Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Imitation is the highest form of Flatery"

Last night our Youth group had a costume party. And our oldest son Kyle, & his girlfriend Olivia dressed up like John & I. So, either they admire us and want to be like us, or they view us like some sort of cartoon characters to dress up as. I'm not sure which.

Everyone couldn't believe how much they looked like us. Kyle with his bald head was carrying around a mac computer. Olivia chose an orange top to wear, as did I. (And I had no idea they were doing this!) and she went out and bought herself a big yellow bag like mine. She even used a marker to make my tattoo. Can you tell who's who?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pastors Appreciation

October is Pastors Appreciation month, and at our church they take up an offering for the pastoral staff, and we are given cards and notes of appreciation and thanks and even gifts. Last Sunday they brought all the Pastors and their families up on stage to Honor us.

What blesses me the most is that they don't forget the pastor's kids. They got to come up on stage too. (They love their time in the spotlight!) And they gave them a gift as well. People don't often realize the sacrifices of the family. Pastor's kids spend way too much of their time at the church. Sometimes they are held to different standards than other kids just because of who their father is. But they are still just kids! They help out and work behind the scenes—a lot. And I love that our church thinks of them too as part of the ministry team.

I just want to say Thank You Mesa First. For honoring and blessing us. We love you.

Our Staff pictured from left to right: Mike Heim, Children's Pastor - Greg & Debbie Petersen, Adult Ministries Pastors - Us (Kyle, Zach, Erica, Alexia), Worship Arts Pastors - Sam & Dana Frederick (Abby & Sidney) Youth Pastors - Jeff & Melissa Kossack (Ethan, Eli, Hannah & Jonah) Lead Pastors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ode To Michigan

John and I are Arizona natives, born and raised in the land of the sun! Kyle and Zach were also born here. Then when Kyle was 2 years old, and Zach was 10 months we moved to Michigan. We lived there for over 8 years. Erica & Lexi were born in Michigan. It's what the boys remember of their childhood years, when asked where they are from, the boys answer Michigan, not Arizona. They root for the Detroit sports teams before the Phoenix teams. Fall always makes me think of Michigan. When we first moved there we learned that the word Weather has many different meanings. In Arizona, we go from Sunny & Hot, to Sunny & Warm, and if we're lucky we get Sunny & Cool. I love the Sunshine, but I also learned to love having different seasons. In Michigan the weather changes often.

Fall was always our favorite time of year there. Remember we grew up with Palm Trees & Cactus, neither of which change colors. But the fall in Michigan is so Beautiful! All the leaves turn every color from Green to Orange to Bright Yellow and Red. It really is amazing. And one of our favorite things to do every year as a family while we lived there was to go to the Pumpkin Patch. We would ride the hayride out to the Pumpkin patch and choose our pumpkins, then get back on the hayride and ride into the apple orchid and pick a bushel of apples. (For City Folk, this is very fun and exciting!) Then the hayride would take us back into the Cider Mill where we would have Apple Cider and cinnamon donuts. Yum! Then we'd go home and carve our pumpkins and make & eat the pumpkin seeds. Great Memories! We have really missed this since we've moved away from Michigan.

Since that time, occasionally we have bought pumpkins from the store to carve, but it's hasn't really been the same. We moved back to Arizona after a couple of other states along the way. And we heard about a pumpkin patch up in Prescott. (about an hour and a half north of us here in Phoenix) So our first year here, a lot of my family all drove up there for a fun day, we were in 3 or 4 cars & vans. And right before we got there a storm hit. They closed the place down. No Hayride, nothing. They wouldn't even let us buy a pumpkin to take with us. We just had to turn around and drive back down the mountain. The next year that pumpkin patch was sold and closed down for good. So much for reliving our Michigan memories. The girls have gotten to go to a pumpkin patch on a school field trip when they were younger, but it's not quite the same thing.

