Today's was entitled Yesterday...as we finish 2008 and embark on the adventures of 2009 I want to share what Chambers has to say and hopefully it will strike you as it struck me.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today's was entitled Yesterday...as we finish 2008 and embark on the adventures of 2009 I want to share what Chambers has to say and hopefully it will strike you as it struck me.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Friday, December 5, 2008
Unless the Lord builds a house its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, eating food
earned by hard work; certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves. Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in
one's youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.
I love that God wants me to get sleep!! That was such a revelation to me when studying this Psalm. Many times I get so caught up in all the things to do, especially at this time of year that I forget to rest and I forget that God wants me to rest. The other part of this psalm that I truly love is the part about my children being a Heritage from the Lord. I need to remind myself of that from time to time as well. When I get frustrated with behaviors or caught up in the busyness of getting school accomplished it is easy for me to forget what a blessing they truly are to my life. And my quiver is truly full with arrows for serving Jesus. I need to also remember to always build my house on the firm foundation of Christ so that I am not laboring in vain.
In the last session Beth talks about laying down things that we think are necessary but are not necessarily what God wants us to be doing. This is something that over the last year I have actually worked very hard to do. I know that I still could use some work on this but I'm pleased to say that He has taught me to pray much more fervently before I take something new on, and to make sure that it is really His will and not my own. My prayer for all of you that read this blog is that you would take the time to evaluate the "things" in your life that take up your time and be prayerful about whether or not they are truly what God wants for you. In the coming weeks as we prepare for Christmas I want to be purposeful about the things we choose to do and remember as the days pass why we celebrate this holiday we call Christmas, I hope I can pass some of that on to my quiver in the process!!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I am still sad and not looking forward to collecting and restoring my address book but I'm coming around to the fact that there is a reason for everything and perhaps God is trying to teach me a lesson. Maybe I have gotten a little too comfy around my technology and have spent a bit too much time in the vortex which is the internet. Perhaps I am to teach you all a lesson about making back up copies of contact files and printing out emails that have fun recipes instead of assuming they will always be there. Or maybe He is just longing for me to remember that all things on this earth are temporary and if I'm going to put my trust in something it should be Him. Whatever the reason I'm sure it is for my own good right??
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial Statue
Our trooper kiddos before our long trek back to the subway. They did an outstanding job with all the walking that we did. Boy were we happy to get to the metro station though...wheew!
A nice view of the White House from over by the Washington Monument.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
A very nice lady was kind enough to snap this one for us. The sun was still in the way in the east so it was a little challenging to be able to actually get us and the building in the photo without tremendous glare.
This was taken near the reflecting pool by the Capitol. That was something that I had forgotten was there. I knew there was one between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial but I didn't remember this one. Very pretty area.
The Capitol Squirrels...we had fun with the kids pointing out different squirrels. There were the Capitol Squirrels, the White House Squirrels, the Lincoln Memorial Squirrels...you get the idea. What can I say we don't see a lot of squirrels in Arizona...and we are kind of dorks!! :)
The Library of Congress
Friday, October 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Robert was able to help Brent with morning chores (way too early for me to even think about helping). Then we all took our turns gathering, washing, weighing and cartoning eggs. All of the children loved pitching in. But our Sweet Ana was definitely the most eager to get down and dirty with the chickens. I was amazed at her fearlessness, pulling chickens off their nests and scooping up as many eggs as her basket would hold. I think we have a future farmer in our family!!
Here is our sweet farm girl doing her thing in the egg mobile. It was her favorite time of the day.
Sweet friends Peter and Samuel. They had missed each other so much. Samuel was wonderful about showing the boys all the ins and outs of farm life. What a blessing to be able to turn the kids loose and let them ride bikes and just explore without fear. Something definitely not possible in the city.
Here are Mr. Brent's happy cows. One of the most amazing sites to behold. Each day around 3:00 Brent goes to move the cows to a new area of grass. They are surrounded by electric fence, and feast on a diet of yummy grass. Each day when Brent goes to move them they frolic and can't wait to follow him to the new pasture. It is quite a site to see 500 cows following a man as if he were the pied piper. Robert got to call them, one of the days that we were there and he loved every minute of it.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Had to get a shot from out the window...Robert says it turned out great.
