Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dealing With Attitudes

I said before that I was afraid that the boys might have attitudes when we started homeschooling again, well, I was right. Monday, it was Josh. He had a hard time trying to get back into the swing of things. Marcus did pretty good that day. Yesterday, they switched! Marcus and I battled over math while Josh sailed through. I did have a victory yesterday. Jessica does not like writing lowercase. She wrote really good lowercase B's. She is sounding more words out as well and recognized some sight words such as "love, orange, I, and is".

I wasn't going to homeschool today because my in-laws are here, but I want to keep going so that they will get more used to a routine.

Diana invited Josh and Marcus to spend the night tonight and Steve might take Andrew and Jessica camping somewhere close by.

Andrew has another massage today to help straighten out his foot.

I pray today will even out and that attitudes would be better. I have to remind myself, no one said this would be easy. I have to rely on God's strength.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Combine Rides

Wow, today was such a stroll down memory lane. I asked my friend, Margaret, if we could come out and have her husband take us all out on his combine while he harvested wheat. She said sure, so the whole family went out there. Is was a nice day. Josh and Marcus rode first and David patiently answered all their questions. Jess and I were next. Jess didn't say much, but I could tell she was paying attention to it all. Andrew and Steve went after that. Andrew LOVES farm equipment and was so excited to ride the combine! He and Steve got to ride for a good hour until he finally got tired. Steve peppered David with questions and learned a ton as usual. We found out that the wheat that was being harvested ends up mainly in Ethiopia and Pakistan. It is very good wheat for flat breads. I told David that riding on the combine brought back so many memories for me. I was raised on a wheat and cattle ranch. My mom and dad drove wheat truck and we could either stay home with a babysitter or go out with Mom or Dad. I liked to go out a lot with them. We used to ride with Ol' Carl Kaser and raid his lunch box. His wife always packed him a huge lunch and he would share. I remember my CB handle was "Skinny Britches" and Mom's was "Sunshine Lady". I also recall Dad's as being "Copenhagen Kid" (that was when he used to chew tobacco.

Margaret was so cool, she even let the kids go into the wheat truck and jump all over the wheat! I remember having fun playing in the wheat as a kid. It was great to watch the boys doing what I used to do.

While Steve and Andrew were with David riding the combine, Margaret and I took the kids down to her house where we ate cookies and the kids jumped on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath it. The kids were having so much fun they didn't want to go, but I was getting really tired.

We came home and I threw some pork chops in the microwave to defrost then cooked them up. They were yummy with my saucy potato casserole I had made the day before. The kids all went to bed early and now I'm watching "Wings". I love that show, I just wish they didn't take God's name in vain so much. I found them on Netflix, so I have to watch them after the kids go to bed.

Steve is working out and then running to the store for me. Tomorrow his parents (Vern and Ethel) are coming up to spend the night. It will be great to see them. I'm going to make a gigantic ham tomorrow night. The kids love glazed ham!

I'm off to bed now. I pray I will do better about my tongue tomorrow. I didn't have much patience with my husband today. I sinned with my mouth and have confessed. I knew that I would be tested. I failed today, but tomorrow is a new day and I pray that I will not let my flesh win.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let the Fighting Begin!

The kids did really well with each yesterday, but today they are all getting used to one another and are fighting a LOT! It will just take time to adjust to one another again. I'm truly not suprised.

Josh and I are getting used to each other as well. He started arguing and talking disrespectfully, and I gently reprimanded him. He then came to me later and apologized. He is soooo good at that and I am grateful. He doesn't like conflict either.

It will be hard tomorrow when I start homeschooling them again. They have had a month off and it is very hard for Josh to get back into this mode. Pray for us! I need to ease them back into it so I need extreme wisdom so I don't overwhelm them.

I really want to include Jessica. She is starting Kindergarten this year and I want her to get comfortable sitting down with us and doing her work.

I let Jessica and Andrew paint with watercolors while the boys were gone and they had a blast. Now they want to do it all the time. I hate doing it while Jacob is awake, so they do it when he is napping.

I am going to do Third Grade over again with Josh. I pray that this will build his confidence up and that he will one day LIKE to learn. He hates anything that has to do with school.

Marcus on the otherhand is hard to get outside. He wants to write the story of his life now. You never know, that kid could end up being a writer. He is on a Shakespear kick (thanks to his Uncle David who is an expert on Shakespear). He is reading his Uncle David's book and has been inspired to write his own books complete with illustrations. I'm going to start Third Grade with Marcus this year. I give him a lot of freedom in his learning because he is so above his grade level when it comes to reading. I am not very formal right now with his education. He already knows his cursive, so we'll be mainly working on spelling and math this year.

So tomorrow, I'm going to start and I hope it all goes well. Again, I think easing back into it will be the best thing.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friends

I am so blessed! I have so many great friends that God has given me. This was a "friends" week. My friend, Rachel and I took our girls to tea and had a great time (only one spill by my daughter). Yesterday, Margaret came over with her kids for dinner. We just watched our kids play and enjoyed laughing at their antics. I have had many friends email me or call and tell me how much they are enjoying the blog. It has been very encouraging!

My sister, of course is always there for me. Jackie cheers me on and lets me get away with NOTHING!!! Praise God for that! She is so helpful at showing me how to give Steve grace and showing me what a godly reaction I should have when I have been hurt or misunderstood. I love her so much! Thanks, Jack!

I got to catch up with Jean yesterday. It was so nice to hear her voice. She just had a baby girl and is surviving this first month. It reminds me of how tough it is during those first 2 months. It is so sacrificial and she is doing a great job! So Jean, here's my hat off to you. I got your note in the mail and I can't tell you how encouraging your words were to me.

