Pet Lovers

We are not a pet family. We try, but it just doesn't work out. My husband and I both had pets (sort of) growing up, but neither of us are pet people as adults and I'm afraid, our children have inherited this trait. How can I tell, you ask? Well, I just took a glimpse of the fish tank and to what did my wandering eye appear? Floating among the 4 (out of 10) fish we have left are a sippy cup, a bungee cord, a Lego guy and a stray piece of paper. I wish I were, but really I'm not even joking. I would post a picture but I'm afraid I would be reported to the Animal Welfare Office.


What Am I?

Like, I've said before I'm pretty black and white. But, lately I've been on a spiritual journey to figure out what I am. I know to Whom I belong, but this world gets caught up in labels and with all the camps floating around I'd like to know which one I would be grouped with. Pentecostal, Reformist, Charismatic, Emergent, Conservative, what?

Molly took this theological quiz, and so did I. Turns out (according to the quiz) that I'm..... drumroll please.....Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. {Oh-kay?} I don't remember driving by a church with that kind of a sign. Now, I'm more confused. Anyway...
here are my results. Take the quiz for yourself.

You scored as a Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan 68%
Fundamentalist 57%
Neo orthodox 50%
Reformed Evangelical 50%
Classical Liberal 46%
Charismatic/Pentecostal 43%
Emergent/Postmodern 39%
Roman Catholic 29%
Modern Liberal 11%

Think I'll check out a Wesley book the next time I'm at the library, since I'm "influenced heavily" by him and all.

Another thing, since I'm Holiness now (whatever) here are some quotes gathered from a former pastor.


Mean Moms

We're back after spending the holiday out of town. My step-sister sent this to me and it was just what I needed after a tough 4 days where my kids did not behave as well as I wanted them to for their relatives.

Mean Moms

Someday when my children are old enough to
Understand the logic that motivates a parent,
I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:
I loved you enough to ask where you were going,
With whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you
Discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for
Two hours while you cleaned your room,
A job that should have taken 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger,
Disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children
Must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the
Responsibility for your actions even when the
Penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say
NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.
I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.
And someday when your children are old enough to
Understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.
Was your Mom mean?
I know mine was.
We had the meanest mother in the whole world!
While other kids ate candy for breakfast,
We had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch,
We had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was
Different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times.
You'd think we were convicts in a prison.

She had to know who our friends were
And what we were doing with them.
She insisted that if we said we
Would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it,
But she had the nerve to break
The Child Labor Laws by making us work.

We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
Learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry,
Empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs.
I think she would lie awake at night
Thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

By the time we were teenagers,
She could read our minds
And had eyes in the back of her head.
Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk
The horn when they drove up
They had to come up to the door
So she could meet them.

While everyone else could date
When they were 12 or 13,
We had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out
On lots of things other kids experienced.

None of us have ever
Been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's
Property or ever arrested for any crime.
It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults.
We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

She's Back!

One of my favorite bloggers is back. Molly at Adventures in Mercy took a break from her blog to work on her degree, but now she's back. I've missed reading her. I added her link to my favorites list below. But, here's a quote from one of her most recent posts...

And I think most of us agree that it is sadly evident, in real life, to tell between the children who’ve had parents invest in them versus children who’ve been left to themselves. Parents who are unwilling to help move their kids into better ways of thinking and behaving are loving themselves more than they love their kids.

She's got a great series on parenting going on over there. Check it out.


Works For Me - Sound Machines

God bless the person who decided to record random sounds and package them in a machine for all to buy. Sound machines are wonderful if you have a baby napping and a rowdy pre-schooler pounding up and down the stairs. Or if your husband works the night shift and the rest of your family isn't so nocturnal. During one of our out-of-state moves, we were in a 2 bedroom apartment for a few months. Six people and 2 bedrooms doesn't add up. Sooooooo, in an attempt to maximize every bit of space we used the large laundry room as sleeping quarters for the baby. We plunked down his playpen and set up the beloved sound machine. The sound machine made it possible for him to take naps while the rest of us lived our lives right outside his door. I know, I know - I should train the other children to be quiet during naps, and to not pound up and down the stairs. And, I know I should train the baby to not be such a light sleeper. But, then reality sets in. I got to the point where I was telling all the other children "Shh!" "Be quiet!" "Settle down!" every time the baby napped. Now, with 2 sound machines working around the clock the babies get good sleep, and the rest of us don't have to tiptoe around them.

By the way, these come in really handy in a crowded hotel room or camper.

For more Works For Me tips go to Rocks In My Dryer.


I'm Leaning That Way

I haven't decided who I'm voting for in 2008. Right now there's too many cooks in the kitchen. But, I have to admit... I like what I'm learning about Mike Huckabee. He is on Larry King tonight and I am so impressed with his honesty, straight forwardness and resolve. Does that make for a good president? I haven't decided yet, but right now - I like what I'm hearing.


Keeping Christ in Christmas

I don't like December. Oh, around October I get excited about the holiday season and I start to make my list and check it twice. But, then it arrives and it is always (ALWAYS) more stressful than I remember. I tell myself - next year I'm going to remember this and make things less hectic. But, then it happens again. I am doing a better job of saying no to all the Christmas parties, cookie exchanges and White Elephant gift grabs. But, to no avail. I long to spend quality time with the friends and family that I cherish. But, that free time just gets eaten up by some sort of holiday goblin that robs an hour here and there.

Now that my oldest children are getting..well..older, I am trying to think of creative ways to establish Christmas traditions and keep Jesus front and center of the chaos. My friend gave me this suggestion and tonight I purchased the necessities to make it happen. She heard about the idea of putting a special gift under the tree for Jesus. One family member gets to open the box and share w/ everyone else what's inside. Inside the box is a mirror. I'm sure you can imagine the inspiring conversation that will ensue.

So, this year I'm going to do the Jesus box, and I am hanging a stocking for Jesus up on our mantle. Hopefully, when our children look at their empty stockings with longing they will see the Jesus stocking and be reminded of His eternal gift to us.

How do you keep Christ in Christmas for your family?


Works For Me Wednesday - Kids & Parking Lots

It's been a few weeks since I posted a Works For Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon. Yesterday, as I was shuttling kids to and from various errands I remembered a great tip to share with you. I'm not sure how I came up with this, but for the last decade it has worked to keep our children safe in a parking lot of busy cars. Actually I thought everyone did it, but then a few moms told me they'd never heard it before.

We have a lot of kids, so when I am unloading them I often cannot eyeball the first few kids who emerged from the vehicle. So, from the time they are old enough to stand alone they are instructed to "stand on the white/yellow line." When a child gets out of the car and I am busy with other children I tell them to stand on the line and they know what to do. It's a great boundary for them and when I'm ready to walk across the parking lot, my kids are all there in a nice, neat line ready to go. So simple and keeps kids so safe.

It works for me!


Praise Baby

We love this product! This praise music and DVD set are much like the Baby Einstein products, but better. Sometimes I choose this CD to listen to in the kitchen while I'm cleaning. It is precious and so soothing.

Baby Praise is offering the first 300 bloggers a free bib and coupon. Check it out!



Going Postal

I had a babysitter come over today so I could run some holiday-ish errands without dragging all the kids in and out of 300 stores.

One of those errands was a stop at the Post Office. This job had been on my to-do list for about 3 weeks. I kept adding it to my new to-do list because you know how much fun the Post Office is, especially this time of the year.

I couldn't put it off any longer - today was the day. So, I schlepped myself in the door carrying a box, a baby and my debit card. The fewer pieces of luggage (I mean, diaper bags) I carry in public the better. Because the Post Office is oh so family-friendly anyway.

So, as I was waiting in line with the other 9 people in front of me (yes, I counted them) I tried my best to keep a good attitude. "I am thankful to live in a country where we have a Post Office." I kept repeating to myself.

I will admit - we had a good flow going. The people in line were doing their best to move it right along. I'm sure they had a million other things to do that day too. The two (count em, TWO) Postal Workers were doing a wonderful job of maintaining the holiday spirit by working quickly. Gone are the days of seasonal chit chat...get in, get out and keep your mouth shut.

