Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Food For Thought

Back soon I promise. I have lots of news to share for the New Year and I really can't wait to share it all! LOL
We have dealt with so much sadness this year, but God has always been good and faithful and my trust in Him is ever growing.

Here is something I have been pondering lately:
Do you think that the people who lived through the real Depression laugh at us and our whining over this "depression"? I mean really?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Who I might have been Part 2

Please forgive my delay in posting part 2. We had another death in the family this week. I really do expect the house to come crashing down at any moment now. My husband's mother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Monday morning. We have been down with his dad the past few days just spending time. Through everything I still say Blessed Be the Name. I am amazed at the amount of strength God has given me through this season. It just makes me want to serve Him and praise Him even more. Even on days when I just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head until 2010. :)
When we left off Roy and I were beginning to look into fostercare as a way to start our family. We took the classes filled out all the paperwork and waited a year and a half for them to complete our file. Agency changes, new regulations, loss of fingerprints. Everyday there was another reason our file had not been approved yet. I was getting more and more frustrated. Especially because DCF choose at this time to start a campaign to get more foster parents. Every where I turned there were impassioned pleas for one to open their home for these children. I was fingerprinted five times because of errors and time lapses. I was pretty sure I was getting ready to be called into Secret Service to protect the President. I know I had the clearance for it. In December of 2003 Roy and I looked at each other and said that it was time for me to come home from work. It was a very difficult decision for him to make. We'd bought a house earlier that year using both our incomes. We were already living above our financial means. It meant a lot of sudden changes in both of our lives.
Those first few months, nay years, of my being home were rough. On paper it never should have worked. But we were able to pay most of our bills. Barely. Sometimes even on time. :) And when one of our creditors came after us with a lawsuit the money was provided for us to actually settle the debt owed. It was a bill we were sending money to, but not the minimum payment every month. We tried to communicate with the people over the phone a few times and were treated very rudely. It's not an excuse for not paying them, but the money was not all there to pay them and they refused to communicate with us. We sent them what we could. We were not very good money managers at the time. We are still learning, but I will say we have not been in that situation again. Lesson learned. :)
In May we finally got our foster care license. The next day I got a phone call for a 6 month old baby girl. OF course we would love to take her in. I naively began to prepare for a 6 month old baby girl.

Imagine my surprise when this guy showed up at my door. 13 months old and running around like a mad man. LOL Thus began our foster care experience. As the children came the money began to increase. Within about a year we were at a place where we could pay off our debt, keep up with payments due, and all around just live comfortably. In 2006 our fostercare journey was put on hold as we adopted our five beautiful blessings. All in all foster care was not the traumatic experience for us that it is for some. In my home I have nine children. I kept five and sent four home. Unfortunately all four came back into care within a year of being home. Had I had the room I would have taken them all back.
I dealt with the public school system for one year. On the day of our adoption we went from the courthouse to the school board and thus began our homeschooling journey.
I have learned so much in the past few years. I am so thankful for people on the Internet willing to put themselves out there and show Biblical Womanhood. I have been on the other side of this and I can safely say I am much happier being a wife, mommy, and homemaker, than at any other time in my life. I did the career thing. Too much drama and worldliness for me. I did the public school thing. Too much time away from my kids, too many bad influences I had to overcome at home, too much disinformation being fed to my littles. No thank you. I am grateful that God put women into my life mostly through the Internet, but also a few real lifers to show me a different way.
I am quiet content to stay right here in my own little home and raise my little children. If you'd of told me that at 18 I would have laughed at you.
Thank you Lord for making it different for me.
Be Blessed!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who I might have been

In my Bible study this week I was asked to focus on Psalm 124.

This Psalm which I can't paste onto my blog for some reason talks about what would have happened if God had not been on our side. The author of the Bible study then asked us to think about what our lives could have been like. As I pictured the life I had mapped out I see God's hand in so many ways.

I always knew I wanted a big family with lots of children. I also knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. There is where who I am today collided with who I could have been.

You see I never even thought about raising my kids in a different way. I had a vague idea of what my marriage would look like, but not what it could be. Home was not a huge priority for me.

I was raised in a Christian family. Surrounded by men and women of the faith. We went to church every Sunday, faithful attenders of Sunday school. My brother and I even spent time in a Christian school. We said grace like a good Christian family. We attended Wednesday night prayer meeting. I spent plenty of time on youth outings, even when I did not want to go.

My mom, bless her heart, was the Provider for our home because my dad was disabled.

I do not complain about my childhood. It is what it is and it was happy. I was loved and cared for. I was given many opportunities.

