“Carowine”

Caroline at the Fund Run

Tonight I tried to hold back tears as my little boy prayed for his classmate. These words came out of his trembling little lips

“Dear Jesus please help my friend Carowine. Help her to come home and finish out our first grade season. We love her very much”. 

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I officially met Caroline when I started helping out in Cobe’s classroom. She is an unforgettable little girl who I have yet to see have a shy moment. Her little smile cracks me up and I often tell her she is “crazy” (and I mean that in a great way). I actually find myself laughing alot because every time I  try to take a picture with her around she pokes her face in line of the shot RIGHT as I am trying to take a picture of another kid. It never fails! 

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Tonight my heart is so sad and broken and I am writing to BEG anyone who reads this for them to pray for this beautiful girl. She was rushed to Scottish Rite this past weekend with the most severe Pneumonia you can get. She has been placed in the ICU on a breathing tube until her infection gets better. She has been running a high fever and now has a rash that covers her whole body.  My heart breaks for her mom and dad who have hardly left her side. They have not been able to talk with their daughter for almost a week. I know you face what you are handed, you really have no choice, but it is not easy to even imagine, yet to have to face that reality. Please pray for strength for Caroline and for her parents. Pray for endurance to get through this road that has been laid before them.

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Caroline is one of the most silly, vibrant young girls I have ever met. Please pray that God brings her through this quickly. We want to see her finish her first grade “season”

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One of the greatest men!

When you are a little child you never know what kind of family you will marry into. As a young girl, I would often dream about the man I would marry, but with my ADD mind it never went much past that. It was, in fact, partly because of my father-in-law that Tim and I ever got together. If it was not for his love and forgiveness and the ability to laugh off silly mistakes I would never have gotten to know his son…the man of my dreams.

My father-in-law has always been a consistent source of strength and comfort for our family. He has often put us before his own needs, just so we felt loved. The day I married into the family (and quite some time before) I was his daughter. WOW! How lucky was I to have a man that loved me like his own child. I don’t say this lightly. He truly has always loved me like that.

When Cobe came into this world Tim, Sr. jumped at the opportunity to be EVERYTHING to his first grandchild. He interacted and played with him from day one. When Cayden showed up on the scene (Dear Lord!) “grandad” could not wait to step into a “girl’s world” to see what it was all about. He has endured that hair and make-up far more than any man should ever have to and yet, he always had a smile on his face about it. My children love their granddad! They  can hardly wait until we see him again, and cry crocodile tears every time he has to leave. He has created these moments, because he has chosen to give all of his love to my children withholding nothing. Even if it means looking like a flat out fool (sorry but it is true!)

Granddad is the best!

Granddad is the best!

The most important thing I am so wonderfully thankful for, is the man and father that Tim, Sr. was to his own children. He taught my husband how to be a man of God. He taught him perseverance and strength. He showed my husband how to love a woman and never give up. You cannot say that of many men today. He had to adjust to having a daughter when I came into the family. He has had many adjustments with me, I assure you that, but he has always loved with his whole heart, and he has always made decisions for his family out of our best interest.

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Happy Birthday Dad! I love you and am so thankful that even though I did not dream you up, I got everything I could have ever hoped for in a new dad! I am blessed for knowing you and overwhelmed that you love me and my family. I love you! You are the best! AND you are pretty hot too!

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Keep on ROCKING!!!!!

TEACHER OF THE YEAR!!!!!

The Amazing Ms. Schrein!

The Amazing Ms. Schrein! Look how the kids love her!

