Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

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Today is the last day of 2010. A year full of blessings and stretching. Yesterday I reflected on the verses that I clung to over the course of the year. Today I will spend the day out with my family goofing off in celebration of the wonderful year that ends, but first I'll take a few minutes to record my vision of the new year.

As I've thought about the upcoming year, I've made mental notes of some things I'd like to accomplish.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18

a. Read through the Bible
b. Pray more diligently for my children and husband
c. Do another Beth Moore Bible Study, I love how her studies draw me deep into God's word.
To be all that God has called me to be as a wife and mother I must be equipped and I know of no better way than by spending time in God's word and prayer.

a. Omit dairy and sugar - we've been dealing with some food sensitivities and these two must go. Once those are eliminated I'll asses if there are other trigger foods that need to be dealt with.
b. Exercise - I love the Walk At Home Series and am looking forward to getting in 3 miles a day again.

Personal Interest and Development

a. Photography - I will continue to develop my skills in this area. One of the tools I will use this year is the 365 project, which will help keep me consistent
b. Doula/Childbirth Instructor - I love to encourage women and this is something I've considered doing for years and I'm going to tackle this year after my midwife encouraged me to go for it. Thanks M!
c. Writing - I enjoy writing and will attempt to be more consistent with both journaling and blogging.
d. Leading the CHEC MOMS group - another area of encourage women and keeping me accountable to the life of Freedom God has called me to

These are some pretty hefty goal with a newborn in the house, so we'll see how well I do with these.


This past fall was very difficult because I became intimidated by having an 8th grader and let the opinions of others sway my decisions. I quickly found myself in bondage to the expectations of others and I've learned my lesson, at least for the moment, not to say I'll have to repeat it again in the future. God has a special purpose and plan for each of my children, so I will diligently seek Him and not others as I prepare and plan our lessons. I'm looking forward to pursuing the vision He has given me for the upcoming months and not following the ideas of others.

Without further ado I say Goodbye 2010 and hello 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

This is for all the mother's of boys.

From the mouth of my 12 year old son, "Daddy, there is a fresh killed raccoon on the side of the road. May I bring it back and skin it?"

Great is Thy Faithfulness

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This morning as I thought back over the previous year and all God had blessed me with I could not help but break out in singing the hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness", for it really sums up what God has brought me through and where I am now.

Lyrics | 4Him lyrics - Great Is Thy Faithfulness lyrics

That song brings to mind all the wonderful verses God has given me to cling to and try His faithfulness. As part of the Thankful Thursday Top Ten, I'm going to share ten of the verses I'm thankful that God has given me.

1. Lamentations 3:22-23, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning:great is thy faithfulness."

Not only is this the verse that the above hymn was based on but this is also the verse God gave me during the two lowest points of my life, when I felt like all was lost. When I was ready to give up and felt completely hopeless I opened His word and this verse was there to carry me through.

2. Isaiah 55:8-9, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts."

This is the verse I go to every year as I struggle with how I'm going to accomplish everything He has called me to, like being a helpmeet to my husband and a mother, nurturer and instructor to my seven children. Although in the flesh it is impossible, His way is possible.

3. John 14:13-14 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it."

God showed me the importance of asking and claiming His word with this verse. In February of we discovered I was expecting our 8th child. We've allowed God to bless us with His children and timing, yet I really struggled when I discovered I was expecting. I immediately called out to God. Pregnancy is very hard on me. I struggle to keep up with the chores, meals, schooling, etc. As I cried out to God, I gently heard Him say, "You have not because you ask not.", and I immediately began to ask God for an easy pregnancy and delivery and He answered in a mighty way that brought all glory to Him. He used this pregnancy to confirm His hand and answers in our lives. He confirmed that we were to stay in the south and not continue to spend the winters in the south and summers in the midwest. I enjoyed that very much as I have wonderful friends in both places, but packing up and moving 900 miles twice a year was challenging and it would take me at least 3 months to get settled and organized and 3 months later it was time to do it all again. Our baby was born the week before Thanksgiving, reminding me of what a gift he truly was to our family. I get to experience the joy of having a homebirth again and experiencing a supernatural delivery. I could go on and on about the His faithfulness through this time.

The following verses are from Psalm 91, which I discovered in hindsight was God's passage for our family for the year. We started out memorizing it in the fall as part of our schoolwork. The following verses God brought to life for me.

