Thursday, October 27, 2011

House Rules

I read something posted by John Piper this week that really got me thinking. He gave this quote:

"The greatest lack in the religion of children is generally a sufficient sense of sin. Robert Murray M'Cheyene."

This confronted not only my parenting, but also my parents parenting. It also gave me an overwhelming sense that our society in general would do well to reflect on this. Not really even just about our parenting but in how we act and treat each other overall. A few years ago, Seth and I decided to make some "House Rules" for our family. This was something that we felt was good not only for the kids but for us as well. We posted on our refrigerator as well is in the family devotional area upstairs. Many we took from the Duggar Family website. I have to say that reviewing them with my kids this week along with the quote above really had me reflecting on my own heart.

We can't raise our kids into loving adults who care without showing them their sin. We can't be the people we truly want to be until we search our own hearts about our sin. How we treat our family, neighbors, coworkers.
If you don't have some family rules and house guidelines I challenge you to sit down and make some. If you have them I challenge them to review them. I feel at the core of my being that the only way the world will change is when our houses and families change. We can't expect the standard to be different outside our homes if it isn't already in our homes. I'm praying that my children take these to heart as I do and that it continues to grow us more like Christ.


 Always use soft words, even when you don’t feel well.
 Always display kind actions and joyful attitudes, even if you have been mistreated. Have the right response by quickly forgiving others in your heart even before they ask.
 Always be enthusiastic and look for opportunities to praise others' character.
 Always deflect praise and be grateful to God and others for the ways they have benefited your life.
 Always use manners and be respectful of others and their belongings.
 Always do what is right, even when others may not, or when no one is looking.
 Thank God for how He made you, for what He has given you and everything He allows you to go through. (Romans 8:28)
 Don’t mock or put others down. Develop compassion and pray for others.
 Never argue, complain, or blame. Quickly admit when you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness (even if you were only 10% at fault). Don't wait till you’re caught. Be sure your sins will find you out. He who covers his sin will not prosper, but he that confesses and forsakes it shall find mercy.
 Have a tough accountability/prayer partner to daily share your heart with and to keep you in line (your parents, spouse). The power of sin is in secrecy.
 Be attentive and look for ways to serve others with sincere motives and no thought of self-gain.
 Think pure thoughts (Philippians 4:8, Romans 13:14).
 Always give a good report of others. Don't gossip! Never tale-bear unless physical harm will come to someone. (Use Matthew 18.)
 Never raise a hand to hit.
 Never raise a foot to kick.
 Never raise an object to throw.
 Never raise a voice to yell.
 Never raise an eye to scowl.
 Use one toy/activity at a time. Share!
 Do your best to keep your surroundings neat, clean and organized.
 Never let the sun go down on your wrath. (Don’t go to bed angry or guilty)
 Amendment J.O.Y. -Put Jesus first, others second, yourself last.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our favorite special after school treat :)

My kids LOVE when I make these chocolate chip scones. They are great for anytime of the day. Awesome with milk or coffee (for the adults)! This basic recipe can be adjusted to add lots of different things. Apples, cinnamon and even cheese!

Makes 12

1 3/4 cups flour (I usually use wheat flour to make it a bit more healthy)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1/3 cup milk (I always use a splash more than this)
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cups chocolate chips

Bake at 400F on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper.
Make into 2 inch balls 2 inches apart and flatten lightly.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Store in airtight container.

So easy and yummy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Can I really do all things?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

It is written on the wall in my kitchen. One of my favorite verses from the bible. One of my "life verses". I say it to myself all the time. When you are a Christian in the midst of a challenge it can become a mantra of faith. When I ran a 5k a few years ago I think I might have said it at least a thousand times. This morning I've been thinking of what it REALLY means. How can I deeply apply it to my life in every doubting moment.

I can do all things even when I think I can't. Heck, even when I "know" I can't. All those things that we see as a mountian we could never climb or get around much less move out of our way. But what does this verse really mean?

It means,

we can even when we feel stupid or unqualified.
we can when we feel scared and ashamed.
we can when we don't feel brave enough.
we can when we feel sick, tired and weak.
we can when we don't think we look the part.
we can when we feel like we have messed everything up.
we can when we don't feel important enough for the task.
we can when we don't feel we have enough talent or skill.
we can when we feel 100 other people would do the job better.
we can when all logical and earthly reasoning would point to failure.