I LOVE when God does little things that let me know he is thinking of me. You know those little things, that no one else would even think was specifically for us, but I just know they are all woven together in God’s little plan. That is exactly what I feel about the day we met Ms. Schrein (and every day after that involves her). Tim and I showed up for Kindergarten Registration so nervous (o.k. I was nervous). If you have read my blog in the past you KNOW how big of a deal it was to me for the kids to start school. Ms. Schrein came out of the little Kindergarten interview room and took Cayden by the hand. Here they talk to the kids and ask them information just to see where they are at in their learning and so forth. Well apparently my daughter was also nervous because in a rare moment she was speechless. I could not believe it and honestly part of me was a little embarrassed. That performance side in me was coming out and you know how important first impressions are. Well, Ms. Schrein had to summon me back to the interview room where Cayden sat on my lap while I tried to nervously talk her through talking. I think I even threatened (oops!). But it was when Ms. Schrein started encouraging Cayden that her little shy moment faded into a confidence , and before long we couldn’t get her to STOP talking. Gotta love first impressions right? They are never predictable with Cayden.

Then the second time we met Ms. Schrein, was on Kindergarten open house. This was not one of my better days. Cobe misplaced the keys to the car, Tim was in the middle of speaking at work, and we were not going to make open house. Oh I have had finer moments. We lifted every cushion on the couch, checked under ever mattress, looked in the wash machine and dryer, but we could not find the keys. With only minutes left to make open house we found the keys and rushed to the school. I was frazzled and truly felt like the loser mom walking my kids in to the school so late. We missed the classroom tours and my kids were devistated. We caught the tail end of the informational speaking in the library and as we sat there tears started to fall down my face. EMBARRASSING! Not only was I late, freaking out about giving my babies up, but here I was trying to conceal the motherly tears that fell from my eyes. It was not a good day, until we walked out and saw Ms. Schrein. Cayden immediately recognized her and I could tell she felt calmed by her presence.  She kindly walked us down to the classroom (even though she should have been heading home to her family) and gave us a tour. I was taken back that this teacher would take time for us without even knowing us or knowing if Cayden would even be in her class. She made us feel so welcomed and I felt a weight being lifted.

The days leading up to us receiving our letter of who would be Cayden’s teacher grew longer and longer! She just kept saying her teacher was Ms. Schrein but I knew she would be so upset if it were not so. We prayed and prayed and the day the letter came Cayden and I jumped up and down by the mailbox when we read that indeed Cayden’s teacher would be Ms. Schrein!!!!

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The Kids on the first week of school.

From day one Ms. Schrein let Tim and I know that while in her classroom Cayden was like her own child. Not just Cayden, however, but every single classmate in her class. I couldn’t believe it, and in fact was shocked when I actually witnessed Ms. Schrein being the mother hen to my little chick! What  better feeling for a mom saddened by letting her baby go than to know that the teacher she was sending her too would look out for her just as I. That was an overwhelming feeling.  Cayden loves every minute of school.  I couldn’t even get her to skip school. In fact the three days that she had to be out with a 104 fever, I had to bring her to school after the final bell rang so that she could give Ms. Schrein a hug. She just loves her. There is a reason for that. Ms. Schrein cares for each child. She pays attention to their needs. Not just physical needs, but emotional needs as well. She also makes sure that each child has their individual learning needs met. I cannot even imaging that responsibility, but Ms. Schrein takes it on with ease.

Every Kid gets a hug when the leave!

Every kid gets a hug when they leave!

For all of these reasons, I was so proud to witness Ms. Schrein being “crowned” with the title of Teacher of the Year for Dugan Elementary School! Ms. Schrein you are amazing. Every day you face our kids and you take time for them. You love them. That is more than any parent could ask. I know that God gave us a teacher like you for Cayden. She has never had one bad day. She learns well and thrives to achieve goals that you set for her. She is encouraged and motivated by you. She is a good student because you care to take time for her. Tears flood my eyes when I think of the sacrifice you make as a teacher. You are just a small chapter in our life (unfortunately) but we will remember you for our whole life because of who you were and are to our daughter. Thank you. From this parent who never has it together you have touched our lives in a way you will never know. YOU ROCK!

Everyone had a great day on teacher of the year day! Cake and Sprite is a great way to celebrate!

