welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

Look but don't touch.....

So I popped over Momstheword's blog earlier this week and loved her Making Your Home Sing post. It's a great meme that she hosts where you can share how you are making your house into a home and making it "sing" with either attitude or actions such as encouraging or children, filling your home with comfort foods, decorating, etc. Def. check it out "Making Your Home Sing Monday" at Momsthewords blog.

One of the subjects she touched upon was the need to "lighten up" and enjoy life and what we are blessed to have. If I could have jumped through the monitor, I would have given Nan a big *high five*.

I've mentioned before that I grew up in a home where if it "looks good on the outside, it's good on the inside". Our house was always spotless, with everything in its place. It always had to perfect, you know......in case someone stops over. It also felt like I lived in a museum as my mom had so many showcased items displayed throughout the house. We even had the living room that no-one was really allowed to be in.

My job was dusting.....man, I hated that job. Still do. The fact that I had to spend two hours every Saturday morning in that uninhabited living room, wiping down each and every Hummel figurine and making sure they went back in the exact same spot is definitely the reason I have this aversion to dusting. It also explains why I have a whole family of dust bunnies staying with us in our home....and boy, it is so true about bunnies multiplying. ;)

We had the guest towels in the bathroom. These were the decorative towels that hung right near the sink, but you would not dare use them! "Those are for show", she would tell us. Show? What show?

We had the highest thread count sheets......but we only used them on the spare/guest bed. We even had certain foods we couldn't eat/touch because that was for if company stopped over.

Or how about the china set that she had incarcerated behind glass doors in her hutch. Yeah, there was even a little lock/key. In the 18 years I lived there, I don't ever remember using those plates. "That set is worth thousands", she would remind us. "You see that gravy dish boat (that irked me even more.....boat?).....they don't even make that anymore. It's worth $300!" She would talk about how it was appraised and insured for this ridiculous amount of money. uhhhmmm, OK. So why don't we use it if you love it so much as to take out an insurance policy on it?

I used to tease her if she complained about an unexpected bill coming in and not having the money.....I offered to accidentally knock into her china hutch and smash a few pieces. I'm good like that. She didn't take me up on my offer, nor did she find it remotely amusing.

So the point is.....she got so wrapped up in these materialistic possessions, and worse yet......never even used them and enjoyed them. And in retrospect, the message that was sent to us (unintentionally) was that we (including herself) were not worth using the good towels or plates.

Funny thing, after my parents retired.....they did some financial planning and decided to drop the insurance on some items, including that precious china. She said it was because they do not even make the set anymore, so there was no point to keeping it insured if it couldn't be replaced.....No clue behind that reasoning.

So she visited the other day and made a lovely comment about the mason jar I served her Crystal Light in. " WOW, I see you are breaking out the best for me, huh? How much do you have this insured for?" I reminded her that A: It doesn't matter if it is a $35 goblet from Lenox or a 99 cent recycled spaghetti sauce jar....it still smashes the same way when it hits my tile floor. And B: I really don't give a rat's butt about fine china. Does nothing for me.

Now, I can appreciate how beautiful it looks when someone has their table set with a gorgeous set....but's it's just not me or how I roll. My special set is a Mexican motif stoneware set I scored at Pier 1 when it went on clearance a few years ago. I think I paid $60 for a complete set for 8.......and I break out those bad boys whenever I get the chance. I want to enjoy them with my family and friends, not hoard them and keep them packed away.

So we started talking about her beloved china set and she went on her rant about how much that set is worth. Normally I would just yeah yeah her to death, but I felt the need to shine some Light on it once and for all. So I started by trying to nicely explain to her something that Josh has always said.

Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. So you could have this one of a kind vintage Elvis ash tray that you were told was worth $2000, but it isn't worth a cent if no-one is interested in buying it.

I didn't really want to burst her bubble.......well, OK, so I did just a teeny bit (devil horns peeking through my frizzy hair)......and we went on EBay to see what her valuable china was going for these days. My mom had her chin held high as she spelled out "Franciscan Desert Rose" into the search bar. She got very excited when she saw photos of her set appear on the screen (remember, she doesn't even own a computer) so she started yelling, "That's my Set! That's my Set!". I had to explain to her that it actually was someone else's set and they were trying to sell theirs. (*sigh* now I know how my kids feel with me and my lack of techy coolness)

But when we saw the search results, she wasn't holding her head up so high, and her chin started to droop as we discovered that a full 8 place setting didn't even get one single bid. (Do a search on Ebay, it's downright sad) We even did search for that infamous gravy boat and saw that it brought in a whopping $11.49 one time!

I felt a sense of sadness for her at that time.....how disappointed she must have felt to think that she spent so much time, money and energy into something that was not worth anything after it was all said and done. And the worst part is.....she didn't even enjoy using it. It's value should have been based on how much joy it brought her.....not what was written on an appraisal slip.

I also now felt sorry that my motive was to burst that bubble.....and I needed to make it right. I wanted to turn it around, so I suggested that even though Ebay is telling her that it isn't worth anything,....it still is worth something to her and she should start enjoying it. And the bonus part is that she doesn't have to feel bad if a plate chips or a saucer gets broken. I hoped that maybe this could release the stress/burden of worrying about the monetary value of stuff, and bring some joy and increase her happiness/emotional value. I made the suggestion that maybe going home with this newly discovered information.....she would feel free from that burden by just taking that gravy boat and smashing it.

Again, that didn't go over well.

Oh, and Nan made another great point .......she asked "What are we teaching our children about things if we don't enjoy what we have? If we teach them that things are to be preserved but not enjoyed?"

Here's something else to think about.....life is short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. We can leave this earth at any time. Only God knows that date and it is written in His Book of Life....so I want to make sure I live and enjoy every day that I am given. I don't want to find out in my last days, that the things I thought were worth so much, like that china..... really were not worth anything.

This applies to my time and emotions as well as material things. I don't want to spend so much time rushing around to make everything showcase quality, only to come up feeling tired, empty and worthless at the end of the day. Of course I need to set some time aside to keep my home clean and somewhat tidy.....but it isn't my main priority (as you would see if/when you came to visit). I have always said.....if you are coming to visit me, pop on over anytime. If you are coming to see my home....call and make an appointment. I want my kids to know that I can leave the house a little messy so we can go bowling or catch a movie. I've always said that trying to keep a house neat as a pin with kids is like shoveling during a snowstorm anyway.

So yeah.....I want to spend as much time enjoying my life and keeping my house a home. A home that is beautiful, not because of the things in it.....but for the joy it brings others. My family and friends are important enough for me to spend more time with them, rather than spending time getting everything in order just to spend time with them, if that makes sense.

I want to always use my favorite mugs when friends visit for coffee.....and they can use what ever towel they want to wipe their hands in the bathroom. I am going to share everything that God has blessed me with. Like Matthew 6:20 reminds us....the only treasures I want to store up are the ones in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

* side note~This doesn't mean it is wrong to have nice things in our life.....God wants us to enjoy blessings. But enjoy is the key word.

