I Have Been Blessed

All about how God has blessed me. In my marriage, with my six children, through homeschooling, and our faith with recipes, large family living, and updates on our life.

The Number of Perfection

I am not sure how it happens … how the passage of time goes so quickly, and you blink and six months have passed.  Your blog has sat empty. Your farm is in a new season of growing. A school year has ended and a new one begun. The children have grown.

I am not sure where the time goes. I am not sure how it happens so so fast. Where is the sweet little boy who is now nearly a teenager who can do *almost* anything you can do, who can fry chicken better than you, who can put the baby to sleep, cuddle a crying brother, or make his sister smile easier than anyone else can. I am not sure where the skinny little toddler went who turned into a skinny boy, who still can give the best butterfly kisses or look at you like you’ve hung the moon. Or when my first precious baby girl turned into one of the big kids who goes shopping with you to “help” and then actually does. Who announces on the fly that she’s going to wash the dishes for you. Or who cries for you when you get sick. How my blond haired baby turns into the sweetest blond headed FIVE year old. How she can melt a heart with a smile or a look and who will rub your head when you’ve had a hard day. Where did the time go when the crazy haired baby turned into the sweetest funniest toddler ever. Who loves his sister and cherishes her and who can make anyone laugh. Or how is it that my baby is somehow not a baby anymore, but a walking, talking, toddler getting into trouble and falling deeper and deeper into our hearts.

How is it that the time goes by so quickly and I, with all my faults, and failures, deserve to be this blessed. Deserve these six beautiful blessings. And then get the joy of holding another one deep in my womb. Holding my breath seven more months to meet the newest miracle to add to our family.

How do I deserve such blessing?

7 is the Number of Perfection.

Baby #7 is due end of April 2014!

WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!

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Thankful Thursday

What we are thankful for this week.

Wonderful family, I can’t even begin to state how thankful we are for each other. The love we have for each other, our health, we are so thankful to be a big, loving, family.

DSC_2065-1 I asked the girls what they were thankful for this morning. Adreya quickly piped up with “Jesus”. There are not words to express the joy that fills my heart to know that my children walk in truth and that they love and appreciate our Lord. Madelynne’s spur of the moment answer was “family and friends.” It made this Mommy’s heart happy. Following Christmas and the gift-giving holiday that it was, my girls could have rightfully so, been thankful for the toys, or the new clothes, or the candy …. and I know they are for I see the evidence of it daily, but to be most thankful for the things that truly matter is special.

I am so BLESSED!!!!!

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A new page

Somehow it is 2013 already, and my mind has been swimming with all the possibilities that this New Year could hold. I’ve seen people on Facebook posting their word of the year, and although words have floated around, none have yet to take root. I can’t get past the word I have tried to set for my life – Blessed. I am so overwhelmingly, exceedingly blessed. For Christmas, my mom made me a gratitude journal “365 things I am thankful for in 2013”. The truth is I could sit down right now, and fill all 365 slots. Easily.

My dad asked me what my resolutions for this year will be and I told him I hadn’t made any. Although we will try to focus on getting healthier this year, I really don’t want to have the title of “resolution” onto it. It’s just something we knew we’d do after the stress and excitement of the holidays were over.

But what do I want to accomplish this year …. I want to pray more and judge less. I want to be a better me – a better wife, a better mom, a better daughter, sister, a better friend. I want to hold tightly to my priorities and my convictions. I want to stay positive. I want to remember that I am rich in love. My hands are full and my heart is fuller. That I am blessed with the opportunity to be in this life. With my wonderful husband. That I get to be the Mommy to these kids, in this house, farming, together.  I want to remember daily that I have everything I need and that the Lord has proven over and over again to us that he is faithful to provide for us in all situations. I want to remember over and over that I have MORE than I need, because He is also faithful to provide my wants to me as well.

Sometimes my faith is small, and God has to remind me that I am in His hands and He is taking care of it all. What do I have to worry about.

I was upset last week – the frost had knocked out some of our crops. Our green beans, our squash, our corn that was almost ready, our peas we had been hoping for …. all frozen. I was disappointed. But, I didn’t realize that it wasn’t all lost. In actuality only the tops of our plants had gotten freeze-burn, and underneath the plants were still thriving. There were still green beans I could pick, and flowers on my pea plants.