Robert sneaked a quick peak inside to get this photo.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Lance, Hope, Anna, Seth, Ethan and Joshua made our time in LR so special
Sweet Girls...Anna, Ana and Emma really hit it off...kindred spirits!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Daniel and Ana are on the right track as well and are coming along with their Abeka curriculum and Math U See. They still work slower than the others but I'm seeing some real progress and I'm hopeful that we will be able to cruise through the kindergarten curriculum and perhaps squeeze in some 1st grade work before the end of the year. We'll see! True praises all the way around.
Through some evaluations we have discovered some of the learning difficulties that we are dealing with with Peter and Ana and it has helped me to change my way of doing things and my attitude toward their learning. Sometimes you just need someone to lay things out for you and it puts things into better focus. We are getting them some extra services lined up for speech and occupational therapy which I think will also help. Daniel is still receiving OT services and making some real progress with it. It is daunting at times to think of all the individual needs, but I'm so thankful that the Lord is giving me the chance to help them through home schooling. I truly believe now more than ever that we have made the correct choice to keep them all home. They would flounder greatly if they had to survive in a large classroom setting. I don't have much free time during the day, but we are getting what we need to accomplished and I'm feeling content with our choices. Each day is not a breeze don't get me wrong, there have been a couple of doozies let me tell ya. But the Lord is giving me the strength and the patience most of time :).
We are looking forward to a grand adventure coming up next month. We will be travelling back to Virginia to see our dear friends and to visit Washington DC. We are all thrilled to be getting to do this. It is something that has been in the works since the beginning of the year so we are all anxious to finally get going. Until then we will try to complete some of our house projects. Robert is done laying the foundation for his garage...yippee! And we are taking some time now to replace some windows on the house and prepare it for paint. Which we will hopefully have someone doing while we are on our trip. So with God's help, when we return we will have a freshly painted house to welcome us. What a true blessing that would be.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Since I have still had such a hard time keeping up on this blog I will condense this post of what has been going on the last month and a half with some blessings from our days that I'm thankful for.
1. The giggles and smiles from summer swim lessons where my children are learning to not be afraid of the water and are truly becoming swimmers.
2. Fun summer movies with friends from church. Yummy lunches afterwards too!!
3. Finishing a wonderful Bible Study (finally...we made it girls!) and sharing fellowship with sisters in Christ who always hold me accountable.
4. An amazing visit from certain sweet friends from Virginia...sharing laughter and tears and the joys and trials of motherhood together.
5. Birthday celebrations for Miss A and me and God's blessing us with another year. Fun dinners and desserts to celebrate were an added bonus.
6. A wonderful camping trip with family to celebrate our nation's birthday. Exploring and just playing with the kiddos around the camp ground.
7. Learning to knit with sweet Miss E and fun fellowship with friends while doing so.
8. Celebrating my mother's retirement after 20+ years with the University of Arizona. Hearing the relief in her voice and the anticipation of new adventures for her on the horizon.
9. Celebrating 13 wonderful years of marriage to my soul mate.
10. Sweet fellowship with old friends and new friends at the homeschool conference. Feeling encouraged to start a brand new school year knowing that I'm doing what is best for my children's education!
As you can see it has been a busy month at the Upton house and we have much to be thankful for. One additional blessing is that Robert has been diligently working on the new garage and in what little time he has had, has managed to complete the slab and get a good start on the brick. He is such a blessing in himself and has been very patient with all our travels this summer and interruptions of his project. I pray that as your summers wind down you will take the time to remember your summer blessings!!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
They yesterday we headed to Phoenix to celebrate James' 12th birthday. We had gotten Diamondback tickets a few weeks ago and surprised him with this trip for his birthday. With five I get a little weary of parties so we try to mix things up and do some trips for birthdays when we can. We started the day by having lunch with Granny and Brad at a fun mexican restaurant and then headed to the hotel to check in before going to the game. The hotel has a wonderful pool with a lazy river that you can tube around and just relax as well as a water slide and another pool with a waterfall. The Diamondbacks didn't have their best showing so we came back and swam instead. Which was a perfect time to do so without the 110 degree temps. We swam again this morning after breakfast and then had a fun lunch at the Cheesecake Factory for Father's Day before heading back up the hill. It was a fun trip for all of us and James I think has felt sufficiently celebrated!!
