Monday, August 29, 2011

When Critics Are At Their Worst

Yesterday at church Pastor Dodd preached on fear.  Towards the end of it he asked if people wanted to come down to pray about it.  I asked myself, "Do I have fear?  What am I fearful of?"  Then I realized I do have one.  The worry of what family or friends would say if I ever had another child.  I used to think I was alone in that but after talking with my group on Facebook I realized that it's a common fear.  Although there are those that are encouraging, the critics can be very loud.

Back when I discovered the truth about birth control pills, it radically changed my way of thinking.  I no longer could just take one pill a day to keep a baby away.  So what to do then?  I desperately searched every method.  Just when I thought one was safe or looked into someone's suggestion, I would find out that it also was another method of abortion.  TRUST me, I searched.  So many just trust whatever their doctor says without truly finding out for themselves.  What do you do when there are no pills (even implantations) of any sort that will not abort babies?  You use NFP (Natural Family Planning).

Because I had changed my method I also needed to change my heart.  I wasn't someone that considered having a large family.  The pressure from everywhere was to get my tubes tied, get my tubes tied, get my tubes tied..... I didn't want to do that because 70% or more of people who I've talked to always regretted it later.  Not only that, I felt like I was cutting God off from having any say.  Well, I needed a change in my heart.  I prayed and asked God to help take the fear away of not being a good enough mother. Could I handle more?  What would people say if and when I did get pregnant?  What about finances?  Although I have not tried to get pregnant (trust me I could have a baby every nine months), I've had 3 kids since using that method in the last 8 years.  EVERY SINGLE ONE is a joy to my soul.  I can't imagine what I would have missed out on.  The work God has done in my heart is a miracle.

Baby Caleb was born in 2009
The fear was not so much "How many kids will I end up having using that method?"  It was the critics.  Wherever we go in public, or people we know, what will they say?  The last baby I had brought more critics that I ever could imagine.  The stress was unbelievable.  By far that was the hardest pregnancy I ever endured because of the rejection.  Well, precious Caleb is now two years old and I don't have a baby on the way.  At times I have dreaded facing the critics again if I were to find out I were having another.  Could I handle it?  I've prayed about it, talked with mentors about it.  Finally I realized something.....

When the critics are at their worst,  the only one I need to be

worrying about pleasing is God. Obeying Him is what matters

most. Let God be true and every man a liar.

Have you ever had to face this fear?  How have you handled your critics?

This story really touched my heart

Also, here is a sweet post I read today:

Which Would I Choose to be Without?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adventures Around Us

Gosh, lately we've been blessed to get out and do so many fun adventures.  We never have any desire to travel outside our town because we feel like there is just so much more to explore.  It never has to cost a lot either.  We just so happen to have all of our kids birthdays together, about 2 weeks apart.  We are halfway through the birthdays and my birthday starts it off, then six kids, and Charles ends it with his.  We call it the adventure season because we're always doing fun stuff for all the birthdays between June through October.  

Today we got gift tickets from my mom to go to the wave pool and it was a blast!  My dad joined us and we got to spend some time catching the waves and talking.  Then he took my kids out one by one to catch the waves with them.  Afterwards we got ice cream at McDonalds and then all of a sudden the exhaustion hit me.  Ha ha.  Wow!

I'm excited to have these two days off from homeschooling so I can just play with my kids.  I haven't really wanted to clean because I just long to be with the kids for these two days.  Sometimes you just have to get down to work and focus.  Other days just appreciate the day and not worry about what needs to be picked up. It'll be there for the next day.  

Chaz and Ryan in green tube
Tomorrow we're taking Kyle out to Chuck E Cheese for his birthday and then Monday heading over to the Children's Museum.  Thursday is our planned library night.  So usually the weeks are pretty full.

Ryan getting ready for a wave
I hope that everyone is safe on the East Coast.  I sat the kids down at the computer with me and showed them the news.  We studied Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Tsunami's. We also watched videos on the earthquake that just happened in Virginia and surrounding areas.   The kids had so many questions and really wanted to learn.  I think real life situations stick in their head longer than just reading it from a textbook.

Amy Adele Sticker Label Review

Amy Adele sent me some label stickers for my daughter. At the time I ordered them I thought I'd be enrolling her in a school.  They would have been perfect to label her things since things can get tossed around, mixed up, or just lost.  Now, we're using them for things we bring to church or going on playdates.  Probably half of lost and found at church is our stuff because we have so much stuff to keep track of.  These labels just make it so much easier.  

I ordered the Pink Fairy Labels shown here:
Anyway, they have way more than that available!  You can order address labels, gift labels, nametags, bookplates, or to mark other belongings. They feature many popular designs, 
and can be used on their own or to match our stationery, invitations, and Christmas cards.  You can find more sticker labels HERE.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Who Wants to Free a Duggar? Learning Activities-First Month Free-Click Here!