Then Saturday came, and it was raining. We haven’t  before had to do a market in the rain. I had convinced myself it was going to be a bad day. I told my husband on the way there “I think we’re going to lose money today. I don’t even think we’ll make cost. It’s a good thing your parents bought me a pressure canner for Christmas, because we’re going to have a lot of vegetables left over.” I had little faith. But I also knew we had everything we needed. Even if we had lost money and had a bad day, I knew it would be okay, because God had already provided for our needs this month. But I forgot. I forgot he takes care of us over and abundantly. Saturday ended up being the best market day we have had so far. We sold out of nearly everything. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, and disappointed in myself for my lack of faith.

So maybe my word for 2013 needs to be faith – that I need to focus on strengthening my faith. Because God is good to us. WE ARE SO BLESSED!!!!!!!!!!

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Raindrops on Roses

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Season. We have so much to be Thankful for!! We have a Saviour who loves us and cares for us, provides for us and most importantly died for us. I have a husband I can be proud of. Who I love unconditionally. Who is a good to me, and good for me. Who is not only my best friend, soul mate, but also a wonderful Father. I am thankful for Brendyn, and Tyler, Madelynne and Adreya, Wyatt, and Cassidy. I am thankful my kids are healthy and growing and sweet, and loveable, and mostly good kids.

I am thankful for my Family – My Mother, My Father, My sisters, My in-laws, My nephews and my nieces. My aunts and uncles, my grandparents, my cousins. I am thankful for my friends in whichever category they fit in – church friends, homeschooling friends, scrapbooking friends, old friends, new friends. I am thankful for my church and our church family.

I am thankful for the fact that we still live in a free country. And I am thankful for the men and women who fought for that to be so. I am thankful for opportunities. I am thankful for the land to grow our garden on and the harvest it provides.

I am thankful for raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, and so so much more.

When I stop to count your blessings, all I can do is realize that I have been truly blessed!

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Time Flies

…when you’re too busy! Austin has been laid off again, so we are putting all our efforts into farming and markets and enjoying getting to spend lots of time as a family. We have been in this season before (for three years – from two weeks before Adreya was born until the Monday after her third birthday) and we are not fearful about being in this season again. When Austin was out of work for three years, we saw over and over again how the Lord provided for us. And even though it has been just one month now, we are still faithful and He has been faithful to show us already how we are in His hands. So in the last month, we have prepared our ground, planted seeds, and have little sproutlings up. We are doing a second planting today to stagger our crop. We have started doing markets (right now by buying and reselling to secure our position until our own crops are in) and are enjoying the fellowship and friendly atmosphere, but mostly enjoying being together as a Family.

Somehow in all of that going on, even though we DID celebrate my middle princesses FOURTH birthday, I forgot to get on here and make a tribute to her. I love that no matter how many children you have, they each end up different … with different personalities, different attitudes, different likes … Adreya is our charmer. She is the one who people levitate towards. She is so beautiful with her silky dirty blond hair and has a sweet personality. She is a nurturer and quick to help, happy to please. She is the best at doing a job through to completion, and often is the one I can count on to do a job that her three bigger siblings would leave unfinished, or complain about – Adreya will take on the task, with a good cheerful attitude and see it through, smiling, and talking all the way. She makes my Mother’s heart happy.

Recently, when I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she answered “a very nice queen”, which I thought was a great answer!!! Brendyn answered that question with a chef (he loves to cook and try out new recipes – he has quite the repertoire of meals I can completely turn over to him now.) Tyler had a hard time deciding, because he just doesn’t know yet, although for the sake of an answer, he told me a police man. We’ll work on the strength and endurance that comes with that later!! Madelynne answered ” a homeschooling mommy” with four kids: Violet (her favorite toy), Virgil (grandpa’s middle name), Virginia (Grammy’s name), and Victor (the only other  boy v name we could think of). She also wants her husband to farm and do markets that way he can be home, although, she says, if he has to work for long times, she will “just have to look after all my four kids by myself.” Wyatt said he wanted to be a soldier, with his Bubba (Brendyn says he would like to go do a short military tour before becoming a chef and Wyatt idolizes his brother!). Cassidy couldn’t answer for herself, so I decided for her she should attempt to be a princess. She is already so good at it!

We have been blessed. Beyond all that we could EVER ask or think.

 

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31 candles

31 does not seem like a great number. The general consensus yesterday while receiving my birthday wishes seemed to be “31, really? Wow!” I know, I am getting older! But even though the number went up one and my sweet Adreya told me that I was “really old now. As old as Grandma Doane.” (Who, just as a reference, is 76!!), even though I got older …. yesterday was a really great birthday!

My kids tried their best to be sweet yesterday and indulged me with as many hugs as I asked for! My dearest best friend brought over her five children and we spent the day together and despite being in the house with ELEVEN children, I really enjoyed it and had so much fun! They brought a spa to my house, they baked me a pink lemonade cake and even brought my favorite flavor of ice cream! And then she brought over everything we needed to do Tie-Dye (which I had never done before). So soon I will have a new long tie-dye skirt to add to my wardrobe and all the kids will have a neat T-shirt of their own creation!

