Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Honoring My Mom Part 2

I eluded earlier to my mom's health's problems. I won't get to much into detail but the long of the short is, she had a birth defect with one of her valve's when she was born. It was discovered around the age 13. She frequented the dr's. who kept a close eye on her. When she was 26 she had a long, too long for someone with a heart problem, labor with my brother. She blew her aortic valve but it went undiscovered for quite some time. As she began to recover from labor she realized that her body wasn't going back to normal. As she would say, she felt like she was dying but the dr's didn't believe her. It took a friend taking her to the dr and saying "We are not leaving until you find out what's wrong with her" to uncover the problem. They did a stress test on a treadmill and sure enough found out what was wrong. She went into shock and they performed emergency heart surgery placing a metal aortic valve in place of her failing one. That was about 24 years ago. The dr's. predicted her valuve to last 12-16 yrs.. by God's grace she has way surpassed that statistic! Other complications have arose from having open heart surgery as well as failing valve's. Today she has three valves that are on the verge of needing replacement. She is monitored closely by one of the top dr's in AZ and again by God's grace doing well. Her battle with heart problems and other health problems have made us all appreciate the frailty of life. Many of the things people said about my mom in their letters praised her for how she walks in faith with her health problems. She can, as anyone would, grow discouraged when she is unable to do physically what she is desiours of. My mom is not a sit at home type of person. She likes to stay active and be around people. And when she is able to attend parties, she is often the life of it! My prayer was to point out God's grace in my mom's life by giving her these letters. I wanted to encourage her that God is using her, not inspite of her health problems, but through them and through her example of how she walks in faith in the midst of them.

Here are a few of the things said about my mom:

"The first time I met you JoAnn, you immediately put me at my ease. After talking with you for ten minutes I felt like I had known you my whole life! You are the most caring, giving and self-less person I've every known. Your strong faith has been an inspiration and has provided much guidance and comfort for me."

..." I am so encouraged by how you trust your Savior in the midst of suffering. God has allowed much pain in your life, and I am amazed by how you deal with it. You humble yourself to ask others to pray for you. You don't self-sufficiently try to just get through it on your own strength, but you are humble enough to talk with others and ask for prayer. You don't simply paste a smile on your face and pretend like everything is fine, but you are real and honest about how you're feeling. When I ask you how you're feeling, you give me an honest answer, yet always without complaining. You demonstrate a unrelenting faith that your trials come directly from God's hand, and that He has some purpose in it. You are "fighting the good fight of faith" and I am confident that you will one day hear "Well done, Joann, My good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master."

Here is what someone said who knew her before her heart surgery and shares a memory:
..."She asked me to be her prayer partner praying for people she was witnessing too and I agreed. Since I was the “shy” one, I would hold her up in prayer as she went out evangelizing with a group from church."

Joann you are... "one to look to for advice – gifted in perception and discernment; and supportive friend – genuinely sharing happiness or grief. Your steadfast faith and love of God despite repeated tests and trials is profoundly inspiring."

"You were such a source of strength, encouragement & support for me during that hard time! Thank you for being willing to put aside your own health issues to meet with my mom & to encourage her."

"Your joy. Whenever I talk to you, even when your are in pain,you exhibit so much joy and even laughter when we talk about the situation. Only God can do this in you and so I know it is evident you are trusting in Jesus!"

"When I think of you, I instantly think “FRIEND”. There are times when I need prayer and I know in my heart, without a doubt that you are praying. Not only will you pray, but you are so good at following up with an encouraging phone call to check in. This has blessed me and encouraged me to follow your example. When we get together, you always ask how I am, again, showing you care. You are a “FRIEND” to many people around you."

It doesn't matter what is happening in your life, you are never too busy or sick to share my burdens. Whenever anything happens in my life you are the first person I want to share it with, and I know you are only a phone call away.

