Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Gross Experiment

This has got to be one of the grossest things my kids have ever done. We have watched a lot of "Survivorman" lately. Lee Stroud talks about boiling his water and making it pure. Josh decided to try it. He grabbed a handful of dirt, put it in a pot of water and boiled it. I made him take the big chunks out and taught him how to use a cheesecloth. By the end of the process it still looked murky.  He said he wanted to make hot chocolate out of it. I told him, "I don't know...", But you know boys. "It's fine, Mom", he says. Ugh! Here's a little video of the end result (Sorry Facebookers, you will to click on "View Original Post" to see this video).  He ended up raving about how wonderful it was!
 Um, this is worse than when they got the brilliant idea to put maple syrup on their spaghetti. They had watched "Elf" and thought it might be good. I actually let them (don't know why) and they went on and on and on about how "wonderful" it was.

I guess this is what makes homeschooling fun! Even though I think it might be horrid, I guess they sometimes  have to learn on their own.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Musings

I am finding that I am enjoying Josh more and more each day as he continues to grow up and mature. I'm sure you are looking at this picture, going "Huh?" He really is! He is a goofball still, but the kid does almost everything I ask him without complaining. He cops an attitude rarely this days and it is usually when he is tired. BTW, I think that is an "Armor of God" helmet on his head wrapped in camo duct tape. Weird!
Andrew is just cracking me up with his hat wearing. They are huge on him and they push his little ears completely down! It is so funny!
Lily is just as silly as they get. She is talking even more! It's so cute and we enjoy listening to her sweet, sing-songy voice.
She has her daddy completely wrapped around her little finger. Steve has special softeness for his daughters. It is precious to watch.

I have been so blessed by God as I have dug into His Word more than ever before. I have been convicted on my lack of prayer and am pressing in. I am having challenges, but God is overcoming them and giving me strength to wait on the ones that are coming. I can feel Him building me up and equipping me for something special. I don't know what it is, but I do strongly feel that I am in the trainin process.

Am I willing to learn?

Am I willing change?

These are huge questions. The answer must be yes! Yes, I will learn what crucifying my flesh daily means. I will learn that God will give me the strength and courage to change me and me alone. I can leave the rest up to Him.

I am starting to fill my calendar up for the summer. I am looking forward to doing some special things with the kids, like camping and going to the Civil War reenactment at the beach. I am not going to be afraid to go without Steve ( he works both of those weekends). I have lots of help with the older children and grandparents to take the littlest ones. I want to seize some of these oppurtunities while the older children are still in the house. It is going so fast! So fast...

I have lots to look forward to. I have dear friends, family and a sweet sister that endlessly cheer me on in my walk with the Lord!

I am one blessed mama!
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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Renewing Your Spirit

I wrote this devotion a few years ago after coming home from a women's retreat. I thought I would share again how God spoke to me that weekend. It is good to go back and remember these truths. I hope you are encouraged by them as well.

Renewing Your Spirit

 Dear Mothers,

I have just come back from one of the best women’s retreats that I have ever attended. For a mother of five to be able to go to a weekend retreat at the beach is a miracle in itself! God provided the money, a wonderful husband and grandma to watch the children and said, “Go!”

God spoke to me about a number of things, mainly letting go and trying not to play God. As the retreat was ending, we were asked to spend some quiet time in prayer just to intentionally listen to what God might be saying to each of us. I asked Him a question. “Lord, I feel so full, so refreshed, so loved. How do I keep this feeling? How can I not get to where I was before this retreat? How do I keep this renewed in the midst of my mothering?” I had my journal with me and I was determined to write down anything God said. He didn’t speak right away, but I felt Him give me the idea to make three lists.

The first list, I wrote down all my “Have to Do’s”. Some of these were laundry, cooking, cleaning floors, cleaning the kitchen, disciplining and homeschooling.

The second list was all the things that “Take Me Away or Distract Me From God”. Some of these were movies, surfing the net, blogging too much, watching the news on the Internet and talking on the phone with friends too frequently.

