Friday, December 10, 2010

Winter Wonder.. Sneak Peek

Final Dress rehearsal....
Scottsdale Bible's Winter Wonder Program
Friday and Saturday 7pm and Saturday 3pm
It went pretty well, considering all that had to come together! Even the paper snow! You could hear it falling on the mics. We'll see how THAT goes. And the bass and cellos had to move so it wouldn't fall inside!

Jana's worshipful dance to O Come O Come Emmanuel with Karen Schreck on the violin is just stunning.

Alex did beautifully in 'Breath of Heaven'.

The Horizon High School dancers couldn't be there because of their own concert, but their swing number and jitterbug number on Jingle Bells with David Hone (singing with me here) add so much to the first section.
Hope you can come enjoy the music, but more importantly, bring a friend and pray for God to move in a mighty way, as He always does.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Candy Cane Lane

First we start with the manger scene.... the reason we have Christmas in the first place, to welcome the Christ Child. And then the kids picked the Candy Cane and red and white for our theme this year. And we love the book The Legend of the Candy Cane. It was fun collecting red and white candy! It's even in the bathroom!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Missing Jim.. "life's an hourglass"....

This song is on my playlist,"Hourglass" (the girl with the red umbrella) and it captures my thoughts about missing the moments of life, and my kids growing up way too fast! and I know we miss the little moments when our loved ones are gone... don't blink it goes by so fast....

When you reach for the stars

Don’t forget who you are
And please don’t turn around and grow up way too fast
See the sand in my grasp
From the first to the last
Every grain becomes a memory of the past
Oh, life’s an hourglass
Life’s an hourglass

It was a sweet time. So many gathered for our dear friend's Celebration of Life on November 22, 2010 at the Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton CA. You can read his story here at Caring Bridge (Jim Mohler) where I think 79,000 visits have been made, see the service here at Memorial Webcasts (singing is unmixed) and the written program is here.

I was so amazed how strange it felt to be celebrating and mourning at the same time. I felt guilty enjoying his memories, without him being there with us. Laughing at his absurd jokes, talking about the way his ministry effected others because it was always relational first, even doing magic tricks and eating candy. Emily got up and explained the song(here it is below, pause my music on the side before you play it) that she and Alex had written a few weeks before he died. It was all I could do to not lose it. I kept looking at the amazing pipes of the pipe organ so I would have it all together before I got up to talk and sing.

I think of Miriam, Emily and Clayton every day, lift them up in prayer. Praying for them to make it through the day with hope and peace. That each day is a little easier. They know they'll be with him one day, it's the days here that can be hard. We've talked about them spending some time at Christmas with us here, I am so looking forward to that. Praying they can come, hoping we can make some more sweet memories here.

Give them rest Lord, comfort, a plan for tomorrow, hope for the future, security in You and JOY in the new journey they're on.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drawing Close when I want to Run Away

I miss the simple days

There are those days. Today was one. I wanted to run away, go into the next room, find something else to do, when one of my kids was making the wrong choice. Choosing to disobey. Choosing to argue with me, with a sibling, to not do the work we were doing, to find anything to be contrary about. I was so ready to check out!! Instead of choosing JOY, I found myself choosing a louder decibel to express myself! Maybe if they heard me better, they'd make a better choice. Ha. That never works. Not only that, it makes the other kids do the same thing.(the ol' thermostat/thermometer trick. Funny how I seem to set the temperature for whatever I want it to be!) Then we have 5 people hollering. Instead of PRAYING about what to say next, I felt myself getting angry and trying to figure out what I had done to deserve this. Any of this sound familiar? I am modeling the exact opposite of what I'm trying to teach my kids. The fruits of the spirit in Galations 5:22.
Love, Joy , Peace, Patience, Kindness, Self-control, Gentleness (the fruit I used to think I'd left on the tree to rot) Faithfulness and Goodness.

Time to draw near. My LIFE verse for home schooling. I have to put myself in time-out, get my 'mama's praying' apron out. Susannah Wesley, mother to 19, used to put her apron over her head and her children knew not to disturb her when she was praying! Her motto in raising her children was "strength guided by kindness". Imagine in schooling her children at home, that she had time for each of them individually. Auntie Otto made us aprons that actually say "Mama's Praying" underneath so when you flip it up, the kids see it!