He also loves a generous sharing spirit. I want my family and friends to always know that this house and everything in it is theirs to enjoy. Including me and my time.

One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed Proverbs 11:24-25

So I ask you today.....are you enjoying and sharing what you have?


TGIM a.k.a. Thank God it's Monday!

yes......you read that title correctly!

(*warning....random jibberish/thoughts and praise ahead)

I am thanking and praising God for this Monday. It's not due to having a bad weekend.....in fact, I had a great weekend. The boys didn't go to their youth group on Friday because G was filming the high school football game and H had a commitment to babysit next door.
So I took full advantage of not being a taxi cab driver all night and decided that I was going to do some serious damage in the way over due cleaning dept. of my house. E was completely mesmerized with his new iPod, which thankfully arrived that afternoon. He has been waiting ever-so- not -patiently since he ordered it, hmmmmmm 48 hours before (what is it with these kids and instant gratification?!?....iPods, IMs, texting, etc.....yeah, I just answered my own question)

Now I know I am not tech savvy and it doesn't take much to amuse me......but I am blown away by this little slice (literally) of technology. Most of you probably have one, or the iPhone or even a Blackberry.....but you have to understand, I just upgraded my cell phone to one without an antenna. The way my kids made fun of my old phone, it might has well been one of those bag phones. (which I did have "back in the day" and sported it around ever so proudly, thankyouverymuch).

They also have a good yuck on my behalf because apparently my new phone is really cool with this overly sensitive touch screen and some fancy new fangle slide out keyboard......both of which I am have no clue and am having a hard time adjusting to because A: I do not have texting.......and B: I am paying these outrageous charges for dialing up the World Wide Web without knowing I am doing so.....did I just say dialing? EEK! You see? *sigh*. Anyway.....E pooled his savings, sold his paintball equipment and bought this refurbished iPod from Apple online and was completely consumed with playing games and downloading applications, whatever those are.

So, my little helper N was thrilled to jump into cleaning with me and decorating for the fall. I was pretty proud of myself as the control freak in me subsided a bit and I actually let her put that ceramic pumpkin on the end table as opposed to the coffee table. Yeah, I have some OCD and controlling issues with decorating. But I had to put my foot down with the wooden Blessings sign placement.

Does she not know that rustic decor belongs on the rustic barn red colored wall? I have some work to do with her......but the good thing is that she just turned 7, so thankfully she has some time.

OK, so we cranked some Third Day and whipped through the house, vacuuming up dust bunnies that grew to the size of footballs.......we used good old Murphy's Soap on all the furniture and then placed pumpkin/harvest themed decor randomly throughout the house. Then we lit some apple spice candles to bring it all full circle in the name of fall.

So Saturday morning rolled around and it was the beginning to another great day......I woke up to a nice clean house, the sky was clear and my coffee came out just the right color. We headed out to a local "Celebrating Agriculture" fair where we had an awesome breakfast in the barn, toured the dairy farm and visited countless educational exhibits with all the local farmers. There was everything from fiber artists demonstrating the art of spinning to baby chicks hatching to booths with bee hives. Of course I gravitated to the dairy goats and alpacas.....Josh was hanging with the chainsaw and tractor guys.

Josh had to go into work for a few hours on Saturday night, so I took full advantage of another "quiet" night and did what felt like the right thing. Junk Food.

I went out to the grocery store with the kids and bought all kinds of chicken wings, popcorn chicken and soda.......we also bought all the ingredients to make hot fudge sundaes. Yeah, we were taking this hanging in Sat. night seriously and we were not going to miss out on any extra calories or stomach aches. Not sure what got into me....but I just felt so blessed to have my almost 16 and 18 year old sons home with me on a Saturday night, because they wanted to......not because they had to or were grounded. I don't take these things for granted, you know. I know they are not perfect, we have our challenges with them......in fact, I believe I did have to get alittle psycho in the store when they were being obnoxious to each other (you know.....that crazy dazed glare from a mom when she starts shouting without releasing her clenched teeth?)......but the truth is, they are good kids and I love them with all my heart. So I felt like treating them and let them each pick out something for our Saturday night food fest.

We woke up Sunday morning.....I was a little puffy due to the sodium and fat content in my bloodstream......and headed off to church. The best part was that Josh has been inviting a friend, R, from work to come with us to a service as he has been really "searching" for answers. Well, he decided to take him up on his offer this week. Josh had voiced his concern that this friend came from a negative church experience and probably might be a little apprehensive. Coupled with the fact that he has only been exposed to a stand, sit, kneel experience with a very quiet dark atmosphere......we knew he might be a little intimidated walking into our church that had the band rocking out with the big screens and a bunch of people dancing and shouting in the aisles. I reminded Josh that God knows what He is doing and will make sure that R gets blessed in one way or another. Well, of course.....this is exactly as it went down. The message was all about modern technology/media and the church which is exactly what Josh and R do for work (entertainment/audio visual) and they also touched upon the fact that our church is currently opening a campus location one town over from where R lives. How cool is that? The cherry on top (sorry, still in ice cream sundae mode) was R calling Josh later in the day and thanking him again for inviting him to church and that he wanted to come back next week! WOOT!

OK, so the only not so great thing that happened this weekend was that for some bizarre reason, the Patriots game was not broadcasted on our local Fox channel. They had a NY Jets/Giants game (not sure which one) airing instead.......(you will see I am not a football person, I just play one one Sunday afternoons when it gives me an excuse to make nachos). The only reason I knew it was a NY team was because I could hear Josh having a meltdown, yelling at the TV something about why would they show NY and not the New England game? He was frantically flipping through all the channels and I believe I witnessed a vein throbbing from his forehead.

He did find one channel that just displayed a score board with all the Sunday football games and had the commentators for the Patriots game. I suggested that it was better than nothing and he could pretend he was back in the olden days when people gathered around the radio......let's just say that didn't go over so well. He grabbed his plate of reheated spicy chicken, growled as he dipped them into the ranch dressing and later just gave in to it all as he flopped on the bed. I will say that it was pretty comical to see a 40 year old man pout as he listened to the game...... until he fell asleep for a very much needed nap.

We ended the night by taking a ride to a good friends' restaurant that she had recently invested in. Someone we used to work with, at that nightclub "back in the day" was leaving for Florida and he was throwing himself a going away party. So I threw on my favorite jeans and we headed out. The kids had strict instructions to keep the knucklehead antics to a minimum and my most important request was to keep the house nice and clean as I worked so hard the night before.

So we headed out to the "city" for this party. Now I haven't seen any of the people expected to attend (except my friend) for almost 10 years and really did not want to go......but I went because I knew I would get to see her new place and it was the right thing to do. We decided we would go early so that we could make our appearance and then return home because I was not missing Amazing Race!

Now, I know that my life has done a 180.......but even being around the language and the mindset of some of these people made me uneasy for that one hour, whereas I used to work in that environment 25-30 hours a week. The things I might have laughed about before made me uncomfortable now......I had a hard time joining in their conversation as I couldn't relate to what they talking about. Partying, bragging on their newest sports cars....clubbing, dating, showboating all their accomplishments/materialistic gains........It just seemed so empty and dark to me.