The third list was “Things That Renew or Refresh My Spirit”. I could ask my husband to watch the kids so I can find a quiet place to pray for fifteen minutes. Before I do anything fun or recreational, make sure my Bible study has been done. Read good Christian non-fiction that makes me “go deeper” with God. Carve out time in my schedule to go to lunch with a godly friend. Keep journaling my journey with God. Take the time to exercise. Taking a walk alone with God can be very refreshing.

It’s so easy to lose the “euphoria” feeling high as soon as you get home and are smacked in the face with all of your responsibilities. But God has shown me a way to keep refreshed. It is my job to follow through and not let life and the enemy suck me dry again. You can’t live your life existing off your last spiritual high and waiting for your next one to come along. God wants us to walk with Him daily in “spiritual moderation”. It’s a consistent walk with few highs and hopefully few lows.

Take time to pray and ask God what is distracting you from hearing Him. Ask Him what refreshes you in Him. Your list is going to be different then mine. That’s great! We are different mothers in different situations. Our God is an individual God who loves us the same but speaks differently to all in their unique situations.

Oh Mothers, don’t just exist, persist in Him. Don’t survive motherhood, flourish and thrive in the high-calling that God has given to you. He wants to renew you day by day. He wants to “restore to you the joy of your salvation.” We have much to be thankful for.

From One Mom to Another,

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Crutches!!!!

Look at me go!

Yesterday was the first time I was able to shower with both feet on the ground! I also took my first steps without any crutches or boot. I got a little video of this momentous occasion!

I have pretty much been walking around without crutches around the house. I can go slow here and take my time. It is good for my big toe get stretched some. When I go out and have to walk distances I bring use them crutches. Not overdoing it is a big problem for me. I'm kind of an over-achiever.

I went to the doctor that actually did my surgery and he gave me a completely different recovery plan. He said I didn't need to be in wretched boot for five more weeks. He gave me an orthopedic shoe, which gives the same support, but allows my ankle to flex. That means I will be driving again a LOT sooner than I thought! Yeah! Freedom is at hand! He also saw the my big toe was moving over to the right again so he put a huge foam wedge between the toes and taught me how to tape it. I am so thankful! The boot was causing huge blisters at my incision site. They wouldn't heal and it was quite painful. Now that I am out of the boot the circulation is flowing better and I have experiencing way less swelling! Yea! I don't have "cankles" anymore!

I can't believe how much I have improved in just a day! I can't stop praising the Lord for letting me see this doctor at just the right time! Thank you for all your prayers!!!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jessica's First Time Ice Skating

My Mom took Jessica ice skating and took this video of her with her camera. She loved it and did really good for her first time.

It is like she wasn't afraid of falling down.

When I went ice skating, I was hugging the wall the whole time. I was such a fraidy cat!

I've never uploaded a video before on Blogger, so I hope it will work!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Light Duties

About two days after having the pin removed from my foot, I started feeling quite a bit better. I am actually up and walking around some with the boot on. I have my walker and crutches for support, but many times I "cheat" and just walk on it if it isn't too far of a distance.

I have found the skirts are the only way to go. I hate sweat pants, and the flowing material of a skirt is easier to get on and off.

I am performing light cooking duties (mostly reheating) and serving. The kids are still a bit help and Lily is in heaven as she gets to go for "rides" on my walker.

Yes, that is still a whistle hanging around my neck. It has been such a huge help when I can't walk to go find a kid. They can hear it in every room of the house and outside as well. It has kept me from yelling. It is embarrassing though when I discovered that I am in church and I am still wearing it when I am all dressed up! It doesn't exactly go!

I can't tell you how much I miss cooking! I am going to attempt a crock pot creamy chicken dish tomorrow when my mom and step dad come for the weekend. Should be very easy. Dump and stir. Oh, yeah, that is my kind of meal!

These kids are not used to having Mom back on her game. The first day was awful. I had to discipline like crazy, but it was worth it, because the next day, they were awesome! They had such servant's hearts and weren't mouthing off. I think they are enjoying having me be part of their lives again. I was pretty isolated there for awhile when I was stuck in the bedroom for weeks on end.

I love this picture of Jacob and his cousin Hailey. I can't believe how great these two kids get along! The only thing we have to watch is them getting along too well! We caught them kissing a couple of times. Yikes! We don't need kissin' cousins! We have been so blessed to have my sister come and stay for two visits. She has been a HUGE help to me. Looking forward to another visit at the beginning of February.