Then, it happened. We had a stall in the progress. Was it from a computer failure? No. Was it from a doddling customer? No. The line came to a halt when the Postal Workers had to take a quick break to .... get their mail.


Did you know that the Postman delivers mail to the Post Office?

Me neither.

Let me get this straight....the mail comes into the Post Office, you let it leave with a Postman/Delivery Person so that it can be delivered right back to you. That's a well-oiled machine we are talking about right there.

What's even more odd is that I looked around and no one else else seemed to think this was odd. Am I that sheltered from the outside world?

I got my stamps, shipped my package and hit the door jack. Insanity is knocking at my door. I can hear it.


Cell Search

The stem cell initiative is losing supporters. Sadly, my fellow citizens succumbed to the pressure and voted to support state-funded research. So now my tax dollars are being used to study and promote embryonic stem cells. However, the tides are changing. This article describes how the Dolly cloner has changed her tune. Why? Now there is technology available to produce stem cells without using an embryo. And the discoveries just keep rolling in! Go here to learn about banking menstrual blood for stem cell research. I agree that there is the potential for wonderful medical breakthroughs using the unique physiology of a stem cell. But, I do not believe we should be manipulated by celebrity advertisements and political endorsements which misinform us that embryonic stem cell research is the only way to win the fight against deadly diseases. Sounds like another Tower of Babel to me. If we start acting too much like God He'll knock us down a few notches and we'll be more confused than when we started.


A Call To Prayer

It's not often that I hear something new at church. I was raised in a wonderful non-denominational body of Believers, and sometimes it seems like I've seen it all and heard it all at some point in the last 30 years. But, this weekend I experienced something I had never heard before.

My husband and I were able to skip out of town for a 2 day break. No children, no schedule, no tv. It was wonderful. [Thanks to my sister for making it all possible ;) ] One of the things we did manage to squeeze in our "no agenda" weekend was a visit to IHOP. No, not for pancakes.

IHOP or The International House of Prayer is....just that. Inside this building there is 24/7 prayer and worship. What we witnessed was the closest thing I've seen to the heartbeat of God. Ongoing prayer, fasting, teaching and oh my, the worship. What we heard couldn't really be called worship as it is known in the modern day church. These sounds were raw prayers set to heavenly melodies. There are IHOPs all over the country, and after our brief visit I can tell you - I want to go back and spend some time camped out in that place. There's an IHOP in Atlanta, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Denver, Talahassee, Kansas City and all over the world!

As we walked out the door I was thinking about revival. That's what I felt like sitting among a congregation of 90% young people who were digging into the Word of God, praying without ceasing and singing spontaneous psalms to the Lord.

Historically, spiritual revivals have resulted from the long-term prayers of a committed group of Believers. I'm no prophet - but I know the Lord hears the heart cry of the IHOPpers and I, for one, will rejoice when He answers their prayers and they reap a huge harvest. I am glad to be alive right now to witness the amazing things this generation of young people will accomplish for the Lord.

Some others also believe God is ready to rain down His power on this fertile soil. Read here about the I-35 prophesies.

Go here to learn more about IHOP and if you are driving through the area, say around 3am stop in for spell. The Lord will meet you there.

What's In A Name?

My husband and I watched the movie, Elizabethtown last night. It wasn't that great. One part of the story which I thought was interesting though was the lead character's description of what a person's name means to her. For example, she said, "I've never had a good experience with an Ellen."

Today, I read this article from the Christian Science Monitor. According to the article, you can go here and pay someone to tell you what they think your child's name should be. It amazes me that people put so much stock in what other people think about their baby's name.

As I wrote earlier, we decided to use Biblical names for our children. It didn't start out that way, but after 2 or 3 have Bible names you can't really digress. I mean, would it make any sense to have a Matthew, Mark, Luke and Jasmine?

I love names. Even when I am not expecting a baby, and long before I was married, I would think about names and write all the different variations when I should have been paying attention during church.

How did you come up with your child's name? As I said, ours is a mix of Bible names and family names and names we just, plain like. And I didn't pay anyone to tell me that.


Legos & Planes

Gideon spilled a big bucket of Legos all over the floor.
I bent down to the floor and started picking up a few of the gazillion pieces and I said, "Gideon, come here and help Mommy clean up."
He replies, "I don't want to." (surprise, surprise)
I continue to pluck pieces out of the carpet, and I said, "Gideon, it's time to clean up."
He starts to throw a few Legos toward the bucket while acting like his wrist stopped working. He says in a dramatic, whiny voice, "I caaaaan't and I TI-erd!"
I said, (a little more loudly this time), "Gideon, clean up the Legos and do NOT complain!"
He said, "I not a plane Mom, I'n a kid!"
Yep - Numero uno training expert right here.


Double Standard Emphasizes Color Barrier

Back in the day, when Oral Roberts' son, Richard, divorced his first wife the Evangelical community was in an uproar. I was just a child then and I remember my parents talking about this controversy.

In August, televangelist Paula White and her husband, Randy, confirmed that they were divorcing. Nothing has changed. Randy is still the pastor at Without Walls in Tampa, and Paula is continuing her tv appearances and book tours.

In contrast, last year when Ted Haggard's infidelities were revealed it made headline news and the leaders of the Christian community welcomed his resignation.

Why the double standard? Is it because Pastor Haggard's sin involved homosexuality. Is it because Randy and Paula had been divorced before they got married? Divorce is divorce and adultery is adultery, and the last time I checked churches were still preaching that no sin is more grievous than another.

In my view, parishioners in predominantly black churches are more forgiving of irreconcilable differences than their white brothers and sisters. Randy White's church in Tampa is a predominantly black church. Other black church leaders have divorced and even been part of scandalous affairs and abuse cases. But that doesn't seem to affect their jobs. Why?

Are white church members more judgemental than black church members? Over the years, Evangelicals have been trying to erase the color barrier and it has worked beautifully in some churches. However, this view of divorce and infidelity is an example where our cultures are vastly different and perhaps one reason why churches are still largely segregated.


Works For Me Wednesday - Angel Food Ministries

With 5 kids, my pantry is almsot always bare. Someone should send a label with these children, "WILL EAT NONSTOP FOR NEXT 10 YEARS." So, I am always on the lookout for a way to avoid the grocery store while still keeping their bellies full.

For the last few months, our family has been enjoying the blessing of Angel Food Ministries. This is an organization that provides grocery relief for anyone who wants to participate. There are no restrictions regarding income or need. Anyone can participate.

Once a month you can order food from Angel Food. You pay about $25 for a box of food that is usually worth $60 or more. You pick up the box you ordered from a participating church. If you want, you can order more than 1 box and additional specialty boxes. You must order in advance and pay in advance. If you do not pick up your box at the designated time then the church donates that food to the needy.

Some of the food we've enjoyed includes hamburger patties, frozen sausage, blueberry muffins, waffles, fresh carrots, popcorn chicken, pork tenderloin, and more.

If you are interested in finding out if there is a church in your area participating go to and start ordering! Now, I'm on my way to pick up some more food : )

For more Works For Me Wednesday tips go here.


Kids Worship!

Hillsong is by far my favorite music. Our family has been listening to their worship music in our home since the mid 90s. While looking for Christmas gift ideas, I came across this. What do you think about kids worshipping like this?


Willow Creek Changes Their Tune

In the last 10 years a wave of seeker-sensitivity has hit churches across this country. Pastors went from preaching the gospel, to delivering relevant messages about self-esteem and relationships. Churches went from being a house where individuals could grow spiritually, to a place where our waistlines are growing from Starbucks and donuts. Classes used to focus on studying Matthew, Mark, Luke or John and now focus on hosting satelitte seminars from Maxwell, Barna and Osteen.

I have held off long enough, but my red head is about to blow. I've wavered back and forth, but the bottom line is........I do not believe in the seeker-sensitivity movement of today's churches. I believe what the Bible says is true. Yes, the gospel is offensive. But, we are to preach it anyway. "Through Him and for His name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith." Romans 1:5

Evidently, the founders of this dumbed-down system have realized their error.

Check out this article where Willow Creek admits they are wrong.

