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Thursday, August 4, 2016

FACEBOOK PAGE

Join me on my FaceBook page as I read through the book of Job this month. Feel free to leave your comments or questions on my page. Just click HERE to check it out!

Be blessed my friends!

Friday, July 22, 2016

SUMMER BUCKET LIST

We've spent at least our last three summers taking care of babies and barely getting out of the house. It has been a trying (but precious) time for our family. My husband wasn't making as much money as he's making now, so our summer fun has been extremely limited. Since my husband has a better job and our youngest is going from baby to toddler, I decided to not let another summer pass us by. I came up with a long list of ideas of things we would love to do together as a family. I created a summer bucket list and hung it on a huge poster board in our hallway so we have a daily reminder of all the fun things we want to try to do. Having this in front of us has really helped do away with the "What is there to do" questions where we'd always just end up eating dinner at a restaurant. Boring! I'm happy to say that many of these things have already been marked off! I love making all these memories with my kids and husband! 



The things with asterisks are activities that can be done when it's raining. Yesterday we went to the Newport Aquarium and today we will be making Rice Krispie Treats. As you can see, I've included several big and little things. I can't wait to update you at the end of summer (most likely into the fall) and share all of the cool things we've done together.  

Here are a few of the fun things we've done so far:

SNOW CONES

MINI GOLF



SWIMMING POOL

REPTILE EXPO


TRIANGLE PARK
 Be blessed my friends!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LIVE IS A GIFT, LIVE IT

Me on my special day (wearing clothes
bought with my birthday money)!
Today is a special day to me. It's my birthday. I've not always considered this a special day. Once I even threatened my husband that if he did anything for me for my birthday, I'd be so mad at him. I didn't want to be older. Back then, I didn't like the fact that I was entering my 30's. I wanted to stay in my 20's forever! Over the years I have dealt with so many bouts of depression (usually from hormonal changes that sometimes come with having a baby). I thought I hated myself and my life. I've also had to deal with anxiety, just as recently as this past March. But you know what? I've had enough! After this last battle with anxiety (and it really is a battle because you have to fight with every tool that God gives you) I vowed that this year would be my greatest year yet! I even wrote down a countdown to this day and started marking the days off, looking forward to it with great expectation. I will no longer allow those demons of depression and anxiety to have control over my life. I created a summer bucket list to make sure that my family is spending fun, quality time together. No more wasteful summers! I have also started taking steps to ensure a healthier future for myself. The biggest thing I've done is give up pop. I haven't had any pop since March and I know that has helped me lose weight and I have way fewer headaches than I use to. I also walk almost every night that I get the chance. I'll do my part and let God handle the rest. 

Some unfortunate events in my life have led me to a new perspective on life. Sometimes that's what it takes to wake us up and snap us out of our pitiful life so we can see the beauty of life that God created for us.

My mom's story is one of those things that was a true game changer for me. She has been through so much this past year. It has broken my heart to know the pain that she's had to endure. She had unexplained, debilitating pain in her body for months. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She was also repeating herself quite frequently. I was wondering if she had Alzheimer's or something. I'd listen to her tell me an entire story and then five minutes later, repeat it just as she did at the beginning of our conversation. Then one day, she went to the bathroom and she couldn't stand back up. She just lost the functionality of her legs. She had also fallen prior to this, but I guess no one realized how big of a deal it was. When my dad took her to the hospital, they found a mass in her head. Eventually she had the mass removed and we found out that it was the size of a tennis ball. Can you imagine? Every time I see my kids playing with a tennis ball now, I think about what my mom came through. Thankfully, it wasn't cancer. But even so, this was enough to jerk me out of my pity party and realize that life is a gift. We don't know what tomorrow holds.My mom's surgery went great, but since then, she's been dealing with blood clots. I know she's going to get through this! She's a woman of strength and she's setting such a good example for me and my kids. 
My grandmother, Dad, Me, and my mom
(and my brother and my youngest son in the background)

Another way that God has used my mom, is in my dad's life. Years ago, I was prophesied to by a man that I respect and I believe the words he's spoken over me and my family. He told me that my entire family will be healed and they will be saved, but I must leave it to God. I cannot save them. Wow, turns out that he was right! The night before my mom's surgery, my dad took my mom and my grandmother to revival at my grandma's church, and that night, my dad gave his life to the Lord. When I got this wonderful news, I was beyond amazed and excited over what God had done. I felt like this was a huge gift from God to me. Because honestly, if my dad had died before this night, I wasn't sure what would happen to his soul. Now I thank God almost daily for saving my dad because I can live with absolute peace that he will spend eternity with Jesus! 