As I got older I started really paying attention to sermons on child raising, marriage and family. I started to understand more and more about marriage. I desired it on such a deep level that whenever our youth leader talked about God calling some to remain single he would quickly add, but of course not Julie.

When I graduated from highschool I took a few college classes, got the required job, spent my evenings and weekends going out with friends and searching for The One. I dated different guys. Looking at each one as a potential husband.

I never knew there could be a different way. All the years I wasted money and time. Money I could have saved up to start my married life. Time I could have spent learning useful skills.

But even then God was changing me. I was meeting homeschooled families. I was interacting with married couples, families who understood God's word calls us to come out from among the world and be different. Granted at the time I thought it was odd, but God was still using it.

Even in the midst of all my young adult years being wasted our church hosted an Institute for Basic Life Principles seminar. That was my first exposure to teaching such as this. I think I was one of the few who actually appreciated the new outlook. :) It was the first place I was ever given justification for my belief that a wife's place was in the home and the husband's place was to be Provider.

I don't follow IBLP like some, but like I said it was my first exposure to what I now believe.

In 2000 my dreams began to be realized beyong my imagination. I married Roy. Of course God was still working on me. Boy, did He have a lot of work to do. Still does. :) Of course being married I had to have a nice apartment. Not something we could afford on just my husband's salary. So I went to work about a month after we got married. I was also on the pill because of course no one wants to get pregnant that first year or so everyone I knew told me. Oh, the sorrow I have felt over both of those choices. Funny thing, while my husband supported those choices had I been willing to open my eyes and see what God was trying to show me Roy would have been open to those as well.

We did the whole DINK thing. (Double income no kids) Buying what we wanted. Going out to eat. Not saving one penny.

It was during this time God pointed me to some sites on the web. Sites that talked about keeping the home, welcoming children, following your husband, homeschooling. WOW! Everything I read spoke directly to my heart. Yes! This is what I had been made for.

I would like to say here that we began to save up money for me to come home. That I spent weekends learning new skills to better my homemaking abilities. That God's truth became real in my life. I would like to say all of those things, but I can't.

We bought a house. Yeah. It was a great money saver. Not just any house. Nope. A brand new house built from the ground up. Yeah. A mortgage that was stretching both of our salaries. But I just had to have it. We'd been unsuccessfully trying to have children up to this point as well. We both came to the realization that the pill was not for us and we were open to God planning our family. God was bringing us around. He'd already won the homeschool battle. We knew that's what we wanted to do if we were ever blessed with kids.

Since we did not have any yet we began to look at fostering.

To be continued..

Be Blessed.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Good Day

Ahh, a good day. Those seem to be a bit far and in between lately. LOL
So much done and I even snuck in some homeschooling. I am hoping to sneak in a little more before dinner. I pulled everything out of my pantry to reorganize it and as soon as I finish my snack I am off to do that. We were just going to have yogurt and cheese cubes for lunch, but in cleaning out my pantry I found a box of noodles and some spaghetti sauce. I added some stewed tomatoes to bulk the sauce up because lets face it one jar is not gonna feed this family. LOL Lunch was served. It sure was a lot better than yogurt and cheese cubes. :)
I have planned and replanned my shopping list and will be heading to the store early, early, early tomorrow morning. It's the shortest list I have ever seen, but thanks to Costco I don't need a whole lot. Though DH is jonesing to go back to Costco for some reason. I'm trying to put it off until we go over to that side of town next week for Christmas shopping.

Today was a beautiful day here. Sunny and breezy. If FL was always like this I could live with it. :) We took time out from our chores and school work to just go for a walk. The kids had a good time. When we got home we flung open the windows. As the day wore on though it got colder and colder. So eventually the windows were closed but it sure smelled nice as the house was airing out.
I still have plenty to do between now and Saturday evening, but I just keep doing one thing at a time. One of the things that was really bugging me was the disorganization in the kitchen. It looked awful to me. So that has been what I have been working on the last few days. I am decluttering and shifting stuff around. It's starting to look better.
Another thing was our homeschool bookshelf. With just a little reorganizing it looks like a whole new bookshelf. LOL
In a Bible study I am doing the author asked you to imagine who you would be if Jesus had not transformed your life. She did not mean from when you got saved, but from when He yanked you out of who you thought you were going to be and made you who He wanted you to be. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it really made sense to me.
I thought it was a neat exercise. It made me really grateful for who He has led me to be.
I will talk some more about that in my next post.
What did He "yank" you from? Who would you have been?

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Lets start today's post off with a little game! Which living room is mine? Come on everyone can play along.

