Friday, April 18, 2014

Church Easter Egg Hunt 2014

We already did a huge Easter egg hunt last week with our church.  A friend told us to come early because parking would be limited.  So glad we listened!  We signed six up for the hunt out of seven kids.  Chick-Fil-A showed up and gave everyone free chicken sandwhiches... yum!!!!  I guess several companies supported it and gave away some cool prizes.  I'm sure the church bought some of them too.  Fun!  It brought a ton of visitors which is great!

Ivy (8) is in the middle in the blue jeans

Little Juliet won a sand play kit and Ivy won a dozen donuts, a Peter Piper Pizza party, a stuffed bunny, and cotton candy. Wow!  The Easter egg hunt began and it was wiiiiiiild!  The next day, visitors that had been invited to the hunt came to church the next day for the first time.  That is so cool.

Caleb (4) and Kyle (10)

We are soooooo not looking forward to the summer heat here.  No matter what event it is, we always get bad headaches and are in bed for some of the day after.  We all felt really sick and it's not even as hot as it's gonna get!  Argh!  Here I was born and raised here and can't get used to the heat.  I tell my husband all the time I'd be happier here if our backyard was a paradise but that comes with lots of money... Especially in the desert area. Water doesn't come easily around here.  It definitely doesn't come from the sky!  It rains so little here that when it does rain, people walk outside of their houses to see it.  It's so rare and passes so quickly, like in 10 minutes, that you are lucky if you get wet.  :(  I'm a green tree, rain, and hills kinda gal.  I love the city but would love more greenery.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Joy Comes In the Morning - Set Free from The Life of Legalism

*Before you read anything further, know this.  I grew up with a view of the bible that was pretty askew.  I blame this on myself and no one else.  I pieced together my own version of the bible and chose to ignore much of the new covenant that Christ brought.  Of course I knew I was saved by grace, but what about after that?  I believed I had to work hard to keep earning my salvation.  This is not finger pointing at anyone.  Just a work in my own heart I believe God is doing.  I believe He could of done it much earlier on if I had been more open to it and not so determined to create my own Frankenstein faith.  I'll explain....

I don't know how to say this without being super emotional, which is not me.  I hide my tears well.  I feel like God has begun a new work in me.  Truly given me joy I have not known for many, many years.  I used to go to bed in fear every night for my soul.  Yes, I did all the right things as a Christian.  I knew to pray and read my bible.  Go to church every week.  Get involved in extra stuff. I did all those things.  However, I still felt like I was paying for my salvation.  When I did those things, I just felt I never measured up. As a mom to a lot of kids, doing a lot of activities seemed too hard at times.  There are just those days where a kid is sick, or I'm exhausted from a long day, I just felt I couldn't go to an extra event.  Whatever it was, I felt I couldn't keep up.  So if I missed a service or a bible study, I felt so guilty I just knew God was displeased with me for being unfaithful.  Eventually, I burnt out.  I was done.  A dark day had begun for me.  I began to question the existence of God.  I started to question the bible.  Depression began to settle all around me.

Last September I threw in the towel on my faith.  I was confused and couldn't see beyond the current day and it's dark cloud.  At first I was critical of even the existence of God like I said earlier.  Eventually I admitted that of course I knew God was very much alive and real.  He has done some HUGE miracles in my life.  You can't wish away bad kidneys where you need surgery or dialysis.  That was a miracle.  You can't wish away back surgery. I didn't imagine the hours stuck on the floor, not even able to help myself up because of the spasms of pain.  To be freed instantly and free for 15 years is no accident.  That was the healing of God.  So, yes, I know God is real.  I just felt He had turned His back on me.  I hadn't done enough to keep Him happy so he must be done with me.  Okay, so now I admit I know He's real. 

I became quiet......

I quit every single activity of good works and was just STILL.  I went to church, heard from God, sang the praise songs.  That was it.  I was tired and weary.  Slowly through the messages I began to see a light dawning in my darkened, seemingly endless tunnel of depression. Sometimes I would even be sitting in service and a verse not even being discussed in the sermon would jump out at me.  What?  I never saw that before.  How?  I've read the bible through several times.  How could I have not seen this?  Moments like this God was piecing together for me.  Answers I had never seen before.  Still I had the question. Does God love me?  Does He take me as I am right now?  No good works?  The Jenny that doesn't have much to offer?  Just a broken heart?  This is all I have God.  BROKEN.

Over the last seven months of little pieces of the puzzle coming together for me and brought me back around to the cross.  To Jesus and the gift He gave.  NOT the Jesus I had created over the years.  Jesus, the only Jesus, that the Bible speaks of.  Several months ago in my dark days I was given a book called Own It. I just tossed it aside as another religious book in my collection.  Yesterday, around midnight, I started to head toward the dishwasher to load of some dishes before I went to bed.  As I walked towards it, my eyes landed on the book I had tossed aside months earlier.  I felt a drawing to it.  I thought, "Maybe I'll read some of it after I do the dishes."  Then a thought immediately followed, "Dishes can be done later.  If you do the dishes first, you may never read the book."  This time I listened.  I even left the dishwasher open and just headed to the living room with the book and my bible in hand.  With praise music in the background softly playing I opened the book with not a very big expectation.  I've heard it all before, you know?  I was a Christian kid raised in church.  What could I learn from this book?  I was surprised.... Here is a passage that brought me to tears.

