Sunday, December 30, 2007

Without An Umbrella...AGAIN!

I don't know if you know this about me, but I am a SAP!!! Anytime that I am driving to and fro, and it starts to pour down rain, I ALWAYS (REALLY, an unusually high percentage of the time!!), see someone having to walk without an umbrella. They are looking miserable and getting SOAKING WET. I can't HELP but to stop. If I try NOT to, because we are in a hurry or something, I always end up turning around. My chest starts to hurt and my eyes well up with tears. I can't handle it. There is just something that seems so awful to me about having to walk in the pouring down rain. It seems so degrading too. So, I ALWAYS pull over and give them our umbrella.

I have done this for years. I even remember getting laughed at by my soon-to-be (at the time) in-laws, because Nathan and I got soaked going into a restaurant to meet them. I made Nathan pull over and offer our umbrella to this man who looked like he still had a very long way to go. After all, we were going from the car to the restaurant and it wasn't raining too hard. You guessed it. The bottom fell out as we opened our doors and we got soaked to the bone.

I keep our umbrella(s) behind the driver seat and I just reach down behind me and offer it out of the window. Never has anyone turned it down and I always find the person grateful.


So, this morning we were all ready for church early for once. Nathan went to load the kids in the car while I fed Annagail. It was pouring down rain and you know what? We had no umbrella. Nathan laughed and told the kids that we didn't have one, but that he knew several people between here and our old home in GA that did.

The moral of this story is that I am resolving to do something this year that I have always thought about doing. I mean it. I am really going to put an end to this.

In 2008, I resolve to...



BUY MORE UMBRELLAS!!!!!

Have a Blessed and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Joy Hides In Chaos...

...but guess where it shines? IN PEACE!!!!!

Nathan's company surprised everyone with the entire week of Christmas (and two days next week) OFF with pay!! It has been so great to have him here. He is in a break from school too, so there hasn't been any leaving for more than and hour or so. I have read books to each of my children. I have done LAUNDRY!!! My bedroom is actually a sanctuary again where I can WALK now, not to mention sleep.

I had brain space available to actually teach my 6 yr old how to make scrambled eggs yesterday. We have been able to get back to our relaxing, staggered bedtimes for the kids, so that we get quiet time with each one of them. Also, we decided that the candles for Advent worked such wonders towards calming the little ones each night, that we would light a candle on our coffee table every night for family devotions. It has been very nice. Did I say that already? My son has climbed into my lap on two different occasions, for o other good reason than to tell me how beautiful I am :) today. He is four and I am his Mama, so I am still the most beautiful woman in his life, gratefully, no matter what I look like.

It is nice to have these breaks to just get focus back and relax. We have had errands to run and things to do, but OH how much easier it is to go GROCERY SHOPPING with my five babes here at home having fun with Daddy!!!! (Yes, I do actually leave the house with them without Nathan.)

It is good to have such peace while we are trying to make such hard decisions regarding education. It gives me free space in my brain to think about it and it helps me to not make any decisions based on panic or desperation. God knows my heart and He knew JUST what I needed. He is so good to me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I am sure that it is of no surprise to any of the readers of this blog that I struggle with homeschooling. I struggle with what to do, when to do it, and IF WE SHOULD be even DOING it. This year, so far, has taught me a few things.

-I am a creative person. (Who knew?)
-I CAN plan ahead (again WHO KNEW?!?!?!)
-I CAN teach!!
-The kids actually LIKE me as a teacher!!!

Still, I am stuck wondering whether or not this is God's plan for us. I hate over-thinking things, but this is such a big deal!!! As much as I love teaching the children, I fear that I am missing the Forest for the trees. I had a great conversation with my Sister-in-law the other day about desire vs. conviction. I have a long list of great reasons to homeschool the children, but still my heart is unsettled and I don't have peace with it. I struggle with my girls and with whether or not this is GOD'S desire for them or mine.

I fear that I am missing out on being their Mommy, plain and simply. I want to do more Mommy things with them, but with a family our size (and ages) I am constantly planning, teaching, house cleaning, finding time to nurture my little ones, etc. I don't seem to have that time available to just MOTHER them and nurture them. Sure, that gets done in the teaching some, but not enough I am afraid. I want to Mommy them. A friend on a homeschool board gave this example and it couldn't have painted a clearer picture of what I am feeling right now.

Picture my family sitting around the living room, each of us holding a basket. My oldest two girls have baskets overflowing with eggs. My baby has a fair amount, though much less than my oldest two girls. My 4 yr old and 3 yr old have one egg each and my poor husband has only a half of one. Then I realize that I have divided the eggs this way. I feel like I am failing if I am not investing more into ALL of my children, but especially my younger three right now. And if I am not giving time to my marriage then that could have lasting consequences that may not rear their ugly head until YEARS later. I just need balance and I don't know that homeschooling is where we will find that.

So now we are back to looking, researching, and praying, praying, praying. I am still teaching them this year. That won't change. We just both feel so unsettled about next year. We have always said that yearly evaluation is necessary to keep in check.

I WANT to homeschool. That is my desire. However, I learned through my fears during my last pregnancy that God's plan for my children is INFINTELY greater than anything that I have planned for them, EVEN if I am not a part of it. God's will is always what we want.

Homeschooling has so many benefits, but even the MOST BENEFICIAL plan is dangerous if it falls on a path that is outside of God's will. That-is what we are left to decide. It is our charge.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Can you say WEBCAM?!?!?!?!

Nathan got me a new laptop last month that he was able to purchase with a big discount from his work. It was discounted and bought on a tax-free payment plan, so it was a SUPER deal. It has a built-in webcam. I mentioned to my MIL that she should get my FIL a webcam, so he and the kids could talk. She did and let me tell you, I am amazed!!! Today was Christmas, but I am even MORE excited about tomorrow when we show all the kids that they can call Gran and Papa on the computer and SEE them. They are going to be so excited!!

Nathan and I just spent the last hour chatting with his parents and it was so much fun. During our video chat, our baby woke up and my in-laws were able to watch Nathan rock her back to sleep while he chatted. My almost-baby woke up with (another) fever and we gave her medicine of the Tylenol and the Grandparent variety. She went back to sleep peacefully after blowing kisses and telling them about her new baby doll she found under the tree today.

I consider myself a child of the computer age, but I just really am blown away by technology. Maybe I am older than I think.

So, if you have loved ones that live far away, I would STRONGLY recommend putting a webcam on your wish list. We spoke for free using a service called SKYPE. It was a lot of fun and I know will make the kids feel closer to them in the future.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

2007 Christmas Letter To YOU!

Greetings Friends & Family!

We hope that this letter finds you concluding a happy and healthy 2007. If it went as fast for you as it did for us, you are probably standing with your hands in the air wondering where the year went!

We began 2007 waiting for the arrival of our fifth and final addition, Annagail Fayth. She made an early appearance in March and is already crawling and pulling up on anything she can get a grip on now. She is a very happy baby despite being kissed, hugged, & squeezed at numerous points of the day (times FOUR), so I’d say she is off to a great start.

Ella keeps us on our toes. At 3 years old, she is the first one of our children that I have considered putting one of those leashes on in public places. She climbs on anything that will hold her and she proudly wears the bruises from trying to climb the things that WON’T! Her adventures this year have included making her own rain with a teacup when she didn’t get to try out her new raincoat for 2 days and coloring herself brown with a marker, because she wanted, “pretty, dark skin.” She is a JOY and is at her happiest standing in the middle of our living room, making everyone roll with laughter.

Cooper is making his way in this family that he is so very out-numbered in. As I imagine most 4 year old brothers are, his favorite thing to do these days is to refuse the kisses of all of his sisters. He holds them hostage with the promise that he will grant them kisses, “Only on Sundays!!” Every now again, he slips up and forgets his own “rule” at bedtime which causes unending giggles that drive him nearly mad. As much as he scoffs at it, he is the first one to run in with a shoe to kill a spider or defend his sister on the playground, because he is “our protector” when Daddy is at work.

MaryEvelyn has become quite the artist, complete with the temperament, at the ripe old age of 5. She is taking private art classes with a local artist and is doing some really great work for her age. She has always been the one of our children that would sit at the table all day long with a stack of paper and a box of crayons if we let her. It is fun to see her interests and talents beginning to form. I look forward to seeing how God will use each of our children and their talents for His good.