Is it this tastefully decorated room with the patterns? The beautiful arrangements? The coordination?

Is it this room decorated with Christmas junk, library books, and kids clothing?

Or this formal room decorated with all the style and finesse of a gifted decorator? Notice how the colors and patterns compliment one another.

Ok ready for the answer. I'm sure you will be shocked. Drum roll...


It's the second one. Yep the Christmas, books, clothing designer threads. That's the one.

So many times we get caught up in thinking that we wished we had so and so's life. Their house is beautiful in all their pictures. Their kids so well behaved. Their husband a true modern day knight. *Sigh*

Reality is I am almost to the point I can't function. I look around and everywhere there is stuff.

I am literally moving stuff from one end of the room to the other. You know we all have days like that. I hope? Anyone?

I cried actual tears today as I thought of everything I have to get done between now and Saturday. I was already disappointed that my shopping trip got moved to next week. Then to realize that I don't even know where to begin to get the house clean and organized before Saturday. UGH!

But in the end we are going to have nice evening Saturday night. We will fellowship with friends and family and celebrate the woman who made all of this possible for me, by giving birth to her surprise boy in 1971. I will thank her and do my best to make her feel welcomed and comfortable. Just doing the best I can!

Be Blessed!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whats the plan?

I have always had a love/hate relationship with Flylady. I am the ultimate perfectionist to the point of inability to function. Regardless of what she said I always thought I had to follow every list, assignment, suggestion she sent out just perfectly. Then I would think this is so pointless and unsubscribe.
Well I'm back. But this time I'm dragging my kids with me. My two oldest girls do the dishes so I will show them how to shine the sink. We are blessing our home today and I assigned each kid and myself one chore from the list.
For the zone cleaning today which was hotspot cleaning in the living room I assigned hotspots from top to bottom til I ran out. Starting with myself.
We will also spend 15m in a room a piece today to declutter.
If I divy up the work then I don't think it all has to be done and in a certain way.
Weird? I know. That's how I hop.
My 15 minutes will be working towards finishing up decorations. I planned two of those and two other 15 minutes for our bedroom.
We'll see how it goes.

Floors are being finished up here this week and we have a party on Saturday that Dhs family is all coming over for. They have not really seen our home in awhile and I am really working hard to make sure that it's nice and clean and inviting. My sister in law is crockpotting a roast for Saturday and I think I will do the same. Just to make sure we have enough. I need to make sure we have enough seats and pretty up the dining room and kitchen. It's in honor of my Mother in laws birthday and I want it to be nice.
On top of all that I really need to bust some homeschooling out this week. We ended up taking off last week except for one day and I have to bust a move to make sure we make our January goal.

I have been reading PennyAnnPoundwise these past few days and I am so inspired. Usually when I plan a menu I go way over budget, but looking over her menus I realize that is not really necessary.
Here is our menu for this week.
Breakfast- leftover oatmeal and apple cake
Lunch- Toasted PB and J and fruit salad
Dinner- Cincinnati chili, green beans, and pecan pie
Breakfast- oatmeal and PB toast
Lunch- Leftovers or hamburger soup
Dinner- Shepherd's pie with sweet potato topping, pineapple and raisin salad
Breakfast - pancakes and eggs
Lunch- leftovers or hamburger soup
Dinner- chicken fried rice w/brco and cauli, strawberry cake
Breakfast- Cinnamon French toast, turkey bacon
Lunch- Leftovers or hamburger soup
Dinner- meatloaf, corn, mashed potato, pumpkin pudding
Breakfast- Hashbrown casserole (I am getting desperate here!) LOL
Lunch- Leftovers or hamburger soup
Dinner- Chicken pot pie, Fruit (must get to store soon! Hopefully today)
Breakfast- oatmeal, PB toast
Lunch- leftovers
Dinner- Birthday party
Breakfast- muffins, smoothie
Lunch- Sandwiches, chips, fruit
Dinner- spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, cookies
Most of the stuff I am using I have on hand. Towards Friday I was getting a little desperate but I pushed through. I am trying to get my shopping day to Friday morning. Early. We'll see how that goes.
Well I need to run and work on my 15m hotspot.