Own It 
Leaving behind a borrowed faith

 "The trouble with renting your faith is that it puts all of the reliance for salvation on self effort rather than on God. When that happens you wear out quickly; you feel burnt out and tire easily of the hard work of obedience, which you believe leads to your salvation. This is what happens when you see a hardworking religious person who has walked away from their professed faith. They put all of their hope in their ability to be good, rather than in God Himself. When they run out of strength, they run out of their payment for the faith and end up losing their rental. But when you own it - really own it- you have no need to make payments in order to keep it because it already belongs to you. This is called justification. You don't have to justify yourself by working hard to gain God's approval."

Where did I get such a harsh view of God?  That I had to pay for my salvation?  I don't know.  I blame it on myself. I've had the bible in front of me my whole life.  I think I pieced the bible together the only way I knew how.  I picked and chose what I wanted to see.  Like it says in the book Own It, I was created my own version of a Frankenstein faith.  Not very pretty.  Anytime I saw the word "grace" I  attached the word "greasy" in front of it.  Grace was a dirty word to me.  I couldn't accept it because that was too easy.  In a sense, because I didn't accept the gift, I made myself my own God.  I wasn't serving the God of the bible.  I was serving my own beliefs.  I wore myself out in the process.  I make a pretty lousy god.

I believed my whole life that I was making payments for my salvation.  Now, I NEVER would have said that but deep down I did believe that.  I had to work to please God. I grew upset often when I felt I wasn't paying enough.  I was sure I would easily lose my salvation like you could easily lose a house.  As long as my payments were late, I was in danger of my good standing with God.  34 years of that and I guarantee you that can cause some serious bouts of depression.  

The biggest thing I have learned recently,  I had it all backwards.  I hated the word grace because then I had to really believe God was my loving father.  That He had saved me and I really had to have faith that it was free.  I couldn't believe that before.  I thought grace meant it was a free card to sin whenever.  So I threw the grace word out the window and never uttered it.  Now it was all about how good I was.  How many services I attended.  Extra activities outside of the regular services was like earning extra credit with God.  He had to be pleased now.  Instead, I've understood and accepted His gift.  I am saved, yes by His grace.  But I don't have to get on a treadmill to keep the gift.  Instead of focusing on how good I am, I focus on just getting closer to Him.  By doing that, all those other things fall into place out of a longing..  Yes, I am human.  I WILL make mistakes.  But I don't have to live in fear every night that I've made a big enough payment for that day to escape hell for another day.

Thank you, Jesus, for making Yourself real to me.  Thank you for helping me through the days of sorrow, for bringing me joy once again.  Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.  Please keep ministering to me and revealing more of Your Word to me.  I know now I should have been more focused on knowing You, becoming closer to You.  Not on myself and how many good works I can do.  I now know this was pride and that got in the way.  Please forgive me.  I'm so grateful for Your saving grace.  How sweet it is.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Back On My Feet

I know it's been awhile since I've posted.  I took a week off from homeschooling.  The first couple of days (after the weekend I miscarried) I pretty much just stayed in bed, cried, was in pain, and not much else.  After those four days I couldn't handle laying down anymore.  I got up and decided to spend the rest of the days off just getting my house together.  My house got TORN APART while I was in bed.  It was bad.  The kids had fun never picking up after themselves and not having mommy remind them to.  I worked so much scrubbing everything my arm had spasms and I couldn't sleep from the pain.  Nobody believes me how bad the house can get when I'm down and out but it can.  Believe me.  Kids that don't go to school mean they are all home and living, playing, and it can add up fast.

I cleaned like I crazy lady.  It was like therapy for me.  I'm no perfectionist.  Ha to that!  But it was keeping myself busy rather than laying around and being sad.  It worked.  I got my house 75% organized in just a few days.  I thought to my self, "my gosh, it's easy to clean when mom doesn't have to homeschool. If my kids were in school I'd have all that time to clean."  I'm not gonna do that though but the thought did cross my mind.  Oh well.  ;) I love having them with me every day!  They may be a lot of work, but I love my job 100% and wouldn't trade it to have them gone just so I can have the perfect thouse.

The other night I had my parents over, actually my mom cooked for us, and it was such a good night.  We played our fun, new game Headbanz.  I love it because it's so simple for a family of all ages.  Even the little guys.  It feels good to be back on my feet again.  A heart a little bit heavier by losing a baby, but I know I have a beautiful someone waiting for me in Heaven.

Monday, April 07, 2014

A Pain I Never Wanted to Understand

Everything's stopped in our house. The cleaning, homeschooling.... I'm just laying down a lot.  The house looks like the pits.  Stomach hurts still and my back.  Today the pain was bad.  Not horrible but enough to make me catch my breath.  Tomorrow I go in to have a look inside through an ultrasound.  Hopefully everything is good and healthy.  I found out today that when I was in bed that day miscarrying, Kyle was standing outside my door crying.  Charles told me that when he rushed home to be with me, he found Kyle like that.  I feel so sad I didn't know.  No matter how I felt, I would have brought him in, pushed away the pain and just hugged him.  Makes me sad.

