Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Parade

It's that Christmas Season and Amy and Sarah represented Valley Oaks Charter School in the annual Bakersfield Christmas parade. Sarah and her friend Jordyn carried the Valley Oaks banner while Amy and her clogging friends clogged the night away. With their new teacher, Kacey, they performed Country Christmas, Jingle Bells, and an old Elvis song, Santa Bring My Baby Back. It was an exciting day as their picture was featured in the Bakersfield Californian and the parade televised. Even the following morning on local news stations, coverage of them dancing appeared on TV.

Along with the holiday season, Amy participated in the Valley Oaks Oral Language Competition and placed first for humorous solo. She will compete in a regional contest next! Her winning piece was called, "Help, Send Candy Bars" It fits Amy pretty well!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


More Than A Day
As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we're poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.
We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We're wealthy, when push comes to shove.
So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you've got;
Realize it's a lot,
And you'll make all your cares go away.
By Karl Fuchs

Thanksgiving is a time to count our spiritual blessings. As we were reading Psalms 100 and 103 recently we were amazed at the characteristics of our heavenly family. God is Good! That's my favorite verse. No matter what trial comes our way, we can be assured of those precious words in Scripture that God is good! We are also reminded that He pardons our iniquities, heals all our diseases, redeems us from the life in the pit, and satisfies our years with good things. Another of my favorite verses is Ps 103: 8 "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness." One blessing I am overwhelming thankful for this Thanksgiving is found in vs. 10 "He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. " What more can we be thankful for than to have our sins washed away by the blood of Jesus! Praise God this holiday season that He is merciful and forgiving!

New Family Member!

The Collins family is growing! We've added another family member--a hairy one! Snickerdoodle has joined our family. He's a cute little doggy who loves his new family. Amy and Sarah have been pleading for a dog for months and this little guy just "appeared" at the SPCA the day we were there looking at dogs. "Snickers" for short, loves walks and couches. He already knows how to sit, shake and stand on his back legs and beg like a squirrel. He's pretty mellow in the house, only lifting his head from a nap to bark when hearing a knock on the door. This well mannered little guy is a a Lhasa Apso/Terrier mix who is about three years old. He joined our family on October 30 and is certainly "Man's Best Friend" in this house. He's an adorable addition to our family!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Country Hoe Down

Fall is Harvest Time. At the Collins House that means celebrating the Harvest Season with a Country Hoe-Down! Live music was part of our celebration this year with guitar and fiddle. New games were introduced and the traditional doughnut on a string and square dance were part of our evening with Grace Bible. Macie challenged the women in the 18 & older age group and continued her traditional win--even with a chocolate coating on the doughnut. The guys, too, were serious in their challenge to win cheered on by everyone. Bryce Hammond came on strong to take the lead of the kids' contest and hold on to the Hammond status. Many familiar faces from the past reappeared for the night which was a true delight! One of the biggest blessings of a small church family is the opportunity for ALL to gather together for a fun night of fellowship with a potluck dinner, games and a campfire.


Charlotte L. Riser

When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.

Amy's Birthday

Amy turned 13th on October 5! We now have three teens in this house! Although they eat nonstop, they are each a joy to have. Amy had ten friends over for a sleepover to celebrate her 13th birthday. Their biggest goal for the evening was not to devour three Costco pizzas, but to solve the riddles and search the town in a Scavenger hunt. Clues were given and they not only had to solve the clue and drive to the store, but when they arrived at the store they had to something specific and have their photo taken. For example, Clue: Fly like an arrow straight and true
to the red and white without the blue. Then when they got to Target (that's the answer to the clue) they had to take a vote of their favorite chips. Take a photo of your group with the bag. Buy them and eat the whole bag before opening your next clue. It was a race through town that proved to be a fun adventure.

As Amy turns 13 and is a teenager, she is also becoming a young lady. She is growing in grace and kindness. Amy is one who is a hard worker, loves to serve and help when needed. She's the best big sister in the world to her younger sibling, Sarah. Amy's creativeness and eagerness is sure to be used by the Lord in the years ahead. I'm so proud she's my daughter!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Soccer Season

September and October are soccer months at the Collins home. With practices four days a week and Saturday games played by both Amy and Sarah, that occupies much of our time. Amy's team, The Jokers, has been a wonderful experience for her. She has enjoyed meeting new friends and guarding that goal as "keeper" at least some part of every game. After a trying tournament winning the first three games, the Jokers came in second in the U14 girls league. Sarah's team, the Shooting Stars, started slow but they have advanced to winning with a number of different girls scoring goals--including our little kicker, Sarah, scoring three goals in the last game.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kern County Fair