I put on my Jane Austen music.

Read my verse and ask God's forgiveness and guidance. And then ask for my children's too.

My verse is Philippians 4:4-5 "Rejoice in the Lord always! Let me say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near!" And you know what follows. Be anxious for nothing and the rest of the verse about making your requests to God with thanksgiving! Well, how perfect that speaks to me each and every day about teaching and training my children with gentleness, knowing that He is right beside me through my day and that He will hear my prayers and petitions.

And finally, my favorite edifying blog. A Holy Experience. Ann Voskamp had posted a parenting manifesto of joy which is now posted in my kitchen where I can be reminded! Which is printable by the way. So please go there to read and print it. My favorite is #7 "Today when I am most repelled by my child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child." Oh yes.

And here's another edifying place for you to read about joy. Another favorite author of mine for many years is Sally Clarkson. Oh to sit and have tea with her is on my bucket list. To pick her brain, to talk about favorite books, to meet her kids, so many things. I hope to go to her conference in the spring. But take a gander to I TAKE JOY. She wrote about 'what you practice, you will become'.

Very much like my thermostat/thermometer idea that I am setting the tone in my home for my kids. What we are talking about, reading, watching and listening to, that is what will form our thoughts and dreams.

Let's go back to Philippians 4:8, whatever is noble,pure, upright, of good repute, if anything is praiseworthy or admirable, let's think about those things!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

One is Silver and the Other's Gold

We call it 'doing life together'.
Like minded families are hard to come by.
I remember an old Girl Scout song we used to sing. 'Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold.' I love the amazing blessing of finding new friends. And then discovering we've shared some of the same friends all along.

And then we discover our kids love eachother and even our husbands 'click'.

This to me is really beyond a blessing. When both spouses like both spouses. My parents told me years ago how unique this is. What a treasure. Our men don't often have the time or energy or even the inclination to put into 'relationships'. I know, surprising! If they are relational at all, they gave at the office all day and save some for the family when they get home. If they aren't relational, then 'giving' at the office completely drained them and even the relational bit at home can be too much. They used up their 500 words compared to our 5000 words we women use a day.

I'm beyond grateful for new friends who build us up, challenge us, are so generous and when I think of them, I smile. When I think of them, I want to be with them, be like them, be more like Christ. Isn't that the best kind of friend?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


DO HARD THINGS conference at our church Scottsdale Bible this Saturday. We read this book after we got it from my sister in law 2 summers ago. Funny thing is we had seen it all over our home school convention that same summer. They really got something going, these twin home school brothers from Portland Oregon. Their older brother Josh Harris is the one who had written "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" too.

So we are taking our 3 'bigs' to the conference and our whole family is reading it together before we go. It really is a thought-provoking book. Our society meant well in getting children out of the factories 100 years ago, but it started a whole generation of time wasted after puberty. Our 'young adults' are capable of so much more than shopping, hanging out, playing video games and IMing!

This book invites you to explore some radical questions:

  • Is it possible that even though teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, we're actually missing out on some of the best years of our lives?
  • Is it possible that what our culture says about the purpose and potential of the teen years is a lie, and that we are its victims?
  • Is it possible that our teen years give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for huge accomplishments--as individuals and as a generation?
  • And finally, what would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirely--a path that required more effort but promised a lot more reward?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby is 9

two fingers, I'm two

emma is so proud to hold her baby brother

sister karen and i, expecting our boys jackson and jefferson 3 weeks apart. they came 8 days apart! and no, we didn't plan to wear these matching dresses to my baby shower. and there was no time to change!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ponder Anew What the Almighty Can Do

Do you know what hymn that line is from?

Hymns have been such a strong, meaningful part of my heritage. A day doesn't go by that I don't listen to or ponder the lyrics to a hymn. The words coming to mind at a certain moment or during a prayer. Yesterday I had the privilege to sing in a memorial service and it really was an honor. I didn't even know the man, the family had picked the songs. The church picked me. How strange I felt, that I didn't know the family. That has happened many times, weddings and funerals, I don't know why yesterday felt different. Maybe because I was alone up there and the songs were so dear to me and I sang no less than 4, all by my little self, one with a trumpet.