We can do all things because God is. His spirit that dwells within us has a power that can. The greatest strength. The deepest joy. Unending hope. Greatest wisdom. Healing. When we are called to do something that we can't imagine we could possible do we often say "Why me, God?" God's answer to me has always been "Why not you?" The bible is full of men and women that God chose not by list of qualifications but by faithfulness and williness to be used for God's glory and purposes on earth. This verse means that even when we feel the job, task, problem is impossible God sees an oppurtunity to show us all things are possible when we rely on his strength and not our own. His power, wisdom, grace might and mercy.

I've been in a situation recently that requires this strength to do things I can't imagine. I'm trusting God completely. Believing in him, I can.

"God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it... by working within us. His Spirit deeply and gently within us." ~Ephesians 3:20 The Message

Thursday, May 19, 2011

God is so amazing!

One of the most amazing things about God to me is that his plans are always bigger then we can see. Living in our world limits our perspective. It keeps our dreams small when his plans for us are so big. Just a few months ago I was praying to God to help me in providing for us in a way that would lessen anxiety and panic when we were running out of something. That our "storehouse" would be full. Never did I expect that he would not only do that but provide a way for me to bless others in his name. This week a request was made at church for emergency toiletries for special troops in a remote part of Afghanistan. They had lost all theirs in transport and only had their sea rations. Guess who had a full shelf and could give in great joy to those who give so much? Items that I got for next to nothing or free with coupons? Me. Amazing. Thanking and praising God for opportunities to serve him. If you have any items to donate please let me know. They will be packing items at church to send on Saturday. If you don't, a simple prayer that these items get to those who so badly need them would be wonderful as well.
Thank you!

"When I bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in God's house, the Lord of hosts will open the windows of heaven for me and pour me out such blessing that there won't be room enough to receive it." ~ Malachi 3:10

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

((singing)) These are a few of my favorite things...

Ruby asked this morning why we have crosses on everything in our house. I replied, "Honey, we don't". She didn't agree and decided to try and count them all. The kids didn't get a grand total before the bus came so I guess we do have lots of crosses in our house. After the boys were off to school I started dusting and was looking at some of the crosses. I landed at one of my favorite spots in our house, the bookshelf. My husband inherited the bookshelf from his parents. It is one of two 10 foot tall family built bookshelves. His brother has its twin. On one shelf sits a few of my most favorite things.

A special bible that the Grandfather of one of my students made special for my family. It is art, beauty and the Word. Hand crafted leather design. I almost tear up whenever I open it. It is so special to me.

A cross that I got when we started a church plant. It is Jesus on the cross handing over the Holy Spirit. I found it at a small bible store and fell in love with it. I had never seen one like it before. I just have to look at it to feel Christ reaching out to me from the cross. So powerful. So many prayers have been said meditating on this image. A reminder that I'm never alone. Death and life. Sacrifice and gift.

A bible of my Grandmothers (one of many bibles and hymnals I have of hers). This one is from 1893 and has beautiful details. The pages are so fragile. It has a special dedication inside from my ancestors from 1894. I love the symbol of a long line of believers passing down their faith. It gives me goosebumps. What better legacy can you leave?

The last is a picture of my Great-grandmother praying with her hands laying on her bible. My aunt gave me this photo years ago and it instantly became one of my favorite things. I've studied it so much over the years. Her hands, the bible, even the details of her sleeves. It captures a beauty about her that few other angles could have captured. True beauty.

I know this isn't anything like Oprah's favorite things list. It may not be exciting. But, looking at these things made me realize how important it is to have things that remind us not only of where we have been but where we are going. These things are symbols of both my past, present and future. Maybe my kids will have a similar picture of my praying hands on their shelf one day and will have the same feelings I feel now. A feeling of gratitude. How many prayers were said for me? How many verses memorized to shape those who then shaped me? How awesome is that?

I think it is so important for us to have these reminders of not just who we are but also how loved we are. Find your favorite things and put them out on display today friends. Share your faith story, your legacy. These things are precious.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I've reached a new level of couponning.