I have 2 observations about this article: 1) it took a multi-year study for them to figure out this doesn't work? I'm no theologian and I coulda told you that. It's contrary to the Word of God - therefore it is by definition bound for failure. 2) Kudos to Willow Creek for disclosing the truth from the research. A lot of organizations would have sugar-coated the results and spinned them to meet their needs. Huge pats on their back for honesty.


Never Say Never

I don't know about you, but as I get older I'm learning that all those things I said I'd never do....I've done.

I said I'd never let my child have a pacifier past age 1.

I said I'd never let my child eat junk food.

I said I'd never take unruly children to the grocery store.

I said I'd never homeschool.

I said I'd never sit across from my husband at a restaurant with nothing to say.

I said I'd never drive a minivan.

I said I'd never live in a big city.

I said I'd never have more than 3 kids.

[Please make it stop!] There's only about 2 things left on my coveted list that I'm still hanging onto. I dunno when I'll learn, but here they go....

I'll never put my children in daycare.

I'll never color my hair.

Let the countdown begin.


State Seizes Baby To Perform Blood Test

I am familiar with this family through my membership on the MOMYS Digest. The Anaya family has 10 children and I remember reading Mrs. Anaya's emails about having to travel out of state to have a homebirth b/c their homestate of Nebraska had too many regulations that went against the Anaya's beliefs. Mrs. Anaya recently gave birth to a son in Nebraska. (I think the baby must have arrived early or she would have traveled to Iowa.) The Anaya's do not believe in blood testing b/c they believe life is in the blood. Therefore, they refused the newborn screen. Six weeks later, the sheriff's department barged into their home, took the baby and the judge ordered the baby had to be tested and kept in foster care until the test results came back.

This six week old baby had never been away from his mother and never had a bottle. But, what is even more grievous is the audacity of the Nebraska officials who snatched a baby from his mother's arms in order to prick him with a needle.

Here is the entire transcript of the conversation between the Anayas' attorney and Rush Limbaugh.

Someone needs to get the word out to the unsuspecting citizens of this country that we are now living in a socialist state. When is election day in Nebraska?


Just Love Him

"If you make doctrine the main thing, you are very likely to grow narrow-minded. If you make your own experience the main thing, you will become gloomy and critical of others. If you make ordinances the main thing, you will be apt to grow merely formal. But you can never make too much of the living Christ Jesus. Remember that all things else are for his sake. Doctrines and ordinances are the planets, but Christ is the sun. Get to love him best of all."
Charles Spurgeon


Parents Are More Involved Now

According to this article, parents are more involved in their children's lives now than they were 10 years ago. (I'm not sure if I would be included in this group or not since I started having babies about 10 years ago!)

Anyway, this is good news for American children; but I wonder if this research is correct and if the correct questions were asked.

Check it out.


Interview With Me

Here are 5 questions from Stephanie at Adventures In Babywearing:

1. What is your favorite childhood vacation memory?
My favorite vacation was when I was about 11 years old. Our family traveled all over my home state of Kentucky visiting all the places I'd heard about but never seen. We didn't plan much of the vacation, we just drove all over the state. We visited My Old Kentucky Home, Bardstown (liquor!) and Lincoln's birthplace. To this day, I still remember most of those landmarks.

2. What was one of the first blogs you ever read?
The first blog I read was Corrie's Pineapple Pundit. That lead me to Spunky and Mommy Life and then it spiraled out of control!

3. If you were to run into a gas station and quickly had to pick one candy to eat, what would you grab?
Snickers, of course.

4. Of all the places you've lived, which is your favorite? If you could move anywhere to stay for good, where would that be?
I have lived in 7 states, my husband has lived in 10. I can't say I have a favorite. There are things I love about each place: Texas' tourism, Kentucky's beauty, Ohio's attitude, Wisconsin's family-friendliness, Illinois' diversity, Indiana's friends, Missouri's all-in-oneness.

Stay somewhere for good? The thought has never occured to me. I don't think I'll ever land. Thirty years from now I envision myself living in an RV traveling the country to visit all my redheaded grandchildren.
5. What is your "go to" meal that you make most often?
Breakfast for supper or spaghetti and meatballs. I'm a simple girl.

Now it's your turn. If you want to be interviewed, leave me a comment including the words "Interview me." I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions. If you don't have a valid email address on your blog, please provide one. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


Works For Me Wednesday - Shoeboxes

Ever wonder how other families manage to keep all the kids games stored? I do. Ours always seem to be strewn about 5 different rooms, pieces missing, or game boards ripped in two. So, now I use shoeboxes to store them. Instead of keeping the original box that the game comes in, I take out all the game pieces (sometimes using zip lock bags for little pieces) and store in a large shoebox. I'm not sure why the shoebox lid holds up better than the game box lid, but it does. So, instead of throwing out the box those new shoes came in just head to your kids' room and start sorting! You can even decorate the box to make it look cute. Works for me!


Mixed Messages

You've probably seen or read about the Maine school where 11 year-olds are receiving birth control pills. It's been all over the news. So have stories about teenagers serving jail time for having consenual sex with another teen. Anyone else confused? It's their argument (not mine)....If we give them birth control they'll use it! Ok, but why are we sending them to jail for using it? Sounds like blackmail to me. Sometimes I wish I'd finished law school.

Thanks to my friend, Jessie, for bringing this to my attention.

UPDATE: School refuses to reconsider even after threat of lawsuit. Read here.

UPDATE AGAIN: Here's an article that clearly makes my point.

The Funniest Picture EVAH!

This is what I call a PARTY! Sure wish America's Funniest Home Videos had a photo contest! Sorry, Amy - I just had to post this.


Throwing Out Birth Control (and my self-centeredness along with it)

Barbara Curtis has written a wonderful article at CrossWalk that sums up why so many Christian families have chucked popular norm and are letting God plan their family size. She says,

"As our family continued to grow, I continued to hear the same belittling banter about kids I’d heard for years – only now it was on my church steps:

“I don’t know how you do it! My two are enough to drive me crazy!”
“I’ve finally got all the kids in school. I can’t imagine having to deal with another baby!”
“I wanted more but my husband put his foot down.”
“How can you afford it?”

My heart would ache for any children in earshot. My heart would ache for the missed opportunities. And finally, my heart would ache for the misunderstanding of how it all must sound to God – who certainly never got the memo that children were a burden."

I wrote about our journey to wanting more babies here.


Happy Birthday To You!

Today Gideon is 3 years old. I told my husband last night...sometimes it seems like yesterday, but most days it feels like this has been the longest 3 years of my life. A lot has happened in our lives since Mr. Bright Eyes was born. He is the constant source of smiles in our house, and we all woke up with smiles of our own this morning just to celebrate him.

Happy Birthday Baby.

Someday I'll Stop Trying To Figure It All Out

"We see that it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery. God is not so much the object of our knowledge as the cause of our wonder."

Kallistos Ware


To Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required

This was my motto during high school and college. I would use it conveniently during job screenings, as an election slogan and for panel interviews. At that time I really didn't understand that it was more than a good way to market myself.

Senator Brownback recently spoke at the Washington Briefing. There he emphasized two points: we need to stop abortion (therefore promoting life) and we need to reclaim American culture.

This country has a huge responsibility. Why? To whom much is given, much is required. Senator Brownback used this to explain why America is so targeted by other nations. It's like when 9/11 happened and the Mayor just went to work fixing it. When you are called to do a big job (either by appointment or by accident) then it's your opportunity to give out of the abundance of which you've been given.

God has blessed America, and we in return have much to give. Are we living up to the challenge? Are we giving what is required of us? Or are we caught up in maintaining our level of abundance that we've forgotten where it came from?

For the complete audio from Senator Brownback go here.

Go here to check out the other speakers including Chuck Colson, James Dobson, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Phylis Schlafly.


How Important Is A College Education?

I graduated from college, and even went on to do some post-graduate work. I never once considered not going to college. I have been daydreaming about the future, and what my children will become. What will they choose as a career? I am praying that they will follow the Lord all the days of their lives, and accomplish His plans for their life. Does that plan automatically include college? I'm not so sure anymore.

Some parents, however, have a different view. And they are willing to pay a hefty price for it.

