Thursday, November 20, 2014

Let my people GO!

Today we had the incredible blessing to go see Moses at Sight and Sound.

A friend works there and can get free tickets, but you only know the day of the show if there are seats left so we were flexible, but Elizabeth was able to get tickets for us for the 11:00 show today!!! (THANK YOU Elizabeth! <3)

And we were totally blessed and in awe of this magnificent show.

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If you are looking for a special thing to do with your family this holiday season I would HIGHLY recommend this production. (It runs through April)

I was in serious awe over the set and costumes.  It was just mind boggling thinking about how they pulled all this off.

And so incredibly moving.

When Moses’ mother put him in the Nile and entrusted his life to God it was hard to keep the tears from forming.  When 3 of your kiddos lives started in a similar way, they were abandoned by their birth mothers in hopes that someone would find them and save them…..well, it is especially moving.

God’s hand of protection was upon Moses and He used him greatly.

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And then how Sight and Sound handled the whole murder scene was very tasteful and then of course you have the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea….I won’t give any spoilers….but you felt like you were part of the miracle!

It is a REALLY well done show.

I honestly think I liked it better then Noah….which I didn’t think was possible.

And what was so neat was that we just got done reading about Moses’ story in the The Gospel Story Book, and since this was so spur of the moment it was just so neat that this story was fresh in the girls minds.  They sat so still through the ENTIRE 2.5 hour show.  It certainly captured their attention.

When the Israelites obeyed and put the sacrificed lamb’s blood over their doors and then when the Angel of death passed over it was just so powerful.

Moses’ story shows us that even when we mess up.  Even when we don’t obey.  God is loving and gracious and saves us. 

And Moses didn’t always obey.

But when God spoke to him in the burning bush (which was another REALLY neat part of the show!) and got his attention you realize how powerful and all mighty God really is.

That all we have to do is rely on the one who is the I AM.

Those 2 little words.

I AM.

But are so powerful. So convicting.

And when God was writing the 10 commandments in stone it struck me that our generation aren’t the only ones who are falling into sin left and right!

God wouldn’t have had to make those 10 commandments if the Israelites weren’t sleeping around, cursing, murdering, stealing, coveting their neighbor stuff…..

An excerpt from the Gospel Bible Story:

“Do you know why God gave Israel and us the commandments? The apostle Paul said that God’s commandments, which we call the law, taught him what sin was.

He said that if God had not given us the law, we would not know what sin is. (Romans 7:7) You see, once we know God’s law and we see how many times we break it, we realize that we are sinners who need a Savior. That is where Jesus comes in.

How about you?

Have you broken God’s law? None of us can obey God perfectly. None of us except for Jesus.

When we put our faith in him, Jesus takes away our sin and gives us his perfect record of obedience.”

But what is our excuse then??? (other then we are dirty rotten sinners in need of grace!)

But unlike the Israelites who were only getting these laws for the first time….we KNOW the law….yet so many of us are continually falling into sin.

Yet, our Heavenly Father is so loving that all we need to do is ask for His forgiveness and He loves us so much that we can continue to have a relationship with the great I AM.

Now THAT is a great ending.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Resting=Healing

I strongly felt that God was directing me to rest more. 

And not just sleep more or sit down and take a load off more but a true rest of the body, mind and spirit.

Almost like a sabbatical.

So I made some major changes to our schedule.

Imagine with me for a moment….Imagine waking up every morning and coming down to an “acquaintance” in your kitchen.  Imagine having to make conversation with this acquaintance, all before coffee.  You know in your head that they are very needed and you are VERY grateful for their help….and one “acquaintance” is a true friend….but it is still hard having someone in your kitchen first thing every.single.morning.

*So I’m staying upstairs in the mornings longer and allowing the nurse to completely get Josie’s breakfast/do her med’s/get her ready for school, etc. Ava is happier and not raging anymore since she is having snuggle time with Mommy again in the mornings. And I am enjoying my cup of coffee by “myself”….ok, I still have 5 kids here but it is better!

*I have been very intentional with our calendar and what goes on it. 

*I have also started soaking in the tub (almost) nightly.

All these things (and others) have helped me regain some of my “mo-jo” back. 

I’m not 100% there yet.  These past 3 years have been h.a.r.d. and I won’t heal overnight.  It is going to take time.  And it is going to take being intentional with my heart and mind. To constantly keep the negative thoughts/overwhelming thoughts at bay and replace them with truths.

 The stress level of mothers of special needs kids has been compared to that of combat soldiers.