Be Blessed!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Real Expectations

Tonight we actually got the Christmas tree up and decorated. Yipee! The kids are slowly heading to bed for the evening. After much excitement it will take awhile to calm down. :)
Right now we are listening to Christmas music sung by Harry Connick Jr. I like the way he sounds kind of old school.
It's funny as I reminisce about Christmas' past. I remember the first couple of years how fancy our Christmas tree and decorations were. I had a whole red and gold theme going on and blue and silver. Now as I look at my Christmas tree filled top to bottom with snowmen, teddy bears, trains, and all other sorts of plastic doo dads I have to smile. How I used to long for children to celebrate the holiday with. I love the cluster of ornaments at the bottom from Jonathan.
I love the poinsettia arrangements stuck in the gaps by the girls who declared it just lovely.
Tacky has not entered into any of their vocabularies yet. :)

My girls all talked tonight about their future homes and families. What they would do to celebrate the season. I heard a lot of fairy tale dreams. Husbands who enjoyed Christmas as much as they do. Perfect children who knew how to decorate a tree. Quiet times spent admiring the tree and the true meaning of Christmas. As my oldest daughter and I chatted about Christmas and her ideals I told her to hold loosely to her dreams.
When we first married I had many ideas of what Christmas with my husband would look like. Imagine my disappointment when I spent those first few married years shopping alone, decorating alone, and pretty much all the romantic Christmas notions I had were shot to pieces.
My husband just does not enjoy Christmas. Decorations aren't important to him. He could care less about picking out gifts. Usually I am sent off to buy my own presents.
I'm not complaining. Oh I did the first year. I even let his attitude towards Christmas affect mine. I got to where I did not like Christmas anymore. As a matter of fact I am just slipping out of that funk this year. We have reached some compromise. He does shop with me now. We make it a date. He helped decorate the tree this year because I was sick today.

I shared with my young daughter tonight that if her husband does not share her enthusiasm for Christmas that it's ok. She can still enjoy the holiday. Make it something special for him.
I love hearing my girls talk about their future homes and families. I don't squash their hopes and dreams, but sometimes we do have talks about real expectations. Who knows if they are even listening. I know what the stars in our eyes can do to our perceptions. LOL But I figure as their mom it does fall to me to disciple them in this area.
I was so selfish as a new wife. I was used to stomping my foot and getting my way. Ohh the fights we had those first few years of marriage. All because of my unreasonable expectations. Fortunately I married a strong man who knew not to give in to me. That has been a huge source of maturity for me. Having someone finally tell me,"No." I hope the same for my girls. A man who loves them enough to stand firm when he needs to. I also hope they are a bit more mature heading into marriage than I was. :)

Well I need to get busy getting school ready for tomorrow.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Traditions

Well I wanted to start decorating yesterday but I realized that where my tree is supposed to go is already occupied. By the girls room. Roy is finishing up their floors today and we still have all of their stuff in the living room. Right now it's a big girly Christmas explosion in my living room. I have my Christmas stuff sorted around the room and the girls stuff is pushed up against every wall. It's a little bit disarming right now. But dear husband will finish the floors today and we can regain some normalcy. Whatever that is!

I did make it to Target yesterday. The five dollar pajamas were gone, but I got some flannel PJs for each kid for $10 each. Sounds like a lot, but they have not had new PJs all year. They will open those on Christmas Eve for cute Christmas morning pictures. I also found some nice lightweight jackets on sale. Here in FL those are essential. Sometimes it's just not cold enough for heavy jackets but too cold for just long sleeves. Of course it's going to be 39 degrees tonight at the boat parade so they will not get to wear their cute light weight jackets.

I also picked up two presents for hubby. I won't say what here because sometimes he peeks. :)

I wandered over to look at Thermos but was appalled at the price. $25-$35. I am going to Walmart today to check out their prices. I really want to take hot chocolate tonight. I am also going to bake pumpkin cookies and chocolate chip cookies for tonight.
Fun times.

Starting Tuesday we will be playing our twelve days of Christmas game. I will write out twelve Christmassy activities on twelve pieces of paper. At least twice a week we will pull out an activity to do as a family.

Here are some of the activities we have done in the past.

Walk around the neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights.

Read the Christmas story by tree light.

Watch a Christmas movie while sipping hot chocolate and eating popcorn.

Christmas craft.

Turn on the AC and build a fire, listen to a audion version of A Christmas Carol.

Bake and decorate Christmas cookies.

Have a birthday party for Jesus where we each give him one gift for the new year. Like a promise to be more kind to others. A promise to spend more time in prayer. Ect...

Have a family sing along of Christmas songs.

That's just a partial list of all the fun memories we make at Christmas. It helps us to slow down
and really connect as a family. As the kids get older this gets to be more and more important. It's so easy to loose track of family during this busy season.

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas season!

Be Blessed!