I'm tired of laying around.  Every time I say I'm done just laying around, I'm knocked back on my back from exhaustion or from pain.  So I'm taking this week and this is the first time I'm not gonna fight it.  I don't ever take a week off from my work.  I don't like doing that.  I have to though because whenever I think about going back to my daily routine I just feel more tired.  Do I really work that hard every day?  Wow.  I guess I'm always so full of energy I can't ever stand to just sit around.  I enjoy being busy.  I told my husband I have no energy and it must be hard for people who always feel like this to be motivated.  He said, "Welcome to my world."  Really?  Wow, that would be hard.  

Since it's only been two days since miscarrying, I hope the energy comes back soon.  I always think I'm fine and then I just break down sobbing several times a day.  How do people just throw away their babies by choice?  Thousands upon thousands?  Oh gosh.  I'm crying over my little 9 week sweetie in the womb and people walk to the abortion clinic like it's going to the dentist.  What has happened to our nation? God, help us!  These are real human beings we are talking about with their very personality and looks written right into their DNA.  My kids' personalities still are a lot like when they were even in my tummy.  Kyle, my wild one, was also wild in my stomach. That boy would use my hip bones as a jumping point.  He was a very painful boy to hold in my tummy.  Guess what?  He's the same way now. 

I had some warning signs about this pregnancy not going well.  First off, I had told Ivy in the beginning that I would soon start to have morning sickness.  I've always had it with every pregnancy.  She asked me almost every day of those few weeks if I had started getting sick.  I kept saying no.  I wasn't worried till I had hit the 8 week mark and still no sign of morning sickness.  I thought that was a little odd.  Another thing is the word miscarriage kept going through my mind the entire time since I got pregnant.  I just kept brushing it away in my mind because I thought it was just me being worried.  I've always had good, strong babies.  I even started writing on my wall calendar each week that I was progressing in pregnancy.  Every Thursday it would be another week.  I started writing them ahead of time.  I always write all the way up to week 40 for every pregnancy.  It's just fun to stare at it every now and then and count down.  Something told me to stop and so I did.  Then I tried to ignore it by going to week 20.  Then I quit there.  Sigh. Woman's intuition?  I don't know. I know next time I'm pregnant I'm not complaining about morning sickness.  I'm gonna rejoice.  For me it's a sign of a healthy pregnancy. 

I'm sorry to the mommies for all the times I didn't understand what it was like for you to miscarry.  Many a times I've had mommies tell me.  I would tell them I'm so sorry yet not truly understand.  It's so much worse than I thought....

Sunday, April 06, 2014

My Miscarriage Story at 9 Weeks

I'm a writer not for attention. I just write for my heart.  When I write it's very much like therapy for me.  So please know if I'm writing about something hard I'm going through, it's not for attention.  I just have to.

Right now I feel shaky and sick.  Since miscarrying a day ago, to my surprise I feel exactly like after I have a baby full term. My back and stomach hurt.  All for such a tiny little one that only made it 9 weeks.  :(  Doing much of anything feels like I hiked a mountain.  Finally I had to take some heavy meds to take away the pain and finally it worked.  I never resort to it but it had been prescribed for me for ulcers before getting pregnant.  I just never took them because I won't take anything above a regular Tylenol if I can bear the pain.  Just a good rule for me so it's there when I really need it which is maybe once a year.  I needed it today and yesterday. :P

Wednesday I was using the restroom and noticed some pink blood. Right away I thought, "Uh oh."  I never get that with any of my pregnancies. I've never spotted. I was definitely worried and was determined to call doctor first thing in the morning.  The next morning I called them and they immediately scheduled for me to come in.  The bleeding had gotten progressively worse and was now bright red.  Charles rushed home from work so I could go get an ultrasound.  I was very nervous when I got there and didn't want to see screen.  I did but I didn't.  It's a beautiful dim lit room with a big screen on the wall for mom's to easily see.  I couldn't help it.  I had to look.  I saw a beautiful little baby next to a yolk sac. I was sick waiting for her to say whether or not she saw a heart beat.  She said she saw a flicker and tried to see closer.  I was happy but still worried because to me the flicker of the heart didn't seem very fast.  She got a heart rate around 58 bpm which is only half of what it should be. She thought maybe she was wrong so had me hold my breath while she kept measuring and measuring.  It wasn't good.  Also, baby was measuring small for 9 weeks.  Baby was alive but obviously struggling.  I watched that tiny heart flicker and my heart wanted so bad to tell it to speed up!

The nurse had me go into a consult room.  Uh oh.  I've never been to that consult room I had always seen before.  I've always been in the examination room with my healthy pregnancies.  Whenever I would pass the consult room I would look at it and feel bad for the mommies that might hear bad news in there. Now it was my turn.  A lovely doctor came in and sat down next to me. She said the prognosis was not good and most likely baby was dying. She said to prepare for a weekend miscarriage and told me what to look out for.  I half listened because I didn't want to believe it.  I got up and walked out with a heavy heart.  

I called my husband as I was driving home to give him the news.  We both were sad.  Then I told my mom. Then I just didn't want to talk anymore.  I laid down on the bed.  I was holding my bladder, not wanting to go to the restroom, because every time I did I had to see more blood. I figured if I just didn't go potty and see the blood then nothing bad would happen. 

I called my parents and asked if I could go somewhere with them that night.  I had to get out of the dreaded house where I thought something bad might happen.  We had so much fun going to Rustlers Rooste, hearing the bands play, and eating steak. What a lovely night!  My heart was carefree forgetting about everything.  Then I had to go to the bathroom at the restaurant Now I was not having to use a pad because bleeding was more.

