Friday, September 30, 2016

Welcome Henry!

    We welcomed our newest nephew into the world on September 24th.  I was incredibly gifted to be able to watch his birth.  The greatest gift ever given to anyone is being able to see this in person!
     My mom and I arrived at the hospital at the same time, signed in at 12:29 p.m. and headed into the delivery room to check on Val's progress.  Mom had said she thought it'd be a few hours.  I didn't think it'd be quite that long, but we all know how quickly babies come...whenever they feel like it. Henry didn't seem to be in any hurry at any time during these last few weeks, and it didn't seem like his birthday would be any different.
     When we arrived, Val was definitely feeling the contractions and some other signs that let my experienced mom believe it was closer than we thought!  It was actually TIME!!!  Henry was born 41 minutes later at 1:11 p.m.

     Eleven minutes has big significance for me.  About a year or two after Taylor was born, I realized I would check the clock and find most often the minutes happened to be 11 past whatever hour.  I'd wake up (or be woken up) only to check the clock and it would be 2:11 a.m.  Or downstairs I'd be making breakfast at 6:11 a.m. or after dinner glance to see 8:11 p.m.  It was really weird actually!  In fact, so weird I mentioned it to my dear friend Anastasia.  She said she'd start praying for me every time she noticed 11 minutes past the hour on a clock.  Often I'd get a little text with the "Praying for you" message at 11 minutes past the hour.  It was special.  So is this verse:

Jeremiah 29:11
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

That 11 is pretty special to me.  So is Henry, weighing in at 8 lbs...11 ounces!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Blue RIbbon Project

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” I Thessalonians 5:11a

     This year’s Christmas Eve service at Beach Cities Church was unbelievable!  We had the most amazing time under a huge tent at Newport Back Bay.  The music and celebration was so special.  Pastor Kent told a special story (kind of a Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of story) about a young man who received a blue ribbon as an encouragement from an employer.  He was then asked to pass on a ribbon to someone else and a final ribbon given to a third person.  The ending was very powerful!  We were then asked to do the same as a congregation…pass on a ribbon with a word of encouragement to someone who’s impacted our lives, with 2 additional ribbons to then be passed on by that recipient. 
     It took me a while to decide who I was giving that ribbon to.  Honestly, I am blessed in my life to be able to think of MANY people to whom I could have given that ribbon.  I just waited.  Then, it hit me.  I gave it to a sixth grader at my school who has come to test several of my struggling  2nd graders on their 1st grade site words.  He comes almost weekly.  He brings a friend or two sometimes.  He has NEVER told his teacher he does this!  I never even had him in my own class…just for reading intervention.  He does it without looking for anything in return (except an occasional Starburst).  He is definitely not a strong reader, and probably struggles with some of the words himself once in a while, but he is faithful to come!  A few other boys dropped out of volunteering early on when they realized it wasn’t anything super exciting.  Aaron kept coming.
     I had encouraged Aaron early on, explaining that I couldn’t test the kids every week but they would make greater strides in reading with his help.  I also told him how much the students would grow to like him and look forward to him coming.  He rarely misses!  And guess what…these kids are growing leaps and bounds in their reading.  It was the greatest gift to explain in front of our class what the blue ribbon represented and why he was getting it.  This picture shows just a few of the kids he’s been reading with.  I’ve never seen this young man glow like he did when I honored him in front of the class.  The kids working with him were so proud as well.  It was one of the greatest highlights in my 21 years of teaching. 
     I am so reminded of the power of encouragement through this challenge.  I am also starting a new challenge for myself in the classroom that will hopefully impact every kid every day.  Here it is:
Give every kid a compliment every day! 
This will be my motto for 2016..and probably for every class every year.  I am excited to see what happens in Room 28 for the remainder of the year.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Uncovered Treasure