Spell check is not working so excuse any spelling errors. I spell as bad as any homeschooler I have ever met. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Twas the day after Thanksgiving

All my Christmas stuff is down from the attic. Now I have to sort through it and come up with new creative ways to decorate. I'm hoping to have it all done by the end of the weekend. Last year we were in Atlanta for a week before Christmas and then at DH's parents house for Christmas so we did not put up any Christmas decorations. The kids have asked many times if we are going to have a tree this year. LOL

I am headed out to Target in just a little bit for a few things for Roy and I want to cash in on one of the deals today if they still have any. Five dollar pajama sets. Yes! My kids all need new pajamas and robes. My friend said they still have some at the Target in the next town which is the one I will go to. It's usually not crowded during the holiday season. The rest of the Christmas shopping will be done next week with Roy. I am pretty excited about it. I can't think of a better way to spend the day than alone with my honey.
We had a great Thanksgiving. Time with family, good food, and sale ads everywhere. :)
I tried my hand at some new recipes. Some worked, some were ok, but everyone said the food was good.
Here is a recipe for Turtle Pumpkin Pie. Everyone claimed it turned out great.
Well I better get busy on sorting through this Christmas stuff.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We are busy beavers around the homestead today. Cleaning and baking. My mom is preparing the turkey and dressing and I told her I would take care of the rest.
So today I am making fruit salad, oatmeal cookies and a turtle pumpkin pie. It's a new recipe I am trying. I might pick up a pumpkin pie just to be on the safe side. :)
Tomorrow I will get up early and crockpot green beans and corn, roast carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, and bake a sweet potato casserole.
I love to cook for the holidays.
Saturday evening we will be going to the Light Parade on the River here in our town. People decorate their boats and then float up and down the river. It's a lot of fun. Especially when the weather cooperates and it's nice and chilly. :)
One day next week Dh and I will drop the kids off at my mom's early and then we will get most of our Christmas shopping done. I was going to go online and do it all, but the prospect of a day out with my honey was more than I could fathom. So our excuse is Christmas shopping. I can't wait. Hopefully since we are going early in the month on a weekday it won't be to bad.

In just a few days we will be celebrating my mother in laws birthday here at my house. Roy's sisters are coming so it will be a fun time. I'm not sure of the menu as his sisters want to plan all that. My plan is to put up our fall decorations tomorrow evening and pull out our Christmas decorations. I will decorate through the weekend and be ready for the party next Saturday.
I think I might plan a birthday party for myself this year as well. I have been wanting to have a night of desserts and games for all of our friends. I might just do that on my birthday which falls two days after Christmas.
Our anniversary falls on December 15 and Roy and I are looking into affordable options for a fun time. I am continually amazed at how our budget is met every month and even stretched to allow some fun things. God is awesome!
Lots of fun and exciting things going on in these next two months. I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But I also enjoy the coziness and togetherness that this holiday season invites.
One night we will turn on the AC and have a fire in our Florida fireplace. It's tradition. LOL

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Be Blessed!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How our family works

For some reason I have spent much of this weekend reading anti patriarchy blogs. Yeah. I don't know why. We do believe in biblical patriarchy. Maybe not to the extent that some do, but it's part of our family vision. We believe that God orders the home. That he brings a man and a woman together to form a family. The man is the leader, protector, and provider of that home. He gives leadership (not dictatorship) through the word of God. We believe that the wife is the helpmeet to the husband, the companion, the nurturer, the keeper of the home. We believe that children are a gift from God. Blessings to be welcomed. We decided a few years ago to let God plan our family. So far He has blessed us with five children through adoption. Though we both agree that we feel that at least one more child is in our future we also understand that God is the ultimate decider. We believe that our children are given to us to raise, nurture, disciple, and shelter. Children are to be submissive to their parents, honoring and obeying them. Our family has been led to homeschool our children and to worship together as a family. We believe it's part of our mandate to shelter and disciple our children.

