Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cianna: A Million Words or Less

My homework assignment from Cianna's teacher; Describe your child in a million words or less, so her teacher can know her better. I don't like the extra work, but it does give me the opportunity to record Cianna's life, since I have been pretty poor at journaling!

Dear Mrs. Sutton,
Cianna...12th Bday at Hot Topic in the Camp Hill Mall.
 I am glad Cianna is in your 7th Grade Honors Language Arts class this year. I have high expectations for Cianna’s success, especially since she spends much of her time writing and role-playing online for fun. She is also into theatre, acting, and drama; therefore, I believe she will work hard to do well on her assignments and bring some liveliness and cheer to your classroom.

As for Cianna’s background: Although my husband and I were both raised in central Pennsylvania, we moved to North Carolina in 1994 for work reasons. Cianna was born in Raleigh, NC, June 7th, 2000. Her 2 sisters and 1 brother enjoyed passing her around for their entertainment. Cianna’s oldest sister,  Lacee , was 9 at the time, and would document Cianna’s firsts: steps, words, etc. Her second sister, Serenity, loved to care for her, and her brother CJ, who was 4, well that is a funny story worth sharing:
Lacee and Cianna: 6 weeks old

Of course the girls were hoping for another girl, and little CJ wanted a brother, badly. When I came home from the ultrasound and showed them the picture, as they were gathered around in excitement, I said “It’s a girl!” and CJ busted out into tears, he was so very sad to not get his brother.

After Cianna was born, 2 weeks late and weighing 9# and 15oz, CJ took to her well, as she was an easy going, sweet natured baby who rarely cried. She was always up to doing something new and continually did her firsts earlier than other babies; such as pushing herself around in her walker by the end of her 3rd month, and walking at 7 months. Cianna brought sheer joy to our home!

Cianna in Upwards Basketball

As she grew, we noticed that Cianna had a sunny disposition, was very charismatic, and made friends very easily. Her Sunday School teachers loved having her in their class, and always had nice things to say about her. She was bright from a young age, and was reading by 4 years old.

Christmas 2003

We started Cianna in T-Ball at 4 and found she was very athletic. By age 7, she was playing first base on the boy’s team, and was the only girl who made it to a-All-Stars. At age 10 we reluctantly switched her to softball because we knew she had a better shot there in getting a college scholarship. She has done exceptionally well in softball, and continues to play first base. Cianna is a natural leader, especially when it comes to rallying her team or raising spirits.
4 years old
Dressed as Mary for Awana

Christmas 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

Flower Girl ~ 7 years old
Christmas 2004
Tae Kwon Do Champion

Cianna also has an interest in theatre, drama, and singing. She has taken a few years of dance; her favorite being hip-hop and jazz, but also ballet as it was required. Cianna desperately would like to sing, but does not have natural talent in that area; however, she does not give up, but continually practices in order to get better –and I have seen an improvement.

8 years old

At our previous church in NC, which was a body of about 2000 people, Cianna was a part of the Kid’s Praise and Worship Team. She did an exceptional job of learning all the lyrics and hand motions in order to lead the kids from the stage. She would also act in the dramas from time to time, and had acting parts during our church’s Halloween alternative production, Anchor Soul. This was a progressive urban theatre, with 8 scenes, where people would move from scene to scene, which meant actors did their 8 minute scene repeatedly each night for several nights. Cianna was a trooper, and served well throughout the production.

The Girls in 2008
Summer 2007

Cianna was homeschooled through 5th grade, but entered 6th grade in Wake Forest, NC. The school process was a lot different for her, but she succeeded well, made friends quickly, and was a joy to her teachers…which makes me proud of her even more.  She regularly brings home progress reports and report cards with nice compliments and praise for her uplifting attitude.

Out to Cracker Barrel with Grandpa while scoping out
Harrisburg, just before we moved.

In May of 2012, we moved to Harrisburg because Cianna’s dad had been working in the state for a year. Since our home church in NC began a church plant in this Susquehanna Township, we decided to be a part of it and settle in Harrisburg. The move went well enough, although this summer was particularly hard on Cianna. Moving from the only home you have ever known, away from loads of good friends and a phenomenal church, took it’s toll on her. Her oldest sister Lacee, 21, stayed in Raleigh, and her second sister, Serenity, 18, has gone to USMC Boot camp. Whereas we lived in NC with all 6 kids, we now are down to 4: CJ -12th, Cianna -7th, Caden-4th, and Caressa- 2nd. The dynamics are much different, and we miss the girls very much. 
Cianna's Great Gammy Granite from 
Czechoslovakia...around age 12...
Cianna sure does favor her!

However, Cianna is bouncing back, making new friends, and has joined the field hockey team which gives her an outlet this fall, until spring softball arrives. She would also like to be a part of the theatre productions at school.

Yes, we are pleased with the young lady that Cianna is growing up to be. However, I must also point out that times with Cianna aren’t always sunshine and roses. She naturally likes to squabble with her siblings, sometimes just to get a rise out of them. She doesn’t do her chores unless I nag at her repeatedly, and spends way too much time dominating our one family computer. Sometimes, she can come across as over confident, even arrogant…but deep down inside Cianna has a very good heart, cares for others, and has a desire to please God with her life and actions….and that makes Cianna a super special kid!

Sincerely, Laura Shaw

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I wanted take a bit and reflect on our time here in HBG. It has now been 3 ½ very busy months, and I can honestly say I haven’t been bored yet. I have missed certain people from NC, but overall, I have done much better than the kids have, adjusting to the move. Perhaps it is because I have moved so many times before, or because I strongly feel this is where the Lord God has called us to be at this point in time.

