Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scout's Dog House - Day 2, 3, and 4

On "Day 2" of David getting to help on Scout's new dog house,
they finished the sides.
Scott did some beautiful work on adding some embellishment!

On "Day 3" they were able to put the sides together and made the door.

On "Day 4", the rain drove them inside the garage and Scott had done a lot of work constructing the floor piece which acts as a pedestal for the walls to sit upon.

David donned an apron and got ready to do some staining.

When I came back to pick him up, the wood was stained this beautiful honey color!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Who Are You Worshipping This Christmas?

If you haven't heard S. M. Lockridge preach this message
then you have to take the time to listen.
This is the King that the Miles family is celebrating this Christmas and all year long!

Merry Christmas from the Miles Family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just because . . .

There is no wordy post.
Just a photo that speaks volumes for me.
It warms my heart and makes me smile.
It was captured "by mistake" as I was setting my camera settings for a "group shot".
They were watching Scout.

The lighting was great . . .
it was in focus . . .
and it was sweet.

Just wanted to share.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Peek into our Home

Jonathan has been doing so well in his reading,
and has been participating so well in our family devotions each morning, by taking his turn in reading the Bible passage, that I decided that I needed to get it on film.
Of course, I'm always amazed at how tired and "blah" everyone looks on the days that I choose to video or take photos.
This morning was no different.
Usually, our family times can get pretty silly and loud.

This morning, things started out slow . . .
but ended with a bang.
(Jonathan was not feeling well this morning . . . )

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Scout's Dog house - DAY 1

David is working with a gentleman in our church to build Scout an inside dog crate/end table.

Here are some photos from their first day together.

Do I need to state that David had a blast getting to work on this project?
Despite the fact that he forgot his jacket and it got freezing,
the joy was written all over his face when we got in the car.
(happy mommy sigh . . . )

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Fall Poem by Molly

by Molly (age 9)

Red, yellow, brown and orange,
Dancing 'cross the street.

Rakes, rakes, oh where are the rakes?
Oh we need the rakes!

Turkeys, cider, pies and seeds,
Fires, candles, warmth.

Books, blankets, with hot chocolate,
by the fire warm.

A Fall Poem by Annie

by Annie Miles (age . . . almost 8!)

Red, yellow, orange, and green
Dancing down the road.

Crunchy leaves and waving trees,
Crackling fires and more.

Chilly air and raining skies,
Warm apple cider.

So, sit by the fire and rest
Fall has come again.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Our New Addition!

We have been thinking about getting a dog for about a year now. Actually, Earl has brought it up ever since we got married. I kept putting it off as long as I could. But over the past year, we have talked about things, and looked at dogs, and talked about things, and looked at dogs . . .
One day last month, we found a sweet dog named "Summer" who was about an hour and a half away. We all fell in love with her photo and description. She seemed to be exactly the dog we were looking for! She was
house broken and crate-trained.
She was low maintenance,
a small dog,
and would be great to snuggle on the couch with during school hours.
So, we traveled down to see "Summer". But alas! "Summer" was not the dog for us.

However, while we were at this "shelter home" this adorable puppy was thrust into my arms and our family instantly fell in love with her. She just lay with her head on my shoulder and was so sweet!
We drove the hour and a half home and talked and debated, and talked, and debated, and called my sister for counsel and talked and debated. This lasted the whole week. Every chance we were together . . . "So. What do you think about the dog? Do we really want a puppy?!? What will this mean for our family? Can we do it? Is it wise?" and on and on it went.
Until finally we drove back down the next Saturday and picked up OUR puppy . . . the very one we had seen the week before.

The adoptive "mom" asked us if we had a name picked out. We all answered, "Scout!" and she said that was the PERFECT name for this little girl.

Scout's mom was rescued from a "high kill" shelter and fostered at a home in Poway, CA, which was about an hour and a half drive from our house. Scout was about 8 weeks old when we met her. We had to drive up into the hills. It was a beautiful place!