Graycen is our little ballerina and seems to be maturing by the minute these days. At 6 years old now, there are times when her hair is hanging a certain way, & she is busy explaining something to me in her very diplomatic way, that I can almost see her standing before me all grown up. She is being baptized the Sunday before Christmas this year and we couldn’t be more proud of her efforts already to live her life for Christ. Having surrendered her life to Christ over a year ago, it has been wonderful to share in her growth and to disciple her. At the end of one of those long days we all have, Graycen noticed that I was a little frazzled and asked me what was wrong. I explained to her that I was just a bit overwhelmed and disappointed that I hadn’t gotten all my to-do’s done. She said to me, “Mama, if you were perfect, you wouldn’t need Jesus.” She may be six, but there are many days that I end up learning from her instead of the other way around.

If I had to sum up our 2007, I would have to call it “Seasons of Grace”. With five children under the age of seven, Nathan’s full-time work load, his part-time class load, and me homeschooling our oldest two in 1st grade this year; we are as busy as you may THINK we are and then some. Our home doesn’t look like Martha Stewart’s, but it sure isn’t Old Mother Hubbard’s either. We are blessed daily by God’s good and perfect Grace and we are, as Graycen so eloquently stated, made perfect by His love.

As the celebration of the birth of Jesus approaches this season, our prayer for you is that you will take time to reflect on not only Christ’s birth, but also His sinless life and His death for all of us. Our prayer for you in 2008 is that you will know the Lord’s mercy, His peace, and that you will grow deeper in your walk with Him than ever before.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
In His Grace And Love,
Angela & Family


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

First Corinthians 13 (Christmas Version)

First Corinthians 13 (Christmas Version)

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who cannot.
Love bears all things,believes all things,
hopes all things,
and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.
--Author Unknown

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hearing From An Old Friend

My joy this morning walked right in and I didn't HAVE to look for it!!! My INBOX this morning held a great letter from an old friend. She is one of my friends from GA that is now living in another state too (I have several like that!) and it was FAB-U-LOUS to get her Christmas email. If you knew her, you would know why it is so funny that she sent out a Christmas Email this year.

We are in full-on prep mode. This weekend is a BIG celebration weekend here. My oldest, Graycen is being baptized on Sunday morning at a special service and we have MANY family members coming up. We will be having our extended family celebration of Christmas on Saturday evening and it will be the first time EVER that the kids have had all of the (available)Grandparents & 2 Great-Grandmothers here at one time to celebrate Christmas. We are cooking our big Christmas dinner that night and then we will all be front row to see Graycen take this walk of obedience and be baptized on Sunday morning.

The kids are all so excited. I am afraid our little family celebration on Christmas Day will be a downer in comparison, LOL! NO, we have actually decided to open our home, Christmas Day, to several friends from the seminary who are away from home too. We are having a huge birthday party for Jesus and it should be a lot of fun!

I should probably give my wishes for you all now, as I have so much to do this week that I SHOULDN'T be on the computer to blog at all!!! However, I am mailing my Christmas cards and letters today, so maybe I will post my card to you all in a few days. I can ALWAYS think of an excuse to blog if I try :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

4 of my elves

Check it out! I could only make 4 elves, but I'm hoping that Annagail won't mind.

My Elves!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Welcoming Joy

Lately, I am finding myself in an all out battle to find joy. I am tired a lot of the time and I just don't seem to be applying the time needed to BE joyful.

This season of life for me brings with it a lot of physical and emotional work. Two of my five (ages 3 & 4) are right smack dab in the middle of "The NO Years", meaning that I feel like I say NO and am disciplining them 23 of the 24 hours in a day. My youngest babe is in a very physically demanding phase of life where she is held a lot to keep her out of things (like the Christmas tree!!). She is also still nursing, so I can't remember when the last time I slept a whole night was. My oldest two at nearly 7 & 6, have entered into a WHOLE OTHER REALM, where they have very tender feelings and it takes enormous amounts of time to rightly disciple them into self-control. Even though they require a good bit less disciplining, they require more explanation :)
All of this is doable with God right? I am getting through, but I am hiding my joy in it.

I did a short Bible study a few years ago on Thessalonians and there was one thing that stood out to me. In the letter to the Thessalonians, Paul comments on the fact that they "welcomed" joy despite the suffering they were enduring. That has always stuck with me that he used the word "welcome". He didn't say that they were bathed in joy or that the Lord showered them with joy as if it were a phenomenon of sorts. They welcomed the joy. It is an action that they did. They actively sought and invited in the joy that was theirs. The use of this word causes me to picture joy just standing at the door to the home and the people opening the door and saying, "Come on In!" (I realize that is a little elementary of an illustration, but bare with me as I have been planning 1st grade lesson plans all day). The Thessalonians didn't hide from their joy behind the persecution and hardships they were enduring.

The significance for me is that joy is part of our lives as Christians. Having been given the gift of forgiveness and redemption through the precious and sinless blood of Christ, we HAVE joy. Often times, I hide it away in the business or chaotic seasons of my life and I look upward with hands wringing, wondering when the Lord will rain upon me the joy that I "soooo deserve".(that word is a curse word in our home, BTW).) It is a pitiful thing. The Thessalonians were being persecuted for their faith (like many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are all over the world currently) and yet they welcomed the joy into their lives. I am having a hectic and busy life, chock-full of God's favored blessing and yet I am still looking for my joy. (?!?!?!?!?!)

This has to be my mission!!! I need to set out to welcome joy into my life again. It is there. I don't have to look farther than to my salvation to find a reason to be joyful. One step past that is the fact that I have a Godly husband and five great kids to care for. This sounds so easy, yet I struggle so much with this.

I think that part of it is that I have come to expect hardship. Instead of living free and being joyful for each new morning's oxygen, I have come to expect the trials that come into my life. I have taken on a practice of being "prepared" for the struggles, because somehow I have convinced myself that I am being proactive. Wanna know a secret? Anticipating hardship seems to have the opposite reaction than what one might think it would. Instead of being READY to handle them, it makes me hardened and burdened by them 100% of the time. I stop living in the joy that was given to me on the cross. This is what I have done and what I need to correct in my life.

So, I am off now to open the door of my heart to the joy that was given me. Pray for me if you think about me. Change is hard, but I know that it will have a ripple effect in my life and I will be surprised at how life will look from the other side.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are off to visit our family for Thanksgiving! It has been over a year since we have made this trip. It will be our first road trip as a family of SEVEN!! I am praying for some MAJOR traveling mercy over the next week. We have many things planned, but quite a bit of unplanned time as well.

I pray too that you will be blessed with a wonderful day of Thanksgiving and that the love of our Lord will shine through you and on you in abundance!

Monday, November 19, 2007

So long for now : (

Some good friends, and the children's Pastor at our church, are moving away to take another pastoral position in another state. We had a reception for them last night and it was bittersweet for all of us, I am sure. They are a sweet, young couple with a young family. Watching my friend say her "goodbye's" to people last night, I couldn't help but to think back on when we left Georgia almost 3 years ago.

There is something about leaving the place where the Lord created your family that is a little scary. It goes without saying that becoming a Mother changes every aspect of your life. Learning how to nurture the life (or lives) that God places in your care is such a roller coaster of emotion. Then, when you get to a place where you think you are in at least SOME sort of "normal", the plan changes (ours, not His) and this unsettling feeling creeps into your chest. In hindsight (which is really the BEST way to look at ANYTHING, right?), our move was such a gift from the Lord; a gift to Nathan as he felt like he was (is) truly following God's true plan for our life and a gift for our family, because we learned and experienced a drawing together of our already close relationship that only an upheaval of familiarity can trigger. When you load up a U-haul and leave all of your familiar environments in a cloud of exhaust, you cleave like never before to the familiarity that you have and will always keep near to you; YOUR LORD & YOUR FAMILY.

As hard as it was to leave my home, my friends, and my church in GA, God has delivered to us a fantastic new familiarity that seems more like "home" in our hearts than ever before. He has a way of doing that doesn't He? I never thought that I would ever feel for a place the way I did our home in GA. Now I know that being "home" means dwelling peacefully within the path that God has made for me. When I am there, I am at home in my heart. It is the real definition of peace.

So to my friend I say "So long for now!". I didn't get to know you as well as I would have liked to, but I feel like I know you better than I do, because you remind me a lot of me : ) We share similar apprehensions and views on some things that are important :) I know that, this week, you feel like you are torn between two extremes of emotion depending on which way you are facing in your journey. Like I have said to you before though, peace is coming friend. And once you get to your new home and the Lord begins the work in you that He has purposed for you there, you will strike a balance between those two extremes. The peace of being on God's path for your family & ministry will settle the stirring and you will feel at home again before you know it.