I didn't think there was a hymn in our hymn book that I didn't know, I was wrong. I have many hymnals, several German ones in fact. My great grandfather was a German Baptist preacher, Immanuel Bibelheimer. My paternal grandfather was an American Baptist pastor in World War II and then here in Tempe and in Oregon he had churches, his name was Clayton Shepherd. Grandma Clyttie was his organist. Both sides of the family love the hymns and music.

But Beyond the Sunset was a new one, written before my parents were born and still in the church hymnal. We ended the service all singing that sweet song, with the son-in-law playing the trumpet. What a joyous time of celebration of a life well lived, enjoying a glorious dawning with His saviour, evermore.
Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning
When with our Savior heav'n is begun
Earth's toiling ended, O glorious dawning
Beyond the sunset, when day is done

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy
O day of gladness O day unending
Beyond the sunset. eternal joy!

Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion
With our dear loved ones, who've gone before
In that fair homeland, we'll know no departing
Beyond the sunset, for evermore!

(Praise to the Lord, the Almighty is the hymn 'ponder anew' is from. One of my all-time favorites. Ponder the words some time.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Home school ponderings

It's that time of year, when my spirit is quickening. Am I choosing the right curriculum, am I doing too much, too little, outside the home, inside the home, too many friends, too little, do we have their hearts, or just their minds? The Tapestry of Grace curriculum has been on my list of "want-tos" for several years, even before they finished writing it. Mainly because it was written for many ages to be taught all at once, starting at Creation and cycling around every 4 years like I have been doing, and because it keeps building on what they've learned. But then the co-op comes in. Where does that fit in, how much can we do. Lord, help my get my mind around it and ask for help where I need to. Here's a blog on the Tapestry website that meant a lot to me as we're trying to challenge our 2 teens. Marcia is the founder of TofG and the entirety of her blog can be found HERE.

As I was producing the Socratic Discussion webinar that is due to go online on August 1, I got into the topic of how important it is to give students the dignity of allowing them to honestly question, disagree, and make mistakes aloud. It’s been my observation that many Christian homeschooling moms (and dads) seem unwilling to allow their older students to challenge, explore, and think their own thoughts. Their impulse is to rebuke, repress, correct quickly, or deny spoken thoughts or opinions that would challenge Christianity, or doubt God or the Bible. What I’ve observed, over the years, is that this squelching approach to the teen years can have sad consequences. Repressing our teens’ doubts and questions concerning Christianity during these crucial years, or feeding them too quickly with stock theological responses to what to them are deeply emotional issues, may silence teens’ mouths, but it won’t answer the cries of their hearts, or stop them from continuing to ponder. In fact, repressing teens’ verbal expressions is one of the quickest ways to lose their hearts entirely, and by extension, our ability to influence them.My guess, from my experience with many moms at conventions and several good friends near to home, is first of all that this repression is largely unconscious. Moms who consistently and instantly correct, adjust, and challenge their teens’ comments think of themselves as continuing a process of teaching and training that began when their teens were born. Moms are concerned that their teens embrace the truths of the Bible, which they know to be authoritative and true, as well as the source of blessing and wisdom for an entire lifetime. It’s easy to continue tried-and-true methods and approaches to our teens that worked well when they were kids, even as they are outgrowing childhood. We can miss that a change is occurring; we can disrespect our teens because we are in the habit of treating them like children. “Do what I say, because I say it, and because I’m your mother, and children obey their parents in the Lord because this is right!” Our goals are good, our desires are fine, but when good desires turn to bad demands, we can actually end up working against the Spirit.

To gain our teens’ trust, I believe, a parent needs to focus on two crucial things: 1) trusting God–and thus not giving way to fears that will tempt us to err–and 2) giving our children the dignity of allowing them to form for themselves their own worldview.

Let me hasten to add that I don’t believe in a total “hands off” approach. We need to walk with our teens closely every day of their lives, and set before them an example of a vibrant, growing, authentic (but not perfect!) Christian. What I’m getting at in this post is something deeper than mere biblical instruction: I’m addressing the change in your relationship with your son or daughter during this season from one of benign dictator to one of fellow pilgrim on the road to the Celestial City.