I would like you to know how very much I appreciate you and your Godly wisdom, your compassion and your faithfulness as a friend. You endure daily physical burdens yet when I have needed you, you open your heart and lift me up with words of comfort that point me to our Lord which is exactly where I need to be.

**I love you mom! I'm so thankful that you are my mom and also my dearest friend! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Honoring My Mom

Sunday May 27th my mom turned... well let's just say it's not 40 and it's not 60. I've been thinking all year about this big birthday and what I could get her that would be a blessing. Often when this birthday comes a big surprise party is thrown, but with my mom's health problems it would've been to much for her. So after I thought about it for awhile I came up with the idea of throwing her a surprise party in a book. I asked her friends and family to write letters wishing her happy birthday. Then I'd take the letters and put them into a scrapbook. So I've been compiling the letters and pictures of my mom over the past month and took the last week and a half to make a scrapbook for her. I am so pleased with how it turned out! I should probably say that I've never "scrapped" a thing before. It's something I've always wanted to do but could never find time for. Now that I've done it... well I'm
still not sure I have the time, but it was a lot of fun :-) I wanted to take this first post to share some of the picture pages I put together for her. It's important to note that my mom is the youngest of five. She was quite the unexpected blessing. I believe my Grandma was in her early forties when she had her. There aren't many pictures of her and she definitely doesn't have an album full like some of her older siblings. So I was excited to make an album just for her. With the help of my friend Luz I was able to get some of their older photo's scanned and restored! As you can see from the pictures my Mom is a beautiful person! The first couple ones are from when she was in high school, then wedding etc. Also I should say that I had creative help with the wedding pages and the first page from my friend (as well as my mom's friend) Tracy. She is very gifted at scrapbooking and I am so thankful for her help in getting me started!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Attitude Update

Things are going great at New Attitude. I spoke with Chris late last night and he informed me that he was recruited, again, to be a community group leader. He was a leader up until a week ago and he had asked to be replaced due to how sick he was feeling. Well, they replaced him and ended up needed his replacement for another group whose leader didn't show up and Chris is now the leader, once again, for his original group. Half of the group is from PHX so that makes it a lot of fun! Two of the people in his group are from the rebelution Blog. They are live blogging the conference and put a post up this morning about their community group. They also posted some pictures. One shows a couple guys from our church, Andrew, David, Ryan and Chris' hand.... LOL! Almost made it to the picture honey :-)

These guys are doing a great job of blogging the conference! I love being able to follow along with all the blogs and feel like I'm "there" with everyone!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Mini Ice Cream Cakes


We had a family party for Taylor's birthday earlier this week. As I was planning the party I knew with Chris still laying on his back, that if I was going to pull off two parties in one weekend, I would need some help. So I called my sister-in-law, Carrie, to see if she could make a dessert for our dinner party. Now if you know Carrie and her dessert abilities you know I was half asking cause I needed help and half because I LOVE her desserts! Seriously she makes some of the best pies, cheesecakes and cookies! Well she did not disappoint. She brought the cutest mini strawberry ice cream cakes! They were a huge hit. Thanks for showing up my dinner Carrie... :-) You can find the recipe here. I can't wait to make these myself. They would be perfect for a little girl's tea party or as a cool summer treat!

New Attitude

This morning thousands of singles, including ones from our church, along with my husband, left for New Attitude. Pray for their safety and that God would meet them in awesome ways. With a line up like Al Mohler, John Piper, CJ Mahaney and Josh Harris, I'm sure it will be an amazing conference! For those of you "left behind" like me you can follow along as Tim Challies blogs live from the conference and also my hubby will be posting conference updates on the Gilbert Singles website. I'll definitely be reading those!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My how she's grown...