I am going to be very transparent here people, so bear with me.
I don't "love" coupons. I actually don't love sitting and clipping, sorting and organizing coupons on my one day off each week. For us, right now, it is necessity. Four kids and two adults that love to eat and a husband finishing college makes this a way for God's provision for us. When Rowan's doctor told us he had to go on one of the most expensive formulas I thought well, either I try this coupon thing or we go to DHS. I just couldn't do it. We were already just barely getting by.

I joined Savings Angel (see the link at the bottom of the page). I got a newspaper. I made up a binder. I got a tip that the best deals would come from a store that would double dollar coupons. I checked those stores out. I can't really explain how intense these stores are. Every shopper has a binder. Every woman is a coupon pro. They all have calculators and lists and move with stealth and precision. I didn't think I could do it. How could I get to the point where I knew product prices off the top of my head? How do you grow a stockpile? It was overwhelming.

For the past month I have been really saving up all of my $1 value coupons preparing for "the big trip". I was excited looking at the store matches knowing I had coupons that matched with the "Mega Sale" would give me many free products. The excitement kept building. Yesterday at 9:30am Ruby (my 5 year old assistant) set out for the big adventure. It was almost 5 hours and three full carts of crazy. Ruby and I both had moments where we wanted to give up. We were tired, weary from our power shopping. All in all the amount I saved was well worth the sacrifice of time and energy. When the register went over $700, I actually lost my breath and started to panic. I sent a text to my husband to pray. Two cashiers and a manager came over to start working on the coupons. The people behind me were watching, as excited as I was. Checkout took almost half an hour and when I was all done I had saved over $450.00! I couldn't believe it! I actually did it. I did spent just over $300 (my goal was to get under that but I came darn close) I was able to stockpile some great items for us too. It was a miraculous blessing. God is always teaching. In this He is showing me that if I am willing to work, He WILL make a way. He even showed me how to bless others in the midst of his blessing on me. Giving out coupons to those unexpectedly, giving help to those that are new to coupons and giving away extra items that I have are all ways that I've felt God's leading. I'm even at peace with strange looks and people calling me "The crazy coupon lady". I wouldn't say I'm a pro, but I am learning and I feel like I am at the point where I can be successful in my efforts. Keep saving and praising, ladies. Any time you use a single coupon it is money still in the bank! All glory to Him!

"The Lord shall command the blessing upon me in my storehouse and in all that I undertake...The Lord makes me to have a surplus of prosperity through the fruit of my body. He blesses me in the land which He gives me." ~ Deuteronomy 28:8,11

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Reflections from a Mom in Training.

I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be a mom. In fact, I think I played with dolls a bit past the point where it was cool or accepted by my peers. I loved to dress them up, change diapers, and feed them. It was my favorite thing to play.
I always wanted two little girls, just like my mom, that I could dress up in fancy dresses with lots of bows. It was going to be so fun when I had an actual baby to "play with" and love someday.

Seven years ago on a Tuesday morning I crossed the magical bridge into motherhood. It was actually nothing like I had planned or envisioned. Ryan was born early and with complication. I actually wasn't able to see him or hold him for almost eight hours after he was born. When they finally did bring him to me I can remember thinking, "This is mine?". It wasn't at all a moment like the Hallmark cards I had gotten at my baby shower. I thought, now what? What do I need to do to be a "good mother?"

I guess after seven years and three more children I should have it figured out. I should be a mom that has moved up the ranks into a position of "having it together" or getting it right or at least mostly getting it right. The straight and honest fact is that I still don't have a freaking clue. Don't get me wrong, I can change a diaper with one hand while tap dancing but it really isn't those skills that I ever lose any sleep about.

The hardest part about being a mom, the parts I still struggle with, are the things that change my children. Not like changing a diaper, but change who they are. Remember those points in your childhood where you can look back and say yep, that was a turning point? That was when this became important to me. This is when I decided I wasn't good enough at that and gave up. This is when I realized I was different. This is when the first scar on my heart was made. I can feel them with my kids. Moments I know are spiritual growth markers. Moments I can see and feel changing them, molding them, shaping them. Sometimes you don't even have time to think when those life-changing parenting moments are upon you. Where was that chapter in the mothering handbook? Why didn't I get a magical wand at the baby shower for this day? I feel so unequipped. I don't know the right choice to make, the right words to say. How can I be enough?