Fun family fellowship is sure a wonderful way to spend our summer days. Thank you Jesus for knitting us together.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
James and Peter have also started an art class through the same academy and are loving that as well. They both have an amazing gift in the area of art, and I have no skill whatsoever in this area so it is a tremendous blessing that this program exists. They have only been to one session but they are so excited and the program will go throughout the summer so that will be wonderful as well.
We had our first travel adventure two weeks ago. Robert was working down in Phoenix for the week on a project that he has been working on for a while that needed some more of his attention. So the kids and I tagged along and went down to stay at the hotel with him and do some swimming while he worked. They enjoyed it more than words can describe and I was able to still hang out with my honey a bit. We also got the chance to meet another adoptive family while we were down there. They just recently adopted two children from Russia and live over where we were staying so we were able to have dinner with them and share some of our experiences and give them some insight about our experiences. What a blessing that was, sweet fellowship that will hopefully grow from here. Our children played so well together and ours enjoyed meeting more children from Russia. Their children are a delight and we look forward to seeing them again.
We thought we would be getting back in the routine the last week of the month but last Sunday night we received a call from Robert's mom saying that his dad had fallen off a ladder while building his garage and broken both of his arms. He was okay but going to have to have surgery up in Colorado the next day. So we packed our bags and headed for Colorado! I was pretty impressed with my ability to get seven of us packed and ready in about three hours but I guess you can do most anything with the Lord's help. He was truly in the whole experience. Robert's dad could have been much worse off but he had the surgery and was out of the hospital in around 48 hours. He will be laid up for a long time but the Lord saved him from much more serious injury and his bones all went back into place when the doctor went in to do the surgery and he didn't even have to put in any pins on the inside or plates of any kind and the arm was broken in 15 pieces. We serve a mighty God. We helped to get things squared away up at their place and they will be coming back to Arizona for his recovery. Robert did a ton of work on the garage and finished up the second floor and arranged for roofers to come and do the roof in the next couple of days. We cut down trees and did a lot of clean up on the property and it should be all set for them to come home mid week. The kiddos had a blast playing around on the property and they did an awesome job helping out and staying out of trouble. They were even very good in the van on the drive and didn't complain at all. I was extremely proud of them!!
We got back today and aside from having about sixteen loads of laundry to do I think all is well. We will hopefully get back into the routine tomorrow. We have a bit of school to finish. Daniel and Ana will continue through the summer but the others will be pretty much done after this week. Which I might add they are very happy about. So here we are starting another month and I'll try once again to post more often. But you never know...time does fly by.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Why is it that as women we tend to take on so much of a burden of the daily things that we encounter?? I find myself going through times when I have such sweet fellowship with the Lord and then just that quick it is gone and I find myself heaping things upon myself that I should be giving over to Him. Having decided to bring my children home again for schooling was something that I didn't take on lightly and spent a great deal of time in prayer about. But recently I have become unhappy with some of our curriculum and I know that I need to make some changes. I have spent many hours on the computer researching some new material, particularly for Mr. D and Miss A who are my two with the most special needs and who have been struggling with some of the material we are doing. I have felt over the past week or so such a strong burden of this on my heart. I have had a couple of discussions with Robert and also with friends but have not once turned it over to the Lord. It hit me today how wrong this is and that I need to stop and do this and release this burden to Him. He was the one that wanted me to bring them home in the first place why would He not help me with all the decisions surrounding it??
I commit now to take this to the Lord in prayer and wait for an answer from Him. I know that I may soon try to take over again, but for this moment I recognize my need to lay this at the cross as well as all issues involving my children. After an incident tonight with our three oldest I asked Robert if he thought we would survive this parenting adventure. He said that he was certain that we would but that the choices that the children will make will ultimately be theirs and all we can to is impart as much to them as we can while we can and leave it up to the Lord to work out the details. Wise words and ones that I think I need to take to heart myself. My Heavenly Father does the same thing for me, He tries to impart His wisdom to me but whether I choose to listen is truly my choice. I pray that you all as my sisters in Christ remember to turn your burdens over to Him and allow Him to take your ashes and trade them for His beauty and glory. Let's pray for one another that we listen to His voice and choose His yoke and not our own self imposed yoke, His is so much lighter!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I was going to post at the end of last month about our trip to Flagstaff at Easter. I actually started the post and never finished. We decided to start a new tradition this year and head to Flagstaff for a weekend at a cabin in the woods to celebrate the Resurrection. It was a wonderful time just to relax and kick back together as a family which we really needed. There was still a bit of snow and the kids had a wonderful time sledding and mom didn't have to partake but just watch which was a good thing.