Once I went home I felt it was time to face the music.  I felt resolved to what was going to happen.  I laid down and looked on my facebook.  A sweet friend and her husband had written me a long letter about faith.  Not just accepting whatever bad new I hear.  At least pray.  They were right.  I had just given up without even praying but just a little bit.  I was quick to be defeated.  I have seen God heal my babies before right in the womb. I had seen God spare baby Juliet when my body was trying to miscarry her at 11 weeks.  I had seen God help me while almost going into labor with Caleb at 7 months.  Major miracles.  The doctors even called them miracles.  Why not for this one?  The baby at least deserved mommy to fight at well for this one.  I stayed up and prayed and prayed.  I would fall asleep praying and then wake up and pray some more. Then I turned on my TV to my recorded preaching messages of Robert Morris, The Blessed Life.  It just so happened the only sermon I hadn't watched was about The Power of Prayer.  I forced myself to pull out my bible late at night and watch the sermon. I prayed till I fell asleep late into the night.  Now whatever happened I felt I had at least placed it into God's hands and not man's. 

That night I dreamt I watched as the baby's heart dropped.  I felt as if I was literally watching her die right before me on a screen.  Just as the baby was dying in my dream I woke up and it was morning.  I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for work.  I mentioned to him I would miss him terribly.  It was a long day ahead of me not knowing what was gonna happen.  I just laid in bed drifting in and out of sleep.  A few hours later I felt a twinge of pain in my stomach.  Uh oh.  The doctor said it would be like menstrual cramps so that's what I was looking out for.  When I started having to breathe thru the pain I began to cry and cry.  I knew what was happening.  My baby had died just like I dreamt.  I called Charles and he rushed home.  Thank goodness because there was to be another 2 hours of contractions and I needed someone to be with the kids.  This was NO menstrual cramps but like stage 2 of labor for me.  For me, first stage is menstrual cramp type pain.  Second stage is breathing thru real contractions.  But just like a friend said, not over the whole stomach but in small area.  It was extremely painful.  Finally I took some heavy medicine for pain but it didn't even touch the pain.  When contractions subsided I fell asleep for 2 hours.  When I woke up I passed a huge blood clot.  It wasn't the baby.  The clot was like the size of a small orange.  It was huge.  I laid back down and a couple more hours later I passed something else and this time it was the placenta with baby.  I pretty sure baby was with it but I just couldn't tell.  Doctor said some can see baby real easy and some can't. I couldn't as well so I kept it all together.  I cried and cried.  I told the baby I loved him/her and placed it in a container.  

I fell back asleep and woke up to hearing my husband crying and saw him writing a letter to the baby. He said he wanted to name the baby Genesis.  I had mentioned the name before to him before knowing I would miscarry.  I told him I was sorry I lost his baby but we both knew the baby just struggled and couldn't make it.  I was exhausted and just laid in bed for rest of the night.  the whole ordeal was exhausting and nothing like the nurse and simply told me.  Much harder.  Kinda would have been nice to have a heads up .  :P  Maybe for some it's just like menstrual cramps.

Today I woke up and didn't want to be home.  I called my parents and went out to breakfast with them.  Then my husband and kids took me out.  Charles bought me a maternity shirt.  It didn't make me feel sad.  I knew he was doing it to show me I would have another baby some day.  I wanted Genesis but I accepted the shirt as a gift.  He just has such a sweet heart.  I tried to just feel happy by being away but it only worked for a short time.  I desperately missed baby Genesis.  I knew he/she was at home in a little container with a love letter, rose, and a newborn baby hat they'd never wear inside.  Finally I went home but my body was exhausted and in pain from not just taking it easy in bed.  I'll take the hint.  I can't run from it and just need to lay down.  Let my body just heal.  I fell asleep for a several hours but woke up in the middle of the night to write this letter.  Feeling shaky but I had to write it.  Maybe some mommy out there reading this and going thru the same thing can find someone who relates.

I may have only been 9 weeks pregnant but we had already picked out baby names, laughed and dreamt about this baby.  Charles and I mentioned how we couldn't WAIT to meet him or her in November.  I was barely pregnant and we were so impatient!  :)  Charles and I love EVERY single baby God gives us.  No matter how tiny.  We truly feel we have just missed out on another beautiful baby with a personality built right into him/her.  A PERSON we won't know till we are in Heaven. 

I love you, baby Genesis.  I CAN'T wait to meet you but I have seven beautiful blessings here to care and love.  I promise, promise, promise we'll be reunited again.  I love you, so, so, so much and I will sing to you every year.  Your birthday into Heaven is April 4, 2014. I won't forget it.  I know I've said it a hundred times but I LOVE YOU.

Love, Mommy

Friday, April 04, 2014

Goodbye My Little One

Dear little one, 

I've technically only known you for 7 weeks because they calculate pregnancy with an extra 2 weeks tagged on. I'm writing you now because I know my womb is still caressing you before letting you go to your home in Heaven. My body is painfully working to let you go with contractions every two minutes. 

I've loved every single day you've been in my tummy. I loved picking out names and dreaming with your siblings about what you might be like. I loved hearing the kids excitedly talking about you. They know Jesus is taking you home and they are crying. They love you so much. I told them we can see you again but we will miss you till then. 