Check this out from Newsweek. Parents are spending thousands of dollars to ensure their children attend top-ranked schools.


What A Sixteen Year Old Has To Say

This post is from a non-Christian 16 year old boy who attends a Christian school...

I’ve never been offended once when someone has tried to convert me. I understand Christianity enough to know that people do this out of love, out of compassion, and not the need to meet an arbitrary quota of souls or something similar. I don’t know about religion, and I don’t know why we’re here, but it just seems to me that the way this is all happening isn’t the right way to find it all out.

Read the whole article...Christian Indoctrination

Children: Are They Our Converts or Our Cash Cows?

What is the goal of parenting? Why does God bless us with children? After the honeymoon wears off and we dive into the frightening realm of becoming mothers and fathers - we each have different expectations from parenthood. For many of us, we desire to experience unconditional love. For others, we live vicariously through our children so we can experience all the things we never got to do as kids ourselves. Still others have a family because that's another hurdle to cross in order to achieve the American dream.

What does God say about raising children?

Since our 2 oldest children are in "real" school now, I am realizing how little time I have with them. I am missing all sorts of teachable moments while they are at school. Their respect has switched from me to their teacher. My biggest kids are learning all sorts of wonderful things in spelling, arthimetic and science. But, at the end of the day have I accomplished the goal that the Lord set out for me as a mother?

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them." Then in 6:6-8 the Lord says, "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead." Again in 11:18-19, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Then in Psalms, the Bible tells us that our children are like arrows. "Don't you see that children are God's best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep."
From this I understand that my job is to teach my children the Word of the Lord. I also read that children are a blessing to me. As they grow up they will be like arrows to the enemy (if they are trained correctly.)

So, if my job is to train up children who are knowledgable about Scripture who can stand firm in their faith - why are we spending all this time memorizing the multiplication tables?

I know math is important. I know the ultimate goal of education is to give my child a chance to succeed in college and work successfully in his career of choice. But, is that God's plan for our children? Yes, the Bible says we are to work for our food but nowhere do I read that our work/career/vocation is to be the ultimate goal of life.

That's what parenting has become. We are guides who help steer our children to the best possible income. But God tells us to teach them His word when we lie down and when we wake up. (That sounds like a 24/7 job to me.) How can we do that when we are preparing them for spelling tests, science quizzes and field trips to the symphony?

Some would say that we cannot tell our children what to believe. They say we should expose them to a wide array of experiences so they can choose for themselves what they believe. But, the Bible says in Joshua 24:15, "If you decide that it's a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you'd rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you're now living. As for me and my family, we'll worship God."

The children God has given us are our responsibility to train up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Lord our God blesses us with offspring and he commands us to teach them His law. This is not an option. So why do we turn our children over to non-Believers at age 5 for about 8 hours a day? Why have we shifted our parenting goals from that of training Christian soldiers to training miniature athletes?

Do you have parenting goals or are you moving about daily to the beat of your calendar's drum?


A note about church....

This from a former pastor of ours and it pretty much sums up what I've been thinking....

Hey, have a rock band for an outreach gathering, and do the drama thing in the park. But don't confuse these with worship on the Lord's Day. And don't think that by dumbing everything down and seeking to offer the best show in town that lasting churches will be planted. I'm not saying it won't draw a crowd, but I have to question whether or not it will build the Kingdom.

Go here for the whole article.


Potty Training Perks

We are potty training. Enough said. The process did elicit an interesting conversation with the potty-er in training. It went like this...

Mom: "Gideon, do you need to go potty?"
Gideon: "No. Mom, God helps me go potty."
Mom: "O--K-- yes, God helps us do the things we need to do."
Gideon: "Yep, and Jesus gives me candy."
Mom: (long pause) "Can I have some?"

Don't ask me.


Sleep! Glorious Sleep!

Woo Hoo! Our newborn is sleeping through the night. Not every night, but most nights. Wow, does that make a difference in my days. Last week I elbowed by husband at 5am and whispered with glee, "Hey! Wake up! Can you believe it? She slept 8 1/2 hours!!" He responded by saying, "Hey! I know how to sleep through the night too, watch me." Some things only a mother can appreciate.

In the blogosphere it's easy to find differing opinions about Gary Ezzo's book Baby Wise. I read this in the late 90s with the birth of our first child. Like many other parents, the book gave me such relief in learning that I could manage this child rather than having to put my entire life on hold. (After 5 children I have learned there is no greater than joy than putting my life on hold for a child, but that's another topic.)

Baby Wise gave us the tools to learn how to help our children get a full feeding, and how to help them fall asleep on their own. The book and it's author are not perfect. Before I discuss the book with anyone, I always preface it by saying that this method can easily be taken to extremes. Baby Wise has to be used with much caution. However, it has worked for us.

The best advice I can give to a mother of a newborn is to help her baby (at about 4 weeks of age) have some awake-time after her feeding, then let her fall asleep. For me, that's Baby Wise in a nutshell.

Every child is different, thank God He created them that way. My children began sleeping through the night anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months old. My methods were the same with each one. Sure, I was a little less rigid with each baby but overall I did the same thing with each child. Each one did sleep through the night, but at different ages.

Right now I am enjoying our little Rachel. She is a beautiful baby girl and such a joy to us all. I am thankful for the full nights of sleep, and even more thankful that she is healthy and therefore able to rest peacefully.


Gideon's Words

Tonight as I was getting Gideon out of the bath he did it again. He came up with another cute word. His vocabulary cracks us all up. I don't ever want to forget these, so while they are still rolling off his tongue I thought I'd make a note of them so I can always cherish this phase. He won't be a 2 year old much longer. Here are a few of our favorites.

wrinkles = sprinkles
snow cone = nose cone
thanks = fanks
I don't know = not know!
McDonald's = Mickey Don-uhls
Tahoe = Ha-hoe
WXY&Z = W wex Y & Z
robots = robops
elevator = alligator
basketball = backusball

and my all time favorite....
Mom says, "It's time to go!" Gideon says, "Five minutes!"


Americans Despise Children

Ok...calm down. Not all Americans. In our country we are vigilant about protecting children from abuse or excessive labor. But when it comes down to it, the majority of Americans do not believe children are worthy of our time and effort. Let me explain.

When I was in my teens and twenties I remember being very frustrated with parents who would bring their children to public places where they were disruptive. What was I really frustrated with? "How dare that child disrupt my opportunity to enjoy this event." If I could have put into words what my selfish nature was really feeling I would have said, "I am more important than you and your children."

I am learning that when most people have a negative attitude toward children it almost always comes down to selfishness. How else do we despise children? We make plans for someone else to take care of them as soon as we are able to return to work because we don't have time for it. (As if giving our attention to a stressed boss is more validating than teaching a child to use manners.) We pass laws that make federal funding available for pre-schools so we only have to pay for daycare for 3 years instead of 5. We look down on adults who bring their children to a restaurant. It never occurs to us that maybe, just maybe, this child is capable of behaving himself. We criticize parents who have more than 2 children as being irresponsible and not being able to control themselves. (Could it be that these people actually WANT another child to raise?) We shoove kids in age appropriate classes at church as early as 6 weeks old. If the mother chooses to keep her children with her in church we assume she has attachment issues. Could it be that she is trying to teach her child to sit and listen to the pastor teach from the Word? We launch environmental campaigns against and hurl guilt upon drivers of large vehicles.

If we truly cherished children our society would operate much differently. The workforce would not be penalized for arriving to work as late as 8am. Men would not feel guilty for being home by 6pm. Mothers would be able to stay at home without the fear of never being able to work again. Our education system would not be in such turmoil. Teachers would not bargain for new facilities, higher pay and more sick time. Our churches wouldn't be in constant need of childcare workers.

The bottom line....we want to get rid of children so we can have time to ourselves as adults. "Someone else can take care of them," we say. Until this mindset changes children will be thought of as unworthy of our time, and those who choose to be with children will be criticized.

UPDATE: Check out this article by Barbara Curtis where she addresses the selfishness issue in relation to Ezzo's Growing Kids God's Way.


States Refuse Federal Money To Fund Abstinence Programs

According to the New York Times, the state of New York (along with 10 other states) is refusing to use federal money marked to fund abstinence-only sex education programs. Is your state among them?


