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.

"All things work together for GOOD"

Wow, it's been a few days since I've been able to sit and jot down more random thoughts. We've been pretty busy these past few days. I've got some good news to share and then top it off with an AMEN.

So as you know.....we are into the whole country fair thing. This weekend there was a nice local one, that actually is the oldest in the US (or so says the signs). Anyway, the kids entered their chickens and some arts and crafts. They also had an educational poster exhibit contest where the kids could enter an educational display that would be shown in the designated livestock barn(s).

I thought this would be a great thing to do because I really felt like we slacked in any type of homeschooling this summer. I know summer is summer.....but I thought I might try to do a couple days of schooling a week just to keep up a little learning pace, rather than needing a jumpstart this fall. Even with great intentions....we never opened a textbook. So I was excited that this would ease us back into it all.

At first, this idea was met with great resistance with Little Miss N.....hence why I wanted to keep the wheels somewhat spinning on the homeschooling. I explained how she might win a ribbon and show all the other 6 year olds how smart she was with her vast knowledge of chickens.....being competitive like her mama (ahem, in a healthy way for the most part).....N anxiously agreed.

She decided to do her poster on Frizzle chickens. I thought it came out pretty cute.....
we did a few lift-the-flap question/answers and printed out photos of Frizzles that she placed randomly on the board. I wasn't sure if she went overboard with the craft feathers, but apparently not as we found out she won FIRST place! The prize was $100!!!! She was most excited about the blue ribbon status....until her brother told her about the prize amount (which I wanted to stuff a sock in his mouth when he blurted *that* out). Having no conception on how much $100 actually is, her eyes grew as big as saucers and she shrieked about how she could by the Lil Webkinz stuffed animal that she has been wanting "all her entire life". *sigh*

And although inside I was giggling with excitement myself about her winning and doing the MC Hammer "Can't touch this" dance (am I showing my age???).....I composed myself and explained to her that A: entering that contest wasn't supposed to be about winning and the money, it was supposed to be a nice learning experience.....and B: it was a lesson about how hard work pays off. Then I reminded her that she has been wanting to add to our herd of dairy goats, and now she might be able to buy a new baby goat with her winnings if she wanted to.

She thought about it and then calculated that she might be able to get both the new baby goat and that toy. Gotta give her credit....she was looking on how to capitalize and get the best return her winnings.

So even before her winning check cleared, we decided to look around and see who had what in the goat biz. We have always been looking around, but we have been super cautious about what we bring home. If you haven't read our Job story here (Job 1:21) and then here (Job 42:10) .....please do. It will make the following information make alot more sense. OK......I'll wait.

All set? Great! So.....we found an ad on Craigslist and decided to call on it. We spoke to a very nice woman and decided that we'd like to take a peek at what she had. Josh jotted down her address and get this....plugged it into the GPS that I bought him for his birthday. Knowing we weren't going to end up in East JaPeePee traveling through the boonies because Heaven forbid he'd ever stop for directions was a blessing in itself. It already felt like it was going to be a great day!

So When we pulled in their yard, I will be honest and thought that this might not have been a good idea as the place was a little run down. And by run down, I mean multiple cars on blocks, a barn with half the roof missing and piles of debris scattered randomly on the property.

And I hope I am not sounding like a total snot.....I just have my reservations about getting any animal from any farm especially if there is a risk of disease from neglected conditions. We've just had our share of "the goat version of chicken pox" and other contagious diseases that require us to visit the vet costing us more than the goat itself. So I am trying not to judge based on first impressions. Believe me, we have a pile of fencing, tires, dirtbike frames and a broken canopy tent in the corner of our yard that screams hillbilly hick. :)

So the woman came out and was very nice. You know when you get a good vibe from someone? She just had a honest and humble look in her eye. She explained that they were just looking to get out of the responsibility of the goats, she was overwhelmed with life.
She was a single mom, raising her children on her own for the past 28 years. One of her daughters lived with her with her own children. Their home appeared to need some serious repair itself. It was obvious that the sale of the goats would relieve them of taking care of one less thing.....as well as help with their finances.

When she went in to get her daughter.....I felt a little convicted and the need to ask God for forgiveness for my first impression opinion. Lord knows *I* was run down in dire need of repair at many times in my life and I thank God that He didn't go by first impressions and run the other way!

At that time, it became apparent to me that God has this orchestrated and I was to follow His lead.

