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Friday, June 26, 2015

A Post About My Boy... THIS BOY!



Elias ~ Yahweh is my God
Hezekiah ~ God is my Strength


Sometimes BOYS can drive you a little... bonkey?!?


The other day, Elias decided to pee himself... not once... not twice... six times! I had him sitting in his peed-on clothes on his peed-on bed while I went downstairs to clean up the most recent puddle. I come back upstairs and see my son sitting on his bed apologetically, with his hands folded in his lap naked, covered in vaseline, grinning from ear to ear as if to say, Look mom! Isn't this awesome?!?

Oh, that's not it... I walked away again to deal with a sibling rivalry before WWIII commenced. Then I remembered my vegetables and fruits needed a good water since it was relatively warm that day.  I come back and can't find Elias! Where did that boy go now?!? I recalled hearing him through a window while I was outside. 

"Mom! Eli's throwing Hayven's toys off the roof!"

The roof?!? How is he managing that?!?

Sure enough, super butt-naked boy is still covered in vaseline and had jimmied my screen in my bedroom to open, climbed out on the roof and was, indeed, violently throwing Hayven's toys right off the roof! 



 Another time, Alex and I were praying. It was near midnight. We were finishing up our prayer time when I heard some clicking noises outside our bedroom. 

"Honey, can you just check on the boy? I think he's up. And if he is, it's no good."
"No, I just checked on him and he was asleep."

We continued praying and then we heard the clicking noise right outside our door. Alex and I looked at each other. He got up and opened the door... 

Oh, the HORROR!

There was my son. This boy was in his normal attire (butt-naked) with his finger stuck in one of those big salt shakers. He had a huge smile on his face and said, "Hi dad!" enthusiastically. On the floor around him was a sea of white salt. I ventured out of my room to explore the rubble from the destruction this boy managed to create while mom and dad thought he was sleeping. The salt covered his bed, got into the girl's pull-out clothes bins under the bed, continued down the hall way and onto the staircase. 

I just smiled. Alex and I laughed. 
We dealt with his naked-butt (if you know what I mean), then we put him back to bed and I dealt with the salt the next morning. 



Sometimes this boy thinks he is the man of the house. Not only does he repeat orders that I give and do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants... 

The time was 1am. I was having a hard time sleeping so I resulted to my good friend Mr. Netflix to assist in lulling me to sleep. I got up to use the bathroom and saw my son just getting into his bed. I knelt down to give him a kiss and I inhaled... what was that smell?

Goldfish? No we don't have any. 
Did they eat a snack in their room? I don't think so.
I hope whatever he managed to find wasn't too old...

The next morning I found the bag of Veggie Straws on the couch with a trail of the little green and orange strips all over the couch and floor in the living room.

This boy helped himself to a bag of chips from the pantry and sat his naked butt down on the couch at 1am in the morning for a snack. When he was full, he concluded it was time to go back to bed and left his mess for me to clean up.


Praise the Lord the pictures I have are of him with clothes on, but I think you can get the picture that Elias is convinced his normal attire is a naked butt. In fact, when we get home from places, he takes his clothes off like they are his shoes or something. Ope, were home! Time to take my pants off! 


I love this boy :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

What Better Place?

My husband and I were asked this week and have been asked in the past,

"Don't you think you're robbing your kids being so involved in ministry?" 


OR

"What about the fact you are homeschooling? How will they prepare for the 'real world?'"


I find it amusing listening as I let people explain themselves. It's usually comes down to, 

"All that time you spend doing "ministry things" you could be pouring into your children. You're robbing them in order to minister to others. Isn't your family your first ministry?"

So are you saying, the best way to raise my children is to give them all my attention every waking moment of every day? 
And what do you mean by "attention"? 
Should I sit with them in the home all day every day?
OR should I be sending them to a school for 8+ hours a day 5/7 days a week? Is that the "best way" to raise them?!? 
How do you walk your kids through scenarios to teach them things? 