Five years ago today I was in labor with Taylor. After a long night of high school graduation activities for my brother Ryan, we returned home for bed. Or so we thought... shortly after returning home, or as Chris would say, just as he started to drift off to a peaceful sleep, my water broke and we were off to the hospital. Taylor Elyse was born 12 hrs later and so began our journey as parents. It's hard to believe it's been five years already!! She has grown not only so much physically but we have seen the grace of god at work in her life as well. She is a sweet, compassionate, bright little girl. I can receive as many as five cards throughout the day from her. Some are pictures of her and I, or flowers, others say "I love you Mom". I often have to remind myself that she is "only" five as she already has a large capacity. She looks for ways to serve me and loves caring for her little brother and sister. Taylor we are blessed by God to have YOU as a daughter!

Happy Birthday Taylor!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Toby, Trevor & Trains

You may not find this as funny as we did... But this is Cousin Toby playing with Trevor last night on his train table. Uncle Keith is supervising. Uncle Keith tries to start a fight... It starts off with Trevor thinking Keith is taking a picture.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Princess Party

One day there was a princess. Her name was Princess Taylor. She was about to turn five. So all the princess' in Gilbert, along with Queen Mommy, decided to get together and throw her a royal party! The invitations were sent out weeks in advance and after a night of decorating and a morning a preparation the princess' began to arrive.

Upon arrival the princess were given wands and jewels to create a masterpiece.

Afterwards the girls gathered together in a circle to play " pass the poison apple". The princess who had the apple after the music stopped, fell asleep. One by one the princess fell asleep until only one remained. She then woke up all the other princess' with a kiss (Hersey kiss that is).

Then came a horrible announcement from the King. A dragon was in the living room threatening our safety. We needed all the princess' to help slay the dragon! They worked very hard to ensure our safety. But King Papa had to step in to give the dragon one last "slay".

After all of their hard work the princess' were hungry. They retreated to the kitchen to have some princess punch and cake.

What party would be complete without opening presents?

I think it's safe to say this party was a royal success!

** A very special thanks to my dad and mom! Along with Danae and Ruth! Without whom, this party would not have been.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

God's grace in unique ways...

This has been quite the week. Chris has remained laid up in bed since sunday. The funny things about trials is there's no warning. I wasn't given the "heads up" when I sat down to plan my week and meals out. So the trial comes and I can fight it or embrace it. Unfortunately I've spent a lot of time fighting it but God is kind and hasn't allowed me to remain in my sinful state. He has used my mom, friends and his word to soften my heart. He has also given me some unexpected blessings. Take for instance tonight after dinner, Trevor took off his diaper and said he needed to "go to potty". This isn't something we've been working on and those of you who know me know my philosophy on potty training. It goes a little something like this... they can train themselves :-) Ok, not really. But after pushing Taylor for months and months to get out of diapers, and cleaning up accident after accident I gave up. About six months later she turned three and decided she was done. That was it. Maybe one or two accidents but nowhere near the amount of work. I mean really isn't there enough "work" to be done! So do I think this is it and Trevor will be potty trained? Probably not, but I was praising God that one of the kids poop went in the potty and not in a diaper for me to clean up! What a gift!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bath Time Fun


While giving the kids a bath the other day Taylor, without my knowledge, dumped the whole bubble bath bottle into their bath. She said, "Mommy Trevor asked for bubbles!" Really, what choice did she have? They had quite a bit of fun with all these extra bubbles!