The first of these two is crucial: we simply must grow ever deeper in our trust of God. I believe that the primary reason that most of us moms lose our kids’ love and disrespect them during the teen years is because we fail to trust God moment by moment. We so easily slide from gospel-centered thinking (where we remember that God alone determines who is saved) to believing that our words/actions during parenting primarily determine whether or not our child will be saved.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Notr' ami de France

C'est Romain and his sister Pauline, in France.
He came to stay with us, alone, from July 5- 24. He will be 13 in October.
Our family wanted to make his visit memorable and one that depicted life in Arizona and life with a God-loving family.
We aren't perfect. And he saw us in our every-day situations. Brothers and sisters do fight!

We visited a candy factory in Glendale, Arizona (Jefferson 8, Zachary Morelock 8, and Romain)

My cousin Sharon Stevens with Romain. Her dear husband Gene passed away while Romain was here. It was Sharon and Gene that were the reason Romain's father Frank came to the USA 25 years ago and it was Sharon's idea that he stay with us. We are so glad he did!

We visited the Grand Canyon and went quadding with our friends, stayed in a cabin for 4 days, hoping to escape the heat, but it was actually quite warm for Flagstaff.
The kids even went horseback riding in Flagstaff the weekend before, it was much cooler.

He went to church with us, we had friends and family over and went to friends' houses too. He saw Toy Story 3 with my mother (the boys went to The Sorcerer's Apprentice) and Despicable Me. We have a lot of DVDs at home too. He was very hot and we tried to do a lot inside, but he really loves it outside. We went out to eat a lot, went shopping (video games are much cheaper here) went to a country club in Mund's Park (thanks Harrises). He was a part of our daughter's send off to Africa and part of our family's worship time. He saw how we try to have a garden grow in Az! He experienced our LOVE for storms and rain which he completely didn't understand. They have so little sun in Paris.

Romain swam almost every day, played basketball and soccer (futbol), watched the World Cup and played video games. His father really wanted us to go about our every day routines with Romain here,we don't have much routine in the summer of course, and we had so much fun with him. He was polite and easy to be with. His English was absolument parfait! We hope to go to Paris to see him soon! And yes, I cried when he got on that plane, tout seul, alone.

Adieu notr' ami. À bientôt!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My #1 Son is 15 Today, the 4th of July

Me with my sister Karen, very pregnant in 1995

I had a 2 year old girl, she was soooo easy. Played well alone. Never cried. Loved stories and music. Well-meaning people said, 'wait til you have a boy'. Then came my 'fire-cracker baby'. I had been walking every single morning. Nervous about having gestational diabetes with him, I ate extremely well and exercised. Gained about 15 pounds total. Felt awesome. He came 5 days early. The day after my sister had her 2nd baby. Our deliveries were eerily the same. Even rented the same movie to watch the night before, didn't watch it, didn't know! We even both wanted epiderals and they didn't come in time, but in hindsight,that was the best delivery I ever had.

Charles Dexter Tuten arrived 2 hours after I arrived at the hospital, at 9 pounds 8 ounces.

And he was soooo easy too! He'd sit for hours and look at books during his 'room time'. What a happy baby. I rarely remember him crying. And his big sister took care of him if he did.

At 2, yes 2, because his papa and nana were watching him while I was at the hospital having baby number 3. His papa asked him if he was ever afraid of storms. He thought for a minute and made his own sentence. "yes, storms scare me." To a linguist like my father, this was quite remarkable.
That is my word for you Dexter. Remarkable
And I pray God does remarkable things in your life.... for HIS KINGDOM,
in you and through you.
We love you.Harrison and Dexter (4 years old)With his little brother Jefferson (8). My brown-eyed boys. So handsome.

This year, we sent him for a week with the Mohlers in CA. Here he is with Clayton in Disneyland in 08 I think. I know being with Clayton is the best birthday present ever! Thanks Mohlers!

