Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dining Room and Kitchen Project

 This poor table has been through a lot. It has looked beat up like this for about 8 years. I finally decided to do something about it. Just maybe my kids would try to take care of it? I didn't want to be upset if it got scratched and I knew that with little kids it would. Well, they are getting bigger now so I took the risk! It was one of those projects that was meant to be simple and instead turned into a monster.

 So I decided to paint the table rusty barn red. But then I couldn't stand the clash of the two different red tones of the table and the wall, so that day I picked up my paintbrushes and painted my dining room and kitchen grey. Yes, I did it in one day. Can anyone say, "Stupid"? I was soooo sore!

 I do love the way it turned out though!

I wanted to tie in the red table, so I painted my pantry door the same color. It is bright and fun!

My friend Kathi and I went shopping and I bought a curtain rod and some nice sturdy curtains. Then I re-matted the coyote picture and hung it. It turned out so nice.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Month of Blessings

Our van was acting up and we were told by a mechanic to just try to trade it in or sell it. We let it sit most the summer because we couldn't make up our minds. We knew we couldn't afford car payments and we knew we couldn't come up with $20,000 for a reliable newer used rig. Well, I am so glad we prayed and waited. The other day, I decided to take it in to get a second opinion. It was a $20 fix! Can you believe it? What a relief and what a blessing!!!! Thank you, Lord! Our family loves our van and it was good for the kids. They now appreciate it even more since they spent the last two months crammed up in the old Suburban. God is so faithful and good!

 Josh has a girlfriend now. Her name is Evie, and she is just precious! They had a wonderful time getting ready for homecoming (both a new experience for them).  I enjoyed taking pictures and being their driver. Josh has his permit, but is still working on his license. They were good sports and thanked me at the end of the night for making it special.

 They get a long really well and she is very good for him. I was really scared at first but I have released both of them into God's hands and have such peace. She is starting to come to youth group with him and she enjoys hanging out with our family.

 Here is Josh playing a tiny bit. He is number 11. The Rangers are a really good team and I believe are number one in their league right now. They work so hard. Josh came in this year as a complete rookie. These kids have been playing together for years, but because of his hard work and willingness to learn, they seem to accept him pretty good. Football has been great for Josh. He is motivated to keep his grades up and the physical exercise really helps his OCD.  I can't wait to watch him grow each year and develop into a great player. He certainly has the heart!

 He even made it in the paper! He is the one on the far left!

Between Junior High volleyball, Junior High football, and High school football, my three older children had about 25 games between all of them! It was a very busy two months. Josh is going on with his team to the High school eight man football championships, so there might be several more games to go!

Deer season came upon us as well. Steve managed to get a huge buck! Huge for him anyway. He usually gets tiny spikes so he was stoked! A friend gave us their deer as well, so our freezer has lots of venison in it. Time to get online and look up venison recipes! I am not a fan, but if I can disguise the gamy taste, I can hack it. Meat is meat when you have a family of eight!

I have taken up several projects this past month. The main one was getting my yard ready and planting about 190 daffodil and tulips bulbs, also, spreading bark chip and killing weeds. Lots to do around here! The other project I did around the house was to paint and redecorate the living room and dining room. It is about 80 percent finished. I ran out of money! I will try to do a before and after post soon.

 Jackie and I were able to go on a very short sister trip. We drove and drove and drove. It was so relaxing and fun!
 We stayed at a little place by the Deschutes River. We actually got pictures of each other. We are usually the ones behind the camera.

 My twin sister is pregnant! She was fighting morning sickness bad this weekend. I felt bad for her. I can't wait to be an aunt again and hold another baby!!!

Love how the sun was going down and hitting the water! Very pretty!

God has been so faithful to us. Days are not without struggle, but when you know that you are in His will it helps get you through those hard days. I think about how far we have come. Almost three years ago I was holding on by a thread. At least that's how I felt, but now I realize just how strong the Hand of God really is. He never let me go. I am stronger, less afraid, and less controlling. My capacity to love the unlovely, has increased. I am learning that trials do get better and "Joy comes in the Morning", even if that morning is three years away. Joy. Will. Come.

