Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Christmas 2012

 A couple days before Christmas I begged Steve to make sugar cookies with the kids. I have little patience for this kind of tedium. Thought it might be a better experience if they did it with Dad. They had a good time!
 Watch out, Andrew has the rolling pin!
 I was proud of myself. After Steve went on a call back, it was time to frost the cookies. I let them do it completely by themselves and tried not to stress out about it. They surprised me and did a very good job!
 We were able to have a wonderful Christmas with my parents at their ranch! The kids had so much fun opening their presents together and feasting on Nana's goodies.
 We bought Josh a cowboy hat and he was very surprised! 
 It is always fun trying to get a good family picture. 

 Snowball fights and sledding!
Christmas morning was full of Legos, Legos and more Legos! It was very mellow. Steve's folks headed home Christmas Eve because of the weather. Steve had to work in the morning, so it was just the kids and I. We decided to head the the fire station for dinner at 4:00. They kept having calls, so the turkey kept getting shut off. We ended up eating 2 and a half hours late! It was nice to be able to be with Steve though on Christmas.

We thank God for the miracles He has done this past year. Even though it seems slow, He is slowly piecing our family back together. God is faithful and we will continue to trust in Him.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 2012 Update

This post is going to be a menagerie of different things. I can't believe how fast December has gone by! Here is Lily and I posing in front of our new FAKE Christmas tree! Yes, I bit the bullet and got a fake one. I had such heavy ornaments, they kept slipping off the real trees. No more vaccumming up dead needles!
My favorite thing to do with the kids is to keep our focus on Jesus. We do our advent tree every year.
Lily has to help with everything. I turned around and she must have been watching how I wrapped presents. She did this fold all by herself. It was perfect! Marcus and I were stunned when we saw it. She is one smart cookie!
Here is Lily getting all the needles vaccummed up from the last tree. I have more time to train her now that the kids are in school.
The past few weeks have been full of basketball. Jess is playing this year and it has been fun watching her develop her skills. She is a real team player and a joy to watch! She is the farthest girl in yellow. Sportsmanship is very important to Steve and I. It has been very good for her.
Yummy! My tradition is to make my family and friends my lemon almond biscotti. I spoiled them this year and drizzled white chocolate and toasted almonds on it. Hope they like it!
Mom came to watch Jess play basketball but got stuck because of the weather. I convinced to stay the night and we ended up playing at least 4 or 5 games of Scrabble. It was so fun!
Jacob, Lily and Steve. Lily wanted curlers in her hair. In the morning all but two were left :(
I had more energy this month than I have in awhile. I just wanted to get outside and enjoy any sunshine that was offered. We went for walks...
and played at the park!
We have had our fair share of sore throats and when I saw my friend, Dorene post this on FB, I just had to try it. Sliced lemons, grated ginger and honey. Stick in the fridge and pour it in your tea. It works!!!
My sister spoiled us and gave us this Jesse Tree for Christmas. It is another advent tree but the rocks are hand-painted and have the verse painted on the back. They are beautiful and even have some of the minor prophets as readings. I had been wanting one for a couple of years and I love mine!
Well, we don't have to paint over this right away. Maybe a few more birthdays will go by before we do.
We have decided to take our house off the market. The only house that was available sold, so we will wait to try to sell again once another one comes available. Hoping for spring or summer. We are trusting that God will move us out there when He wants us to.
In the meantime, I don't have to keep my house looking like a museum! I can let my kids be kids. A house with a large family living in it should not look like this!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. I am going to try to be more faithful about blogging. It gives me great pleasure to encourage others and to share our lives with you. We will keep learning and growing together!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jen's Meat Loaf

Love my Kitchen Aid!


 
This meat loaf is has amazing flavor and the smell is to die for as you cook it. Jen made this for me when I had surgery and our family loved it!

2 lbs of hamburger/ turkey burger (whatever burger you want to use)
3 eggs
½ cup of seasoned bread crumbs
2-3 TBS of ketchup
2 tsps of prepared mustard
Salt and pepper
1 to 2 tsp of fresh or dried basil (I use my frozen pesto cubes)
1 tsp of fresh or dried thyme
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder or onion flakes
½ cup of grated Parmesan
Mix it all together in a Kitchen Aid (do not over mix). It should smell extremely fragrant!
Cook at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until done.

Topping:

1 ½ cups of ketchup
1 to 2 TBS of Worcester sauce
2 TBS of brown sugar or sucanat
Mix together and cover meat loaf for the last five minutes of cooking.


Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Motherhood


MOTHERHOOD 
The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
'Twas fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon of battle-shot,
With a sword or noble pen;
Nay, not with eloquent words or thought
From mouth of wonderful men!
But deep in a walled-up woman's heart --
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part --
Lo, there is the battlefield!
No marshaling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! those battles, they last so long --
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town --
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.
Oh, ye with banners and battle-shot,
And soldiers to shout and praise!
I tell you the kingliest victories fought
Were fought in those silent ways.

~ Joaquin Miller (1839-1913)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Attitude Towards Adversity



I have always wanted to avoid pain. I don’t like it, I don’t know many people who do. But when life hits you with adversity, how do I react? It helps me to think of the positive outcome of adversity and devastation. If I can see God in it, there is hope.