It's fair time at the Collins home! "Best of the West" was this year's theme at the Kern County Fair. We've been busy, busy, busy preparing projects for the county fair. Cooking, sewing, and building has kept us working hard. Bob was our big winner for the year winning 1st place and "Best of Show" for his license plate bird houses! Sylvia also won 1st place on her Sheriff Taylor scarecrow and delicious pumpkin bread. Sarah also got a first on her Polly Pocket collection which she delicately set up. Crafty Amy also received 1st place ribbons on her creative greeting cards and scrap book pages. Planting flowers is always fun and Amy received a 1st place on her western dish garden and Sarah received 2nd place on her cactus garden. There were many 2nd place winnings as well including Timmy's design of a floraculture exhibit (with friends Max & ALex) where they were given a plot of dirt to design and plant. Other 2nd place winnings were a dress sewn by Sarah and a matching purse, Amy's Missouri cookies, Timmy's fudge, and Sarah's snickerdoodles. Sylvia received a 2nd on her peanut butter cookies in a jar and her snowman collection. Our sewer Amy received a 2nd place on her crocheted shawl and a 3rd on her knitted scarf. Prizes were won by everyone. While at the fair we enjoyed the high diving show, an amazing BMX bike show, a great magician, and the Calico Kids Cloggers! They were awesome! Dancing a variety of tunes from bluegrass to country, their performance included a Disney theme song and a Beatles hit. They were enjoyed by all who stopped to watch.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ayako Visits from Japan

We were blessed this month with a visitor from Japan. Ayako Obata is a college student in Toyama, Japan, and came to America for one week during her college break. Ayako is studying to be a kindergarten teacher and loves children. While staying with us she especially enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and playing catch with our dog, Lindsey. She also enjoyed learning American games and petting the cat and rabbit. Our weekend was filled with soccer games and a day at the Kern County Fair. Once again, we learned so much about the Japanese culture from her photos and stories, and she learned much about the American family from us. She was a joy to have in our home and we will pray that she may someday return to American and we can share with her more about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer is Gone. . . .
As quickly as the weather warmed up here in Bakersfield, the days of summer vacation are gone. We enjoyed our summer with camping, vacationing, boating, and . . . . building --as usually ends up on the Collins' agenda.

We began our vacation with a trip to Morro Bay where we enjoyed fellowship with friends from Grace Bible and a surprise birthday cake for me! Campfire tales, games, and antique shopping filled our days. Later in June our family explored San Diego with a visit to the awesome San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and of course, Sea World! The beaches were fun (Coranado Island) and the coast explored. Later in July we trucked up to the Sierra Nevadas for a camping trip with home school friends at Sequoia National Park and enjoyed trails through the giant trees and campfire stories once again. While spending time at home, we often took a day off for boating which Amy especially loved tubing behind the boat with a friend. Bob's big project for the summer was expanding the girls' room by punching out the wall and building an addition in which to place bunkbeds. Now there is actually room to play in their room--they are loving it!! A new jungle theme will replace their sweet little teddy bears as we see the girls get older and their interest change.

One highlight of my summer was attending the Women's Discipling Conference sponsored by the Master's College and being challenged to live out my faith. I see failures every day, but am striving to be who God wants me to be and glorify Him in all I do. It's so easy to depend on myself to accomplish my goals, but the Lord desires for me to rely on Him and seek His will, not my own--even in the little day-to-day activities of life. "Abide in Me" is what Christ said in John 15. That is my goal for this next school year--to abide in Christ in all I do and say.

How can I practically "Abide in Christ"? By seeking His desires for me, by praying over all my decisions, by giving up my will, and by abiding in His word and getting to know Him better. It is through the study of His word that I am convicted of my sinful state and my selfishness and long to put Him first in my priorities. What a challenge it is to live like Christ! But to God be the glory when we do.

Summer. . . it is a great time of reflection. A great book I've read entitled Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God is a must read. It contains stories of five ordinary women who trusted in their extraordinary God to do great things. Lessons we learn from the past can be so valuable to us today. What we learn through these women and their faith and trust in our God challenges us to reach out and live daily for our Lord. Let me know if you want to borrow this book--you won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We've Graduated One!

It has been a busy spring, but yes, we've graduated one from our home school! God is to be praised!! Andrew graduated May 29 after 12 years of home schooling. It is hard to believe I have a high school graduate and soon a son in college. He has worked hard and accomplished much. In his high school years he has written articles for our school newsletter, written a play performed by his Drama Club, and even written a movie produced and shown for the Kern Youth Christian Filmmakers Asso. He not only loves writing, but he also starred in both the play and movie as a great actor. In looking through many old photographs, we discovered Andrew's love for pirateering began at an early age and has given him the experience to be an outstanding "Captain Jack" in his recent play "Pirates of Parody". God has blessed him with many talents and given him with a heart that yearns to love and serve Him and all he does. He will head to The Master's College in the fall with an emphasis on communications and possibly apologetics. We pray God's continued guidance for Andrew's life and for growth in Andrew's walk as he continues studying God's Word. May God be glorified in all we do!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This is the Beginning!

I've been checking out blogs for some time and decided that if my 17 year old could begin his own blog, it was time for me to get with the times. Life is busy with four children and I'm hoping to squeeze in a few minutes here and there to write down what's happening here at the Collins home. When we're not on vacation (and I hope to have vacation pictures posted eventually) we're busy with the typical church activities, music lessons, drama practices, and gymnastic classes and other sports activities. Some days I feel I'm really more of a taxi-driver than anything else!

I have found through the busyness of life, it is important to stop and cherish the days spent with our children. They really are blessings from the Lord. I'm hoping to share on this blog some lessons that my children have taught me and even greater lessons the Lord has taught me as I grow closer to Christ.