They took us around back of the barn and saw this small herd of adorable little goats. They were very sweet, friendly and appeared to be healthy. The daughter came around to join us and had all the health records/vaccinations up to date and very organized in a folder.....which was reassuring.

Josh and I decided to go off and discuss what we thought about it all, we talked it over....said a little prayer and went back to talk to the woman. We told her that we were interested in two of the doelings and one mama.....and asked what she would like for them.

Guess what she came up with........


Yup, $200!

Now normally we are not in the position to be spending $200 on farm animals. But we are looking at this as an investment for the future (as they are all females...breeding).....

Now here is another wild thing to add to this:

Yesterday morning......and actually the reason we first were on Craigslist, we listed E's IKEA loft bed and wardrobe on Craigslist because he is outgrowing it. So I took a few photos and whipped up an ad. Not even ten minutes after I posted it, I received an email from someone who has been searching for this particular set since it has been discontinued last year. We sold it last night for.................$200.

Praise God and this blessed $200 that seems to be present in our lives lately......
I believe it really helped out that woman and her family and we have new additions to our home.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,
who have been called according to His purpose. " ~Romans 8:28

Just wanted to share with you.......how great is our God!?!?!? And also one last shout out to how proud we are of our little girl....hard work does pay off!!!

OK, I hope you are having a great start to your week......I am off to check on our little ones. :)

Peace and love~


I am pro-life.

I am a human being and I believe that other human beings,
no matter what age,
deserve the right to live,
to love,
to be happy,
to be safe,
to be loved,
to experience every aspect of life
that God intended for them.

Both before and after birth, I am pro life.

I will continue to pray for unborn life
and the women who are haunted by their past.
I am not here to judge them for what they have done.
Although I don't approve, I am here to accept all and love them like Jesus.
I pray that they meet Jesus
and will be free when they know The Truth.

(N at The Soulfest)


.......that's all. It is something that has been on my heart more than normal lately......needed to get that out. Back to your normally scheduled life.......


Not me Monday!

Had a crazy weekend.....trying to get a grip on my organizational skills and wrapping up my mini pity party for one.

I thought I'd add some laughter to the whirlwind of emotions and jump into the Not Me Monday Fun with everyone from MckMama's world. It's a great way to admit some of your imperfections and reveal a few moments that you might rather forget. Whatever it is.....it is great therapy and a great way to start the week and just laugh at yourself.

OK, so here it goes......I did not forget to put gel in my hair the other morning when I dashed out to beat the heat and run errands. No, I was not horrified to see my reflection on my car window and see that my hair frizzed out to a one foot radius resembling Rosanna Rosannadanna.

I did not walk around scolding the kids for bringing chicken poop on my newly washed floors only to look down and find a blob of chicken crap stuck to one of my Crocs. Nope, not me.

N did not tell me that I had many purple splatter spots on my face from tie dyeing an order......only after I went to door twice and had conversations with two people, the UPS guy and someone who wanted to buy eggs. Man, I need to look in the mirror more often. I think I had an air boogie dangling from my nose too. neat.

I did not each a platter of nachos the other morning at my pity party for one. I did not justify that it was a healthy representation of the food pyramid: grains (chips), vegetables (salsa), dairy (sour cream and cheese). Then I did not whip up another more loaded version for dinner and justified it yet again with same "healthy" ingredients and added in my protein (ground turkey cooked with taco seasoning).

I did not imagine I was a stealth ninja when I snuck on my neighbor's farm to grab some milkweed for our monarch caterpillars. The Mission Impossible theme song was not playing in my head as I dashed under the electric fencing. And I did not feel the urge to do a cool tuck and roll under that fence upon exiting just for the full effect for N who was watching from the van.
**Edited to Add: I feel the need to explain that my neighbor has told me I was welcome to any of his milkweed.....the "sneaking" on was more for avoiding the angry cows and the cow pies and giving a more dramatic adventure tone to the story.

And today......I will not shamefully brag on my husband. Of course he is my bestest friend in the whole wide world and is handsome, brave, loving and smart.....that's a gimme. But I wanted to mention that you might want to pop over to his blog, The Book of Joshua, that he started pouring into recently. Tell him I sent you and you get a cool prize......well, you do not really......I don't even know why I thought to dangle that carrot say that. Of course I am bias because he is my hubby......but he writes from his heart and I encourage you to check it out. He doesn't get to post often as he works.....oh 50+ hours a week, and that is just at his paying job.....but when he does....he's got some good stuff to say.