A friend recently shared with me not to feel bad about using a "boxed curriculum".  I really needed something that gave me guidelines about where they should be.  I am pretty interested in unit studies since it sounds pretty neat though.  The other day I was kind of perturbed by K12 with all the work.  However, after talking to some mentors, I came up with my own version called K12 Lite.  We still do the work, no skipping on that.  However, if they already know the material, I just have them go straight to the assessment rather than waste hours on repetitive work.  Makes sense, huh?  I had to do that after see one lonely tear roll down Ryan's cheek after being overworked for 8 hours.  In fact, I was so ticked off I almost threw out the program.  Since doing it the K12 Lite way, we got our love of learning back.  Call me a rebel if you like.  I call it sanity.  Instead of homeschooling 8-10 hours a day, we are generally done in about 6 hours. Sounds more like a real school day. 

Recently I was attacked by a group called Free Jinger).  I was told I am suppressed by my husband and am super protective of my friends.  Well, first off, I love my husband like crazy and he in no way is a meany.  He gives me lots of freedom and is a joy to be around.  Now, being protective of my friends is absolutely true.  The only time I ever grow distant to someone is because I feel like they might be a negative influence on my family.  You are who you hang around.  Birds of a feather flock together.  By the way, when they say Free Jinger they mean Jinger Duggar.  So you can get from that how they think big families are torturous to the children.  They based a whole group off of the assumption that Jinger Duggar is a miserable teen. Never mind that she looks happy, enjoys the family, and always has something positive to say.  Her attitude says it all.  I guess maybe Jinger gives some people something to talk about.  Like quilting is to some, bashing families is to others.  I certainly don't want to free a Duggar.  That's obviously a happy family that doesn't need any intervention.  Maybe the focus can be on freeing kids in real broken homes with drugs, abuse, and abandonment?  Maybe focusing on teens thinking about murdering their babies because someone is telling them it's just tissue?  I don't know. Groups like these just baffle me that focus on happy kids in a stable home.  Seems such a waste.

Having That Easy Child

Ohhhh, I wanted to share with you that it was my sweet son Ryan's birthday the other day and he turned 10.  We took him to a skating rink and just had so much fun goofing around on the rink just being together.  He has such a good heart and is a pleasure to have for a son.  He looks out for his baby brother and keeps attitudes in check.  If he ever cries I know it's because he's reached his limit and just needs to talk.  He never just freaks out.  It can be scary in one way so I try to be in tune with his feelings and can figure out when he just needs alone time.  He's just one of those kids where if they are acting out in any way it's because they needs to talk or need to just spend some time with mom or dad.  When he was a toddler he was very scared of dogs.

Ryan on the left.  Chaz is holding book.  I think they were
about 2 and 3 yrs old there.
Ryan was a big time surprise since I got pregnant with him when Chaz was only 3 months old.  But, boy, and I'm glad!!!  He's a cutie!  Ryan and Chaz were born only 12 months apart so they are best friends (most the time).  Chaz has taught Ryan soooo much patience.  Haha.  Chaz can poke, tickle, wrestle, and just go way beyond playing into annoyance and Ryan will keep his cool.  I don't know if it's because Chaz he is so incredibly patient but I know Ryan is gonna be a great husband/dad one day.  He was such a calm baby and is such a calm kid.  Over the last year we have really been building a relationship and it's been wonderful.  

I love you Ryan!!  (Please don't go into the teens to quickly.  Even when you do I'll love you anyway.  My knees may be worn out from praying but I hope we still can talk and have lots of fun).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ticket to Staying Young

Caleb in his sister's shirt and Scooby yawning
(I have to note about the pictures I'm posting.  This was yesterday.  The girls took the opportunity while I was homeschooling to put a girl shirt on Caleb.  They love to dress him up in doll clothes and even put bonnets on him.  Poor kid. I finally grabbed my camera after he also put pink earmuffs on.  Every time I would take a picture, the dog would be making a funny face.  Haha.)

Today I got to participate in a really cool study about store designs.  I can't say anything more about it but I can say it's sure fun to make $100 for only sitting there less than an hour.  Whoo, if only I could do that every day!

Is it just me or does the dog looked freaked
out by the baby?
Tonight after church I had a chance to talk to another K12 buddy who's been using it for years.  She really helped me and gave me some ideas on how to lesson the load.  She also told me that K12 has added a lot more work than there used to be.  When they say a 5th grader should only take 5 hours, they actually mean 8 hours.  She had to pull her kids out of the high school version of it for that reason and they are now in a different program. For now though I am happy with K12.  With my new way of doing it maybe I can call it the K12 Lite version?  Haha.  That's still about 6 hours a day so they are learning a lot.  Just not being hit over the head to the point of fainting with too much information.  Boy, am I relieved!  (So are my kids)  My house completely fell apart these last two weeks and although it's not the most important thing, it's a nice thing to be able to walk without spraining an ankle.  Or bruising all my toes and falling with a huge laundry basket like a goof.  (Like today).  