God bless you! We will be praying for you & we want to see those Daddy Jr's of yours on an adorable Christmas card!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Something is brewing and it isn't just my mulling cider!!

A few people have taken a sharp interest in a few resources that I have created for the discipleship my own children. I have found a printer (a former church member from GA) that has given us a wonderful price to have them printed up for mass sale. I am being encouraged to market them to Christian bookstores!!

This is the point where I freeze up! I have no idea how to do that? I don't know the first thing about it and that is very intimidating. I am guessing that, with Christmas right around the corner, NOW would be a great time to get them into a store, but I have to find out how.

If this goes like it has been projected to me, this would mean that Nathan could work less and take more classes. It would mean a lot of things for us.

Just sharing with you what I am up to here and a little slice of what is happening with us. Pray for us as you feel led. We are praying for wisdom of God's will in this. As always, we are grateful for our prayer warriors.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Once Upon A Fall Festival...

Not a lot of time to post, but wanted to share some photos of the kid-os from last night. We had a great time. It was good to NOT be worn out and in pain from pregnancy before we even got there this year : )


The theme this year was, "Once Upon A Time..."




Rapunzel

Goldilocks...AND the 3 Bears

Robin hood

Little Red Riding hood

The Cutest of the 3 Little Pigs

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ya'll know that I am a sucker for a good video, right?

This seemed like something good to share ona Sunday afternoon.

Sundays, historically, bring a relaxing afternoon after church here at our home. They also mark the start of our week. I find myself doing a lot of praying, thinking on, and preparing for the week ahead of me.

I found this video on a new blog-friend's blog and I found it very...inspriring. Enjoy!



Thanks Joanne!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The real life of a Daddy-student




Sometimes it is like this (above)
I snapped this photo on Labor Day. Nathan had a holiday from work, but had a TON of reading to do. He took our sleepy baby out to the carport to escape the noise. It was a nice day, so he just rolled the windows down, tucked her in the crook of his elbow, and got all of his reading done.


and sometimes it is like this (below)

This was taken a few weeks (& a honey-done haircut) later when our 2 yr old insisted he babysit "Ash-uh-lee". Notice the elbow (on his right) that belongs to my 6 yr old. She always grabs a book and has to "study" with her Daddy.





Multi-tasking at it's best!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The PLAGUE is upon us!

So far, it is myself and three of my babes that have this nasty cold. The worst of which is my little 7 month old :(

For the record, I don't consider it a simple coincidence that we have caught this bug. I ran out of wheat berries for grinding/baking our bread 2 weeks ago. I feel like our force-field is down : )

Praying this passes soon!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A New Link

Several weeks ago, my beloved began a blog. He is busier than I am, so he finally got a post up last week. So, stop by and welcome him to the world of blogging, if you will.

Nathan's Blog is located here.

As for me, I have some little students rapidly finishing thier current assignment and a load of laundry to fold before they do : )

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Warning! I am goin' deep here!

Last night, Nathan and I were discussing a topic that came up in one of his classes at Bible College; end times. One of the things mentioned was the antichrist. The point was made that, if you believe in an end times that includes the reign of an antichrist, then there must be an "antichrist" figure groomed and ready in every generation. The reason being that even Satan doesn't know when Christ will return, so how would he know when to groom his "antichrist"? Am I making sense?

That got me thinking about evil people that this world has know and it was a little scary to think about, ya know? Anyway, sometimes, I like to ponder these things and I just thought I would share.

Happy Yonder Ponderin'

Friday, September 28, 2007

Our "Family" Week


This week was all about FAMILY for us. The girls and I read about the creation of the first family in Genesis and studied some other references to marriage and family in the Bible. We also read the book Grandfather's Journey by Alan Say. It was a lot of fun helping the girls learn about their own family and the people from which they come, so-to-speak. A week ago, I solicited mine and Nathan's parents to send letters to the girls telling them about their Great-Grandfathers and/or Great Grandmothers that they will meet in Heaven one day. Truly, this was the highlight of our week.


This afternoon, when my littlest ones were sleeping. I cuddled up on the couch with my older girls. I pulled out each letter and read it to them. They recv'd one from each of Nathan's parents, one from my Mother, and one from MY Grandmother (about their GREAT-GREAT Grandfather!). Most of them had old B&W photos to go along. It was truly an experience that I will never forget.


After reading the letters, we set out to create our own family tree on the kitchen wall. It ended up being OVER 6 ft tall, but it is beautiful. My 6 & 5 yr old daughters did all of the cutting and writing. It was a long afternoon, but I think it was worth it. Don't you? After taking the picture, I went and found several pictures of my side of the family to add including one of MY Great Grandparents. I would encourage you to do this with your children. It wasn't just a project for them. I can see, so much, a sense of belonging in them after this week. They are proud of their work, but they are even MORE proud of their family.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I am still here :)

Just still busy!

Life isn't moving fast, but the days are quite full. We are back to school (we being the girls and Nathan) and back to teaching a 3 yr old Sunday school class at church. The kids are growing, growing, and growing like weeds. Annagail is eating with us now and is getting ALL of her upper teeth right now. I am not exaggerating either. All of her top teeth, with the exception of her molars, are coming in . 5 have poked through already, but still have a good way to go. The others are starting to poke through. Can you imagine how my little sweet pea must feel? So, that being said, you can imagine how are nights have been. I am going to bed 30 minutes after the kids do!

Ella (my 2 yr old) has confessed to me that she doesn't want Annagail (the baby) anymore. Her reason isn't jealousy, as you might imagine. She would just rather have a baby with "pretty brown skin". I have tried to explain to her, as best you can explain it to a 2 1/2 yr old, that Mama doesn't have "pretty dark skin", so Mama's babies don't either. She isn't buying it and (twice now) has found a nice, quiet, corner to color herself brown with a crayola marker!! It has brought about some good opportunities to tell her how much we love her just the way God made her though : )

We are chugging along in school, getting into a routine. The girls are motoring through their Math curriculum and have already completed 50 lessons!! I have written three units myself . One on Conquering Fear and two on Creation (as part of our church-wide study through the Bible). I have found that it is something I really enjoy doing. I created a great template for myself on Excel and I just plug in the activities,events,books, etc that we are doing. It prints out into a two page weekly layout, complete with lists at the bottom of preparations I need to make or items that I need to locate and/or print. I tried and tried to find a planner that worked for me, but I must think differently :) I just couldn't work with any of the ones I tried and eventually gave up and just made my own. Plus, I am not as good writing it all out as I am typing it.

Anyway, that is what I am up to. I don't know when I will be back to write. I do read all of my friend's blogs every night before I hit the sack, so don't think I am ignoring you.

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The second most important day of my life!

September 5, 1998

What a day that was!! In this photo, we were coming down the aisle having just been pronounced husband and wife. In all the excitement, I had completely forgotten about the bubbles we had handed out to our guests. As they started to blow them and we were showered, it was just a beautiful feeling that rushed over me. Here I was, having just pledged my life to Nathan; someone far greater than I had ever thought possible for me. I remember thinking, maybe a moment after this photo was snapped, that surely I was dreaming. Surely this wasn't MY life!!

I never dreamed of a wedding. I never dreamed of a dress. I wouldn't let myself, because of the pain and hurt I carried with me through my childhood. Honestly, I never imagined myself even living into my 20's. However, my sweet Father knew better. He prepared a life for me that exceeds anything I could have ever dreamed. He delivered to me HIS dream for me.

I have already boasted of my sweet Nathan before, but I cannot say enough how grateful I am for him. He is such a great husband and father. Right now, he is spending our anniversary morning on the couch, dressed for work, with four kids piled on top of him and one little one sitting int he crook of his arm. He is reading We're Going On a Bear Hunt and, even though I know he is tired from a long day of work and class yesterday, he is doing all the voices and sounds that cause the kids to sit on the edge of their seats in excitement. He is such a good Daddy!!

SO today we celebrate the Ninth year of our covenant and I couldn't be happier about my life. Money is tight and our clothes are a little tighter than they once were too, but I can honestly tell you that our covenant vows to each other mean more to me today than I could have ever imagined when I walked that aisle with my arm in his. Our trials and struggles have brought us closer and our love for each other has overridden the hurdles that could otherwise sideline the best of efforts.