This was the turn-off into the group of homes where Scout lived with her mom and 7 other brothers and sisters. We would be getting pick of the litter!

We parked the van and hiked down the now-familiar driveway. We had just been here the week before to look at "Summer", but this time we were sure we would be coming home with our dog!

All the puppies were out on the drive-way and we had a good opportunity to watch them and talk about them and ask questions.

We ended up falling in love all over again with the same dog we had seen the week before! Even Annie and Jonathan weren't afraid of her.

How can you not love this face? (It's funny to see this photo now, because her ears have perked up and she has so much more personality shining through!)

She passed the submission test and just snuggled up in Molly's arms.

We brought her home and began training right away. We kept her in the play yard that we used with the kids. We would get in to play with her, or take her out to play supervised. She enjoyed being where the family was.

The kids all take turns feeding her and taking her outside to go potty. Everyone has their own day during the week and we all share responsibility on the weekends. She is doing VERY well on going outside and not having accidents inside.

My sister, Gail, came over the day after we got her and gave her her first bath. She looked so pitiful!

I didn't realize just how tiny she was until I saw her next to Earl's legs one day when she was outside.

Now this is what the girls were looking forward to.
But this hasn't happened for quite awhile. Scout was very sleepy and mellow for the first few days, and then all of a sudden she just woke up and turned on her puppiness full speed!

She started biting everything she could get her teeth on . . . human or not!

So now, when we hold her, she looks like THIS:

Then, she will mellow out and look like this:

She sleeps a lot and is so fun to play with when we are brave enough.
Tomorrow she will have the rest of her vaccines and will be ready to begin socializing with other dogs, which means we will be free to take her out front and begin to train her to walk on a leash with us. We've been working in the back yard with her, but it will be nice to see some new scenery. We'll see how she does . . . .
We're also going to look into dog obedience classes . .. . soon! (They won't take dogs until they've had all of their shots.)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Molly's 4th (and LAST!) Surgery

You can read about the beginning of this journey here.
You can read here about her first surgery.
And I've blogged about her third surgery here.

Molly had her 4th surgery on October 15th.

This one was a little later in the morning @ 11am.
We didn't have to be there as early, but that meant that Molly had to very consciously skip breakfast. Before, when we had to be there at 6am, skipping breakfast was no big deal. We were barely awake anyway. But this time, we all felt it.
(Here is Molly walking into the surgery entrance one last time.)

Molly has usually always been in good spirits before her surgeries.
This time we all brought books to read, which was a good thing because it seemed we had to wait a little longer.
I knew Molly was relaxed because she was complaining about the cold bathroom and the short hospital gown.

So, this is what Molly's scar looked like after her 3rd surgery. It was already starting to pale in color and blend in more with her normal skin tones.

(The markings are her doctor's initials.)

Before the last surgery, Molly was given the Versed early enough that she didn't remember Dr. Zeineh coming in at all or being wheeled into the surgery room. She and Earl and I liked that. We tried to request that she be given it early again, but we had to wait for the anesthesiologist and he was running late. They didn't want to give it to her too early and then have it wear off. As it turned out, she was fully aware of everything and we once again had some tears as they wheeled her back to surgery. (So hard for me!! I'm fine until I see my Molly tear up . . . ). But our trust is in a kind and good God who promises to not "withhold any good thing", so we didn't grumble or complain, and as it turned out Molly was fine with it all in the end.

Earl and I only had to wait for a little over an hour before Dr. Zeineh came out and led us back to where Molly was in recovery.
Molly's recovery nurse was so nice (they really all have been!) and even brought Earl and I the most delicious coffee. Molly was having a very difficult time waking up and keeping her eyes open, and the recovery room was at a lull, so we had a nice visit with the nurse who also happens to be a Christian and homeschooled her boys and whose husband works for a Christian ministry (she had remembered us from a previous surgery, so it was like meeting up with an old friend).