Scooby stretching
Caleb has been hilarious as usual.  As he gets older and older though he gets gut laughs from us.  Today while in the car we were doing roll call like we always do.  We don't have a massive family or anything.  It's just hard to see them from where we sit so we make sure they are there for safety sake.  Well, as I called out the names, baby Caleb would shout out "HERE!" before they could.  He did it for every single kid and they were all in giggles.  They tell me all the time how they want another brother or sister but I tell them to be patient.  Mommy needs to get braver first.  Well, not that I was brave with any of the others but it might help.  Haha.  Seriously though, Charles and I have a blast with all these kids. They may be a lot of work but they sure keep us havin' fun!!!  I seriously doubt I would've ever had a chance to go visit all these fun places. I would probably never go the science center just because.  Or slide down the pumped up slide next to a bunch of kids.  I doubt I'd even go to Skateland to hang with a girlfriend. I don't have this overwhelming desire to go hanging out with girlfriends because we just have so much fun together as a family.  Heck, I'm looking forward to visiting the wavepool and going down the big yellow slide with them this Saturday. Kids let me see the world from their eyes all over again.  

P.S. I ran into an article today titled Is a Large Family Cruel to Other Siblings?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Learning Endurance Can be Exhausting

In the pics below you can see mommy is having fun with Kyle's magnifying glass he got in his K12 materials.  Also, I told my little Ashley (almost 4) that she is homeschooling too to make her happy.  She's just really doing Starfall online.  Anyway, on with my blog post.


Today was a really tough day schooling at home.  Okaaaay, last year I said only crazy people use K12 because I saw how many hours they worked.  Well, call me crazy because I am this year!  Haha.  I thought I'd finally stop attacking it and give it a try.  Hold on a sec while I say this nicely.....


No joke!  Just like I thought, it's a curriculum that can take up to 9-10 if you are schooling multiples.  I talked with my son's online teacher today and told her my thoughts on it.  It's incredibly thorough but I'm not stupid.  I have a GREAT memory.  NO way did we do this much work in one day of school.  We had more breaks than this, recess, and just general goofing off in between subjects.  My kids get none of that.   Being that it's a public school brought home, I'm not sure if they are hoping the parents throw their hands up and just enroll their kids again but I'm not going to.  I'm gonna fight it through.  The house may be trashed till June and I may have bags under my eyes but I'm not letting this time of my life go down the toilet without learning something.  

There is always something good to take from hard times.  Here are some.

     1.  My kids get to sleep till 8:30 every morning.  I hate early mornings too so I felt their pain last year getting on the bus.  It's not longer hard on the kids after those two evening church services in the week.  Going to bed late and getting up early was tough.

     2.  I know what my kids are learning.  No more embarrassing moments helping them with their homework saying "What the heck? I don't remember this!"  Haha.  I'm learning right along with them.

     3.  I'm finally figuring out how to use my commas!!!!! Hahahaha!  Yesterday while teaching Ryan I came across commas.  I was so excited to learn that it comes before conjunctions and between two simple sentences to join them together.  Whoopee!!  Now, if only I can get it right.  I, still, struggle, where, to, put, those, dang, commas.  Okay, so get this.  If any of my friends want to take one of my paragraphs, copy it comments, and show me where to put my dang commas, please do!!!!  Don't go overboard though because I'm sure you could show me tons.  I'm the dysfunctional comma placing challenged woman. However you put that.

     4.  Man, as HARD, and I do mean H-A-R-D, my days are now I still LOOOOOVE having my kids home with me every day.  I don't regret it one bit.  I just really need to figure out a new schedule.  My longtime readers know I always say it takes me a couple of months to figure out a new schedule.  When I finally get one figured out something new happens.  Like a baby comes or something.  Haha.  

     5.  I get to show off my skills to my kids  I know all the books of the bible by heart and in order along with all the states.  Ha!  That is fun.  I really want to get them to learn those things because it's super helpful.  Learning the books of the bible is a fantastic skill.  Heh, heh.  My favorite is beating my husband to find the scripture every time pastor calls out one.  Whyyyy is he not more competitive?  I don't know.  He just calmly looks while I'm racing and saying "mwahahaha!" inside when I win.  Not that he was trying or anything.

    6. I'm learning....
Giving up
The inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God's best.
Galations 6:9

Anyway, at the end of a busy day I'm excited that I don't have to send them off in the yellow bus. :D  I'm hogging them all to me.  Mwhaha!  Such a lucky momma for sure.  I got to have a much needed break last year with all the health issues.  Now that I've caught my breath, we're taking a 3rd round of homeschooling.  Sometimes it's nice to sit in the stands and chill, other times I like to bat.  It requires a lot exercise, hard work, determination, and may cause bruises, but it's fulfilling and I learn a lot in the process.  My praying and bible reading is like my inhaler. Thank goodness for God's strength or I would just pass out flat.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Raising Kids in an Ungrateful World

My kids playing at Pump it Up

I don't understand some things that I hear from people, or kids sometimes.  Every now and then I will hear my kids gripe about something and I have to remind them how good they really have it.  