Little Miss Lily Pie has turned a corner as well. I can't believe she is 22 months already! Her hair is growing in big time. Jessica had the idea to put her hair in two pig tails. Oh, we all just loved it! She has also been talking, talking, talking, talking, and talking some more. I think she talks more than all of her siblings put together! She is so cute and it is amazingly clear. It is almost impossible to watch a movie when she is awake, because she starts singing her favorite song, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", and then she starts telling us about the baby, horsey, or anything else she sees in the movie. She does all of this very loudly! It is so funny!
She is so happy to have her mommy back. We have lots of snuggle time.
It is amazing how much of a difference it makes when you are not in constant pain. My outlook seems more hopeful and I am excited about practicing all of the things God is teaching me. I feel more positive and love the fact that I can do a few things around the house again. It is less stress on our marriage as well. I think Steve is much relieved to not always having to be on the kids to clean up their messes.

Steve is able to get more overtime, which makes him a happier man. I think he has to pass up 4 or five shifts. I could tell it was killing him! You firewives out there know what I'm talking about! LOL!

I also have revamped my home school during the past few weeks. The kids are really excited about it as they are new receiving grades and we are backing out of phonics and grammar for awhile. We are studying more of the fun stuff like health, ancient history, world geography and science. We are reading more, too. I have had more time to be consistent and it is paying off. Attitudes have never been better and a willingness to learns seems prevalent by all of them.

The Lord is so good to me. I am thankful for so many of His blessings! Thanks for letting me share my heart.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed? You Don't Have to Do it ALL!

I got this from "Revive Our Hearts". This is from a mother named Holly, who has eight children...

"I was talking with a young wife the other day on the phone and she said, “My husband is so frustrated because I have a new baby and I can’t get everything done.”

I said, “I want you to ask him what are the two things that he really wants done, and then you make a commitment to get those two things done.”

She came back the next day and she said, “Okay, he wants food and he wants to be able to see the countertops in the kitchen. That really bugs him when the kitchen is dirty.”

I said, “Okay, you focus on those two things. If you can get more done, that’s great.” If you are a student of your husband enough that you know what his hot buttons are, then you can meet those needs.

My husband could care less if we eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner. If when he comes home he can sit down in his recliner and my children look mostly normal—they’re clothed. I did call home yesterday at one point and found out that my three youngest had a mattress in the front yard of my neighbor and were sliding down the mattress into the street.

So just because I have been doing this for many years does not mean it always happens perfectly. But you know, my life is real. What I have found in the midst of my very real life is that God truly is who He says He is and that He really is sufficient."-Nancy Leigh DeMoss website "Revive Our Hearts Ministries"

This is something I did a long time ago with Steve when I was feeling overwhelmed and he asked for the exact same thing. Food and clean counters! OK, I can do that!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pin is Gone!

I made it! God got me through it. The pin was removed yesterday.
Thanks to many of your prayers, I was totally at peace the whole morning. The only time I started to get nervous was when the doc started to pull it out and then got a phone call. She was gone for 8 minutes while I laid there waiting! She came back in, apologized, and then pulled a little more out. She then gave it a good yank and out it came! It was longer than I thought, it was more like six inches long. It felt OK, and then about 30 seconds later the stinging started. Oh my, it was not fun, but as the blood filled in the gaps, it eventually subsided to a sharper aching sensation.

I wanted to keep it to show the kids, but they wouldn't let me because they said it was a bio-hazard! Whatever! I paid for it! LOL! I didn't fight it, but it was disappointing.

I was disappointed to find out that I have six more weeks in this boot. I am to be on crutches placing 25% of my weight on it for the first week. The second week 50%, third week 75% and so on. I won't be able to drive with a boot unless I was to learn to drive with my left foot. I don't think that is real safe, so I will continue to have to depend on others for rides for my children's activities.

The good news at this point, is that I can put it down a bit more. I feel more protected without fear of hooking my pin on things.

I am praying about going to church tomorrow. Hoping it will work out since Steve is off. It has been six weeks since I've gone. I miss it so much!