Josh and I received more than a few comments about how happy we looked and how it was so "unbelievable" that we were still together after all these years. They had this confused look on their face when we talked about being happy in the country raising our kids (both human and goats, lol).....homeschooling and living more simple. Some asked how we "do" it......as many were either in between relationships or going through a messy divorce. When talking to a few people, I started to see through their happy partying facade and see the sadness that was buried under it all. When asked that question, I had one simple answer. It's all God. It's all because of Him.

I know that these words fell on some deaf ears as well as some drunken ears......but I hope and pray that I planted a seed in the few that heard them. I would have loved to share more of what God has done in my life......but most changed the subject very abruptly as they did 10 years ago.

As more people started to shuffle in, I gave my friend a big hug and then it was our chance to slip out the back door. I couldn't wait to get out of that atmosphere, both the physical and the emotional/spiritual. I couldn't wait to get out of the city congestion and get back to my house "in the sticks". Josh and I reflected on how once again we were reminded of the grace of God and how thankful we were that He had a beautiful new-and-improved plan for our lives.

So much so, that it didn't bother me that my house was not in the same condition as it was when we left......it was better. There were dishes in the sink and there were shoes/clothes scattered around the house. My twinkling lights were not plugged in and it didn't smell like an apple pie......but there were four kids who were healthy and safe.

I didn't care that the dishes stayed in the sink......I made a plate of nachos and settled in to watch the shows we recorded. I could help but continue to think about my past that I feel God rescued me from.....so I kept giving thanks to Him. I thanked Him for all the great blessings He has rained on us and even all the little details of a great weekend.

....and that is why I woke up today thanking Him for this Monday.

I hope you are ready to embrace the week ahead.....I'd love to hear what you are thankful for today......

Peace, love and stay barefoot~

Three Things this Thursday

Hello! So happy you came by, especially if you are a returning friend......and thankful that someone didn't call the men in the white coats to come take me away this week after finding out I find/seek God and His message in everything........ including my farm animals. Sometimes I am intense, sometimes I am simple.....but I always keep it real, even if I know it might raise an eyebrow or cause an eye roll.

So, I was hosting a Three Things this Thursday carnival last winter/spring. It was a fun way to post three random things which could be something funny that happened that week, a new craft/recipe, a prayer request....going with my mindset, it was totally random with no rules. So when summer rolled in, I put 3TTT on vacation in hopes to pick it back up this fall. Well here we are.....in late September....I still don't have my shtufff together enough to be consistent enough to start it back up (oh great, now I have that Green Day song in my head.....Wake me up, when September ends)

OK focus, Michelle........ so I am passing the torch over to Dave, Homeschool Dad, the man who does his own stunts.......who clearly will be a more organized and fabulous host. Please pop on over, say hello and jump in on the 3TTT fun!

So here are my Three Things this Thursday to share:

1. I want to say that I was literally floored by everyone's awesome support, encouragement and prayers when I shared what has been on my heart with my last post. And like I said.....even more appreciative that no-one suggested that I seek mental counseling rather than fertility counseling when I believe that God was sending a little message with my Wanda story. If you didn't get chance to read it, I encourage you to do so. Not only to read what was on my heart, but to read what so many beautiful people shared with me. It also gives you a chance to follow their profile to their inspiring blogs.

Here are just a few, just to give you an idea on how many awesome friends I have......yes, you are all my friends whether you like it or not! (I would post all of them but that would make for a really longer than normal post....so I will just grab a few, one no more powerful than another)

Heidi @ 2Thinks said these beautiful words that were so comforting.....""Except that God loves His children and knows the desires of each heart. When I read about His character in His word, I don't see that he works to make the faithful crazy, but promises to be with them always, providing for their needs and loving them unconditionally to the day each returns to live with him forever. He instructs all to lean on Him- to press into Him in all things. He is a promise keeper."

I was so thankful to even have a few men pop step out of their comfort zones while I was babbling about my ovaries and share what was on their heart..... (kinda like real men wear pink) "........but I just wanted to say that I truly believe God will honor the desires of our hearts as long as those desires are for Him. And I have no doubt your desires for a child are just that." ~Billy Coffey

And if it wasn't too obvious with his sense of humor, the first comment talking about how "his sperm do not swim in circles, they are true men who just don't stop to ask for directions" was my husband, Josh. He just doesn't know how to log into his own blog account to comment yet, no matter how many times I show him. *sigh*

Anyway.....I have been praying, praying, praying all week.....and I believe that I need to keep the steering wheel in God's hands and just continue to do what we are doing. If another child is to join our family, which I still feel so strongly will happen.....so it will be. We have talked of adoption before, but usually it was when we thought our children were older. But who knows, maybe it will be sooner than we think.....yet something else we will be praying about. Many of you have shared your adoption stories with me and the thought of being a mom to a child who has none makes my heart sing too.

I was thrilled to have these friends see God through my little mid-life crisis hen, Wanda too:

I'm trying not to jump to conclusions, but Wanda's sitting on other chicken's eggs speaks so loudly of adoption to me (notice I said 'to me.') I don't believe God gave a mother's love only to dash it to pieces. Keep all the windows open, so something can fly in. Ok, I have no idea why I just said that. God, hello?......Deborah Ann, Heavenly Humor

And Meredith from Things We Carried shared her beautiful adoption story with me and added this little PS
"....I believe God does use anything He wants to show us things. Whose eggs did your hen end up becoming the mama too?Just sayin' :)"

I also believe that God had a plan for me to share this story for so many other reasons besides getting such wisdom and insight. Nancy from If Evolution Works was inspired to write about her road of infertility......and I found out that I have ALOT in common with Erica from Scottsville too!

So thanks again for pouring into this journey with me......I do not know what the future will hold for Josh and I and our family size, but I do know that I will continue to love God unconditionally and faithfully and serve Him with ALL my heart!

oh yeah....I still need two more things:


2. We are naming our little farm "Kingdom Kids" as we want to give God all the glory.
These animals are ultimately His (Kingdom) and we think it's kinda cool using "kids"....you know, for these little friends?

So you know in the book of Genesis where "in the beginning" all animals enjoyed a peaceful co-existence with each other? We kinda like to think we have a little bit of that Garden of Eden going on around here with the way that everyone gets along. (except for the occasional cat/dog taunting or watching Mufasa think he can actually catch one of our "free-ranging bunnies).......

Little Alvin lays her eggs in the hay feeder and our cats just chill with the chickens.....
Yes they do all get along pretty well around here.......now if I could only get my kids to co-exist peacefully like this!

3. And lastly........a public service announcement. Always check expiration dates, they are there for a reason. Especially on frozen items. Refrigerated pie crust dough only lasts three months......do not attempt to make pies with them, even if it doesn't smell funny or is not slimy in any way. And certainly do not attempt to make pies with apples that cost you about $9 at your recent trip to the apple orchard when celebrating Johnny Appleseed studies.
Yes, I made a pie that didn't make my house smell like a beautiful fall day with cinnamon in the air.......it smelled more like feet when I pulled it out of the oven. I couldn't figure out what went wrong.....until I checked the end of the pie crust box. Nov08

This would tie into the advise to clean your freezer out more often....and since when was 2008 sooooooooooooo long ago, anyway????