A unexpected gift


I hope all the mother's out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. We had fun honoring two of the best mother's I know, who are also two incredible grandma's. Saturday night we went to Chris' parents and had a homemade lasagna dinner. It was a great time of hanging out and letting the kids play. They have this really cool motorized car in the back yard that the kids love to play with! On Sunday I got my yearly mother day's gift at church, a $5 starbucks card! Thanks Pastor's of Sovereign Grace. After naps we took the kids to my mom's house to celebrate with her. We swam for awhile and ate my favorite, Pei Wei's. Unfortunately Chris began to feel ill there and he left early on in the evening. Thanks to my parents and Uncle Ryan and Aunt Danae I was able to stay for the evening and it was another great night of hanging out. Yesterday was going to be the day we celebrated "my" Mother's Day but with Chris being ill that didn't happen. Oh well! I know there are cards somewhere in this house for me... I'm sure I'll get them one day :-) Even though there was no official celebration or official gifts from my family this year I did recieve something very special. After a long day I put the two girls down and sat and cuddled with Trevor. He is always so sweet with me. Constantly kissing me, hugging me... I enjoy our "cuddle time". Well while we were sitting together I said " I love you Trevor" and as clear as day he looked up at me and said " I love you Mommy!" What a wonderful gift! My son said I love you Mommy for the first time! A few mintues later he went off and threw a tantrum... but hey I now know he loves me :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I have been reading Ruth this past week and using Ian Dugid's Reformed Expository Commentary as help. This book was another gift given to the Pastor's wives at the Leader's Conference. I have throughly enjoyed his insights into the book of Ruth! It is often humbling to read a commentary and see how much I miss on my own! I'm so thankful for men like Ian, who can share their years of study on the word with others like me.

I sadly can often doubt that God will meet my daily needs for grace and endurance in parenting. I can turn to people and things other the the Lord to get me through a day. I can allow myself to think " I just need a nap, or I just need Chris' help... or anyone's help!" I was encouraged by Ian's words this morning that it is only God who can meet my daily needs and that HE has meet my greatest need in Jesus!

"The cost for Naomi and Ruth to have their deepest need supplied was for Jesus-the ever-living One-to taste death in their place. The cost for us to have our deepest need met, our need for salvation, was for the Sinless One to be made sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God (2 Cor. 5:21)

"Is your heart constantly ignited by the glorious grace and covenant faithfulness of God? We should trust in Christ alone for our daily bread instead of wandering off to search for crumbs in the field of another. The temptation is real for us to doubt his good provision for our needs and to look to ourselves or to others to provide for us. We are easily cast into despair and bitterness when we find ourselves scraping the bottom of life's barrel, and we turn our backs on the bread of life in favor of bread that will not satisfy.... if we fix our eyes on the glorious grace of God, and his costly answer for our deepest need, then we will not so quickly doubt that he will meet all of our other needs. Since the Lord has shown us this covenant faithfulness, will he not order all things well in our lives? In sickness or in health, in poverty or in riches, for better or for worse.. all of these conditions come to us as part of His perfect plan for us and must in some way work for our blessing!"

Monday, May 07, 2007

We Won The Lottery

Ok so not the lottery that you are thinking of...

This year we began thinking about the daunting responsibility we have in shepherding our child's education. It's not something you exactly think about the day they are born. Or in our case something you think about when they are one, two or three. You know the day will come eventually but in the midst of toddler training it can feel so far away. Well the reality of kindergarten hit us in the fall and so began the prayer, seeking counsel, reading books combined with more prayer and more counsel. I'm sad to say that for me this wasn't just a decision about Taylor. I had my own pride and fear of man involved. What would people think if we home school? What will people think if we DON'T home school? Ah yes indwelling sin greatly at work. Well this made me all the more grateful for my husband. He leads me so well and humbly and without the fear of man involved. So after all the above prayer and counsel we believed it to be best for now, to home school Taylor. Then one day a trusted friend mentioned something to me about this charter school. I listened but never took initiative to look into it again. My experience with charter schools wasn’t great and after all, Taylor wasn't even four yet, we had plenty of time. Well we had a few more random encounters with people mentioning this school and again while out to dinner with some old friends the wife begins talking about her children's school and how happy they've been there. She said that what they like best is their newly offered half-day program. That's right this school offers half day K-6. They take out lunch and recess yet, still teach everything taught to full day students! Suddenly some of our main concerns for having Taylor in a school were eliminated. Now this peaked both Chris and I’s interest and we began making some calls. We toured the school, were thoroughly impressed with their test scores, highly educated teachers, small class sizes, differentiated learning and their strong desire for parental involvement. We left with her name on the list however, a little behind. Let's just say the wait list has already began for Rylee's age! People literally drive 20-30 minutes for this school that happens to be two miles from our home and one from church. Well since December we've been waiting and waiting, knowing this would be the month we'd hear. Today the awaited call came and Taylor will begin kindergarten there in the fall! Even though it feels like we won the lottery we know this is not a mere chance situation. We hope this is God's answer to months of prayer. In his Grace God allowed this to be the year that Edu-prize opens up their first new school in Queen Creek. Many families are transferring out of the Gilbert school to their new location leaving room for latecomers like us. We are really excited to see what God will have for her as well as for us this next year. She'll be gone for 2 1/2 hrs in the morning and I'll have the rest of the day to teach and train her in bible and character! We will take one year at a time and re-evaluate the school for Trevor when he gets to be 5. Some of the greatest counsel we were given is that every child is different and what works one year may prove out to not be the best for the next year. We've already prepared Taylor for this!

