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.

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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Journeys of Faithfulness

 

Apologia has given us the opportunity to review Sarah Clarkson’s book, Journeys in Faithfulness: Stories of Life and Faith for Young Christian Women. Although this book is targeted for girls ages 12 and up, I opted to do this review to read this book for myself. I love women’s studies, and am blessed to be given the opportunity to present a monthly women’s devotional at our church’s Ladies Meeting and am always looking for ideas or ‘kickstarts’ to a devotional, especially studying women of the Bible.

 

This 232 page paper back book offers historical fictional accounts of Mary and Martha; Mary, Mother of Jesus; Esther; and Ruth.  Through this text, the author challenges young women to deepen their relationship with God. Each section includes three biblical stories of these women, fictionized with added details, thoughts, and insights the author believes the women would have felt or done. Devotional sections with the author speaking straight to the young women, encouraging them in their  walk with God, and  Bible Study sections to get them in their Bibles and digging deeper , and includes a  journaling spot following each section. This book would be best used as a devotional between mother and daughter(s).

 

I am sometimes wary about books that fictionize Biblical stories, but I truly felt these were well done, and accurately portrayed. The stories were sweet and touching. It is a great devotional, and I can easily see doing this with my own girls once they were a little older. I also felt like this book challenged me in areas and helped me to realign my own relationship with God.

 

This book sells for $13.00. See a Sample Chapter or Table of Contents. I felt blessed to have been able to read this book. I was offered this book free in exchange for my honest review as part of the TOS Crew. See what other people thought of this book by clicking the banner below.

 

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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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I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

So far everything we have reviewed or bought from Apologia, we have loved. I was very interested in this book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, – their first Apologetics Curriculum for High School Students, even though I have no high school students. (Well, at least, no high school students, yet.) The title of this book drew me in and the idea that it defends the Christian faith, and prepares you to “always have an answer”, is a topic that I felt I could use a little studying on. I would dare say my faith in God is stronger than it has ever been, but my ability to portray that to others with boldness and effectiveness is something I need work on. I also feel like I know of several people (right off the top of my head) who could (and I pray, would) benefit from reading this book. 

The book, coupled with Apologia’s Workbook, provides a whole course of study that tackles the question of absolute truth. And although I am a fast reader, I am not nearly completed with this. This study is recommended for grades 9-12 (or an adult who feels like they might also benefit). The book sells for $16. The Table of Contents offers Chapter Titles such as: Can we Handle the Truth, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All, Do We Have Testimony of Jesus, Who Is Jesus, If God – Why Evil, and MUCH more. This book is over 400 pages long and I actually look forward to studying all the way through it. The understanding I am getting and the way this forces me to really examine what I believe is at oftentimes, convicting.

The companion Workbook, which sells for $33, helps the student to understand what they are reading and remember critical points. The Workbook also presents supplemental material, study questions, and activities designed to encourage personal reflection and discussion.The answer key is downloadable on Apologia’s website.The book is great, but the Workbook draws even more out of it, and out of me, as I study it. It causes me to slow down and really focus and pay attention. It makes me seriously think!

My intention is to not only complete this on my own, but to also set it aside for when Brendyn can do this study as well. I think it will be a meaningful addition into our Curriculum, and into our Faith System that we can always stand ready to give an answer for the Faith which is in us. (I Peter 3:15) We did receive these two books free in exchange for an honest review. We Have Been Blessed!

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Too Young

I was four years old and two months when I understood that I was a sinner. When I understood that NOTHING I could do could pay the debt of my sin. That I was on my way to hell. I was not that old, but I understood the importance of believing on Jesus, and asking him into my heart, and asking Him to be my Saviour. November 11, 1984 is the day I sat on the bottom bunk of mine and my sister’s bunk bed and asked my Daddy to pray with me. When I asked him how to make Jesus my Saviour. It was a Sunday night. But, I grew up in church. We even lived on the church property for a very short time, and then moved across the street from the church. Daddy went to college there. Mom taught at the Christian school. Church was our life. Jesus was our friend.

In 26 years (Yes, I am thirty!), I have never once doubted my salvation. I’ve been under some great preachers. (Even heard Jack Hyles once). I have studied my Bible. I have been a Soul-Winner, Door-Knocker, Sunday School Teacher, Jr. Church Worker, Bus Worker, Nursery Worker, Ladies Lesson Giver, Teen Worker. I have taught my kids the Word of God. Two of my children have accepted the Lord as their Saviour. And I have never once doubted my Salvation.

After Austin and I were married, HE was convinced that four was TOO YOUNG. He doubted my salvation. He didn’t think I could truly be saved. I begged and pleaded with the Lord. “If Austin could in any way be right, If my salvation was in any way in jeopardy because of age, I begged God to show me, to convict me, to pull me.” And I never once doubted my Salvation.

Because it’s not age. It’s not knowing all the answers to catechism. It’s not being able to explain it to another living soul. It’s not saying a specific prayer. It’s not a feeling of being bad and wanting to be good. It is belief. Pure and simple. The Bible says, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine hear that God hath raised him from the dead, thou SHALT BE SAVED. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9, 10, 13 – emphasis mine), All we have to do is Believe and then Confess.