OK that's it for me.......if you want to jump in on the 3TTT randomness, leave your linkarooni over at Dave's place!

Have a beautiful day!

Stubborn or Determined.....Hopeless or Hopeful?

*please note that God has interrupted this posting...
or at least I think it is Him*

So no creative way to open up this discussion.......so you know me.......I am just gonna throw it out here and ask for your advice, prayers, and whatever else you feel on your heart to share with me. And if you are a guy and talking about girlie cycle stuff makes you uncomfortable or if you get easily offended by TMI (too much information)....you might want to skip this.

Here is the dealio.

Just the facts ma'am:

It's no shocking news or secret that I would love to add another baby to our family.

We've talked about adoption, but usually that is in reference to when our children are a little older.

We have been "going with the flow" for the past two to three years "trying but not trying".......really kinda sorta "trying" the past year. Biological clock sounds like Big Ben.

Have conceived about 6-7 times in the past 2.5 years.....never made it past the 6 week mark.

All my bloodwork/initial testing shows that I am still in "good/decent fertility" zone as far as cycles, ovarian reserve, I am still ovulating regularly, etc. even at my age....which is 43. (YIKES!! when did *that* happen??!?!?) She explained that of course my age does play a factor as well as egg quality, sperm quality, uterine quality blah blah blah..... but also that 15% of infertility/losses/etc are unexplained.

We have never gone on to further testing as we have no infertility coverage.

We have given this up to God these past few years and know that it is His will. He does not care about age-related statistics and is completely capable of creating life whenever and with who's ever womb, ykwim?

Even after almost 20 years, Josh and I have a very healthy relationship (if you get my drift) and it is only getting better. Reason I am sharing that lovely information, is to confirm that we def. cover all fertile days....and then some. So yeah, after all these years of charting, temping, planning.....I know my body, I know the signs and I know when it's good baby making times.

With that said....I spoke to my doc about the possibility of getting a little boost/help. She suggested I might try Clomid and also sent me for another bit of testing this weekend. So I'll find out later today if I still have a few eggs to salvage or that they are all pretty much rotten at this point. Ya gotta know I will always add some humor.....that's how I roll. I tell Josh his sperm are swimming in circles dazed and confused.....he tells me I have dried up rotten eggs.

The struggle I find myself is this.....am I being stubborn/stupid by hanging on to what, I believe, is something that God has placed on my heart all these years? When is enough enough? When should I "let it go" and move on? Some friends have said that maybe the losses are God's way of telling me it's time to let go, it is not "working". But then I wonder, why would I conceive in the first place only to have to say good-bye so quickly? I know/believe that one reason God allows these things to happen is so that I can have compassion for others who are going through the same struggles....but OK God, I got that after loss #1 and #2.

Am I just one of those hopeless people who just lives in my own faith-filled bubble? No, I don't think I believe that anyone who puts their faith into Jesus Christ could ever have 'hopeless' as an adjective.....He is hope.

Is considering "help" taking it away from leaving God in control? Ack....I am so confused. I know ultimately God is The One who creates life...and I believe that God has His hand on every life that is conceived whether it was planned, not planned, prayed for, etc. Some couples go with fertility treatments and conceive.....others go through painful years and never do. Others conceive and then are faced with tragic losses......ultimately God is in control from the beginning to the end. He is the Author of all life.

If anyone is familiar with infertility, I would love your opinion. I have read that Clomid can actually not work with women over 40 due to the thinning of the uterine lining which naturally occurs as you age (preventing proper implantation which actually looks like it might be the case with me) so the Clomid might present more of a roadblock. Our problem isn't conceiving.....it's the "sticking" part. But then, why would my doc suggest to try it? You see? Conflicting!

Edited to add: I also feel the need to add that this is not at the level of consuming me like it did a year or so ago...with each month passing, it is easier to accept and I know that it's only by digging deep with God and His grace. I used to get devastated and angry...now it's more of just a twang of disappointment and moves me to dive deeper in prayer of thanksgiving for what I do have, rather than what I don't.

*******STOP THE PRESS********

OK if don't already think I am whacked out with my farm stories and God being involved in everything.....

But God just decided to interrupt my blogging/thoughts and you tell me if He is telling me something or please send a straitjacket in size medium.

This is just bizarre, insane and awesome.

OK, so we have an older chicken named Wanda. (we have her husband Cosmo too......if you have kids who watch Nickalodeon..... you know: Fairly Oddparents) Wanda never laid good eggs.....can you see where this is going? Her eggs always had a soft shell and eventually she stopped laying. She also is getting pretty ragged in her old age, God bless her. Most people would just toss her in a stew pot, but that is something I could never bring myself to do.

Anyway.....a few weeks ago she started to get all midlife crazy on us and started to sit on a few of the other chickens eggs. She has been sitting on them, all by herself in the chicken coop. She would not get off of them day after day and would get her feathers in a ruffle...literally.....when we tried to go near those eggs. So.....feeling her pain to have her own healthy eggs.....we decided to let her just get broody on a small amount of eggs and try to hatch them. Kinda like a surrogate chicken mama. We had no clue if they were even fertilized.

Josh told me we should just take the eggs out from underneath her before they get all smelly/rotten....but I told him that she probably just needs to feel she has a purpose and is so happy and content sitting on them, so just leave her. I am sure all the younger chickens mocked her (yeah, I am weird thinking about barnyard chattering). But this little chicken had this faith filled way about her and no-one was going to take that away from her on my farm!

S0 she has been on them.....ever so patiently and faithfully. We have been needing to bring her water and food as she would not get off them for anything. I too, started to wonder if she was just sitting on duds as we have had chickens do this before when there was no possible way of the eggs being fertile.

Guess what Josh and N just brought in...

We named this little fluffy guy, Poof. (again........Fairly Oddparents!)

So am I just a smidge away from clinically insane when I take this as a little heartwarming message from God? Am I turning into that crazy farm lady? Should I be brought to the Funny Farm? Good Lord, help me!

oh, and one last thing......As E was going to get our little baby chick habitat up and running with the heat lamp, he says "you know....we have had so much better luck with baby chicks being born naturally than with that artificial incubator". GULP.

anxiously waiting to hear your thoughts (or suggestions for a good reality check medication). You can be brutally honest.....I can take it.


Wait and Listen

I received an email from a blogging friend who wanted to send an encouraging word. She is going through a dry spell with her spirituality and came across this beautiful poem at just the perfect time that reassured her that God is always near and hears our cries, doubts and questions. I believe that God loves to pay it forward and used her as a vessel to get this message to me. I am in my own season where I find myself struggling in some areas with confusion and wanting to hear God with some decisions I am up against lately. I know that God brings "seasons in our lives" for a reason and He will see us through them. I trust that these are refining times......and although it can be painful, scary and frustrating......we will come out purer and wiser and ready for the next place God wants us. I plan on sharing a little more of my "season" soon, but for now I will leave you with this inspirational poem I was so blessed to receive.

