what curriculum I am going to use for Nicole next year. And for that matter, I am not sure that I will even register her for kindergarten next year. (In CA you do not have to take kindergarten and you do not have to "register" for school purposes until you are 6). We may just do kindergarten for fun! She has already met most of the kindergarten objectives in "preschool," so we may just plug along at our own pace. My sister-in-law was astounded when I shared all of this with her - I think because she knows my personality so well. I explained that this overwhelming peace...peace that surpasses my understanding... is how I KNOW that the Lord has "called" me to homeschool. The conviction is strong and I am certain the He will not only make a way, but show the way as well!

Aside from schooling changes, Nicole has moved up to "the big girl" ballet class. She was previously dancing in the "tiny-tots" class and was invited to move up to the "pre-ballet" class (for 5-7 year olds). She looks so tiny next to all those 7 year olds! She is doing a great job though and even got fitted for her recital costume last night. She says the class is "hard work" but fun. She has even made a new friend, Riley, who is in both her ballet class and her ICAP class.

Joshua is...well...he is still Joshua and we love him more and more each day! Check out his blog http://4theloveofjosh.blogspot.com for more info on latest developments with his health/ diet/ and speech. Just a few weeks ago he tried out a Karate Class at Sunridge Christian Karate. We were excited for him to work on his balance and coordination while increasing his confidence and building character. Unfortunately, he isn't quite ready for the "seriousness" of karate lessons...even in the very young ages. That being said - it was amazing to see him around other little boys...talking and playing and being silly! I never would have imagined that! The instructors were great and offered for us to bring him back every 8 weeks to try a class again and said we can repeat that as many times as necessary until he is ready. In the meantime we are working on discipline at home...standing still, sitting still, and Yes Sir!

And Abigail - it breaks my heart to type the words...she is turning 1 tomorrow. Where did this year go? I cannot even believe a whole year has come and gone. Abigail is the spitting image of Nicole as a toddler. They look the same and...scary enough, their personalities are much the same. Abi is very strong-willed and determined. She is very close to walking and is a super fast crawler who looks for any chance she can find to escape! She maneuvers the stairs with ease and loves mischief. I spend most of my day chasing her around trying to keep her from making (or cleaning up) messes. (Note: see the first paragraph about me eating bon-bons on the couch). She adores her big sister and brother and would follow them anywhere...including into danger, so I have to keep a very close eye on her!

OK, so that is enough update for now. You have my word - I'll be back to post again soon! I have a few devotionals to post and more updates on Joshua's blog as he has really been my focus these past few months! Thanks to you all for your grace - even those of you who pestered and harassed me to get back to blogging :-) Talk to you again soon!

Love, Leah