Non-Denominationals Watch Out....Reformists Are Taking Over!

Here are few links to prove my point. I'm just saying...those of us who've been sitting in wishy-washy, meatless, seeker-sensitive churches are on our way to attending churches with empty pews (uhh..folding chairs). These people have brains and they are using them to glorify God and reach a society who've been searching for Christianity to make sense to their brains.

The Reformed Gadfly
Reformed Evangelist

Let me know where this bloggy journey takes you.

update: changed title from PRESBYTERIANS to REFORMISTS


Forgiveness Without Compassion?

I have to be honest and say that most of my adult life I have struggled with forgiveness. Let me clarify. I do not have a problem forgiving, I just can't forget. Lately I have been seeking more from God regarding the forgetfulness of forgiveness. I can't do it. Only God can do it through me. Is it easy for you to forget once someone has wronged you? Are we supposed to forget? Maybe I really haven't forgiven like I assume I have if I keep dwelling on the offense as a basis for not being able to move forward in the relationship. I am reminded of Paul though when he had a falling out with John Mark. They went their separate ways after a disagrement and according to Scripture, it doesn't seem like Paul was able to forget about John Mark's failure.

Here's another example I think about....if a prominent Christian individual falls from grace (that's Christian-ese for screwed up big time)and the media berates them and other Believers chastise them while at the same time commiting to pray for do we move on? Do we let that prominent Christian individual back into their place of honor once they have genuinely repented and sought restoration?

I say no. That's because I'm a black-or-white gal. The hard part for me to admit is that I'm in essense saying, "Once you mess up, you're done." I don't really believe that though. In my own life, I have screwed up too many times to count and of course the Lord has welcomed back with open arms. But, then again, I did still have to pay earthly consequences for my sin.

That's where I think the lines are blurry. How many consequences should the offender have to pay, and to whom, before they are allowed back in their circle of influence? Who gets to decide if the repentance and restoration is genuine in the first place?

I tend to think that once you have taken advantage of your circle of influence and failed them then you're out. You can find another place to minister, focus on your own family and local church; but I don't think you get to be Mr. or Mrs. Big Shot again.
Yep...I'm cut and dry. I know it. I hear the lack of compassion as I am writing. But, I think I'm right. What would Jesus do? I think He would love the sinner, but command them to "Go and sin no more."

I want to be more compassionate, but I don't think compassion is defined as allowing everyone who has messed up to be put back on a pedestal again. If we could just throw those darned pedestals off the planet we'd all be much more effective for the Lord.


Names for the Fab Five

I've seen it done on other blogs, so in the spirit of privacy I'm going to copy cat. I will use code names from now on for my Fab Five (kids.) Here goes...
Clone #1, Clone #2, Clone #3, Clone #4, and Clone #5. Just kidding. (They really do look just like their dad.) Ummm...ok I can be more creative than that. In real life our children have Bible names so I think their code name will be a Bible character I think they resemble or I hope they grow to resemble some day.
first son.....Peter
first daughter....Ruth
second son....John (the Baptist)
third son....Gideon
second daughter....Rachel

there you have dear children


Works For Me Wednesday - Brand Loyalty edition

I am queen of cheap...I very rarely buy anything and I mean ANYTHING that is name brand because the generic is just as good and nearly half the price. BUT, there are a few exceptions. I'm joining the fun at Shannon's and giving a shout out to my favorite brand.

If you are a breastfeeding mother, or ever plan to be a breastfeeding mother you must and I mean MUST have a supply of these. After our fourth child was born I received a sample from the hospital and OH MY WORD was I in heaven. I'll spare you too many gorey details, but when you are in the first weeks of nursing a newborn it can......hurt (I'll leave it at that.) Soothies not only help, they heal. When you put them in the fridge they help even more! So, splurge ($12 a pair!) and it'll make those first weeks much easier.


Are You Kidding Me?

Those of you who are pet lovers are going to have to help me out. I am seriously confused. (here comes the ranting and raving....) Why in the world is our country making such a huge deal over Michael Vick and his illegal association with dog fighting? I don't get it. I understand that it's illegal - and that, in and of itself is worthy of noting. I understand that helpless dogs were harmed, even murdered, at the hand of Michael Vick. Yes, I understand that it's cold and heartless and mean and wrong and every other bad description I can muster. What I don't understand is WHY are we giving it such notice and analyzing the SNOT out of this? I don't get it. Even though I'm asking for your input on this matter, to be honest no matter how many graphic details you give me about Michael Vick's illegal activity, I'm still not going to get it. Why, you say?

Why is dog fighting a more newsworthy offense than let's say.....the slaughter of a baby in her mother's womb? Why is dog fighting a more controversial topic than let's say.....a man who hits his wife? Why is dog fighting a bigger deal than let's say....a drunk driver killing a husband and his new bride?

Michael Vick is newsworthy. But, other NFL players have commited crimes more grievous than Vick's and they largely go unnoticed except for in the ESPN ticker and people act surprised when they find out their favorite player was suspended for one game because of it.

I don't get it, and I'm not gonna.


She Makes Five!

If someone....anyone....had told me 15 years ago that I would have five children I would have rolled my eyes, and possibly slapped the person in the face. How could I have five kids? Even as I look around this house, I can't believe this is my life. I am so thankful for it. Even though it is nothing, and I do mean NOTHING like I had planned - I am so very thankful for it.

Three weeks ago we gave birth to our 5th child. She is beautiful. Her presence in this world is the direct result of our older daughter's prayers. She prayed every night that God would give her a baby sister. When she would ask me when Mommy and Daddy were going to have a baby sister, I just told her to keep praying. (That's code for...forget it girlfriend, I am done!) But, God had other plans. He answered her prayer (at what would seem at the worst time possible.) Go here to read about our journey to wanting more babies.

We found out that I was expecting this baby girl the same week that my husband lost his job. Yep. Fun week. But, God is God, and we are not. He proved that during the first trimester, that's for sure.

Now, nine months later - here she is. The answer to my daughter's prayer. After having 3 brothers, we finally have another girl in the house. I am LOVING all the pink-ness and even though the sleepless nights are wearing on me - I look at her and am in awe of God's creation.

For those of you who have one child and wonder, "How could I have this much love for another." Never fear. I don't know how it happens, but there is more than enough love in this mother's heart for my five children. In fact, my heart is overflowing!

In just a few short weeks, this phase will be over and our "Little M" as we've been calling her will be moving and grooving. When my sleep-deprived body begins to grumble and complain - I look at her. There is nothing like this feeling. Nothing.

Thank you, Lord for answering a little girl's prayers and for ignoring my plans.


TV Giveaway

I've been a little busy the last 2 weeks having a baby....yep, having a baby. When I have more time I'll post about our wonderful, beautiful, new blessing. In the meantime, I'm entering a contest for a tv giveway! Go here to enter yourself! And thanks to Best Buy for sponsoring the giveway.


Arm Pits

Had this conversation last night with our 3rd child as I was tucking him in bed....

"Mom, can you stop squishing me so I can get my arms out from underneath the covers?"
"Why, honey....are you hot?"
"No, my armpits need to breathe."



Is Hell Real?

I believe it is. A reporter from ABC is doing a series on hell beginning Friday, July 13. Check out this video about a pastor in Oklahoma who has changed his mind about hell.


Five Questions

Shannon posted I'm playing along: Answer these 5 random questions about yourself and post your answers for the rest of us to enjoy.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That's a no-brainer, and my entire family will know the answer before I give it. Cereal. Now that I'm 8 months pregnant that's pretty much the only food I eat anyway. This kid could come out looking like Captain Crunch!

What's the most nerve-racking "close call" you've ever had?
Me or my kids? For me...a few car accidents in high school. For my kids....watching my daughter run over my baby boy's head with her bike. Yep, that sent me into a tizzy. And, watching my oldest son trip over my foot to split his forehead open on a coffee table. A few more centimeters and he would've lost an eye. Thank God for guardian angels.

