A day of BESTS

Doug and I had been planning on taking Tatum to Sedona for a long while. Why? Because it is the BEST place to hike and BEST place to see God’s creative mountains. It would be a Friday when Doug could take the day off.

But, here’s the BEST news. A week prior to our departure, Jocy, my BESTie (see post about…)http://knightsmission.com/?p=2208), called me to say she’d be in Flagstaff during that week. PERFECT! We decided to meet up in Sedona for the day. This way, I could hang out with her and her oldest daughter Audrey; she could meet Doug, and see the TOT. It was all a great plan.

Before our trip, Doug invested in some car entertainment. Tatum is currently obsessed with this character: IMG_3859

So he came with us in the car as Tatum practiced her webbing, singing “shpow shpow.”  The BEST idea, Doug.

We met up at the Visitor Center and instantly met Smokey the Bear. Apparently he’s still alive and well, speaking his message of cleanliness.
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Tatum wanted to hold his hand. Posing.

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Then Jocy and I had to take a pose….and then the whole clan.

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(Hi beautiful Audrey!)20160729_105430Wait, what about Doug?! Did I mention he’s the BEST boyfriend and photographer E.V.E.R!20160729_105501
Ok, enough pictures! We have a hike to take. Oh, but wait…it’s HOW hot in Sedona today? Jeez. We came to get cooler, but it is 95 or something. So much for that idea. We decided to go to Talaquepaque and shop/see the sights. But first, Audrey wanted to show Tatum some of the wildlife.  Snake – the bronzed version. 20160729_111254

And javelina. Luckily this bronzed version was kind to us. 20160729_111317(0)

We arrived and the water trumped all the shopping. 20160729_114038 20160729_114122

The BEST kiss ever with a soon to be prince. 
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Doug was focused on the architecture which was beautiful!20160729_114328

And Tatum? The water. She drenched herself.

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This whole being outside thing was not…..Wait. What are we staring at?? No clue. I know! We are thinking: LUNCH!20160729_114807

That’s it. We need food. So off we went to Wildflower. 20160729_120307And this was what Audrey had in mind for being a wildflower herself! 20160729_122140Jocy and I needed a great view pic now. The BEST!20160729_130024

We really need to find some kind of a hike. Doug to the rescue again. He knew of a place that had a creek. That way we could at least be cool. Little did I know we’d be cooled off, but definitely not cool, if you know what I mean (you’ll see).

We headed to a little hotel, found perfect parking and headed down to a little mini-hike sans heat and work. Pure water bliss! Audrey led us through the maze of “what is on the floor of this water!?”
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Hi Jocy and Doug!20160729_134314 20160729_134237

Adventuring….20160729_134123 20160729_134120It was not deep, but I found out what was on the bottom. Slippage of some sort..
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As I tried to help her up, I slipped!!! And she was not stable to hold onto!20160729_135221 20160729_135218

And then, more slipping.20160729_135216 20160729_135214 20160729_135211

She rescued me…20160729_135210 20160729_135209 20160729_135208

And then I finally rescued her. Mind you, all the others were watching and laughing.
20160729_135206 20160729_135203Well we definitely got cooled off. 20160729_135300 20160729_135307This was so helpful for how hot we were. Glad we could provide the entertainment!

Finally, we decided to head to the Trout farm and catch some fish! Doug again was the BEST navigator, fisherman, and hook helper (not a favorite for any of us).

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And….three seconds flat, she caught her first fish. We have damaged her for life in terms of understanding the challenges of fishing.

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Audrey’s turn!IMG_3836She was just as quick, and thanks to Doug, the YUK part was taken care of.

They cleaned the fish for us, and we took home FOUR gorgeous trout ready for cooking.

We drove home with Tot in back, sleeping and comfortable.

Saying goodbye to my BESTie was not the BEST part of the day. Remembering with her is always so special. We were reunited fifteen years ago (this pic is from 2001!)….and she’s still as beautiful as ever. IMG_3857

Being with my BEST guy, my BEST friend and one of her BEST daughters, and my BEST girl made it the BEST day ever.