My friend, Catherine, faithfully emails me and shares her struggles and triumphs. Today it was a triumph! God is so faithful and good. I love to see him working in the lives of his faithful servants. Catherine, is my prayer warrior and another cheerleader.

So thanks God, for all my great friends! Each one of them cheers me on as I try to be the godly wife and mother that you have called me to be. May you pour out a special blessing upon each of them...

Can't Wait!

I'm so excited, it is just hours before my boys come back from Bend with my mom and stepdad. It is going to be crazy and chaotic as they fight for my attention to tell me all their stories and adventures! Oh, I have missed them!

Steve just went on a rekindle for the fire at the wood chip plant. He is going to be disappointed if he gets caught and has to stay for a long time. He has missed them so much too.

I look forward to going to church tomorrow with the whole family and worshipping together.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tale of Two Households

This book just has a treasure of great poems and quotes.

Here's another one...

Tale of Two Households
"I got two A's," the small boy said.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father very bluntly asked,
"Why didn't you get three?"
"Mom, I've got the dishes done,"
The girl called from the door.
Her mother very calmly said,
"Did you sweep the floor?"
"I mowed the grass," the tall boys said,
"and put the mower away."
His father asked him with a shrug,
"Did you clean off the clay?"
The children in the house next door
Seemed happy and content.
The same things happened over there,
But this is how it went.
"I got two A's," the small boys said.
His voice was filled with glee.
His father proudly said, "that's great;
I'm glad you belong to me."
"Mom, I got the dishes done,"
The girl called from the door.
Her mother smiled and softly said,
"Each day I love you more."
"I've mowed the grass," the tall boy said.
"And put the mower away."
His father answered with much joy,
"You've made my happy day!
Children deserve just simple praise
For the tasks they're asked to do.
If they're to lead a happy life,
So much depends on you!
Author Unknown
I'm guilty about the kids telling me they've done a chore and I fire back "Well, did you do such and such yet?" I can watch their countenance fall. I HAVE to change this!

Words Children Long to Hear

I am reading a book that my friend, Rachel gave me called "The Power of a Woman's Words" by Sharon Jaynes. Rachel knew I was struggling with my tongue, so she told me it might help me.

I was reading it last night and just wanted to share with you.

"Words Children Long to Hear"

Great job!

I'm glad you're my son/daughter.

I love spending time with you.

I'll never forget the day you were born, You were such an incredible gift from God...and you still are.

I love you!

That was really great!

I love the way you fixed your hair!

That shirt looks great on you!

You played that song beautifully!

You are a great friend!

You'll make a wonderful wife/husband some day!

Thanks for cleaning your room. You did a great job.

You teach me so much about life.

You're so strong!

I can always count on you.

I trust you.

You are God's special gift to me.

You light up my day.

My favorite part of the day is picking you up from school.

I missed having you around today.

You're such a good helper.

I'm proud of you!

I'm praying for you.

I'm behind you.

You're a joy.

How did you get so smart?

That was so creative!

Thank you.

Aren't those just great reminders. Instead of just talking less and listening more, I need to use my mouth as an instrument of encouragement. God gave me a mouth! He wants me to use it to build up and encourage while I'm training my children. If I'm just getting after them all the time and saying negative things about their behavior they are going to stop trying to please me and the Lord. But, if I just keep pumping them up they will rise to the occasion because they will feel so confident and creative and useful they will want to continue that kind of behavior. They will be beaming!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Nice Day

Today was good. I got the house cleaned up and ready for company. I took Jess, Andrew and Jacob to KMart with me. I went in to get some air conditioner charge for the Suburban. I ended up spending $85! They had a bunch of good sales! I bought several shirts that are my favorite kind for $3 a piece and school supplies were on sail. I bought probably 15 notebooks for 9 cents a piece. I'm going to send some to our pastor friends in Kenya and keep the rest for homeschooling. Glue sticks were really cheap too. I got some more of my favorite baby-proofing locks (Jacob keeps getting into certian cupboards).

I had some ladies come over and visit. Five gals showed up. We didn't really know each other very well, so it was pretty casual conversation which made it easy to keep my 30 day challenge! The kids even got in the freezing cold pool. I was so proud of them. I would never go in there while it was that windy!

Jessica and Andrew got to go with Nana and spend the night at the ranch, so I took Jacob back to KMart to pick up more AC charger. I then grabbed some snack wraps from McDonald's and went to the fire station to have dinner. We don't go there that often anymore since we have so many kids. It's funny, when we had just Josh, Steve had me bring him down every shift. Now we might go there twice a year. I think he doesn't want to overwhelm the guys with all of our noise.

I have Jacob down now, the chores are done and I'm going to go read my marriage book by Chuck Swindoll.

I am happy today. I am at peace with myself and I know that I am on the road to a more Christ-like me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 30 Day Challenge

The Lord has challenged me to go 30 days without saying anything negative about my husband. I have asked 4 friends to hold me accountable. You know, the friends that I normally gripe too, if I think Steve is being selfish or unfair. They have also taken up the challenge and now there are five of us doing it.

I quote one of my dear friends email ...

"I'm in, Stacie! Let this be our own Olympics where we know we will all win the gold medal, where we run the race set before us like never before. Let the games begin. We can't help but be winners in this with each other as cheerleaders and coaches, fans and participants. We have the power of the Holy Spirit on our side, Jesus is within and without, God is calling us to this challenge. I love it. And I promise not to go to anyone else with complaints to replace any of you. I will merely say, "I'm struggling" and expect to receive love, prayers, and compassion from you. Thank you for presenting us with this idea, Stacie. "

If that isn't inspiring, I don't know what is!

I can't wait to see where I am spiritually after this 30 days. I've done good today and feel like the Spirit has led me with certian responses.