Name five features your ultimate dream house would have.
1. First-floor master bedroom.
2. Heating/Air conditioning systems for each floor.
3. In-ground pool WITH a pool cleaning service.
4. Landscaping assistance for LIFE b/c my thumbs are nowhere near green.
5. Laundry chute.
(Yep, I'm the practical type. All the fluff is just too much work to keep up with.)

Who has been the most influential non-relative in your life?
Wow...might have to come back to this one. I wish there were one, but I don't think there is. I am influenced most by thoughts, beliefs, faith and the Word of God - not people. Ok...wait...Francine Rivers. Her books have influenced me tremendously. There, I did it!

What one non-physical feature would you most like to change about yourself?
My inability to change. I have become more flexible in the years since I've had children, and my husband is rubbing off on me. But I still freak out a little (ok, a lot) when things don't go according to plan.


Teen Girl Takes Stand For Purity Ring

Here is an article from Great Britain about a teen girl who is going to court to support her right to wear a purity ring to school...We aren't the only culture where Christians are being silenced.



I am entering a drawing from Jules at Everyday Mommy. She asked us to write about the most daring, adventurous or cute thing our son/s have done. This story quickly came to mind. Our 3rd child and 2nd son is a humdinger to say the least. There are tons of words to describe him. Maybe you have one living in your house? Spicy, fiesty, courageous, tough, fast, loving, quick tempered, sweet.... I could go on and on. This incident from his early years should have clued me in to the wild ride we had in store for us.

We were visiting family out of state. I took the kids to a local park so they could run off some energy after being stuck indoors for hours. This was a great playground, complete with a Little Tykes bike riding area, tunnels and a pirate ship. Our fiesty son was manning the controls on the pirate ship. The other children were doing their own thing on another part of the playground. I was talking on my cell phone to my mother while trying to keep 2 eyes on 4 kids. When I glanced up and saw Mr. Fiesty surrounded by 2 older boys. At this time our son was probably 3 and the older boys looked to be about 7 or 8 years old. The older boys were doing their best to convince my son that it was their turn to steer the boat. Our son, however, wasn't convinced. I stopped my cell phone conversation to try and listen to the "discussion" among the boys on the ship. When.....all of a sudden......elbows started flying, legs started kicking, and fists started swinging. You'd think the big boys were trying to overpower my sweet, little, helpless 3 year old. But, no. My son was taking out the older boys and.......he was winning! I wasn't sure what to do. I stood there in amazement, as did the older boys. Of course, I eventually scolded my son for fighting but secretly I was proud of how he stuck up for himself and stood his ground even though the boys were bigger than he was.

In the years that have passed we have had a handful of other incidents like that. Mr. Fiesty is beginning to learn that fighting is not the answer, but other children are learning not to mess with him either. All in the same breath I am proud and mortified. That's what it's like to be the parent of Mr. Fiesty... an adventure to say the least.


Do Your Kids Suffer From Nature Deficit Disorder?

I read this article about the decline in visitors to our national parks. It got me thinking about my own children. Park officials say the decline in visitors to our national parks since 1999 is not only due to rising gas prices, but also to over-scheduled children who lack interest in being outside. Now that I think about it, it's true. This generation of kids do not know what to do with themselves if they are "bored." Parents seem to freak out if they hear that "b" word. Oh no! MUST PROVIDE CONSTANT ACTIVITY FOR OFFSPRING OR CHILDREN WILL GROW UP TO HATE ME.

What is up? Do your kids have nature deficit disorder? Is this because we cannot allow our children to play outside without the fear that they'll be nabbed from our own backyard? Is it because there are 3 gazillion stations on tv that are more appetizing to our kids than making mud pies? Is it because we, as adults, suffer from a lack of nature appreciation?

In our family I require our children to be outside at least once a day (even in the winter if it's not too cold.) Sure, the kids think I'm the meanest mom on the block. But hey - there's a whole world to explore out there! Get your butts out there and do something, right? Once they are outside they have fun throwing rocks, climbing the trees, playing hide & seek, swinging, making obstacle courses, collecting leaves, digging holes - I could go on and on. Sometimes I provide structured play outside, but most of the time they don't need me. God's playground provides plenty of ideas!

From the time we got married my husband confidently announced that he would not have mushy-brained kids who could not pull themselves away from a screen. He wanted our kids to spend their free time outside. When we were dating, I gave him the false impression that I could hang with him in all of his extreme sports outdoor adventures. Now, he knows the real me. I'd much rather get something accomplished indoors. But, I have to admit....the man is right. Being outside is good for me. It's good for all of us. Thus the purchase of our ugly, but adorable old pop-up camper. There's nothing better to get your kids to be active outdoors than to remove the tv, computer, and video games. We have been camping together as a family now for about 6 years, and we still love it.

We haven't ventured to any national parks yet, but I'm sure we will. And when we do, our kids will have fun darn it! How do you overcome nature deficit disorder in your family?


The Education Decision

This time of the year EVERYONE is tired of school and ready to be done. Whether you are in public school, private school, college or homeschool - you're done. Stick a fork in me - I'm done too. Yesterday was our official last day of school; although we'll continue to learn and do projects over the summer - it's good to be finished with the regular school day.

This time of the year renews the discussion in our house, and among thousands of families across America, "What are we going to do next year?" We are not die-hard homeschoolers. We take each year one at a time and evaluate what each child needs and go from there. Right now, homeschooling has been the best option for everyone involved. The more I read and the more I observe my children, the more drawn I am to homeschooling.

I have a soft spot in my heart toward education. My father was an educator, my mother is still an educator, my sister was a teacher briefly and now I'm educating our children at home. I loved the schoolness of school. It's in my blood. But in our country's short history of government-run schools with compulsory attendance laws, a lot has changed. The school system went from being run by local parents whose main priority was raising their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, to being run by distant boards and committess who tell us, "When you enroll your children in public school you give up your rights as parents."

Below are some links and stats which I've been reading recently. Enquiring minds want to know why we do this homeschool thing. Just read and decide for yourself.

UPDATE: Check out these 2007 resolutions from the NEA.

Tennessee school drills unsuspecting children on terrorism

Teacher shows Brokeback Mountain to 12 year-olds

NEA believes public schools are the cornerstone of our Republic

Dumbing Down Our Kids - With better facilities, higher salaries, and more resources American schools still lag far behind other industrialized nations

Reporter suggests low-performing homeschool kids should re-enroll in public schools...what does he think low-performing public school kids should do?

Separation of School & State - Isn't it homeschool that the writer is suggesting?

82% Adult Americans Want Comprehensive Sex Ed Taught in Public Schools

Homosexual Agenda Escalates in Public Schools

Then, there is this video clip which encourages me and I know will encourage you as well about the amazing gift we have been given in our children.... click on the purple rectangle to watch Animal School.



That is a wonderful word. It makes me smile. NOW, it makes me smile. It used to cause a confused look to come over my face. But, after 4 children (my uterus is currently occupied with another blessing) I have learned a thing or two. "Mother" is my highest calling. With Mother's Day coming up, I have been thinking about this great job I have and reflecting on the wonderful heritage I was given. I love this quote by Barbara at Mommy Life...

It's all about choice. Motherhood isn't about whether I feel up to the job or
what kind of mood I'm in each day. As Doctor Dobson says, love isn't a feeling
but a decision. So too, much of who we become as mothers is based on our own

Happy Mother's Day to you. I pray that you and I will choose to be what our children need us to be, and what our heavenly Father created us to be (no matter what this world tells us we should be.) "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth." 3 John 4


What A Guy

My husband.....he's a keeper. I was gone all last week with 2 of our kids. While I was out of the house, my husband and our oldest son painted the master bedroom! What a shock! When I left there was this ugly, 20-year old, country blue floral wallpaper and when I returned a week later I walked into a beautiful "Moonlight Drive" (that's the name of the paint color) strikingly, clean bedroom. Woo Hoo! He did a wonderful job. I have hated that wallpaper since we moved in about 16 months ago. Now, I love that room and I didn't have to do any of the work! I'm really proud of my son for keeping the secret. He enjoyed my reaction as much as my husband did. Now, I can go shopping for new linens : )

Still Standing

This season means travel for our family. I have been out-of-touch with the news, but here's what I do know. President Bush is a lame duck. He is taking a beating at every turn. I am here to publicly say that I'm still standing behind him through 2008. This war causes so many vibrant emotions in people. I don't see much apathy are either for the war or against it. But, I think we can all agree that we'd like to see all our troops home safe and sound. The President warned us that this would be a long war, and would require our "resolve." I'm still supporting our troops; but for all the wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and children who are missing family members - I get it. I'm ready for them to be home for good. We have 2 good friends who have served in Iraq. One has been there twice and is getting ready to go back, again...just in time to miss the "gotcha day" of the child they're adopting.