I k now that those against the Partiarchy movement will in no way believe what I am about to say. From everything I have read from them, because their lives were so awful, they will think I am brainwashed. It's ok. But here's the truth. I am not abused or oppressed. My kids are happy, healthy, and showing great love for Jesus.
I don't claim to always be submissive, to always rejoice in the work God has given me for this season, or to have perfectly behaved kids. I can't. I'm imperfect. My husband is imperfect. My kids are most assuredly imperfect. But I can't argue with the Bible. It says I'm to submit so I do so as best I can. When I fail I pick up and start over. It says to keep my home so I do. I really fail here. LOL But if we don't fail sometimes how can we ever experience God's grace? The Bible says I am to train up my children. I try. I fail. God grants mercy.
I know I am blessed with a husband who lives with my failures. Who loves and encourages me anyway. If any word these women have written about their husbands is true then I can see the aversion to submission. The fact more than a few of these poor women has left the faith answers a few questions for me. Works salvation really can't work. When we get to a point where our works don't measure up or fail our salvation falls apart. Bitterness and discouragement will always seep in. They were never good enough. Not for themselves, not for their husbands, not for their kids. My heart breaks for them. I am so happy that I don't have to be good enough. Not for myself, not for my husband, not for my kids.
We are a family with a multigenerational vision. We have not whittled it down to specifics, but our vision is that ...."the number of descendants we have in heaven will equal the number we have on earth." We have a vision of every one of our children, grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, and however many more will join us in heaven one day. DH heard a pastor say once that you should judge your parenting based on your grandchildren. We often talk to our children about their future spouses and children. We pray for their husbands and wives. For their future families. We aren't always as consistent with this as we should be. We aren't always as consistent with our family devotions as we should be. We realize the importance of all of this. We are becoming more disciplined in this area.
I say all that to say this; we are raising our family the way we believe the Bible tells us we should. We are "weird" and I'm ok with that. My husband leads our home and God is always the center. We are building our family on purpose. I will never be convinced that it is wrong.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Fall Tour

Well, in the spirit of the season I have some fall decorations to share. I put all of this together Friday for our Ladies Night Out Thanksgiving Potluck that evening. It was worth every second. The ladies enjoyed themselves and we had some wonderful food!
So enjoy the colors of fall!

A cute story about that tablecloth. I have been wanting it ever since I first laid eyes on it. Imagine an orange plaid tablecloth! All of my favorite things. Well, I could never find one to fit my table. I have two folding tables put together making one LARGE table. I found this in the clearance isle on Friday and called DH to make sure it would fit. He advised me to get two but I could only find the one. So I resigned myself to picking up the two orange solid color table cloths. As I trekked back through the store my eye fell on a second orange plaid tablecloth. Could it be the right size?? I rushed over to check and IT WAS! I was so happy. I ran to the check out with my purchases forgetting to remove the solid colored tablecloths. Thankfully they were on sale as well.
I love fall!
Be Blessed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bitter or Better?

As I have pondered over this last year I have had some thoughts about the trials and tribulations I have seen. As I told you before, there have been a few times I have just closed my Bible and walked away. But coming back has always been so refreshing. Repenting and basking in the mercy and grace of Jesus has been amazing. I realize that I am so much closer to God right now than I have ever been. I am trusting in Him so much more!
These trials and tribulations might have been for that very reason. They were probably put there to grow my faith. To make me a better Christian. I asked Jesus to help me understand grace more, and now I do.
The thing is though, I know a lot of people who have gone through a difficult year this year. Some worse than I have. I have seen people grow and I have seen them just give up.
The trials and tribulations we face in life bring us to a crossroads. We can choose to be better or bitter. Will we continue to follow Christ even though each step seems mired in mud and we can't see where we are going anymore? Or will we give up and decide that God does not care about us, if he even exists?

I watched last Sunday as a woman stood before our church repentant and broken. It was a true miracle. She was one of my hardships this year. Her marriage falling apart broke my heart. Her walking away and acting like she'd done nothing wrong made me insane. But God is faithful. He heard our cries for her and she stood up Sunday morning and asked for our forgiveness. She wept before us and warned us about the dangers or sin.
She was on the bitter path but then she detoured for the better path and I am so delighted.
I am on the better path. I admit to a time or two putting a foot onto the bitter path, but there was no joy there. It felt good for a season, but that's all sin will feel good for. A season. Then the consequences begin to pour in on top of you. God begins to pull you back towards him and it's a hard and desperate road.
Choose to be better through your trials and tribulations. Choose to trust in God and allow Him to grow you. In the end it will all be worth it!
Be Blessed!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Announcing a New Blog

My wonderful, smart husband has started his very own blog. You have to check it out. He is very grounded in his beliefs and I have been trying to get him to share some of his insights.
Here is it boys and girls.