When I read this article and others lately it just hit me that I have been in a battle. That I’m fatigued and so totally worn out that I couldn’t go on anymore unless some major changes were made.

(But I don’t ever want to minimize a “true soldiers” battle though…that is different! But parenting a special needs child is similar in the same intensity, on alert all the time feeling.)

I have to admit I am happier.

And Josie is happier.  Having her period FINALLY stop this past week has been a huge improvement.  (This has been the longest stretch since June of no bleeding!)  Hopefully it will continue to be controlled on the higher dose birth control pill that we finally got approved.  I still think that is a “band aid” and something else is going on (she has gained 7 pounds in 7 weeks!?!?!) Yes, I’m concerned and documenting everything and will be going to the PCP in a month to express my concerns!  Her knees are buckling becuz of the extra weight.  And we control everything she eats and she isn’t “cheating” so we know it is the medicine and/or something with her thyroid/pituitary gland, so we aren’t “out of the woods” by any means but hoping the “calm” lasts a least a little bit.

And we have been having some really fun school days around here again.

The littles are just soaking up the knowledge and growing in their reading and math skills by leaps and bounds.

We walked up to our neighbors Alpaca Open House and the girls had fun feeding and leading the “Tacos” around.

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“Daddy, can I pllleaassese have a taco??”

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The girls named “their” Alpacas, TNT.

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Ava couldn’t WAIT to feed the Alpacas….You can tell by Lena’s stance and expression that she wanted nothing to do with this “fun” activity! lol

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We do enjoy watching these beautiful creatures romp around in their pens from our deck in the backyard. I’m just glad we don’t have to care for them!  Chickens are about all we can handle right now!

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Speaking of chickens….we still have 11 chickens. They are slowing down in their egg production but we haven’t had to buy eggs at the store yet.

Lena is enjoying learning how to crack the eggs and learning how to make omelets and dipping eggs for herself!

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And since we have puppy, who needs positive reinforcements all.the.time in order for her to go potty on the potty PAD and NOT on the floor, we started making our own dog treats.  Oh goodness.  What has this world come too??!?

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The girls thought this was a hoot and have been telling everyone that they eat “dog treats” and Boomer couldn’t WAIT till these treats came out of the oven. Even though he is already “perfect” he gets some treats too for his good behavior.

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(and no, our dogs did not get whole wheat flour and natural peanut butter!  They got regular flour and regular old peanut butter!!)

It is supposed to be BITTER cold tomorrow….so you know where I’ll be.

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Just being still and soaking in the heat from the woodstove.

And soaking in the love and sweetness of my family.

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets. Ps. 50:1

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From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Ps. 113:3

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you!

Many, many moons ago a young man decided that he was to join the Army National Guard.

He wanted to serve his country but also wanted to use the GI bill to go to college.

So he signed up and did his basic training, which just happened to be around the time when Saddam Hussein decided to become really evil.

(Our phone bill was CRAZY during that time.  This was the days before unlimited cell phone plans! He would have to call collect from Oklahoma.  Young love…..)

This would have been early 1990.

And so this strapping young man found himself to be on “stand by” to go over to Kuwait and fight a strange battle that had to do with oil and power.

Suddenly this whole Army thing got a lot more real and scary.

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But then the US forces prevailed (read: kicked some serious Saddam butt) and this strapping young Army man did not have to go over to a foreign country.

(That would come later in life and would involve even more sacrifices then serving the Army ever did!)

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So he continued on with his training and had to go one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer  for years.

And so a young lady had to go to her senior prom alone as the training weekend just happened to fall on the same weekend as prom night! Sad smile

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This young soldier was activated one winter during a really bad blizzard.  And this young bride had to stay at home, all alone, and keep the coal fire going. 

But then as fate would have it, the young solider didn’t end up using the GI bill to go to college….he was offered an apprenticeship to become a mechanic.

And as it turns out he turned out to be a really awesome mechanic and has served him well in his life.

(But there are days that he wishes he would have gone and gotten that 4 year degree.)

But God always provides and always opens doors for those who serve Him.

So to all who have served our country in one way or the other.

THANK YOU.

Courage

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Old vs. New

We raided my parents basement a couple weeks ago in search of “old stuff.”

It was Youth Sunday (which our awesome and/or amazing youth totally rocked! So proud of them!) and Steve came up with a funny skit that involved a walkman (pre-ipod), his old yearbook (pre-facebook), an encyclopedia (pre-goggle) and a rotary telephone (pre-cellphone).

So the old phone was still sitting around here today and the girls asked if it still worked.