About a week ago, my grandmother fell and broke her hip. She's had a rough road since the surgery, but I also have peace about this because God told me that it's not her time to go yet. She's going to come through this. I had the privilege to speak with her today and tell her all that God shared with me. Through her pain, God is using her as a witness to bring the rest of her family to Christ. I reminded her that they are still watching her and she needs to stay strong and continue fighting the good fight.

Another thing that I just can't ignore is what is going on in America and in our world. Again today, there were more deliberate police officer shootings. I want to cower back in fear, stay home, and keep my kids safe. But I know that isn't the answer. I know that just allows Satan to have victory. What I will do instead is to pray for peace and for God to have mercy on all of us. I will pray for the victims and their families. I will pray for the people who have caused the tragedies, and their families too. And I will go out, and I will live my life to the fullest. Because in the end, God already knows when my final day will be. Nothing I do will change that. But until then, I will chose joy, forgiveness, and love. I will chose to be thankful for this life that I've been so blessed to have. And I will continue sharing my stories, hoping that at least one person will be encouraged. Keep fighting the good fight my friends. You never know how your fight or your simple acts of kindness will change someone else's life. It might just impact their life beyond their walk on this earth!

Be blessed my friends!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

NEWEST MEMBERS OF OUR FAMILY



Meet the two newest members of our family: Banksky and Flash.Well, they're not completely new to us, we've had them for 2 months. They are almost 4 months old now. They are Lionhead rabbits. We got them thinking that they would be great therapy pets for our 7 year old son. He was so excited for about a week. I'm so sad that the kids don't take more interest in them already. But me, I feel like I'm getting more and more attached. Banksky (on the right) has a genetic tooth disorder. I'm not 100 % sure if it's something we can handle or if we will have to return him to the breeder. We said we are going to return him, but I worry about what will  happen to him, and to Flash. He will miss his brother. Bunnies are very social and can actually grieve themselves to death if something happens to another bunny that they've bonded with. However, we've already had to spend about $140 to have Banksky put to sleep to have his teeth clipped and the matted fur removed. He also had to have antibiotics. Poor thing! I know many people would read this and think that it's crazy to spend that kind of money on a rabbit. But then there are others who wouldn't think twice. I fall somewhere in the middle, which is part of why I'm having a hard time deciding what to do with Banksky. I can't watch an animal suffer, but I'm also not for putting them to sleep if it's something that can be handled some other way. A lot of people thought we were crazy for getting pet rabbits. Actually, we knew we were crazy too, but we thought it would help our son. I'm hoping that once they're neutered (yes, bunnies can get neutered too), they will become even better pets for us. By the way, Flash is on his litter box in the picture. Haha. So there, you've possibly learned some interesting facts about bunnies today. They can make great pets, they can be litter box trained, and they can be spayed or neutered. If you have any unique pets, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section!

Be blessed my friends!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

HOPE

For years I've felt God's calling on my life to write. But lately, I've been so busy raising my children that I'm purely exhausted by the time I get them down for a nap or in bed for the night. I'm not sure how other mom bloggers do it. When I'm not flat out exhausted, I'm busy taking care of other things that need my attention. Lately I've felt a stronger desire to start writing again, but I can't even think of anything that I feel is worth writing. I'm sure that is Satan's desire for me, to feel inadequate. But when I came back to my blog today after months of being away from it, I discovered something very interesting. YOU'RE STILL HERE! I still have people visiting, even though I haven't written since April. So to you, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for instilling hope into my life again; hope that someone out there really does want to hear what God puts on my heart. 

And now, I pray that I can give back some of that hope that you've given me.

Today I feel like there's someone who will read this that just needs to know that life gets a little crazy for everyone at different points in life. It's not just you or me. 

My favorite sign in our house.
It's a constant reminder to me that this is not the end!

