Saturday, October 31, 2009

Catching Up

I have been trying very hard the past few months to take my children more places and do more things. Last year, due to pregnancy, I was very limited. We stayed home a LOT! Above, is a picture of Andrew. We went to an Operation Christmas Child party and wrapped shoe boxes. It was a little stressful when I realized that not one of my four older children were able to do this on their own. I think I had that deer in the headlight look and didn't even know where to start. Some kind people volunteered their teenagers and assigned them to help some of my children. It was great! After wrapping the shoe boxes we sat down and watched the new Veggie Tale's movie, which was all about sharing and giving our Christmas away. Andrew won a door prize, "a Very Veggie Christmas". We were so thrilled for him! But when I realized that it was the a CD that we already had, he didn't miss a beat and said, "Mom, I could give this to Kenya!" He went over and put it in the Kenya pile! I couldn't believe it! We praised him up and down and told him that he had just given part of his Christmas away and how he was going to be blessed. This picture was taken after he decided to give the CD to Kenya.
I came in the door from getting my hair cut and my two older boys freaked and said, "You have brown hair again! We missed it!" It feels good to have shorter, brown hair again. It was fun being blonde, but I'm not going to spend $60 every 6 months or so to get it maintained. Now, Lily can't pull my hair quite as hard!
Steve took this shot of Lily. She didn't just start crawling last week, she is now pulling herself up on furniture. Sniff, sniff! She wants to grow up so fast, and I'm not in any hurry for that to happen. I am cherishing every moment with her, since she is probably my last baby.
LastWednesday night, my friend, Margaret, invited us to go see a Christian illusionist at her church. I had no idea what I was walking into. Apparently, it was geared toward middle school aged kids. I took my 11, 9, 6, and 4 year old. I decided that I am officially an old lady. The music was blaring, I couldn't understand any of the words, and I would look around and every other kid was texting, or had some kind of music device in their ear. It is such a different world since I have been in school. My kids and I felt like foreigners. Not a bad thing. Many of the kids were very rude and it didn't feel like there was much control. The illusionist was a great trooper and even though it was very distracting, several people made decisions for Christ. On the way home, I had a chance to answer questions and the two older boys both told me they are glad that our family is different. They had been complaining lately, that they didn't like how we are different (we make them work and have rules), now they are thanking me for it! Yeah!

Josh had raised his hand at the show and rededicated his life to the Lord. At bedtime, Marcus asked if he could do it, too. I was glad I went after all!

I had Bible study in my home two days ago, when in the middle of the our Beth Moore video, I hear "Mom, come quick, Josh had a stick sticking into his bone!" Oh, great! We run out there and Josh is hysterical. There was a stick about the diameter of about a pea sticking out of his leg. I couldn't tell how far it was in, so I was about to call Steve (was he there? Nooooo) and ask him if I should try to pull it out or take him to the ER. Margaret looked at me calmly and said, "Aren't you going to just pull it out?" She reached down, covered Josh's eyes and pulled. It took three really good pulls to get it out. Man, it must have hurt! It gave me the heebie jeebies! He's OK, but now it is infected. We are putting lots of peroxide and Neosporin on it. He has his last game of soccer today. He doesn't want to miss it, but I really hope he doesn't get kicked in the shin!

Yesterday was an awesome day! I quickly homeschooled, and then went to tea with my friend, Rachel. We had a great time and chatted for, oh, 2 hours! We had to run home and nurse our babies afterwards! It was just so good to catch up and encourage each other in the Lord.

We also had their whole clan come for dinner. We had slow-cooked herbed pork roast and carameled apples for dessert. The kids had so much fun together, and the adults, too! They are a terrific family and our kids get along really well! I'll post pictures later!

So today is soccer, ACTS, and a Harvest Party! Whew! Now I'm supposed to cook, clean, and do laundry in there somewhere, right? LOL!
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

30 Day Challenge Check



Ladies, how are we doing? I thought I might do a little "spiritual" check up on us since we are about 1/3 of the way through. Time goes fast when you are having fun (or changing bad habits)!


It has been much easier since the first time I took this challenge. I must have established some good habits! Yeah! Anytime you are going the right direction is a time to rejoice! I have caught myself several times thinking negative thoughts and do a mental check of why I was about to express my frustration disrespectfully. There are other ways to get your point across. Using a pleasant tone of voice and nice words helps. Also, timing is everything and a calm facade. I say facade, because I could be screaming on the inside, but if I can get my request out in a respectful way, Steve hears me so much better. I'm sure most husbands are the same.