Thank you, Margaret for being there to hold my hand while I got that thing pulled out. It was nice to not be alone. She even treated me to Thai food after that! What a wonderful friend God has blessed me with.

I'm trying to catch up a little with my blogging. But I have to be so careful not to overdo it. I tend to leave my foot down too much and then it swells pretty bad. I miss you all!
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Black Marker Blues and an Update

Oh, this was bad. Lily came into my room with black marker all over her. She decided to use it as make up and put it eat it.
She looked like something out of a horror-film!
When people stop by to visit, I try to think of things that they could do for me. Poor Corina got roped into giving Josh a haircut. She had never done one before, so it was fun teaching her. She also swept the floor for me and helped with the dishes.

A lady from church called me today and said she was dropping off KFC. What a sweetie! I am astounded at the little things and big things God is doing in all of this. It is like He is longing to delight me. I just need to open my eyes to see the blessings.

I am starting a new Beth Moore Bible study today. I've done it before, but felt the need to do repeat it. It is called "Living Beyond Yourself" studying the Fruits of the Spirit. I am really needing to focus on living in the Spirit now. God has revealed some strongholds and I know that I can't manage on my own. I need Him in every way so that I can respond with intentional love and kindness when baited.

Because of all my down-time, I have been able to really focus more on the Lord and pray and reflect on things that the Lord is revealing to me.

On an end note, I am hoping that the x-rays will show that my foot has healed enough to take the pin out on Friday. It will be good to have that out of there! I'm still freaked out about them pulling it out, but I know God will get me through it.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Let My Words Be Few

Dear Mothers,

The Spirit of God has been convicting me of something. Apparently, I’ve been using too many words. The Bible says that if you use many words you WILL sin. I speak all the time. How many times do I open my mouth to accuse a child of something without finding out the whole story because I just interrupted them? How many times have I interrupted my husband, jumping to conclusions because I think I already know what he is about to say?

This is a really bad habit. We speak without truly listening. The Bible says we are to be quick to listen and slow to speak. If we apply that principle to our husband and children, we would take half the conflict out of our lives and peace would reign in our homes.

I am quick to rationalize my sin and think, “I would not be sarcastic if my husband wasn’t”. What is that? Since when am I not responsible for my own behavior and my own reactions to an unkind comment? The truth is, I can only change me. I can’t change that other person.

We have a child that has picked up on the sarcasm that my husband and I have used over the years. He is actually quite good at it now, thanks to us. We are reaping what we have sown. It is time to change. And it starts with me.

Right now, half the battle is being aware of my speech. I have to ask God throughout the day to convict me and show me when I am sinning with my tongue. I am truly learning that if I speak less, I sin less. It’s so simple, but it is so hard!

I am allowing God to purify my heart, sift me like wheat and make me more like Him. Again, this is not easy! The tongue is the hardest thing to control on the body. Praise the Lord! When I am walking in the Spirit, completely relying on Him, I am victorious! When I slip away from under His covering I will surely fall flat on my face. I MUST abide in Him!

Please take a moment right now to pray and ask God if you are quick to listen and slow to speak. Ask Him if this might be a problem in your life that can be taken care of by His power. He will be faithful to show you. What is the end result? To be more like Christ. Is it worth it? You bet it is!

Listen to your children today. Try speaking life-giving words, kind words, words that bless, not curse. If you practice on them throughout the day you will be even more apt to speak kind and loving words to your weary husband when he walks through the door after a long day of work. Remember, you reap what you sow! He might even start speaking sweetly to you…

From One Mom to Another,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ups and Downs

I have had much practice for "Believing God" in the last month. I can't believe it has been a month since my foot surgery. I am astounded that I have laid in bed and on the couch for 30 days! I must confess, I'm not very good at it. I am used to running around, being busy, and doing things for myself. This dependence thing, stinks!

I keep asking God to reveal the lessons that He wants me to learn. So much of it is "Be still and wait". Another biggie is doubt. I have had so many doubts of whether I did the right thing or not. My mind has become a battlefield. If I don't take certain thoughts captive, I can be consumed with negative thinking.