Everyone had a great day on teacher of the year day! Cake and Sprite is a great way to celebrate!

Ms. Schrein encourages and motivates!

Ms. Schrein encourages and motivates!

I do have to give a shout out to Ms. Morris who works right along side with Ms. Schrein. She is amazing as well and should get ParaPro of the year. She keeps things in line and I know Ms. Schrein would say that her classroom would not run the same with out Ms. Morris. We love you too! You guys rock!

A little something about me…

Today my husband informed me that he may never go back into the school with me again. Why? Well yesterday I high fived him in front of a teacher and then later informed the teacher that Tim used to be on the gymnastics team and can do three flips in the air on a trampoline. I thought that is something amazing to be proud of! So today we went to school (I will post about it later) and I was talking to Cayden’s teacher’s husband. Her whole family is amazing, but when I get around new people I talk with out ceasing. I get sooooo nervous. I want to make a good impression and then I end up doing the opposite. Tim kicked me AT LEAST five times under the table as we sat in the room waiting . His hardest kick came when I informed Ms. Schreins family that I stopped at their house when I saw their last name on the mailbox just to see if it was Ms. Schreins house….but I let them know I was not stalking them. Tim informed me that many times I asked questions but did not give anyone the opportunity to answer. I KNOW!!!!! I just get so flabergasted that my mouth travels faster than my brain can stop it.

So my request is to those who have yet to meet me or have just met me, please know that I don’t talk to hear myself, I don’t talk alot because I think I have so many great things to say. I just talk. It is like there is the machine in my brain that is forming scentences and my mouth cannot wait for the brain to process on what I should say or not. So my mouth wins the battle and there it is in the form of words.

Oh, and I am proud that my husband can flip on the trampoline! He rocks!

Overwhelmed!!

Since Tim and I have made our decision to move to Orlando and start a church, our life has been crazy! There have been moments when I am not even sure what we are doing, but know that God is asking  us to do this. When Tim and I got married we never thought WE would be the ones to take such an adventure, but through learning and growing, it seems God has a different plan than what we may have originally planned.

Our decision came one night in October. Although it was rather sudden, this had been on Tim’s heart for quite some time. It was I who did not feel ready. I know how important planning is (even though I am not a great model of it). One starry night (I don’t know why I remember that, but we actually were laying on our newly paved basketball court and it was starry :)) we were talking about some meetings that had gone on and I knew it was our time. Tim knew too, and now there is no turning back.

Everything has been falling into place, but it is tiring and consuming. Sometimes it feels like the end of the finish line is near and other times it feels as though it is a mirage. The last two weeks has been the hardest we have faced yet, since this journey began. We went to Florida to get some things settled. Though there were many wonderful moments, there were things that I know Satan used to attack us . I was feeling overwhelmed. On day 3 of our visit, our car window was smashed in and I had some important camera stuff stolen. It was defeating. It was a reminder of crime.  Though it happens all around us in Atlanta, it had never happened to us directly. Now it was happening in our new home…and it left me feeling a little insecure. Not to mention the fear of my children. They had a real hard time understanding it. Questions all day long of fear came through tears. We had to constantly remind them that God was going to protect us. I knew home owners was going to cover our physical loss, but only AFTER the 500 dollar deductible. That meant some of our stuff could not get replaced right away.  Through this we never doubted our move or anything, it was just disheartening.

One day, while in Florida, we drove around just looking at places to live…not to make definite plans, but just to look. After visiting one apartment complex, we realized that we may be needing to rent a house :). Then we drove around some more wondering exactly what area we should move to and not knowing. Then just deciding baby steps were better for us….but that became overwhelming too.

I must mention I love a party! I like to SHOW UP for a party. I don’t love to plan a party. I am not extremely good at it. I try, but I forget important things and so I would rather show up for a party instead of plan one. This party, this life party, I have no choice in. As much as I would love to show up to FL and walk into a house that Tim had picked out just for me, and have a church to walk into all ready to go, that just is not going to happen.  So it overwhelms, and at times, even though I KNOW with all my heart we are to be in Florida, starting a place where people feel loved by God, I loose focus. I start to doubt exactly how we go about things. Is this really going to work out? Are we really doing what God is telling us?  I feel peace, but when I start to look at EVERYTHING….I get overwhelmed.

