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 SavingsAngel.com 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 savingsangel.com (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)
Link: http://savingsangel.com/amember/go.php?r=39162&i=l8
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

Ready. Set. Coupon.

Well, the new TLC show extreme couponing may have created a monster.
I am determined to save money in any way I can. I did a lot of research today with different coupon techniques. I think I have figured a way to be successful with limited time. A mom working six days a week, with four kids and a husband going over full time in college doesn't have much time for coupon clipping folks. So, I have joined savingsangel with a discounted trial period, got a half price trial of the newspaper and a free trial of a magazine that is supposed to have really great coupons. I am going to try this for a few weeks and see how it goes. Wish me luck. I will keep you posted. I am really going for deep discounts for a momma with limited time. Stay tuned.

Be a thrifty steward of thy goods. ~ Sophocles

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Special Dinner

Many moms might have a bit of a loathing for having to make meals for their families day after day. For me it is a real treat and delight. My children have started calling it "special dinner". We light candles, turn of the lights and enjoy family devotional and then have our meal together. Spring break allows me to have several "special dinners" with the kids. It is bittersweet for me because it reminds me how much I wish I could do this with them daily. It also reminds me what a special husband I have that he takes care of the kids so well when I am teaching each night. Tonight was extra special because we got to try bread from the new bread machine, and I made the kids favorite strawberry cake. Moms and Dads I beg of you to feel the special moments that you have in preparing and serving meals to your family. Do it with joy. These are moment that although they can be seen as a chore are gifts to our children. They will remember sitting together as a family and the love that comes from you. I cherish that love that came from my own mother to this day. Tonight after dinner the kids all broke into song. It was a really great moment that will be one of my favorite from this spring break. My cup runneth over.

My children have a teachable spirit. ~Proverbs 14:16 (AMP)