Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Chapter: Making My Home First Priority

My life has taken such a drastic turn this past month, starting September 1st, that I've been waking up to joy I hadn't felt in so long. I used to just lay awake at night with worry. It's hard to enjoy life when you are constantly worried God is mad at you.

I work hard to train my kids up in Christ yet I always felt I never could measure up to people that could give so much more. More meaning, outside of the home life. I treasure these short years we have and just have made them my number one priority. Rarely could I participate in church duties beyond my own home because I gave so much to homeschooling and training my kids up in Christ. Somehow, I felt so guilty I couldn't be busy with extra ministries. I mean, I could, but at the sacrifice of my first priority at home. Well, that left me with a load of guilt and it was heavy on my mind every day. I made some changes, big changes, and now I just feel free. A freedom I never understood before. Finding friends was difficult before and now I've just been making friends like crazy! Yay! It's totally been pulling me out of my shell that I had protected myself with over the last 14 years.

The peace and joy I have had was worth all the changes we went through. I was scared to start fresh in a new church but this next chapter has been one I've been looking forward to experiencing. Before I dreaded each day, yeah, I got that bad. Now, I wake up and look forward to it!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homemaker Lacking in The Hospitality Department

I've been starting to notice a pattern abut me. Not sure I like it and kind of embarrassing to admit. Opening up my house to visitors often has never been a strong desire to me. I know people that LOVE to have people over and don't care how much time passes. I call their house grand central station because there seems to be a constant flow of guests. I have never really desired that and neither does my husband. We both realize why last night. Our home often feels like a safe place. A place of no judgment, no criticism. It doesn't matter how we look or how perfect things look. Completely relaxed. With the busyness of life, that often feels like our only sanctuary. My husband agrees exactly. We never knew why we both just never felt inclined to have parties and stuff. We really enjoy that private time as a family and the easiness of it. I really felt when I had my family and all our kids that we were truly our own tribe. I enjoy them so much I could easily hide away and I know I shouldn't. Someday they'll be gone and I'll look around and realize I have no friends. Haha. Then again, Charles is my best, best, best friend so that's not a scary thought. We were friends a year before we ever dated and still get along great.

I seriously need to work on that hospitality thing. I guess. If it reaches out to other people and helps grow friendships I should. Well, to tell you the truth, when I want to hang out with a friend I like to go hang out somewhere! Staying home just doesn't seem exciting. Maybe that's part of the problem too.  I work at home all day and if I want to have fun I take the party out of the house! Haha.

These pics are of my new church friends and a lady offers cooking classes. She has no qualm about inviting 25 ladies over to her house every other week and giving lessons. It's a ton of work for her and she is amazing. I would forget so much and get so nervous I'd burn it! Haha. We make our own meals and bring it home to our family. I've learned some DELICIOUS stuff!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lead Me Please - Getting to Know Him Again

If you get a chance, view this song called Lead Me. Everything this song says is what my heart cries out for. I'm sure many, many women and kids desire the same. I find myself just longing to be led, hungering for God more than ever. I know that as a single person I had way less distractions. Now as a married person and mom to many it's easy to forget my daily devotions. However, when I don't take that time with God I feel like I'm trying to do everything on my own strength. Well, me all wrapped up makes a pretty small package. I need Him. I am so grateful for a husband that really listens to me, hears my heartbreaks. He doesn't just listen, he'll do something about it. He doesn't brush things under the rug. I long for him to lead me but at the same time he is not God. He can't be my everything. He can't be perfect. He is my friend and partner.
There has been some pretty significant changes in my life recently and I feel like I'm learning the Bible in a completely different way. This time around I feel like a child trying to navigate and understand things again. It's hard for me to explain. Kind of like seeing things through a different shade of glasses. I'm excited but frightened. I'm used to going in one certain direction and used to just following. Well, it works for some or even many but somehow I got lost in the midst of it. I felt like I didn't know God personally. I just got used to making other people happy. This was a personal battle I was having spiritually and had to do something about it. I think each church can have different goals. Some more evangelical, some more about bringing families closer, and some more about in depth scripture study of biblical history. So many different styles but yet pointing to Christ. It's easy to point fingers and say that place isn't doing enough. While some are all about Evangelism, they might neglect their very own. On the contrast, other might be all about family and the church community and forget to reach beyond the church walls. Sharing the gospel to people who otherwise may never have stepped foot in church is crucial. Both are vitally important and neither should be neglected. Me making some changes has nothing to do with finger pointing but just spiritual survival. What works for some might not work for another.  I was so distracted I didn't see the condition of my soul, I had to stop and evaluate. I hadn't realized how much I was spiritually starving. I was starving because I was just BUSY. Too busy. Just because someone is busy doing good works doesn't mean our soul is healthy. It can be starving and lacking. That was me. In the process I feel like I have become less judgmental and more longing to be an encouragement to others. Thank goodness for God's grace.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Nursemaid's Elbow- Juliet's Pulled Arm Injury