Once Austin got home from work, he and my Mom took me out for dinner where I had a very yummy steak! Sitting at dinner surrounded by the people I love the most, and then reminiscing on the way home … I could only come up with one thing – I really am SO incredibly blessed! Happy Birthday to Me.

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Turning Seven

It seems like it couldn’t have possibly been a year since this post where I talk about my fantastic boy turning six, and now he’s seven! I don’t really see or understand how this is possible! He’s in Second Grade this year, although I am not sure I have him convinced of that. Tyler is smart. I mean really, just naturally, gifted smart, so he is actually doing third grade work. Third grade Math, Third Grade Spelling, Third Grade English. And he’s tall. (“I’m at least as tall as an eight or nine-year old!” He often says!) So, even though I keep telling him he has to stay in second grade for now, I think he knows, he is too big for his britches!

I remember so much about the baby he was. He had the hardest time gaining weight (He still does!) and we took him time and again to the doctor for another and another weight check. But he was always happy and for the most part, healthy (although he has always had his Daddy’s allergy problem!) He loved his Brendyn. In fact, “Bubba” was his first word!

As a toddler (and a new big brother), I remember how much he adored his “Nani”, his nickname for Madelynne! He wanted to share everything he had with her (including sippy cups and tortilla chips with his infant sister), and was content to talk to her, sing to her, play with her, and hold her. (He is still like this with every other sibling that has come along. In fact, I am certain, Cassidy is his favorite toy!)

As a little kid, his love for Jesus was astounding (It still is!) Tyler could pray better than a lot of grown-ups I know. And when he prayed, he knew God was going to answer his prayer. He went to the Lord, for everything, realizing that nothing was too small, or too big, for his Jesus. (“God, please move those clouds. I wasn’t quite finished looking at the moon.”)

I love this boy more than words can tell. And although the part of me that misses the little boy he was, the toddler, the baby – another part of me cherishes every moment and can’t wait to see the Big Future that God has for Tyler.

I have been blessed.

Five Special {Memories} Blessings for Today: Tyler giving me three kisses each night (A regular one, A butterfly one, An Eskimo one), Tyler asking Jesus into his heart at the precious age of Five, Tyler always being attentive and being my unofficial babysitter, Tyler for amazing me daily with his faith and love for Jesus, Tyler for prioritizing his family in his life (right after God)

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Flooding the floor

I am Blessed. I am extremely Blessed. I am the my-cup-runneth-over-and-it’s-flooding kind of blessed. Not because things are perfect. They are not. For example, we are on Day Nine of no air conditioning. In Florida. In the Summer. And it’s hot. But I am still blessed. Blessed to have a room a/c in our bedroom. Blessed to have friends that let us borrow a couple of fans and another room a/c for Mom’s room. Blessed that there has been a breeze.

We are blessed. Blessed to be able to go on vacation. Blessed to have the time and the money to do it. Blessed to get to do some things we’ve always wanted to do – See a panda, Go treasure hunting, Pan for gold. Blessed to get to see some Family that I haven’t seen in WAY too long. Blessed that we will get two weeks as a family together.

I am blessed to have some new friends. New friends who are becoming good friends. That in a short time I really care about. Whose kids I like and whose kids my kids like. Who are traveling the same path as me. Who some even have as many kids as me! Who homeschool like me. Where I can fit in and not be odd because we live a certain way and have a houseful of kids and we gasp! homeschool them. I like these new friends!

We are blessed. Blessed to have healthy children and healthy parents. We have everything we need and lots of things we want. We are so blessed.

So very Blessed.

Extremely Blessed.

Our cups are full.

And running over.

And flooding onto the floor.

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Restless

All those Spring Breaks we had as Kids, I think they have programmed us to need a vacation this time of the year, or maybe it’s just me. I definitely can tell that I am feeling restless! I have been more adventurous with taking the kids out. I even braved the zoo – six of them and only one of me! We’ve added the Flea Market to our weekly to-do list so we could get fresh (and cheaper) vegetables. I’ve even agreed to a trip to the park later on this week, if they get their chores done! I remember past years feeling restless this time of the year. That feeling to get out and do something. Maybe it’s the nicer weather that beckons us to go outside and play? Today is a nice breezy day, not too hot, and just a hint of chill from the breeze. Except for the leaves that like to fall in my hair while sitting outside, it’s a perfect day!