Living In the End Times.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thank You

Thanks for your prayers my Papa passed away this morning.
I am so excited for him. He has a new body and is dancing with Jesus, my uncle, my dad, my other grandaddy, and his brothers and sisters who have gone on before.
My granny is devastated. Please pray for her. She suffers from Anxiety attacks and depression and this will be a hard road for her.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Doing" Church

I Corinthians 1
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
I have been burdened a lot lately with some thoughts that keep flitting through my mind about church. Of course you know my burden lately to help others out. Part of that comes from watching these people suffer and then watching churches build bigger buildings and better children's programs and worship programs. You know with flashing lights and state of the art tech equipment? I'm not saying those things are wrong, but I am wondering if our priorities are out of whack a little bit. It started me asking questions about church.
What is the purpose of the church? I look around at churches who seek to make the lost comfortable. Then I think, "Wait! If your lost are you supposed to be comfortable in church?" If your living a life full of sin are you supposed to be comfortable hearing from the Word of God? I don't really think so. Then I thought about verses that tell Christians to GO!
Matthew 28
18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Are we supposed to be sitting in churches, building bigger churches, and relying on the preacher to save all the heathens? Once again these are just thoughts I have been having. I am starting to think that churches should be training grounds. Training for the saints to go out and deliver the message of Jesus Christ. To minister to the lost. To offer a cup of water to the thirsty.
So much of what is offered up on Sunday mornings lately is just barely milk.
I actually know a few strong Christians who just choose to gather at home for home meeting instead of corporate worship because the churches they have tried are so watery. I am not advocating that as the best idea either. I'm just wondering if the church should not be used more for teaching and training the Christians to go out into the world. Just a thought.

As far as the verses I mentioned in the beginning that's a whole other thought process. It kind of reminds me of the different denominations. In the New Testament when the preachers came they came to a gathering somewhere in the city. Not to three of four different gatherings. Can you imagine the impact the church could make on this world if we set aside our doctrinal differences and just acted like we all served the same God and were all saved through Christ? I think much of the war that we face with the world would be won in that one change.

I don't know just some thoughts I had.

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Prayer Request

Hmm.. I feel like I just put one of these up back in July. I DID! I'm telling you I am ready to get off this ride.
I started a new Beth Moore Bible study this week called Stepping Up. It really promises to be a cool shower in this heat!
Anyway, my papa has been facing kidney dysfunction for a few years now. Recently it got bad enough they started him on dialysis. Well his body is rejecting the dialysis in a major way. Major. We think it might have even caused mini strokes. Today they stopped all treatment and moved him to hospice. I personally don't expect him to live through the week. He is not lucid and is very agitated and hostile. The hospice nurse said that might clear up some tomorrow so that's actually my prayer right now. At least enough for us to tell him, "See ya later, papa!" (Because the joy is that some of my family will see him later in heaven!)
The rest of my prayer is for his family. A wife of over 60 years. Five living children. Seven living grandchildren. Twelve great grandchildren. And one brand new great great grandson. Please remember us in prayer as we prepare for this transition.

Be Blessed!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cooking with kids

I have been eating up these videos lately. She has even more at her website Greenlitebites. Some great cooking videos with Ryan and they are always taste testing new fruits. It gave me some great ideas for not only cooking with my big kids (ONE AT A TIME!) but also with little Jonathan.

I hope you enjoy.

Be Blessed

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Caring for the homeless and downtrodden

Our family has a vision of one day owning enough land to build some small cottages. These cottages would first be used for our parents if they wished. They would have their own homes and be independent while having us close by to care for them. If they choose not to join us on the homestead we would reserve the cottages for ministry. For families who needed a place to stay for awhile. For missionaries home on furlough. For other ministers away from home doing God's work. For single mothers and widows. For anyone who lost everything they had because of an accident or job loss. As the responsible parents of children there would be rules and much discernment over who stayed on our property, but there are enough people out there who just need a hand up that I know we could be a blessing to many.
We plan to have a functional farm to help feed these boarders and others. We would require most people staying with us to help out around the farm. I would love to have a huge farm table that everyone was welcomed around. Or if they wanted to eat in their cottage that would be fine as well.
Dh has lots of plans for recreation areas on our property and we both have major visions of hospitality.
This is what we are striving for as we watch our finances and save where we can.
But what can we do right now?