"Mom, so and so has it so good because they have that game system or they have a better bike."

My mouth will drop open because I look around me and see so much blessing.  I tell them, "You are so blessed!  You have a mom that will stay at home to raise you. I'm here all day from the time you wake up till I kiss you goodnight.  We have a house, 3 vehicles, animals.  You have parents that love God and are faithful to church.  You have nice clothes, shoes, toys.  You have food in the cupboard.  Bikes, skates, skateboard.  You have dad that comes home every day after a hard day of work.  Because of his hard work we can have all this.  PLUS, (bonus here) he's a good dad that actually loves you and loves to spend time with you. "

Ryan playing with his baby brother Caleb
We could of had it so much harder. I could have wanted to have more money to spend so I could've put them in daycare all day.  I could've been a drunk of a mom that sometimes didn't come home.  Or they could've had a dad that was a drunk or had drug issues.  Or had no dad at all!  We could be a family that raises our kids with no moral values or been parents that pretend to live right but are just good actors in public.  Sometimes when kids grow up in a good church and a stable home, it's easy to take things for granted when you are so incredibly sheltered.  

Chaz (jumping) trying to jump up wall
I was brainwashed in my school growing up because they told me over and over I had it so hard. We didn't have a TV and we weren't allowed to listen to 92.3 because it was an incredibly perverted radio station.  Poor me. Poor me that I grew up loving to read books and play 5 different instruments.  Poor me that I had a dad that would work his butt off to support us.  We weren't "rich" by any means at all but we had parents that loved God with all their hearts.  They took very good care of us.  Not only did they love God, but they lived it.  In public AND in private.  Man, was I completely sheltered in that blessing.  Sadly, I was soooo ungrateful because the school told me over and over that not having a TV was abuse.  When they said we could get extra credit to read books, I got the max amount.  I LOVED to read.  I played outside with kids, rode my bike, played in the orchestra band and jazz band.  Played basketball at school and took up sports with my friends in the neighborhood.  My dad came home from work with a smile on his face even though it was obvious he was exhausted.  I hate the fact that I looked down on them because of wicked words spoken in my ears by others. 

Kyle flying down fast slide
I regret that I didn't GET IT till I was older. That it took me having my own family, finances, obligations, and having to live out my own faith to finally realize what a HUGE gift they gave me.  How do you say thank you in more than just words?  

The answer to giving my kids a happy life is not how many game systems and toys I can buy my kids.  The answer is not going to get that second income so we can have a bigger house, better cars.  I'm no fool.  I wasn't raised in a rich home materialistically but instead a home rich with love, friendship, and great memories of fellowship, games, and fun wrestling matches.  Sometimes I dread Christmas because I don't like the idea of my kids thinking Christmas might be bigger this year (as they hope every year).  But whether we make a lot of a little, we determined a few year back each of our kids would only get 3 presents.  Christmas isn't about the material things and that's what we initially made it.  I regretted it seeing them just "expect" a big Christmas each year.  

Any adventures we do as a family is because we find free events or low cost ones.  But we DO get out and have lots of fun.  It doesn't have to be HUGE vacations.   All 3 events we did in the last week cost us nothing out of pocket (Skating rink, Science Center, and Pump it Up shown in pictures).  It's not the cost that makes the difference, it's about spending time together.

Is love measured by the wallet?  Nope.  If ONLY America would get that.  We can't expect kids to get it if parents can't either.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Moms Can't Afford to Be Sick

Me when I was little having a tantrum. 
I kissed my husband the other day even though I knew he was sick. Just to make him feel better. A couple days later I felt that scratch in my throat. Uh oh. I figured, it was worth giving him kisses.

I didn't expect a bad cold to lay me out flat but I just woke up. Last I saw it was Thursday and now its Saturday! Thank God for my husband keeping the house afloat. (Expect for the mess). But he took care of the kids which is what REALLY matters. I feel extremely dizzy but I hate being laid out flat so I'm up cleaning the house and trying to get it back together. That's the only setback of being sick. Waking up and seeing the house fallen apart. Does anyone else have slobby kids like mine? Phooey. When I'm up and about I always point out to the kids what messes they are making and they need to pick up after themselves. I was kinda hoping that the older ones would just catch on by themselves but I guess they haven't.

Caleb playing with his new remote control
airplane from Nana
Today I'm heading to the library because I've GREATLY missed our weekly adventures there. I think it's an adventure when there are soooo many books full of them. I love the quietness and having my whole family walk around talking in whispers. I love the cafe where I can slip away for a half hour. The toddler area where my tiny tots can play while we read. So we're starting back up our weekly trip again.

Anyway, I can't wait for this fog in my head to clear so I can stop walking into walls and can really play with my kids again. While laying in bed yesterday, in the few moments I woke up, I missed my kids so badly. A whole day without hugging, kissing, playing, or teaching them. It felt like eternity when I would wake up again in the lonely and quiet bedroom.