I want this group of 17 women, so far, to be able to be truthful about their struggles. You don't need to go into detail (that would be defeating the purpose of this Challenge). But we need to be real with each for accountability's sake. If God lays it on your heart to write a short testimony on how you are doing with the challenge so far, please leave it in the comment section! I'm sure we will all be blessed by your transparency and victories!


I'm going to leave you with a link to one of my devotions called "Fighting Clean". We will have conflict! How do you come out clean instead of dirty after a fight? Read more here:




May God bless you as you endeavor on this amazing journey with me! I'm very excited about the Give-Away! I am actually going to have two winners! It's not to late to join. Just leave a comment stating you want me to pray for you.


Here is a list so far of the ladies who we are praying for: Kimberly, Grandma Becky, Tammy, Hip Chick, Catherine, Jackie, Deb, Alexis, Mrs. Lukie, Jenn, Ruth, Amber, J, Susan, Margaret, Jill, "I am a Gift", and I (Stacie).


Be sure to list these names up to the Lord when you find yourself struggling! We all will benefit from each other's prayers.


Love you all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mary Watches Daddy Preach!

Sorry, Rachel, but I had to steal this picture. It brought tears to my eyes! Little Mary sitting on the floor watching her daddy preach on Sunday. This is just precious! Rachel and Paul are ministers in The Salvation Army. We are more than blessed to have this family as our friends. Rachel and I have been pregnant together with our last three children. She has 3 girls and 2 boys, and I have 2 girls and 4 boys. I cannot tell you what an awesome mother of many she is!

I really think she needs to blow this up and frame it!

"My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be graceful ornaments on your head, and chains about your neck."-Proverbs 1:8-9

Love you guys! Pray the kids don't get sick so that we can enjoy Friday evening together eating casserole and Rachel's famous caramel apples!
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can I Just Say Life Is Good?

Every now and then you take a deep breath, look around and realize that your life is, well, just really good. I've been doing a lot of self-examination lately, and I have been deeply thankful to the Lord for all the good things and amazing people that He has put in my life. First of all, my husband losing weight is huge! Because of the 30 Day Challenge, I am thinking more positively about my husband and displaying more acts of kindness, which in return reciprocates back to me. It is very fulfilling and I am feeling quite loved by my ol' hubs!
In regards to my role as a mother, I am seeing some fruit in my children's lives as they have had some difficult encounters lately with other children their age. We have lots of opportunities for discussion and I believe that godly fruit is being displayed in some cases (not all). I am being more purposeful in my parenting and praying more and letting go a little at a time when it comes to my older children who are chafing at the bit to be independent.

My little ones are so full of life, love and laughter! They crack me up with their mispronounced words and literalness (is that a word?). They bring Steve and I such joy. It is worth all the bickering and such that comes with lots of siblings.

Homeschooling is going well. I have been more consistent this year and I am seeing the fruit of it. Josh is reading better and Marcus is really starting to enjoy math. Jessica seems to enjoy math as well. I have been more relaxed as a teacher and less fretful that I am missing out on something or that there will be holes in their education. I am just one tool in God's tool box!

We have gone an lots of field trips this year. The above picture is our most recent one at the Discovery Center. It's a great way to go on a rainy day. We get a membership every year, which saves our family a ton of money. We are sitting on a giant carved sturgeon.
Lily has been such a joy to us all. Despite the lack of sleep and everything that comes with babies, Lily is just the cutest little thing and we love to watch her accomplish something new. I am truly enjoying every moment with her and love it when she cuddles with me, or buries her little nose in my shoulder to wipe her boogers! She is learning to crawl, now, and is on the move!
Financially, we have everything paid off but our mortgage. We have peace of mind that way. The burden of being in debt is gone. We have everything we need and then some! God has blessed us so that we can bless others.

We are all very healthy right now. What a blessing that is. Except for the occasional cold, or strep, we have been sick-free.

We are also thankful for all the wonderful friends and family that God has blessed us with (you know who you are!). It is wonderful to be loved and to love others that God has placed in our lives for different times and seasons.

We also have a loving church family. Our pastor is going through a battle with cancer and it has been very difficult for him. He knows time might be short and it helps me to look at life and maybe let go of some of things that might have otherwise stressed me out. Things that don't matter, that aren't truly important.