Life is so full right now, but I see that it is fully of blessings. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Take Time to Process What You Learn

As I was doing my devotions this morning, I realized that something was off in my relationship with God. Even though I have been very consistent in Bible study (I just finished "Daniel" by Beth Moore, and am finishing the book of Job in our Community Bible Study) I felt like I was missing out on God's presence. Because I had been so busy "learning", I have not had much time to really pray, process and take in God's Truth.

Sometimes you just need to stop and soak till you are literally marinating in the Lord! I want to be God's devoted servant, but sometimes I am so busy serving my family and others, that I miss HIM. The stillness and quietness of Him. The gentle whisper that speaks to my soul.

I had said something unkind about a sister in Christ yesterday to my husband. It wasn't really mean, but it was a bit snarky. It put someone else down to elevate myself. Ugly. Because I was still before the Lord yesterday, I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit tell me "Don't say things like that about my child. You are no better than her." Oh, I felt so awful at that moment! But thank the Lord, I knew what to do with that feeling of being sin-sick. I quickly repented and asked the Lord to forgive me for my comment. I told my husband I was sorry (of course he thought it was no big deal, but the Lord and I knew better). I was so grateful afterwards as I was reminded of how much I need a Savior to forgive my sins. I am so thankful that He didn't let me get away with saying something unkind.

I have found an awesome app called "Scripture Typer" on my smartphone. It helps you memorize scripture (something I am terrible at!). I was working on this verse yesterday. Can you believe how timely God's Word is when it speaks to us?

"Therefore, God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive whatever grievances you ma have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Above all these virtues, put on love, which binds all together in perfect unity." -Colossians 3:12-14

Today I am going to take the time to process what I have learned. I will not stop striving to learn more, but make sure learning and processing are balanced in my life.

Can anyone else relate to this? If so, I would love to hear what God is teaching you.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September Catch Up

(Jessica helped me organize the pantry the other day. What a blessing! I finally know where everything is!)

Life is good. It just is. There is food on the table. Healthy children. A new house to paint and decorate. Family and friends that are dear to me popping in and out of my home. I LOVE it!

I also have a new job. I watch a sweet, disabled young woman three days a week while the kids are in school. She is precious! There is no room to ever feel sorry for myself when she is around. Amanda's smile is contagious and her laughter makes me laugh. CONSTANTLY!

 The kids love Amanda and are upset that that the only time I watch her is while they are at school. So we are trying to figure out a time when we can give her parents a "date" so the kids can hang out with her too.

 Lily LOVES Kindergarten! She does her homework every night and is bummed when a weekend comes and she can't go to school.

 Josh turned 16 this month! I can't believe it! He is so tall and looks like a young man. He is doing well in football and really enjoys the team aspect of it.

 Marcus turned 14 this month too. He is almost as big as his brother. These boys are growing up fast! He loves football too and is liking the center position. I am having to try to memorize and pay attention to all these new terms that are flying at me. I am actually enjoying watching football now that they are in it and I know a bit more about what is happening.

 The girls and I took time to take a hike a few weekends back. The weather was gorgeous!

Lily is starting to look like a young lady now. 

Living in this new town has been such a blessing. It is all I thought it would be and more. I have been really busy planting perennials at the last minute. I keep finding them on clearance! Painting the inside of the house has been a priority as well. I will do a separate post on that. It is starting to feel like home. I like that :)

Community Bible study has started back up and we studying Job. I have never done an in-depth study on this book of the Bible. It has been more challenging than I thought. But it has also shown me how far I have come. I can identify with Job in many ways. It was almost three years ago that our world came crashing down. I felt many of the same emotions and questioned God just like Job did. But I have survived and thrived. It has been such a blessing to look back and see what God has done for us. He is turning my weeping into dancing. I knew it would come again, sometimes our "joy that comes in the morning", takes years. But it will come.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

July and August of 2014. Lots to be Thankful for :)

(A scripture that has given me much hope for the past three years. It is starting to come true.)

Wow! Has it really been over a month since I last posted something? I am not sure where to even begin. Life has taken over and blogging has been set on the back-burner, as it should be.