4. Psalm 91:11,13a, "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways...Thou shalt tread upon the loin and adder:"

The day my daughter was bitten by a water moccasin, this verse came to life for us as she received a dry bite with no harm. What a day of rejoicing this was for us as we say God's protection. I learned to trust Him more in the keeping of my family and she was reminded that God has a special purpose for her life and He loves her.

5. Psalm 91:3,10, "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence...There shall no evil befall thee, Neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."

We spent most of October and early November sick, with strep and high fevers. God gave me this verse to cling to as the arrival of our baby approached. He is good and all sickness left and we have been healthy since.

6. Philippians 2:13, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

A wonderful reminder that God is working in me, despite how I may feel and how the circumstances look.

7. Philippians 1:3,4,6, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,...Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"

This verse encourages as I look at the character flaws in my children and my poor parenting skills. I am encouraged to thank God for them and release them to Him, knowing that He is faithful to finish that which He began in both me and them.

8. Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Hope for this failure prone, perfectionist driven mom and her children. Thank God for His gift of grace.

9. James 1:5, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him."

What parent doesn't need wisdom??? I find myself claiming this verse all day long as I'm faced with training my children and needing wisdom to do the job right.

10. Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth, me."

This is my go to verse when I'm feeling defeated and forlorn. He is faithful to do it through me, if I will just depend upon Him.

His passed faithfulness encourages me to look forward with hope and expectation for what He will do in the coming new year. Reviewing these verses gives me a new hunger and thirst to devour even more of His word and promises.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Through My Lens


Christmas Eve

Twas' the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for Mom stuffing stockings and snapping photos of the quiet before the storm.






Breakfast & Play


Dinner with The Folks


Gifts With The Folks

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ask - Scripture & A Snapshot #2


This may seem like an odd verse for this photo but for our family the snow in this photo is an answered prayer. My children have spent most of their lives in the midwest, where a white Christmas is expected. I can only remember one Christmas of the nine we spent there, when we did not have a white Christmas. Now that we are back in the south my children miss many things about Iowa, especially having a white Christmas. My oldest son has been praying for weeks for a white Christmas. I did not discourage his prayer, but I thought it highly unlikely that we would have a white Christmas, I spent 28 Christmases here and never remember a single one being white! Yes, I had little faith, not too mention I am not so fond of snow...saw all I wanted to see the 9 winters I spent in Iowa. My son asked in faith and God who is faithful gave him the white Christmas he so desired.

Thank you Father for the good gift you bestowed on my children and the testimony of your sovereignty, goodness and faithfulness.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Wishes


My children are praying for a white Christmas, just like the ones in Iowa.

(Taken with my new 35mm 1.8 Nikor Lens that my husband suprised me with.)
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Baking Day


Today I'm making the above, along with this and these. Off to the kitchen to work some magic.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful Thursday

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I must admit that I started the day out feeling mopey and having a pity party, not much time for that as I had to move full speed ahead pulling recipes and making a grocery list, preparing breakfast, caring for baby......then I remembered that today is Thursday and I really NEED to stop and remember the Lord's blessings in my life and for this reason I put everything else on hold while I type out this post and participate in Thankful Thursday.

1."Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15
This verse says it all! What more could I want than the gift God gave me of His Son allowing me to become a daughter of the Most High. I am also thankful for the many other blessings evident in my life today.

2. Health: All 9 of us are healthy. I can remember one Christmas we all had the stomach flu and I spent Christmas Eve on the sofa with a very sick 2 year old.

3. Family: We spent several hollidays without extended family when we lived in the midwest. Thankful to have both my brother's near, my grandmother, parents and mother in law all here to celebrate Christmas.

4. Provision: God has provided my husband with a wonderful job that provides for our needs and many of our wants and allows us to give to those we love.

5. Sun: It's shining brightly today, warming the air and reminding me of God's goodness and how His SON lights our way and warms our heart. Its visible presence also means that it will be nice enough for my kids to get outside and run some energy off.

6. Children: God uses them to illuminate our weaknesses, forcing us to draw near and depend upon Him. They also bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to what could become mundane. Holidays are always exciting when experienced with the joy and excitment of a child.

7. Sleep: Something I get very little of but am thankful for every bit I do get.

8. Legos: Sure I step on them all the time but the hours of creative play that my children are engaged in makes the sore feet worth it.

9. Clean Kitchen: Knowing the kitchen is done, helps me feel a little less overwhelmed at all I want to accomplish today and tomorrow.