We've been back in Arizona for almost 7 years now, and every year at this time we still talk about how much we miss Michigan and how much fun that was. So, last week when the kids were off school for Fall break and John was off work we did something about it. We found a local place that sells pumpkins, and they have a 10 acre corn field maze. It was fun. We made our way through the maze (3 & 1/2 miles). Of course, being in Arizona, we were in the middle of a corn field and it was 93 degrees out. (It was never 93 degrees in Michigan! But, anything under 100 is Fall to us!) And I kept flashing back to my teenage years when there was a movie out called Children of the Corn. But we made it through okay. We Choose our pumpkins and carved them that night and our Pumpkins seeds were the best! Here are a few pic.'s of our adventures, then and now.

We miss you Michigan. Know that we think of you, and talk about you often. Some of our favorite memories, and most cherished friendships are from there. (Don't worry Arizona, I love you too and we'll sing your praises in another post at another time, but right now is all about Michigan!) Good Times, Good Friends, Good Memories. We love you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Chip Off The Ole Block

This past Sunday we had our Youth Worship Band lead worship in our main service. Which means Zach was the Worship leader. Zach leads worship in youth on Wednesdays, and he plays guitar on John's worship team as well. Kyle sings and plays drums both in youth and for John. It was exciting for the kids and for the church as well. They Rocked! They all did such a great job. It was really a lot of fun.

Zach feels called to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a Worship Pastor. He did really well yesterday. I'm such a proud mama! Unfortunately I can't really take any credit for any of this, since I'm pretty much the only one in the family that is NOT musical in any way! Oh well. I wanted to mark the occasion, and share a few pic.'s with you. Thanks for letting me brag a little. ;)

The Team

Kyle at the Drums

Zach leading Worship
Kyle's girlfriend Olivia is playing Guitar

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Celebrating 21 Years

Yesterday was our Wedding Anniversary, and John gave me a Great day! He brought me beautiful red roses, and we went out on a Fun date. We wanted to do something different, not just dinner & a movie as usual. So this is what we did, we went out and ate really good crab legs. Yum! Then we went to a comedy club that does improv. It was really a lot of fun.

They asked if anyone was celebrating a special day, there were two people having Birthdays, and John told them it was our Anniversary. They asked him how many years we'd been married? (21) How we first meet? (on a Blind Date!) Who set us up? (My Brother & Sister-in-law) Where we went? (a concert) Do we have kids? (yes) How many kids do we have? (4) Then they asked the names of our kids? and John paused, and looked at me, as if to say "why don't you tell them, instead of me doing all the talking" and everyone broke out in laughter as if he forgot the names of his kids. So he just said their names really fast so they would know he knew his kids names. (Kyle, Zach, Erica & Alexia) Then they asked me how old each of them were (18,16 & 11) Oh, twins? (yes) etc.

Then they proceeded to turn us into a comedy sketch. Instant Hilarity! With a couple acting as us, when 'John' says to 'Star' "I just realized why people are treating us so badly, whenever we say our kids names fast it sounds like 'how's Yak's anorexia?' (Kyle, Zach, Erica, Alexia) the whole world thinks we have a malnourished Yak. Peta is calling, now you know why I pause every time someone asks me our kids names!" They acted out our date that night with the husband telling the waiter, "you know, I didn't even know what she looked liked when I first met her, dangerous I know, but, it turned out to be a good thing!" Then he yells at the waiter for giving him a menu, cause "what am I gonna do, order ribs? This is a Crab Shack!"

So, our first date, followed by a year of dating, and then 21 years of marriage, and 4 kids, all rolled into about a 10 minute comedy sketch. Everyone was rolling with laughter and congratulating us on our anniversary. So we really accomplished doing something different for our anniversary this year. We won't soon forget this night.

What is your favorite date night?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Little Ditty About John And Star

A little ditty about John & Star,
Who'd have ever thought they'd have come this far.
21 years ago today they said "I Do"
with something Borrowed, something Blue.

There's been a lot of Happy times, and some sad.
We've enjoyed the good times, made it through the bad.
Four Kids and four states latter,
Knowing that TOGETHER we could be something greater!