My heart has been pondering this for awhile now. When Jesus saw someone hurting or helpless did he just pass by? I want to help people out. I want to do it with more than just a check to some random organization. I have been looking for ways to help. Here are some ideas.
I am going to purchase boxes of the prepackaged tuna and cracker lunches and canned chicken salad with crackers lunches and keep them in my car along with peanut butter crackers and bottles of water during these winter months. When I see someone asking for money I will share with them. Because of where I grew up I can't in good conscience give money. I know some will disagree with this, but the things I saw these mentally ill people do with the money given to them broke my heart. In my eyes they need a meal more than crack or alcohol.
I have a dear friend from the Philippines. In January she is heading there to help with flood damage. She is using her own money to send food, clothing, blankets... I am going to contribute to those boxes. I am also hoping to slip her some money before January to help with her expenses. She is the cleaning lady at a fast food restaurant.
I am going to the thrift store to load up on heavy blankets to donate to the homeless shelter this winter. I also plan to pick up heavy socks brand new to donate as well.
Roy and I are hoping to take the kids on a mission trip next year. Maybe not to another country just yet, but some place here in the US that needs some sort of disaster relief. I had thought of contacting the Red Cross and asking about opportunities for families with children to volunteer.
I have been busy stocking my pantry and freezer hoping to share with single mothers, widows, and others who might need a meal or two due to finances or illness or death.
I started last year purchasing gift cards to send to families right before Thanksgiving so that they could have a good meal or even some Christmas presents.
If you knew me at all you would know that my compassion and mercy are seriously lacking. I think that is one of the lessons God has been teaching me this year though. The theme of my happiness and comfort does not matter is really starting to manifest itself not just in faith but in works.
While I do take precautions, I mean Jesus was a single man and I am a mother of young children, I know that God will protect me as needed.
Yes, my husband is still jobless, but I think that God expects us to keep on giving. He is our provider. :)
I did not type any of this to pat my own back. Its a huge burden on my heart lately and something I think that we as Christ followers are seriously failing to work at. I hope these ideas will move you towards reaching out to the less fortunate.
Be Blessed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Give Thanks

This has been a long, trying year for my family. I am ready to see it go. Illness, loss, death, divorce... the list goes on. As I talk to other Christians I hear the same theme throughout. Depression sneaks in and we loose our joy. Our purpose changes from the "big picture" mentality to just getting through today.
I'll be the first to admit there have been times I have walked away from my Bible reading and daily prayer time. I just did not want to be friends anymore. But as I look back through my prayer journal I see that when I came back I came back broken and repentant. I found God waiting for me with arms held out. I would just cling to His awesome grace and mercy for a time, then something would happen and I would sulk off again.
But something else was happening. I was noticing that we had food to eat, money to pay our bills and a few extras. I noticed that each trial brought me to a new place with God. The Bible became more than just a daily reading to me. It became a lifeline between me and God. My spirit was confirmed and convicted appropriately as I read through the crinkly onion skin pages.
Through it all life began to really make sense. Make sense in the way that I realized this world is so very temporary.
I realized that I was reading my Bible and praying as a ritual to get me through the day. Surely if I read my Bible and jot down my thoughts to God then my day will go smoothly. No. What I found was that on days that did not go smoothly if I spent some time with the Lord I could handle it better.
There is no promise of happiness and comfort. Only of peace and joy. Two very different things.
Peace in the midst of discomfort because I know God is by my side perhaps even carrying me through. Joy in the midst of unhappiness because I know that this too shall pass. Joy because Jesus is my heart and soul not this world and her pleasures.
The girls and I are keeping gratitude journals. Each morning we write five things we are thankful for and each night before bed we write five more things. We plan to share these with the family on New Years Eve.
Do I know for sure that 2010 will be a better year? No. I sure hope it will be, but the one thing I do know for sure is that God will never leave me nor forsake me.
Right after we started the gratitude journals I read these verses in Psalms 77.

Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth [his] promise fail for evermore?

Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

And I said, This [is] my infirmity: [but I will remember] the years of the right hand of the most High.

I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God?

Thou [art] the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

Thou hast with [thine] arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

When I think God has forgotten me or is just cutting me off I can go back to my gratitude journal and realize that He has given me so much more than I deserve.

Be Blessed!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year..somewhere

In just a few short days I am leaving sunny, hot, dry Florida for Philadelphia. I am so excited. I have been assured I will see leaves changing.. somewhere. On this trip I will do my darndest to convince my DH that we actually do NEED to live somewhere that Fall is actually considered a season and not a myth. I love, love fall. I hate, hate being hot! I think FL would be a great place to visit occasionally.
Of course I am practicing contentment. I am freshening up my home and filling it with the great scents and colors of fall. I am thankful for the humble home God has so graciously blessed us with. But somehow I think dreaming of a more colorful world is not taboo.

I am still stocking my freezer full of yummy goodies. I have three bags of beef stew. Three pans of chili chicken mac, and four pans of beef and macaroni. I made a huge batch of chicken and rice that turned out way too dry. We are eating that this week for lunch three times and dinner at least twice. I did not want to save it for later. LOL Tomorrow or Monday I have chicken noodle soup to make. I might even try canning that. I look around my stocked pantry and freezer and it too makes me excited about fall. Storing up for the winter and all!

Be Blessed!