Here is a sample from their website ( of what she'll be doing:
Speaking of Kindergarten... "This is completed through a comprehensive program that consists of: a phonics based curriculum, thematic/scientific units (better known as Cottages), writing program, Saxon math as well as music, art computer lab and special science class just for kindergarteners.

"Reading through Writing and Writing through Reading!!" Our focus at this time is Fall and Harvest as well as Animals, Animals, Animals. One of the most exciting adventures is at the end of the quarter. We will issue passports to the children and take off on our adventures around the world.

"As we learn about life cycles by hatching eggs, turning caterpillars into butterflies and watching tadpoles turn into frogs. If we can find anything else, we'll try that too! The children will create their own Life Cycles 3-D book. We also plant in our own Edu-Prize garden. The children love to watch, wait and see the changes. They enjoy caring for our "cycle" projects."

Doesn't all those neat things sound like Taylor? I really think she is going to love this next year!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trip to Prescott


Yesterday Chris and I with the kids and the creative team for twentyfour:seven took a trip up to Prescott to check out a camp. It was a success in more ways than one. The kids did great on the two hour ride up there and back and the camp was beautiful! It will be perfect for our 2007 winter reatreat! It even snowed on us while we were up there! Really, snow in AZ, in May, Crazy!

Our friends Jeff & Ruth, soon to be married, took these pics while were at a quick McDonalds stop to feed Rylee.

Jeff on his site put the caption "How the Daukas family always looks". I appreciate your sincerity Jeff...really... lol
Oh and if looks like my hair is crazy in the back it's because Trevor hand is under my hair playing with it.

Thanks guys for a great day trip! And thanks Jeff for the photo's.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sickness doesn't stop life... or kids

I've been fighting a sinus infection for a week now. I got on antibiotics a couple of days ago and although I still don't feel 100%, I'm on the mend. As you moms out there know being sick just slows you down but life doesn't stop. Nor do dishes, laundry and the kids sure don't stop being kids because mommy's sick. Well Trevor saw my weakness and went for it. The vaseline that is... not just any vaseline but the one I use for rectal thermometers. Rylee has had a low grade fever with her teething and for a few days I was taking her temperature often to make sure she wasn't coming down with what I had. Well I took her temperature and laid her down for a nap. I came back and put a movie on for Trevor, totally forgetting the vaseline was still on the floor. Now any other kid, like say Taylor when she was two, I would've been fine. But I have to be on top of my game with Trevor- if there's trouble to find, he finds it! I remember looking over while doing the dishes and thinking wow he's looking really tired. However, I took a closer look and saw it wasn't that he was tired, it was just vaseline stuck to his face making his eyes look half closed!

Man that's stuff hard to get out. Just a note in case you ever have this happen. Don't use water to get it off... it doesn't work and makes it worse. I tried to get as much as I could out with a dry towel and then after many, many, shampoo tries and a day later, his hair is still greasy and sticking straight up. Lucky for me it goes along with his style! You can kind of see the grease in the picture I took today of him. Thank goodness he's cute :-)