I can't believe that we are about ready to start school again. Only this time EVERYTHING will be different! We are four blocks away from the school/library/gym. I am pinching myself. No trips back and forth and trying to balance dinner and everything else while trying to get kids home from their after-school activities.

We have lived in our new house since June and I LOVE it! It is a spacious place as the Lord promised me several years back. The manufactured home has a newer and more modern feel to it even though it is just three years newer than our old one we just sold.

Deck before

Deck after

Kid's bathroom painted is some nice neutrals
Did I just mention "sold"? Yes! Finally after TWO years we have officially sold our home! What a roller-coaster ride. But man, did God stretch and grow me. I am NOT the same person I was before. I have learned some valuable lessons on waiting on the Lord. We are thrilled to not have to take care of two homes. We can now concentrate on getting the home and yard how we envision. I guess I mean me, because Steve could care less ;) Tee hee! I have been so busy and my body is very sore. I have painted the deck and skirting, painted the front wheelchair ramp, painted the kid's bathroom, and half of the little boy's room and a bunch of doors. We will hopefully sign on this house next week sometime. Yeah!!!!

Lots of squash this year! Oh my! They all cross-pollinated, so it has been pretty funny to see the different "varieties".

On the outside I am hoeing weeds and roots to get to the dirt so that I will be ready to go next year when I want to start planting flowers in the spring. I have a large garden with more squash than anything. And I am trying to revive a lawn to it's former glory.

On the downside this summer, we have been plagued with car, van and Suburban troubles. Lots of money has gone into these rigs and we finally had to make the hard decision to park our 12 passenger van for the winter. In the spring, we hope to trade it in for a used, but more reliable Suburban. The 12 passenger van was great for when our children were little with all the car seats, but now I think a four-wheel drive Suburban would be just fine for us. We are also going to sell our little Honda Ruckus, since Steve doesn't need it to get to work. Can't take it on the highway.  I am praying that with our tax returns, we will have enough. We were tempted to have car payments, but I know that debt isn't God's will for us. We have been debt-free for eight years except our house payment. It is so liberating! I would rather make due with our old Suburban/hunting rig then be a slave to a car payment. Ahhhh, contentment. Another big lesson God has worked with me on the past two years.

Lily in a school outfit I bought her! Praise the Lord, I only had to buy a few items for the kid's wardrobes. I was able to hit some really good yardsales and thriftstore shop too. I love to save money that way!

Our family is doing great! Kids love it here. Everyone is healthy. Most of them are looking forward to getting back to school. Jessica is going to try volleyball this year. Josh is going to be doing football as a Sophomore. He has never played before, so I am a bit nervous for him. He just finished his daily doubles this week. Marcus is going to do football too. He and his friend, Russell will be two of the biggest kids on the team, so I think he will get to play a LOT this year. Andrew is going to be involved in his Lego Robotics Club, where he just shines! Jacob isn't doing anything until the winter and Lily is going to be a Kindergartner! She is soooo excited!
Josh using Snickers as a pillow after his last football practice this week. He worked so hard! I really am proud of him. And he didn't puke once!

Andrew helping his friend at Lego Robotics last year.

 I got to fill out SIX registration forms for school! Took hours. Jessica has mercy on me and helped me fill out one and a half. 

 Big news! Josh got his Learner's Permit. Here he is concentrating while driving. He is doing really good so far!

 Dad and Josh drove his tractors in our little community's parade this year.

 Can't seem him very well, but Josh got to drive his late Grandpa's. Pretty special! Grandpa Fay has been gone for a year now. It just doesn't seem possible.

That is all I can think of now. This post is probably full of typos, but at least I got one out there!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Lord is Good!

(Steve and the kids getting ready to plunge into the Pacific Ocean for the cold water challenge for firefighters) 

It has been such a busy summer so far. We have successfully moved to the home we wish to purchase. We have a buyer for our old house and have agreed on a price. They are a large family too, so it will be perfect for them! Things are moving forward! Not without many, many bumps along the way. God is stripping us bare and left us to completely lean on him financially. We didn't see this coming, but it is pretty exciting to watch the Lord provide for us. In one week between a mistake in the check book and two separate checks in the mail, he provided $800 for us! I felt Him telling me, "If I can be trusted in the little things (like gas and food for a small camping trip and some other unexpected expenses from moving), I can be trusted in the bigger things (the sale of your home). It has been such a faith-building experience for both Steve and I! I have gone from sheer panic, to sheer peace in the span of minutes! God is so good!