Thank God for my family. They make everything so worth it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Kids Are Not The Distraction

Ryan making the lunch for our day trip
The other day went found out there was a free day at the Science Center and made that our monthly field trip.   We come here once a year and enjoy it just as much each time because there are four floors to experience!  Here are some pictures.  :)

This year when I had to school at home, I fretted about the house because I had finally got it to stay so nice every day.  I asked my  husband if I schooled at home, how would I handle the house as well?  I mean, I could do some but it wouldn't be as nice as I've been keeping it.  He said to do the house dead last and just school at home till we are completely done.  Okaaaayyyy, so I had to be okay with watching the house kind of fall apart.  It's schooling first, chores second, and all blogging and fun stuff third.  But I love to blog and was used to doing it every morning.  However, now I look forward to my evenings on the computer unless I collapse and go straight to bed.  Haha.  

Kids learning about the digestive system
One of my heart lessons this week was about "distractions".  I don't know why I constantly deal with issues of my heart with such intensity.  I guess I've just always hungered to learn, even if it's about correcting issues in my own heart.  I just GREATLY desire to grow each and every day and don't want any of my time wasted living in complete and utter selfishness.  Or living completely ignorant of things I do that might not be right.

Wisdom vs. Natural Inclinations
Seeing and responding to life situations from God's frame of reference. 
Proverbs 9:10
Discernment vs. Judgement
The God given ability to understand why things happen. 
1 Samuel 16:7

So I was thinking about the word "Distractions" and realized something I said earlier this week that was off base. I had said I was cleaning my kids kids were distracting me.  Or another time, I was reading but didn't get to finish because the kids distracted me.  

Ryan in a wheelchair race
Then I realized, my kids aren't the distraction. They are my priority.  Blogging, reading, reviewing, playing guitar, goofing off on the Internet... those are my distractions.  Wow!  Once I realized I had it switched and fixed it, it helped me to realize that it's okay to stop and listen to their silly story.  That I should go see what fort they build in their bedroom.  Or hear what song they just learned.  The distraction behind me, whatever it may be, can wait till they are finished sharing with me.  Or even correcting my kids.  It's tempting to just stay on the phone and not deal with something that needs to be corrected.  Instead, I need to hand up the distraction (the phone) and deal with the issue I'm having with my child.

Anyway!  Just had to share my most recent heart lesson.  :)  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How I Had Lost my Faith

These days I've been only able to blog late at night because of the busy, busy days.  Even with working a full day with very little breaks, I'll lay awake late at night not able to sleep.  I guess more in wonder lately.  Just thinking about the day.  Thinking about issues on my heart.

In the last couple of years my faith had really been shaken.  There were definitely some trials.  Several times God has proven to me that He is real and he does care about the big things AND the little things.  I feel like the Israelites in the desert going round and round and forgetting about each miracle.

My kids got to visit me one time but I don't remember much
of them being there.  They camped out for a few hours.
How I lost my faith?  A couple of years ago my husband had lost his career.  I had just found out I was pregnant with my 6th child.  I don't believe any forms of birth control except NFP (The truth about Birth Control).  So although I was surprised by that pregnancy, we knew it was bound to happen.  :)  On top of if, with no income, our house payments were just too much for us.  I lost some friends because they were angry I was having "yet another kid".  ("Don't make friends with someone who easily gets angry. Don't spend time with someone who has a bad temper. If you do, you may learn to be like him. Then you will be in real danger." Proverbs 22:24-35)

It just felt like a disaster at that time.  I went into a depression and didn't really let anyone know about it.  The worst thing I did was stop praying.  Maybe in the bitterness of things crumbling around me, I was blaming God.  Why?  I don't know.  I told my husband over and over I didn't care about the material stuff.  If we lost it all, so be it.  We'll move somewhere.  Anywhere.  I just wanted us to be together.  Then at 27 weeks, as I was getting ready to go somewhere with my family, I doubled over in pain.  It was like going from no pain at all to the pain equal to labor full force.  Except it wasn't labor.  It was my kidneys.  They had been going bad over the years the doctors said.  To top it off I had just had dental surgery a month before and had some bad complications.  I was rushed to the hospital where I was unconscious for 6 days.  I couldn't eat or barely drink. I didn't even know they put me in an ice machine from a very bad fever while I was out. To top it off, my new OB I found accused me of only coming to the hospital for drugs since I had no fever to prove an infection.  That night my fever soared dangerously and that was why they put me in the ice machine.  (Read about nightmare OB here)

3D Ultrasound of Caleb at 28 weeks
Through all of that, I had almost no family around me or friends for support.  It was just my husband and I so he couldn't be with me in the hospital.  My mom mercifully took care of me for a time after I was released.  She is always amazing when she takes over and I remember that about her when I was little.  Even though I was released, the pain in my kidneys was still bad and it puzzled the doctors.  They told me if I couldn't get off the pain killers, my baby would be born addicted to them.  I stopped using the medicine and just endured the pain till a miracle happened (will tell you below).  I wasn't gonna risk my baby.  Finally he was born healthy and we breathed a sigh of relief.  After months of not finding work, Charles was able to find a part time job to hold us up.  He had to look completely outside his line of work but we were just happy he found something.  Anything.  Charles is a very smart guy and it just happened to be that his field was one of the first to go when the economy fell.  When Caleb turned 1, I found out I needed surgery because I had endemetriosis.  It was to be scheduled within a week.