Two days ago I started bleeding and worriedly called the doctor. They quickly brought me in to see how you were doing. I saw your precious little body. I saw your heart beating. I also saw how hard your heart was working to keep going. I knew before the doctor told me that you were having a hard time. I'm so happy, so, so happy I got a chance to see your little heart beating before saying goodbye. Wow, what a privilege. You are adorable. 

It was hard for me to accept I wouldn't get to meet you in November like planned. I so much couldn't wait to meet you that I was wondering how I was gonna make it till then. I already couldn't wait to hold you and being you were still so little, I was in a bit of a rush! 

Please tell our loved ones in Heaven hello. They get to see you before me. While you are there, know that you have seven other siblings that you'll one day get to meet. What a big reunion we will have!!!
Daddy said he's naming you Genesis because your life is just beginning even though your new home is in Heaven. He's such a sweet daddy. He talked to you in my tummy almost every morning before work. 

Hugs and kisses, little baby. I love you so much. I promise I'm coming eventually. You are my 8th baby wonder and I loved every single day with you. I will miss you so bad.

Love, Mommy

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

No Time to Waste- Learning How to Say No

I have been blogging for 8 years!  Wowee!!! 
 Here is a picture of my son Chaz (who is now 13) six months after I started blogging.  Soooo little!  Haha. 

My days have been so filled with homeschool, chores, laundry, dishes, cooking, and playing that I can scarcely think to even sit down and blog.  However, after a few days pass I get this longing to write again.  It's strong!  I've always journaled my life since I was in elementary school.  Always privately in a book but writing is writing.  To me I write this blog just because I love to write.  I don't write for an audience.  I have to say though that in the process of blogging for 8 years I have met some amazing bloggers!!!  I never would of thought I would blog so infrequently just because I have seven kids.  I think the difference is my priorities have changed extremely.  I just have an order to my day that I don't mess with and change for no one.  Well, most of the time.  Lately, I have been having to fight for our school time.  I guarantee you, and I bet a lot of stay at home moms get this, the whole world seems to think I have all this free time because I'm at home.  People think I have it so easy and I can always take on all this extra stuff for every one.  Lately I have been fighting for my kids and family.  School at home absolutely comes first no matter what.  Unless someone is in desperate need and it's a true emergency.  
My first Christmas blogging and this is Kyle at 3 years old (2006). We lived in a tiny two bedroom apartment with three kids while our house was getting built.

As of right now I only have three kids that will be done with their homeschool by May.  The other two will not be done on time.  My rule is that you do not move forward in the lesson unless you completely understand it.  I have to say though that the other reason is I've taken off so many days to help other people.  I just can't do it anymore.  My kids' schooling can't suffer in the process.  I use my summers free of homeschooling to do some extreme couponing and organization with my extra time.  Not happening this summer.  We will be schooling completely through the summer with the last two.  I'm gonna give it some serious thought to put my two older boys through Connections Academy online this upcoming school year.  They would have a teacher and online meetings with them.  I need my boys to step it up in the Junior High grades and I think maybe we'll try it out.  We absolutely HATED K12 and their domineering ways so we are a bit gun shy about trying another version.  A few years ago when we were trying out K12, they were encouraging me to drop my kids off at a local YMCA for 4-6 hours to learn with a teacher.  I asked, "You call that homeschool?  You're kidding me, right?"  They talked down to me like I was the idiot.  I can't believe how many homeschool moms were falling for it.  To me it was basically another public school.  I was astonished that they also wanted school to start at 6am.  Yeeeeah right!  Hopefully they changed that. 
An old photo of our house (2006) getting built in first year of blogging

I'm starting to learn what night owls all my family is and we are adjusting our schedules.  We used to put our kids to bed at 7:30pm every night.  I have to admit it was heavenly.  It works good when your kids sleep almost 12 hours straight through.  Well, my older ones don't now.  The only ones that do that now are Ashley (6), Caleb (4), and Juliet (almost 2).  They actually put themselves to sleep at that time.  They all just climb right into their beds and pass out.  Gee, I wish it was that easy with my first four kids.  Kids have to be in their rooms by 9pm but I don't expect them to fall asleep.  As long as they are quiet and stay in their rooms.  We all like to wake up around 8:30am.  Late mornings at 9am.  Yay!  Charles says he wishes he could do the same!  Ha.  Poor Charles.  :D  He's always been a night owl as well. 

Little Ivy 2006. I was newly pregnant with Ashley here.  Needing bigger house! 

My silly three boys with diapers on their head December 2006

Thursday, March 13, 2014

14 Kids and Pregnant Again! Duggar's Original Documentary

The hardest part about being so in tune to my body and knowing I was pregnant since I was only one week along is... I'm only at 6 weeks!  Haha!  It's going by so slow! That's okay.  I think there is a reason a woman's body takes 9 months.  Not only does their body get ready but mommy's mind has to get ready.  I have 8 more months to process the fact that I'll no longer sleep good yet again at night.  I'll be nursing a lot and getting adjusted.  Not that big of deal though.  :)  Done it a few times.  It actually gets more and more enjoyable because the selfishness has died soooo long ago.  At least it should!

I'm soooo excited that a new season of the Duggar's 19 Kids and Counting is coming out on April 1st.  It's such an encouraging show to me.  I've seen them since it was just 14 Kids and Pregnant again.  It's such a cool video and their style has changed so much I'm gonna post it here!  Haha.