Oh Yeah, Life goes on,
long after the thrill of livin is gone.
Oh yeah, Life goes on,
long after the thrill of livin is gone.
They walk on.

Let it Rock!
Let it Roll!
Jesus Christ has come and saved our souls.
Hold on to your young hearts as long as you can,
changes come around real soon
make us women and men.

A little ditty about John & Star
21 Years, and here's to Many More!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Break

I'm so sorry my posting has been lean this week. The kids are out of school on Fall Break this week, and since John was gone all last week, he's taking some time off work. So, we have been spending some quality family time.

So far this week the girls competed in a state wide Fine Arts Festival with our church, both doing Drama, and Lexi doing art as well. It was their first time. They did really good. It was fun. Then we got to spend a little time with my family. We spent a day in John's home town with his parents. (It's a small town about an hour away from us.)

John and I went on a date! ; ) He'd been wanting to see the movie Eagle Eye for his Birthday. It was good. He loves a good action flick. It reminded me of The Net, the older Sandra Bullock movie.

And the most exciting part so far was getting our teeth cleaned at the Dentist! Okay, maybe not! The kids took a vote and let me know they prefer being taken out of school for their dentist appointments rather than me scheduling them for days they are off. My response was "too bad, I would rather get it done with out you missing any days of school. And just think I'm really saving you from extra homework!" Yeah, they didn't buy it either, oh well. Each of the girls were the only ones who had any cavity's, one each, and they just happen to be in the exact same tooth. Weird. Is it a Twin thing, or just bad hygiene? Who knows.

We're off now to gather Pumpkins to carve. I'll let you know how it goes.

Hope you are enjoying the Fall.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SITS Blogathon

I've joined my first Blog group. And it's been so much fun! It's a great way for me to find new Blogs to read, and introduce myself & my Blog to new people. 

It's called "The Secret is in the Sauce" (We all know we need to be a little saucy at times!)  ;)

I want to share a few of the Blogs I've found with you incase you are looking for some new ones to read as well. I always look for things I have in common with the other bloggers, and a sense of Humor. Happy Reading.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Yes, My Man is still out of town. But, today is his Birthday!

So, I thought I'd share with you some of the things I love about him. . .

- He Rocks!
Ever since I was a teenybopper I have loved musicians. (Admit it, you have too.) And he does it better than anyone! He sings, plays guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, and drums. I love listening to him.

- He Cooks!
Yes, that's right. He loves to cook. (And I love to eat. A match made in heaven!) So he does it often, I'm very lucky.

- He's a Good Dad!
He has always been engaged in our kids lives. From changing their first diapers in the hospital, to being at most of their sporting, musical, school or church events, cheering them on. To playing & hanging out with them now.

- He's Funny!
One of my favorite things in people is their sense of Humor, and he has a good one. (He has to, to be able to put up with me!) I love to laugh, and we laugh often.

- He's Smart!
When I get to the point were I can no longer help the kids with their homework, I can say "wait till Dad gets home & he can help you" and he can.

- He's a Techno. Geek!
I never thought I would marry a nerd, but, I did. A cool Nerd, but, a nerd none the less. It's so helpful to me that he knows how computers, phones, and any other kind of gadget works. So I don't have to! ; )

- He Encourages me to be me!
In all our 20+ years together, he's never tried to turn me into something or someone I'm not. He lets me be me, and encourages me to try new things and pursue whatever interest I have. (He is my Blogs biggest fan!, or maybe he's just my biggest fan. Either way I'm very grateful.)

- He's my Best Friend!
He listens to me and really cares about me, and has always been there for me. We love to spend time together.

And that's just a few of his good qualities. I hope you feel like you know him a little better now. He really is a great guy!

Happy Birthday Babe. I love you so much.

I can't wait till you get home tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Still Single Parenting

Okay, start by reading my last post. (see below)

Then last night when we got home from Church, I was upstairs getting ready for bed, when my girls came running up the stairs SCREAMING! "There's a Scorpion in the sink!" So, I started screaming for Zach who was in his room. (He's the resident bug killer.) We all go down stairs and sure enough, there it was. . . The Scorpion King.