Monday, June 21, 2010

50 years, a legacy of love

It was the sweetest of vacations. To celebrate 50 years of marriage with our folks on June 17, we 3 Shepherd kids and our families, 17 people in all, rented 3 cabins in Greer Arizona.

We missed my brother's son and his bride Amanda who live TOO far away now!

We all asked for copies of my sister's beautiful letter she wrote them, I will add some of her poignant thoughts later. And I made a DVD of photos from all 50 years! Lots of laughter and tears followed after we had a wonderful time of worship.

But the best part of all? Hearing that my mom is continuing to be CANCER FREE!!

Thank You Jesus for many more years to come as we all grow together and serve You and know You better! That is our anniversary prayer!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Student Arts Leadership Training= SALT

Lauren Seegar and Rudy Ramirez leading us in spontaneous worship. They're from LOVEASU ministry.

LoveASU from Lauren Seegar on Vimeo.

Mid week. A migraine every day, forgot one of my kids one day, have lots of kids here at home, have experienced awesome worship, love each and every kid in my choir, getting so excited to worship together Friday night. Art, Dance, Drama, Vocals and Band. Seeing the kids grow in their knowledge and love of Christ is the highlight, as well as the music!

Check out the blog: SALT

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reading, Pondering, Praying about my Children's Education for the Fall

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. ~Mark Twain, attributed
The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~James Bryce
There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read. ~G.K. Chesterton

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book. ~Groucho Marx

Some thoughts from George Grant and GK Chesterton that make me ponder and pray:

The students in America’s earliest schools, academies, and colleges were educated according to the great traditions of the Christian and Classical heritage—beginning at the Latin School of Plymouth, established on this day in 1623. They were the beneficiaries of a rich legacy of art, music, and ideas that had not only trained the extraordinary minds of our Founding Fathers but had provoked the remarkable flowering of culture throughout Western Civilization. It was a pattern of academic discipleship that had hardly changed at all since the dawning days of the Reformation and Renaissance—a pattern though that has almost entirely vanished today.

Indeed, those first Americans were educated in a way that we can only dream of today despite all our nifty gadgets, gimmicks, and bright ideas. They were steeped in the ethos of Augustine, Dante, Plutarch, and Vasari. They were conversant in the ideas of Seneca, Ptolemy, Virgil, and Aristophanes. The notions of Athanasius, Chrysostom, Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Abelard, and Wyclif informed their thinking and shaped their worldview.

The now carelessly discarded traditional medieval Trivium—emphasizing the basic Classical scholastic categories of grammar, logic, and rhetoric—equipped them with the tools for a lifetime of learning: a working knowledge of the timetables of history, a background understanding of the great literary classics, a structural competency in Greek and Latin-based grammars, a familiarity with the sweep of art, music, and ideas, a grasp of research and writing skills, a worldview comprehension for math and science basics, a principle approach to current events, and an emphasis on a Christian life paradigm.

The methodologies of this kind of Christian and Classical learning adhered to the time-honored principles of creative learning: an emphasis on structural memorization, an exposure to the best of Christendom's cultural ethos, a wide array of focused reading, an opportunity for disciplined presentations, a catechizing for orthopraxy as well as orthodoxy, and a broad experience honing the basic academic skills of listening, journaling, thinking, processing, integrating, extemporizing, and applying.

The object of this kind of Christian and Classical education was not merely the accumulation of knowledge. Instead it was to equip a whole new generation of leaders with the necessary tools to exercise discernment, discretion, and discipline in their lives and over their callings. Despite their meager resources, rough-hewn facilities, and down-to-earth frontier ethic, they maintained continuity with all that had given birth to the wisdom of the West.

It was the modern abandonment of these Christian and Classical standards a generation later that provoked G.K. Chesterton to remark, “The great intellectual tradition that comes down to us from the past was never interrupted or lost through such trifles as the sack of Rome, the triumph of Attila, or all the barbarian invasions of the Dark Ages. It was lost after…the coming of the marvels of technology, the establishment of universal education, and all the enlightenment of the modern world. And thus was lost—or impatiently snapped—the long thin delicate thread that had descended from distant antiquity; the thread of that unusual human hobby: the habit of thinking.”
It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it. ~Oscar Wilde