I always figure if what they do can work for 19 kids then it can definitely work for my 7 kids.  Often I've taken organizational ideas and homeschooling tips from them.  They are the reason I use Switched on Schoolhouse with some of my kids.  It is such a good program for a large amount of kids homeschooling.  It's expensive to buy at first but you can use it for each kid after.  I love those old vidoes!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Noah - The Movie!

Have you noticed all the amazing movies that have been coming out lately?  As a Christian and someone who's grown up hearing these stories times after time again, it's neat to see it come alive in film!  Here is a featurette about the film Noah. It's a must see!  Yes, there is a lot of knowns and unknowns about the details in the bible of this story.  I'm sure in this movie they took some artistic license to fill in some of the what we don't know.  Rather than be quick to criticize, let's see for ourselves.


Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly and Sir Anthony Hopkins. In theaters everywhere March 28, 2014.

"While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide."

Slavery to the Law- Falling Away from God's Grace

Lord, for so long I believed You loved me but with condition.  I thought that You waited impatiently to see when I'd slip up so you can flick me into hell.  I always saw you as a disapproving Savior who was always angry.  I thought I had to show through my works that I was saved and the more I did the more You approved of me.  If it's true in Your Word, that we are saved by grace and not by works, please plant this assurance in my heart.  I know, I know, I know it says it.  I am trying so hard to make my heart believe it.  I feel like this immature child asking You to teach me how to tie my shoes for the hundredth time.  I know it's so simple for others.  It's not simple to me when for so long I lived in fear I would displease people around me and displease you. 

"Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins." Ecclesiastes 7:20

Okay, I get that.  Everyone knows that's true.  How come it took me 34 years to find that scripture when I've been reading the bible ever since I could read?  Why is it that I try so hard to live for you yet I always feel like I'm looking over my shoulder?  That I'm about to get caught for doing something that I'm not doing wrong?  Feeling like I always have to be perfect or be kicked out?  When I have to stay home from church, the guilt eats me alive.  Don't we go to church to be taught and refreshed?  To learn more about You but not because we are trying to earn points with you?  Why is it that I feel like I've let you down when I can't do it all perfect?   Jesus, more than ever I need Your peace.  I pray for wisdom, discernment, and need to really, really know You.  Not what I thought I knew about You.  But to know Your heart.  I want to know You like never before.  Not as the punisher in the skies looking to see if I've earned enough points to maintain my salvation status.  I need to see clearly.
Recently a friend pointed out to me that the Christians are one body of Christ.  That we are not separated by fellowship of churches.  We are all ONE body of Christ.  Makes me sad when I hear Christians point the finger at each other and accuse the other church of not being as holy.  If a body attacks itself, won't there be less accomplished?  Won't there be injury to the body?  I wish we could work together and realize we have the same goals.  To make heaven our home and share the gospel message of Jesus Christ.  I'm going to leave the church judging of who is better and who is more righteous up to God.

"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.  I'll say it again.  If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses.  For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ!  You have fallen away from God's grace.  But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.  For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised.  What is important is faith expressing itself in love." Galatians 5:1-6

I know this is talking a lot about earning our way.  I don't want to be a slave to the law.  I realize I am saved by God's grace.  Robert Morris said it really well in one of his sermons.  He said we don't earn our way to heaven but once we are saved by grace we do earn rewards in Heaven through our works.  Makes a lot of sense.  We sew seeds here and reap rewards in Heaven.  We are happy to do things for Christ, Jesus said to preach the gospel to the world.  That's important!  How selfish can I be to forget that at times?  I have heard God's message my whole life.  I need, need, need to spread the message.  But I know I wouldn't be doing it to KEEP my salvation.  I already am!  But how selfish would that be if I didn't? 

Jesus, please help me not to be a slave to the law.  Help me to enjoy life as you intended.  There is joy in living for you.  It shouldn't be this mind hassle I go through.  I pray that you would bring Your Word alive in me. Amen.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Simplify Your Life! 40 Bags in 40 Days.

Someone started an idea for 40 bags in 40 days.  Meaning, every day find things to donate and fill up one bad.  Well, that's not hard for me AT ALL.  Nine people in this house means lots of clutter adds up really fast.  Back in my single days I was so simplistic I was probably considered a minimalist.  I get soooo confused when there is just too much stuff in the house.  I don't like figurines or any sort of collectible.  My kids are what I looove to give my time too.  Not things.  So maybe when they're all grown up I'll find something worth collecting.  I don't know.  I was like that when I was single anyway.

Our biggest inspiration when we do a house clean out is from the show Clean House.  No matter how many times we've seen all the episodes from every season, we'll watch it again.  I'll have the show playing somewhere on a monitor, streaming through Netflix, so it encourages the kids and I.  I'm not kidding, it works!!  You can get all the seasons on Netflix.  It just is so motivating to see people clear out their house.  Often you'll see people come to the realization that they've attached memories to junk and it's done nothing but take up space in their house and in their mind. 

Anyway, we are on our second day and working on our second bag!  For us that would be a large bag but for some people maybe it's just a smaller size bag.  Whatever works! Back to work we go!  :D

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Cheapest Pregnancy Test vs. Overpriced. Which One?