Dear mom reading this, you will get through this stage of life and it will happen SO fast! Our oldest is 16 years old. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms. Our baby is already over a year old. I no longer have to rock him to sleep and he's sleeping through most nights. He's starting to play a little more on his own. It will get easier! Those sleepless nights and endless feedings only last for a short while, but if you're right in the middle of it, it seems like it will go on forever. But one day, you'll actually miss it. I promise! Everyone told me that and I didn't believe them. Our baby is the last baby we can have, so it's so bitter sweet to watch him grow up.

Dear single mom, I've been there too. I can't count the times that I cried out to God and wondered why I had to do it all on my own and why my son didn't have a dad like he deserved. But God had a perfect plan there too. I just had to be patient and wait for God's timing. I wish I could've done it with a better attitude. I got downright mad at God for feeling like He abandoned me. But now I can see reasons for Him making me wait. He had the perfect husband for me and the best dad to my son. God was just waiting for me to take my focus off of finding a man, and fixing my eyes completely on Him. Once I finally did that, I met my husband only 6 months later.

If you're a woman who has been told she can't have kids, I can relate to that too. I'm very blessed to have my 4 boys because there was a time that a doctor told me that he didn't know if I would ever have any children. I had stage 3 endometriosis at just 16 years old. How my heart ached when I saw others with their children. And it really bothered me when I saw people who didn't treat their children well. I wondered why God would give them children and not me. I know He has a plan for those families too, but it seemed so unfair. I ask that if you are in this stage, trying to have children, please try to put ALL of your trust in the Lord. He has great plans for you! Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I hope this post has spoken to you and given you hope. No matter what you are going through, God really sees you and cares for you. Even if you're not a woman and your struggles have nothing to do with parenting, He cares about you. You will get through these hard times!


Be blessed my friends. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Where I've Been


My life has been so crazy. I'm sure many of you can relate. I want to write more, but I can never seem to make the time. I'm currently typing as fast as I can, waiting on the timer on the oven to go off so I can serve my kids pizza for a late lunch. What's the latest with me? Well, my health hasn't been the best lately. Perhaps that's because when my kids got sick a couple of months ago, I fell out of my Zumba routine and practically stopped exercising altogether.

By not ever putting myself first, I guess the stress finally caught up with me. I started having stabbing headaches in my left temple a few weeks ago. They would be like a quick stab, stab, stab and then they'd stop. But then I was left with a normal tension-like headache. The headaches would come and go about every other day for about a week. This started really concerning me because my mom was recently diagnosed with a mass between her brain and her skull. I guess when I added this anxiety to the worries and stress I face everyday, it all became too much for my body to handle. I woke up in the middle of the night and my heart was racing really fast and I felt hot and sick. This happened again the next night, only my body started shaking uncontrollably.

I got in to see my doctor. She ran an EKG and thankfully, it was fine. She ordered blood work and that showed that I was low on magnesium, so I started taking supplements. It's amazing what all a deficiency in magnesium can cause. Every one of my symptoms, even that headaches, can be caused by magnesium deficiency. I seemed to be getting better, but then suddenly took a turn for the worse. I couldn't stop shaking no matter how hard I tried and my heart was racing way too fast. I tried so hard to focus on God's Word and meditate on the scriptures and listen to praise and worship music. I tried deep breathing techniques, massage oil for stress, and hot showers. But by last Tuesday night, nothing was working. I ended up going to the ER. They ran another EKG which also came back fine. After talking with the doctors, they were convinced that this was all from anxiety.

I still sit here in disbelief that my body failed me like that. I'm slowly on the road to recovery. I'm trying to make some time for myself. Today I went to the chiropractor and got a massage and an adjustment. I hate leaving the kids with my 16 year old, but sometimes it's what I have to do to keep myself sane. Tomorrow I am following up with my doctor. I'm not sure what else she can say. I've stopped taking all of the anxiety medicines that she and the hospital put me on. Then on Wednesday I'm going to talk to a counselor at church. I'm also going to try to write on here more often. I just need outlets to get it all out.

