Sunday, December 30, 2007


This was taken at the basketball game Friday night. The women's basketball team defeated LSU, the #8 team in the country. It was so fun!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wanna make it snow?

If you want it to snow, do the following (in no particular order):

1. Put a spoon under your pillow.
2. Flush an ice cube down the toilet.
3. Wear your PJ's inside out.
4. Do the snow dance.

Well, Claire thinks so anyway.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What kind of kids are you growing?

Stephen and I will be co-teaching a class with two other couples at our church this January called Growing Kids God's Way. We have taken the class twice and were so blessed by what we learned. When the opportunity to teach came about, we jumped at the chance. We are so excited to be able to share our experiences and what we have learned about parenting with others. We, by no means, feel like we have it all together. But we have been blessed by this material, and we feel like we have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Anyway, the last time we took the class, my friend Bonnie shared this story with us and I was thinking about it today. It has new meaning to me, especially as I am getting ready to homeschool. Also, today, I have been dealing with the "uniqueness" of my children in a not so pleasant way ;) I wanted to share this story with you, and I hope it blesses you as you seek to raise your kids in the image of God.

Gifts from God
by Max Lucado

A gardener gave a seedling to his friend, the orange grower. "Consider this a gift."

An orchestra conductor presented a package to her favorite cellist. "Just because I appreciate your work," she told her.

An artist thanked a plumber for his neighborliness by giving him a present.

And so the orange grower, the cellist, and the plumber unwrapped their gifts.

The orange grower planted the seedling, anticipating oranges. After all, he grew oranges, so this must be an orange-tree-to-be. But the plant spread into bushy, clustered branches. The orange grower couldn't coax a single orange out of his grove. He sprinkled it with orange-tree fertilizer, sprayed it with orange tree bug spray. He even poured orange juice on the soil. But, alas, no oranges. Tomatoes, yes. But oranges, no. He felt like a failure.

The cellist empathized. She had expected a cello. She was somewhat correct. The package contained an accordion. She treated the accordion like a cello, setting the base on the floor and running her bow across the keys. Noise came forth, but no music. She was less than enthused.

As was the plumber. He expected a gift of wrenches and hammers, but he was given a brush and palette. Puzzled, he set out to repair a leaky pipe with his new tools. But brushes don't open valves, and a palette won't tighten joints. He painted the plumbing and grumbled.

The orange grower raised tomatoes, but he preferred oranges. The cellist made sounds, but not music. The plumber painted the pipe, but didn't fix it.

Each assumed the gift would be what they knew rather than what the giver gave.

Each year God gives millions of parents a gift, a brand new baby. They tend to expect oranges, cellos, and plumbing tools. Heaven tends to distribute tomatoes, accordions, and paint supplies. Moms and Dads face a decision. Make our children in our image? Or release our children to follow their God-given identities?

God prewired your infant. He scripted your toddlers strengths. He set your teen on a trajectory. God gave you an eighteen year research project. Ask yourself, your spouse, and your friends: what sets this child apart? Childhood tendencies forecast adult abilities. Attend carefully to the unique childhood of your child. Uncommon are the parents who attempt to learn--and blessed are their children.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Really, God? Homeschool?

That's right. I believe with all my heart that God is calling us to homeschool. We homeschooled Jordan for the beginning of Kindergarten, and I loved it. But we got some misinformation from the schoolboard and it freaked me out, so I put him in school the next day. Well, it has been in the back of my mind ever since. Things that have happened over the last two years have now become very clear to me. Is this crazy? Maybe. Could it possibly not be God that I am hearing, buy my own desire? Maybe. But, as Beth Moore says, if I'm going to err, let me err on the side of faith. I won't go into all the details here, because frankly, it would be a really long, boring story. But we are confident that this is what God is calling us to do. Would you pray for us as we begin to plan for this journey? We thought, at first, we would let them finish out the year where they are. But some things have happened over the last week or so that have changed our minds. So, after the holidays, I will be a homeschooler!!! I am very excited, but we have a lot to do to get ready.

On another note, my baby turned 8 today! Jordan Andrew Shirley was born eight years ago today and I simply cannot believe it. Those of you with babies at home who think this time will last forever, it doesn't. But it does get better and better.

Jordan, I love you so much. I am so incredibly proud of you and the young man you are becoming. You are bright, unbelievably smart, funny, sweet, a fantastic big brother. You love to read. You love to learn. You love sports and playing soccer. You love God and are beginning to understand what that means. I am praying for your journey to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. He loves you more than I could ever describe to you. I thank God for picking me to be your mommy!!! And yes, I will always call you my baby! Happy Birthday!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another sweet baby to pray for

Tonight, I went with my mother-in-law to the Farm Bureau Christmas dinner. One of the agents that was there has a baby girl named Larsen. I think she is four months old. The director asked that we pray for her because she needed a miracle. After the dinner, I went to the baby's father, Frank, and asked him how I could pray for his baby because no details were given. He said that all he could think of was that they need strength. Larsen has a rare genetic disorder that is causing her pulmonary arteries not to grow or function. The doctors have just recently told them that there really isn't anything more they can do for her. They have given her one, maybe two years (I tnink this is what he said) to live. Please pray for Frank, Tamara and baby Larsen. I can't imaging what they are going through. I don't know why God keeps leading me to these people, but I do know that I am responsible to pray for them. Maybe God knows I will not keep this prayer request to myself.

Blessed be your Name...

When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your Name.

You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be your name.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sweet Claire

First of all, Claire got bangs! She has been begging me for quite some time. I have always had bangs, and I have also always wanted to not have them. So, when I had Claire, I said that I would never let her have them. Then I realized how silly that was. She loves them! Today, after her telling me for the 1000th time she wanted bangs, I said, "Why do you want bangs so bad? Who has bangs that you like?" She looked at me with that classic Claire look and
said, "Duh. Y-O-U!" I melted.

Second, I don't know how well you can tell in this picture, but Claire has been going around the house and finding things to give as presents. She has wrapped them all in construction paper, and written "To (name) from Claire." Yesterday, as she was wrapping, she said, "Mom, know what my favorite part about Christmas is this year? Giving presents. Because giving is more important than getting." Took the words right out of my mouth, baby girl.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I have been reminded again of how incredibly blessed my life is. Not from a financial standpoint, although I need nothing. I just have so many blessings that I can't even begin to list them all. I was thinking today about Christmas and how we aren't going to be able to provide everything our kids want. But then as I was putting all of our sheets back on our beds, I thought of all the children in the world who don't have beds. I thought of all the children who don't have toys as I was moving the kids toys off their beds to put their sheets back on. I started thinking about having food in my kitchen anytime I want something to eat. I have amazing friends, some of whom I have only met through this blog and others, who I count among my greatest blessings. I have an unbelievable family, on my side and Stephen's. My FOUR kids are all healthy, happy and beautiful. I could go on and on.

The reason for this post is not to brag about how great my life is. Lately, I have found myself in a very negative place about where we are in our life, and I have just been reminded that I have absolutely NO reason to complain. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn't be more grateful.

Please pray for the Luce family tonight, as they welcomed their precious baby girl, Poppy Joy, into the world yesterday, three hours before she went to be with Jesus. Their website is Also, another famliy with the same situation (Trisomy 18) is welcoming their baby boy, Tristan, tomorrow morning. Please pray for them as well.