Here is a link that will reduce you to tears. This is a You Tube clip from NBC news of a soldier surprising his son at school. As you watch, please pray for all those little ones who are waiting for mommy or daddy to come home safe.


It's March Madness Baby!

Ok, just have to acknowledge the fact that my Kentucky Wildcats (the team with the most tournament appearances EVER) are making my month. I love March. Bracketology is hanging on my fridge and I look forward to every night seeing a buzzer-beating shot and writing down all the Cinderellas who weren't supposed to make it past round 1. (As long as they don't beat Kentucky.) Cinderella aint that cute. Enjoy the madness people! If you are from say...Kansas or Indiana or yes, even North Carolina - then you know what I'm talking about, don't ya?

Sidenote: Let me just go on the record and say, I know Kentucky isn't going to make it all the way. Sure, I believe in my team, but hey - this year was a tough one. So, don't everyone post a comment and rub it in when they lose. I know it's coming! Just let me have my fun, k?

Household Hints

Got this from Barbara, who got it from Martha, who I'm sure got it from someone else. These are some of the best tips (most of which) I've NEVER heard of....

Reheat Pizza: Heat up leftover pizza in a non-stick skillet on top of the stove, This keeps the crust crispy.
Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up. Add remainder of ingredients in recipe, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.
Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount.
Reheating refrigerated bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
Newspaper weeds away: Start putting in your plants; work the nutrients in your soil. Wet newspapers, put layers around the plants overlapping as you go cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastic they will not get through wet newspapers.
Broken Glass: Use a dry cotton ball to pick up little broken glass pieces of glass- the fibers catch ones you can't see!
No More Mosquitoes: Place a dryer sheet in your pocket. It will keep the mosquitoes away.
Squirrel Away! To keep squirrels from eating your plants sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper doesn't hurt the plant and the squirrels won't come near it.
Flexible vacuum: To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge, add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get in narrow openings.
Reducing Static Cling: Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing works with slacks that cling when wearing panty hose. Place pin in seam of slacks and - voila - static is gone.
Measuring Cups: Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.
Foggy Windshield? Hate foggy windshields? Buy a chalkboard eraser and keep it in the glove box of your car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser! Works better than a cloth!
Reopening envelope: If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include Something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two. Voila! It unseals easily.
Conditioner: Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It's a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.
Goodbye Fruit Flies: To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass fill it 1/2" with apple cider vinegar and 2 drops of dishwashing liquid, mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the cup and gone forever!
Get Rid of Ants: Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it "home," & can't digest it so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works & you don't have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!
Getting sand off your skin: Keep a small bottle of baby powder in your beach bag. When you're ready to leave the beach sprinkle yourself and kids with the powder and the sand will slide right off your skin.

Have you got any other good ones? Post them here!


What A Great Idea!

Scribbit has created a special search engine to help weed out all the millions of articles we don't want to read. If you are looking for something special from those writers you've grown to love, or maybe you want to explore a new blog about a specific topic, use her tool and you'll get much better results. Read her entire article about it here.


How Much Is Enough?

The other day I went to the store, and I noticed that the Easter paraphernalia took up 3 huge aisles. It's not March yet, and I'm already sick of it. Easter, to me, is such a quiet, solemn time for reflection about Jesus and what He did for us. All the eggs and bunnies and candy just cloud it all. But, as I was thinking about this upcoming Easter I remembered back a few years when Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ came out. That movie inspired me, and so many others. After watching the movie, there was one thought that kept coming back to me....."How much blood was enough?" I couldn't stop thinking about it. I still vividly remember the scene when Jesus is being beaten beyond recognition. Every drop of blood that was spilled was for you, it was for me. But, He could have stopped it. One drop should have been enough, right? He was flawless. But, no - He allowed His whole self to be sacrificed, to be broken - every drop of blood. He gave it all.

I'm not a songwriter by any means. But, these words poured out of me after seeing the movie. Have a blessed Resurrection Day.

I walk down that long dirty road and I wonder … how much?
I hear them yell and see their hate and I wonder…how much?
I feel the pain and taste the blood and I ask…
Father, how much blood is enough to save the sin of this world?
Is this enough?
And He says…… not yet.

I listen to the curses they hurl and I wonder…how much?
I feel them tear my flesh and I wonder…how much?
I feel the pain and taste the blood and I ask…Father, how much blood is enough to save the sin of this world?
Is this enough?
And He says…not yet.

Father, my body is torn and broken!
Is this enough to save the sins of the world?
And He says…not yet.
Abba, the time has come! I have nothing left!
Is this enough to save the sins of the world?
And He says…not yet.

Here I am Father, at your right hand,
Behold your children! They are tired and ready.
Abba, is it time to bring your beloved home?
And He says… My work is not done…not yet.


Protection or Control?

UPDATE: Vaccine linked to 3 deaths

Have you heard about this? The Governor of Texas recently issued a mandate that all pre-teen public school girls be given the new vaccine to prevent HPV (a sexually transmitted disease.) A House of Representatives committee has since challenged this mandade, and I think the Governor has backed down. However, other states are considering the same action. (Here's another article where you can read more and get more details.)

The drug company (Merck) is promoting this vaccine so that we can protect our girls from this wide-spread STD, and they are touting it as the first drug to prevent cancer. Umm, forgive me if I'm wrong but since when do we take advice from drug companies on how to protect our children? Last I checked, parents were in charge of that - not the Governor of Texas.

For argument's sake, let's say I agree that it's a good idea that we put this new, barely tested, poison in our young daughters' bodies....what then? What am I saying? "Well, she MIGHT get an STD (which MIGHT lead to cervical cancer which she MIGHT get when she's older) so let's give her this vaccine to protect her just in case." Ok, what's next? "Well, she might get breast cancer, so let's go ahead and do a double masectomy just in case." or "Well, she might get in a car accident so let's go ahead and revoke her license now before it's too late."

I do not understand how intellectual, scientific, PARENTS can agree to this hogwash. This government is screwed up, and you want to know why our family has decided not to send our children to brainwashing institutions....err...I mean public schools?

Spunky used a term that made me think of her when I read this information...OUTSOURCING PARENTHOOD. This vaccine is just another way for parents to give away the responsibility of sex education, abstinance training, and plain ole moral teaching.

"But, as for me and my house - we will serve the Lord."



You can create your own M&M here. Here's mine - what'd ya think? Our kids are our M&MS so this is especially fun for them.

Don't You Know What Causes That?

That's the comment my husband and I get when others find out we are having ANOTHER baby. My response, "Uh, yep - that's why we keep doing it!" Anyway..... my husband asked me to blog about my journey through wanting more babies - so here it is:

When I was expecting baby #3 I had an all-out argument with God. This baby would make the third child born in our house in less than 3 years. I was already going nuts, or so I thought. I knew if we didn't do something permanent that I'd have a baby every year for the next 15 years. I proceeded tell God this. (Can you picture it?) I'm standing in our garage working on a birthday party project for #1 and God and I have this dialogue going. It sounded a little bit like this...

me: "God, You know I'm not doing a good job with the ones You've given me now. What do you expect from me?"
God: "Are you saying you are doing this all on your own? Have You asked Me for help?"
me: "I know that You'll help me God. I know that, but I have got to stop having babies at some point. I have plans you know and if I'm always pregnant or taking care of a toddler we won't be able to achieve any of those goals."
God: "And are these plans that you've made? Are these goals My goals for you?"
me: "Ok, God - of course, I want what YOU want for my life, but how can I really serve You if I'm home all day nursing a baby?"
God: "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and give you a hope and future..."
me: "Allright - Your plans are greater than mine. But God, how are we going to do this? What will people say? My family already thinks I'm crazy!"
God: "In whom do you find refuge?"
me: "YOU, God! YOU ARE MY REFUGE! Ugggh....What do You want? You just want me to give up everything and let You run the show?
God: silence
me: "God, I am DONE having babies! I want to be done!"
God: silence
me: "Lord, I'm done."

and then it happened...

