Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Damaris & School - Another Update

Well, Damaris & I went to a meeting yesterday at the school she'll be attending. Russ wasn't able to join us because he was teaching for the professor he is grad assistant for.

First we were shown the two tests she took in the last couple of weeks. On her reading test, she got every single question right. This wasn't a surprise at all to me. Her reading level was tested a couple of weeks ago at her after school program and she reads and listens at an eighth to ninth grade level. On her math test, she missed several problems, but those that she missed were more because of not being used to the testing format versus not knowing how to do the problems. They were able to see her ability to reason and process in the other problems and they think she can overcome the stuff she missed once she gets used to the testing formats they use.

So, with all that said, Damaris will be in 4th grade. That is what we were praying and hoping for and Damaris is thrilled about it.

Now, for the shock. We had all along planned for Damaris to start public school at the beginning of the New Year. However, during the meeting, we were asked to consider starting her at the beginning of the next 6 weeks which is November 10th. The reason we were asked to consider this is because in 4th grade, they have the writing TAKS test shortly after the new year and they want Damaris to be given the opportunity to have time to practice the format of that test. If she starts in January, she'll have very little time to learn that.

So, I talked with Russ when I got home and we agreed that starting in November was the best decision with all the information we now know. During the meeting, the principal, assistant principal, & Damaris' main teacher were present. Her main teacher will be Mrs. Cheek. She is a sweet woman who took a large amount of time yesterday to talk with Damaris & I about lots of stuff. In 4th grade, they rotate for two classes. So Damaris will start the day with Mrs. Cheek, rotate to two other teachers for Math and Language Arts, and then be back with Mrs. Cheek in the afternoon. We went and saw Mrs. Cheek's room as well as the other two teachers' rooms. We did meet the Language Arts teacher as well, but the Math teacher was at another appointment. We also met the Art teacher who sent us home with arts supplies so Damaris could complete a project that the kids in her class are currently working on.

So, start day for Damaris will be in a week and a half on Monday, November 10th. We got permission to come up to the school on the Friday before during the school day so Damaris can meet some of the kids in her class. Please continue to pray:
*for the transition Damaris will be making in attending public school for the first time
*for the transition Russ & I will be making in putting her in school
*for God to place some special kids in Damaris' life that will be great friends to her
*for the teachers who will be teaching our precious daughter
*for God to protect her and all the teachers, staff, and students at her school

Thanks so much to everyone who has walked through this journey with us. We have definitely felt your prayers and support!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Psalm 23

Well, this is my 200th post since moving over to Wordpress in March, 2008. I guess those 100 days of blogging really helped though. LOL! I normally don't post things like this, but got this in my email today and the words and pictures just really spoke to me.

Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd = That's Relationship!

I shall not want = That's Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures = That's Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters = That's Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul = That's Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness = That's Guidance!

For His name sake = That's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = That's Testing!

I will fear no evil = That's Protection!

For Thou art with me = That's Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me = That's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies = That's Hope!

Thou anoints my head with oil = That's Consecration!

My cup runneth over = That's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life = That's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord = That's Security!

Forever = That's Eternity!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Am A Graceful & Peaceful Woman!

Early in his book Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen shares a prayer by Charles de Foucauld that he began his year of sabbatical with. The prayer says,
Father, I abandon myself into Your hands.
Do with me whatever You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
And in all Your creatures.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.
I offer it to You with all the love that is in my heart.
For I love You, Lord, and so want to give myself,
To surrender myself into Your hands.
Without reserve and with boundless confidence,
For You are my Father.

This past weekend, Russ and I had the opportunity to attend a conference called Discovery. A couple of dear friends had been through this training and highly recommended the training to us. We had been hearing from them for awhile about this training and had managed to keep them at bay for awhile, but they finally showed all their cards and said they had scholarships for our tuition and most of the other expenses we would incur during the weekend. In addition, Russ already had the weekend off from work and Damaris was already planning to spend the weekend with a friend, so we had no reason to say no anymore. I can honestly say that the training was God ordained and something I definitely needed in order to surrender myself completely to Him.

During this training, I was given the opportunity to surrender several situations and emotions to God. My whole heart for as long as I can remember has been consumed by hate, anger, and unforgiveness. I will not go into all the specifics because I could write not just hundreds or thousands, but ten-thousands of words and still not be able to express all that I have been through. I will say that there were three major issues I dealt with. By the end of the weekend, I was able to forgive two men in my life who had hurt me and I was able to release to God a situation that I had no control over but that I kept taking back from Him no matter how many times I thought I had worked through the situation. I have been stuck at a place in my life when I was six years old. I had never been able to move beyond that and this had caused emotional disease in every single relationship I have had since.

I know that I just came from a mountaintop experience and that I cannot expect remain there permanently. However, I do know that the experience of complete and total surrender I experienced when I released the anger, hate, and unforgiveness have now opened me up to be able to deal with my relationships with Russ and Damaris. If I did not experience that total surrender, I would have kept continuing to poison those two most important of earthly relationships. God has given me complete and total freedom from my past and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to say with no fear or trepidation that I am a graceful and peaceful woman. Praise God for finally bringing me to this place of surrender!