Molly's recovery has always been so good and quick and incident/pain free. We were told by the nurse that that has a lot to do with the surgeon (we really had the BEST!). Dr. Zeineh is known for taking her time and making sure the patient is completely relaxed (muscles) and the result is little to no pain in the recovery process. However, we were admonished to be on guard and prepared as no two recoveries are the same. But, Molly continued to amaze us and needed no pain meds at all. She came home about 2pm, had a little bit to drink, a little yogurt and then it was time for the house to shut down for a few quiet hours anyway, so we all rested (I was absolutely SPENT after we got home. I'm sure much of it was the emotional drain).

About 10 days later, we headed back to the dr's office to have the dressing changed and the sutures removed.
(Here is what the bandage looked like after the surgery.)

(Here is what the incision looked like after removing the bandage.)

The pathology report showed that the margins are finally clear and there will be no more surgeries needed. Hooray!!
All of Molly's bandages are off now and she has been ok'd to resume normal activities. She is healing nicely and to celebrate, she and I headed to Starbucks for a treat after her last visit with Dr. Zeineh. (I will miss those special times out with Molly.)

So, we have MUCH to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
We are thankful for Molly.
We are thankful for 4 successful surgeries.
We are thankful for Dr. Zeineh and her wonderful bedside manner and skill.
We are thankful for the staff who all treated us as friends.
And we are thankful for a kind and loving heavenly Father who had it all planned out from the beginning!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

"Yet but for God!"

This past Sunday at church, I met Nancy. She saw our signs and decided to come. Her and I sat over at the picnic tables and talked between services after I had been introduced to her by another woman. She attends another Baptist church, but it relocated to Irvine. She shared easily with me about where she had been - experiences/trials that I most likely will never have to experience, praise the Lord. She told of how her grandmother had taken her to church and she seems to have had a faith that has kept her going all these years. She told me that she had seen hell. And heaven. I didn't dispute her, but listened. She kept repeating, getting more and more passionate, "Yet, but for God!" and describing herself as a walking testimony. I had no doubt she was.

As I sat there and listened to her, I was aware of a desire to just quietly weep (though tears didn't really seem to fit the circumstances, it was an emotion that was welling up regardless). I saw a simple, yet tenacious faith, in the midst of incredible suffering and hardship - especially in comparison to my life of relative ease filled with blessings innumerable. Was this what it feels like to have "a heart like Jesus"? I invited her to sit with our family during the worship service which she did - ill-smelling, noisy & fidgety somewhat, though not disrespectful or disruptive in any way. I was keenly aware that we were standing before the same throne, professing relationship and looking to the same God, coming to the same fountain to drink and I was overwhelmed with God's heart for sinners (including myself) and His ability to save, and comfort, and fill, and satisfy. I pictured Nancy as the "woman at the well" and as the one who anointed Jesus with perfume and dried his feet with her hair, and as the woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter, reminding Him that "even the dogs eat the crumbs from the master's table". I was humbled by her simple, yet tenacious faith . . . "yet but for God!" My heart knew that He was filled with compassion for her and was honored by/through her faith and my heart swelled with compassion as well. I begged God on her behalf to meet her where she was that morning and to give her above and beyond what she could ask or think of Himself.

I have been brought to tears before during the singing portion of our worship time as I see my own sin and again understand all that Christ has accomplished for me and feel the amazing privilege of standing together with the Redeemed before the throne of the Almighty, but the words of the songs that morning took on a whole new meaning as I understood them from where she stood. They were true for me, but she had lived them in ways more vivid than I ever will. After singing some Sovereign Grace songs, we sang "Amazing Grace". She leaned over to me and said, "These are the old songs that I really love". She sang heartily next to me, but without matching any note that the rest of us were singing. It made me smile all the more! Again, what a picture of coming with all she had and laying it at the feet of Jesus . . .