Being a mom of four boys, homeschooling, paying the bills, and trying to keep up with the house (all while trying to keep God first in my life), is just so much to take on. I don't know how others do it so gracefully. I know God was trying to get me to slow down, but unless He almost takes me out like last week, then it just seems nearly impossible to slow down. And I feel like my life runs at a much slower pace than most of the people I know. Most of my friends have schedules that keep them so busy, that they don't have time for face-to-face relationships. It really breaks my heart. We need to put down our devices and start spending more quality time with each other.

Well, now you know where I've been. I have to go cut that pizza for my kids. I'll be back as soon as I can.

Be blessed my friends!


Friday, March 11, 2016

EXCHANGE FEAR FOR FAITH


Once again I'm exploring what life would be like if I exchanged my fears for faith. How would I feel and how could it change my life? Why does fear have so much control over my life? I'm not talking about rational fears, like those that would keep me from running out in front of a car, but rather, the fears of following God and trusting Him wherever He may lead me. I know that He wants to free me from the chains of fear that have kept me bound. I know that He doesn't want me to always be stressing over what I should be doing with my life and worry about being good enough. He wants me to throw perfection out the window and just trust Him! This life was meant to live!

Here are some ways my life would change if I could just let go of the fears:


  • I would go outside more during the summer and enjoy being with my kids. They would also have more sports opportunities. You see, I'm severely allergic to bees, so I spend most of my summer stuck inside the house. I'm absolutely terrified of bees. And while yes, they technically could kill me, I know that I need to trust God completely with my life. He's kept me safe from the bees for almost 24 years, why would He stop now?
  • I would get on airplanes and take more trips to discover more of this beautiful earth God created.
  • My kids would feel safer because they wouldn't be constantly feeding off of my own fears. 
  • I would go to church more. Ouch! Yes, it's true, the fear of my kids getting sick from being around a ton of other children, often keeps me away during the winter time. This is a hard fear to manage, since we are currently dealing with almost 3 weeks of sickness, and I'm pretty sure it came from the last Sunday we were all at church. I feel so much guilt over this one. I know it's completely not what God would want.
  • I would not allow my nerves to control me when we have a severe weather forecast.
  • I would sleep better at night, instead of worrying about my children. Sometimes I just lay there and wonder if they are breathing okay since I haven't heard any noise on the monitor. This has been a long term fear of mine that goes back to when my cousin's baby died of SIDS, almost 18 years ago.
  • I would sing again (in front of others)
  • I might even start my own business again.
  • I would let my house go a little bit more and not worry about what others would think. This would give me more precious time with my kids.
  • I would finish that book I started writing years ago!
What about you? How would your life change if you could start letting your faith take over, instead of being controlled by fear? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Be blessed my friends!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A LOOK BACK ON 2015

January

Our Family was expanding once again! I started the year at about four months pregnant and it was in January that we found out it was another boy.



We all enjoyed some time outside in the snow!


February

This picture sums up the month for me and the kids. We did a lot of school work and spent a lot of time indoors. I was being a major germaphobe since it was cold and flu season and I was in the middle of my pregnancy.


February was also the month that we took a huge leap of faith and Aaron took on a new job with Ashley Furniture. It was a very scary step since it is a commission based job, but we trust God as our provider and believe that this is a door he opened wide for us.








March

March came in roaring like a lion! This was our biggest snowfall of the season. Needless to say, we had a blast in it.

























                                    

And just one week after the snow, it was warm enough for Garrison to take his first bike ride with Daddy!






Oh...And Grisham lost his first tooth!



April

Finally, spring was here! Here we are before church service. I was feeling very pregnant. I only had 2 months left.


My sweet boys!     


 In April we got some amazing pictures of the little guy in my belly. I believe this is around the time that we finally settled on a name, but we decided to keep it a secret (from most people) until he was born.


  


Mom and Dad finally decided to come back from Florida! I had missed them so much and I was so happy that they made it back before the baby was born.





May

This month was all about getting ready for the new baby and celebrating a special little man's 2nd birthday. I also gained a lot of clarity about who my real friends were. It seems like this was a year where God weeded out a lot of the bad crops (people) in my life. I didn't know they were bad for me, and the process was extremely painful, but it has stretched me so much. I have learned a lot about forgiveness, grace, and letting go (still working on that part) and moving on to God's BEST for our family!