     My sister lost her wedding ring on a walk with her dog months ago, her prized wedding ring.  She went searching daily for months.  She retraced her footsteps, put up reward signs, had an entire community pulling together looking with her for her most precious possession.  She even rented a metal detector, looked through her house several times and went on the trails she’s covered with her dog over and over with that thing.  It was lost for MONTHS!  The key word…WAS lost and now is FOUND!!!  It was found a couple of days after she got the replacement from insurance.  Crazy, huh?  It took ages for her to finally agree to a replacement through insurance...and then just a couple days later, she found the original!  When Sarah found her original ring, it was under a pile of leaves, dirty, grungy, and needed lots of TLC and cleaning to get it back to that sparkly new luster it had when she lost it. She had walked by this same spot many many times before never seeing her ring. You can read all about it on her website at  My first thought was, “AWESOME!  She got it back!  That is a miracle!”  And I still believe it all is, especially if you take the time to read just how incredible the story is as told by Sarah.  It’s unbelievable! 
I also got to thinking a little more deeply about how Sarah’s story is so much like our faith, so much like how we are toward God.  He doesn’t move.  He’s there just like her priceless wedding ring.  Sometimes He gets covered up by the chaos of life, by our determination to believe He isn’t around, that He doesn’t care, that we are fine without Him.  All the while He’s unmoving, unchanging.  He is waiting for us to reach out to Him to find Him because He is always there.  Sometimes we feel like we have to come shining and gleaming…perfect.  But that’s exactly why He’s here for us.  He wants us to come to Him and watch Him do the “cleaning” in our lives.  Just like Sarah’s ring, the original is so much more precious eventhough it needed some deep cleaning.  Nothing but the original really suffices.  So often, I am chasing after “fillers” or “replacements” that cannot compare to my original, deep and personal relationship with God Himself.  Sometimes, I need to truly search for Him and work through the muck of what comes in life to find the One True Original Only God in my life.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Run, Taylor, Run!

     Taylor asked to join the running club at school.  Well, actually, the running club coordinator asked her to join.  Of course, the coordinator is a dear friend of ours and Taylor said, “Yes.”  We really tried to coax her out of it.  The club meets at 7:00 a.m. on Fridays.  Taylor HATES mornings.  They run about 2 miles.  Taylor HATES running.  In fact, she hates it so much she brags about getting out of running the mile at school each week when she has extra math to work on during P.E. class. Oh, and I had to be her partner the first two weeks.  I am NOT a runner! 
      So here we are.  The issue…there is the running club, and there are Taylor and me running in our own club right now.  The first week we only saw the club for the warm up and passing us on their way BACK to the school.  We have some crazy work to do. 
     The funny thing is, I am beginning to LOVE to work we have to do.  I get to run with Taylor at least once a week…we’re actually trying to get in 1-3 times a week so we can make it into the actual club some day.  We’re also giving ourselves a goal of entering a 5K before February.  We have an app that helps us keep a steady pace of run/walking.  I am loving the prayer time we get during our runs.  I am loving the singing time I get while on our runs.  (Taylor literally begs me to stop singing which makes me want to sing even more and louder!  But, since she is a preteen, I do stop.)   I am loving being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air.  What I am not loving is having to drag Taylor along while hearing, “I hate this.  I am going to die.  I can’t do it anymore.”  At times, she is literally, pulling me down on the shoulder or digging her heels in while I am trying to pull her along.  We have a time to beat for goodness’ sake!  Then we get home, and she’s loving it again, proud of what she’s accomplished.
     Of course, I think of Jesus in these moments.  I have to laugh when I look at myself and see Him dragging me along.  I feel we’ve been in a tough spot for a while now.  In fact, it feels like a squall.  I have finally given in.  I am tired of hanging on to the life preserver and have pictured Jesus literally holding me up instead of me hanging on.  I imagine as Taylor and I run together…I’m saying, “Come on, Taylor, we can do this.”  Jesus is saying, “Come on, Kim, I’ve got you. We can do this.”
      I say, “Taylor, just a few more steps and we can walk.”  Jesus saying, “Kim, just a little while longer, then you can walk.” 
     Taylor loves to let go of me for some freedom.  Then she starts swaying and running towards obstacles of all kinds.  I love to let go of God at times.  I start swaying and run toward obstacles of all kinds.  “Taylor,” I say, “hang on. We got this!”  Jesus says, “Hang on, Kim.  We got this!”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:7

     This is a verse that I think of often…because I struggle with worry and anxiety.  This past month I’ve run that verse through my head over and over picturing what it means to cast those anxieties on Jesus who truly cares for me.
     I picture myself throwing each anxious thought as far out into the ocean as possible since Jesus used many fishermen examples during His teaching time on earth.  Watching fishermen from time to time…and doing some fishing with my dad early on…makes me think of how far out we would try to sling that piece of bait.  We’d watch it go until we could see it no more and then picture it sinking close to the ocean’s floor.
     This is what God wants for me with my anxious thoughts…thoughts about Lauren starting high school (which she loves!!!), Taylor having to walk onto campus alone and find her way independently (It’ll come in time.), figuring out the pickups each afternoon (Mike’s got this covered.), and teaching 2nd grade this year for the first time ever. 
     It’s been a season of newness and some scary firsts, but the Lord has brought peace each step of the way.   I’ve gotten to see so many people offer their help without even asking.  For example, I ran into the teacher friend who is going to open her classroom up to Taylor in the mornings at high school registration for Lauren.  She said she’d be in her classroom early each day because her son is taking 0 period at the school every day.  Guess what…this same woman is Taylor’s English and Social Studies teacher this year! When she and I talked at registration and she offered her room in the mornings, I truly felt like she was an angel delivered to me at that perfect time…and I told her so!  
     I’ve spent some time in anxious worry, and this verse comes to mind squashing fears because I know God is going to take care of things.  I slip into fear and anxiety often, and I’ve had to trust His timing to deliver answers and remind myself of His care for me.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Gideon Prayer