So, struggling Christian, surrounded by God's blessings and held by His promises . . . take courage. Look to God and all He has done for you in Christ and say with the Redeemed, "yet but for God" I'd be lost! Look to Him to find strength to bear up under your trials in this life and say with those who truly know, "yet but for God".

I don't know why she came. Was she sent just for me? I'll never know, but I'm glad she came. Will she come back? Will the Lord use her further to challenge my ability to love outside of my comfort zone and to express the heart of Jesus to someone so incredibly different from me and yet not different much at all in the ways that really matter? I'm glad I had the privilege of talking with her and sitting with her in worship. She changed my thinking. She stirred me up to see what it feels like to love like Jesus. She left in the middle of the last song, but not before dumping a handful of change in my hand and telling me it was "for the children". She then whispered "God bless you" and was gone.

Father, thank you for Nancy. Thank you for crossing our paths. Thank you for the encouragement of her simple faith "yet but for God!" May I not forget . . . .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Story by Molly

We do a lot of creative writing in our home.

It just happens.

Not sure exactly how it all began . . . I didn't really assign things, Emily just began writing stories, then David, then Molly and Annie and even today Jonathan has asked me to help him write a story (which sounds strangely familiar to one of his siblings current stories).

All I know is that our kids LOVE to hear stories. They have since they were very little. And they love to read and they read a lot. I think their reading shows through in their writing, which is just another reason to make sure that our kids are reading a good variety of good literature and not just filling their minds and imaginations with "less than quality" writing.

Right now, all 4 of our older kids are involved in writing books. I have promised them that if they will stick to them and finish them (editing and all), that I will have them self-published. I also am wanting to encourage them by publishing a little of their stories here on our blog and seeing if they get any encouraging feedback.

So, to start . . . here are the first two chapters of Molly's current book.

It is the 2nd in a series (the first one had a Christmas theme).

(And leave an encouraging comment for her if you have the time . . . )

The Missing Dog

By Molly Miles

“The News”

Andrew and Lilly were staying at their Grandma Mary’s house that summer. Andrew was now 14 and Lilly was 12. They were just finishing a project for their home school when they heard their Grandma on the phone and listened.

“Yes, . . . yes they are here, . . . oh no! I’ll tell them that . . . okay . . . . good bye.”

“What was that about, Grandma?” asked Lilly coming down the stairs with Andrew coming behind.

“Oh, um, that was Mrs. Beatle. She said that her dog Sarah was missing,” said Grandma.

“Missing! Sarah missing!” shouted Andrew and Lilly together.

“Yes, missing. But please don’t take the job,” said Grandma. “What do you mean ‘don’t take the job’?” asked Lilly. “Well, she asked you to help find her,” said Grandma.

“The Threat!”

“Well, we do help the town detectives, so . . . I guess we could help Mrs. Beatle,” said Andrew.

“Oh dear. I just don’t like it. Every free moment you have you run into some kind of mystery”, said Grandma.

“Well we will spend time with you, Grandma,” said Lilly hurriedly.

“Well, . . . okay. Go along. Take the mystery,” she said and walked away to make dinner.

Now the days were spent looking for Sarah. And in their spare time, Andrew and Lilly spent time with their grandma.

One morning, Andrew went to get the mail and saw an envelope with no return address on it. He took a look and then opened it. (Since their grandma couldn’t read because of bad eye sight, they always read the mail to her). His eyes opened wide at what he saw. Lilly came in the room, took a look at Andrew, and knew something was wrong.

“Andrew, come with me into the next room right now!” she said. Andrew, still looking at the paper, followed her. When they got to the next room Lilly said, “What is going on? What does the paper say? Why aren’t you reading it to Grandma? Tell ME THAT!”

Andrew handed the paper to Lilly and said quietly, “You want Grandma to hear THAT?”

Lilly looked at the paper, and her eyes grew round. The letter said,


Monday, September 27, 2010

The. Last. One

Well, here he is.
My fifth born.
My baby.