I guess there was a moment where God whispered the answer into my ear. I can't remember the exact moment it came over me. I might have been driving in the car or in the shower because God likes to speak to me there. But, in a divine moment God simply said "YOU aren't enough, but I am." I think he may have actually laughed as he said it. This was a mommy revelation. Relief. I didn't have to be the perfect mom because I can't be. It is spiritually impossible for me to be the perfect mother. Grace. My view of myself as mother changed from that moment. I gave up control. I allowed God the space in my parenting to do His work.

It becomes more about prayer than correction. More about investing in soul than investing in coolest mommy and tot class. It means being open to letting God lead even if it doesn't fit your plans or vision for your child. It isn't easy. Part of me so badly wants to be their everything. The first born, natural leader, control freak wants to always being holding on to them tightly and instructing their every move but that will only fail them. God's perfect plan is for us to point our children to him. There is no magic mommy formula. No class or playgroup that will make our mothering any better. God did not call us to be the perfectly-equipped mommy but he was equipping me so that I could be what these children needed. He daily shows me how to love them the way he loves me.

Amazing grace and mercy.
Unconditional love.
Patience and wisdom.

I will always be a mom in training. God will always be using the gift of motherhood as a tool to make me more like him. Motherhood is a gift, my friends. Some days it may not seem like it. Those days when you are covered in baby spit and have about a dozen loads of laundry and you haven't showered this week. Motherhood is an opportunity for God to show us what unconditional love really and truly is. A chance for us on a small scale to experience the love he has for us, his child. I'm praying we all take moments as we are on this journey to thank him for the gift of motherhood and for the blessing of our children.

As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are my children in the hands of the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 18:6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wear Love

So, chosen by God for this new life of love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you;
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline...
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you,
And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.
It's your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What a JOY it is to serve a Risen LORD!

Happy Easter from our home to yours!
May we all fully feel the power of Christ within us today.

Ephesians 1:19-20 (New Living Translation)

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rowan's face of the week!

I love my tongue!

Top 10 Coupon tips I've learned.

1. The double dollar coupon is the "holy grail" of all coupons. Many of my free items have come from the combination of a sale on an item and the doubled dollar coupon. In example: Deodorant for my husband on sale for $2.24 with a dollar coupon makes it only .24 cents. Yesterday, I got floss on sale that they paid me more then it cost! The stores closest to me that do this are Davison and Grand Blanc Kroger and VG's in Waterford.

2. A coupon binder makes the prep before the store much more intensive but makes the store shopping much faster. I was totally against the binder but a friend convinced me that I really needed to be more effective and organized. All you need is any binder and baseball card sheets. The sheets ironically are on sale right now at Meijer.

3. Rite Aid, CVS and Walgreens are the best places for freebies. If you have any of these close to you check them out once a week. Hurry because the free deals go FAST.

4. Have a coupon buddie. A friend that helps you shop or is looking out for great deals with you is great. My friends Karen and Lisa from church have been a great coupon support for me.

5. Know your store. I think having a "home store" that you know well is really important. Knowing the price of the items you usually buy and the layout of your store really helps with shopping.

6. Shop only a few times a month and stock up on the good sales instead of shopping each week. So many of the best deals come when you buy in big quantities. Instead of shopping for your family weekly try to build up your stock so that you can buy when things go on sale, not necessarily when you need them.

7. Save up your coupons. Hold your coupons like you are holding your cards in Vegas. Wait for the best deal. Don't settle for 50% off when you might get 75% off the next week.

8. Meal plan. I have to admit I am not there yet but my friends that are have GREAT success with meal planning. Some sites like savingsangel do a meal plan based on the store you shop and the best sales at those stores.

9. Involve your kids! My kids now know that we won't buy a product unless we have a coupon or it is a great sale. They love to look at my coupons and hunt when I take them with me. It is a great thing to teach our kids about saving money and being good stewards of what God gives us.

10. Join Savings Angel! This site has saved us SO MUCH money in the short time I've used it. It tells you the best deals for your store and is great at letting you know the freebie items and what coupons to use. Check it out!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Seth's rules of coupons.

1. No couponing past midnight.
2. No clipping coupons for cat food or cat snacks even if they are paying you to take them because we don't have a cat.
3. No Lima beans.
4. No dumpster diving for coupons.

These are his rules so far. I'm sure he will add more and will update.
I'm working on a blog for next week about my TOP 10 Tips for a new couponer.