My little girl is starting to question. She is starting to feel the pull. She is starting to understand. And I pray with all that I have that when it clicks, she comes to her Mama or her Daddy to pray. It’s the most important decision she will ever make in her life and I am in her corner cheering her (silently) on!

I am so Blessed.

Five special blessings to me today: My Salvation, That Jesus Paid the Price, That Jesus freed me from the bondage of sin, That I am able to share the gospel, That you’re never Too Young

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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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Save the Trees

50 Reasons I will have as many children as the Lord gives me

  1. God gave them to me
  2. Hugs, kisses, and cuddles on demand
  3. We are helping the future generation have enough workers to pay for Social Security
  4. They are so darn cute
  5. They love me even on my worst day (without makeup and in my pajamas)
  6. They have taught me that the world does not revolve around me
  7. They are proof of the love between Austin and Me (and yes, we do have a TV)
  8. Because I like gifts and blessings, and they are the best gifts I have been given
  9. I get to learn things with my children (like shooting a gun – Maddy and I learned on the same day!)
  10. Getting to watch the relationship with my kids and their Daddy
  11. I get to watch them learn and grow
  12. Each of my children is happy I had them
  13. Walking slow so little legs can keep up mean I am enjoying more of what goes on around me
  14. I eat less because someone always wants a bite (or two, or ten)
  15. Get welcomed home like I’ve been gone for days, even when I just went to the mailbox
  16. They love unconditionally
  17. It is never boring at my house (Ever!)
  18. The smell of a kid (especially a baby) right out of the bath
  19. They accept others without prejudice
  20. Homemade friends
  21. They provide constant entertainment
  22. It’s fun to tell stories to children (and they’ll let you, even if you’ve already told them a couple dozen times)
  23. They believe whatever you tell them
  24. Getting to look at old things through a new set of eyes
  25. A sleeping child is one of the most precious things to see
  26. They have taught me to be more compassionate
  27. There is little as miraculous as that moment when your baby is born
  28. Children are part of God’s purpose for creating marriage
  29. Watching my children grow into people I like is a reward of its own
  30. The more we have the funner it gets
  31. Love breeds love, and more love, and more love
  32. One day I will have lots of grandchildren
  33. Being pregnant and experiencing the miracle of a baby growing inside of me is awesome
  34. I am motivated to be the best I can be because someone is always watching
  35. There is always someone to talk to or play with
  36. They teach me how to delight in the little things
  37. The love I have as a parent reminds you how much God loves me.
  38. When people stop us in the store, at a restaurant to tell us how cute, well-behaved, smart our kids are, it is like a job performance review where I got all Five Stars
  39. Unpredictable Surprises
  40. I have the best job security around
  41. Learning that money doesn’t matter, but $1 is a fortune to a kid
  42. “I Love you, Mommy”
  43. Lots of helpers
  44. I’ve never met anyone who regretted one of their children
  45. Young children are genuine. What you see is what you get. They haven’t learned how to be fake
  46. Feeling a baby move inside of you is complete joy
  47. Family is forever
  48. I get to watch my husband be a Daddy
  49. Because we still have enough love in our hearts and in our home for another one
  50. Because I love being a Mommy

I am SO BLESSED!!!!!!

(When I was thinking about how much I am blessed to be the Mommy of *almost* six children, I was reminded of how we have faced criticism, disgust, ugliness, etc. because of our decision to continue having children. I was struck by the idea that we live in a culture where we have activists to Save the Trees, but Children are looked at as disposable or as inconveniences by some. I am so Blessed that the Lord has given me a true, genuine Love for the children he has blessed me with now and the ones to come in the future, Lord Willing.)

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Expectations

This is an area I definitely have a problem in, and as most problems are, it’s most likely a sin problem. I have expectations of how things “should” go, how people “should” respond, what other people “should” do. I get this decision that since I would …, other people “should” do, respond, react, consider, etc. the same way.
But not only is that not life, and not how things work, that’s not Faith. And it’s judging how someone else “should” do things. It’s only my responsibility to make sure I am doing what I need to do, responding how I need to respond, reacting rightly, considering righteously. But too often (so very too often) I get stuck in this thinking that because I feel this way, they “should” feel this way. Because I think x is y, they “should” think x is y, and I am often disappointed because of my own expectations.
I am sometimes hurt because of my own expectations. I need to let other people be themselves instead of trying to put them into my script. I need to take things as they come, evaluating each situation based on itself, not based on the comparison to how I think it “should” have went.
Because the truth is, I would be even happier! And happier is even better than happy!

Have a Blessed and Happy Day!

Five Special Blessings to Me Today: That God gives me each day my daily bread (exactly what I need, exactly when I need it), God answers prayers, God can solve any problem with a simple word (Trust), I can bring my failures to Him and he will help me, God loves me through my faults.

And as a P.S. I saw this on a Blog, and it really resonated with me:
“If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!”

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