Kyle (10) and Juliet (1 1/2)
Wow, I am barely 4 weeks pregnant.  It's hard to believe I've known for a week that I've been pregnant.  Can you believe that it's always the cheapest pregnancy tests that show I'm pregnant the earliest?  I never throw down money on those expensive tests.  Walmart came out with a pregnancy test that cost only 88 cents.  I know, it's crazy.  So, I got 5 of those and 2 expensive pregnancy tests (just for fun).  Guess which ones showed positive and negative?  The cheaper ones right away showed I was positive.  The more expensive ones that tout it can detect early actually told me I was negative.  However, when I used another expensive test a few days later it finally showed positive.  The cheap tests all showed it immediately.  I think it's funny how there are actually $30 tests out there.  Crazy, crazy.  I might've fallen for that with my first pregnancy.  I can't remember.  Haha.

Anyway, baby is the size of a poppy seed at 4 weeks!  Whoa, so tiny!  They have to start somewhere though.  :D  The kids ask me soooo many questions about the baby.  Is it boy or girl?  I tell them, well it's already been decided but we just can't know for quite a bit.  It's a bit nerve wracking they pray for twins but I guess that's already been decided too.  Ha.  It's funny how every one of them it's excited and talks about it so much.  You'd think the older ones would be like "ehhhh....been through this before.  Yawn."  It's a good sign they love their large family life if they are so excited and don't feel burdened by another person in the house coming.  Makes me feel like I'm doing something right.  :D

 We ended up joining back with a gym that's only a mile away from us because they finally, finally lowered the age they are willing to watch kids in the childwatch.  It was soooo silly.  They would only watch kids from ages 2-6.  What was I supposed to do with the kids under 2 and kids older than 6?  I still couldn't work out.  Well, they at least put it from 6 months-6 years old.  I still can't work out because of the ages I have over 6 but under 12.  Only 12 year olds can go around unsupervised.  Well, it's better than nothing!  It's an amazing deal for us compared to our Lifetime membership that was 15 minutes away.  It's less than half the cost so we're saving a ton.  Back to indoor pool fun during the winter!!!  What I love about the place is that every person that joins there has to have a background check.  Any flags at all and they can't join.  Makes me feel a bit safer for me and my kids. :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pregnancy and Rhogam Shots

  The other day I took three different pregnancy tests and it came out positive.  So, unless they are wrong I guess that would make me pregnant.  I know my body very, very well so I knew right away when I became pregnant. I'm super, duper, duper, duper excited!  Wow!  I pray I'd be a better supermom to be an amazing mom to these kids but till then I'll just keep trying my best. 

Okay, so I also am in fear right now.  I always have to get that Rhogam shot because my husband is O+ blood type and I am B-.  I've had to have this shot every year since I became pregnant with my firstborn 14 years ago.  When I became pregnant with my last baby, I had to go to the hospital very early on in the pregnancy for cramping.  They actually were expecting a miscarriage.  I then told them that I hadn't had my Rhogam shot yet.  They hadn't even thought about asking me.  Kinda makes me wonder if some miscarriages can be prevented because some don't know about the blood type issues.  Within 10 minutes of getting that shot all contractions stopped and I went home. My body was trying to reject my baby.  Yeah, I'm nervous because I need to purchase that shot asap and it's around $200. Currently looking where to go without having to go to my pregnancy specialist who charges a ton for it. She even told me not to get it from her because it's way more expensive.  I found the shot at it's cheapest at the worst place ever.  If I'd be willing to go to an abortion clinic then I could only pay $40 for that shot. Sorry, I don't think so. I'd rather pay $500 than go to them and fund them any money. 

Anyway, I guess I'll find out for sure if I'm pregnant later but I'm pretty sure I am.  Uterus is achy just like every other time I'm pregnant.  But that's also a sign I need that shot asap.  I love my babies with all my heart.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Messy Toddler in the House!

My little toddler is like a tornado that runs through the house and destroys everything.  I love her like crazy, but yikes!  Juliet is like the queen of destruction!  Haha.  She empties out the bookshelf every single day.  As soon as I catch her I immediately tell her no and pull her hand away. This must've been when I used the restroom.  Yeah, cause I keep an eye on her like a hawk.  The girl doesn't go anywhere without me knowing where she is at all times. 

All my kids loved to make tents around the age 6-10.  Well, this time it's my girls.  They are occupying space in the living room for their tent.  The hard part was keeping baby Juliet from pulling it down.  Man, my kids are gonna grow up with some serious patience.  Ladies and gentleman, these kids with be TRAINED with patience.  They constantly have a toddler in the house and don't mind it one bit.  They've just learned to put their valuables up a little higher.  Juliet's lucky because she has so many to go to for comfort and snuggles and they give it to her.

Baby and me. My little messy one.  She was upset but the moment I put the camera on her she smiled.  Such a girl. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Large Family Laundry Catch Up and Annoying Ulcers

Yay... I love playing catch up. Not. However, knowing I can head to the nearest laundrymat and just do 27 loads at once makes it feel better. I brought two helpers and we knocked out those loads and folded in 2 1/2 hours flat. We walked out tired and happy. 

Recently I went to the doctor for severe stomach pain. At first they thought it was the gall bladder but turns out it's ulcers. Gee, I don't know what caused that. The doctor asked what's happened in my life that is causing major stress. Well, relatives I love passing away too early. Sometimes scared something will happen again, that the economy will crash. That my husband's job would be affected again. Another major change in my life that I can't discuss. Just that attending caused such major stress I had to remove myself before breaking down majorly. I have since remedied that but it is still an adjustment. Major. Each week though it's getting better and better. 