This was the trip I also started to feel the reality of the move. I started to miss my friends and the reality of living two streets over, or right down the road. I started to think about not being able to stop by to play Mario, or get breakfast, because we were all out of food :). Things that took me a good amount of time to build in the wonderful state of Georgia. Realizing I would have to start over, well, it was just overwhelming.

Then we got home and minutes after unloading we started cleaning and boxing up stuff. Tim started painting and putting in light fixtures. I was emptying piles…and gathering warehouse of hope stuff. All the while my laundry and dishes are piling up because I am not a multi-tasker and cannot do too many things. So it gets OVERWHELMING. That day a very dear friend called. She had watched our lab all week and was calling ME to thank me for the little t-shirt we had left for her son ( a small price to pay for watching our dog all week 🙂 ). I expressed some of my feelings to her. I knew that this was what God was wanting for us, but gosh I felt like I was drowning. She recited a verse to me from Hebrews.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” Hebrews 10:35-36.

It was just what I needed to hear. That night I read the entire chapter and I just marinated on the words. Now I am not saying it got easier after that…because in fact it got a little harder. When Tim was out of town for the night our wash machine hose came out and soaked all of our carpet in the downstairs area. So now I was trying to catch up on laundry, clean the house, pack, and I also had to soak up water, then wash the towels and then soak the water up again. I cried. I was starting to feel overwhelmed, but I went back to Hebrews and read the verse again and held onto it.

Then Tim and I began discussing some future changes and plans. It got stressful and overwhelming and well, it was just not good timing. So there was distance and it took a day or two to work through that. Satan was doing his best to tear apart what good we do have. It was overwhelming, but I kept thinking about the goal, the path if you will, that has been laid in front of us.  The words “Do not loose your confidence…” kept ringing through my head. I cried and felt overwhelmed, but I knew God had us in His hands and I just needed to take baby steps.

A few days ago Tim came in the house and announced that the mail had come. He set it in front of me. I looked down and noticed a white envelope with Tim and my name on it.  I opened it up and inside was a note wrapped around some twenty dollar bills.  It said:

TIM AND TANDY

THE LORD PUT THIS ON OUR HEARTS AND WE HOPE YOU WILL ACCEPT THIS GIFT.

WE LOVE YOU.

I counted the money and it was 500 dollars!!!! Our deductible!  I cried like I have never cried (I am crying now). Not so much that the financial burden for that moment had been lifted (because let me tell you, for me and my husband it was incredible), but because I did not feel alone. I felt loved. I knew that God was taking time just for us. I knew in that moment that there were people out there who loved Tim and I. They cared enough to sacrifice because they cared about us and this journey that God is taking us on. Tim walked outside and I curled up on the mattress (that was in the kitchen floor along with all the other bedroom furniture in the living room…all the process of getting our house ready) and I cried harder than I have in a long time.

I know things are not going to always be breezy and amazing. My fairy tale world has its flaws. But I am confident in He who has began a good work in me, in us, in those that believe in what we are doing, will be faithful to complete it. There is nothing better than that. Will I cry? Yes often I am sure. Will I get lonely? Of course. Will I feel defeated and overwhelmed? YES! But I will not forget that God is bigger than all that surrounds me. He has shown me time after time after time.

Thank you to those who gave to our family. My heart swells with unexplainable emotion. I cry (not kidding) every time I think of you. I do not know exactly who you are. I do not know why you chose to love Tim and I and the kids like you have, but thank you. You have done far more than provided financial support in all of our craziness. You have given hope and a reminder of how great He is. Wow. That is amazing, and I am left OVERWHELMED!