As for life, I was able to get my hair colored today and I am VERY blonde now. It is fun to do something different. I still don't recognize myself in the mirror though. Jessica said she wanted to go blonde, I told her she can go blonde when she has a job to pay for it!

Steve left right when dinner was going in the oven. There was a rekindle of that fire by Taylor Lakes. So who nows how long he will be gone. The wind is terrible! I don't know how you can fight fire in it. It must move very fast.

I better scoot. I need to get the kiddos to bed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Being Tested

I knew it would come. The day that God would test me in relation to my newest devotion "Let My Words be Few". Well, today was it. Steve and I had many projects to do and I would see things that I thought could be done "easier" if he did it my way, so I would open my big mouth instead of just letting him do it his way. He gets defensive, I get defensive then the battle is on. I failed many times today. I confessed, and again, purposed to keep my mouth closed unless something of necessary importance needed to be said. It sure is quiet around here now! Instead of getting angry at Steve and shooting my mouth off, I decided to take it to the other room and tell God how I felt about the situation. Was I angry still? You bet! But at least that anger was being filtered through the Holy Spirit instead of me just spouting off like a fool. When you pray it is hard not to finally come to the place of acceptance and asking the Lord to help me see Steve through His eyes. It's a sacrificial life-style. But isn't that was marriage is supposed to be? If marriage is a reflection of Christ and the Church, Christ gave everything up and suffered unto death for His beloved Church. Can I not keep my mouth shut and give up my rights to defend myself? I have to.

I hope by writing this, it would encourage you. I want to be honest about my struggles. I don't want to portray a life and marriage that is perfect. I struggle just like you. But I long to be better. I have hope that it will, and I thank God that my marriage has come so far. I thank God that my husband is a Christian and loves God. He is a good provider and a wonderful father to our five children. He gives generously to those in need. He is faithful to me and would never forsake me or the children.

I hope that tomorrow will be a more victorious day in the area of "fewer words". Pray for me...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Family Dynamics

The boys are off playing with my mom in Bend. It amazes me how the dynamics of our family change when one or more child is gone. There has been less fighting, but Jess has been picking on Andrew more. Andrew fights back, so the war goes on!

My mom left Duffy with us. Her little cockatiel (sp?). He is a sweet old bird and the kids love to take care of him. He's pretty easy.

I'm going to have to do a lot more work now the boys are gone. I'll have to feed the animals, vaccuum, empty the dishwasher and the garbages, and wipe down the table after every meal. Maybe this is a good time to transfer some of these jobs to the little ones!

My back is sore from picking up the old roofing from the back and loading it into the trailer. I got it done though. I wanted to suprise Steve because I knew it was starting to weigh on him that it wasn't getting done. Afterwards I borrowed Diana's big magnet and found around 50 nails that the kids could have stepped on. I'll do it again and again though to make sure. It's hard to pick them up over the river rock.

I can't wait to go to church today. I've felt very disconnected. I get to go to Women's Bible study this morning. I'm so excited. I just love to connect with other women believers. I am going to work on saying less and not imparting my "wisdom" just because I know something. Again, less is more!

My experiment with talking less has had amazing results! My husband and I fight less (granted we've not seen each other much this week). I am reserving my words with the my children and they are not hearing as much anger come out of my mouth as I learn to think before I speak. I am trying to use my words to bless and not curse.

My biggest fear is that I will become unaware and I will slip back into to my old habits. I keep praying the Holy Spirit will help me and that I won't try to do this without him.

I look forward to this day of rest! I pray for the persecuted Christians around the world who do not have the luxery of going to church without fearing for their safety. I thank God that I live in America, the Land of the Free!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grass Fire Season

Summer is when I become a firefighter "widow". Poor Steve worked his usual 24 hours. During that time they had a large grassfire that actually shut the freeway down. He called the next morning and said he didn't know when he would be home. He eventually came in the door at 7:00 p.m. He looked bone-weary, but was so glad to see the kids and I. I put the kids to bed and we were able to talk about the fire. It looked like he had eye-liner on, because the soot got caught in the creases of his eyes! I could barely get him out of bed by 6:45 this morning. He had to work his regular 24 hour shift. I don't know how he does it. I would be such a grump. It makes me appreciate his sacrifices so that I can stay home with the children. I let the children know their daddy is a hero because he works so hard and has a dangerous job. So basically in three days the kids and I saw him for about 2 hours.

California called our chief and wanted us to send a crew down there to help out with their fires. Praise the Lord, Chief Palmer said no. We can't spare anymore guys, we are already short-handed. I guess they have firefighter crews going to California that are based out of Colorado! Isn't that crazy?

We ran a few errands today. Other than that, we hung out at home. It was a nice relaxing day. We even got the rest of the hay hauled down to the shed. We watched a bit more TV then normal. They got their science with Mythbusters and then I let the little ones watch 101 Dalmatians. By the end of the day we picked a movie online to watch. It was an old classic "National Velvet". It was kind of boring except the race scene. But we hung in there and now I can say I've watched it!

The boys packed for their trip to Bend. Josh and Marcus are leaving tomorrow and will be back in 7 days. We will miss them, but they are going to have so much fun with Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop. My mom is "Miss Activities Director" and had so many plans up her sleeve. They are looking forward to staying at the Trendwest and swimming every day in a heated pool. Ours is freezing cold, so it will be a real treat!

Andrew and I fertilized the lawn. He "helped" by standing in front of me and hanging onto the push cart. It was so much harder to do it with him, but it made him feel so good to help me.

Marcus and I fixed the tomato plant that fell over. It is so gigantic that it actually tipped the tomato cage over. We put some stakes in the ground and some twin and tried to support it so it wouldn't touch the ground. Oh my, it's big! I want to make a fresh salsa for Steve. He loves that kind of stuff! I can't wait till they are ripe.

