Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year/ New Beginnings

As I was driving back with my six children from vacation at my Mom and Sister's houses, I almost burst out crying. I felt overwhelmed with thankfulness on this day. The very, FIRST day of the new year of 2015. I have been so busy getting through all of our Christmas and New Year's family traditions that I hadn't slowed down long enough to process all that God has done for us.

 (I ran across these verses a days back and couldn't help but think how true God's Word is!)


 Lily at her Christmas program! She was so sick all week, but the doctor cleared her to participate just in time. She couldn't wait to sing us her songs and show us her moves.

 Josh and Marcus pretending they are cool shepherds as they are getting ready for the Christmas tractor parade.

Shows how much Marcus has grown in one year!

Josh getting warmed up for a game. He is the one in the middle.

As basketball starts in full swing, we are going into it with a good attitude. We probably have around 45 more games to go between four kids. I love watching them play though. Each year they improve so much and it is really exciting to see them grow not just as athletes, but as friends and teammates.
 Lily in her new Christmas dress.


 During Christmas Vern and Ethel (Steve's folks) were able to come and join us. It is always good to have them over!

Jacob is really into reading. Here he is reading with Nana Diana, the Christmas story out of Luke before we opened our presents.

Lily got a pretend straightner. She decided to use it on Santa's beard. Too cute!

As we begin the new year, Steve will be getting promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in just a few days. So proud and excited for him! He has been waiting for this promotion for a very long time. The extra pay will help pay for things like Jessica's braces, and fun stuff like that. I know he will do such a good job. I enjoy listening to all of his dreams and plans of how he would like to make his shift run smoothly. He has been the head of his shift for several months, but it will be so nice that is is official.

Andrew pretending he was a baby again on my lap. and Jessica pretending Cuddles the Cat is her baby. She is practicing for when her Aunt has hers in May. Sometimes we just like to be silly!


We are getting really involved in our church and it has been so wonderful getting to know more of the church members on a more intimate level. I just became a deaconess and am soooo excited to be able to be plugged in and serving. Steve is teaming with another member to help with the grounds maintenance.  We are looking at ways our children can help too. Can't wait to see what God is going to do with our little church this year!

(Jackie and I's kids lined up to get some Chinese food in Mom's kitchen. Oldest to youngest. They are like little stair steps. Jackie's are easy to spot because they have red hair!)

 Josh is still going out with his girlfriend, Evie, whom we love dearly. She seems to love our children as well and has a quick smile and a great sense of humor. She treats Josh so good and he is turning out to be quite a romantic young man. They are pretty cute to watch!
(Here is Josh ice skating. The only thing he was lamenting about was that Evie wasn't there to skate with)
(The girl cousins waiting to see the ultrasound)

Back to my sister, Jackie. My mom, Jessica, Lily, Hailey (my niece), and I were able to go see Jackie's ultrasound for her baby. Oh, it was such a gift! To see a little baby bouncing all over in her womb. I know she is a little shell-shocked to find out that she was pregnant after trying for seven years, but this Auntie is beyond excited!!!! What a fun girl's outing!


Mom took the kids ice skating yesterday. They were having so much fun even though it was 19 degrees out!. Josh and Jess seem to be naturals.  Lily had a hard time with her training skates. 

Yikes, this is a really random post! At least I got it up. Happy New Year everyone!


Over and out!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Uncontrol Redeemed


 I woke up this morning frustrated with life. Things seem to spin out of control fast when you have six children of all different ages. Many of them are going through real problems. I feel like we get one fire put out and three more pop up. It has been a constant struggle lately. Discouragement has come knocking on the door of my heart.

Like I said, today was especially bad. I called my sweet twin sister, Jackie. She helped me discern some tactics that the enemy was using against me. She also encouraged me and showed me what I was doing right. I seem to always focus on the big question "What am I doing wrong?" "Why is this so hard?". I need to change my focus and see what I am doing right!

After praying with me, I got off the phone and did my Bible study. Oh man, God was in every word of it. I just have to share some of this with you.

It was based on John 18:38, 19:1. Jesus just got arrested and the disciples are obviously traumatized. Their whole world just fell apart as He ALLOWED Himself to be bound. The same man who did three years worth of miracles, just let Himself be led away like a lamb to the slaughter. What a shock. What confusion they must have felt.

Beth Moore says this in Beloved Disciple: "Sudden trauma invites shock and out of control feelings. They remind us that we have had little control all along".

"Satan wants us to feel like it is all swirling out of control. It isn't! God is lining thing up. Things are going strangely enough according to God's plan."

"When we feel tremendously out of control in one area, without God's help we will ordinarily transfer a tighter control grip in another."

I feel this way in my parenting. If I feel like things are not where I want them, I might crack down on keeping the house extra clean or something similar to that. It is the same as an anorexic who has lost control in one area of their lives and so they transfer that control over their own bodies.

Ephesians 1:11 assures us that "God is working out everything!"

The next point she made was this, "We will never develop authentic confidence in God's sovereign control until we let Him see us through seasons when life seems out of control." I have experienced this first hand. The past three years have been a season of our lives seemingly out of control. Now looking back on all that trauma and loss and seeing how it has moved us to where God wants us to be has been astounding. He truly can be trusted.

"God wants to prove Himself faithful, so we need to step out and see that He will be faithful. Step into those rough waters. He may not do what we are begging Him to do, but He will use it in our lives according to His will for us."

"Trauma is meant to encourage communication with God." Satan wants us to stop going to God in prayer. He knows that is where the power is!

"Satan will always confront us on the day of our disaster. He kicks us when we are down. Don't underestimate him."

I am going to write this down somewhere and post this somewhere where I can see it everyday. "If You do not come, we will not make it." I know that without God's wisdom, love and care, I will never be able to finish this parenting this out well. There are too many hard times coming. God WILL give us the victory if we lean on Him.

In Jeremiah 33:3, God promised Israel that "if they called to Him, then we would answer them and teach them great and unsearchable things." I NEED God to give me that kind of wisdom!

The Word says there is nothing that God cannot redeem. But we have to allow Him to do it.

Put us back together again, Lord. In Your way and in Your time. 

Thanks for letting me share my heart. Parenting is tough. This season of teens and tweens seems especially challenging. But we must not give up! We fight for our kids on our knees. The influences around them are huge, but God is bigger. Even though we may see little change we need to know that our job is to lay the foundation of God's Truth in their lives. They alone will have to build on that foundation. It takes time when such apathy is involved. They must need God, just like we did.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Before and After Pics of Living Room Project

(Lily is hanging out with my sweet Amanda whom I watch three times a week)

Here are a few pictures of the living room before I had my friend Kathi come and help me decorate. I had know idea what to do with my pictures or how to make it warm and friendly.

(This kind of shows the set up of the old entertainment center. 

I painted it a nice warm tan.

 I got this new entertainment center with the little drawers. The Turquoise really brightens up the room. I also like having the TV lower. But see that off-centered alcove? That was throwing off my mojo. Sooooo, Kathy suggested we hang some panels.

Can you believe the difference? 

 Found this beautiful painting of a vase of flowers that was contemporary but not crazy weird. The Colors were gorgeous and tied all the rooms together.

The giant stopwatch on the wall serves as our clock and I bought that pretty red tree painting online. The kids loved the rug though. It is really thick and they beg to have slumber parties on it! I also bought some colorful throw pillows to give some pop to the room.

I completely transformed my living room for less than $500!

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.


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