How gentle the voice of my Father, so dear
As He calls to me quietly, to sit with Him here;

"Wait and Listen say not a word
How can I speak, if My voice can’t be heard?

Sometimes I have spoken, your mind far away;
Yet you heard not one word that I tried to say.
Then came the moment, something went wrong,
I heard you cry; “God where have you gone?”

Many times I’ve watched, walking silently along
For it’s in your weakness; that I’ll make you strong.
I long for you to seek Me with all of your heart;
The ways that I showed you - from them don’t depart.

My child when you called Me, upon bended knee
Believe all My Son told you and you will receive.
For in the quiet moments when we are alone;
Is when, my child - My truth I’ll make known.

So much I long to tell you, to make your way clear;
To guide and protect you - for I hold you so dear.
So come and rest in the warmth of My arms,
I promise to hold you and all of your fears calm.

I see your tears and hear the praise from your lips
It’s My hands that gently touch, your fingertips.
So when you cry; “Father, where have you gone?”
Remember my child - I was there all along.

Listen… Wait… Listen my child, say not a word;
For then, only then… can My voice be heard.

Author – Priscilla Van Sutphin

I hope you have a beautiful weekend....


PS. I would like to ask you to keep a dear friend in prayer.....she just lost her baby at 25+ weeks yesterday and I cannot imagine what she is going through. Please pray for Katina, Royce and their family.

Top Ten Thursday

Sara over at Domestically Challenged hosts this Top Ten Thursday fun, and I thought I would get in on the action this week. We have some financial shhhtuff going on in our life (we found out we need a new roof......neat!) and I am pulling my hair out getting all the paperwork organized for a loan, getting quotes, sending faxes, etc. So I need to just laugh at myself during all the craziness and lighten things up....and now you get to know more about me than you probably want to.

So I decided to list My Top Ten random info, OCD quirks, pet peeves.

1o. I have to have my kitchen sink empty and clean at night or I won't be able to fall asleep. The counters can have clutter on them, which they usually do......but the sink has to be sprayed down and clean. That includes that trap thingy too.

9. If for some reason I pass out before #10 is executed properly......and I wake up to a sink of dirty dishes, it will take more than a perfect cup of coffee that is just the right color to turn my day around. I will spiral to an all time low if someone left dishwater in the sink and I have to stick my hand in to drain it. Cold clammy dishwater, flies and globs of wet hair skeeve me out.

8. I cannot use a stainless steel utensil with a stainless steel pot. It makes my teeth ache to hear that noise. I develop a twitch if someone bites their fork when eating in front of me.

7. I have the ugliest feet on the planet. I know you all needed to know that. And I secretly (well not so secretly now) am jealous of people with nice cute feet. They walk around all cute with their perfect size 7 feet with perfectly proportioned toes all polished and happy in their beautiful feet exposing sandals. I have big old size 9 dogs with crooked toes and bunions. They are hideous......Josh often tells me that I need to give The CryptKeeper back his feet.

6. I can do some fabulous tricks off the diving board such as handstands, cartwheels and backflips. I won't tell you that it is a pretty sight to see......but I do it and people cheer......or laugh. Either way, I am proud to share that.

5. I have white coat phobia. Meaning.....excluding being pregnant and my yearly "girlie" appointments.....I have only been to the doctors about three times in the past 20 years. One when I ran over my cat and he bit/scratched me when I was trying to help him. (obviously when your back is broken you lash out at the ones you love. RIP sweet James ) The vet demanded I go to the walk-in clinic when he saw how the cat ripped my finger open and scared me with the vile germs that cats carry in their saliva. The other time was a few weekends ago when I stepped on some barbed wire and made a teeny cut under my toe (add more fuel to #7). Another scare tactic from Josh made me call the ER to see when my last tetanus was......which was that third time I was seen by a doctor)......and it was in 1999 when I got stung by a swarm of angry white faced hornets. I was right on the border for that 10 year mark....and considering I am constantly getting banged up/scratched working outside with farm animals and poop, I decided it was for the best even though I am SO not into vaccines. So I had to drag myself to the walk-in, suck it up and get the shot. Anyway.....the whole point of this is.....I have to be forced to go see a doctor because I get anxiety whenever I am in a doctor's office. Not sure if it is the vulnerability I feel in that johnnie (is the opening supposed to be in the front or the back, btw?) or just sitting on that cushioned table thing with someone holding a manila file with my name on it, waiting to tell me I have six months to live.

4. I cringe and get very aggravated if someone calls me "hon". I feel the blood rush to the vein in my forehead if a waitress calls my husband "hon" when we are being waited on. (not EVEN in a jealous way, it's just the tackiness factor, yk?). I have laser beams shoot from my eyes if is from a drive thru speaker. Double laser beams if it is from a gum snapping, hair twirling 16 year old. Not sure why it bothers me so much.....maybe I need therapy for this.

3. I have to fall asleep with my feet hanging off the end of the bed. *insert cricket noise*

2.5 (because I realized after I wrote this that I had an extra) I like the smell of skunk and cow manure. I don't mean that I want to stick my nose in it, but I like it in a country girl kinda way. I appreciate the "smell sense" more than the average person, I think. I have to smell my laundry when it comes out.....and yes, they smell MUCH better than skunk! I have an obsession with homemade soaps and their scents...... I have to bury my nose in Josh's neck to get a whiff before I fall asleep.

2. I can write backwards in cursive. Not sure how that talent will ever help me......maybe if I end up in jail and I need to give my cell-mate neighbor a message and I happen to have a hand held mirror to reflect the message his way??? OK, that was lame, but trying to think about what other purpose it serves other than writing messages to myself as a kid and standing in front of the mirror to read them (even though I am the one who wrote it). Again......therapy might help here.

1. Evolution theory is the number one thing that makes me turn into a lunatic. The thought that we all came from the same one cell organism is just the most insane ridiculous idea. When we experience our Monarch's life cycle, all I kept saying/thinking was what an awesome Creator to take such passion for the details of this one creature's life. To think that every living being was just some random acts of mutations is ludicrous. OK, my fingers are pounding away and getting all fired up so I better leave it be.

Hey that was pretty fun.....not sure for you guys, but for me......I needed some to just ramble about nothingness today. If you have a Top Ten List......head on over to Sara's place and leave your link too.

Have a beautiful day!

Peace, love and stay barefoot (even if you have ugly feet like me)

oh, and ps. I have had a few people contact me about my Three Things This Thursday carnival that I put on the back burner this summer. Being the inconsistent frazzled person that I am.....it was getting difficult to commit to posting every week so I am working with Dave, Homeschool Dad and passing the torch onto him. He is much more organized and has some great ideas for 3TTT. Will get that info to you as soon as we wrap it all up.

Too close for comfort

So we have a state of the art security system for our home. We bought it from The Czech Republic because we heard that they specialize in this style of protection. A few "pros" of this particular system it requires only about a 60 pound bag of "fuel" a month, a few supplements throughout the year and a once a year maintenance check up as long as everything is running smoothly. It also doubles as a pretty good babysitter when my kids are outside. The "cons" are that it often drips a disgusting amount of slime and leaves piles of it's waste by products on our front lawn.