10. Christmas Carols: I love listening to them and singing them with my children.

"Joy to the world the Lord has come..."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Admitting Defeat

I had two goals for today, get the Christmas cards in the mail and bake some biscotti to give as Christmas gifts. Those were the main goals but I also have to get the house clean and ready for company that's arriving tomorrow and plan and prepare for a company breakfast. After multitasking last night by holding baby and addressing envelopes at the same time I had most of the cards ready to go so I dived into the baking only to discover that a key ingredient had been mistakenly sent over to my mothers to hide with the gifts. Now I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store before I could proceed with this goal, and since the grocery store is across the street from the post office I decided to go ahead and get the cards in the mail so that I could mark off that goal.
What I didn't take into account was:
a. the crowds
b. the unpredictability of a newborn
c. how long it takes to do everything with a newborn

I hit the store first armed with my list from couponmom of sale items(if I'm at the store I need to make it count since I'll not try this again this week). I did have a victory at the store as baby slept and I saved $53.00 just on sale items, with no coupons. We hit the post office was crying but I put him in my wrap and headed in to weigh cards and address an envelope. I stepped up to the automated station to weigh the cards and baby started screaming and I mean screaming at the top of his lungs. The post office was packed and everyone was wishing that baby would hush. I realized that my cards weighed too much for normal postage and that I was going to have to weigh them all and print out additional postage, UGH!!! So I stepped aside and let the nice lady with a single envelope proceed. I attempted to address a couple of envelopes(no pen in the car, had to use the one in the post office)but as baby's cry escalated and it was now lunch hour and the line at the post office was increasing by the second I did what was best for us all, I admitted defeat, headed to the car, called my husband to express my frustration and drove the 2 miles back to the house where I am now sitting, comfortably nursing my babe. At least now I can proceed with my baking this afternoon...who knows when the cards will get out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scripture and A Snapshot 1

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Part of the following challenges:

Scripture & Snapshot
Giving God Glory Through our Photographs
Straight out of the Camera Sunday

Friday, December 17, 2010



With my oldest son well into his teenage years and my youngest a month old this week, the song "Time In A Bottle" by Jim Croce keeps running through my head; as I savor each moment of nurturing my newborn...nursing, colic, long nights, spit up, a zillion diaper changes, cuddling, first smile...if only I could save time in a bottle, but before I know it this young one will be big just like his oldest brother. Time passes so quickly, remember to savor every moment of every day because before you know it, you will be looking back over your photos and wondering how they got so big and where the time went.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thankful Thursday

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thes 5:18

The gal who writes thisBlog does a Thursday listing of ten things she's thankful for. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to stop and count our blessings and proclaim the goodness of our Father. I've been meaning to join in the last few weeks but finding time to sit and blog and upload photos has been challenging to say the least. Instead of procrastinating until I have a chance to upload photos I'm going to dive in and post without photos.

1. I'm thankful that after 24(4)+8 hours of surviving the single parent of many life, my traveling salesman of a hubby is home :)
(can you tell I've been teaching pre-algebra?)

2. I'm thankful that last night I got twice as much sleep(4 hours) than I did the night before.

3. I'm thankful for a king size bed that I tucked 3 of the kids in with me last night because I was too exhausted to deal with the popcorn episodes.

4. I'm thankful for the sweet prayer of my two year old as she lay in bed with me fighting sleep, "Hey! It's me! I pray...I pray Mommy...I pray Daddy..."

5. I'm thankful that I was able to stay home this entire, cold, dreary week.

6. I'm thankful for 14 hands that make messes.

7. I'm thankful that 12 of these hands help clean up the messes, some of the time:)

8. I'm thankful that God's peace ruled in our home the majority of the week and strife has been minimal.

9. I'm thankful that the fact that the laundry is behind is proof of God providing us abundant raiment.

10. I'm thankful that tonight I can snuggle up next to my hubby and sleep, letting him get up with any kids that need attention :-D

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meet My Friends

God has blessed me with some amazing friends who continually exhort me to be all He created me to be. I love these ladies, but they are not who I want to introduce you to today, instead I want you to meet some "friends" who assist me in meeting the needs and caring for my family of 9.