My own kids and husband are such a huge comfort. What incredible blessings God has given me. They bring joy to my days and I love, love, love waking up to them every day. Some tell me they don't understand how I could be with my kids 24/7 and love it every day. I don't know, I guess the attitude adjustment I got back when I had my third kid stuck. It wasn't all about me anymore. :D

On a sad note: I miss my uncle Ron. He didn't have to die. Still waiting to hear results from investigation. He's in heaven but my heart hurts for his family and my dad. His funeral was amazing. He left a big impact because of his amazing work ethics, and very good husband and father. Everyone said he was always happy and made everyone happy around him. He wasn't a big time evangelist or serving in a homeless kitchen but he showed Christ's love thru his actions to people around him. Being a person like that doesn't mean it'll make the papers but it matters in those people's lives. Imagine if everyone lived like that. ;) For others and not just for ourselves. It'd be incredible.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Leaving a Legacy-What Others Say About You When You Pass Away

 My Uncle Ron's unexpected passing at 57 really got me thinking.  Since visiting with family and hearing what everyone said about him, I'm even more amazed.  Nobody had anything bad to say. He was an attentive father, loving husband, hard worker, and an equally amazing grandfather.  I love that he put family first and kept all his relationships intact.  Not letting outside forces break each other apart.  Sometimes you have to fight for what you really care about.  Many times, not all the times, but many times it's your blood family that will stick with you whether or not you are super likable.  I tell the kids all the time that although they fight, they are learning how to work through problems that will help them as adults.  It's worth working through.  It's worth learning how to apologize and forgive.  Not to waste these opportunities by holding grudges.  I get sad when I hear that grown siblings are holding onto hurts from childhood.  Seriously, kids are immature and do and say stupid things.  Not worth holding onto. 

Talking to family the other day, they told me how Ron's co-workers could have went home earlier in the day.  When they found out Ron died on the job, they stayed till late that night all sitting together still at work.  They said he was the sunshine of the company.  That he brought joy to the workplace and was always the first one in with a smile.  I love that.  Will my kids remember me as stressed, contentious, and grumpy when days are hard?  Or will they see that even if mommy is having a hard day, she didn't take it out on everyone around her?  I think about things like this every single day.  EVERY DAY.

I loved how Ron had his grandkids over often and welcomed his home to them.  Here they are grown, all done raising kids, and he still loved the busyness of it. That's gotta be a tad tough I would think.  But that kind of unselfishness and patience is an amazing quality.  They traveled together as a whole family unit even though their kids are all raised. 

When someone passes on and they leave this kind of legacy behind them, what a testimony to have.  You won't be remembered just by what you say you believe.  You will be remembered by how you treated others around you and how you lived on a daily basis. 

"Lord, please help me to leave this kind of impact on my family and friends as Uncle Ron did.  I want to strive every day to be a leader to my kids and people around me.  Someone who lives it and loves.  Not just talks about what's wrong with the whole world around me.  I can't change the whole world.  I can only have an impact on the world around me so that they can learn and impact the world around them.  Help me to love by accepting people as they are and not what I want them to be. Amen."

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Sad Weekend

This week has been a tough week. my sweet Uncle Ron was found dead by his tractor.  We don't know the cause yet but will know in a few days. He was only 57.  He is just the kind of guy that made everyone happy around him. Even at his work place. My heart is sad for my dad because that was his only sibling. Their parents died when the boys were little. So my dad has no one left in his immediate family. :( Ron was just an amazing husband and father. Such an amazing testimony to have.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time4Learning Online Curriculum Review


I've tried several different online homeschool programs for my kids but so far our favorite has been It's very visual for my kids and makes it fun for them to homeschool every day.  I have kids in several grades using this program.

Click to view larger pic

 Another great thing about it is how it keeps track where your child left off from the day before.  I'm able to look up their grades they made on any of the assignments to see if I need to reassign it so they can understand it better.  That's where you can see the portfolio in the upper left hand corner of the picture.

Click to view larger pic
I have several kids on this program and you can select how many different classes you want for your child.  Of course for Ashley I chose only Language Arts, Math, and Science as her focus for now since she is only in Kindergarten.  You can try this out for free so definitely check it out!  It's also very easy to get a hold of anyone that is on staff.  They are very friendly and quick to help!

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cone of Shame

The last time I wrote a blog I said pretty soon I'd find another animal in need. That very day I got a knock on my door. A neighbor told me of a hurt dog in the field right next to me. He had been attacked and won't go to her. He was shaking and hurt. Before finishing talking I ran through my back gate and out to the field. He was so little and camouflaged I almost couldn't see him. At first I could tell he was worried I was coming to hurt him. I saw bite marks on his body. Ohhh, my heart broke. With soft words I was able to get close enough to him. I could see he couldn't use one of his legs. We wrapped in a blanket with my hands and arms covered back to our house. 

He's doing much better no after a week and is running around with our other dogs. We found an  amazing product for his wounds that help him to heal quickly. Sometimes he shakes from the pain. I'm pretty sure he escaped from nearby breeders. Often their gates are open and their chihuahuas just wander the streets. I've taken in several before that were underfed and their bones were brittle. :( Makes me sad. We eventually had to get Popcorn an ecollar because he kept chewing and licking his wounds. He is such a happy dog now even though he still has a ways to go in healing.  He gets lots of loving from my kids too. The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.