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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preparing for the Haul

Sorry this posted and was sent out LONG before I was finished with it...
I'm really, really praying my computer stops acting up!


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Well, my baby sister's shower was AWESOME!!!!
I can't wait to get photos from my mom... *hint hint mom* (I don't think she even reads my blog...). Again, praying my computer starts working so I can actually add pictures to posts...

But now we're in the final stretch of wedding haul. Mariah's moving in here Friday and staying until the first of September (which is when they get keys to their apartment). Then for the wedding I will be having:

(1) Dad
(2) Raina Mom
(3) Tres
(4) AaronMatthew
(5) Uncle Keith
(6) Collin
(7) Olivia
and possibly (8) My brother David

all staying here on top of:

(9) Alex
(10) Me
(11) Ahavah
(12) Alecia
(13) Hayven
(14) Elias
(15) Alyssa

here also.

In the words of my overly dramatic #3, Hayven, "It's time for fun, Fun, FUN!" :)

So in between Monday homefellowship, Tuesday date night, Wednesday music practice for Thursday, Thursday church, Friday family night, Saturday whatever ministry transpires, Sunday leading worship and doing other ministry things, I've been working on cleaning out all the closets, toy bins, shoe bins, ect. And really downsizing again. When you have a LOT of people in your home, it's so much more relaxing to have little. So here I go purging away again!!

Motherhood has been such a blessing this last month. My husband bought quite a few resources from doorposts.com and we've been implementing them. There's a few charts and a large book with in-depth studies and ideas on certain character traits. Along side that, I've made up some step-by-step chore charts for the kids chores and then spent a week investing in following them around and watching them do their chores perfectly, without cutting corners, and with the correct attitude. I've been teaching them the character traits of a godly woman (Proverbs 31) as well as what it means to serve God by serving others, even when no one's watching. The labor was intensive, but the fruit is incredible! It's all in preparation for what I know is coming for our family. 

See, as parents, we get to look down the road and train out children according to what we know they'll need. I know we'll have a house full of people for the next month (even though we do really every month... someone moves in or crashes here), so I know that we're gonna need extra hands if we're gonna feed all these people and all try to live cooperatively in our home. I also know what the Lord's shown me is coming in the next few months and I need to prepare my children to help out with that also. 

I could go on a hundred tangents about all the wonderful child training things the Lord's been teaching my husband and I! One that I got to share with a dear friend last night was a break through in Hayven and her whining. You see, Hayven whines so much, she has her own slogan that everyone of our friends knows. 

"Just because she's crying, doesn't mean there's something wrong."

So we did a study on what the Bible says about complaining and laziness. We learned how a lazy man doesn't eat, is made a "slave laborer", is a brother to a destroyer, and can't provide for himself. We learned that complaining is unacceptable and is the fruit of an ungrateful heart. Ergo, we put these into practice with Hayven, allowing the consequence she endured to be similar to the natural consequence of her whining.

Whining about picking up the Living Room --> More Work --> Still Whining? --> More Work! ect.
Whining about wanting a snack --> Snack priviledge taken away
Whining about serving her sister --> Priviledge lost (family movie or evening fun time/swimming at lake)

The consistency of this for the last month or so, I finally noticed a breakthrough yesterday. "Mom, I am going to try to do this without whining." GREAT!! She thought the consequences through BEFORE she decided to whine, and it changed her attitude!! 

Then another episode of whining when asked to help me out with something proceeded to her getting assigned a second chore, of which she whined about, then a third chore, but then she pulled herself together, got the chores done with a good attitude, and was reconciled back into fellowship with the family! WONDERFUL!!!

I can't describe to you the feeling of seeing your babies grow into maturity. That's our goal isn't it?! Next to them having a relationship with Christ, it's to grow them into maturity. Oh, it's such a joyous, rewarding process! You get a sense of pride that your God and His Word actually DO have all the answers to life and godliness. Your God and His Word actually ARE useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting ect. Your God and His Word really Do bring all into full maturity in Christ.

Keep pressing on parents!

Don't neglect the time you can be filling your children with the Lord's statues.
Teach them the character of God, first through your actions, then through your words. 
Hold them. 
Tell them you love them so much!
Tell them you're proud of them.
Don't expect anything less for them then you would for yourself.
Hold that bar high and watch them rise up to it! :)

And please pray my computer stops acting up! ;)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Freedom and Flowers



Praise the Lord for this Country!
Praise the Lord for the men and women that laid down their lives and CONTINUE to lay down their lives for our freedoms. 

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On the morning of the 4th of July, we read through the Declaration of Independence and the beginning of the Constitution on our way to Lake Elmo. 

If you have not read the Declaration lately, YOU NEED TO!!
If there is ever a time that it applies to our country, it's now.



We spent the day with friends and family at Lake Elmo and then headed to Stillwater for the fireworks over the lake. Here are some pictures:


My son was out cold for almost 3 hours! He woke up and I filled him to the brim with juice and water. 

Hayven spent quite a while talking with my mom's boyfriend George.

Elias took a big... dump... yes... 

We went to Nelsons Ice Cream for a cool refreshing TON of ice cream. Mariah and I had to find a Natural Food store that sold ice cream and dinner that was corn free. Praise the Lord we got there 30 minutes before they closed!

Ahavah and I at the Pizza Place we go to every year. 

My sister and soon to be brother-in-law in an awkard picture :)

These lovely beauties were a cool historical attraction that were fired off before the fireworks... problem was they were part of the firework show also, which we did NOT appreciate. It was extremely distracting and scared all the kids... and adults. We had to be on guard to plug the kids ears for the cannons instead of enjoying the firework show. This might be our last year going to Stillwater for fireworks. 

Mr. Babe and the sparklers. He had to be reminded they were for the kids ;) 
 My prayer as a mother is that my kids LOVE Jesus more then anything else. I pray that their relationships with Him come above everything else. 
Every other love, 
every other passion, 
every other desire, 
every other drive. 

I want my kids to stand firm on the scriptures, on God's revealed word, even in the face of persecution. I pray they see that in my husband and I and I pray they know nothing else but bravery, conviction and love. 

I pray they know nothing else but Christ and Him crucified. 


Please parents, teach your children the truth.
Read them the Declaration of Independence. 
Teach them of those brave men and women who laid down their lives that we can be free. 
Lay down your life and stand up and fight for what is right. 
Teach them of the ultimate Veteran: Jesus Christ who laid down His life for freedom for all. 

Will you stand with me?
Will you allow your children to see you standing up for life?
For freedom?
For love? 
Real love?
Love that doesn't stay silent and watch people march into the slaughter house or through the gates of Hell?

Please stand up parents. 
Live by example.
Love boldly.
Love Fully.

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The "Flowers" part of this post has to do with weddings!!!

My baby sister is getting married on MY anniversary!! September 5th. We've been vigorously planning away and working on invitations, decorations, details, and arrangements. It's been a blast! I am so, so, so honored to have Lorn Ross McDowell marry my sister. I could NOT have picked a better husband for her. I am so excited to have a brother-in-law like him! He is a great uncle for my kids too! 

I am blessed and honored to be Mariah's maid-of-honor in her wedding. Mariah and I have had an interesting relationship our whole lives. I (being honest) never really liked her growing up. Long Story short, we went through several really hard situations over the last few years. I ended up being her mom for a while, I watched her walk through many hard things and prayed and cried my guts out for her.

Now I get the joy of seeing her walk with the Lord and marry a godly man and enter into a golly marriage. I get to enjoy her raising her children according to the Bible. I am so excited and blessed! Praise the Lord that He is in the business of restoration! I love Him so much!!


And I love Mariah so much :)

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.