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I plugged it in and showed the girls how you have to keep your finger in the hole and turn the dial the WHOLE way around till it stops.

Well….goodness gracious.  Their finger would either slip out or they wouldn’t go the whole way around….it took us many tries to get Grandma’s phone number right.

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But I’m thinking this should be our phone of choice when they become teenagers and want to talk to boys.  A short cord in the kitchen….with NO texting!!

When they finally heard Grandma’s voice on the other end they were soooo amazed.

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When Lena was done talking to G-ma Lena asks me, “How do you hang up the phone Mom??”

(I have to admit there is something very satisfying with being able to “hang up” on someone.  Pushing the end button on the cell phone just doesn’t have the same satisfaction. I’m sure if I had a rotary telephone this past summer I would have been slamming it down to hang up on those insurance people!)

And then Ava had to have her turn.  Poor Grandma didn’t get much done this afternoon but answer her phone!

During supper Lena was telling Daddy all about the fun “old phone” and she looks at me and says, “Did Grandma have a blog when you were little?”

Yup.

It was called a diary.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Take me in….

There are still many, many children waiting for a family.

Today is Orphan Awareness Sunday.

A Sunday where the focus is on the orphan crisis and challenges us to do more.

To be challenged to put action to our words.

To be challenged to take in an orphan and never let go.

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It isn’t always rosy.

Is isn’t always easy.

It isn’t even always pleasant or fun.

But it is worth it in the end.

We sang Crowder’s song, I Am, in church today.

I love this song.

It is a song about God being my “I Am.”

How He takes us in and adopts us and never lets go.

Can you do that for a real life orphan child???

Could you be THE one that makes a lasting difference in the life of an orphan child??

There are MANY ways to do this.

I liked this flow chart I saw on FB:

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We feel we are done adopting (for this season in our life) so we are out of the “pink” circle but can still be active by doing  the things in the yellow squares around it!

And since we have been there, done that adoption thing before we are VERY happy and eager to go alongside any of you who may be ready to jump out of the boat and step out in faith and adopt.

It is nice to have someone to go alongside of you, to be there when you get either good news, or frustrating news.  For someone to understand the alphabet soup that is used in the adoption process.  LID, PA, LOA, TA, etc.

I’m serious.  If you want/need someone to walk alongside of you and hold your hand I’m happy to do that. If you need someone to just talk it all out, email me and I’m happy to help in anyway I can.

We ALL can do the “other” circles though in some way….praying, advocating and sponsoring.

So let’s all take in an orphan child this year and never let go.

We have seen first hand what “taking a child in” can do for them.

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And do for us….we will never be the same again.

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In a good way.

There’s no end to His Amazing Grace.

Verse 1:
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace
Take me in with your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go, never leave my side.
[Chorus: (2X)]


I am,
Holding on to You.
I am,
Holding on to You.
In the middle of the storm,
I am Holding on,
I am!

[Verse 2:]

Love like this, Oh my God to find!
I am overwhelmed what a joy divine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

[Verse 3:]
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace

Friday, October 31, 2014

FALL crafting gone wild!

What in the world got into me this week!?!?!?

I.have.no.idea.

There has been glitter and glue guns involved?!?!?!

There has been field trips and messes in the kitchen!

I decided that this would be our “fun” fall week.

And fun we did have!

We started off the week by going to a local orchard and getting FRESH apples and yummy apple cider.

Which we then made into Apple Cider pancakes!

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Now, these were fun to make since we had the fresh apple cider….but they weren’t as good as "the best pancakes e.v.e.r."

But if you want to try them here is the recipe....…I did make them GF so maybe they would be better made with regular flour.

Then it was onto the crafts!!

It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day out on Tuesday….like almost 80 degrees!  So we went for a walk around our property and gathered all kinds of pretty leaves for our next couple of projects.

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I was shocked that these projects turned out looking like the pintrest pictures that someone posted on FB!

(As you know I don’t “do” pintrest….I just pretend to do pintrest.  Remember last years attempt at a Christmas card picture!?!?! lol)

But they really looked like a hedgehog and a fox!

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And I have the burn marks on my fingers from the hot glue gun to prove that I actually did these crafts!

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Then I decided that we would just paint our pumpkins this year. Carving pumpkins is just a pain and I end up doing all of it anyways!

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Lena looked at me with a huge smile on her face and said, “God’s fall is so pretty, not spooky.”

They were understanding what I was trying to get across to them this week….that fall is beautiful and there are so many fun things to do that aren’t spooky or scary.