I got my newest Above Rubies magazine, and I started devouring it. I just love to read all the testimonies of large families. I'm also reading some great material on "The Power of the Tongue" You can read in my "Let My Words Be Few" post about some of the convictions I am experiencing.

Well, that's it for today. I'm tired and can't wait to read my magazine and fall asleep! Thank you God, for such a great and mostly peaceful day. Thank you that Marcus worked hard on obeying and didn't get in trouble once! What a refreshing change! Now, you can work on Josh's tone of voice! Help him understand that he can't talk to me disrespectfully. I know you can pierce his heart with conviction. I pray that you will and that things will change. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, July 14, 2008

An Interesting Vacation...

We got down the the beach with no problems. It was windy setting up camp, so we had to move the tent once. The kids were good and had lots of fun. Andrew ran behind a horse and tried to pet it's leg and about got kicked. Praise the Lord, Papa Russ has really GOOD horses. The Lord, spared our little Andrew once again.

It was great weather except the wind. The wind came up in the afternoon and made it really miserable. The kid's plates kept flying away and cooking was hard. It was very cold a night, but the mornings were wonderful.

Dad and I had the miniature horses on the beach on Saturday. They were hooked up to the little carts. Jessica was with Dad and Josh was with me. We stopped to get a shell or something and the horses touched noses. We all thought it was cute that they were kissing, when suddenly one of the shafts of the cart went under the other one. The shafts got stuck together and then the fenders. Not good! The horses started freaking out while Dad and I yelled at the kids to get off. They obeyed and ran. In the meantime, I grabbed Dough Boy's bridle while Dad untangled the carts. When they finally did pull apart with a loud POP, Dough Boy tried to run away. You would not believe how much strength those little horses have! I just held onto his bridle and ran in three big circles with him. The bridle felt like it was going to fall off, so I managed to grab onto his bit. I could control his mouth that way and try to get him to stop! While I was trying to get control of Dough Boy, Dad got Bakerman calmed down enough to have Josh hold onto him so he could help me out. Josh was so scared, but he obeyed and did it. Dad was able to help me and everything turned out OK. We learned a lesson that day. DON'T LET THE CARTS GET TO CLOSE TO EACH OTHER!!!!! Josh didn't want to get back on, but I made him and he told me he was so scared that he wanted to throw up. I told him Papa and I were scared too. A runaway horse with a cart behind it, is not a good thing on a busy beach. It could kill the horse, or a person, and wreck the expensive carts. Boy, did we have a story to tell when we got back to camp! We told Josh we were really proud of him for obeying even though he was scared.

On Sunday, I took the scooter and was just riding around a bit and checking up on the kids. I pulled back into camp and Steve, Dad, Jackie, Jerry and Sonya (my brother and SIL) came up to me and wanted to know when we were checked out to leave. I told them Monday. They said all their tickets said that we were to leave Sunday. "WHAT?", I said! I couldn't believe it. I had made the reservations and forgotten that we could only spend 3 nights when were normally stay 4. I was devastated. I was so afraid everyone was going to be mad and disappointed at me. I felt horrible for ruining everyone's plans. Everyone was so understanding and they hugged me and told me it was all right. They didn't mind going home early. I felt very loved. Jackie and I hopped on the scooter and tried to see if we could stay an extra night but almost the entire horse camp was reserved for Sunday night. Praise God, they looked at their tickets or we would have been sitting there when these other campers showed up! Can you imagine? Dad then told me that he remembered me telling him that we couldn't get that fourth night, but we had both forgotten about it. I can't believe that I didn't remember that! I'm getting old, man!

I was OK with going home early because I was honestly sick of being cold and dealing with the wind. I got to do everything I wanted to do. I rode several miles on the beach on Dundee, I drove the mini's around with the carts, I got to spend time with my family, playing games at night, and I got to see a sunset over the ocean with Steve. The kids had a great time and even made money when they turned the carts into a temporary rickshaw! It was pretty cute. I think they hauled each other around that way then any other thing.

Dad and Diana wanted to get home for several reasons. When they were packing up, the day before we left they discovered that their old camper didn't fit onto the newer truck Dad had bought. Oops! So they were scrambling, trying unsuccessfully to find a camper that would fit. They ended sleeping in the swept out horse trailer with a tarp thrown on top. As they were coming to the coast they got a phone call from friends saying that there was a huge grassfire by their house. They were calling to see what they wanted saved! Oh, my! I would have been freaking out! The fire ended up going around their house. So they were anxious to see what damage had been done. The Lord spared everything!

Vern and Ethel came up as we were packing up to leave. We did end up going out to lunch with them. It was so great to see my in-laws. We hadn't seen them since May.

Grandma Fay and Regina had a bad breakdown on the way here. His wheel almost fell off and got banged up really bad. They were really late getting there and we were getting worried about them. They were OK, and we were glad to see them get to camp safely.

The kids were so disappointed that we had to leave early. Steve took them to the park and out to lunch today to try to make up for it.

We were all so happy to get our Jacob back early. When Steve came back from meeting Mom in Arlington to get Jacob, the kids just went crazy when they saw him. It is so sweet to see how much they love their baby brother! Jacob went crazy, too! You could tell he missed all of us. He is so sweet! I forgot how cute he is! Mom and Larry had a ball with Jacob and Hailey! They were much safer there, then at horse camp.

Once again, I learn that I can only plan so much, and the best-laid plans still can fall apart! We have to roll with the punches and look for the blessings!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why Lord?