I LOVE YOU NATHAN! Thank you for making ME your wife and for loving me so unconditionally. I know, that you know, that I wake up every morning with your happiness on my heart. You are an answer to a secret prayer that my heart made at times when I carried no hope for my life. So far, the Lord has seen fit to deliver to us five beautiful children and an abundance of love and joy. I am excited to see where He leads us in the future. Wherever and whatever it is, I am happy to be going with you and alongside you. Thank you for loving me!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MY LOVE!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Our First Week of Homeschooling

I wrote a long post about our week and it's ups and downs, but because I know that a few of my dear friends that follow my blog are contemplating homeschooling, I decided to revisit this week at a later date when I have more perspective (and hindsight!) on it. I will sum it up by saying that, overall it was a good week. Not all things went according to plan and I had to completely rethink a few of my "great" ideas. However, here I am on Friday feeling encouraged, protected, affirmed, and held by the Lord throughout this week. The girls are happy with their week and I know that they truly enjoyed themselves. I feel closer to them and my Little ones than I did last Friday, honestly.

All the other details will work themselves out with time and experience. The Lord our God is good and He knew that I needed this little note this morning via Oswald Chambers' words,

Be rightly related to God, find your joy there, and out of you will flow rivers of living water. Be a centre for Jesus Christ to pour living water through. Stop being self-conscious, stop being a sanctified prig, and live the life hid with Christ. The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes. The lives that have been of most blessing to you are those who are unconscious of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Still in tears...

...over the message in this video. Nathan and I both just sat here and cried watching this.

Even as I sit here, many years past the point of my salvation, I am still in humbling, trembling, heart emptying awe of the love my Lord for me. He is my Abba and I know, and have seen, that there is nowhere I can go that He won't find me and love me. I have hurt Him before with my choices. I have turned my face from His love in my own shame before. Still, His heart never wavered from me and His love and precious grace have consumed me and made me new.

He is like the parent of a misled child who holds on as tight as they can to their baby only to have the child thrust themselves freely into a world that seeks to destroy them. Then that parent can only stand there, waiting on pins and needles, and watch as that baby gets hurt and bruised by that world. But at the reach of one finger towards that parent and at that one faint murmur for help, the warrior in that parent jumps in and leads that baby home for refuge and shelter.

I love my Father in heaven and I want to praise Him with every minute of my day and with every word I speak. He has cleaned ME and made me whole. Without Him, I am bruised and broken to pieces.


Enjoy this video! I am not sure that you can watch it without recalling some time in your life where God reached you and led you home.



I LOVE YOU ABBA FATHER!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Her Ticker is Ticking along fine!

The cardiologist said her heart was perfect. (YEAH!!) They did an EKG and an echocardiogram (which she slept through).

He encouraged me to continue searching for the answer because the "color change is too impressive to ignore" and recommended pursuing a consult with a pediatric dermatologist. He has a theory that she has hemangiomas under her skin that may be obstructing blood flow. He stressed that it was just a theory as it isn't his field of expertise, but that because she has noticeable birthmarks in three different areas (her nose and forehead, the top of her head, and and the nape of her neck) it usually indicates that there are more under the skin that we cannot see. Most are benign he said, but some do require medical attention. He said that it could be very possible that she has on obstructing an artery or something. He sent a letter to the pediatrician recommending a pediatric dermatologist.

So, now we will wait and see again : ) We are thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to know that her heart is okay. Thank you for your prayers. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am becoming very accustomed to sterile waiting rooms these days.



It seems that I have been at the Dr's office for one thing or another at least once every week for weeks now.

Yesterday, It was Annagail's turn. Her blue feet have me worried. They don't stay blue, but she has long bouts during the day where they are very deep blue/purple. I snapped this photo during one of her "episodes" and emailed it to the Dr. The Pediatrician said that she has only seen one other case this extreme in a child Annagail's age (5 1/2 mos), so she is sending us to a pediatric cardiologist tomorrow @ 9am. Considering everything, I am doing a really good job of staying out of the pit of worry. The Pediatrician said that they will do a whole "work up" on her heart including an ultrasound. I don't really know what to expect or what they will do other than that. Nathan is going to come with us, obviously. SO, here I am again asking for prayer for health issues for our family. Please pray that this will be a non-issue for her and they we can just wait and watch her outgrow this with time. That would be the best case scenario.

In other Annagail news, she is currently cutting SIX TEETH!! Yes, SIX top teeth all at once. She had a couple of really rough nights this weekend, but considering the pain she must be in, she is doing wonderfully. Four of them have poked through a little, but the others have her gums swollen to twice it's normal size. She is quite the trooper. She is already back to sleeping through the night. She cut her first two (bottom)teeth at 3 months, but it looks like she is on the fast track for a full set of chompers by her 9 month check-up. I better get on the ball and get her eating food-food!!! Time is flying by with this one. I blink and another milestone has passed. Where does the time go and why does it speedup with each child?!?!?!?!?!?!


Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Witnessing To The Cashier?

Do you? What about the lady that strikes up small talk with you at the mall? Ashamedly, I don't. I should, but I don't. I attended a "witnessing seminar" last Sunday night. It was given for the members of the steering committee for our church's new MOPs group. I left more convicted than I think I have been in a long time. An example was given of D.L. Moody, who wouldn't let 24 hrs pass without sharing Christ with someone. There were times when he had already undressed and gotten into bed when he realized he hadn't done this. He would get up, get redressed and go find someone to share the Gospel with. I admire that commitment so much!!

During the seminar, we talked about reasons we don't witness to others. It came down to three reasons:
FEAR of Man (What will she say? What will she do?).
FEAR of Ignorance (What if I don't know enough of the scripture? What is she asks a question that I don't know the answer to?), and
FEAR of rejection (Sort of the same as the first FEAR).

All of these came down to a lack of trust in God. They also pointed to a selfishness of sorts; being afraid of how it will affect ME. Wow, that is what I am being; SELFISH. I have felt all of those fears. I have heard a still, small voice before telling me that the person I was looking at NEEDED to hear about the living water that refreshes me each day and yet I have excused myself for a number of reasons. "I have too many children with me." is usually the excuse I give myself. However, I know that above anything I else, I am supposed to Go and tell. I think, as a busy Mom, I have convinced myself that I am "doing my part" for the Kingdom by trying my best to teach my own children about God and teach them the Gospel. That is a very noble thing, I know. I don't think that I am being called to leave my children in daycare and go witnessing on the streets, but I do know that I am called to Go and Tell. If I am at the playground and I strike up a conversation with a fellow Mom there, shouldn't I take that opportunity to share with her the life-changing news that Jesus died for HER and that she doesn't have to fear death, but can have life eternal?

The speaker, Rush Witt, gave a basic outline to think of in order to create an opportunity with someone to share the Gospel. It broke things down for me and made the task seem less scary. It isn't a clever acronym or technique, just a few things to think about that may make it easier. I thought that it may be useful to others, so these are my notes form the seminar:

5 Phases of an Evangelistic Conversation:

1. Positive Contact:: Be more than just another customer, passer by, etc. Smile and say hello to people.
2. Common Ground: look for a common issue of any kind.
3. The Shift: Shift the conversation from the Natural to the Spiritual
4. The Gospel: The Gospel of Christ is a verbal message. It can't be told by our actions or by our disposition.
5. The Q's & A's: This is where apologetics comes in. Questions will be asked and answers given.

One major point that I took from this seminar was that the Gospel is confrontational, so once it is shared that person cannot walk away unaffected by it. It will stay with them even if they walk away from you, physically. Hopefully, they will leave you as a new person, redeemed by the blood of the cross. If they reject you and seemingly reject the message you shared, they WILL still have the message within them and will question themselves against it forever or until they submit to it.

So I am starting this within myself. I am looking and praying for opportunities to share the Gospel with people. Honestly, I am terrified! I am scared of all those things that are mentioned above, but I know that my heart is aching now to share this with someone that needs it. I'll keep you posted :)

**After reading my post again, I just wanted to add that I don't discount my responsibility to my #1 mission field; my children. I am just looking for opportunities outside of my Jerusalem too :)

Monday, August 13, 2007

T-Minus Two weeks until school starts.

I have set our "back to school" date for August 27th. I picked the date, because that is when everything seems to kick in for us; AWANAs, dance classes, etc. It just seemed like a good date. Plus, it will give me a couple of weeks to get used to Nathan's heavy class schedule, in addition to his work schedule, before we start.