The caring Tot

Oh what a beautiful morning when you wake up to find your daughter going through the Highlights magazines only to read IMG_3812to puppy.IMG_3811Not bad for 6am.

I decided it was not going to be a typical day, so we went to breakfast! They had these funky wiki -sticks made out of wax wicks. We made spectacles.

IMG_3820Yes, out of ourselves too, I’m sure! IMG_3823Tatum always draws a crowd.

Then of course, we had to play. She loves to go to the play place, but still, she always veers towards the kitchen.

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This time, we had to bring Dino. IMG_3860

She made sure we are all well-fed. Oh, and prayed up too. She insisted we say grace first.
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OK…eat mommy!IMG_3816

Love you Tot. Thank you for being such a good caring person to all you are around.

Candy Corn learning

Thanks to the worldwide web, I have ideas for Tatum’s learning.

I came across this blog: www.123homeschool4me.com . She has a plethora of ideas!
I took the candy corn word building for a ride, and it was a hit, thanks to my color printer and dextrous scissor skills.

I had her pick the word first, then the letter, and then the word. IMG_3850IMG_3851IMG_3853 IMG_3854

Success! IMG_3856

If she could only eat them!

Sermons, Starbucks, Stories, Signatures, Swimming, and Snuggles.

Today, Sunday, was an extra special day. Not only did we visit my dearest friend, Bobby’s new church, but we had some great conversation.

Dr. Bobby Brewer, Tatum’s Godfather, has just become lead pastor at North Chapel in Fountain Hills. It’s a quaint little local church right in the heart of the town. Honestly, it’s truly an intimate gathering with raw solid Biblical teaching. Amazing. Tatum sang with me, and then she went into the little room with three other children. Bobby is using God’s gifts that he’s been given, ministering to the town, and I think, starting a revival of foundational followers. Also, he’s ministering to the Native Americans who all need Jesus so deeply. His message, being on Nehemiah 8, was all about us starting a revival within ourselves by reading our Bibles and not giving up; not letting this “world” get to us, but rather be lights. If we are going to judge, we should be searching within ourselves what we need to repent.  Very good.

After filling our hearts, it was time to fill our bellies with some coffee, treats, and conversation with the Tot and Mama. Tatum enjoyed some coconut chips and a tall water, and we all enjoyed listening to Tatum tell a story about John and Dino. (Oh, yes, John, Dino, and Bella are her kids, and they are always the stars of her stories) I just bought her a new book (she now has FOUR Bible story books. Help me Jesus…make me stop!) and we have been reading it, so somehow parts of Nehemiah, Noah, and Jeremiah sometimes get strewn throughout her stories. 61HupuFtaOL._AC_US320_QL65_

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IMG_3806After many minutes of randomness and me reminding her that a conversation requires her to ask questions and listen also, we headed home. But first, she had to say goodbye to everyone in the store. Why is she so social at times, and at others, she is so shy? Example: at church, “Hi Tatum so nice to meet you.” Silence and staring (at times). I remind her to look into the person’s eyes and say, “thank you; so nice to meet you too!” Ugh…

Since she was on a roll telling me stories, I thought she could draw a bit as we started our “lessons” on our letters. While I was up for a minute, I returned to her brilliant drawing. She was busy drawing legs on the “lady.”IMG_3808

I asked her if her legs came out of her face. She laughed and decided to draw arms too. Why not!?

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I hope it wasn’t me, but if it was, I need to grow my hair out a bit because I seem to be balding.

Anyhoo, we’ve been practicing her name. I can do it myself! This is her mantra. Yes, I know Tatum, but let me show you where the letters go. Whenever we practice her name, she puts the letters all over the place. So we are practicing left to right. Ok…we are getting there.
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Swimming came later for my little fish. However, the serendipity of this whole day was the snuggling that came at the end of the day. For me, this is the best part. Sundays truly are the best day of the week, and this one, in particular, made me smile and feel like the most grateful girl in the whole world.