Mommy's Little Prince








June

My due date was June 10th, but our little guy came just a couple of days early. I was all prepared for a natural birth, but God had other plans. I get so emotional when I think about the day my last son was born. God truly had His hands on us. We both could've died, but He saved us. He and I are meant to be here on this earth for a greater purpose than ourselves. For all the details of my birth story and to see more pictures, click HERE.








Finally resting with my sweet baby after several hours of traumatic events concerning my health.











I still can't believe that God has entrusted me with four amazing boys and that we are now a family of six!







July

This is always a really busy month for us. There are 3 birthdays to celebrate in this house, but of course the only one that truly mattered was the little man who turned 7 this year (which also means that we have lived in Kentucky for 7 years). G4's first month of life flew right by. It was a very trying month with him though. He was a pretty fussy baby and never let me sleep at night. I had a hard time healing emotionally from his birth. I suffered with postpartum depression and for the first time in my life, I experienced major anxiety. Throw that on top of an infant and 3 other kids to raise, and it's safe to say that it was one of the most trying times of my life...but I made it. God put the right people in my life and pulled me out from under that dark cloud!






The boys got new sand and water tables and spent most of their summer playing with them.










This handsome little man finally got his very first haircut. It made him look so much more grown up.













One of my proudest mom moments of the whole year is when G1 graduated from the police department's explorers program. It was an extremely intense week of hard, physical activity that pushed him to his limits, but he did it!!!



                                                                                  


Below is a picture of G3 at his birthday party at Gattitown. We were so thankful for all of our family and friends who were able to come. Here he is with his new set of golf clubs. We plan to get him lessons next summer because he's pretty awesome at it.

  
G3 with his friends and his cousin on one of the rides.
I just had to throw this picture in here because it's a great one of me and my grandma! She also made it down for G3's big day.

August

August was a pretty good month. We had a lot of fun in the sun and then finally decided that it was time to get back to homeschool. I now have a 10th grader, a second grader, a toddler, and an infant.



September

What a great month this was. We started homeschool gym and swim, which G3 loves. Grandma Barb came to visit and she took me and the kids to a local farm festival where we had so much fun. We all really needed to get out of the house! Baby G turned 3 months old and started grabbing toys with his hands. We went to a church camp out and G1 participated in a huge youth event at the church where they got completely covered in mud on the very last obstacle. Me and hubby celebrated our anniversary by taking a train ride and trying out a new restaurant. It was our first date since the baby was born.

















October

October was an emotional roller-coaster for me because I had some health issues surface (one of which we are still trying to figure out), and it would also be the last time I saw my parents before they left again for Florida. Before they left, they took us to Shaker Village and to an old orange tree to recreate some memories. G2 started playing basketball, I got my hair cut really short, we took a field trip to Salato Wildlife Center, and we went out with a bang like we usually do in October, by having the craziest Halloween costumes!









G1 & G2 ~ 5 years ago on the left, and this year on the right.
 













November

Baby boy turned 5 months old and my very first baby turned 16 years old. I cannot believe that it has already been 16 years since God blessed me with my first son. We carried on our tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving at Cracker Barrel. 






December

This has been an awesome month. Aaron had a week of vacation and we finally got to spend a lot of quality time together. We went to the zoo with his family, I took the boys to the horse park for their light show and festivities, we did a lot of shopping and tried new places to eat. Aaron and I finally got some one on one time with G1. We took him to Malibu Jacks and then we had dinner at A&W Root Beer Stand. G4 started sitting up all on his own, he has two teeth completly through, and now he's crawling all over the place. G2 ended basketball for the season after scoring a couple of points for his team. G3 is as crazy as ever. He's always coming up with stuff that makes us laugh so hard. He's unlike any 2 year old I've ever known. 

We celebrated the birth of Christ by going to a Christmas Eve service at church. Christmas day was very nice, but exhausting. The Grinch and Santa came as always. the kids opened their gifts and spent the day playing with their new things and Grandma Barb cooked us dinner. And today we end the year with the news of another promotion for Aaron. He works his butt off and truly deserves it!

G2 and G3 ended the year with new hair cuts!







Baby's first trip to Ohio. 1st trip to the zoo,
and 1st train ride too!







 

2015 has been a very blessed year for our family. I am looking forward to a new year, with new hope for the future. Here's to a million more wonderful memories!!!