The other day Ashley, my 6 year old, went to pick up Juliet by only one arm.  Big no, no but I had looked down right at that moment and didn't catch her in time doing it.  Juliet screamed so hard her lips turned blue.  Ashley was scared and ran away crying.  I know she was just trying to be a mommy to her but that's just why I've never let my little kids hold my babies. They just aren't mature enough. 

People wonder why I'm so strict about young kids holding my babies but it's just kids sometimes are too immature and don't understand.  My daughters' friend picked up Juliet a couple of weeks ago and while adjusting her on her hip, made Juliet's head snap back. Juliet was fine but I instantly took her back and gently told her to please not pick her up.  I'm just as strict with my own kids.  So I don't blame Ashley because she just didn't understand. 

 I had watched for swelling on Juliet's arm and didn't see any so I knew it wasn't an immediate emergency. I still was worried.  Juliet didn't use her right arm all day and would only pick up things with her left.  She cried on and off all day. I was getting to where I was just thinking about taking her in because it should have gotten better by the next day.  Well, it hadn't.  Kyle, my 10 year old, heard Juliet crying from pain in her arm and started praying for her. Instantly she stopped crying and was happy.  Literally, she had been miserable all day till that point.  She ran around the house happy, clapping her hands, and using her arm again. Whew!  However, a day later my 12 year old went to pick her up by both her arms and she screamed out in pain. Once again she wouldn't use that arm and was hurting.  My son felt sooooo bad but I saw how he picked up her and it wasn't bad.  I went ahead and took her in and doctor said it was a displaced tendon.  From now on she'll easily get that displaced.  I can't walk her by her right arm in case she pulls away.  We can't ever lift her by her arms, only by trunk of her body.  The nurse also showed me how to put it back in place now that it'll happen again. The bummer part is it's an injury that lasts several years called Nursemaid's elbow.

Nursemaid's Elbow-  when the ligaments that connect the elbow bones are weak, and a bone slips out of place.  Children's ligaments are weak until they reach 5 or 6 years old.

 I went home and had a talk with the kids about how to pick her up, the older ones, and told the younger ones not to pick her up at all.  I'm hoping they remember!  When I said the pulled arm injury is permanent, Kyle corrected me and said, "Don't forget about Jesus!  He's the healer!"  I smiled and wanted to kiss him.  Of course!  He prayed for her the first time and the pain went away instantly.  I gotta keep him around with his faith.  Tee hee.....

How to do a Nuremaid's Elbow reduction on Youtube.  Click HERE.

Friday, September 13, 2013

How Do Some Moms Do It All?

I've been a little frustrated by how quickly the kids mess up the house.  Arghhhhh!!!!  We have such a good chore system in place but the kids wreck it soooo fast!  Even though the rules are no drinks or food back in the rooms, I find stashed dishware.  Today the girls woke up to ants in their room because they spilled a Koolaid drink they snuck in.  Oh my word.  I can't explain the frustration I feel at times.  As hard as I work, I need them to understand how not to trash the house in between chore times.  With one or two kids I can see knowing who makes what mess so I can hold them accountable.  With seven kids it feels impossible to know.  Usually by the time I find the mess they don't remember who did it.  A ghost named "not me" did it.  I'm gonna find that ghost and tell him to please find another home. 