The girls had a BLAST with the glitter glue and stickers.  I also found these awesome paint brush pens that already are filled with paint!!!!  AMAZING what the craft aisle at AC Moore has!  I should visit it more often! Winking smile

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Now of course the week wouldn’t be complete with a total FAIL!! lol

We tried making our own, made from scratch, caramel apples……

We boiled the sugar mixture down.

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And then I stood at the stove for 20 minutes stirring and stirring and stirring.

And then my candy thermometer broke.

So I had to totally guess on the temperature and when I went to pour the caramel out it turned ROCK hard on the apples.

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We would have totally busted our teeth if we would have eaten these apples!! Sad smile

So it was back to the drawing board.

And our closest grocery store didn’t have just those easy-peasy sheets of caramel that you wrapped around the apple.

So I went through the aisles trying to find something that would work and was GF!!!

(Cuz if I’m going to all this trouble I’m going to be eating a caramel apple too!!)

So I found: Rolos, health bar bits, caramel sauce in jars, caramel dipping stuff and melted it all down and then dipped the remaining apples in this concoction.

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And wouldn’t you know….it WORKED and these were the most AMAZING caramel apples E.V.E.R.!!!

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You should have heard the teenagers fussing though.

These (supposedly) were their very FIRST caramel apples.

(I know….they are sheltered! But I honestly think I made these when they were young….but I don’t remember!)

Travis wanted to know why he had to wait 18 long years to have such a treat!!!?!?

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You can donate here to help cover his therapy costs. Winking smile

(Just kidding!)

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Unfortunately Josie came home from school sick on Thursday.  Seizure, diarrhea and vomiting. Lovely.

So she went to bed early and didn’t get to eat her special apple yet. 

But amazingly she was feeling “GREAT” this morning and couldn’t wait to go to school.

(They are doing lots of “fun” things today so I think she was pretty motivated to feel better.)

I made her wheelchair look like a fire truck for fun today. Smile

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And this year I decided that the girls could go trick or treating.

I know.  You can gasp.  You can unfriend me…..that is ok.

We haven’t fallen into satan worship! lol

I just decided that this year instead of saying “NO” to trick or treating like we have in the past….we should evaluate the “why” we have always said no.

I don’t like what Halloween has become. And so we have just stayed away from doing it.  The boys didn’t really ask and it just is easy to “ignore” it out here in the country.

But growing up we would go to my grandparents house and dig through my Grandma’s dress up box.  It was FUN!!! It was not weird, spooky or demonic. It wasn’t “slutty!!”

It was just plain fun to dress up in hand me down costumes and go around to our relatives and get candy.

(Since we lived way our in the country we had to drive around…no neighborhood to walk around.)

So this year Travis wanted/asked to take his sisters “trick or treating.”

I had just read this article that someone posted on FB and decided that yes, with some good conversation and some “boundaries” this could be a fun memory for the girls.

The “rules”/goals for this week have been:

1. To honor God in all we do and to give the glory to the One who made the beautiful fall colors!!

2. To not watch anything “halloweenish” on TV.  Which has been hard as that is ALL that is on….thankfully we have DVR!

3. To not go to any “spooky” houses.  People are just weird nowadays and go out of their way to purposely scare the kids. That isn’t what we are ok with. We only went to houses we knew.  AND I asked permission from our friends and family to make sure they were ok with the girls coming. To honor their beliefs and thoughts on the whole “trick or treat” ordeal. And if they weren’t comfortable with us coming then that is A-ok!!!

Will we do it again next year?? I don’t know.

But for this year it was fun and the girls just loved dressing up and getting candy!!! Smile

Princess Leia

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The Firefighter

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Arrow

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(Jared and Logan decided at the last minute to tag along and so they came up with their costumes on the fly)

The Golfer

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Stormtrooper

(A friend found this costume at a thrift store and thought of him. And it fits!!!)

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And don’t forget Spiderman….with her adorbs sidekick!

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The girls had a blast with their big brothers. <3

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I thought we came up with some pretty fun and “free” costumes!!! (aka, stuff we already had!)

(Well….other than Little Dog’s costume that I got online for $7.00 bucks!  I didn’t realize it was coming directly from China when I ordered it from Amazon WEEKS ago.  It said it wouldn’t be here until Nov. 5th.  THANK GOODNESS it came today in the mail….Ava was sooo happy!)

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And just so Boomer wouldn’t feel left out, Ava put on her Superman cape for him to wear.

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So whatever you did tonight I hope you had fun!  If it was staying in and watching a movie, or dressing up with friends and getting some candy, or having a harvest party. 

Whatever we do…. may we do it all for the glory of God.