OK, I gotta jet.......Mount Rushmore of laundry needs to be conquered and I haven't even had my second cup of coffee.

Happy Monday!

Peace and love~


Delay is not Denial

"Delay is Not Denial"

About a year ago, a preacher said those four words during his sermon and they have stuck with me ever since. I went home and wrote it on my message board on the 'fridge and used a permanent marker instead of dry erase marker, so that might be part of the reason that is has stuck with me all this time. I also frequent the 'fridge many times during the day......maybe too many, but that is a whole 'nother post.

Anyway, I felt the need to write it down because I have a tendency to get pissy, bratty, ungrateful discouraged at times when things don't pan out the way I want them to or at the time I want them to.

So I need that reassurance that God's timing is the best timing. His ways/plans are the best ways/plans. That just because things are not happening the way *I* want them to, does not mean that He is not listening or does not care......quite the opposite. He cares so much about me and all the details, that He makes sure that everything plays out in my life for the highest good.

It's like when your child wants to have that bag of cotton candy and you know it will not only rot in their stomach, but it will clearly be costing you money...and them pain....in the future at the dentist. So you tell them no. You know that you are doing it for their best interest, but all they can think about is how good it looks and how they really want/need it. When it is denied or withheld, it appears that you are just being a mean mom and sucking all the fun out of life. Yes, one of my children told me that......so I just smiled and handed him a baggie of homemade granola. Then I agreed that I was the Queen of Fun Sucking and he and his gut and teeth would thank me later.

OK, so maybe comparing me being a Fun Sucker isn't a great comparison to God and how He does or does not answer prayers......but let's just agree that our Father knows what is best for us, even when we think we do. That's the thing.......sometimes, we base our needs on "the here and now" and what our flesh desires. God goes way beyond this earthy way of thinking/reasoning. He sees beyond "the here and now" and already knows what He has planned for us in the future. And based on my track record with making decisions and choices in my past.......I think it's best to trust and wait on Him.

Or maybe I need to learn a lesson and that is the reason there is a delay on answering some of my prayers/desires. Maybe God is waiting for the circumstances in my life to be lined up perfectly for Him to bring these desires to pass. God has a purpose for everything, so during these trials of "waiting", God must be molding me and shaping me. He is stretching me in directions that maybe I would not willingly go, but He knows I need to for what is ultimately best for me.

Perhaps.......He is preparing me for what He has prepared for me.

Delay also teaches us to walk by faith. And in exercising this faith, I must trust that the time will come when I will realize why God delayed answering my prayer request(s). And what if God doesn't ever answer a specific prayer? Hmmmmmm, I guess I will have to accept that God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to withhold this from me.

This is REALLY going to be a test of my faith.....and trying to keep this as real as I can......I am not sure on how I am going to handle it. I guess I can pray that God will forgive my kickin', screamin' and cryin' for awhile. Then I know and trust that He'll be there to wipe the tears and boogers. And for the grand finale, He will then open my eyes to show me that He had something better prepared for me all along.

So, I share with you...... ~Psalm 62:1 MEV aka Michelle's edited version

I wait quietly as quiet as I possibly can.......(with a few excused frustrated meltdowns that I hope He can forgive me for)....... before God, for my victory comes from Him.

Today I need to remind myself that I do not want to run ahead of God. I trust and believe that He is the Author and Finisher of my life. He has my life written and knows what should happen and when it should. Maybe what I desire does not fit into His master plan for me. I will *try* to be as patient as possible while I wait for the visions/hopes....... that I believe He placed in my heart and spirit.......to come to pass. I will also try to stop praying selfishly and start asking God what He wants from me.

Here is a poem I found that I really liked and thought I would share, maybe one of my friends (you know I consider you all my friends, right?) is also waiting on some unanswered prayers like me. I hope it brings a little extra peace and comfort to you today!

God's delays are not denials;

He has heard your prayers;

He knows all about your trials,

Knows your every care.

God's delays are not denials,

Help is on the way;

He is watching over life's deals,

Bringing forth the day.

God's delays are not denials,

You will find Him true;

Working through life's darkest trials,

What is best for you.

~Author Unknown

I hope you have a beautiful weekend......

Peace, love and stay barefoot~

Talk me off this Cliff!