Keep clipping!

Good Friday Prayer

Sweet and Precious Jesus,

Sitting here on my knees
I can't believe you died for me.
I'm so full of sin.
So wrong.
So forgetful.
So selfish.
Such an ungrateful child.
Still, you gave your life for mine.
I open my arms, raise them to the cross. Letting go.
Numb and aching for you.
I try hard to focus on your Amazing Grace. Try to understand your Mercy.
I search your face like a child looking up at their mother.

Why me God?
Why do you love me love me so much that you would hang from that cross,




I'm so sorry Lord.
So thankful that you love me,
Such a wretch like me.

Lord help me to bring you Glory in everything that I do, every breath I take,
Never forgetting the sacrafice you made for me.
Let there always be a prayer on my lips, a song in my heart.

Thank you Jesus.

Thank you Jesus.

Thank you Jesus.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Shepherd

Because the Lord is my Shepherd,
I have have everything I need!
He lets me rest in meadow grass
and leads me beside the quiet streams.
He gives me new strength.
He helps me do what honors Him the most.
Psalm 23:1-3 TLB

Friday, April 15, 2011


Ryan had just turned four when his preschool teacher told me there was something wrong with him. I was shocked. What was wrong? Wrong with MY child? I asked her explain to me what she meant.

Lack of eye contact.


Going into his own world.


Speaking in his own language. Babbling.


Not making friends.

My heart sank. Didn't all kids have these issues? How could my son not be normal?
There can't be anything wrong with him. She's wrong. I asked her, my voice breaking, "What do you think is wrong with him?" She said she couldn't diagnose him, she was just a teacher but she had seen it before. "Well, what was it called with the other children you have had?" She didn't want to say it. "Please, just tell me!" I begged her.


The word. This one word would send me on a rollercoaster for years.

I went home and ordered every book I could find on Amazon. I cried. I ate. I prayed. I tried to think back to see how I missed this. I didn't breathe for months. I couldn't.

I found a doctor with U of M who was starting his own practice and we made his first appointment. I decided I would do everything anything to fix my son.
I cried myself to sleep many nights. My baby. My perfect baby. We started the GFCF diet, we did supplements, daily B-12 shots, occupational therapy, physical therapy...anything I could find, I tried. We saw a neurologists who looked at him for thirty minutes and said PPD-NOS possibly Asperger syndrome. The world was spinning.

The school district did an evaluation and they said he should also do speech therapy and try the district autistic preschool program. I agreed to come visit with Ryan. It was one of the most difficult mornings of my life. Ryan and I sat in a circle with over twenty "autistic kids". A few were strapped in chairs, some wore helmets. Ryan went into a corner with one of the boys and he started to mimic the boy banging his head on the floor. Tears started falling down my face. Was this going to be my new reality? My heart hurt. My brain hurt.
A few weeks later I sat down with the school district early learning "team" to discuss an IEP for Ryan. They were suggesting that he go into the autistic program full time. I sat silent. Listened to the reasons why. Cried. Left. Cried more.

I prayed more.

Cried more. Cried until all the tears ran out.

I finally decided that I didn't agree with the IEP. I wouldn't sign it. They told me they wanted Ryan to "raise the level of the class". I wanted someone to raise him up. He needed peer models.

We went back to the doctor at U of M and I told him I was ready for the next step in treatment. He said we can do the HBOT therapy or a few ADHD medications that sometimes help. HBOT was thousands of dollars and our savings had already went to books, special diets and the therapy our insurance wouldn't cover. We tried the medicine and changed diets and tweaked supplements.

We moved into a bigger house. I put him in a small private school. He stopped doing the physical therapies and I instead put him into Tae Kwon Do.
That next summer a miracle happened. It worked. Something worked. Something clicked.
When I went to meet Ryan's teacher when school started I gave her Ryan's history. I explained his diagnosis. She had experience with "special needs" and I really felt she could help him. A few weeks after school started there was a sealed note in Ryan's folder. I thought for sure it was a letter saying he could no longer be in regular classes. It was a birthday invitation. I took a deep breath.