I can experience contentment in the midst of adversity. Philippians 4:10-11 and 2 Corinthians 12:10 show that you can be content with difficulties. These things are not tearing me down, they are building me into who God is making me.

I can experience God’s supernatural strength in my weaknesses. 2 Corinthians 12:10 says there will be great surges of the Holy Spirit in my life when I get to the point where I think I can’t handle it. I am learning the source for all my needs is Christ’s power. Christ is sufficient with his love and care for me. If I keep looking to the Lord Jesus, I will be taken care of. If I don’t give up and quit, I will learn that I can trust in the faithfulness of God. He is trustworthy and He won’t let us down.

Sometimes God overlooks my desires to equip me to serve Him. He sees potential in me. He sees that I am able and willing. He sees my value. He knows what will equip me to serve him. People will want to know how I walked through this trial. They will want someone they can relate to so they too, can experience joy after devastation.

I can choose to sulk and miss out on my relationship with God or I can choose to realize that God is STRENGTHENING HIS MESSAGE to God’s followers. God is deepening my message, my faith, my testimony so that I will become even more effective as that message grows stronger.

I am learning to see EVERYTHING comes from God. 2 Corinthians 12:7 talks about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. God allows these “thorns” in my life to keep me humble and content. The way to win the battle is to acknowledge that everything comes from Him. Ride on His truths. He is for me, not against! Even though it looks bad, it will ultimately be redeemed for good if we allow Him to do His thing in our lives.

He uses adversity to grow me up and to learn the way so of God. He brings revelation when I cry out to Him. He shows me a new side of His character that I had not known previously. There becomes an intimacy between us, that cannot be fathomed as I press in and grow up in Christ.

Adversity makes me a more effective comforter. The comfort becomes genuine when we have truly been hurt. When we have a need to be comforted, then we can comfort the most. Which brings us to the question, “Am I willing to suffer loss if that equips me to comfort others?”.

God has a specific purpose for my adversity. He is protecting me from my own self. Pride is the ugly beast that raises it’s head in my life. Pride in a perfect family, and being a perfect wife, mother and friend. Pride in even the blessings that He has given me. Adversity strips this away and makes me stand bare before Him. It is not because of my righteousness that I have one of His blessings, let alone many, it is because of His grace and mercy upon my life.

Adversity teaches and makes me a learner of God’s ways. It makes me a disciple. It creates in me a need to understand that without Him, I am ashes and dust. He is the lifter of my head. Glory to God!
I share this with you to give you hope and peace. He is so near to you, press in with everything you have and ask God to redeem your adversity into something beautiful.

(Some of these concepts were taken from a sermon I heard from Dr. Charles Stanley. I took notes and put my own spin on it)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Teaching My Children as We Walk

I usually walk by myself, but for some reason after reading Deuteronomy 11:18-21, I decided to slow down and bring the younger ones with me.

Savor. Enjoy. Teach. Hmmm, isn't this what being a mommy is all about?
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds...Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up...
So that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth."
God wants us to take every opportunity to reveal who He is to our children. We have to slow down and recognize that our time is short with our them. Sometimes they will get more from a walk/talk then a canned devotional time. As soon as I get the devotions out, there is much sighing and resistance. If I work the Lord's ways of doing things into our everyday lives, it seems to work much better. Every family is different. Keep in mind, this seems to work for us in this season. I am teaching them more formally in their Sunday School class and when we do our Advent Story trees. This has been a nice mix for right now.

Lately, God seems to be telling me to pray that they will LOVE Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. If they love God, all else will fall into place. They will fight less, they will obey more, and will be less selfish. It starts with me though. I am praying that for myself as well. I want to love God like that, so I can love and serve my children in His love, power and strength, not my own.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting...


It has been a few weeks of one disappointment after another. I have been working each of them through with the Lord. I have never lived in such a "crisis" mode before. I am praying things will let up and we can try to recover. God is up to something huge, I just don't know what it is! LOL!

Our house is still on the market. We thought we were going to move, but God stopped it. We are relieved because we know God is protecting us. We are trusting that God will provide a house that is large enough for our family in the small town we are wishing to move to. I have such peace in this. It's weird. Not like me at all. Normally, you would find me fretting and begging God to move and to move in the way I think we should go. Not so this time around. I'm choosing to trust.

It is a season of adversity. I am praying for enough grace to get through each day. That's all I need. There is enough. By some miracle each day, we get through it. There are too many things in the past five weeks to even begin to go into. I don't think it would bless you even if I did have time.


Josh's OCD has been improving and he was actually able to start middle school this week. I've always homeschooled him, so it is a huge adjustment. He likes being around kids and feeling more "normal". I have woken up early every morning starting to fret over him, and God has told me clearly to pray all those worries, fears and dread back to Him. I've never relied on God to protect my children. I did it fine myself, or so I thought. Now I am truly trusting Him as I believe He has called us to this new path. It would be so much easier for me to homeschool because I would have control again. We are not called to easy right now. We are called to obedience, even when it doesn't make sense in my brain. Four of my children are in public school and one is in middle school at home via virtual academy. We are doing the bus thing, the lice thing, the friend thing, the sick thing. And you know what, it hasn't actually been that bad. I found a lot of my fears were unfounded.

