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School, Speech & Signing

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Seems my updates are not as often, but we’re on the move over here! I just look at Joel sometimes and say, “It’s these kids!!!!”

One sweet girl!

Ella girl started preschool this week. It was totally not a big deal for her–she’s a total sanguine and doesn’t seem to be bothered by new situations or new people. She met lots of new little friends, though we can only remember about 3 of their names, but I’m sure that will all change by the end of the month. We got to decorate a little paper doll to look like her that the teacher stuck up on the bulletin board. We also colored her “take home” bag (I’m new to all of this….) with paint pens. It’s a beautiful work of art for a 3-year-old! She got to take her beloved Banjo (a stuffed koala bear brought from our friends when they lived down under) for show and tell the first day. So far, all I’ve gotten from her is that she gets her arm stamped whenever she’s been a good singer in music class and that they walk to and from their classroom “like one big snake instead of a bunch of little worms runnin’ all over!” She’s having fun and learning things with a great curriculum- I’ve got great expectations for the Christmas program!!!

Enjoy the smile, excuse the crumbs

Seffy boy is changing so much, so quickly, as all babies do. He waves and says “HI!” to most everyone we pass at church, the grocery store, the parking lot….you name it. He loves to smile and say cheese whenever a camera is pointed in his face! This little guy is a social bug too, I guess. He’s really working on talking and we’ve now added a speech therapist to jump start the talking. I’m sure you’re thinking, “A speech therapist? What do they do with babies?” Well, I’ve got a pantry full of sticky james, jellies and marshmallow cremes to slather on his lips and inside his cheeks to encourage the tongue to “move independently of his jaw.” And I bought an electric toothbrush, a $40 whistle kit from a specialty Web site, stuff to make Seth’s own personal “look book,” and installed a full-length mirror in the playroom to encourage us to sit in front of it and make faces, sing, laugh, etc. Speech therapy has proven to be very involved, but very fun indeed! We’re taking pictures of all of Seth’s favorite objects, places, toys and foods to compile into a book where we’ll label each thing and start working on building his vocabulary. I’ve heard that if it takes a child like Ella 10 times to learn something new, it will take Seth 100 times to learn the same thing. Repetition is key, as are pictures of literal objects, rather than sketches or cartoons. SO! Off we go…..you can do it, Seffy! He’s signing a lot to Joel and I, which is so great to give him some way to tell us what he wants. What a smart cookie, that little one. We’re proud of them both.

Special news for our family: Joel is being ordained as a deacon this weekend in our church. It’s an honor for him to be selected as a “servant leader” within the body and he is humbled to serve God and the body of Christ in this way. I’m so proud of him and can think of no one who better fits the description of a gentle leader. He is bold in his faith, ready to defend the Truth, yet tender-hearted in the way he loves others and cares for their walk with the Lord. Joel is a man of integrity who does the right thing. He is not hasty in making decisions that may affect our family or even the lives of others. I’ve known him to be very deliberate and prayerful in his response toward others. He is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s callings on his heart and moves forward in boldness with complete peace in the Lord’s will. I am so proud of him and blessed to serve under his leadership in our home. Ella and Seth wanted to chime in that he’s the best daddy ever…..His dad and brother will be praying over him during the service Sunday morning- and that means more to him than words can describe. As the Lord brings us to mind, pray for Joel that the Lord will guide and direct his steps as he serves in this way.
We’ve started back into a new year with the worship ministry. I’m directing our contemporary choir again this year and loving every moment that we get to come together to worship. The Lord is drawing new people to the ministry, which is so exciting and so welcomed. I still can’t believe sometimes that I’m part of something so big for God- so unique. I was just talking to my dad about it this weekend and said that if you’d asked me even 5 years ago if I’d ever be directing a choir, I would have QUICKLY said, “No way! I’m not qualified to do that!” I still feel inadequate in so many ways, but “His strength is made perfect in my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) People keep coming back, and I still feel called to it, so I know the Lord has plans in how He’s using us week-by-week in worship. Again, I must say how much worship has changed for me now that I’m a mother, but particularly since Seth’s arrival. I see the Lord’s plans as I continue to walk the path He’s laid ahead of me. People that I don’t know have mentioned that they know my testimony- our story with Seth- and they are blessed to see that I can joyfully serve, love, honor the Lord in my worship. My response to that is and always will be: His is my only hope. Apart from Him, I am nothing, I have nothing. I cannot place my hope in Joel, my children, my family, my community, my job, my ministry. None of those things will ever satisfy and every one of them may fail me yet. But my hope is in the Lord….I have a lot of reasons to praise Him.
“Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again, rejoice!’ Philippians 4:4

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6 Responses to “School, Speech & Signing”

  1. Mandy September 10, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    It was so good to hear from you and get such a great update on all of you. I just had to tell you how much fun we had getting to see you for Micah’s birthday. Mallory now has several disney princesses just like Ella’s! And, every time we’re in Target and we spot others at the checkout line, she’s begging for them!!! Those are fun and I’m glad you introduced us to them. We’ll be thinking of you Sunday morning during the dedication. That’s such an incredible honor!!

  2. Marty September 11, 2009 at 11:17 am #

    So hate to miss this weekend. I am so proud of Joel and look forward to how he continues to use you for HIS glory….

  3. jennifer September 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    AMEN! Praying for you Mr. Skaggs/Joel for this wknd and will be watching Sunday in the service. AMEN! I love that verse Phil 4 :4 .

  4. Gina September 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm #

    I love you Em!

  5. Jennafer (Todd) Chaddrick September 20, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

    Thanks for the lengthy update! I think of your sweet family often. Not surprised at all that Joel is being ordained…or that you’re leading the choir…You all sound and look full of joy. Our pastor gave his definition of “joy” in his sermon today–that is doesn’t mean just painting on a smile no matter what is going on in your circumstances, but rather a confident assurance, even in the middle of trouble, that says everything is okay because of Christ.
    I know you must feel a constant ebb of blessing and challenge with all of your responsibilities. But I see that you are letting your joy shine through in all you do! Love you!

  6. Momma Em September 21, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    I love that definition, Jen. I think it is a good description, because it’s not always easy to smile….but He is always near and He never lets us go.

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