I continually get rid of stuff to make cleaning easier but I don't want to be a freak mom that just has nothing in her house.  Literally, the kids each have maybe one medium size bin of toys.  They've even gotten used to not holding attachment to things because we declutter about every 3 months.  I make sure I never rid of something they really love but if I feel they have an attachment to duplicate items I'll make them pair down. One of my biggest frustrations is understanding how some moms can have a lot of kids and keep a decent house.  HOOOOOW?  Is it they clean all the time?  Their kids go to school and therefore not home to make messes all day?  Does the mom clean too much and ignore kids?  Does mom NEVER just hang out with kids and have fun?  Do they have an awesome gene and I just need to get down on my knees and beg God for it too?  LORD!  Deliver unto me that awesome gene!  Sigh. 

Okay, I know I have to give myself a break.  I homeschool five out of seven children.  I have a close friendship with each one of my kids.  I love to sit on their beds and have discussions of whatever they need to talk about.  I love to take each kid on a date as much as possible.  Sometimes we do group fun and sometimes individual dates.  I need each of my kids to feel they are so special to me.  I love they feel like they can come to me about anything and I'll always make the time.  Just one question....

HOW DO SOME MOMS DO IT ALL???  Please share.  ;)  I need the awesome gene.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Is the Bible's View On Marriage Outdated?

An article caught my eye this morning while checking my Yahoo email.  This family decided that they would have no gadgets of any kind that date after 1986.  The very first sentence caught my eye.

"Meet the McMillans. They're like a lot of families -- young, unmarried, with two kids, a boy and a girl." 

When did living together unmarried and having kids ever become normal?  That is definitely not a shun against post 1986 ways.  Back then, shacking up was more intolerable than now.  This makes me sad.  ;(  What will that eventually say?  "They're like most families, young, unmarried, with two kids." Will marriage someday be outdated? What is normal?  Well, I guess that depends on your view of the bible.  Even without being raised in church, I'm sure some people just have it in their heart that a serious commitment IS important.  It's not just a piece of paper.  You can't easily just walk out the door and "break up" like a silly teenage couple. Even if the world says marriage is just an old tradition, God's Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Just a paper?

Let's look at some stats. There has been a documented increase in the number of cohabiting couple in the last fifty years.  In 1960, there were approximately 450,000 couples cohabiting in the US.  By 2011, the number had increased to 7.5 million. 

That number is gonna keep growing.  It makes me sad because in my own personal life I've seen couples make a family, move on and make another family, and even another.  It doesn't matter what people say, I think more girls in their heart wish their man would make a true commitment.  I've seen friends act like they didn't care but privately tell me they are just waiting to finally get married.  It makes them feel undervalued.  I can understand why some guys don't want to commit because they are getting everything they need.  Why put a ring on it? Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free, right?  Sounds kind of harsh but so true.  The law may put some value on cohabiting by calling it common law marriage but it's still just shacking up. 

I'm sooooo grateful Charles found me worth it to put a ring on it.  Not just a 10 year engagement ring but a wedding ring.  It makes me feel like I'm on top of the world.  ;)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Chores with a Thankful Heart

Man, as happy as I am that summer is over, homeschool year started with a bang. The boys on their very first day were like, "it's too hard!" Sigh. Seriously?  My boys should know by now that every single day I stay constant with the routine. The have never gotten me to cave so it's surprising they still try so hard. It really bugs me. Consistency is soooo important with homeschool. Breaks are good in routines but not when it's derived from a complaining heart and laziness.

Chores. Same here!  If they complain about their simple chores I add extra for that day. Whyyyyyy do they ask every day to have a day off? I never make them do chores on the Lord's day. That's all of our day off. Soooo, why the complaining? Charles says to relax. They're humans and humans complain. I don't know. I don't think there should be. As if I like to clean every day. It would annoy them if I walked around all day moaning about my work. Haha. I have way more chores! I believe we can all work with a thankful heart. Why?  Because if we didn't have all these blessings there'd be nothing to clean. We'd be on the street. We just try to live simply so there isn't SO MUCH to clean. The Duggar mom said if they are overwhelmed at chore time that might mean you have too much stuff. So much truth to that. This is why we go through extreme decluttering often.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Refreshing in My Spirit - New Beginnings