When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Caleb
I had reached an all time low in my spirit through it all.  I had no prayer in me.  No faith.  I just piled the load on my own shoulders and kept my lips silent to God.  Sure I believe in Him.  80% of America says they do.  I was forgetting all the miracles along the way just like the Israelites were in the desert.  Instead of going to the promise land, they went round and round.  God performed miracles right in front of them and they eventually forgot about them and would complain.  I had forgotten my miracles too.

*Sometimes when we lose a friend over something that is completely biblical you believe in, maybe a purging is needed of those types of friends.  (What is real forgiveness?)

*While in the hospital, when I was pregnant and having kidney trouble, the main doctor of the hospital found out of my OB's abuse and came to talk to me.  He said I needed to release her (get rid of her) and they assigned me one of the top notch OB's in the state.  She quickly took me in for the rest of my pregnancy and was just amazing.  I didn't know till later that she is a highly wanted OB but only certain cases she will take.

*God provided a job.  Maybe not in the way I expected but the one he was given happens to be one of the most stable out there and said to be for the future and has GREAT insurance plans.  

*Our house payment was lowered drastically and just so happens to be lowered to the exact amount needed to fit in our budget.  Only 2-3% of anyone who applied were able to get our new interest rate.  We were one of the lucky few.

*When one person stopped giving me their hand-me-downs out of anger of our 6th child, 5 more people stepped in their place.  Every time I've said, "We need to head to the store this week to get this person some pairs of pants", no kidding, someone in church will come up to me THAT week and hand me over the exact items I said to Charles we needed.  

*Caleb was born completely healthy when they said that I could of birthed him at 27 weeks because of kidney trouble.  They were able to get my contractions to stop.

*An evangelist called people forward one service who had kidney issues and THAT night my kidneys were healed.  THAT is a huge miracle for me since they said I would need surgery and if I didn't I would be on kidney dialysis.  (Story here of that night)

*The next night that same evangelist called women forward who had endemetriosis.  Man, God had my number. I went forward and that night my pain completely left. Surgery was cancelled.  God had healed me. 

*Even through all the financial crazy stuff that happened to us, somehow we've been able to make it. I know it's not just by some chance.  God made a promise to us back in 2002 that He was gonna provide and He has a blessing on families. He also made a promise to us in 2004 that if we just pray and ask Him, he will guide us in our important decisions.  He will put the right decision in our heart and just be patient.  We will start to see what God is going to do in our family.  

Baby Caleb safely arrives in September of 2009!
Even through all these miracles I was staying silent with doubt.  I was completely bearing the burden on my shoulders and I almost missed it.  Almost.  Finally, it was Michele Duggar's words in a testimony I recently showed on my blog that brought me to my knees. I was trying to bear it all on my own strength.  Sure we can do it for a little bit.  But it's not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.  I was keeping a smile on my face but my heart was aching to talk to Him again and really trust Him.  Why couldn't I?  I don't know.  I know my heart was discouraged.  IF ONLY I remembered all His miracles along the way.  Every time I even thought about going and just working at night to get that second income, the door would be shut on me.  Not just shut, it would SLAM shut.  Once again I was trying to do it my way rather than give it to God.  (I'm very, very traditional in my beliefs and believe that the man provides and the woman cares for her household)

My faith was here

This week I am studying Faith.  What is faith?

Faith vs. Presumption
Visualizing what God intends to do in a given situation and acting in harmony with it.  Hebrews 11:1

I'm sharing this in hopes that if anyone is going through trials, this post can be somewhat of an encouragement and a reminder. sometimes it can be hard to remember what God HAS done.  We can quickly forget and complain.  God doesn't promise to give us what we want but He does promise to meet our needs.  Speaking life into your family and situation is sooo important.  Words are very powerful.  Thank you, Marla, for dropping me a note of reminder.  :)  A real friend won't just tell you what you want to hear all the time.  Since sending my prayers up to Him and having that faith again, it's like the burden has been lifted.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to even just be able to give my day to God and ask for peace and the joy through the day.  I need that because working for 15 hours with small breaks can wear on any person.  But when God puts Joy, Love, Peace, Contentment, Tolerance, Patience, Endurance your heart, it makes the daily tasks so much lighter.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scott's Liquid Gold Wood Wipes Review

I mentioned Scott's Liquid Gold in my last blog about cleaning and how beautiful it smells when you use it on your wood.  Well, they sent me their convenient quick cloths and I was happy to try it since it's just a pull, use, and throw away.  Since today is Monday and I sanitize my kitchen, I was able to use them on all my cupboards in the kitchen.  It looks really good and it smells like almond!  Sniffff... ahhhhh.... But think about how fast it is to just grab this when company is coming over and you can't just break out your cleaning supplies and start going at it.  These are also great for a fast dust and shine.  Here is a picture of my pretty cupboards after using the wipes.  Very nice.  :)  This was much faster to use so it was convenient for sure.  