I mean you have to teach them to be hard workers, to look outside of themselves, to be respectful, to be responsible, to be able to deal with things like finances, sin, evil people, pressures of life and such right?!?

WHAT BETTER PLACE TO TEACH ALL THESE THINGS THEN IN A LIFE OF MINISTRY?!? 




My husband and I knew before we even birthed our first children we wanted to raise them in a life of ministry. We knew our kids would serve along side us in everything we do. We knew we were called to full time ministry, so therefore, God must have called our children to full time ministry as well. God has given us so much insight and ideas on how to get them involved and how to teach them valuable life skills along the way. Hands on, side-by-side with us, experiences they wouldn't get other wise. 

My children aren't easily swayed by "peer pressure" because they KNOW what's right. They've seen their mom and dad stand up for the truth, say what they believe and then live it out. They've seen the Lord come through in countless situations when we've all hit the ground on our knees asking the Lord for His guidance or provision. 

Giving our kids a heart for evangelism and having been raised with parents that teach and lead worship at homeless shelters and out in public parks or at churches across the states prepares them to be fearless public speakers and a proper view of what the "real world" is actually like. 

Having a heart for missions and going on missions trips and praying for and raising funds for missions around the world exposes our children to more culture then most get in public schools as ecumenical as they want to try to be. 

Our plan is to raise the kids to not only serve in ministries, but lead them. Whether it's sound ministry, worship ministry, children's ministry, or to start up something that the Lord's given them a vision about. 



There are so many possibilities within homeschooling and ministry to teach your children and prepare them for the "real world". It starts at home with chores and responsibilities. It then builds to going to church and having them help with set up or tear down or cleaning up after an event. It leads to them getting a job once they reach the age of working and teaching them to pay bills (gas, car insurance, cell phone). Showing them how to provide for not only their own needs, but the needs of others as well. 

When Alex and I do have a prayer meeting or something they can't participate in, they get to learn that life's NOT ALL ABOUT THEM! 
Imagine that! 
They AREN'T ALWAYS the center of attention! They actually have to entertain THEMSELVES sometimes. Or learn that the needs of others comes before themselves. They learn how to sit in a different room while keeping their voices down. They learn some self control. They learn how to think about how their sitting quietly is enabling mom and dad to minister, which means that they are, in turn, joining in the work of the ministry themselves!


It's a beautiful thing though, really, when you think about it. My kids have so many questions and I get to answer them! We have such a deep relationship with them. One that's beyond just the average parent-child relationship. I believe that's because we're all growing closer to the Lord together, side-by-side, in the trenches of the Lord's work. 

So I ask you again...

WHAT BETTER PLACE TO TEACH ALL THESE THINGS THEN IN A LIFE OF MINISTRY?!? 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Life Not Your Own

Life's been a BIT busy these last few months.

 And you know when we do busy, it's rarely a "normal" busy. I sometimes wonder what "normal" families do when they do "normal" busy...

We had Hayven & Elias' room set aside a few months back for a girl who needed a place to stay for a week or so. Hayven and Elias moved into our room.




This room, of course, stayed open for several other wanderers to crash in when they needed a place to stay. Then my dad, step-mom and little brothers stayed for about 3 weeks.



We started building a second bathroom in the house while my dad was here. Needlesstosay, it's still... not... finished. 


And along with that project, the fact that home fellowships started back up, and the fact that it's warmer out... plus the news that now BOTH my sisters are courting...





... we've had so much traffic through our home. WE LOVE IT!! There's always at least 10 people here at almost all times. It's been amazing to see the Lord make my grocery money multiply like crazy! Or to see the amount of food I pull out to cook, then several more people walk through the door needing a place to hang out, and somehow my food feeds everyone!  PRAISE THE LORD!

You really can't out give God. 

The girls then had a flying day with CKC (Calvary Kids Club) which was a BLAST!!