Yes, we have a 120 pound Rottweiler, Mufasa who serves as a great deterrent for anyone who even thinks about coming up our driveway. He is on an invisible fence system where he is free to roam about an acre or so of our property encircling our home. Not only going with my "free-range" mindset (meaning my chickens and even our bunnies)....but I never understood how a dog that is tied up can do anything in the way of protection.

We also feel we are doing our community service by helping joggers or bicyclists keep up their desired heart rate and increase their speed when they choose our road as part of their workout.

You probably know how invisible fences work......basically Mufasa wears a receiver on his collar that will first signal him that he is approaching the boundary.....and then give him a pretty good zap if he proceeds any closer. Of course we had to buy the super duper stubborn dog version as we have found out he is very very stupid stubborn.

We also have three barn cats who know that boundary very well. So well that they choose to torture Mufasa by sitting one foot behind the wire. They just sit there......you know that "cat" sarcastic stance.....sitting with head held high, blinking their eyes slowly and swishing only the end of their tail like a cracking whip. Sometimes, they even get as comfortable with knowing he is unable to get any closer by laying down and grooming themselves. Lord help them when he decides that the jolt is worth it and charges at them which he will do once in awhile if he is up for some excitement. This usually ends with them up in some tree with their little furry kitty hearts pounding at about 200 beats per minute.

This morning, I went out to do the early morning duties of getting all the animals situated and fed. Usually I wait for N and E to wake up, as this is their chore.......but I felt like getting a jump start on the day. I also decided it would be a nice time to have a little morning conversation with God, so after the gang was all taken care of, I went inside to grab my coffee cup.

I sat down near our little fire pit and just glanced around, listening to the chickens clucking away......watching all the squirrels scamper from tree to tree. I looked over to my right and saw Mufasa and one of those cats in another one of their "staredown" showdowns. (I couldn't tell you which one because we have three identical cats.....all the same size, all black, all with yellow/green eyes). I thought again about how confident and comfortable that cat was to tempt his fate with that drooly monster less than three feet away, just waiting to pounce on him. (For the record, I will tell you that Mufasa is not the beast that he appears to be. He has cornered these guys in the garage many times and we found out that all he wants to do is pin them down and slobber all over them.......it's actually kinda funny to see the cats when he is done licking them from head to toe.......they have this disgusted look on them like they feel violated!)

Anyway.....watching that cat made me think about how sometimes we can get too comfortable in our physical life AND our spiritual life. We can become complacent and maybe even too confident.....then we must face consequences for our actions (or lack of)

For example......I get too comfortable eating nachos every night. I justify it that I work out, have dropped a few pounds/inches so it's OK. Then I start working out less (probably because I feel like crapola from all that junk) and then wonder why my jeans are not fitting so great anymore.

Same goes for my spiritual life. Although I do try to seek Him in my everyday life......the truth is.....life gets busy and He is not always at the forefront of my thoughts when I am trying to keep this house somewhat clean/organized, homeschooling chaos, keeping food in our fridge, clean clothes on our backs and shoveling goat poop. (although most of the time, when I am cleaning the barn, I do talk to God.......not sure how crazy He about that atmosphere and me smelling pretty rank......but we have some GOOD talks)

So yeah, when things are going pretty well, I might find myself getting comfortable with just "touching base" with God once a day, most likely at night before I go to bed. I thank Him for the day He has given me and my family, keeping us healthy and safe and sometimes I'll add in a little prayer request. I find that sometimes I get so wrapped up in a busy life that I am seeking Him less throughout the day. I am faced with decisions/choices and make them without seeking His Counsel. So then I make poor decisions based on looking inward rather than UP, and then I have to deal with the adverse reactions later. And when these repercussions creep up, I find myself showing up in prayer with a big ole mess asking God for help. Of course He is always there waiting ever so patiently for me with open forgiving arms......but wouldn't this all have been so much easier and probably avoidable had I kept Him close all along.

I think the enemy waits for us to get into that comfort zone so that he can pounce on us unexpectedly. Getting too comfortable can cause us to be complacent and too confident. Perfect scenario for him to knock us down. Here's a visual.....It's like that "sitting duck" term, referring to the ease with which the hunter can shoot it in contrast to one in flight. Perfect scenario for him to pick us off unless we are alert, protected and ready for any battle (spiritual, physical, financial, etc) with the armor of God.

So funny how we run to God in the times when we are "reaping" less, but we fail to realize it is only because we have been "sowing" less, isn't it? And this isn't only in a financial sense.....sometimes I crave to have an even closer, more spiritual relationship with God. I want to hear Him speak to me.....I want a revelation. But then I don't pick up my Bible in a week or devote even 15 extra "still" minutes to just be with Him for days on end.

So today.....I pray that I don't get too comfortable in my walk with you God. I know that life is only comfortable because of YOU, so I want to continue to give You all the glory and exercise my faith by putting more effort into our relationship. I don't want to put myself in a vulnerable place getting too comfortable with the blessings you have given me. I know You want me to be happy and want only good in my family's lives, but this doesn't mean I shouldn't make greater effort to do better every day because You deserve that effort. I don't want to take You for granted and keep You only at arm's reach. I also want to come to You more often with THANK YOU rather than PLEASE.

I hope this finds you on fire for God.....and if not, I hope it lit one under you today! I know I needed it ;)


More Butterfly Love

So if you've been hanging around my world for a while, you know that I am just fascinated with butterflies. In fact, it was one of my first posts that I wrote. I relate personally to them and they symbolize so much to me as a Christian.

As part of our homeschooling......and just my own obsession with them.......we were blessed to experience the entire life cycle of Monarch Butterflies. It was truly one of the most amazing things to be part of.

We took pictures so N could make her Monarch's Miraculous Journey book with each stage captured. I would like to add my own spiritual analogies as well.

OK, we start with a teeny tiny egg.....about the size of a poppy seed. We (humans) start out as a teeny tiny fertilized egg.

After a few days.....the teeny caterpillar emerges, just as we are born/emerge from the womb. Obviously for us, it takes alot longer than a few days......the first three months of dry heaving and the lovely spider veins on my ankles that exploded the last few months of my pregnancies will confirm that.

This little caterpillar ate and ate and ate. I mean, this little bugger wiped out a leaf 20 times it's size in one day. It was amazing to wake up the next morning and see it double in size! It was completely preoccupied with it's own needs.

Consuming, consuming, consuming. Reminds me of when all I did was consume (physically/materialistically) for my own pleasure.

Then when it was full size.....it found it's way to that popsicle stick and hung in a J motionless for a full day(I think it's kinda "God-ronic" isn't it......a "J" for Jesus....ok, ok.....I know I can get corny....but I find that following these caterpillars' lives brings me even further in awe for the Creator and His attention to every detail. Think about it, He could have just created butterflies that laid eggs with tiny butterflies in them, right?)