Hillsong Church Camp

The theme was: IMG_3782And it did not disappoint. We need to celebrate courage in the unknowns of the world. So much of what we don’t notice is true bravery. I’d say volunteering in the Pre-K room was pretty brave! ha! Just kidding. I decided to be a part of two days of camp with Tot. However, they put me in a different room than her because they didn’t want me to just focus on her. Smart move.

I was assigned the 4-year old room the first day, and instantly fell in love with a little girl named Averie. I talked about Tatum, so when the rally came around she  wanted to meet her.

However, before we entered the rally, Tatum saw me with the older kids, and started to cry. She wanted to be with me.
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Then once we got in the rally, she just sat with me (and Averie). They became instant friends.

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After presenting a skit on one hero in the Bible, Joshua, we learned some fun songs to celebrate Jesus. IMG_3781Hillsong believes kids can worship too! (and she did!)

IMG_3792I loved how they allowed each of us to close our eyes and individually pray.IMG_3791

She spotted Levi, and it was a moment of more JOY!

IMG_3790He’s like a heroic big brother to her.
I left at lunch so she could have some water play, and I could get a few things done. Also, when I am there, she tends to cry since she knows I’m present but not in her room. When I picked her up, two little girls came up to me and told me Tatum was their friend and they loved her. (the are also 3).

When she got home, she wanted to sing the songs and celebrate her fun times. I’m so glad we have a church who celebrates the love of Jesus in such an authentic way. It was real, yet it was FUN too. Thank you, Hillsong. I see Tatum growing into a LOVER of  Jesus. Truly heroic.

Tough times need more LOVE

Yesterday at church, Pastor Terry reminded us that in these tough times of so much division, we need to remember that JESUS has overcome this world! John 16: 33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Ok, so what does this mean to us right now? Not a day goes by when I don’t hear about a horrific event on the news. Just yesterday, I weeped for our policemen as they are being unfairly attacked. There is so much more to come which will require us to be on our knees. What this means is that we need to be MORE loving to our neighbors. Although the solution may be to fight back and be angry, it’s in this time that we need to exhibit MORE gratitude for what we have and for who we are in Christ. More people need to see the Love of Jesus; not the judging or criticizing that the world does to who or what we don’t agree.

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Tatum is learning about gratitude; she is learning about the LOVE that we need to show to people and to overcome the evil that exists. (which she unfortunately will discover). The only way she’ll survive this scary world is to be prepared; to be armed with the WORD, with the HOLY SPIRIT in her heart to guide her, and with the knowledge that GOD loves her no matter what. I will also add that is learning to be so thankful for what she already has and to be grateful that she is a child of the KING.  I’m pretty sure that the people who commit such heinous acts do not know these things (or have rejected them). Perhaps, we need to be the lights shining in the darkness; a light cannot shine if it is covered; it also exposes evil and can enlighten that darkness.

Right now, I can protect her and teach her all that is GOOD and all that is RIGHT. With God’s help, I can fill her with the wisdom I have learned and am still learning. She can then share it first with her baby and Coti, and then more in the future, right?

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She can also sing her worship music as she often does so beautifullyIMG_3730She will be the light; she will be the bright light of LOVE, driving out the EVIL.
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These tough times require this.

Reading with your eyes

Today, I decided to lay on Tatum’s daybed and read a bit while she rested. It was “quiet time” and the last few minutes, I figured I’d visit her bedroom to be quiet with her. She spotted me reading on her bed and asked me why I was staring at the book.

Upon laughing , it was then I realized that she thinks that all reading is done aloud. She asked me if I was going to ever turn the page. I would if you’d stop interrupting my reading. It was hard to concentrate as she kept asking me why she couldn’t hear me.

I told her I was reading with my eyes.

She decided to visit me on the bed and read with me.
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She told me she was reading with her eyes, and I asked her how it was working. She told me to be quiet so she could read with her eyes.

Only this morning, I heard her in her bedroom reading her books. Usually, she gets up quite early and comes into me. I told her to go back into her room and play. This is what I saw:

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She had read all of these books with her eyes and her voice. She has pictures to enjoy in her books, and it makes it much more fun to read with her eyes, truly!

Meanwhile, I’ll keep reading with my eyes and encourage her to just keep reading with that sing songy voice of hers. Love it.