I never had any intention of leaving the Youngsville/Wake Forest area. From the time we drove thru town in the summer of 1996, it felt like coming home…although I had never been there before. From our rental home in Smithfield, NC, I had laid a map on the big oval oak dining room table that mom had given us, and felt God leading my eyes to the little town of Youngsville, just past the Wake County line. I clearly remember saying, “But God, it’s a little far out in the country, away from Sandy’s work site in Raleigh”, but the urge was strong, so we took a weekend to drive through the town, up 1A, past the Seminary, east on Wait Street to 98 and into Youngsville…and I fell in love. Like I said, it felt like home, so we began our house search there, and purchased a home exactly where God showed me on the map. It’s easier to see God’s hand from this side of 15 years later, but He was clearly moving.

As time went on, my mom and dad and Sandy’s brother and wife both purchased homes in the area too, and we all went on to become active members and receivers of His grace and blessings while at Faith Baptist Church. It was pretty small when we found it by way of the ladies at Lighthouse Homeschool Association. Although I surely didn’t intend to ever go to a Baptist church, as I was looking for another Pentecostal type church, God certainly led us there and used that Faithful flock of Christians to mold and grow my family in Christ. I am ever so thankful for the 15 years we had there, especially as I see the benefits that bestowing truth upon young children has on their life…knowledge that will last a lifetime, even if they choose to wander away for a while…they are never far from the loving hand of their heavenly Father…and He continues to be patient and kind to every one of us…forgiving us when we fail, and motivating us to learn from our mistakes and help others as they pass through similar waters.

I treasure the years that my family had to homeschool and help out with Anchor Soul each year. Each child helped in their own way, and saw what it means to come together as the body of Christ, to Glorify the Lord, even through a holiday as dark as Halloween. God can truly use anything, and I know our lives, among with thousands of others, were impacted for the better because of FBC’s faithfulness in creating that production each year.

Of course there also are the multitudes of Godly men and women we met, none perfect, but all striving to honor God with their lives, and to grow in Christ. And teachers like Jeff Lickliter who taught me so very much over our 10 years in SS class, in his twisted-humorous way J  Yes, I am playing favorites…and to have had the chance to know Michael Liter, to get a glimpse of his incredible, artistic mind at work…well, I truly do feel blessed. I pray his children are as creatively inspired as he is for they will have a dynamic future serving God with that type of talent. Having the Pastors who gave such clear truths from the Bible, along with the pool of Professors from the Seminary, teaching Sunday School each week and the occasional sermons…that church is surely blessed! There are so many others there, so many people who give their all to serve the body of Christ…I love it and miss it…but it was time…not that I ever saw it coming…but God knew it was time to move this family elsewhere…because there is work to do for him here in HBG. It is easy to want to continue to bask in all that Faith offers, and then there is a time to go out where God sends you, and serve him as he leads each day…not necessarily knowing what the purpose is, not understanding the call completely yet, but trusting that He has brought us here, and if we are faithful to step forward each day…he will guide each of those steps..and prayerfully, we all will bring glory to Him where we are at.

This is why I think I am dealing well thus far, moving far from what I considered my “forever home” of NC. Although I can not yet see the “Big Picture” of what God is doing, I certainly see Him moving, and want to remain faithful to Him, no matter what it looks like from this side of heaven.

I am learning much since being here, learning how to really pray, and praise God for who He is, not what he provides for me…I am learning to trust Him with the upbringing of the children, the blessings that he has allowed me to raise for Him. I never intended to stop homeschooling, since He called me to do it back in 1994 while Lacee was only 3. However, God can use ANYTHING for His purposes, and I believe from the bottom of my heart, He can use public school too, to raise Godly children for Him and his purposes. Since this is what I feel he has led me to do, in this season, I will trust Him in this too. And I pray for them more, ALL of them, than I ever have before, while we all were under the same roof each day. I miss my girls terribly, miss talking witth them each night, miss the laughter and the tears, and just being there for each other…but also know that this too must come, as they mature, and go on to living their own lives. It seems to sneak up on ya…they are there, day by day, then they are gone, taking care of themselves, and living their own life. Because of this, I pray more, and I LOVE THEM NOW MORE THAN EVER!

Time drags on so slowly it seems, as the daily grind goes on, but when it is over…it is surely over, and you wonder where the time went. I am so very thankful that I did the best I could to show my kids the Truth of Christ in the years we had, so that now I can let go, knowing God has them in His hands, wherever they are and wherever they go… I know He is faithful to bring them to completion in Christ.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”. Phil. 1:6

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First Official Fall 2012 Football Game

This is from the very first official game of the season: Susquehanna Township against Spring Grove. 
We arrived to the band playing the Indian theme...very cool.

On this video you can hear the announcer listing this years first string line up.

One of the first plays in the almost 90 degree weather.

Billy and Michelle

Blaise, Caden, Logan

Our newest friends - The Webb family

Another rare picture...Sandy and I together

CJ on the field.

Having fun - Hunter, Logan, Caden, Blaise

Indian smoke signals! The battle is on.

Lil Olivia

Caressa and Maddie

The natives getting restless!

End of game prayer time :)

A gift from Coach Stokes after the game; in honor of WFR #79 Austin Flowers.
CJ unexpectedly received #79 when he became an Indian this year.

We did have a great time at the game, cheering on the Indians with family and friends. And with a 40-0 win, it was an excellent night. Including the thrill when Billy and Michelle snuck up to our kitchen window about 10:30 to scare us as we served icecream to the kids...good thing Caressa was the first to wash her hands in front of the window - my poor heart probably wouldn't be able to take it ;)