Now remember we do live in Arizona, so scorpions are quite common. (Enough so, that my girls knew what it was!) We've had several friends who have been stung by them. We've been in our house over 6 years now, and though some of my neighbors have had them in their homes, we never have. Until now, the week John is out of town! Of course.

Zach came to our rescue, and killed it. But then of course, the girls were afraid to get in their beds after that. Just another day in the life of a single parent!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Single Parenting

John is out of town all week this week at the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. Which means I am a single parent. Ugh! Parenting is hard enough when there are two of you working together.

I know some of you are single parents, and I must say I don't know how you do it. You are the most wonderful, hardest working, self disciplined people I know. I think God knew I could not do this on my own. And I am extremely thankful for that.

It's not so bad now that the kids are older, when they were younger it was pretty tough. Getting four kids ready and out the door on time. One time I came back from just a day trip, leaving John as the single parent, and my girls told me "Daddy said, if we didn't have a mom, we'd have SHORT hair!" That was just from one day of having to do their hair for school! What would he have done with a whole week? Luckily the girls are old enough now to do their own hair (sort of) if I'm not there.

And I just don't sleep well when John's not there. I think I must assume if their is a noise in the night, he will hear it, so I don't have to worry about it. But, when he's not there, I hear every little sound. Thankfully I have a dog now, (even if it is a tiny one, she will still alert me of an intruder) and two man size boys in the house.

So, this week, the first day of John being gone, the light in my bathroom burns out. It's not just kind you can unscrew & change. It took Kyle, on full size ladder trying to pry the light fixture off, so he could change it. If the kids had still been little I would have been going to the bathroom in the dark all week. ; )

Last time John was out of town I got a flat tire in downtown Phoenix. I don't know how to change a flat tire. (I don't even put gas in my car if I don't have to! I know your thinking I'm pathetic, and you'd be right, but I grew up with a dad and five brothers, and now have a husband and two teenage sons who will put gas in my car.) So, I called John in another state crying. He gave me a service to call, that came to where I was to change the tire for me.

And those of you who know me, know I'm not a morning person. Luckily for me, John is. But, so far this week, I have managed to get the girls ready for school, and to the bus stop on time. Barely, but, we made it. So, that is my week this week.

And to all you single parents out there, know that I am thinking of you, and praying for you.

You are Awesome!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Birthday Party Planning

One of the most fun things for me is planning Birthday parties! I love coming up with themes and games, and everything that goes along with that. Although, on a Pastor's salary, we've never been able to throw the real elaborate birthday parties for our kids. We can't rent out places, or hire special people as characters to come to our parties. But, I think my kids have always had great parties (If I do say so myself!). I always plan parties with that child in mind, and think about what they are into that year? Kyle has had a lot of superhero parties throughout the years. I remember one year while we lived in Michigan, the World Cup Soccer Tournament came to Detroit. So, Kyle had a World Cup Soccer Birthday party. We got T-shirts for the tournament and played every kind of game you can think of that can use a soccer ball. Zach always liked things like Thomas The Tank Engine and NASCAR. And when the boys got older they liked taking their friends to the movies for their party.

The girls love planning their party as much as I do. They talk about it all year. They've had everything from Princesses, to Mickey & Minnie Mouse, to Tinkerbell parties. One year they had a Wizard of Oz party. Erica dressed up like Glinda the good witch, and Lexi was Dorthy. The invitations told their friends to come dressed like munchkins. We played a Wizard of Oz trivia game and Musical Ruby Red Slippers (as opposed to Musical Chairs!) One brilliant idea I had was to have their party on a night The Disney Channel was having a movie premier. They could invite all the girls in their class from school, and all their friends from church. We didn't have to plan any games. Everyone was excited to see the new Disney Movie, which no one had seen yet (another bonus.) All the other moms kept telling me what a good idea that was...and it was easy!