We went to bed that night and woke up to this amazing sight. How cool is that? This chrysalis even had beautiful gold beads that appeared to be the sealing point. Another "leave-it-to-out-awesome-God" to add His majestic and artistic touch.

I imagine the transformation that this caterpillar was going through was dark and very uncomfortable. But throughout all this uncertainly, miraculous change is taking place. Just like when we are leaving our old dark ways of the world and entering into our new spiritual faith filled life with Christ. Before and even during our transformation or metamorphosis......we are usually lost and in the dark. I know that I was in a painful place physically and emotionally. I was in a confused, uncomfortable place where I almost felt paralyzed like that motionless caterpillar.

I also like to imagine that this caterpillar embraced these changes without question. She trusted that these changes, no matter how painful....would be transforming her to a new and better creation. I remember when I really really really got to the point where I gave my life completely over to God....I just trusted and said "OK God, I have no idea on what You are going to do with me and I am pretty sure it is not going to be easy for me.... (and pretty sure I was a handful for Him to work with as well)....but I am ready for change."

And this was no different....change it was.

Meet SONshine. Her (yes, we learned how to tell if they are male or female) "birth"/emerging was one of the most incredible things we were blessed to be part of. It really was a blessing. I mean, in a little over two weeks.....we got a glimpse of one of God's masterpieces in the making.

She was more beautiful than these pictures can capture....her grace and beauty was breath-taking. She was delicate but had this amazing sense of strength as she pumped her wings, getting ready to take her first flight around our home.

On Friday, Star was "born"....we like to refer to him as SONshine's brother.

It had been raining for the past few days, so we kept them together in a home filled with beautiful flowers until we were able to release them. I was so thankful to have a few extra days with them. They were on my kitchen table so I got to sit with my morning cup of coffee and just take it all in. I mean, how blessed was I to wake up to butterflies in my kitchen?

And although I would have loved to keep them with us forever.....we loved them enough to know that they needed to start on their journey to Mexico soon enough. We thanked them, we said a prayer and released them this morning.

It is all part of the Big Cycle of Life. ;)

"So whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come."
2 Corinthians 5:17

I hope you enjoyed our little recap of the miraculous journey we followed :)

Peace and love~

An Old Farmer's Advice

I received this in an email this week, and couldn't resist passing it along.....many Bible truths hidden within these simple words of wisdom. Hope it brings a smile to your face and maybe even makes you think a little bit. Enjoy and have a beautiful weekend! :)

An Old Farmer's Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.*

* Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.*

* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.*

* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.*

* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.*

* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.*

* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.*

* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.*

* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.*

* You cannot unsay a cruel word.*

* Every path has a few puddles.*

* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.*

* The best sermons are lived, not preached..

* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.*

* Don't judge folks by their relatives.*

* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.*

* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.*

* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.*

* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.*

* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.*

* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.*

* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.*

* Always drink upstream from the herd.*

* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.*

* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.*

* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.*

* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.*

*Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.*

* Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.*

peace, love and stay barefoot~

We Will Never Forget

May God continue to bless and comfort the families and friends of those we lost on that tragic day......

(*please pause my music and take 5 minutes to watch this amazing video)

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
~Isaiah 43:2


Philippians X 2

I am not huge on talking about money.....mainly, because I don't ever have any to speak about. HA! But it wasn't always that way and I wanted to share.......and two verses from Philippians help:

Philippians 4:11-12
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

We lived on almost double our present income about 12-15 years ago. But it came with a price....the price of "selling out" my time and short changing my physical and spiritual self. Now this is not anything to do with working vs. stay at home mom, so please don't read into that way.....this is about me working nights in a nightclub/bar atmosphere, dragging myself home at 2-3 AM and then being hagged out the next day. This stole time from me, time that I can never get back. And keeping it real and honest, due to lack of sleep, there were times where I am sure I was snappy/short with my children and not the mom God called me to be.

The "bar" atmosphere was not a healthy positive place to be, but I justified working there with the money I brought home. It "allowed" us to go on vacations when we wanted. We could shop for whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted......we satisfied pretty much all of our wants as well as ALL of our needs were met....and then some.

Now, this was in my infant stages of meeting Jesus....and it was then that things just started to not feel so "right" with me working in this industry. I was mocked when I spoke of my new relationship with Christ my many of my co-workers, but it didn't matter to me. I often found myself talking about God to people sitting at my bar. Some would listen, some would even venture to share their experiences/relationship with God.......but most would down that drink and run walk away (with no tip!)

On one hand, I felt that towards the end, I was a teeny light in a dark place. I stayed for a couple more years, but the conviction grew heavier in my heart. At first, I started cutting down my hours to help me with this conviction. But when I got pregnant with my daughter, which is a miracle story I will soon share.........Josh and I prayed about it and we made the decision for me to leave and stay home with the children for good. Now at first this just seems like, OK.....big deal. You quit your part time job. Yeah, well this was close to cutting our income about 40%. So think about taking your weekly income and slicing 40% off of it to now live off of, you can see what I am talking about.

Of course during this whole time.......the Enemy was trying to discourage us. Thoughts of losing our home, not having "enough" to live the way we were used to......he kept trying to drive thoughts of failure, despair and fear into our minds. Of course he was doing that so that it would take our focus off of God. The enemy's ultimate job is to bring doubt of God's promises.

So we did it. And yes, it took a lot of adjusting.....it took a lot of discipline......it took A LOT of coupons, bargain shopping and a lot of creativity....but we are still here. We didn't face doom and gloom, we didn't lose our home.......we still have food in our bellies, a roof over our head, and my children still get to buy new clothes and sneakers every year (which seems comparable to a car payment......have you priced basketball sneakers these days? YIKES!)

Do we live week to week most of the time? Yup.
Do we have to make payment arrangements sometime? Yes sirree
Do I sometimes wish this yoke would be broken off so that we could relax once in a while in the financial dept? Absolutely.
Do I regret for one minute the choice(s) we made? Nope.

The Bible tells of so many stories where God uses periods of great stress, financial strain and troubles to perfect His will and refine His people. God ways are not our ways, so we have to grasp and trust that God often uses these trials/setbacks to deepen our faith and redirect us to focus our energies on living our lives completely for Him.

I know that the conviction to leave that job was His "refining" moment (as opposed to *my* defining moment). God needed to burn off what I (we) needed. This refining was needed to bring me to a new level of character that was needed so that I could walk in the next movement of my life. It was preparing me and developing me to where He needs me to be.

My second Philippians reference is

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. ~Phil 4:19

I'll keep this short and to the point. I can tell you that before I had no worries about bills and finances because I relied/trusted in my job to provide.

Now, I have an even more worry-free state of mind....because I rely and trust in Jesus Christ. I know He is for me and not against me. I am following His Word.....and even in these tough economic times, in the world as well as in my own checking account.....and giving back a portion of what He brings to us in faith. Faith that He has never has and never will forsake us.