My heart is breaking. The pager just went off and the call came in as an infant not breathing. I rushed the pager to my husband who was in the bathtub. He listened then asked me to shut it off quickly. Apparently, the details were getting to him. He said the baby was dead and couldn't be revived. We started praying. We lifted up the parents, the policeman and the firefighters. As I went by the bathroom, I heard Steve crying out to God asking "Why, why, why?" over and over again. It broke my heart. I pictured him recalling all the SIDS babies he has gone on. I know they bother him the most now that he is a parent. It reminds me once again of the things my husband sees and has to turn off when he gets home. I honestly don't know how he does it. If I saw something like that, I would not be able to function for who knows how long. These are guys are amazing. Please pray for them. They all deal with the stuff in such different ways. Some never talk about it and just stuff it all inside. One day it comes out and can ruin everything. Some take it out on their families, and some cry out to God, like my dear husband, and ask "why?".

In the meantime, I will be a silent warrior, praying...

Almost Ready

Today has been good so far. We have the trailer mostly loaded, the Suburban has been cleaned out (that's always a "fun" job), and we have the back stuffed with sleeping bags, pillows and suitcases. We decided to bring the scooter so that we can run errands on it. It would save so much money. Also, we can give the kiddos rides around the campground.

Yesterday, my friend, Margaret, decided to not go camping and to be there for her husband in case his father died. Catherine (whom she was going to camp with) was disappointed but doing well with it. She is very good at going with the flow of things. I need to take lessons from her! Maybe that is where age comes in. She is in her early sixties and has such wisdom. I love to talk to her and pray with her.

Yesterday, I was able to get a massage. It was a fundraiser for Brian (who has cancer and no insurance). My sweet husband suggested that I do it. It felt great. It was also nice getting to know the massage therapist, who happens to be the wife of our new Fire Marshall. She seems to be sweet. They have a blended family with six kids, so it was nice to hear how she does it.

I was able to watch Liam and Riley (Margaret's children) yesterday, so that she could go to the foster care home that her FIL is at. The kids were great and so polite at mealtime. She has trained them so well to say "please and thank you". I am HUGE on manners, so it is great to see kids using them!

I will take Jacob to Arlington (I'm meeting my mom halfway) this evening. I get to ride up there with my twin sister, Jackie. I'm looking forward to having some one on one time with her. Rachel, my friend, offered to take Joshua, Marcus, Jessica and Andrew overnight, so we can finish packing. What a sweetie! It will be so nice to be with just Steve tonight. We haven't had a night alone forever.

My other friend, Debi called last night and excitedly told me that she is expecting her third baby! Her husband got a vascectomy soon after their first child was born. God did an amazing work on his heart and he got a reversal about seven years later. She had a baby girl, and now is expecting another. We rejoiced together at how amazing God was. I told her that I had been pregnant 2 weeks ago, but it had ended in a miscarriage. I told her of the hope that God had given me through that experience. She cried with me and spontaneously burst into a Spirit-filled prayer. It was a beautiful experience and I could feel the presence of the Lord so strongly. He takes care of us, gives us the strength we need, and is completely trust-worthy. I am so happy for her!

I believe that women are to be life-givers, not life-stoppers! We are to raise Godly-seed for God's Kingdom. That will change our communities and eventually our nation! Having a womb is a gift from God. We can use our womb to bring glory to Him. By saying yes, to children, we are fulfilling our calling as Christian women. Even if you husband doesn't want anymore, it doesn't matter. What is in YOUR heart matters. My sister's husband does not want anymore than two children. God has changed my sister's heart and she now desires a large family. She can have peace in her heart (whether she has another child or not) knowing that she is surrendered to whatever God wants to bless her with. God honors that, and we continue to pray that God will change her husband's heart. If you are in the same situation, be at peace. God can change hearts! Knowing you are in His Will is everything. Keep surrendered to Him.

Isn't it funny how we sing "I Surrender All" to the Lord, but most of us hold back our wombs? After I made the decision to have as many children as God wanted to bless me with, I sang that song, and it felt different. I felt I could sing that song with integrity! I really meant it!!!! Can you sing that and mean it? Even if your husband says "no" to more children, you can still rest under his covering and have peace. You are not accountable for his decision, but you are accountable for your own.

I know I've probably stepped on a few toes and many of you are saying "Ouch!", but that is the sweet thing about this blog. I can get on my soapbox every now and then, and in love speak the Truth.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Relaxing Day

Today was nice. I wanted it to be low-key and it was. The kids and I got our chores done by 9:00 a.m. They decided to play and I decided to pick raspberries while Jacob was sleeping. I got four pints picked before he woke up. The raspberries this year are insane! I am picking about a gallon on average every day. We are selling them for $2 a pint. Marcus wanted to give 60% of the money to Voice of the Martyr's Family Fund. We then would keep 40% and save it for something fun for the family. I found out about a classmate of mine the other day that just got diagnosed with Stage 3 colon and liver cancer. He has no medical insurance. People are looking at ways to help him out. I suggested to the kids today that we give the 40% that were intended to keep to Brian. They weren't too sure, but I asked them to pray about it. I told them God has provided for our needs in everyway, and it would be nice to be able to help someone out. It wouldn't be much money, but it would build a concept into my children of helping others. That is more important than anything. I am going to sit back now and see what they choose to do. I'll let you know...

After I picked raspberries, I told the kids to get their shoes on. I suprised them with cheeseburgers at McDonalds and we had a picnic at the Fire Engine Park. They were good and had a fun time playing. We came home and cleaned up again and I started to cook quessadilla meat for the camping trip. We had leftover Italian Sausage Soup with biscuits. The kids played in the pool and had a great time. Marcus is doing so good. He is putting his head under the water like crazy now! Jess, too! Being able to practice is so crucial to becoming comfortable in the water.