     "Gideon said to God, 'If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—  look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water.
      Then Gideon said to God, 'Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.'   That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.   Judges 6:36-40

     This year with Lauren's softball has been an insane learning curve for our whole family.  Travel sports are no joke!  They take up so much time and effort on the athletes' parts, and it is a family deal as well.  Our Lauren has seen many ups and downs in the travel ball world.  We've committed her efforts to prayer and have definitely "heard" the Lord "speak" to us, meaning some pretty clear thoughts have come to mind that we know are not of our own thinking.  
     For example, during one tournament when Lauren was really struggling, I felt like four sentences came to my mind so clearly...1)  She is my daughter first.  2)  I see everything she is going through.  3)  Keep encouraging her.  4)  I have plans for her.  These thoughts came in so quickly, so clearly, so timely that I knew it had to be the Lord speaking to me of Lauren.
     The last month has been spent in specific prayer for Lauren's future decision and direction for softball.  I joked with close friends and family I was praying a "Gideon Prayer" because I wanted it to be so crystal clear what direction she should go.  Now, I trust the Lord and know things are not always this clear cut, but for me (not even to Lauren) I felt like He was pretty clear.  
     Lauren had to write a letter to colleges inviting them to a tournament to watch her play as "homework" for her team.  Her letter was so personal, so real, so honest, so Lauren Cox.  She received 2 personal responses immediately from 2 local Christian Universities.  Both invited her to their softball camps in the fall.  (As far as we know, no one else had received such personal feedback if any!  Most teammates heard nothing or got a "form" response in reply.)  This was my "dew on the fleece" moment.
     Then one of those coaches actually come to her game to watch her.  She even stayed and chatted with our family for about 40 minutes of the game!  This was my "dry fleece/dew on the ground" moment.  I have to say those were MY moments.  It took Lauren more time in prayer, as well as our family dedicated in prayer for Lauren to come to her own decision. I kept praying I would respect HER decision whatever it may be.  She's playing next year, and we're all excited. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


     Yesterday I got to drop off Taylor and her best friend, Hanna, at Camp Bloomfield in Malibu.  It's a camp for the blind that's been around for ages.  They get to spend a week together hiking, biking, swimming, horse-back riding, rock climbing, and I even hear they're bringing in snow for a Christmas in July tomorrow night.  What's so cool about this camp is that each blind camper is able to bring a sighted buddy if they so choose.
    Taylor begged us to ask Hanna.  (No begging necessary I must say.  We adore Hanna!!!)  Taylor and Hanna have known each other since they were 2 1/2 years old at Blind Children's Learning Center where Hanna's mom, Teri, was their teacher.  They have had a special bond since then.  During the following 2 years when the girls went to separate preschools, we'd run into Hanna and her family from time to time. kindergarten round-up, we found out the family would be transferring to our same elementary school. Then...the girls ended up in the same Kindergarten class!
     Hanna has been by Taylor's side through so many ups and downs.  She has been a constant in Taylor's life.  She has been a model of friendship many adults do not get the privilege of knowing.  She has been Taylor's aide when one was not available at school.  She has been by Taylor's side through some bullying episodes and has been bullied herself because of sticking up for Taylor and other "special" kiddos.
     Recently, Hanna had to get a shot to go to this camp.  That is Hanna's greatest fear...shots.  She broke down for a long time, actually a day according to her parents and finally said, "Am I going to let one shot hold me back from a whole week of camp?"   Taylor was finally able to help Hanna through this trial as Hanna has helped her through countless setbacks.  Taylor felt privileged to be the one to provide help since Hanna seems to always be the one cheering her on and encouraging her to push past fears.
     It was so special to watch the girls get to camp, super nervous at first...together...pushing through their nerves to help one another.  They met their camp counselors who gave me nothing but peace!  Before Lauren and I left and said a prayer together, Hanna told me she wanted to go again next year.  I'm hoping she feels the same when we pick her up Friday!  These girls are such a beautiful model of God's precious gift of friendship to each of us.