Again, can I just say that life is good right now?
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Twin Moment

I was at Jackie's house when Mom brought over some magazines. We both made a beeline to the Victorian magazine. We LOVE Victorian era anything! We sat down and started looking through it, dreaming. We saw this beautiful apron and gasped (at the same time). It was actually affordable! We looked at each other and said, "We could each get one and split the shipping". So we did it! We don't dress up the same much anymore, but it is fun to have something the same. Here is a picture of us in our aprons last weekend.

I just have to brag about my sweet sister, Jackie. She is the most amazing woman! Our spiritual journeys are very similar. We believed in Jesus around age six. Grew some, but kind of back slid when we were in high school and college. After I got married and became pregnant with Josh, the Lord got my attention and this is when I would say that I made my faith my own. Jackie, unfortunately was inundated with the thinking of college professors that were very liberal. She was very confused. As my faith grew and I started learning about revering and submitting to my husband, she could see the fruit in that. She bought a Life Application Bible and took OFF! I would get convicted of something, share with her and then she would get convicted. It seemed like I was always a step ahead for awhile. Things have changed now. She has grown so much in the Lord! She knows the Word, she digs the nuggets of wisdom as if they are great treasure. If I want godly advice on how to handle something, I know that I can go to her. If we don't know the answer, we start digging some more! She is my gift from God. She is my best friend, my other half.

We talk almost every day on the phone. She is my greatest cheerleader. She encourages and advises me with my children, husband, editing devotions and my blog.

She rides a HUGE Harley, she loves tea parties and pretty things, she loves the Lord and is a wonderful mommy to two fiery redheads! She is a military wife who endures LONG absences while her husband is away on drills, trainings and wars. She is into healthy eating so much that she makes EVERYTHING from scratch, including her own cheese. She is my sister, my twin and my best friend. You can visit her at her blog http://www.homesteadwannabes.blogspot.com/

We always say, "Everyone should have a twin". We know we are blessed and we don't take it for granted.

Sorry, Jack! Just had to brag about you! Love ya...
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Friday, October 23, 2009

My Husband is Shrinking!

I am so proud of Steve. About 5 months ago he decided to lose weight. He has lost over 50 lbs so far! It is very exciting to watch him and cheer him on! Everyone asks how he is losing the weight. It is simple....He will tell you that he eats less and exercises! He does not consider that a diet, but a life-style change.

Even though he still has a ways to go, he is well on his way to being thin and healthy. I'm so happy for him! The kids and I are his greatest cheerleaders. He is so open and honest with them and others about his eating addiction. I pray that they see the courage that it takes to face an addiction head-on and ask God's help to be freed from it. He is being a wonderful role model to our children!

It is exciting to see 14 years of prayers being answered before my very eyes!

I will end this with a quote on marriage. I want to encourage the ladies who have taken the 30 Day Challenge to not speak negatively about or to their husbands.

"A successful marriage is not one in which two people, beautifully matched, find each other and get along happily ever after because of this initial matching. It is, instead, a system by means of which persons who are sinful and contentious are so caught by a dream bigger than themselves that they work throughout the years, in spite of repeated disappointment, to make the dream come true." -Elton Trueblood

I'm praying for you, Ladies! Remember, if you fail, repent and pick yourself back up again. You are becoming aware of bad habits!

The Lord bless you!

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jessica, Lily and Marcus Pics

I love it when Jess smiles naturally. She looks so much like Jackie and I, it is amazing!
I can just hear her goofy laugh!
Here is a sweet one with Big Sis holding Baby Lily, who just turned seven months today. Lily's dress used to be Jessica's Easter dress.
And here is my Marcus. Mr. Serious! He looks cute in that clean white shirt! Do you know how hard it is to keep four boys clean when they are in white shirts for an hour?
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mommy Pictures

Now as you well know, it is hard to get pictures of you when you are always behind the camera. I forced myself to have Marcus take some pictures of me.
Jacob wouldn't hold still, the little stinker. He's just so cute and wiggly!
I love Andrew's look in this picture. Believe it or not, I took this one!
Jessica took this picture of Lily. Tomorrow she will be 7 months!

I was dreading having our family photo taken today, so I decided to pray about my attitude this morning. I told God that I knew He was awful busy running the world, but I believed that he is a big enough God to help me in the smaller things. He answered my prayers and it was the most pleasant and fast photo session ever! Thank you, Lord!
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I Think I'm Improving!