I'm feeling hope rise up in me again that I had lost long ago.  I guess the best way to say it is I felt spiritually dead on the inside.  When you lose that first love and you only go to church because you have to, it becomes just another task.  Also, the longing to work with kids has been so big in my heart for so long that it was nagging me on the inside.  I'm 34 and have waited for 14 years to work with kids. Last Sunday I visited a new church and I was a bit nervous.  I don't skip around just over silly things or passing offenses so this was a big, big deal to us.  It's hard to not have a critical eye and start judging everything around me.  I decided to come with an open heart and was just aching to receive from God.  It had been so long since I really felt God tugging at my heart.  They showed me the kid rooms and I was excited to find out there were classes for ALL my kids!  My teen boys had their own curriculum.  My baby had a nursery.  My toddlers had their own room and the kids in between had children's church.  They were being taught at their level and their understanding which is huge because this is the developing stage.  A really important molding stage for my kids.  No longer would the teaching go over their head, it would be taught at their level of understanding and it's every service!  Beforehand, I had looked online to see if I agreed with their beliefs but I still had to see for myself.  Three things were really important to me on top of the doctrine.  They believe in tithes and offerings, outreach to invite people to church, and giving people at chance at the end of service to accept Christ in their heart.  Yes!  I was excited to see all three!  Another thing that bugs me is getting hugged.  LOL.  I don't like guys chasing me around for hugs and I've had that happen to me when I've visited other churches.  People only shook our hands.  Phew!  They told me in the future I was completely welcome to work with kids and my heart jumped for joy.  I've waited for 14 years to do that and finally I would have the opportunity!  Praise God!  It's obvious I love kids because I have many of my own but it'd be a pleasure to teach others too.  I was able to sit alone with my husband and not have any distractions.  Usually I spend a good amount of the sermon trying to correct a toddler, tell a kid to be quiet, or taking a kid potty.  This time I just got to sit down and really listen.  The sermon really touched my heart and I felt a refreshing in my spirit I hadn't felt for awhile.  Not anyone's fault but mine!  It's just that the sermon was at my level and easy to understand.  Not meaning to make myself sound dumb.  Haha.  I mean, it just met me where I'm at in the stage of my life now.  The kids learned a lot at each of their levels and they are excited to go back.  I hadn't heard them be so excited about church before.  That makes my heart happy.  :) When I had these kids I promised to give them to God, to give the best chance possible to get to know Him.  The molding stage is the most important and I'm so excited for them. 

Monday, September 02, 2013

Small Town Fun and a Church Picnic

Because of all the stress of the last couple of weeks I badly wanted to get out of town and hang out with a friend.  :) I drove alllll the way to a little town called Prescott to see my friend Michele and also attend her church picnic.  It was so fun!  I'm not used to ever going to one like that and I loved how all the families played sports together.  Pretty sweet!  My husband played volleyball with the guys and my kids had lots of fun with other kids they've never met.  After a few hours, Michele and I slipped off to walk to a Starbucks.  Seems everything is walking distance there.  So small! 

I'm such a big city girl I can't imagine not having everything at my fingertips.  We love adventures such as gym memberships, zoo memberships, science memberships, waterparks, and every fun place in between.  Michele has tried to talk me into moving to her small town a million times but she's barking up the wrong tree.  Heh heh.  I love her AND her church but it's just not happening.  Being the adventurers we are, we'd have that place scoped out in a month.  I was so bored  after a bit I wanted to check out the local graveyard. That's bored.  She's never boring though.  :)

While at the church picnic I felt something crawling up my leg. All of a sudden it starting chomping on my leg.  I know it wasn't an ant because I grabbed it through my pants and squished it.  Was disgusting and painful. I was in so much pain and that little booger kept biting me.  I almost ripped my pants off right there but had to run a ways to get to the bathroom.  Can't rip my pants off in the park.  Or with a church there.  Or anywhere.

 My husband is in all black

She alone is worth the drive to Prescott so I have no issue driving there.  If she ever moves away and is no longer there, I may drive to church conferences once or twice a year but that's IT!  I did get to see the memorial for the 19 firefighter Hot Shots that were killed in the recent forest fire.  It was a sight to see.  We got quiet as we passed by it and gazed out our windows.  :(