Then was my GoLdEn BiRtHdAy/Memorial Day which consisted of My Love and I going to every coffee place near the cities and getting free birthday coffees!! Then we were preparing the house for a big Memorial Day/Birthday Party and my Pastor called and brought my husband and I up in a private plane!! It was awesome!!!




In the days preceding my birthday I got a couple birthday tattoos!!


Then there's been the normal shopping, homeschooling, ministry, family life. It's been a real blast!! I CAN'T BELIEVE ITS JUNE!!!




 The girls had their CKC commencement officially ending the "school year" (however we do school year round). They did amazing and I had no idea we had memorized so many scriptures this year!!!




We currently have a few people living with us right now for this week. After that, we'll see who moves in next! 

I just LOVE living a life being poured out for other people! 
I LOVE having a home that isn't my own. 
One that's open for the Lord to use it however He sees fit. 
What an exciting life we get to live as Christians! 
What an exciting life my kids get to grow up living! 
I Love the Lord so much!

I love what someone told me recently:
"Your house is not your own. Your family is not your own. Your husband is not your own. Your children are not your own. The things you own are not your own. YOU are not your own."

That's just been ringing through my mind the last few weeks. 
Oh how I LONG to get to a point when I take absolutely NO consideration of SELF, but am willing to do whatever for the glory and pleasure of my Lord. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Appendicitis Scare and "Mystery" Unknown

Though we can be uncertain about our circumstances, we CAN be certain in our God. 

The GREAT peace and joy that comes with that is evidence of that life "hid in Christ". :)


Two Thursday's ago Ahavah had some stomach pain and a low grade fever. Her stomach was slightly tender to the touch. We debated bringing her in, but with her bleeding disorder/autoimmune disease, and the fact that were passing around mono (which causes swelling of some organs), we decided to be safe and take her in. They looked her over and sent us home. 

Last Tuesday we were at CostCo shopping for our road trip we left on Thursday  morning and all of the sudden Ahavah was dubbed over in excruciating pain. Her face grew pale, she was very weak, and told me she felt like vomitting. I grabbed the nearest trash bin and carried her to the bathroom. We sat in the largest stall as she sat on the floor in front of the toilet. She had some dry heaves and just held her stomach moaning. 

On our way home, she was just begging me to let her go to bed. The corners of her mouth were a bright blue. I brought her home and laid her on the couch. After resting for about an hour, her stomach felt better, but she was exhausted. She just wanted to sleep. After a few phone calls, her doctor wanted to see her.



She was limping and hunched over. Her WBC was 28,000. He platelets were 341,000 (which is phenomenal!!). All she could do way lay down and be carried. So we took her right to the ER. The pediatrician was CONVINCED it was her appendix. She believed it had already burst and we needed to hurry and get her in.




The emergency room confirmed her WBC and fever. We did an ultrasound to check her appendix. All the doctors were sure it was appendix, until the ultrasound. Everything looked normal. The only strange thing they found on "accident" was her kidneys are enlarged near the part where they connect to the "pee tube" (not exactly sure what it's called) and her kidneys, then, have fluid surrounding them. They reassured me it had nothing to do with what was going gone right now, but it may cause us issues in the future. 



The admitted us overnight to keep an eye on her and see if we wanted to do more testing in the morning. The next morning her WBC is half of what it was the day before, her fever was gone, she's acting normal. The crew of doctors came in and the lead doctor really felt like something was going on. She decided on an x-ray and said if we noticed a back up of stool they would discharge her with a very serious laxative regime she was to follow. 

Sure enough, the x-ray revealed her intestines were completely FULL! I've never seen such a sight! The doctor came in and talked to me and said she felt like the constipation was more of a symptom then a cause for all that was going on, but she felt okay about sending Ahavah home. I was to follow up with her hematologist and her pediatrician. 



**GOOD NEWS! Her lead levels dropped to 17, and then to 14!! Praise the LORD! This is the lowest they have been in over a year!!


After talking to the pediatrician that sent us into the ER, she also thinks something bigger is going on here. She remembers how sick Ahavah looked and doesn't think she was simply, "constipated". 