Good news! Steve said he is going to take off Wednesday so that he can help pack! This is such a treat. I'm very thankful and my friend, Rachel asked if the kids could spend the night. We can get tons done the morning we leave without them underfoot. What a blessing! Thanks, Rach!

My friend, Margaret called and said her Father-In-Law, Bob is getting ready to leave this world. He has been in bad shape for awhile now. She was schedule to go on a camping trip with our dear friend, Catherine tomorrow, but didn't know what to do. Should she go? Should she stay? It was a hard choice. I prayed with her over the phone and asked God for wisdom. I don't know what she chose. I'll probably find out in the morning. I could tell her heart was with her husband, as it should be. I think she will choose to stay. We are praying Bob won't suffer any longer than necessary.

Well, that is about it. I'm off to pick more raspberries now that I have most of the kids down. I need to round up the two older boys to come and help me!

Andrew and Electricity Don't Mix!

I put Andrew to bed tonight and was reading Jessica a story, when he came running out of his room crying. He was holding his finger saying he was hurt. I looked at it and it had a pretty good blister on it. I asked what happened and he said he got burned. I'm thinking, "Where would he get burned in his room?" He showed me some keys that were on the floor. They were very hot and had burn marks on them. I asked him if he had put them in an outlet. He said he had. Yikes! You should have seen those keys. They were actually partly melted. We put some salve on it and a band aid and had ANOTHER good talk about putting things in outlets. If you are asking yourself why I don't put those outlet covers on, I'll tell you why. All of my kids figured out really early how to take them off and it increased their fascination of the outlets. So I don't bother anymore. Another lesson learned. Poor Andrew seems to always find out everything the hard way. I'm so glad he's O.K. It could have been much worse.

Grateful Hearts

I have to share something that just touched my heart. On the Fourth of July, my children and I had a crazy day. We started with going out to my parent's ranch for a family potluck. Next, we went to the MCFR (Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue) potluck. Normally, we go to the station to light off fireworks. I was so tired and Jacob had a fever most of the day due to teething, that I decided to not go. The kids were disappointed, but didn't complain. I let the kids stay up late so they could set off the few fireworks I bought them. My mom normally spoils them rotten with bags and bags of fireworks. We weren't going to see her before the Fourth, so she opted not to this time. After we set off the small amount that I had bought (I do mean small), they didn't complain like I thought they would. Instead, God totally encouraged my heart when one by one they thanked me for spoiling them! Wow! I just praised the Lord for that! I hope and pray that my children will not grow up to be ungrateful, but to be thankful for every blessing that comes their way. It turned out to be a great Fourth!

Jacob



Jacob is 16 months now. He is such a cutie. He loves to dance and be funny. He has learned to give five and we are trying to teach him to talk so that we don't have to listen to his customary screech! Jacob has a different look about him. He has blond hair and blue eyes. Jacob is a little bigger then our other kids too. He is proving to be an avid climber as well. Currently all the chairs around the table are tipped upside down so that he won't push them to the counter and crawl up there.

Explanation of Andrew's Accident

The post before, is the email I sent out to family and friends after Andrew's bunk bed accident. I don't want anyone thinking that it just happened. This happened right around April of 2007. I am posting this as a warning to parents to check their bunk bed railing. If you can fit a can of pop through it, it is too wide. Your child's head or body can slip through it and they can hang themselves. We were blessed. God spared our little Andrew. Reading that letter over again, still brings up emotions in me. I am so glad that I put that down in writing, so that I will appreciate Andrew even more when he makes his messes and throws fits.

Andrew's Bunk Bed Accident Story

Dear Family and Friends,

I wanted to let you all know what happened with our little 2 year old Andrew yesterday. This is very hard for me to relive, so I hope it makes sense.

Sunday night I put Andrew down in Jessica's room. He said he wanted to sleep on her top bunk. He goes up and down the ladder all the time just fine, so I thought it would be fine since the side rails are very high. He had been keeping Jessica awake lately, so I put her in the boy's room. Later that night I heard him crying softly around 3:00 a.m. while I was feeding the baby. I thought maybe he was having a bad dream and even went to his door to listen. He was quiet so I went back to bed. I got up around 5:30 a.m. with the baby and did my devotions and took a shower around 7:00. I thought it was odd that Andrew hadn't gotten up yet, he is usually up around 6:00.

I was in the shower when Jessica came in and said "Andrew's stuck." Asked her what she meant thinking he just didn't want to come down the ladder. She said, "No, Andrew's stuck, he's hanging." I immediately yelled at Josh to go get him thinking he tried to climb over the rail or something. As I started to get out of the shower, Josh came running in with Andrew and started telling me Andrew's head had been stuck and he had to get it out. I then saw the horrible red and purple mark across his jaw and cheek. His ear was red and swollen and had blisters on it. I ran and got the cell phone and called Steve at work. I asked him to come home and check Andrew, as I was talking to him, Andrew wasn't crying and I was getting even more worried about that. Then Andrew turned his head and I saw that his face was deformed. Not only was his jaw flattened, but his left eye was in the wrong place and his mouth looked like a stroke victim. I started crying and told Steve he needed to bring the ambulance. I silently thanked God he was breathing and told Steve that Andrew could hold his head up on his own. Steve came quickly with two other paramedics. When he came in he said that it didn't look as bad as he thought (he was expecting elephant man), but then as they started strapping him to the pediatric C-spine board Andrew started to cry. Steve saw his eye and mouth and was very concerned. From what Joshua told us, we figured he had been hanging by his head with his little legs dangling free on the outside of the rail. It was horrible. The worst thing was that he had been like that for at least 4 hours-could have been up to 6, we just don't know. He couldn't cry loudly because his jaw was stuck shut. Oh, how horribly I felt. I just didn't know. The guilt came bombarding me, making me sick. God is getting me through it though. Accidents happen and I know that I am still a good mom. It is just hard when you know that all it took was opening the door and checking on him.