If you're interested in more details about this conference, let me know. I'm hoping to return for D!! in January (although most of my class will be attending in November, but my schedule just isn't allowing for this). I would highly recommend this training to anyone who needs to let go. The training is held almost monthly in Dallas and Austin. Let me know if I can help you connect with this amazing opportunity!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy (Belated) Birthday Damaris!

I had the best of intentions to post this on Monday, but just didn't get it done. I'm in class all day on Mondays and that makes it rough to get much else accomplished. So, here it is. Better late than never.

Damaris Mikaelia Almon was born on Wednesday, October 13, 1999, at 3:12pm weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces.

On Monday, she turned 9!

In honor of Damaris' 9th birthday, here are 9 great things about her:
1. Damaris is a wonderfully outgoing girl. She has friends ranging in age from 1 to 50. LOL! She's never met a stranger.
2. Damaris loves to read. I can't keep new books in the house. She devours any book in her path.
3. Damaris has a fantabulous imagination. She is constantly telling me stories she has made up.
4. Damaris loves to draw. Though it changes from day to day, at one point she was going to be a fashion designer when she grows up and had a notebook full of clothes she had drawn to prove it.
5. Damaris has a great memory. She can read through a verse a couple of times and know it by heart.
6. Damaris loves to sing. Her current favorite songs to sing are by Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana and Superchic(k). We love to crank up the radio in the car and sing at the top of our lungs.
7. Damaris loves babies. She never fails to stop and talk to whatever baby is nearby. She's a great cousin to her new cousin Baby Lola.
8. Damaris is such a huge help around the house. She helps with the laundry, house cleaning, recycling, etc. I'm not at all surprised to hear her ask what else she can do to help me.
9. I love you so much Princess Damaris! You are a beautiful young lady and I'm so proud to be your mom!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Damaris' 9th Birthday Party

Damaris will be 9 years old tomorrow (10/13). We had her birthday party last night. She & 5 of her friends went bowling at Prime Time and then we came back to the house for pizza, cupcakes, & presents. Here are pics from last night:

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Look

So, I haven't had my hair cut in like 6 months & it's been about 3 months since I got the perm. My hair was starting to look pretty frizzy and shapeless. So, I ran to the salon for a haircut last night. I decided to add bangs too. My hair actually looks longer in the back now which is really weird. Anyway, here's the new look (forgive the quality, it's from my cell phone):

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Damaris & School

You can read the first part of what's going on here - We had a meeting yesterday afternoon with the instructional coordinator (assistant principal) & the principal about putting Damaris into traditional school in the spring. The school meeting went well. They gave us a tour of the school. I took Damaris' 3rd grade grades & her 4th grade grades thus far to them. They said that based on her grades, she should do fine on the testing & be able to be in the 4th grade. She is having one test next Wednesday the 15th & the other one on Wednesday the 22nd. Then we'll meet again to discuss the results. After that, I'll be able to observe the classrooms & they even suggested that once we decide on which class she'll be in, that Damaris come up and meet the teachers & the kids in the class she'll be in. I filled out a boatload of paperwork this evening that I'll take to them next week. Damaris was overwhelmed with the size of the school, but she liked that she got to see where she'll be going to school. After we left the school & went to run some errands, she couldn't stop talking about it all. I think she'll do well. Please pray for her as she does the testing. Pray for God's will to be done in where she should be placed. Pray now for the teachers who will be teaching her & the students she will be learning with. Pray for Russ & I as we adjust to this new part of our lives.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Balancing Act???

mom balance
I just don't know how to handle it all - wife, mom, more than full-time student, homeschool teacher, Bible study, etc., etc., etc. I'm really good at multi-tasking but this is even beyond me. How do you handle it all? Specifically for those who are married, how do you do everything you need to do and still have a good relationship with your husband??? I feel like Russ & I are passing each other going and coming. There is just not enough hours in the day. I've dropped everything I can and I still don't have enough hours in the day. I know this is just for a season and that I'll be through with school soon, but I don't want Russ & my marriage to suffer any further because we don't have time for each other. Any thoughts, advice, and definitely prayer is much appreciated!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gilmore Girls is Not Gone

I'm not even sure how I ran across this website. I'm so grateful I did though as it has been a great way to take a break in the midst of all the schoolwork I'm drowning in. The website is called Virtual Gilmore Girls. It is a group of fans who has taken up where Gilmore Girls ended at Season 7. They have written an entire 22 episodes of Season 8 & they premiered the first episode of Season 9 last night. I will admit that I was skeptical at first about whether a group who had no connection with the original writing team of GG could actually pull this off. I've been pleasantly surprised though. The writing is right in line with Amy Sherman-Palladino's vision for the show. If you are a Gilmore Girls fan, I highly recommend Virtual Gilmore Girls to you!
Virtual Gilmore Girls