Yesterday the same thing happened but with some new symptoms. There was much less stomach pain this time, but she has having headaches and started getting a cough and runny nose and she was sneezing uncontrollably. I tried some allergy medicine and nothing helped. She got a low-grade fever again and a rash all over her face. She was wiped out! She was very whiney and wanted to just lay down and sleep. 


It's a mystery (to man) what's going on with my daughter, but not to my God.

He holds all things in His hands and His good will WILL be done. 
I trust Him entirely. 

I am praying her upcoming appointments reveal what the recurring fever is from. 

I am hoping that she is just sick from the mono that I have been dealing with (even though all her blood work suggests she doesn't have mono). 


I may not be certain about what's going on, but I don't need to be... 
I am certain in who my God is. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Preparing For A Family Trip


Every year we go on 2-5 roads trips. We try to go to my dad's in Detroit at least once a year, Appleton, WI for a Pastor's Conference, Omaha, NE for a Conference and then there may be a few other trips that come up.

We LOVE to travel with our kids! It's such a great time of irritation, annoyance, cramped, and charlie-horsed muscles, all snug together within snot-nose reach of one another... it's great! 

Just kidding... kinda... No, but really it's all what we make it. If our outlook is to spend time as a family, spend time fine tuning the character traits in our children, and to spend time snuggling up with our spouse and allowing our children to see that intimacy between their parents which usually isn't as apparent in the midst of the business of lives, then it's going to be a GREAT time! On the other hand, if our outlook is to try to "get some me time" or to to listen to the speakers and get "built up" so I can do this parenting thing, then we are SURE to have a crummy trip. 

So then there's the nitty gritty that us women think about in detail that has to take place before, during and after the trip that, quite frankly, never enters a man's mind. As I'm working through these details, I wanted to jot some tips and tricks down that I've learned since we are a family that travels white a bit. 





BEFORE YOU LEAVE
(1) Get Your Outlook Adjusted: Like I said above, go into this trip with a proper attitude. You, the wife and the mother, have such great influence over the "spirit" of your family. If mom's happy, light-hearted, patient, compassionate, friendly, and bubbly, then everyone enjoys themselves. Strive to have a good attitude, and be joy and blessing to your husband and your children. Prepare ahead of time to purpose to do this. 

(2) Start Your Lists: I would do this a week before you leave. This way you don't forget to charge batteries, purchase certain items, or pack any items. I make a:

- Food List: We are the family of allergies! What's for breakfasts/lunches/snacks/dinners? Will there be a fridge? A Microwave? What restaurants will be around that we can eat at? How much can I spend on travel food? Where do I get those items? When should I purchase the food for the trip? Does the food need any prep work (assembling, cutting, washing, pre-separating)?


- Clothing List: Will we need swimsuits? Will your newly-potty trained child need several pairs of extra underwear and pants? How many outfits does each child REALLY need? Will it be cold, warm, or hot weather? Is my period due? What about medicine?


*NOTE: LESS IS SO MUCH MORE! 
I fit my ENTIRE family into ONE suitcase. There's more room in the car (in case your famiy member's car breaks down and you need to squeeze 6 more people's belongings into yours.. see below picture), less fussing over packing, repacking and unpacking.

- Activities for Children: What activities should I pack? Do I need new supplies (coloring books, crayons, play dough)? Does anything need batteries or to be charged? 

- Chores Needing Attendance Before Departure: When will I do the last loads of laundry to there isn't musty clothes waiting for us to get home? When will I do the final vacuum? The final sweep and mopping? Will we make breakfast before we leave and therefore need dishes to be washed in the morning? What do I want to come home to? Will company be coming home with us? What do I need to do to prepare for that?

It helps to keep little boxes for organizing things. A Box of car activities. A Box of healthy treats and sandwiches.