My new saying is  by Oswald Chambers. It goes "For every minute we are waiting, God is working." When we continue to wait on God's promises, I must believe He is working something special out for His greater glory. If He says no right now, it is for a greater yes.

I have had a crisis point with God this last week on the topic of prayer. I have asked those questions that I know the answers to, "Does it do any good?", "Why pray if God is going to do what He wants?", "Is He testing me? Teasing me? Sifting me?" "What is going on God? Am I doing something wrong?" It all boils down to realizing that He hasn't forsaken me. He is sovereign, and He says no for a greater yes. I have stomped my foot at Him and even told Him that He hurt my feelings! I find myself thinking, He must be up there in Heaven smiling patiently waiting for my fit-throwing to stop and then He gently speaks to me and encourages me. I adjust my prayers according to His Will, not my own. I do that by surrendering my expectations of how He is going to get the greater glory. Yes, I'm even telling God how He can glorify Himself. Isn't that crazy? Adjust, wait, press in, wait and wait some more. Hold things loosely. Take my disappointments and fear to Him. He will come through in His way. He is working while we are waiting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Silly Lily

 We are blessed to have this little girl. 
 She brings us so much joy!
 She loves to explore and do things. She finds the wonder in everything. She is good for me.
 She is innocent and pure. Beautiful and wild.
She can be goofy and shy. But boy can she talk!
 She is becoming quite demanding and has the patience typical of a three year old.
 She keeps me young at heart when the seriousness and pain of life starts to creep into my soul.
 She sings and praises Jesus with her mama. No other child of mine does that.
She lifts up her hands to worship Jesus. She makes a joyful noise. She loves Jesus and talks about him all the time. Once a tow truck driver prophesied over her when he picked us up on the side of the road. He said she would grow up to be a godly young women and many would come to know Christ because of her. I pray it would come to pass.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Understanding the Struggle



I ran across this quote in the new Above Rubies magazine by Serene Allison. As I read her article, "A Haven of Rest", God spoke to my heart and peace and understanding started to flood my soul again.

Serene used the analogy of a cocoon. She said "Creatures of mere dust and "worm-like" understanding cannot grasp the reason for our cocoon. All we know is the dark struggle. But in this darkness our Creator is designing beautiful rainbow wings of flight. The pain and battle to push through this black curtain builds our strength. With the first light of blue sky the work is gone and now we are creatures of a high region. Rebuilt to fly. Designed to soar...above the dirt...to see life from a different perspective.

She goes on to say "science explains that if a butterfly is helped to escape its cocoon that it does not grow strong enough from its appointed struggle and will die and not take to the sky. God's love is always there even in our blind cocoons of sorrow."

Is this the purpose? To see life from a different perspective? I saw it the last two weeks. As our oldest son struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I have learned about a whole other set of parents who deal with mental health issues. I have started to educate myself on this subject. I have had to change my whole view of how I mothered my son. Am I exasperating his condition by putting my own fears upon this child? He is afraid of everything right now, most of them are irrational and don't make sense, but it is real to him. We cry out to God constantly for his healing and for him to get through another day. I was so afraid for my child. What kind of life will he have? Will these terrible thoughts ever go away? How do we get his brain "unstuck". I question. I fret. I am afraid. My trust starts to slip. Does God really know what He is doing?

As this dark cocoon of sorrow and fear wrapped me snug and tight, I started to wrestle. I knew God was sovereign  I knew that He had allowed this in my son's life. I kept asking him, "haven't we gone through enough? When are we going to get a break here? When are we going to be allowed to heal? Why does it keep getting worse instead of better? When can we return to our new kind of normal???" I am thankful that my God has big shoulders and He isn't afraid of my questions. I know that if I question Him, He isn't going to be disgusted. He will listen patiently and continue to do His Will in my life. My questions won't change His mind or His plan. He listens and sets me back on the path of peace and hope when I surrender to Him and say, "Not my will, but Yours".

Just two weeks ago I wrote a love letter to my Heavenly Father, then I turned around and let Him write a love letter to me. I read it again yesterday and was astonished to read His Words to me.

Dear Stacie,

I love you. I will provide. I will do as I promised. I am the Great Healer. I love your kids more than you do.Trust me with them. I will give you wisdom in every situation as I have always done. I am who I say I am. I will do what I say I can do. I will help you, heal you, lift you up, honor you, and help you walk boldly and confidently in the calling I have for you. I know your name. I see each tear. I have compassion for you. I am here. I am present. I love you, Stacie. I want to take away every fear that sets itself up as a stronghold in your life.

Love Your EVER-PRESENT God,

Daddy

I now add another label to my blog. "Parenting an OCD Child". Maybe someone else needs to know they are not alone in this. Maybe someone else is seeing "life from a different perspective" and needs to be encouraged. God has not abandoned us. He is working through and through. He is developing a testimony that is full of drama, twists and turns. I will continue to trust Him....
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