In which I ramble a bit

You know that thing where you can’t seem to get to bed before midnight or after because you are relishing the quiet and alone time that comes with three kids nestling snug into their beds?


I wish I could say I was being ultra-productive with my late night down time, but that’s not necessarily the case. Last night I spent an hour reading up on diagramming sentences…for fun.

I fear the salty Florida air has gone to my head.

I’m thinking about teaching Sloan the very basics of how to diagram a sentence. My poor kids. They just don’t stand a chance in this house, do they? But I can’t help myself. I feel like learning how to diagram a sentence is a lost art and is one of the best ways to grasp grammar. I didn’t learn it until I was in college and I hated every minute of it, but it was also the first time that grammar started to make sense to me.

So today the kids are going to get a lesson on Subject and Verb, and will learn how to break up the two in a simple sentence. We are starting easy.

What are your thoughts on teaching kids to diagram sentences? Is it something you think is important?

In that same vein, are you teaching your kids how to write in cursive despite the fact that it isn’t a totally necessary skill this day in age? In general, most public schools have stopped teaching handwriting simply because kids don’t need it, but I kind of think it’s necessary, which is why I torture Sloan every Tuesday and Thursday with cursive writing practice lessons.

Changing topics slightly, I think I may have found a local Russian tutor for the kids. We are going to meet on Tuesday so she can get to know the kids and hopefully we’ll move forward from there. I can’t wait to have them practice with a native speaker again. I so desperately miss their Russian school in St. Louis.

Lee and I are taking the two older kids on our first family mission trip this summer. I am so excited about it. We are going with IsleGo Missions to Jamaica where we will likely be helping with construction of some sort (last year they built homes) and leading a VBS. My kids are going to be amazing at this – especially Sloan. God has outfitted that child with a missionary’s heart and I can’t wait to see him in his element.

I can’t think about leaving Landon behind, though, or I get incredibly sad and anxious. He will be with my parents, so I know he’ll be fine but he is such a Mama’s boy and he and Tia are pretty much joined at the hip so being away from all of us for a week is going to be hard on him.

*sad face*

Lee and I are in the midst of praying fervently about what to do school-wise for the kids next year. We have several options and all are good, but we are seeking which is best for the kids, for me and for our family dynamics as a whole.

I am headed to Blissdom in a couple of weeks, which I’m really looking forward to, but FIRST my friend Bethany is coming to visit and I’m so excited I can barely see straight. Every time I think about it, I girl squeal and clap my hands, which can be awkward in the middle of the grocery store but whatever.


Read this blog post. It’s amazing and inspiring isn’t it?

I should go. The kids are getting restless and I need to prepare today’s lessons. Sentence diagramming here we come! This is the part where my children would likely request prayer for sanity…

Image credit

Haiti Relief: How You Can Help

The pictures and projected death toll numbers coming out of Haiti are staggering.  As many as 50,000 feared dead and more than 3 million stranded or injured on an island that was known for poverty before the earthquake hit.  But relief and aid is on the way and for that I am grateful.


You’ve no doubt heard or seen of the numerous trustworthy and reliable organizations that you can donate to and know without doubt that your funds will be used well and fair.


Organizations like the Red Cross have already sent in teams to help with medical needs and to distribute much needed water and supplies to the survivors.


You can also give to Compassion International and World Vision, both of whom already have teams set up in Haiti and are quickly assessing the needs and distributing care and funds where needed.  Both of these organizations are stellar, are prepared and will effectively use the funds they raise for the relief of the island of Haiti.


There is one other organization I’d like to make you aware of if you’re still undecided.  I’ve written about IsleGo Missions before as they are an organization founded and run by my aunt and uncle out of Orlando, Florida.  For a detailed description of who they are and what they do, read my previous post or visit their website.  My aunt and I communicated tonight about what IsleGo is doing to respond to the tragedy and rather than try to reexplain what she told me, I’ll just paste her email here:


 “As to Haiti, yes IsleGO is taking donations, people are already sending them. Dusty has a huge network base and we also have a partner in Haiti, a hospital that is about 30 miles outside of Port au Prince. This afternoon we sent 40,000 baggies of rice. Each bag has enough to feed one person, in the bag there is rice, spices and nutrients and all they have to do is boil water for have food. We are working on another 100,000 bags to get ready for delivery within the next few days. Dusty is already getting info on putting teams together by February. Anyway, to answer your question, yes we are taking donations. Thanks for asking. Checks can be made payable to IsleGO Missions.”