So this year I did something different. The girls did not know what I was planning. During the last few months I would give them clues. They've been into spies like Nancy Drew lately. And last Christmas John bought me a vintage Clue game. I always liked playing that game. Well, the girls have been playing it all year and really love it too. So it was exciting to them that their party was a mystery. Turing 10 last year they had two bigger than normal parties. The party we planned and then a friend from church actually through them a surprise party at a place called Girly Girls, they got make-overs with hair, make-up, and nails. It was a big to-do. So, I knew I wanted to have a small party this year. So, we had an American Girl Doll Samantha Mystery Party. I found the whole party game, including invitations, scripts and everything you need on the web site on sale really cheep. It's a role playing game, designed for 8 girls, and with twins, that's two already! They are instructed in the invitation how to dress like their character. And you act out the script and solve a mystery. It was set in the early 1900's, so everyone dressed accordingly, and we had a Victorian Tea Party, we served quiche, rolls, grapes, pretzels cookies and cream puffs. It was a lot of fun. All the girls really had a good time going back in time. My girls have the Samantha and her best friend Nellie dolls, so, it was fun for them to play those characters they've read books about for a night. And We love to dress up!

What are some of your best party ideas? I'm always looking for new, different ideas, as is every mother I know.

Friday, October 3, 2008


11 years ago today my life changed! Completely. Being a mom to two little boys, and the wife of a Music/Youth Pastor kept me busy. Then on that fateful day. . . I gave birth to twins. Girls even. And life has never been the same.

The Labor & delivery was a whirlwind. It was in the middle of the night. And since I was a high risk pregnancy, the room was teaming with people. I had a team of people, then each baby had their own entire team as well. (I hoped I put on a good enough show for them, but since it was my first delivery with an epidural, it probably wasn't that exciting. Though I sure did enjoy it more than my other two!) ; )

Erica Starr was born first, weighing 6 lbs even. She was beautiful! They showed her to me, gave her right to her team of doctors and away she went. I said, "Do I now have to start labor all over again for the second one?" Thankfully the answer was no. A couple of pushes, and four minutes later Alexia Jewell was born. Cute as can be, weighing 5 lb.'s, 9 oz.

Except for low blood sugar, due to my having gestational Diabetes, they were very healthy. I am forever grateful to everyone who prayed for my girls during my pregnancy. As soon as you find out you are expecting twins, you are inundated with information telling you all the risks. And you really start to believe that no twins are ever born healthy. And that they all have to stay in the hospital for months. But, thankfully, Erica was able to leave the hospital with me, and Lexi had to stay just one extra day.

The first year with twins is so hard. No one sleeps! My husband was always great about helping with all our kids. And with one baby he would say, "you stay in bed, I'll get up." But, with two babies, you're both pretty much up all the time. And trust me, it's not a pretty sight when I don't have enough sleep! But we made it through. We all survived it!

Then once they can feed themselves, it gets much easier. And having twins isn't just twice the work, but, it's twice the Love, twice the Fun, and twice the Joy. (Most of the time anyway! I'll save having two in the Terrible Two's for some other post!) It's always been one of my favorite things in this world to just sit and listen to the two of them playing and talking with each other when they don't know I'm listening. It's fascinating!

A book I loved that was written by twins for twins and their parents is called: Dancing Naked in front of the Fridge (and other lessons from twins) by: Nancy & Janna Sipes. It explains the twin bond better than any other I've read. They say to think about your best friend in the whole world. One that knows you so well that the two of you can, and do, finish each others sentences. Then imagine if that person had been in your life for your entire life. That your first day of school, was their first day of school. Your first trip to the Dr. was theirs. You shared everything. Everyone you knew, every place you went. Everything. And you can start to imagine what it's like to be a twin.

So, on this 11th Birthday of my twin girls, who are now in the throws of pre-teenage dome, I am so grateful, and thankful to be their mom. It has been so much fun (all the hard work aside, for today!) to watch them grow and learn together, as they relate to each other, and to the world around them. Happy Birthday Erica & Lexi. I love you.