We got our pictures taken today for our church directory. Since I had them all dressed up, I grabbed my camera and thought I would try to take some school pictures. I think I might be improving on my picture taking. I also dressed them up a bit with some by adding a soft glow around the edges. The first one is Andrew. This is his "preschool" picture.
Jacob isn't in school, but he wanted to show me the pretty leaves.
Jessica's First Grade picture. I love the lighting!
Josh is my hardest victim. It is nearly impossible to get him to smile naturally. This one looked pretty natural so this will be his 5th Grade picture.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Building Intimacy by Listening


I'm going to be writing some encouraging words and quotes to help spur on the ladies who have decided to take the 30 Day Challenge. I think I need this as much as anyone! Most of it will be taken from Gary Thomas' book "Devotions for a Sacred Marriage".

"Listening is the motor oil for both spiritual growth and marital health. Without it, the friction and the heat will cause the gears of our souls to jam and break, blowing up the engine. Relationships start to break down when both parties keep talking and stop listening. Being together, building intimacy, and growing in oneness require listening. When we stop listening, we stop loving.

It all begins with our prayers. If we keep rattling off a list of things we want God to change about our spouses, we're not paying attention to the list of things God wants to use our spouses to change about us. My morning prayers have become virtual marching orders. God almost never points out something my wife needs to do for me; ninety-nine times out of a hundred, he reveals to me what I'm to do for her.

Listening, of course, require a monumental shift in attitude. We should enter each day of marriage as learners, not teachers. God uses the challenges of marriage to teach us about ourselves. He uses our spouses to teach us how the other gender thinks and reacts. he uses marriage to give us perspective, and perhaps even a new outlook. God does not limit his lessons according to the gifting of the persons with whom we live; he is well able to speak through even the worst of sinners.

But when we refuse to listen, we miss all of this. You can change the entire spiritual climate in your home merely by choosing to listen. It's amazing what this simple spiritual act can do. Days of despair get transformed into days of discovery; disappointment gives way to discernment.

The best way to change your marriage is to start listening more than you talk. and when you pray, listen to God more than you complain about your spouse."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yesterday, my husband came home very late from an activity. My first tendency was to jump all over him. In fact, I did ask him in an irritated voice why he was an hour late. I should have known I could have trusted him. He had a very good reason for being late. I was ashamed that I spoke first without letting him explain himself. We ended up having a wonderful hour long discussion about the things we like about our marriage. What a blessing!

Let's start listening more and speaking less!

God gave us two ears and one mouth.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Take The 30 Day Challenge Part 2 Plus a Give-Away!



I just found this article I wrote for our church magazine about the 30 Day Challenge by Nancy Lee Demoss. I have also decided that it would be fun to have a give-away at the end of the 30 days. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment saying that you are going to join the Challenge. If you don't have a blog that I can contact you at, please email me at sbfirefighter@qnect.net so that I can get a hold of you. In the meantime we will all be praying for each other!


Dear Mothers and Wives,


Last month I encouraged you to let your words be fewer. I pray that you have had many moments these past few weeks to put that into practice. After I wrote that devotion, the Lord presented me with another challenge. He not only wanted my words to be few, but he wanted to change the words I used permanently! He asked me to take a 30-Day Challenge of not speaking negatively, to my husband or about my husband. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I have always been able to run to my understanding friends seeking the affirmation that I needed when I had been wounded. It was as if the Lord was saying, “That’s enough! Run to me. I am hear and stop speaking bad about your husband”. I knew immediately that I would need accountability. I chose four people whom I knew would call me to the carpet if I stepped out of line. I invited them to take the challenge as well. They were all on board! Through emailing and phone calls, we have held each other accountable and shared our victories. It has been so encouraging! We have added two other people to our group as well. The Lord wants our marriages to be godly. I believe marriage is under a full-blown attack right now. Well, we are taking back some ground


Would you let the Lord do something extraordinary in your marriage? The whole point of this is to not change your spouse, but to change you! You should hear some of the testimonies of these women. Some of them are in very hard situations and yet they are experiencing God’s peace and joy day in and day out as they lovingly speak to their husbands and look for ways to sow peace into their marriages.


OK, so you say, “I’m not married. I’m a single mom. How does this pertain to me?” You can start by practicing on your ex-husband. If you have a habit of speaking badly about him, this is the time to change. If that isn’t a problem, I challenge you to not speak negatively to your children or about your children. We ALL need to work on that one.