The next big event were the April birthdays. Both Robert and Miss E have birthdays in April. I got Robert tickets to the NASCAR race in Phoenix the Saturday after his birthday. We had a blast seeing all the cars and enjoying the race. It was a nice date night for us, thanks to our friends who graciously kept all the kiddos. Next was Miss E's 9th birthday. I can hardly believe that she is 9 years old seems like just yesterday she was born, wow has a lot happened since then. She wanted an all girl birthday so we took she and two of her friends to Red Robin for a girls lunch. My mom and grandmother came up from Tucson to join us and it was a fun frilly girls day. She got lots of American Girl stuff which thrilled her to no end and it was a fun celebration.
The other major event happening on an ongoing basis is the construction of our new garage. We have been planning this for years and it is finally happening. I can honestly say we have quite the example of the Bible's direction of building a firm foundation going on in our side yard. I never knew all the work that building up a foundation for a building took, but alas now I do. We have had removal of bad rock and material, two loads of good dirt, a third load of AB material (which until now I knew nothing about and thought those were just the first two letters of the alphabet) and this weekend we are compacting all the material to prepare for the next step of digging the footers. The kids have been thrilled to help in all of this activity and help drive the Bobcat a few weeks ago and then the tractor that arrived yesterday. It is finally beginning to become a reality and hopefully before the end of May we will have a slab.
Here inside the house we are in the process of finishing up our school year. Mr. J, Mr. P and Miss E are finishing up 3rd and 4th grades and Big D and Miss A are still plugging away at Kindergarten. We will hopefully have somewhat of a break over the summer but I'll probably continue some daily work with Mr. P and Big D and Miss A over the summer so that we don't loose ground. They are my ones with some extra needs and I'm working on trying to get them all the different things that they need to get caught up. Which as I'm finding out is more than a full time job.
I think that about covers it for now. As you can see our time between blogs has not been boring. I also wanted to take the time to recommend a film to you that we went to see last night. It is called Expelled and is a documentary about the scientific community's attack on the Intelligent Design theory. Ben Stein is the narrator and director of the film and it is an amazing look into the scientific establishment and how many scientists have lost their careers because they dared to bring up the ID possibility. It was an eye opener for Robert and me to what is going on in the world and how we as Christians are viewed as fanatical freaks whose beliefs are no more than idiotic fantasy to many in the education establishment. I would recommend that you take the time to see this film and support it.
Well I will sign off for now and will do my best to post more often. Please leave me a comment and let me know you are still with me!!!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
The word propitiation puzzles me, but my study bible describes it this way: Crucial to the significance of Christ's sacrifice, this word carries the idea of appeasemement or satisfacation in this case Christ's violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died. For some reason this hit me hard this morning. I know that I take Christ's sacrifice for granted and it grieves my heart. I was moved by the quote in my devotion by Martin Luther. He says:Christ Jesus whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed
"Because Christ has become a King and Priest for you and has bestowed this great blessing on you, you dare not imagine that it cost little or comes to you because of your merit. Sin and death were overcome for you in Him and through Him. Grace and life were given you , but meant bitter work for Him. It cost Him much. He earned it at the greatest expense with His own blood, body, and life. For to put down God's wrath, judgement, hell, death, and everything evil, and to gain everything good, could not be done without satisfying divine justice. This is why Paul is in the habit of touching also on Christ's suffering and blood whenever he preaches God's grace in Christ, in order to note that all our blessings are given to us through Christ, but not without His unspeakable merit and cost."How many times have I been prideful about something that I have done or said and not given Christ the credit. More times than I would care to admit. We talk as believers about the free gift of salvation and how all we need to do is accept it and we are saved. Do we tend to forget the price that it cost our Lord in the process? I know that I'm guilty of this so often and I focus more on what can God do for me now instead of focusing on what He has already done at the Cross.