Wood Wipes
20 pre-moistened wipes

FREE U.S. SHIPPING for month of August
For quick dusting & light wood polishing. Disposable, durable, lint-free & wax-free. For use on all types of finished wood surfaces, vinyl & leather. Leaves no oily or dulling residue.

Product Description

Are you just too busy to clean? Trying to keep company from noticing that your furniture has an inch of dust and grime on it? Wishing there was some way to clean all the surfaces of your home without having to deal with the hassle of all different kinds of cleaners?
Try Wood Wipes from Scott’s Liquid Gold! Yes, they are called Wood Wipes but they work on ANY surface! Quick, easy and convenient, these pre-moistened cloths make upkeep on all surfaces super easy and mess free. Scott’s Liquid Gold Wood Wipes have the power to clean, polish and restore painted surfaces, plastic, laminates, all kinds of surfaces in every room in your home. Small and hassle-free, these wipe are the best way to get housework done FAST!  How many things can you find to use them on?
By the way! FREE SHIPPING 
for the entire month of August
Good on orders shipping to U.S. addresses
Shipment to Canadian addresses is only $10.00 (50% OFF)

You can also find Scott's Liquid Gold on Facebook and Twitter.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

When the World is Screaming in Your Ear

Today I overheard Ivy having an important conversation with her little sister.

"No Ashley.  People go poopoo and doggies go doodoo.  There is a difference."

Ivy in 2005
Charles and I were silently laughing in the kitchen because we didn't want them to stop.  It was sooo cute!  We love sharing stories throughout the day about cute things we overhead.  Last night baby Caleb kept his brothers up because he wouldn't stop climbing all over them. Caleb is used to having his own room but since we moved him in with his big brothers he now thinks it's just a big party.

My firstborn Chaz (born in 2000)
I've had an attitude check recently.  Every now and then I let the world scream in my ear about how kids are a burden.  Kids are just too much work.  Materials things are more important.  Don't you need your sleep?  Aren't you sick of changing diapers?  Late the other night I repented about my attitude I was getting and asked that God would help me to love children again.  That they would be the most important "things" to me rather than all the material things I could ever gain.  Sure our finances have drastically changed.  But a friend gave me an attitude check and told me my words are important.  That I wasn't putting faith in God and was doing everything on my terms only.  I knew she was right but when you have the world screaming in your ears, it's hard to hear those whispers of truth.  The pressure of rejection is so high. 

My 3 boys born within 3 years of each other (2004)
I have a group on facebook called Yes, They're All Mine and I notice a common issue with many families on there.


From family, friends, neighbors, schools, etc.  I wasn't alone.  I mostly wanted that group so we could have a meeting place to encourage each other.  Lift each other up when we feel unsure about ourselves.  Or just questions about managing a large family. 

I'm amazed at how quickly God has changed my heart and rescued me from falling into a selfish pit again.  Thank God.  He is so good.  Sure kids make messes (tons, ahem) and I get less sleep.  I know I've been changing diapers nonstop since the year 2000 without any breaks in between kids.  It's just funny how those things aren't such a big deal anymore.  With my first 3 kids it was.  I hated sleep deprivation with a passion.  I got tired of all those diapers changes.  But now it's like it's just a part of life.  Last night I got up 4 times in the middle of the night for no reason at all. My body is just programmed that way.  Changing diapers is as common as making meals and all those other duties.  You just become less and less selfish with each one and it becomes more about serving others rather than serving yourself.  I notice that in doing those things, I learned how to care for others even beyond my family.  Hospitality in my home wasn't so hard anymore and even became a joy. 

Chaz (3), Ryan (2)

When your heart is in the right place, it's no problem at all to serve because God puts the joy in your heart.  You really can sing while working.  Add a kid to the mix and working side by side helps create a bond.  It's scary these days because of the world's view of children.  Instead of kids revolving around their parents, the parents are at command of their kids.  Or the belief that children should not have to work because you'll kill their childhood.  Then they grow up not learning any responsibilities or look at their bosses as their enemy because of the work. 

It's truly a joy to see kids the way God does.  It'll definitely change your perspective.  I've been in both seats and it's definitely easier when your heart is in the right place.  That might get challenged when your digging a toy out of the toilet but, hey, at least it doesn't happen every day.  Haha

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Steps4Kids Multiplication Review

Step4Kids sent me this learning DVD to try for my kids.  It was easy for my kids to follow and they actually sat through it listening and answering the questions.  Looks a lot like flashcards but with more animation of coarse.  They do a good job of making it simple for the kids to help them learn their math.  If your kid needs some help in multiplication, this would be a good buy.  A good trick?  If you have a DVD player in your car, pop this in when you are driving places.  Hey, what a perfect time because they are all strapped in and can get some learning!  My kids were all shouting out the answers when they knew it so it does keep their attention.  They don't just have math but many other subjects to choose from!