At parent teacher conferences I was again nervous. I started to lose my breath again. She smiled. Here it comes, I thought to myself. I asked her how he was doing. She took a moment and said you know, if you hadn't told me his diagnosis I wouldn't have known. I almost fell off my chair. "Well, that's good. He's making friends?" I asked. Yes, he is. Good friends. "He is looking at them? Playing with them? Interacting?" Yes, Yes, Yes. Wow. Ok. "Well, what about educationally?" She set down a paper. It was a list of all the educational goal markers. He was at or above them all. I burst into tears. Literally. A sobbing mess.

It hasn't been easy. Sometimes he still has "ticks" or emotional melt downs that take time to work through but he is doing SO WELL. Today he brought home a school report card with a note from the principal. He got two "4s" and the rest "3s".
His teacher comments were that he is "a wealth of knowledge" and doing well in all areas academically.

I am not writing this to brag or to say I have answers, because I certainly don't. I love my son and I'm proud of him no matter what his diagnosis or an IEP says. I am writing this because my son is a miracle. My baby who they told me might never speak without mumbles or have friends or be in regular classes is doing all those things. All miracles to me.

I'm simply amazed.

Amazed that God gave me this special and sweet boy to be my son.

Psalm 121

I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won't let you stumble,
your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel's
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God's your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you-
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

The Message

Smile of the Week!


I am so blessed to have some amazing and talented friends. Suzi Scott of Photo Art By Suzi is not only an amazing photographer but also an inspirational mama to me. Her strength and faith when she watched one of her sons battled cancer still gives me hope and courage when I face trials with my children. When Rowan was born she blessed us with the gift of a newborn photo shoot and made a beautiful book of the pictures she took of him. I am so thankful for this gift because I don't really have time to scrapbook and he honestly might never get a full baby book, so this is a great thing to pass on to him someday. I was just to thankful and blessed by it that I wanted to share.
Thank you Suzi!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Joyful Home.

"Home is first school and first church for young ones; where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind; where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick; where joy s shared and sorrow eased;...where the simplest food is good enough for kings becaue it is earned; where money is not as important as loving-kindness; where even the tea kettle sings from happiness. That is home. God bless it!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

In times of trouble.

Whom do you call when storms are on the horizon?

I am sure many people call a parent, a friend, husband. My impulse is always to call my mom. Ask for her advice, or even just to have her hear me. She is my sounding board, my comfort. Her voice picks me up and makes me feel like everything will somehow be ok. The very same now as when I was five years old and fell off my bike and skinned my knee.

During one of my lessons today a student told me some very serious and potentially life changing news. Setbacks. Challenges. Pain. Transition. Uncertainty.
My heart immediately began to go before the Lord for her. I started praying as she was talking to me. God give her strength, comfort, peace. Let her rest in you. Dry her tears. Give her strength. Protect her Lord. Keep her safe. Love her like no one has ever loved her. Please Lord, please. I was silently crying out.

I often think of Jesus in a similar role as a mother with her child. Jesus kissing our wounds. Drying our tears. Laying us down to rest. Lifting us up when we can't walk any further.

Who should we go to first before all others? The answer is always God. He who is comforter, strength, counselor, healer. Were does my faith come from? From this. There have been times, so many times that I had been so beaten down. Sick. Bullied. Beaten. Betrayed. Ugly. Dripping in sin and sadness. Who is the only one who pulled me from the pit? My glorious Savior. In my weakness HE was strong. He lifted this wretch by his amazing grace. He restored me. Healed me. Gave me a joy that is unearthly. Wrote a new story on my heart and song on my lips.

I'm praying tonight that in our greatest trials, sickness, death, and pain, in the daily decisions, even those that seem small, that we run with arms open to the one that loves us the most. The one waiting like a mother scooping her child when she falls. He loves us. He cares for us. I am crying out on behalf of my dear beloved one that God gives her the peace that can only come from him. The love like that of a loving parent. That in her time of troubles that she will rest soundly tonight knowing to whom she belongs and the comfort that awaits her in being His.

A beautiful afternoon walk.

There isn't much that I enjoy more then an afternoon walk. Our neighborhood has so many great trails and paths to walk and ride on. It is so great to see the signs of spring in the neighborhood and hear the sounds of kids playing and see all of my friends outdoors as we walk by. I also love to pray while we are walking. Praising God for the great weather and the beauty of nature as we take it all in.
Simple, beautiful, peace.

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. ~Raymond Inmon

Homeschool goes outdoors.