Last month, he finished his reading book.
It was the same exact one that his older brother and 3 older sisters learned to read from (and believe me, it is ready to be retired! No way it is in any kind of shape to be passed on.)

In our home, we have the tradition that when anyone finishes a school book, they get to celebrate the next morning with a big cinnamon roll all to themselves. (Actually, they grow out of this when their finished school books coincide with the end of the year.)

We also have a tradition in our home that when you finish "The Reading Book" (usually around 5 years old), you get to go with the family to the Christian Bookstore and get your first real Bible with your name imprinted on it.

Since most of the stores in our area have closed, we made time to go to the store in Louisiana and there Jonathan was able to get his first Bible.

It was a fun time!

(Now, based on the two above photos you may be tempted to think that Jonathan was MORE excited over the cinnamon roll than he was over the Bible, but remember . . . it was very hot and sticky in Louisiana. Yeah, that's right. It isn't that my kids love sugar that much . . . But oh, for the day when all of them will have "tasted and seen how good the Lord is" for themselves!)

It has been really fun (and so rewarding) to see Jonathan so excited about getting to participate fully in our family times each morning (as it has with each one of our children). He no longer needs to just repeat after Mommy when it comes time for him to read his verse, but now he has his own Bible and he is reading very well when his turn comes around. I help him with sounding out the big words. The really fun part is hearing all of his siblings clap and cheer for him when he is finished. (Now, this happened for all of the others as well, but when you are the fifth born, you have the largest cheering crowd of all.) It's fun to see, and we are all enjoying it.

Yes, I'm enjoying it. But I will admit that my enjoyment is mingled with bittersweetness. I will miss not teaching my children to read. I will miss snuggling with them on the couch and helping them struggle through sounding out words. I will miss the uninhibited look of joy when they see themselves doing something that they didn't know they could do. I will miss these family times shared with beginning readers. I will miss this season. I will. I have loved it every time it came around in our home but with the other ones I always knew there was another one coming behind. I just had to wait. But now I'm done.

Yes, there may be grandchildren in my future. And I may have the joy of watching them from a distance learn to read. But it won't be the same. It isn't meant to be the same. And that's ok.

Thank you , Lord, for the amazing gift of children and for the absolute joy of being able to teach them at home. Thank you for the hard days when they are in tears and I am on the verge and yet we find our way through to the other side and are stronger for the "lesson" we learned of Your faithfulness and strength. Thank you for the laughter in our homeschool and the joy you've given us over learning. Thank you for the days when laughter is hard to find and we have to rely on plain discipline and diligence that come from looking to You for all we need.

You have been more than gracious to me.

Again, I thank you for the privilege of being able to teach my children to read and to get to know them each better in the process.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Catching Up

I have tried unsuccessfully for the past two days to burn a DVD to send back to Earl's family in Louisiana. Since I haven't been updating much on here of late, I thought I would go ahead and try and post it here instead.

This was a very simple project that Emily and I literally threw together. No fancy touches. But it shows a little of what the Miles family has been up to this year so far.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Before & After - Edited!

Ok . . . couldn't live with those other photos up here. HAD to take some different ones . . . but still . . . grrr . . .now there is a greenish/yellowish tint that I thought I had fixed but is still showing up when I post these. Sigh. Perfection is a curse . . .

This is what Molly looked like last May (2009) before her first surgery on July 10.
(I LOVE the lighting of this photo . . . the ones to follow don't even compare. Sorry!)

This is what she looks like now after 3 surgeries. You can hardly see the scar!

Oh, wait! That's the wrong side. So sorry.
Here is the right side. But still . . . barely noticeable.

(There is some slight puckering when viewed from certain angles . . . )

I actually had to have her tilt her head to the side so you could see the scar better.

We are so grateful for all of the words of encouragement and prayers along the way.
Molly is doing very well.
She will have one more surgery in October due to the fact that the margins were not yet clear after the last surgery.
Again, thank you.

We are so grateful!!

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