So now I am busy, with any free moment I have, doing the detail organization. I am getting materials I need gathered and getting all of the little things ready. It is funny, because you THINK that once you decide on curriculum or style or whatever you are going to do that the hard part is over, planning-wise. Now, getting the details organized, my head is swimming. Honestly though, there is so much to choose from that I find myself having a hard time narrowing down exercises or projects. I don't want to overload my little ones, but there are SO MANY neat ideas out there. I spent the kids' entire nap-time saving and printing pictures of landmarks in Paris to go along with our first FIAR book we are rowing, Madeline.

I am excited. I am glad that THEY are excited too. I need to remember to pray for our school now before those times of chaos arrive.

For now I need to sleep. Morning comes far too early in this house these days and I need to get up AHEAD of it to accomplish all the things that need to be done before even the sun goes to work :)

Have a Blessed Day!

Music Monday & An Update To My Leg Issues :) !

This week's group is an old favorite. This song, in particular, has been on repeat in my head (if not in my Cd player). I struggle with faith. My salvation is secure. I just struggle with worry over unnecessary things. I love this song. It always sets my mind-a-wanderin'. Enjoy!


OH! And my leg isn't broken!!It is either a deep bone bruise or nerve damage. Time will tell if I need to investigate the nerve issue. Apparently, it can take several months for a deep bone bruise to heal completely. No crutches, no cast needed. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Repeat after me,"NO BROKEN LEG! NO BROKEN LEG!"

I have a prayer request that has me up tonight worrying, so I thought I might recruit some prayer warriors to intercede for me too.

Around the first of June, I was dropping a friend off at the airport and had a very heavy case fall from the back of our Suburban and hit me in the leg, just above my ankle. At the time, I would have SWORN it was broken it hurt so bad!! However, after ice and a night off of it, I could put weight on it. It was swollen, but not bad. I had a large knot there and just figured it would eventually go away. In the two months since it happened, the knot has remained. I can walk without pain, but if anyone (like any one of five bouncing babes) even slightly touches it, I have enormous pain. Still, I thought it was just a bad bruise or something. So today (to ease Nathan's worry only) I saw the Dr. He thinks I may have a hairline fracture in it. He sent me to X rays at 5pm this afternoon and will get them tomorrow morning hopefully. According to him, if there is even a minor fracture I will need casting of some sort. The BEST case scenario (according to the Dr.) is that I have a severe bone bruise which will require me to be on crutches and off of my leg for 2-3 weeks!!! Can we all say "IMPOSSIBLE" together?

Seriously though, I will obviously abide by what I have to do to heal this, but I do have five small children; one of which is only 5 months old. Nathan starts classes again next week too, so the timing couldn't be worse.

Anyway, I know it isn't the end of the world and I am blessed that this isn't MORE serious, but here I sit when I should be sleeping, worrying about what I am going to do : )

Thanks in advance for your prayers :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Here's A Laugh To Get You Through the Rest of the Week.

I think I need it the most ! Make sure that your voume is up on your speakers and enjoy!

Monday, August 6, 2007

New Music Monday!!

Because I have very eclectic taste in music, I decided to start sharing some of the tunes we listen to with you all. You may find yourself dancin' along to something you may have never thought of listening to before. Enjoy!


This first band currently occupies a permanent slot in my CD Changer in the truck : ) I would have to say that they are probably one of my top 5 as far as bands go. They are usually a little harder than this song is, but I thought this one may get some of you to listen to the end : ) My Father-in-law told us that we shouldn't let the kids hear TFK unless we were mad at them, LOL!!! It is a matter of taste, I guess. The kids actually love listening to TFK also and "car-dance" right along with us.

Look them up yourself if you like and you can hear the new album they have coming out soon. Personally, I recommend their self-titled album as a first buy if you like what you hear.

THOUSAND FOOT KRUTCH (FYI- It is indeed spelled with a "K", contrary to the video maker)

Friday, August 3, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

We are preparing to begin a new year of homeschooling here and I thought I would share a little about what we will be doing. My two homeschoolers (ages 5 & 6-birthdays in Jan for both) are going to both be going through 1st grade this year and I am beginning a little, light K work with my son (age 4-June birthday). I have full intention of going through K with him again, but I feel like, since I am doing it with the girls anyway, why not give him a little now. So this is what we will be doing here:

Bible: We are going to study the Bible together following an outline that our church is using in small groups, church-wide, starting in the Fall. We figure that since we will all be studying the same text on Sunday mornings in small group. It will be a great thing to expand those lessons during the week and dive deeper for them. From these lessons, we will also gather our verse(s) for the week and incorporate all of that in creating copywork and handwriting exercises for them as well.
Language Arts: Five In A Row and Before Five In A Row
Math: Horizons K and 1st grade (The girls really haven't had any math except for manipulatives that happened along last year. They have most of the K skills that are in the curriculum, but I want to go through it once at their own pace and just fill in gaps. Then we will move into 1st grade Math whenever they are ready.)
Handwriting: I opted out of a handwriting program and am instead going to be using StartWrite software to create our own exercises and worksheets based on the Bible text and FIAR books we are covering that week.
Spanish: PowerGlide Elementary Spanish (This year, Spanish will be more for acclamation than for expectations, KWIM?)
Social Studies and Science lessons will be taken out of our Bible and FIAR lessons as well.
Music: Pianimals (Self (or Mama)-guided piano lessons
Art: The girls will continue with their weekly art class they have been doing for the last year.
Dance: YEAH!! My oldest will start pre-ballet this year and my second oldest will begin Creative Movement this year; both once a week for less than an hour.


I know it sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when you see it all written out on the weekly schedule. We are still taking it pretty easy this year, but with a little more structure. Now, I am off to make my lists for the weekend!! I have been waiting to buy my curriculum and supplies until TAX FREE WEEKEND, so now I can let loose!!

Happy Planning!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Measuring the heart

I read a homeschooling book recently that questioned by what means success (in homeschooling or parenting in general) should be measured. The author gave the take that it shouldn't be measured by tests or by achievements, but in the glimpses of the heart that we are shown at random times. Not as a matter of pride, but as a gentle reminder that the Lord will bless the efforts of the faithful and obedient.

Last night, as MaryEvelyn and I got ready for our date, I shared with her that I was thinking we could go see the movie "Ratatouille". (All the kids have been talking about and looking forward to seeing it. ) To my surprise, MaryEvelyn immediately said, "I don't WANT to do that!" I was shocked at her answer and asked why. She said, "Because, I want to go see the movie with Graycen, Cooper, and Ella too; my WHOLE family. THAT would be so fun."

When a 5 yr old would rather miss out on seeing the latest kid-movie, so that she can wait & share that joy with her siblings, THAT is a glimpse at the measure of her heart and it makes me happy. Again, not as a matter of pride, but as a little note from God that I shouldn't get too weary in my well-doing, because (some of it at least ) is working :) .

I hope that I won't ever let my life get so chaotic that I miss those little notes from God. The load seems so heavy right now at the start of another homeschooling year, but I find myself resolved to be obedient and even joyFUL(L) about it. Graycen came to me this afternoon out of nowhere and said, "Mama, I don't ever want to go to school anywhere but at home. Well, until I get to college ...I guess if I HAVE too". How can I argue with that?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Summer Lovin', Had Me A Bla-ast"


You know the rest, "Summer Lovin' Happened So Fa-ast!". Ok, so the rest of the song doesn't apply, but what a great and FAST Summer we have had. I know that it isn't quite over yet, but with August just a few days away and school starting right around the corner, it seems already gone. I realized just how busy our Summer has been when I started downloading the memory card from my camera today following our VACATION to the beach last week. Here is a recap of some of the highlights of our great Summer : )






AWANAs Graduation and End of Year Awards Ceremony. Despite the photo, Cooper was happy to be there-just not in the photo.











Growing our "Easter" Sunflowers that the kids recv'd in their baskets this year at Easter. Up until this last week when nobody was around to water them, they looked beautiful on my front porch.










First Smiles








Sleeping through the night in our OWN beds : )






The start of weekly,one-on-one, date nights with the children.



Learned to can fresh fruits and veggies. the kids shucked 65 ears of corn with my Mom and squealed with delight whenever a caterpillar was found in their corn!!








Had some great downtime on the couch with either a movie or a good book.

MORE PHOTOS TO COME...



Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Nameless LIttle Girl that BROKE MY HEART.