I think, like with so many other things, that with this feeling of restlessness, it’s a matter of having to refocus. Focus on what we can do, and not on what we can’t. Focus on these great days, and not on the ones where we are rained out. Focus on all God has done for us, instead of our list of what we still want. Focus on what grounds us and centers us and keeps us sane, instead of that feeling of restlessness.

I feel sometimes like everything is done on a “try”al. I will “try” to take all six kids to the grocery store, doctor’s office, out to lunch, to Target and see how it goes. I will “try” to take all six kids to the beach, to the zoo, to the park and see what happens. I will “try” to walk all six kids through the flea market and see if I can actually accomplish buying something. And over and over again, I am reminded that God wouldn’t give me six kids if I truly couldn’t handle it, and I really won’t go insane trying to deal with it all, even though there are days I feel like I might.

And the things people say, really, make me laugh, or smile. One of my strategies in making sure I am keeping it all together, is that I constantly count to six! (Brendyn, Tyler, Maddy, Addy, Wyatt, Cassidy … 1,2,3,4,5, and 6) Even to the extent that Very often, far too often, when Brendyn is gone for the weekend, I will stop mid-stride to “find” my missing kid, before my brain catches up to me and reminds me that I only have “5” this weekend! At the Flea Market one of the funniest things is that strangers count to six more than I do. It is funny to watch their eyes dart from kid to kid while their mouth silently counts though the kids, landing lastly on the baby and then looking at me like I am either Very Blessed or Very Crazy. (With the truth being, I am probably both!)

The comment we hear the most often is “You sure have your hands full.” I usually always smile or nod or say “Yes Ma’am”. Tyler asked me today, “Why do people say that? Your hands are empty. It’s not like you’re holding us.” Which was true because even Cassidy was in my baby sling so I wasn’t even technically carrying her. I keep meaning to say, in response to that statement is “Yes, my hands are full … but not nearly as full as my heart is!”

I am So Blessed.

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: A beautiful breezy day, Opportunities for fellowship, “Try”als that work out, Getting to talk to people I love on the phone, Listening to the Baby “talk”

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Number 3 is 5

Madelynne Jade - 1 week

Time really flies. Especially seeing baby Cassidy, who looks so much like Madelynne did as an infant. It is so easy for me to remember Maddy being that small, making that face, having that hair, sleeping just like that….. so how is it that the baby I remember so well, turns FIVE today??? She is such a good ‘oldest daughter’. She can hold her own with her two older brothers and yet, has that nurturing quality about her that makes her great for being the oldest sister. Madelynne looks after Adrey and Wyatt and has told Cassidy “I am the Junior Mama.” She loves to ‘babysit’ for me when I have to go into the kitchen to make dinner, or go check on what the other children are in to. She will sit by Cassie, and just look at her, telling Cassie how cute she is. On Wednesday, Maddy told me that Cassidy was the cutest that day (a Big compliment coming from Madelynne, who knows without doubt she is beautiful, after all, her Daddy has been telling her for years!!) For fun, I have put Maddy’s baby picture alongside Cassidy’s and there is definitely a resemblance. What do you think? 

Cassidy Joy - 1 week old

These last three weeks, having all six of them, I feel like my heart is busting out of my chest. I had worried a bit about whether or not I could handle it. Could I really take all six kids to a doctor’s appointment, or the grocery store. Could I manage to get anything done around the house? But the truth remains, that God truly does NOT give you more than you can handle. He blessed us with Baby Cassidy, and I could indeed handle it. And my heart is overflowing with the love I have for my kids, and the knowledge that God has blessed me so richly!

Watching Madelynne love on her baby sister thrills my heart. One day, a very long time from now (and assuming that I do indeed

Madelynne now (with Adreya)

survive the teenage years!!), I can see Madelynne as a really great Mommy! At last check she was going to have at least four kids (named: Stop, Go, Snowman, and Snowflake … The number seems great, but I do hope with age and wisdom, she does choose different names … LOL)

I am sure I say this over much, but I am SO blessed.
Maddy is excited about her birthday, although she doesn’t believe me that she is indeed Five today. She thinks she doesn’t get to turn the numnber until tomorrow when we have her actual birthday. But for today, she is telling her siblings that she is “Boss #2”. and she has chosen what we will eat for dinner – Pork Chops, Cut Potatoes (a baked potato cut into cubes), and asparagus. (She really does have good taste in food!!) I also found some Easter Chocolate chip cookes that have pink chocolate chips, so I am going to make those for her for dessert.
 
SIX Special Blessings to Me Today: Madelynne, Brendyn, Tyler, Adreya, Wyatt, and Cassidy
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