This was so like God.......we had N's party and dipped into our budget more than expected this weekend. We also had a few other expenses come up unexpectedly. I mentioned that we heard an amazing message about tithing/giving and we felt it placed on our heart to give even more at the service this weekend. I knew that we had bills to pay this week.....and this was dipping even deeper into our dwindling bank account. I will not sit here and say that I gave ever-so-cheerfully as God wants us to do....I think I actually had my offering white knuckled at one point. But we did it......and I knew it was the right thing to do. And after the blood flow went back to my fingertips, I did realize that it was a privilege to give, and ultimately.....it was His first! He is the one who keeps Josh employed and the blessings that come into our lives.

Long story short......we got an unexpected check in the mail yesterday.

You guessed it.


**if you are not familiar with my blessed $200 stories, you can check them out

I encourage you today.....to rest in the comfort of knowing that God will always supply your needs. Even when the world paints a picture of doom and darkness, look UP and see the SONshine.

He loves you so much!


Dream Jobs

So I wish I would be able to come back after almost a week with some profound words of wisdom or the story of an amazing breakthrough experience that happened to me. I guess I could share the amazing message we heard at church, but that would be just repeating what Pastor Felix taught about tithing/The Sacred Portion and like I mentioned in my last post, I am not a phony. But, if anyone is interested in hearing something powerful.....please let me know and I can grab a copy of the message on DVD for you. I think they are only $5 and I could ship it out, no problemo.

Anyway.....the truth is, I have just been busy with family, enjoying the gorgeous weather and preparing for the onset of schooling. We had a great cookout/pool party over the long weekend for N's birthday at Josh's parent house...it was so nice to just chillax with family and friends and just embrace the day.

So driving home from the party, I was listening to my favorite station K-LOVE and one of the hosts asked this question that I thought would be interesting to ask here and allow others to share how they would answer.

The question is this:

What would your top three dream jobs be?

Now let's just think about that.....and focus on the question and not thinking about how if you do that job than it makes what you do now less valuable. For example, I love the fact that I am blessed to be able to stay home and school my children, I wouldn't trade it for the world........


because this is my blog with my made up rules....... imagine that everything in your life that you want to stay the same, will stay.......AND......you could be doing the dream job, how's that?

OK, I'll go first.

1. Midwife- I love babies, I love being pregnant and pregnant mamas.....and I would love the amazing experience to be part of bringing new life into the world. Did I ever tell you of the time we helped deliver kittens? One baby was stuck in the mama, and I felt all Grey's Anatomy as I shouted "push mama"....and when I finally got the kitten out still in the sack.....I broke it open, started rubbing it with a towel and was prepared to give kitty CPR. Thankfully, the little fella gave one good meow and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

2. Christian singer- I cannot hold a tune to save my life.....but man, do I wish I could belt out some praise and worship like Barlow Girl or Superchic[k]. How awesome would that be to be leading a crowd in pure worship for Jesus?! I think sometimes during church I get a little out of hand.....people moving over a few seats tip me off. But that's OK.....God knows my heart and He can adjust the volume accordingly. :)

3. Missionary- With the tons of exposure of the injustice and poverty, I cannot even imagine the joy it would be to be able to bring hope to some of these villages in less fortunate places. I've seen on many blogs the beautiful journey and some day I really want to have that first hand experience myself. I would love to be the bearer of food, clothing and most importantly the Good News for these people.

OK, so sitting back and looking at my list......two out of three could be possible. I mean, Josh and I have said that when the kids get older, we wanted to do one trip to Africa together.....and in all reality, I could go back to school to be a midwife. I would be about 60 by the time I finished school with part time classes, but hey.....I am gonna be 60 anyway, why not be 60 fulfilling a dream?

Not so sure about the singing gig.....somethings are better left in a "dream".

So how about you? What would your dream job be? If you have the time.....share your top three!

Have a beautiful week....

Phony Bologna

Be who you are and say what you feel,
because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss

I love that.....

Oh, before I dive into these thoughts about being phony.....I really would like to know who the heck came up with the spelling for bologna? Do you know how many times I tried to spell it until it looked "right" only to still find out it was incorrect? It still doesn't look right to me, but dictionary.com tells me it is, so be it.

OK....on to the phony.

So I am many things.....

completely unorganized
a little loud/out spoken at times
competitive (in a healthy board game way)
sometimes lazy
sometimes selfish
sometimes judgmental
(.......I am sure there is more.....just don't want to scare you all away)

but one thing I am not......is phony.

Sometimes, being 99.99999999% real is not always a good thing, but I do not know any other way to be. I just have to say it as it is or say nothing at all (which is very hard for me). People know they can ask me my honest opinion and I will tell them the truth. I will also tell a friend if they have a boogie hanging or something in their teeth. I am good like that.

Of course I try to be polite/kind and use my judgment. I would probably refrain from asking/commenting about a big pimple on a friend's nose that has an inch of make-up on it...... or the recent setback in their life that might have caused it. I am learning that some things are better when left unsaid.

I grew up in a home with the "If you don't talk about it, it doesn't exist" mindset. It was learned at a young age that you do not tell anyone of the alcoholism or financial disasters. You were also taught to just say what people wanted to hear as to not cause any waves. We had the picture perfect appearance of the All-American family with two children, a family dog, a nice home with two cars in the driveway. Our house was always immaculate because if everything looked perfect and organized, this would reflect how our family/life really was. My mom would dust/vacuum before the cleaning lady would come on Saturdays. God forbid they came to a dusty home when we were paying them to clean it? Point is.....we painted a nice facade. It was phony and I hated it.

I could go on about how the reality of our home/my childhood was nothing like it appeared, but I'll save that for another therapy session post.

So, I think that is why I embrace the freedom of being who I am. I had to stifle it for the most part for the first half of my life. Now, I know I am not perfect......far from it. But you know what? I like me. I may babble and yap away with TMI (too much information) with random people or be in a constant state of chaos, always searching for something I misplaced. I can get a little overboard with my strong opinions on certain hot topics. I may screw up some Bible references when trying to support my beliefs and sound like an idiot sometime.

But I am who I am and I know where my heart is.

And the reason I like me, is because I discovered and learned that God loves me for who I am. After all, He created me. And our God appreciates honesty and keeping it real. He is going to meet us right where we are, He does not wait until we act a certain way or say a certain thing to convince Him otherwise.

I also want to teach my children to be who they are. To accept and love themselves the way God created them. To believe in themselves and to always stand up to what they believe in.....no matter what others think. Be true to themselves so they never have an issue with forgetting who they pretend to be. Judy Garland once said "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else"

So I will continue to keep it as real as I can......and hope that my honesty does not offend anyone. I want to do my best to demonstrate my character and behavior as a follower of Christ. I want my actions and words to reflect Him as best as I can. I know there are people who don't like the fact that I talk about God and my faith alot.

And that is OK......I'd rather be disliked for who I am, then liked for someone I am not. (didn't someone say that quote somewhere? Sounds familiar as I type it.....I just like to give credit, yk?)

You might have seen this video (or a version of it) I saw this posted on Facebook yesterday, some say it isn't a true story, some say it's cheesy......I really could care less.....

even if it is "fake"......the message is real.

Be well......and keep it real today! :)

Peace and love~

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