As I was driving up to the hospital I just kept crying out to God that we needed Him right now. I prayed that he would heal him. It looked so bad, I thought maybe he had a brain injury and had a stroke. I was preparing myself for the worst. The children were back at home with a friend and then their Nana came and took over. They were crying (they could see for themselves how bad it was, so it was no use pretending that it wasn't). I told them to pray, pray, pray. I told them that this is when our faith comes in and we have to trust God to take care of our little Andrew. They were so scared that his brain had been hurt. I hated leaving them, but I needed to be up there with Andrew and with Steve. As I was driving a song came on KLOVE, the words went something like this, "I will lift my eyes to the Maker, of the mountains I can climb." It went on and said, "God, I need you, you are the healer". It was just what I needed to hear.

When I saw Andrew, God had already been working. His eye was looking better and his mouth a little less droopy. The right side of his face where his jaw had been compressed, was starting to swell up and get really red. The circulation was coming back. He wasn't even crying, he was tired from not sleeping for so long. The doctor said everything looked good and that his brain was fine. The only thing that we could do is wait for him to get better. They didn't even do a scan! We were out of the ER in less than 2 1/2 hours. Dr. Grimsley said that he was very blessed that he didn't cut off the air in his windpipe. He could have died. He also said that it would take awhile for the nerves in Andrew's face to heal.

Please pray that Andrew will heal quickly. The nerves in his face are still not working right. When he laughs or cries is when his face gets droopy. He is also having a little trouble chewing. His jaw is very swollen right now and his ear as well. The pressure blisters should go away in a few days as well. It is very hard to look at him and not cry.

God is a big God, he can do anything. I know that he can touch my little Andrew's face and heal it instantly. I'm praying that He will do so. Pray also that God will heal my heart. I am having trouble with thinking about it all the time, then feeling sick knowing how easily I could have lost him.

The bunk bed had a gap in the rail that was just too big. We found out that if you can fit a 12 oz pop can standing upright through the rails, it's too wide. So if you have bunk beds, check, please! We took it down that day and are throwing it in the dump. If you know someone that has children in bunk beds, forward this to them, that way they can be warned.

If you have children, give them a hug. Don't yell at them. Don't stress when they make messes. Your time with them is precious. It is a gift from God. I don't know what I would do without my little buddy, Andrew. God graciously spared him and I thank God that I am able to write to you knowing that I could have lost him so easily and didn't. Thank you, God, for your mercies.

To celebrate God's goodness and the heroism of my children, the fire department had us come down and have a little pizza party with ice cream and pop for our family. Even the grandparents were invited and our friend Margaret and her children. It was a wonderful celebration where Jessica and Joshua got to go up in front of everyone and the Fire Chief honored them with a little speech and a plaque that told of their life-saving efforts. What a way to celebrate! We are so thankful for the amazing support system we have. The phone continually rang the whole day and visitors came even after 9:00 pm. We have even been offered meals. I know that Andrew is on at least 3 prayer chains, and that God is going to be faithful to answer those prayers. Our six year old Marcus, was a little prayer warrior, and I will be making him a special plaque in regards to his part as well. The poor little guy had slept in and woke up to seeing his brother look like that. He kept praying and praying for him. I told him, that is just as important as Josh getting his head unstuck and bringing him to me.

So that’s my story, I hope I didn't leave anything out. I am very tired and I hope it makes sense. My mom is here now, so I am hoping to get a nap in while since Steve has to go back to work today.

Love to all,
Stacie

Andrew


Andrew is three. Andrew is my little stinker! He is a mess-making machine! I love this kid, he has a great sense of humor and is extremely intelligent. He is fascinated with machinery, tractors, and contruction. He is his Papa Russ's Tractor Boy. He begs to go out to the Ranch and see Papa's tractor. I think this child is going to be farming with Papa when he grows up.
Andrew has had some challenges. When he turned two, he has a terrible bunk bed accident that left him hanging by his jaw for hours during the night. I will post the story. It was very scary. God was merciful and spared him. It affected his foot. His foot was already turned in, but now it is turned in even more and he tiptoes on it. He has learned to run, but "floating". It's amazing to watch him. We keep praying for healing, and have tried a couple different braces. We are now trying regular massage to try to keep the tendons and muscles loose. Hopefully, it will help.
Andrew is learning about Jesus and is starting to talk more about the things of God. He is learning to say sorry when he has done wrong to others. He enjoys playing with his brothers and sister.

Marcus and Jessica




Marcus is seven. He has the brains in the family. He loves the computer, reading, and is very good at math. He is also a Star Wars fan and loves to play soccer. Marcus has a real heart for the persecuted church, and is always thinking of ways we can help people who are hurting. I keep telling him, I believe God has called him to be a missionary, time will tell.

Jessica is five. The only girl so far, so she is pretty tough! Jessica loves babies, and loves to help Mom cook. She absolutely loves her Grandma Kricket and seems to have inherited her adventuresome spirit. Jessica likes snakes, bugs, and anything gross and disgusting. She has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh! She loves to annoy her brothers and is getting pretty good at it. Jessica accepted Jesus in her heart when she was three, and likes to be the one to bring the Bible out at dinner time. I love doing girlie things with her! Jess and I feel outnumbered though, in the boy-department, so keep petitioning the Lord for a girl for the next baby!

Photos of the Children


Joshua is nine. He is interested in Star Wars and Civil War. He is not crazy about school, but what he is interested in, he learns it well! Just ask him about Titanic, WWII aircraft, and firefighting. He knows more then most adults! He also enjoys Fall Soccer and playing with friends.