Taking care of two properties has been very difficult. The purpose of us coming to this new community is to save money on gas. So far, we haven't been able to do that. If anything we have spent more going back and forth trying to keep up with the yard. But when the dust settles we know it will be a blessing.

We were able to have a wonderful time with our family at the beach. So many memories were made! It was wonderful to get away from it all and to beat the heat. We are in a house that has no air conditioning and it has been pretty hard to adjust too. The beach was much cooler. What a blessing!

The kids are loving our new community! They go to the pool sometimes twice a day. They can walk to the library two times a week to check out books and movies. The store is just three blocks away. Church is about four blocks away and the school/library is four blocks. The kids have so much more freedom here!

(Jessica with a couple of her girlfriends at the pool.)

We are also only seven minutes away from my parent's ranch. It is great to be able to see them more and help out. It is going to be really nice when my dad has his hip replacement on the 27th of August.  While my step mom is at work, I can go check on him and help him out. My big strapping boys are now in the thick of helping my dad buck hay. It has been such a blessing to him to have their help. They are making money and Dad is not having to work so hard with his bad hip. This would have never been able to happen if we had not moved closer.

(This is my first rose at my old house)

I can't wait to plant some roses next year at the new place. I have been gardening like crazy at the new house. I am tying to save money on produce. Feeding this large family has become quite challenging since the price of food has gone up so much. I have always done more flower gardening rather than vegetable gardening. I call my sister up a lot and ask for advice. She is more into the vegetables than the flowers. So it works good! I will do a post on my garden soon.

That's all for now. I will show you some before and after pictures soon. We have worked hard on our new place and it is starting to pay off. I love our new house. It is set up perfectly for us!

Great to be back. Hope to post more of our blessings soon!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Busy Days, Blogging Break

So good news... We are moving!!! We haven't sold our house yet, but God has made a way for us to rent the new place and be able to make our mortgage payment on this house. What an unbelievable story this has been. I can't wait to see what God is going to do next. After crying out to God, "Move us, already!",  ;) He finally did it. We are still praying we can sell quickly since we have to pay some utilities and maintain both properties at the same time. At least we can move forward. I will take it one step at a time and try not to run ahead or get discouraged and bogged down by disappointments. We have had a lot of interest in the house this time around and shown it several times.

We have been busy, busy, busy as we are packing up our large family and cleaning and clearing out stuff. Stuff, ugh! I still don't understand as much as I faithfully purge, how we end up with all of these boxes. I can't believe how blessed we have been. What a great time to evaluate, "Do I really need this? Have I used this in two years?". It feels so good to give load after load to The Salvation Army. I could have had about three yard sales, but I would rather not deal with it and know that it is helping someone else.

We will be painting, moving this next week and then I will be speaking in Idaho on Father's Day weekend. I am excited to be able to see my precious friend Catherine, and speak to anyone in the Church that will listen about the dangers of the technological world and to better equip parents and spouses to deal with this issue in their homes. Can't wait to see what God is going to do. I do have a prayer request. Our car has been acting up and has been repeatedly in the shop. Please pray it will get me to Idaho (a six hour trip) and back. I don't really have any other option, so I am trusting the Lord with this.

The kids are just about out of school! I can't wait to have them home for the summer. I have a few goals in mind. I will be giving each of them a night to cook once a week and I will walk them through it. Shopping, prep, and some kind of a dessert. I really want to give them some life-skills. Josh is 15 1/2 already and he doesn't have a clue other than to make a sandwich, and Top Ramon. Also, they will be helping out in the yard and I am going to teach them how to put in and care for a garden.

That's all for now folks! Hope to be sharing pictures of the new house soon! I will be back when life settles down a bit.