Product Description
Offering approx. 80 minutes of help to those teaching or learning their times table, this 2011 Steps4Kids multiplication DVD offers engaging visuals, calm auditory instruction and support, and discussions about patterns and tips to help children remember their numbers.  

15 Tracks in all:  Track 1 - Information for teachers and parents, Track 2 - Introduction to math terms & properties (e.g. factors, identity property, associative property, etc.), and Tracks 3 - 15 teach the times table of numbers using vertical and horizontal presentations.  Each number track includes a practice test to help children with their rote memorization of the equations shown in the track.  Recently given the highest "All Star" endorsement by the Kids First! Coalition for Quality Children's Media.  

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have You Ever Heard Michelle Duggar's Testimony? Learning Activities-First Month Free-Click Here!

I never have!  I'm seen a lot of clips of her family but never heard how she came to know Christ.

Last night I ran into this video on Youtube and was surprised to see Michelle Duggar at a speech giving her testimony.  I've always wanted to hear her testimony.  She takes you on her journey from growing up, to asking Jesus in her heart, meeting Jim Duggar, miscarrying her child after Josh, and trusting in God about having a large family.  She shares scriptures that God spoke to her and also how she prayed that God would give her a love for children.  They only wanted 2, maybe 3 kids.  Whoa!  Big difference from what they have now.  But a lot of things she says really hit home in my heart so I would love to share the video with you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Back to School... Hmph!

I really enjoyed the summer with my kids even though we didn't get to do as much with them as we hoped.  We still had fun around the house playing and hanging out.  I dreaded hearing the word school and thinking about my kids going back to school and being gone ALL DAY.  (Do they have a part time school anywhere?)  So when the I started talking to the school about them coming back I cried.  Being gone from 7am-4pm is just a really long time.  Do they REALLY need the kids to be gone that long every day?  Just seems like overkill.  I don't know how many times I showed up and watched the kids have wasted time in the classroom.  BUT STILL, compared to other schools we've experienced, I really liked it.  So be it, my kids were having to go back even if I dreaded it.

Getting water balloon fight ready
The past school year (2010/2011) I was excited that I had found them a really good charter school that had a bus system.  I'm not able to choose any schools around me so my kids have to go farther to one.  As long as the it's not a long ride for them where there pick up tons of students or course.  Well, I had fully planned on them attending the same charter school this year and even had them register.  Then I found out that they got rid of one of the buses which meant Chaz's bus driver was going.  My heart sank.  She was the only one that understood Chaz and knew what he needed to help keep him calm on the bus.  That also meant they were gonna try to cram more kids on just one bus and one route.  So I called them several times in the summer to find out if they figured out the new bus schedule.  They kept putting it off and putting it off. Finally school was starting and they still didn't know.  I wasn't about to put my kids in school thinking they might have a decent bus schedule only to have to pull them a week later when I find out what it was.  Then finally a little birdie let me in on the schedule and I found out that even though school gets out at 3pm, my kids would not be home till 5pm.  NO way!
We took water balloons out front!  :D
I tried to see if I could get them back onto Switched on Schoolhouse which I really love because of the bible teaching all throughout it.  Being that it's around $370 per grade to purchase, I was not able to do it.  I will be saving and purchasing it for next year. In the meantime we are using K12. Their alarm gets them up at 8:30am (nice mommy) and they eat breakfast and start schooling at 9am.  So far we only have 2 computers but one more is coming provided by K12.  

The living room area was just way too loud with the dogs barking every time someone even made a tapping sound.  They always figure someone is at the door.  It can be really frustrating every time I have to get all three dogs to stop barking every 30 minutes throughout the day.  My husband was heading to the back room while we were discussing the noise level of the house.  He came out 15 minutes later and I had completely cleared Caleb's room and had the two tables set up with two computers.  He was so surprised. He said, "we were just discussing this 15 minutes ago and you just whipped it together".  Yep, I don't play around.

We haven't received the materials yet so the room is pretty bare.  They still have them printing materials and doing online work.  We are usually done between 6 or 7 hours with the four kids. We'll see how it is when the materials come in.  Then our days will be pretty heavy with work. I decided to keep Ivy on Compass Learning since she does well on it and K12 is requiring way too much of her.  I know how much she can handle.  

Anyway, so busy with that and very little time for cleaning, laundry, or other things.  Whenever there is a huge change in our routine, it takes me a bit to evaluate the need again and write out a new system.  I have some of it down but a lot more that has to be evaluated and changed.  Right now the house is just a mess from trying to figure it all out.  But my husband agrees that their schooling comes absolutely first.

*Thank God*

I'm off to nap with my little ones.  :)