Just so you know, our husband’s know nothing about this challenge, yet they are responding in ways that we never could have imagined. They are loving us, serving us, and listening to us. All of this because we chose to follow God’s commands and give them the respect that He tells us to give our husbands, whether they deserve it or not. It is a sacrificial life, but the peace, love and joy that is bearing fruit in our lives is a testimony unto it’s self.

Will you take the Challenge? If so, I would love to hear from you! I’m even considering a give away to all that sign up!


May God bless you, as you become a godlier wife and mother!


From One Mom to Another,


Stacie


Fall is In The Air!

Nana and Papa and Grandma and Larry Pop grew pumpkins for the kids this year. What a blessing! We have all these beautiful pumpkins decorating our house for free! I think last time I spent $35 on pumpkins.
My Virginia Creeper is starting to turn colors. So beautiful in the fall. I just love it!
Josh looked out the window the other day and saw this beautiful pink glow outside. The sunrise was amazing, so I had him run out and get a picture of it.
Here are the pumpkins that Diana gave us. I found some pretty leaves at the Dollar Store and put them in a vase with some twigs.
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African Children's Choir

I took Marcus and Jessica to go see the African Children's Choir. If they come to your city or town, I would highly recommend going. Their smiles are contagious! Their singing is beautiful and their energy level is amazing as they perform dance after dance!
They were swishing these skirts like crazy! The drums were very cool!
They wanted to make sure we knew that they weren't up for adoption. They said they wanted to go back to Africa and make a difference there.
Jessica was really hyper and I think Marcus is giving her that "You are so embarrassing me!" look. LOL!
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

30 Day Challenge Revisited



Ruth asked if I would consider reposting Nancy Lee Demoss' "30 Day Challenge" that some friends and I took last year. Here is the original post...

The Lord has challenged me to go 30 days without saying anything negative about my husband. I have asked four 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 friend's 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 certain responses.

Do you want to grow spiritually? Do you want turn a miserable marriage into a good one? Do want to turn a good marriage into a great one? Then take the challenge with me!

If God is with us, who can be against us?

Lord, change our hearts! You say in your Word, "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." What is in your heart? Is it kind, loving and peaceful? Or is it bitter, miserable and vengeful?

Please leave a comment if you decide to take the challenge we can all be praying for each other that way!

LET'S DO IT!!!

Getting Ready for a Belt Test

Ever since Steve joined Tae Kwon Do, he has been making the kids practice, practice, practice. I'm so thankful, because I'm not into this at all. Having them practice was the last thing on my mind. Everyday, Steve has them go through everything they have learned, wrist escapes, kicks, blocks, punches and their two forms. They have improved so much! They get to do their first belt test in November. I am hearing a lot of Korean words flying around this place now!

It is good that they are learning to defend themselves. I have Steve teach me a few of the moves, like wrist escapes. I think every woman should know those.

Thank you to all who commented recently. You all were so sweet and encouraging as I made myself vulnerable once again. It makes me want to keep blogging. I have a whole new support system now! I will be posting another devotion soon, so stay tuned!

Have a blessed day and enjoy being with your children. Enjoy serving your husband. You can enjoy it because you are doing it unto the Lord!
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Laughing At The Days NOW!

I love that verse in the Bible where it talks about a virtuous woman can "Laugh at days to come". After the seriousness of the last post, I thought I would try "Laughing at the days, now". I don't mind grieving, but if you know me, I really don't enjoy being sad. I'm thankful for the little ones that God has put in my life that just plain make me laugh and smile! The top picture is of Lily in her jeans and flared sleeved outfit. This came from Jackie and I just think she looks like a baby fashion plate!
Lily has now started taking baths upright! Look at Jacob, he has his hand on the blue ring while I take a picture. He is such a sweet brother and is getting to be very helpful. Jacob constantly smooches her!
Marcus asked for a Mohawk. Sigh! A kid on his soccer team had it and he wanted to try it. At first we were just playing around but he really became insistent. I decided that it was his hair and if he wanted to look strange than that was his problem. I told him he has to shave it for our family pictures next week. He agreed. I thought he would get embarrassed, but I was wrong. He loves the darn thing! Oops, that backfired! I am a mom who will pick her battles. Better than an earring, I guess...
I had to save the best for last! After shaving his head (and leaving the Mohawk) he came out and said, "Mom, look, I have hairy armpits!" I went in and saw that he had taped his hair to his armpits with packaging tape! Now if that doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what would! Crazy kid!
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