(3) Set Up Your Plan: 
Monday - Deep Cleaning (Bathroom, vacuuming upstairs, changing bedding), Packing clothing, and preparing Bedrooms for mom and dad. 

Tuesday - Grocery Shopping and Deep Cleaning the Living Room

Wednesday - Bathing Children and Braiding Hair, Finishing All Laundry in house, preparing food (sandwiches, sliced vegetables, mixing trail mix ect), sweeping and mopping.

Thursday - Leave at 6am.

Elias LOVED his car book. It kept him very occupied. 


*NOTE: Spreading all that needs to be done over the course of several days makes this so much less stressful and leaves room for the inevitable "emergencies" that come up and demand our attention (such as an appendix scare and admission into the hospital; See future post)
Unfortunately we spent two days in Children's Hospital due to a high WBC and other strange symptoms.  Good thing we started packing and cleaning ahead of time!

DURING YOUR TRIP

  • Place all your dirty Laundry into a Garbage bag to keep separate from the clean clothes. This also helps with unpacking since you can just bring the bag of dirty clothes right into the laundry room and play into the wash. 
  • If you're going to a conference or event where kids need to sit quietly for longer periods of time, make sure you plan different activities so that they have something "new" to play with when they get bored. Buy some new things from the dollar store and don't show it to them! Every speaker, or every hour, given them a new surprise to play with along with a snack.
  • If you are sitting a lot, make sure the kids get some time to be kids. Let them run around outside when you can. Stay in a hotel where there is a pool or near a park. 
  • If you're staying at someone's home, take the time to walk your children through scenarios they may face and not know how to deal with (disagreements between them and other children in the home, sleeping in an unknown place ect.)
  • Be flexible. Have Fun. Relax. Be creative. Allow your husband to lead. 
Fortunately, we were given a nursery area all for ourselves!

Ipads (Leap Pads) are ONLY for road trips. We'll usually buy a new game or a new app for trips and this makes the iPads a real treat!
We ended up buying these flotation deals while we were there. Good thing we packed light! We had plenty of room to fit them in our suitcase.


AFTER YOUR TRIP

  • Unpacking Tips: Unpack RIGHT AWAY! Walk in the door, bring everything in. Open your bag and pull out your dirty laundry you've been placing in a garbage bag and put it right in the wash. Place food in the fridge, place clean clothes under one arm, and toiletries under the other and head upstairs and put them away. DONE! Get the kids involved. It's great for them to learn the responsibility of their own belongings and how to persevere when they are exhausted. Of course, if you're walking through the door at 1am, I would put the kids to bed, but I would still unpack right away. Then it's done! 
  • Spend a day relaxing, recovering, and talking about all you learned on the trip. Don't get back into the grind of things right away. Reflect on what the Lord's taught you and don't miss out on letting those lessons really soak into your heart and mind.  
  • Eat plenty of probiotics. Traveling stops you up (if you know what I mean) and often means you've eaten unhealthy (at least more then normal) and your body could benefit from a boost of healthy gut bacteria. 

My dad and step-moms LARGE conversion van broke down on the way home. This is a glimpse of the amount of stuff we had to fit in our van. Praise the LORD another person from the hurrah drove by to pick up my mom and brothers. The rest of us had to squeeze in the van FULL of stuff!
Dad broke down right by a rail road track. We got to see several trains zoom past which was very cool! We grabbed blankets and laid on the grass and watched them .

Big brother looking out for little sister (Mariah). 
I am a very organized person and I find that being organized makes things run more smooth. It blesses my husband tremendously. He tells me (verbally and nonverbally) how much he appreciates that I have everything that pertains to the home taken care of. He loves coming home to a clean house. He loves having everything he needs packed, organized, and clean. He loves that he does't have to think every detail through. He then is freed up to make sure the car works, the finances stay in order, we have a hotel room, and we have places to eat and go. It also is a GREAT thing I am exemplifying for my little adult-in-trainees! They are seeing the importance of all the Proverbs speaks about (planning ahead, working diligently, delegating tasks ect).