I was busy running around yesterday completing errands before my Mom and Grandmother arrived last night. In all the hustle on the way home, I spotted a girl on the sidewalk of a very busy and main road of our town. She struck me for some reason. She was dressed VERY provocatively, in a short and tight miniskirt and tube top, and her hair was done up in a very older way. However, she couldn't have been older than 16-18. Her eyes were too, too young. She was in tall heals that she had obviously not worn long enough to completely master with any grace and my heart just broke for her. Her body language was as if she was listening at every sound she passed, as if every sound was a cat-call directed to her that she was compelled to respond to.

At the point of which I passed her, she had apparently gotten confirmation that someone was speaking to her in the parking lot she was passing and she was trying to make her way through a hedge to meet the person. I couldn't help but to think that she was pr*stituting herself :sad: :unsure: :sad: Even though it wasn't a place that one would think they would come across this, I couldn't shake the thought that she was.

I pulled over and prayed for the Lord to give me wisdom, because My Mama's heart wanted to drive over and yank her out of the car and take her home with me. I immediately knew that, with my five babies in the car, I could not put them in the sort of danger that may come from that act at that moment, so I prayed and prayed for the Lord to protect her with a hedge of thorns that no amount of evil could break through. She is still heavy on my heart this morning and I thought about her all night long.

Please lift up this nameless little girl with me. I don't know her or where she comes from, but if she was doing what I feel so strongly in my heart she was, I know her heart must have been broken somewhere deep inside. Please pray that she find her way to our Daddy in Heaven to fill the hole in her heart and that she will not stay victim to whatever aspect of her life (be it situation or person) that makes her do this. Please pray that she will find love & peace in the arms of our Abba Father.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Conviction vs. Desire




I am reading a book now called, When You Rise Up: A Covenental Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul, Jr. It is a good book that is challenging me to realize my motives for homeschooling. In it, it talks about deciding on your family's goal for education and it puts forth some key ideas in deciding what that is.
Sproul is very dedicated and convicted in his choices for his family and he is an advocate to the extent that he feels homeschooling is the ONLY choice there is for any Christian family.
Personally, this is where I struggle. Is homeschooling my children the ONLY choice out there in order to achieve the goals that we seek to attain for our children? Is this a desire I feel to homeschool or a true conviction? Is it possible for me to selfishly keep them home when they would prosper at a good Christian school?
To answer that last question, I don't think that I am damaging them by keeping them home at all, but maybe they aren't getting everything the could be getting (academically speaking) from me. I am a busy mama. I have lots going on during the day and I don't know HOW IN THE WORLD I am going to maintain education here at home when Annagail starts walking. It is hard enough to just try and plan! Add on top of that a house that need to be cleaned, laundry that must be washed, meals that must be prepared and a nursing schedule to feed that baby adequately and I my plate is overflowing.
I am starting to think of it like I do bfeeding. (stay with me here) I totally, totally, totally believe that the benefits of bfeeding far outweigh the alternatives. I wish that everyone would give it an honest attempt for the sake of their child. However, I do believe that there are times when it doesn't work for whatever reason; be it physical, emotional, situational, whatever. It just doesn't. I have been blessed beyond measure to have had it work for all five of my little ones so far, but some of my children were only bfed through lots of work and concentration on my part. For my oldest, I had to a sort of hybrid form of feeding. Some women I know, tried and tried and couldn't get it to all come together. For them they chose an alternative. It was best choice for them to maintain health and sanity for themselves AND their child and I don't blame them a bit or find any fault with their choice. The good Lord provided a suitable alternative. The children thrived and developed as normal and all is well in their world.
Now to relate it to homeschooling: I do feel it is the ideal situation for a child. To be at home with a parent and to be learning alongside siblings is something that I think is definitely better than the school environment as we know it. But is it something that everyone should have this inherent ability to do as a parent? Is it something that I should be able to muster up inside me and be able to do in a way that sustains my children at the level they need to excel spiritually and academically? Or at some point do I need to investigate alternative forms to do this that still meet the moral standard by which we live? This is where I am. I am trying to sort this out.
Obviously, if Nathan and I feel called, convicted, to homeschool then the choice is made. I must obey and I am certain that my desire and the ability will come. I just don't know if it is conviction or desire at this point. it isn't as easy as it sounds. I have researched private Christian schools and would probably jump right into one or two of them that I have looked into if it weren't for the exorbitant cost. We are talking 13K for three of our children to attend!!! Per Year!!!!
I guess that where there is a will there is a way. I am just searching for God's will and where it lies for our family. If it lies in homeschooling, then I must find my way through this in obedience and I am certain the desire will follow. If God's will is for them to be taught in a private christian school, then there is a way to find there too.
So for now I will be praying and searching for these answers while I plan for our next year. This is one of those areas in Christian parenting that baffles me. I wish there was a verse that said, "Homeschooling is the only approved method." or "Thou shall not lose any sleep over sending your child to school." It would certainly make things easier wouldn't it?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

I spy with my little eye....

...something......GREEN!

Tonight after dinner, we decided to play "I spy". It started out as something to do while the table was being cleared, but turned into a full-out "I spy" tournament between our four oldest and us; complete with specific rules and all! After an hour or so of playing, we were all howling with laughter and having such a great time around the table together. Even Ella, who I really need to do some work with where her colors are concerned : ), had a great time. She is my class clown and kept us all laughing when it came time for her to guess the object each round. She is a hoot.

As a matter of fact, this whole weekend was pretty great. Not the spectacular event-type of great, but more the it-is-SO-good-to-have-sweet-children-who-are-so-laid-back-and-fun-to-be-around-type of great.


Today was ...just family time. After we ate a nice home-cooked, Sunday lunch and the kids were tucked in for naps with full bellies, I sat on the porch and read my book while Nathan worked in the yard. I didn't want to do yard work (this time), but I just wanted to be with him while he did it : ) Then tonight it was so much fun to hear the kids giggle so much and to see them get tickled at Nathan's silly jokes. It made my heart warm. Even Annagail got on board during our no-fuss leftover dinner (yes, I ate leftovers!!!!). She was squealing and cooing up a storm.

This week was long for us, so this nice weekend was a much-welcomed blessing. No muss, no fuss, just good `ole us! Hey! I think that may make it to a t-shirt someday soon : )

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What did I just say?!?!?!?!?!

In my last post, I was telling you about how wonderfully things were going, right?!?!?!!? Well, let this be a word to the wise that when you say such things, you might want to be prepared to duck!!! All day long today I have been under attack.

My children were a little more rambunctious and a little less cooperative today than most days. Nathan was out of town until only a few minutes ago, so I had to take all five children to Tball practice alone on, none other than, picture night. It was 102 degrees on the field were they were taking pictures and playing tonight and I failed to bring ANYTHING to drink for any of my children. The photographers film snagged, so she had to retake the photos which put me behind on feeding the baby. After FINALLY feeding the baby, I rushed with my three youngest to the nearest drive through for waters for my children and arrived back at the field in time to see the girls each bat once. Then the thunder started. The game was over and we headed to the car. I got all of the kids in before the rain started, but then couldn't find my keys. I finally located them folded up int he stroller were they had apparently fallen while I was rushing to get the kids into he car before the rain. Then, as I was getting into the car myself, I got stung by a bee on the neck!!!! (It is okay to laugh now. I am.) I felt tears coming on, so I quickly phoned Nathan for moral support before I had to call the pizza place and order dinner so that it would be home when we got there. It was at that moment that my cell phone went dead as a door nail with no explanation. With my children each telling me some different story at the same time, the baby crying because she was still hot (bless her little heart), my cell phone dead, and my neck throbbing, I said out loud, "Satan, your future is set and you have already lost. You do not have victory over me and you never will."

What happened next? The children got to bed late, because we had to wait on the pizza. Nathan JUST walked in the door well after 11pm and is too exhausted to listen to me unload (although he tried desperately to.), I KNOW that many people looked at me and either felt sorry for me or wondered "why I had all these kids", and I am now wired and can't sleep, BUT I am not angry or frustrated. I don't feel overwhelmed by my life and I know that there was a victory won here today. I don't feel guilt about how I handled my children and I know that they (& Nathan) went to bed feeling loved and cared for.

It is a new day here indeed : )

Thank you Lord for the works your are doing in me. You are faithful and just and I love you!

It's A New Day...

...oh-oh-oh its a new time....

That is from an Avalon song that I enjoy. The tune is stuck in my head this morning. I can't help but to think how fitting it is. I'm up reaaallly early to see Nathan off. He has a unique day today and had to leave very early. I don't like him going to work without me being up to send him off, so here I am. I am tired, but I am not the miserable person that I was at this time after my 4th child was born. God has really done (and IS doing) a good work in me with this 5th delivery and postpartum time.