The first friend or actually friends, they are twins, are Bali Baby Stretch and Ergo. I discovered the Ergo when my 5th child was a few months old. Really, I wonder how I survived four babies and toddlers without it. I suddenly felt like a supermom as I tended to the needs of not only my baby but also my other children and husband, carrying baby as I cooked, cleaned, instructed and ran errands. Then baby 6 arrived and I discovered the Ergo didn't work especially well for newborns and as she got older she didn't particularly like to be carried, she preferred the stroller so she could greet and smile at everyone she met. This summer when I was pregnant with baby 7 I read a post by a mom of many about her wrap and I knew that I must have one of these for baby 7. After much research I decided on the Bali Baby Stretch and I LOVE it! I can carry my sweet newborn around as I delegate chores and lend a hand to my other children. I can go shopping and keep my baby secure against me with no one touching or breathing all over him. I can eat with both hands, put the toddler on the potty, fold the laundry and type this post while baby JL sleeps securely and snuggly against me. I haven't tried it yet but I should be able to carry JL in the wrap and busy Miss M on my back in the Ergo should I be out with them both and need them secured and my hands free. Again I wonder how I survived so many babies with out these wonderful friends.

Another trusty friend of mine is the 7 quart crockpot. This lady is such a sanity saver. I love to start breakfast in the evening and awaken to find it ready. I can start potatoes in it first thing in the morning and have piping hot baked potatoes ready by noon for lunch and I can begin dinner early in the day before baby is fussy and I'm tired making for a much calmer dinner hour. Another advantage is the prep mess is cleaned up earlier in the day making for less work after dinner as well. Black Beans is a staple I make in my crock-pot. Mine will hold 3 lbs which will feed us for several meals of beans and rice, burritos and chili.

Online shopping is also a great friend for this very busy mom of 7! My oldest daughter was in need of some clothes, so I hopped online and searched several stores, found things that she and I both liked, called the local store and had them pull her size and then sent her and Daddy shopping. Much easier than running from store to store. I can search for things and either order or send someone out to pick it up for me.

The last friend I would like to introduce you to is what I call the "crock pot of homeschool" - Audio Books. I always have some in the car and around the house, they are great for bed time, quiet time or when mom just has too much to do to sit and read for hours. When I get a chance I'll compile a list of some of our favorites!

There you have a few of my favorite friends.

End of a VERY BUSY Week...

This was a busy week around our place with errands to do every day but Monday so I enjoyed staying in bed a little longer this chilly morning even if I did have 6 wiggly kids join me.

Although I'm worn out from the week it was a productive week.

On Wednesday my Mom was taking the girls for hair cuts and I decided to use the opportunity, since I'd have only 4 kids, to start my Christmas shopping. By God's grace I was able to get over half of it done in only 3 stops and despite the fact that I had 4 of the 7 kids with me. Unfortunately a few things will not be a surprise, but I have managed to keep at least one good surprise per child.

Thursday morning at approximately 10 am I decided that I could not stand going another day with out a hair cut. I had procrastinated long enough! I called a salon and was able to get in that afternoon. After I made the appointment I realized that I had no one to watch the kids and with a new born I did not feel comfortable leaving them home with big brother. I proceeded to coordinate a grand production in order to accomplish the much needed hour of cut and pampering of my hair. Two children had writing class that afternoon, so I needed to find someone to watch the others and someone to meet me at the salon to hold our newborn. After a few calls all was arranged. I left the house at 12:45 and dropped off the two for writing class. I swung by my husbands office and left one there and then headed to my cousins where I left 3 others. I arrived at the salon 15 minutes before my appointment and nursed little JL while I waited in my bro and sil to arrive. They had agreed to come and tend to him while I got my hair cut. When I sat down in the chair to have my hair shampooed, while enjoying a complimentary hand massage, I relaxed and realized the energy expended to work out the details had been worth the hour of relaxation and pampering. I left refreshed and looking better than when I arrived, ready to reverse my rounds to collect everyone and return home to find dinner ready thanks to my crockpot(one of my best friends!).

Friday I got a day out with my hubby, my oldest daughter and JL. We had fun shopping and dining. Marked a few more items off the Christmas list, got home very late buy enjoyed having time to connect with them.

Today I'm catching up on the laundry and snuggling up JL and letting him nurse as much as he wants, after three crazy days of car seats and outings.

Tomorrow another crazy week begins where I need to fit in some baking and hopefully begin working on our Christmas cards. Getting a photo of the SEVEN had proved to be challenging.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why I ate cold spaghetti for breakfast???

A: The kids ate all the breakfast not only leaving me no toast but not even any bread to make toast.

B: I'm a famished mom nursing a newborn and I must eat immediately before I have to nurse said newborn again.

C: There wasn't enough spaghetti left to feed all six kids for lunch and not wanting a squabble I decided to finish it off.

D: All of the above.