Yesterday was so nice we all decided we should go out onto the deck to study.
It was so nice! What a beautiful day the Lord had made!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rowan and Opa

Rowan spent some special time with Oma and Opa this weekend. Oma got to experience the joy of giving Rowan his dinner and Opa had some time cuddling with the big guy. So glad I was able to capture these special moments between Opa and Rowan.

Spring Fever.

It's spring fever. You don't quite know what it is you want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so bad. ~Mark Twain

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Please go see Soul Surfer!

I took my whole family to see this movie today at our local theater. This is an amazing story. It brought tears to my eyes to see a movie with some serious "star power" telling a very Christian story. I was a bit worried about my kids and wondered if they would be scared at all but the movie was shot in a way that didn't show much of the most awful parts of her attack but focused more on her depending on the Lord for her strength and peace. We had lots of discussion after the movie about courage and faith. We all really loved it. My children who were crying to see two other "kids movies" that are currently out were all happy that we decided to see it instead. I really feel that those of us that want Hollywood to continue to make these films with values and morals, go out and support it by spending our money on movies like these. 12 thumbs up from my family for Soul Surfer!

Coupons for Dummies.

Well today was the big day. Coupon D Day! Meijer was having the big super Saturday sale and I was ready. I spent about an hour on making my list and getting the coupons I needed ready. I had a plan. Ruby said she would go and help me. Thank goodness that I did bring her because we ended up having two totally full carts and I needed her to help get everything we bought to the car. All in all it was an amazing success. There was VERY limited preparation time on my part. I actually didn't use any newspaper circulars or magazine coupons at all. I just used the deals that savings angel suggested and printable coupons. Let me say that with the tutorial I got from savings angel I felt really prepared. It even says that people will look at you funny (they did) and to tell the cashier that you were using coupons and that you are a newbie. (I did) and she was VERY nice about it. She even said she was "very impressed" with me as a first timer. I am excited to do future trips with the coupons I have coming. Seth commented when I got home that I was "glowing with happiness". It was such a blessing to hunt and gather for my family.

Here is what I did:

1.I joined (I researched over a dozen sites and this one seemed to me to be the most user friendly and the least time consuming.) They do the hard parts of finding the good deals for you. You tell it what store you want to shop at. You then check off all the items your family will use and then it connects sales with the current coupons available. Super EASY! If you are a mama with limited time like me I HIGHLY suggest trying it. They have a discounted trial offer. If you do join please give my number as a referral number. (39162)
2. Savings Angel linked me to a trial discount of the paper that they suggest to use for some of the best deals.
3. I also got a trial of a magazine that is supposed to have really good coupons that they often feature.

In today's trip with little time and only printed coupons and using the suggested items that my family already uses I saved $156.00! That is HUGE! Yearly savings would be OVER $8,000! CRAAAAAZY! Imagine throwing that money away. Think of what you could do with that money??? Try it for me and let me know your success. You can do it if I can! I believe in your ability to thrift!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rowan meets his Great Papa!

My mom and I took Rowan to meet his great grandfather today. They really hit it off. Rowan seemed to really love his voice, smile and big, strong hands. Papa really got a kick out of Rowan too. It was so sweet to see them look at each other. It will be great to be able to tell Rowan about it someday. I was thinking of how much my other grandparents would have loved to be able to meet him and hold him. My "Grampy" never lived to see any of his great grandchildren born. My Grandmothers were able to see and hold Ryan and Ruby and "Grammy" (my mother's mom) met Orion as well. I know they would have all loved how much Rowan looks like me and what a big, sweet guy he is. My grandmothers were very special lades and they are very imprinted on me. My Grammy had the faith of a martyr and my Grandmother Creech (my Dad's mom) loved to cook and bake for us. She could make food that tasted like pieces of heaven. If you know anything about me or have read any of my blog you know that these two themes are reoccurring. ;)
These people and my parents really and truly made me who I am today. I am so blessed to have had such strong, beautiful people as my grandparents.
Salt of the earth. Faithful. Dependable. Loving.
It was a very special day that I will always remember. When Papa meet baby Tank.

What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I'd like to say that grandparents are God's gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate. ~Bill Cosby

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Real men stuff diapers. Just saying.

Spring finally sprung!

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. ~Proverb