Last night Nathan got home from work and I felt a little panicked. The day had been a long one with my children, the house hadn't been completely straightened, & dinner wasn't close to finished. Some days are just like that. I am learning to not react to that panic and to just do my best to try and steady whatever had gone quirky in the schedule when days like this happen. The old me would have just thrown in the towel, claimed surrender to the chaos of life, and begged to order food in for the night. Instead, I asked Nathan to take the kids out to play while I got dinner finished. He did and it was a great joy to hear them laughing and playing together in the back yard while I cooked. Then, when I called everyone in for dinner, Nathan said to me,"I love days like this. Our home feels so...I don't know...home-y". Now is that music to a Mama/Wife's heart or what?


***FYI- I answered my tag this morning, but because I started the post a few days ago, it posted it a few posts down : )

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My 1st Date Night!

Tonight is a night that I have been waiting a loooong time for. It is a night that any Mother of many would (or should) desire to have. I have picked out my outfit. Childcare is arranged. The night's events are in order. As soon as my beloved gets home, I am jumping in the shower and getting ready to go. It isn't what you might be thinking. Yes, I do desire to go out with Nathan alone (& that date is set as well!!), but my date isn't with him tonight. It is with my daughter; my first born.


For some time now, I have wanted to schedule date nights with each of my children. I wanted to have regular appointments with each of them so that, if even for that time, they could each have my undivided attention. Nathan & I agreed that this would be more important for me to do now than ever. The kids are mothered by me all day-every day as a group of 5 children & they need to know how special their place in my heart is individually too. We have struggled w/ timing "& when to start this practice. Finally, we just had to pick a day of the week and just plan for that day to be my "date" night w/a child. So tonight is the 1st one & I don't know who is more excited, my daughter or myself?!?!?

I love each of my children so much and, as a Mom to many, I find myself often feeling guilty that they may feel like they are a unit and not as special to me individually. I'm so looking forward to alone time w/each of them. We won't be spending a lot of money we don't have; just a simple trip to the bookstore & a treat along the way. This idea is simply more purposed effort towards tying those heartstrings; mine to her's & her's to mine.

So, T minus 1 hour until my first date! As the years go by, I know that this will become even more precious time, but I can't imagine anything sweeter than the look on her face when I told her that she had me all to herself tonight : )

Monday, June 18, 2007

5 Things I dig about Jesus:

I was tagged by my Bro-in-law (oh...about a week ago, sorry) to give



"5 things I dig about Jesus"



Here are the rules-

1. Those Tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus.

2. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.

3. Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here so that others can read them.



Hmmmm....just five?



1. He endured pain that I cannot even imagine for no other reason than to be a sacrifice for my sin.



2. He loves me even when I deserve it the least.



3. He loved the people that society had cast out and he ministered to them without fear or judgement.



4. He provides for me peace, that passes any human understanding, that even the hardest of hearts in my life may one day know Him and live within this same peace.



5. He provides the knowledge that those I have lost and will lose here in the flesh, that believe, will be gone from me for only a while and that we will meet them again in glory.



Now, I tag...



Ginger

Theresa

Erin

Allison

Jennifer (feel free to post here in the comments)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

HAPPY FATHERS' DAY!


Top Five Things that I love about my husband:



1. He loves the Lord. Although he "walked an aisle" soon after we were married, he later realized that it had only been just that; walking an aisle. At that point, he surrendered his life at the foot of the cross and has been serving the Lord ever since. He didn't get baptized again, but a few years later was convicted to do so in obedience to the Word of God. So, I had the pleasure of standing on the lake shore with four of our children holding hands in front of me while we watched their Daddy be submerged into the water by our pastor (photo above). I believe that this time line was God's plan for him, so that he could be a living example of obedience to our children. Six months later, our oldest daughter gave her life to Christ.



2. He loves his family. He is, truly, one of the most wonderful fathers I have ever seen. Sure, he isn't perfect, but his love for us is absolutely perfect. His priorities are in order and nothing comes before his ministry to us. If you asked my children, right now, what the top three things in their Daddy's life are, they would not hesitate to say, "God, us, his job". I know this, because I ask them from time to time just to make sure. Call it an evaluation if you will :D He takes time to just sit with our children and talk to them and those times are so precious. If he messes up, he is humble enough to admit it and ask forgiveness from them. Those are traits that I pray my children take on from him.



3. He has a heart FULL of mercy. He is a giver and that is rare these days. He is sacrificial.



4. He is a great husband. He loves me and I know it without him saying a single word to me. He has clear vision of the load I carry as a mom of five stair-step children and he goes out of his way to support me. He insists that I meet with friends and that I have a support system outside of my home too. He realizes that the pressures on me here at home during the day are different (not worse, better, or otherwise-just very different) than the ones he gets at work and he respects that. He shares the burdens here with me, because I know that even we he isn't here, he wants to be. He prays for me and our children and I know there isn't anywhere that he would rather be than with us.



5. He is wiser than he thinks. Although he is a very humble person, I really think that he doesn't realize how wise he is. I trust him to lead our family, because I know that He listens to what the Lord tells him. he makes decisions based on our love for the Lord and our desire to follow him; NOT based on what the world would say is right.



Nathan,

Okay, so I gush a little, but anyone that knows you would agree with me. You are a kind, loving, and sweet man. I just wanted to love on you a little here. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY MY LOVE~



love,
Your An

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My "Little Bubba" turns FOUR today!!!


At 5 pounds 4 oz, he was a little guy when we brought him home (after 8 days in NICU) on Fathers' Day 2003. Everyone was scared to touch him for fear he would break. Now he is my Prince among the Princesses. He has his Daddy's blonde, curly, hair and his gorgeous sky blue eyes. He pretends to despise being the only boy, but he doesn't know how many times I catch him giving "Good Morning Kisses" to his sisters or just holding the baby's hand while he watches a DvD. He will grow into this lofty position he has been given. Although he is stubborn, he is a sweet little boy and he loves to make friends of new acquaintances. He eyes laugh when he giggles.

Like most little boys, I think, he is reaching a point in his life where he wants to be a big boy and run and do things that big boys do, but his heart still wants to climb into bed and snuggle under the covers every morning. I know that sweet time will soon pass, but I am going to enjoy it while I can and hold on tight to my little Bubba as long as he lets me. He doesn't yet try to be too brave when he gets a booboo and I now that he believes my kisses heal him instantly; well, that and a nice big band aid!

Today when he goes outside to play, I am going to purpose to go out with him and get a little dirty too. As much as I can hardly believe that four years have past, I am fearful of how quickly the next four will fly by...and the four beyond that...and the four beyond that... But for today, I will enjoy my snuggles and giving him kisses to make things better.
Happy Birthday Cooper, my little Bubba! You are a Super, superhero!

Monday, June 4, 2007

HOUSE RULES

This morning, we sat at the table and ironed out some house rules. Nathan was on speaker phone and the kids and I made a poster to reflect our rules. We wanted them to help "make" the rules, so that they would feel ownership in them and MAYBE feel more inclined to follow them. SO, here our the House Rules the kids came up with:

1. No running
2. No Yelling.
3. No biting, kicking, or hurting anyone in any way.
4. No scaring people.
5. No going outside without an adult.
6. N0 opening doors to the outside for anyone without permission.
7. No talking back.
8. No Interrupting.
9. No putting fingers in noses.
10. No touching things that don't belong to you without permission.
11. No playing with matches or fire.
12. Put things back where you got them when you are done.
13. No playing with light switches.
14. HONOR THE LORD!

They came up with MOST of these on their own. I especially like the one about the noses. With the ages of our kids, I am not sure that one is realistic at all. Graycen wanted to add a bunch, but I had to reel her back in. At 6 1/2, she is VERY good at making rules and not so good at following them : )

We'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WHISPERING IS RUDE!

I want to go on the record here that WHISPERING IS RUDE!! In any social situation, unless there is someone speaking (or otherwise performing) or you have laryngitis, it is rude to look at someone, whisper to another, and then laugh together at your private little joke!!!!