I heard Him. The God of the Universe did what it took to get my attention b/c He knows this stubborn red-head better than anyone.

God: "NO!"

Ok, so now what? I've just heard the Lord. You know, like a Moses or Adam or Joshua moment. Uh....can I just walk back in the house and start cooking dinner? Nope. This is a moment you don't forget. This is a moment where you measure your life. So, now I have to deal with the FACT that God spoke to me and it wasn't what I wanted to hear. Can I just move on? Could you? I couldn't. I had to respond.

Then I began to learn. I read. I listened. I prayed. I talked with my husband. I argued w/ God some more. What I learned was this mountaintop I'd been sitting on wasn't where God was. He had moved. A song by FFH at that time still resonates with me....."Lord move in a way that I've never seen before. There's a mountain in the way and a lock on the door. I'm drifting away, waves are crashing on the shore. Lord, move - move in me or move me."

God was moving me. Can I just say that is one of the most uncomfortable places to be in. BUT, once you are there (we've never really arrived, but you know what I mean) it is the best place to be in. Better than you or I can put into words. I want to, but I just can't.

I learned about the quiver-full lifestyle, and about trusting God with it ALL, and about letting go of me. I learned about loving motherhood and embracing this job as a calling. I learned about enjoying my children rather than trying to hurry-up and get it over with. I learned about being quiet. I learned about listening to others who did it different than I did instead of assuming they didn't know as much as I did. I learned about pride. I learned that nearly every problem or sin in my life can be traced back to this one issue. Pride.

I do not know why the Bible doesn't just come out and say, "Thou shalt have as many kids as you can until you are 40." Or, "Thou shalt have 3 children and be finished." I wish those words were in there, but they just aren't. Which means, we have to search the scripture and look to the Lord of lords for answers in this area.

I do not know why for some true Believers it is ok to have a vasectomy or take birth control pills. I do not know why God chooses not to speak to them about those issues. But then again, I also do not know why a 4 year-old little girl dies of cancer. I just don't know. What I do know is this is how God has chosen to speak to ME. This is how He has chosen to get my attention and require all of me. This is my burning bush. I am standing in His presence and He requires complete trust from me. If I am not completely trusting Him, then I'm being disobedient. I cannot live like that.

So, where does that leave me? Well, after #3 was born (6 years ago) I just knew I'd be pregnant again within the year. You know what? God has a sense of humor. My husband and I continued to "let God plan our family" (you can take that however you want) and I spent the next 3 years enjoying our stair-steppers. On our 3rd child's 3rd birthday I got pregnant with #4. Now, it will be just before #4 turns 3 that #5 will be born.

So, no - I'm not having babies every year. But, I am having babies! What a blessing they are! What a journey I have been on, and WOW have I learned a lot (and changed a lot.) When I tell others that our children are ECSTATIC about baby #5 - they do a double-take. "What, you mean your kids want more?" Uh...yes...yes they do! They want to be blessed! Imagine that. They see the joy that children bring into a home. They enjoy having their best friends share their bedroom. They yearn to keep the little ones little b/c "they are so cute!"

Am I done after #5? I'd like to be done. Sure, I'm human, and I'm getting old! But, that's God decision not mine. When He gives my husband and I peace to do something about it - then we will, but not until then.

These kids teach me a lot. I thank God that He struck me w/ lightning - I mean, spoke to me in the garage - otherwise I would have spent the last 5 years pursuing the plans I had made for Him instead of the plans He has made for me.

I look forward to hearing about your journey. For those of you who are just treading into this unknown water I'd encourage you to search online. There are a lot of us out there, and we really aren't that crazy.

What Is Going On At Vision Forum?

I frequently read the blogs of other "thinking mothers" who challenge me in so many areas. I found some comments on one blog, which linked me to another, and finally to the original poster. There is a controversy surrounding Doug Phillips and Vision Forum regarding the shunning of a family from Mr. Phillips' church. We, in the church, get easily caught up in controversy and the world sees it. No wonder they think they don't need what we have.

I like how Barbara at Mommy Life responded...
Since I published Doug Phillips' excellent New Year's piece on forgiveness, several people have emailed me asking about the controversy surrounding the excommunication and shunning of a couple from his church, as well as attempts to discredit them in the wider Christian community. How does that square with the wisdom he has shared on forgiveness? While I don't have time to get involved in a big controversy, I do have some experience with this problem which I felt compelled
to share with the couple who have gone public with their testimony.

I am not judging Doug Phillips. I understand the weakness in Christian
leaders which can contribute to this problem. This kind of event takes place on
a regular basis all over the United States in aggressively religious churches.
What I mean by aggressively religious churches is churches that have forgotten
that Jesus said we must come to him as children, that we are not to lay heavy
burdens on people, and that we are to love one another.

What seems to happen is that a couple with good ideas for conducting
their spiritual life or raising their family begins to teach others.
some point the sharing of principles which worked for them crosses over the line into moral superiority, judgment of others and legalism.
There are so many people I can think of that this has happened to - the Ezzos and the Pearls come to mind. On the other end of the spectrum is Dr. Dobson, who dispenses help for parents with a helpful spirit and without the overlay of moral superiority.
Do you see what I mean?

From our own devastating experience in 1990 with an out-of-control
Christian leader, Tripp and I learned that Christian leadership can never
succeed (yes it can succeed in the world's terms, but not in Christian terms)
unless it is built on servant leadership. The picture I keep is Jesus washing
the disciples' feet. When a leader's platform begins to be about elevating
his/her own ministry and having people serve it, there is something wrong. A
Christian leader should come under the people who are learning from him and lift
them up to release their potential, not use them to release his own.

Also, sometimes in these "perfect" Christian congregations, a couple
who doesn't fit in perfectly can cause great discomfort and things can rapidly
spin out of control. Tripp and I saw it happen over and over in the "cutting
edge" "remnant" church we were in: if a couple was not in lock step with the
leader's thinking, they were counseled with the purpose of getting them to
conform. A big delay in their immediate "healing" (meaning coming into
conformity with the group model) brought out the worst in the leadership. Next
thing we knew, they were drummed out of church and private things they had
discussed were used for sermon fodder. We were told to shun them.
My response to this kind of behavior is that it strikes me as being more like the Pharisees than like Jesus. When we pick Bible verses to back our strategies which are at variance with what Jesus said, I'm gonna go with Jesus every time.

While I don't want to be presumptuous (and I refuse to get in a big
debate about this) -, my guess is that God is trying to get Doug's attention
through the couple who has taken their story public (which they certainly have
the right - and also the Christian responsibility) to do. My feeling is that the
truth is stronger than falsehood, so if Doug has nothing to be ashamed of, he
should not be so threatened by this. After all, these people are alone (thanks
to Doug's church) and he has thousands of defenders....

Please know that I am not making any judgment on Doug Phillips. I just
think there is a better way to work this out. Since I was once accused myself by
a former pastor of not being a true Christian, "marked" and shunned - and since
I know that all along I was a Christian and it was not the pastor's call to make
but God's (John 10:14 - also somewhere there is a verse "The Lord knows who is
his" but I don't have time to find it right now because I've got to cook dinner
:), I feel qualified to speak on this couple's behalf and say there is probably
some truth to their claims.

Doug Phillips will have thousands of people who blindly defend him. The
fact that this couple is willing to do the difficult task of trying to call a
larger-than-life figure to account when they are people of relatively small
consequence and thus easily discredited and discarded (I always hated that in
elitist churches and religious systems) should be taken seriously. Rather than
rushing to Doug Phillips' defense, his followers should be urging all parties to
submit themselves to an independent reconciliation service.

I realize that this might not sit well with some people in my own
church who think very highly of Doug Phillips. But we cannot put people on such
high pedestals that we think they are incapable of human error. We can't just
dismiss the claims of someone who has been harmed. Otherwise we become idolators ourselves.