There is a link on the IsleGo site that leads you directly to PayPal if you would like to donate that way.  If you would rather send in a check, leave me a comment and let me know and I will get you the address, or you can contact Dusty and Corinne Cooper personally through the IsleGo site.


No matter what organization you choose to donate through, I urge you all to give something.  This is a massive devastation and it is within our power to help those who are suffering desperately.  So I implore you to click on any one of the above links and take a few minutes to give out of the abundance with which you have received!


May you all have a blessed weekend.

IsleGo Missions


This next organization is near and dear to my heart because it is founded and run by my aunt and uncle, Dusty and Corinne Cooper.

I’ve already told you about the amazing heritage of my family.  Starting with my grandparents, my family has a long and rich history in the Caribbean.  I am proud of this history.

IsleGo Missions is a unique, team-led organization with a deep love for the people with whom they work and serve.  It began as a means to better connect short term mission teams relationally to those they were serving.

So often, teams of students and adults head on missions trips where they work hard at building homes, churches, hospitals and more.  But many times, a key component is missing: that of building relationships.  

IsleGo Missions’ purpose and reason for existence is to connect the Church of the USA with the Church everywhere else. 

Says Dusty, “National pastors and churches can reach their own better than someone from outside but they are usually lacking the training, resources, and encouragement they need to see their God-given vision become reality. Connection with the Church, the Body of Christ, outside their own boundaries meets those needs while simultaneously transforming the American church as well.”

So while the teams they lead to different countries are indeed involved in the construction of buildings, the IsleGo staff member that accompanies them works to ensure that relationships are built first.  These relationships are further nourished and grown through the constant communication and help received by the many mission teams that participate.

We tell our teams they could build a cathedral to rival Notre Dame but, if they fail to build relationships during that week, then they have failed,” Dusty explains.  “This is one of the reasons IsleGo, in every country we serve, works with the same established relationships that God is using to transform communities and nations. We are tied into their vision for their people that God has given them to do – We are truly partners with them.”

So where exactly does IsleGo go?  Well, to name just a few places, they travel to the Bahamas, Haiti, Trinidad, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Haiti, Cuba and Brazil. 

But the impact does not lie soley in the countries in which the serve.  The teams of students, from high school to college age, as well as medical missionaries and pastors, young and old, they all go home challenged and encouraged in their faith.

We emphasize that Christianity is a life of worship. Worship too often today is seen as music that moves emotions, when instead God shows worship to be a lifestyle of proclaiming His “worth-ship” in our lives. Our teams start each day with worship music and prayer as well as end the day that way. In between those events, however, we worship during the day with our work, our giving hope to others, our serving God by serving others. This also allows our team facilitators to build into the team members that what they do on this missionary journey can and should be replicated in their home church and city.” (emphasis mine)

In addition to being an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to visit some of the most beautiful areas in all of God’s creation, IsleGo mission trips are fun.  Every team is led by IsleGo staff, my aunt and uncle often acting themselves as team leaders. 

And they are crazy fun.  I’m not just saying that because I’m biased.  Dusty is crazy!  He loves the islands, he knows the islands and he’s not afraid to have fun in the islands.  I’ve even seen video of them swimming with pink dolphins.  Pink dolphins!  It’s just a fun organziation to travel with…and shouldn’t serving the Lord be fun?

IsleGo Missions does a great job of organizing and facilitating group trips from securing the planes tickets to housing to food and product management.  They know how to get a group of people mobilized and ready to serve. 

For more information on how you can be involved with IsleGo Missions, visit their website.  If anything, you should probably click over just to see the amazing pictures and read the stories of what they’re accomplishing in so many areas.

If you are interested in taking a team on an IsleGo Missions project, contact Dusty or Corinne for more information.

I leave you with this final, amazing quote from Dusty regarding the heart and philosophy around IsleGo Missions:

We see life as a journey with a “missions trip” just a missionary journey, but still only part of the life journey. The time spent overseas should be a continuation of the journey we all started when we accepted Christ, a journey that ends at the throne of God with every tongue and tribe and nation in praise of the Lamb.

It is not a “hiccup” or a parentheses in our lives but a vital part of God leading our lives from point A to point B. What He shows us on this missionary journey should become a part of who we are and our service to Him. If this happens, then missions happen wherever we are, home or abroad.”

So…will YOU Go?

Missions Week – Day One

Missions Week – Day Two

Missions Week – Day Three