When people ask me how I'm doing, I am one to be honest. I am struggling. I have good days and I have bad days. I am learning to ask God for what I need. If I'm feeling lonely, I need to ask Him, "Lord, bring me a friend today." He has done it! If I'm in terrible pain, I ask Him, "Lord, help me get through this hour and eventually this day." He does it. I have survived.

I'm so thankful that He had me do the "Believing God" Bible study at this season of my life. He knew I would need that daily encouragement. I'm sad that it has ended, but am looking forward to studying Revelation with Beth in a new DVD lecture series called, "Here and Now".
Christmas came and went. Jessica got this beautiful handmade old-fashioned nightgown from her Nana Diana. It is a little long, but she still wears it all day long. It is very pretty.
Lily loved ripping open presents (even ones that weren't hers)! She was adorable to watch and we all enjoyed it.

I am so blessed to have so many family and friends nearby. It is so HUGE when they swing by for an hour or two and help out with the little ones. "Helpless" is the word that keeps coming to my mind. I feel very helpless when it comes to disciplining and breaking up fights and such. When people come by, I sic them on the kids and they have to obey! People have also helped out with other things like clean my room, make the beds, give a haircut to a kid, meals, steam-cleaned my floors, and so many more things.

Whether I'm up or down, I still need to always be clinging to Christ my Savior. He loves me and He knows what I need. I just need to ask Him.

Blessings my friends!
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Believing God

Dear Mothers,

I am doing a new Beth Moore Bible study called, “Believing God: Experiencing a Fresh Explosion of Faith”. Oh my, has it been eye-opening!

I have been faced over and over with the question, “Am I really believing God for this situation?”. I have realized that when it comes to some areas in my life, I have been living in constant defeat. There are so many things that I haven't even bothered to pray about because I didn't think the situation or person would change. What kind of faith is that? It isn't faith, plain and simple.

I have been challenged to memorize five statements that will help me remember how to live a victorious life. Ready? Here we go...

1. God is who He says He is.

2. God can do what He says He can do.

3. I am who God says I am.

4. I can do all things through Christ.

5. God's Word is alive and active in me.

If I truly believed these things when a trial comes into my life, how can I fail? How can I doubt His goodness to me? How can I live in defeat?

Here's an example. Back in January, I had listened to a beautiful Christmas song. I felt the Lord say, “I want you to sing that song.”. I bought it and tried to sing it once. I couldn't sing it for 10 months because of my vocal nodules. Back in September, I believed the Lord was still saying, “Stacie, you are still going to sing that song for Christmas.” I had such a hard time believing Him. I could barely croak out a note! As I continued with my vocal therapy, my confidence started coming back. I started believing that MAYBE I could do it. In faith, I went ahead and asked to be put on the schedule for December. I kept practicing, but my faith grew weaker as I still was having trouble hitting some of the higher notes. I knew my voice was about 85 percent better, but not fully restored. I chickened out a week before and decided (without praying) to switch to a more comfortable song. I even went as far as to arrange for a pianist. But after reading Laurie's article on faith in last month's Calvary Call, I was immediately convicted. I tried to run from it, but couldn't. God was clearly speaking to me and said, “You are not trusting me with this. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” I told God I was sorry and switched songs again. I had a whole week for God to strengthen my faith as I practiced and practiced. The day came, God was with me on that stage and enabled me to sing it well, not perfect, but well (He likes to keep me humble, too). He proved that “He can do what He says He can do.”

I am so thankful that I believed Him for this situation. I would have missed out on the incredible blessing of seeing what He can do through this weak vessel. He is so good and faithful to us. He is longing to prove himself to us.

I want to ask you something, “Are you believing GREAT things from Him or little things?” Because if we only ask Him for the little things, that is what we are going to get! We need to start trusting Him with the bigger things. We need to believe Him for saved and transformed lives of friends and family. We need to believe in God's healing power, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. There are so many hurting people in this world that need God's touch. Are we truly believing that they can be healed?

Dearest ladies, are we believing God for the future of our children and grandchildren? Are we believing that they are going to be Kingdom-Laborers, living affective lives in their generation?

Again I say, start believing God for the BIG things! He is BIG and He wants to do BIG things in your life.

Do you believe Him?

From One Mom to Another,

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