Please continue to pray for our family in this time of adjustment. And pray that God will sell our house in His way and His time (not mine). Oh, that is a hard prayer for me ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Wild Ride

"If your every plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out, and doors have shut in your face, take heart. God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: "Stop depending on inadequate human resources. Let me handle the matter." -Catherine Wood Marshall

I can't believe how God is moving in our lives. This is such a wild ride! Our house is on the market. Our seller is willing to wait. God is taking away stress and worry and giving me such peace.

Every day I am able to speak about what God is doing and wondering what he will do next. He can be trusted!

"The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him." -Lamentations 3:25

I was listening to Family Talk Radio and they had a wonderful program on Protecting families from pornography. So exciting to know that there is a coalition out there called "Morality in Media". Their website was fantastic! had so many resources that I could print off when I go speak at churches. I am getting geared up to speak again in a month in Idaho. I can't wait to see what God is going to do! I called the number on the website and just told the lady who answered the phone how much I appreciated that people are willing to mobilize and fight this scourge in our society! The Lord showed me that I am not alone. I needed that so bad. This fight feels like it is an uphill battle. Knowing that only 5% of Americans choose to protect their families from pornography is so discouraging. I realize much of it is awareness and lack of understanding of the true dangers of pornography addiction, especially in children's whose brains are still developing.

I beg you, please don't wait to get a filter. This website gives lots of reviews and recommendations if you just don't where to start. Don't wait! Be aware and be prepared!

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Lord of Change: Dealing With Spiritual Whiplash

Wow, what a week this has been! After waiting since January for our buyer to buy our house, he couldn't get financing. We were stunned. After waiting for months, 29 days before closing it all fell through. The miraculous thing is I had such peace. I had foolishly entered into a contract without reading the fine print. It gave the buyer way too many cards. I saw my mistake two weeks ago and prayed to God, "Lord, I have been a dumb sheep! I need you to protect us. We need a miracle. I am running to You, my Shepherd. I am seeking You and asking you to rescue us." Boy, did He. I felt instant relief when our neighbor said he couldn't come up with the money. I should have been spitting nails. I should have been so angry. Instead, the knot in my stomach went away and I knew I could trust the Lord. That "peace that passes all understanding" that I had been craving for two weeks finally came. I would rather have peace than a sale! I was even able to tell our buyer "No worries and no hard feelings. It is all good. God has a plan." Oh, how God has changed me!

So now what? This time we did not lose our house that we want to buy. We are so grateful that our seller is willing to wait on the Lord. Before the seller and I prayed together, we agreed we would do absolutely NOTHING to manipulate this situation and try to figure out a way to make this happen. We want the Lord to make it obvious and we want to see His hand in it. This has been such an exciting ride! People are watching and waiting to see what the Lord is going to do. I LOVE working with a Christian. It is so different to have all your cards on the table and to be praying in one accord.

So today we are putting our house up on the market. I was trying to avoid having to show our house. It is no fun trying to keep everything clean with all these precious children. So my goal now is to trust that God is going to sell my house. It won't sell because it is perfectly clean and polished. I want to continue to have peace. I don't want to stress out. I have lived without stress for four months now and I didn't like how my body and mind were feeling for the past two weeks. It really is amazing what stress does to your body.

Please continue to pray for our family. Pray that we do not grow discouraged and we do not run ahead and make foolish mistakes. Pray we quietly trust and keep the faith. Not everyone's faith is strong. My children are really upset and wondering why God isn't answering our prayers. I am praying that God will show Himself to them. I want them to see He is good and there is no darkness in Him.

I read this devotion this morning and I just thought I would share it.

The Lord of Change

"Not all change is by choice. A marriage dissolves. Cherished friendships change in character or another person's choice cuts directly across our own. Bringing us where we never wanted to be. A career change, voluntary or involuntary, may disrupt our lives. Financial losses sweep away our props. Even geographic change can be disorienting.

For the believer, then, the question is vital: Is our God the Lord of change? Will he be with us in change, especially when it strains our trust to its limit? Ironically, while we trust him with our eternal fate, we may find it difficult to trust him for next month's car payment, a new relationship, or an unexpected turn in our lives.

In the kaleidoscopic whirl of our life patterns, it can be enormously reassuring to remind ourselves that God is unchanging; 'I the LORD do not change' -Malachi 3:6"

 -Gini Andrews
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