OK.....so maybe I am being a little dramatic......but do you ever get overwhelmed with your list of things to do that you feel like that sometime?

It's not like I have a major assignment with that multi-million dollar account due for the corporate office. Or that I am responsible for the state's budget and hold thousands of people's jobs in my hands.

It's just a bunch of things/responsibilities that seem to have crept up on me and WHAM.....they are on my back, in my face and poking at my ribs.

Some of these things could have been handled over the course of the summer.....and I take full responsibility for letting them slide. In my defense.....I feel that the few weeks we actually get of summer are better spent enjoying them as much as possible rather than keeping up with a "to-do" list.

Some of these things are time sensitive, others are not. Some come up sporadically, others I have had enough time to prepare.....but dropped the ball, admittedly so.

Another "in my defense" thing is that not only do I have all my kids' different schedules and running around.....there are very few nights where we don't have 2-3 or more extra kids here. I often wake up to this scene.....finding bodies where ever they decide to crash.Most of the time it is my older boys' friends so that presents the issue of needing to grocery shop twice as much. Try having to keep up with the appetites of four 6'2" and up giants. I swear they all have tape worms. One afternoon they ripped through 1.5 gallons of milk, two boxes of cereal, a loaf of bread, a pound of turkey, 1/2 pound of deli cheese, two bags of chips, 2 loaves of zucchini bread and a half case of spring water. I won't even tell you what we spent at the local pizza place for dinner. Let's just say that their jobs are secure for at least the rest of the month.

With that said.....I am completely blessed and wouldn't have it any other way. I love that our house is "the house" that kids love to be and feel at home to raid my cupboards.

I also am, as I have mentioned countless times, severely ADD impaired and sometimes find it hard to find my way out of a wet paper bag. My organization skills are pretty much non-existent and that is the main curse with this situation. So basically the visual is the little chores/task start collecting at my ankles, then more responsibilities start to pile on causing me to be a little bound at the knees. I try to start wiggling my way and tending to the knee high tasks.......get distracted and before I know it I am waist deep with random projects that need attention. Then that front end loader shows up with larger, more labor intensive projects and I find myself suffocating, frustrated and beaten down.

And I think that is my main concern......feeling beaten down. Kinda like a frustrated failure. I mean, I know I am not a failure.....but this feeling of being bound is so discouraging and I know part of it is the enemy speaking it into me and my spirit. He wants me to feel that way.

He tries to tell me that "See....you kept it "fun" all summer and now look at you. You are a mess. Who is the good mom now?!.....you can't even get your own act together, how are you going to lead and care for your children and family like this? You can't even take care of your own day to day agenda.....nevermind life!" Then he gives on last low blow.....he loves to remind us of all our shortcomings and ugly past......"You were a complete mess before and think you have it all together now in your life......but you don't. Once a mess, always a mess."

So yeah....that's not a fun place to be. The only good thing about having ADD is that something else will come soon enough to distract me......maybe a butterfly or a funny commercial.....and I move on. But it stays tucked away in my mind and it seems to be a place that is revisited more often lately.

Anyway........yesterday, I was dropping off one of the kids that took up residence at our place for the weekend.....and I got a phone call reminding me of yet another obligation. My brain started racing and I felt I was in that choke-hold position again. Fortunately I was driving so I couldn't run in my bedroom and hide under the covers and wish it away (not that I ever do that!). But right when I was getting to get prepared for a new and improved pity party (remember, I am the "hostest with the mostest" on those kind of parties) a certain song came on the radio.

Now I will say that I have heard this song before and being honest....I didn't really care for it. I mean, it was OK.....but I thought it was kinda too commercial for what I usually listen to. But I am guessing God wanted me to fine tune my "listening" ears and really hear these lyrics. The song is Free to be Me by Francesca Battistelli.

I found the video and posted the lyrics....at first I was thinking about singing it for you, but she does a much better job. (and I didn't want to break any of your best crystal, start the neighborhood dogs a-howling or your ears to possibly bleed)

I think the two lines that spoke to me the most (and brought me to tears with my hormonal self) are:

On my own I'm so clumsy but on Your shoulders I can see I'm free to be me


Sometimes I believe that I can do anything yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me that I've got all You seek

So here you go.....(don't forget to pause my player)....