Spring Family Photo


Here we are, Steve, Stacie, Joshua (9), Marcus (7), Jessica (5), Andrew (3), and Jacob (1). 2008

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Getting Ready For Horse Camp

If you know me, you will know that I like to be prepared! I am already starting to pack for our camping trip to Nehelam Bay, Oregon. We will be camping at the state park with my family. My dad is going to bring the miniature horses. In order to stay at the horse camp you have to have horses. So we will be "borrowing" them. It's so cute when Dad unloads them. He tucks them under the big horses. They are so tiny! We will be giving lots of cart rides with the minis. This will be Andrew's first trip to horse camp. He is very excited! He practically worships Papa Russ, so he will be in heaven spending 5 days with him. My twin sis is coming up and her family. It is going to be awesome. The weather looks like it's going to be great.

Camping is a lot of work, though! I'm trying to keep everything to a minimum, but it still looks like I've packed everything but the kitchen sink!

My mom and stepfather are going to take Jacob (my one year old) and my sis's baby, Hailey. I'm so thankful! It will be much more relaxing without having to worry about Jacob falling into the fire or getting into the horse pen.

My mom is awesome about taking the kids. She will do everything she can to make it happen. I really appreciate that about her. She is an amazing grandma and seems to have more stamina then I do!

Being Prepared

Being Prepared

I am learning that as a mother, it is good to be prepared. Sometimes life just sends you a curve ball that you are least expecting.
There are many ways we can be prepared. One way is to have several meals in the freezer. In an emergency, or if Mom gets sick it is so nice to be able to pull that wonderful home-cooked meal out of the freezer. My attitude is this; if I’m making a mess in my kitchen, I might as well make two meals instead of one. The next thing you know you’ve got a stockpile of meals in your freezer. This can be a blessing to others as well. If you know that someone could use a meal, you have it all ready for them.
Another way to be prepared is by having friends you can call to watch your kids in case there is an emergency. Ask them in advance, if you must. It will be well worth your time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up in the emergency room, while leaving my other children with a trust-worthy friend. It is such a blessing to not have to drag them all up there to wait who-knows-how-long for the injured one to get seen.
We can be prepared when our children start asking tough theological questions. I’ve heard many parents lament that they just don’t know how to teach their children the Bible when they know so little about it themselves. I have a remedy for that. Read your Bible, do Bible studies. Ask God to give you a thirst for His Word. He will do it! He has done it for me! You CAN teach your children the Bible. If they ask a question that you just don’t know, then call your pastor or a mature Believer. Be prepared!
When your children are about ready to enter into a new stage of life (teen years, or leaving the nest), read up on that stage. Talk to other parents who are going through it or have been through it. Don’t just wing it! Above all, PRAY for your children!
One last thing God is teaching me about preparation is to take the Sabbath (or day of rest) more seriously. I work hard all week long, and I am finding that God truly wants to refresh my soul. But how can I stop working on my day of “so-called” rest? I still have to cook and clean up. The whole key to a day of rest is PREPARATION. On Saturday, have the laundry completely caught up. Have the dishes done and the sink scrubbed out on Saturday night. Make simple sandwiches for lunch after church. Pull out one of those meals out of the freezer for Sunday’s dinner.
Having a hard time getting to church on time with your little ones? I have the answer! Drum roll please…. Have all their clothes, socks and shoes laid out the night before. This way you are not tracking down that missing shoe at the last minute. Make sure they are bathed on Saturday night. Another easy solution is to have a simple breakfast ready (I do not do cereal except on Sundays) and to make sure that everyone gets up before 7:00 a.m. If you follow these guidelines you will have no problem getting to church on time. I would never survive Sunday mornings if I didn’t do this. Remember the key is to be prepared!
We may not be able to control the circumstances in our life, but we can certainly be prepared like the Proverbs 31 Woman. I believe God honors and blesses you when you seek His heart during your preparation. Ask Him what things you need to be doing and especially things you don’t need to be doing. Sometimes we take on more then He asks us too.

From One Mom to Another,
Stacie

A Good Laugh!

Something I'm trying to do more is to laugh with the kids! God created joy for our health and pleasure. I want to partake in that more often!

Someone sent us this adorable and absolutly hilarious video of two brothers. We now go around the house saying "Charlie bit me" in the best English accents we can muster. I hope you enjoy it too and remember to laugh today!

http://videos.komando.com/2008/06/25/charlie-bit-me/

Sick Child

Andrew, my three year old, came down with a high fever last evening. He woke up in the middle of night crying. I took his temperature and it was 104 degrees. Poor little guy. He tried to stand up and was so shaky, he couldn't. I gave him more medicine and he fell back to sleep. After that, Jess woke up with a nightmare. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep last night. These are those days that I wake up and give God my day. I thank Him for the sleep that I did get and trust Him to supply all my needs.

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This!

OK, people have suggested that I start a blog for awhile. But I have resisted it, thinking I don't have the time. I realized that it is just another form of keeping a journal (which I do somewhat irregularly). I can't imagine why people would want to listen to or keep up with my ramblings!

As a mother of five (so far), I might have some wisdom to offer the blogging community. I chose the title, A Firefighter's Wife, because I wanted to perhaps perk the interest of women who have chosen to marry a firefighter. It is a different lifestyle then most. Our husband's do not have 8-5 jobs and you HAVE to be flexible when the pager goes off. If I can even slightly encourage these precious ladies who live just as sacrificially as their husbands, I will be happy.

So this day is about to start, my five children are sleeping still, and I am on the computer. It won't last long, but it feels good to get started.

There will be more, I promise!
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