Help me O Lord to remember your sacrifice and not to take for granted the precious gift that you gave ME at the cross. I pray that you would help me to teach this to my children that they might not take for granted your sacrifice and make it a point to be purposeful in their thanksgiving for your sacrifice. Amen.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Thursday we headed for the Magic Kingdom and all that awaited us there. What a treat to see our children's faces as they entered this magical world. I think they were all a bit overwhelmed and didn't know what to do first. We started with a few autographs and then headed for rides. Our daughter Miss E was a bit apprehensive about this whole thing and wasn't too sure she even wanted to brave anything faster than the rockets in Tomorrowland. As the day progressed though she warmed up and started being a little braver. We did all the major attractions and even met Jack Sparrow on the Pirate Island. Big J our oldest son was particularly pleased with this. We all left exhausted and very cold and ready to crash at closing time.
Our original plan was to head to California Adventure the next day. This was our first detour...both Miss A and Miss E ended up with fevers in the night (three trips on Splash Mountain probably didn't help) and clearly we were not doing more rides any time soon. We ended up at the beach for while that day and had a fairly quiet day. This was the first time that Big J, Mr. P, Little D and Miss A had ever been to the ocean so it was fun again to see their faces and watch them collect shells. We have some precious photos to commemorate the event.
Saturday the kiddos were feeling well enough to head back to the parks. California Adventure was first on the list and the big rollercoaster which Big J and Mr. P and Mr. Upton had been eyeing since we arrived. We finished the day back over at Disney and had a date with the princesses. This was definitely the highlight for Miss E and Miss A. They got to see all their favorites and we had many photo ops. Mr. R and I even got to go back for a date on Saturday night which was a real treat...thank you friends for watching our brood!
By Sunday we were more than ready to head for home. It was also nasty weather when we left there that afternoon. Poring down rain coming back across I-10. We were cruising along when we came upon an accident. I was thanking God for keeping us safe, especially since Miss E was with our friends and we had one of their sons with us, and praying for those involved. After we cleared the accident and were getting up to speed a car whizzed past us came up on our friends and cut over in front of us. He then lost control and began to spin towards the guard rail. R did his very best to slow down and get away from him but it was not to be. He came back across two lanes and we crashed into the back quarter panel of his car and we then came back across to the right and ended up in the ditch. I think we were all in shock, I know for sure I was, but praise the Lord we were all okay. All of the children were safe and not harmed in any way. The airbag hit my face so that was hurting but aside from that and being extremely cold I was fine. R was amazing. He immediately took control and when the highway patrol and rescue squad arrived he was on top of everything.
We serve an amazing God and He was with us in that van and sent amazing people to take care of us. Everyone was so kind and compassionate and took such wonderful care of us. The rest of the day was filled with getting a rental van and making it as far as Palm Desert to rest for the night. We made it home safely on Monday and everyone checked out perfectly with all their doctors. God is good. We don't have a new van yet but our friends are graciously letting us borrow their van until all the details get worked out and we can get in a new one. We have a wonderful gentleman at the Ford dealership who we have worked with before who is working on finding us what we are looking for. Our van was totalled and left in CA so we don't have to worry about getting it back, another praise. God has seen us through all the details, the insurance people have been very kind and things are moving along very well.
Who would have known that our family vacation would end up this way. I must say though that I'm praising Him for this experience, I have seen His fingerprints all over every piece of it. Although I spent most of last week in a fog just trying to get my head around it, now I can honestly say what a blessing to be able to SEE Him so clearly. I praise Him for all of it the good the bad and the ugly.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I am a mother of five blessings which I guess means that I probably have a few stories to tell. Four of my five blessings are from Russia and they have enriched as well as challenged me in more ways than I can express. My dear husband and I were on a path towards being missionaries with FamilyLife last year and what God taught us through that experience is that we are indeed already missionaries to these five children. He has given us a unique family and what He reminded us is that we can be just as useful to Him by being the very best mom and dad we can be and hopefully bring many generations into the Kingdom for His glory. We are spending this new year focusing on them and how we can best disciple them. Perhaps someday He will call us to another mission field but for now we are content to reside in Arizona and raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So I guess that will be it for my first blog entry...what do you think Christina?