Granted, I am little punchy these days with the move and all, but it never ceases to amaze me how easily grown adults can act like preschoolers. I am used to getting stares, comments, and even the people that I watch silently count and recount my children and then roll their eyes. I can handle that. Usually, those are immediate reactions and then I get a kinder, gentler comment after they MEET my personable crew. What I CANNOT and WILL NOT ever get used to are the people that feel the need to comment on my family to others and they don't have the gumption to either address their "concerns" with me or to wait until they get into the privacy of their own car. It AMAZES & INFURIATES me!!! Most of the time, the whisper isn't soft enough to be private and the looks that accompany them spell out what they are saying anyway, so why not take the bull by the horns and just SAY IT!!!

ARGH!! Can you tell I am frustrated?!?!?! I watched (and listened) tonight as a fellow Tball Mom (that I have spoken friendly too on many occasions) shared the details of my children (ages mainly) out loud with her visiting parents and then immediately leaned over and shared a whisper and a good laugh about SOMETHING regarding us. Then the visiting Grandma said something along the lines of well, "Better them than ME!". To which I said, "By the Grace of GOD!" Did she really think that I couldn't tell what was going on?!?!?!?! Did she think that, because I have five kids, I am deaf all of a sudden or without a thought process?!?!?!?! It just burns me up faster than almost anything else. I really think that people get so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they forget to be polite. I want to be gracious in these situations and I want to let it roll of my back, but I fail. People think that, because I had all of these children, I am someone to whom they have a right to comment on the state of my family. Sure, her comment could have been a compliment, but (See my "on the record" statement at the top of this post) why be so sneaky and shady about it. I am sure it was something that wouldn't have made me feel all warm inside.

As happened tonight, often times people see the number of my children and attach it to whatever normal, family issue we may be having. Nobody would have thought twice about a two year old throwing a fit at the ball field when they were disciplined. However, they see MY two year old throwing a fit and then they add in the fact that she has 4 siblings and then they whisper about it; as if the size of our family is the reason she is throwing herself into the dirt. Actually, she is 2 and 2 yr olds throw fits on occasion; plain and simple. I guess maybe if I had less children and more time, I could teach her more diligently to NOT react like a two year old, but honestly, I know only children that act that way well into their 40's , so there aren't any guarantees there either!

This is a VERY COMMON mistake people make and something that I wish EVERYONE would take into consideration. My children are children. They aren't robots. They aren't little clones of each other OR us (thank GOD!). They go through the same developmental stages that only-children do. They go through the same developmental struggles that only-children do. They shouldn't be expected to act differently because they have a lot of siblings ANYMORE than I should be expected to be Martha Stewart, because I have so many.

I guess the moral of this story is, be careful what you say about other people. Unless someone hands you a comment card or otherwise asks for your comment, it is probably better kept to yourself. I am certain that this other Mom was just involved in her time with her parents, trying to have an interesting conversation, and didn't intend to be so blatant about it. None the less, I was left feeling like the kids and I were in a glass case at a freak show for the rest of the night.


Now, I am going to get off of my soapbox and spend the next 30 minutes before bed peaking in on all of my sweet, sleeping blessings and thanking God for each one of them, tantrums and all : )

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Moving Day

Saturday was moving day. We had several willing hearts there to help us and, again, I was humbled by the experience. Several of the men from our care group came, along with our faithful neighbors, of course. Another wonderful neighbor took great care of our oldest four children all day. Also, a couple of the wives from the care group came and helped me clean rooms after they were cleared of furniture and belongings.

When the furniture was all cleared from the townhouse, I walked in a got very emotional. It just dawned on me how much the Lord has stretched/grown us in the last two and a half years since we moved there. We came here SURE that we were done having children, for one. Now we have Annagail and ,with her, the knowledge that God in His mercy blessed us despite ourselves yet again. We met some great friends there that we will have forever I am sure; friends that stick beside you when times get tough. Those kind of friends are genuine blessings from God. We are grateful. We have been through a lot in those, sometimes (often times) cramped, living quarters and it feels really weird to leave them. I am truly going to miss that place.

So now, here we are. This is a sweet, little, old house with lots of old charm and some quirky character too (like no electrical outlets in the bathrooms.) There are boxes everywhere!!! Nathan and I just walked around making sure that the box stacks were all stable and not too high, so my 2 yr old wouldn't cause an avalanche tomorrow. The only thing unpacked yet are the sheets for the beds! We haven't had time today, with church and a special play there tonight, to do much more. That fun will begin tomorrow. The thought of getting ALL these boxes unpacked ........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........... SORRY!

It is going to be and adventurous week!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!

Happy Mother's Day, Ya'll!

I had a great morning. I woke up and jumped in the shower (as usual for Sunday morns) then I was told to get right back int he bed immediately (by my 6 yr old) and all 6 of my family members brought me a tray of breakfast, two vases of flowers, a corsage to wear to church, and two couch pillows I had admired previously, It was so nice. The two vases of flowers were there because Nathan had ordered an arrangement only to get tears and hurt feelings from the kids because they wanted to pick my flowers out themselves. SO, my merciful and sweet husband picked up the flowers he ordered and also allowed the children to pick out their own. So sweet : )

After church, we went to Macaroni Grill for lunch, Yum-O! Now, I am getting a little computer time while the rest of the family kicks back for an afternoon movie : )

I hope that your Mother's Day has been as fun and sweet as mine has!

God Bless you!

Friday, May 11, 2007

FRRRRIIIIIIIIDDDDDAAAAAYYYY!

I am glad it is Friday, because it means that Nathan will be home from work and school for two days. YEAH!!!

If you think of me today, please say a prayer. I have been having pains in my chest over the past three days. Although I am diagnosing myself as having pulled a muscle of some sort while packing and moving boxes, the pain has escalated and now is accompanied by the feeling that someone is standing on my chest and has also created some major swelling in my feet. I am seeing my Dr. this morning at 10:30 to rule out anything immediate. Hopefully (prayerfully), he will agree that I pulled a muscle of some sort and that will be that. I am trying not to sweat it too much, because there is nothing like a little anxiety to turn a pulled muscle in your chest into a full fledged panic attack : )

This exact thing happened last summer and it caused me to get serious about my health and lose 20 pounds. Then pregnancy happened and now I need to get serious again. Maybe this is just another wake-up call. Now that my baby is 2 months old (CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT!?!?!) it is time to get back to walking and eating right. Nursing burns calories, but not as much as I need to burn.

Thanks in advance for the prayers!

*****Updating that the Dr gave me strong reflux meds & told me that if I don't feel better by the time Nathan gets home from week, I have to go to the ER for a cardiac work-up.
please Pray that I don't have to go to the ER tonight******

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Somebody really should have warned me...

about the side-effects of home-ground, home-baked bread!!!!

People told me that the kids would love it. The girls loved it from the start. It took Cooper about a week to get used to it, but now he is on board too.

People told me that we would use half as much bread, because it would fill them up so much better. It does and we do.

What people didn't warn me about was the effect it wold have on ME!! I am having SUCH a hard time using ANY "convenience" foods now. By "convenience" I mean processed. After I turned a fresh loaf out onto the bread plate today and sliced it up for the kids' lunch, i stood there for almost 10 minutes trying to convince myself to just put the cheeses slices on the bread!!! It wasn't "bad" cheese necessarily. It was KRAFT singles. It just seemed to feel like I was adding a layer of plastic to such a nutritious meal (the bread alone). The same thing happened when I was making PB & J's the other day. You just stand there, knife in hand, wondering, "IS this worthy of being put on my bread?!?!?!?!" I did indeed finally put the cheese on and grill it, but now I find myself rethinking a lot about the way we eat and it all started with THIS BREAD!!

It is amazing how, reading about for years and now actually making this bread has changed my mindset so much. We switched to real butter a while ago, because the thought of feeding the kids the chemicals that make up the non-fat stuff just grossed me out completely. We do meatless meals now at least a few nights a week. too. Now, I am starting to read about whole-eating and some of the things you read would make anyone surrender their fat-frees and sugar-frees forever.

I do think that, once things get settled in the new house and after I get curriculum picked out for next year for the girls, I am going to find our balance in this. I know that there are some things I won't be able to do (like milk my own cow to make my own cheese...YET!!!!) But I know that I CAN make several changes that will positively affect our family's health.

As I write this, I am picturing Nathan's face when I start changing things up. He will hear me out, roll his eyes at the thought of all of the changes, the new grocery budget : ), and getting the kids on board for them (not that they will have a choice : ) and then he will support me 100%.

So now back to packing for me, but I know that some of my bread-making influences read this and again I ask, "WHY DIDN'T YOU WARN ME!?!?!?!?!: -Just teasing!