At twenty years of age I'm still looking for a dream
A war's already waged for my destiny
But You've already won the battle
And You've got great plans for me
Though I can’t always see

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I'm so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I'm free to be me

When I was just a girl I thought I had it figured out
My life would turn out right, and I'd make it here somehow
But things don't always come that easy
And sometimes I would doubt


And you’re free to be you

Sometimes I believe that I can do anything
Yet other times I think I've got nothing good to bring
But You look at my heart and You tell me
That I've got all You seek
And it’s easy to believe...

So yeah.....it def. spoke to me and reminded me that God loves me exactly the way He made me.....even when I am dis-combobulated (not sure if that is a word) and all. He has great plans for me and as long as I am seeking Him.....I am a winner.

Now I am going to step back from this mountain of chaos and with the help of prayer, start tackling it piece by piece. I made a list last night and so far.....even at 8:30 this morning, have already cross off two items......only 47 more to go! WOOT!

Have a beautiful day!

Evolution of Beauty

This video has been out for a couple years....but it seems to be circulating around again. Please take a little over a minute and watch..........(you might have to pause my music player if it automatically plays)

OK........I'll wait.

So what did you think?

(I personally think she looks just as pretty, if not prettier before...but that's just me)

This especially hits home for me, having a little girl who is going to be growing up in a world where society, media and even our own mirrors can taint self image.

Even though I have no doubt that N will be very well prepared in life with three older brothers and an over-protective father, a constant reminder of her beauty.....inside and out....is so important. Now, I will tell you......she can hold her own on our little farm wrangling goats, lugging bales of hay and shoveling out stalls. She's getting to be a pretty good shot with her bow and arrow....as she is determined to be the "fisher cat slayer". She is a beautiful blend of compassion and sensitivity with I can and will kick-yer-butt if I have to.

So every night, Josh talks to her as she is falling asleep and tells her that she is beautiful......he also tells her that is smart, strong, funny, responsible, and loving. And yes.....he stresses over and over that she is beautiful.

Why? Well when the time comes that she is able to date......oh, let me back that up. When the time comes that a guy can make it up our driveway, pass the 120 pound Rottweiler.....then get to the door where he will be greeted by not one, but three older brothers who will have a field day with this poor guy for the first half hour. Then he will have to have a nice heart to heart talk with the gun cleaning crazy-eyed dad..... with his shaved head and goatee. Josh also has plans to have N's heartbeat pattern tattooed around his upper arm. We have it printed from when she got hooked up to one of those EKG machines in an ambulance on a field trip one time. Anyway, Josh thought it would make a cool tattoo......so I am sure that breaking her heart will get worked into the conversation.

So Josh's plan is that when she is finally allowed to date........I am guessing at about 25.......she will not fall head over heels for the first guy that sweet talks her and tells her she is beautiful. He hopes that when that time comes.....she will be completely un-phased by the compliment and say......"yeah, yeah...I know......that's all you've got?"

We also want her to know that the Bible also tells us about what kind of beauty is worth having.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" ~1 Peter 3:3-4

Real beauty is found in God. And God doesn't focus on our outward appearance. It is what's on the inside that matters most to Him. God's main focus is on working on our inner beauty. He wants this inner beauty to be reflected in everything we do and what we are.

So besides the whole beauty is skin deep deal....we hope that N...... and our boys as well....... love themselves just the way God made them. This world is scary.....it is full of lies and deceit with magazine covers, TV "role models".....even spending an afternoon at the mall. We can do our part as parents by setting limits/boundaries on the exposure of media.....stay involved with their circle of friends.....but we can only do so much as we live in a fallen world. We must trust and pray. Pray that we teach them what is the most important things to focus on.....and trust that God will always protect them (physically and emotionally).

I heard this quote before and I think that now that N is reading......I am going to tape it on her mirror in her room. In fact, I think I might make a few copies and put them on all the mirrors.

I believe in me, because God believes in me and God don’t make no junk!

I hope this finds you smiling....smiling because you, too...... were uniquely made for a purpose. And God has great plans for you.....just the way you are. :)


ps. thank you all so much for all your input/advice/wisdom with my recent situation. I cannot wait to dig deep with The Word and see what is revealed to me. You all ROCK!

Need Help/Advice

OK, so I am turning the tables and asking for you guys to jot down some of your thoughts and possible some good advice on how to address a certain situation I found myself in.

Now one thing I will tell you is that when I am writing, I take full advantage of back spacing, spell check and the luxury of editing.

As we know.....this isn't the case with conversations.

I sometimes have a hard time articulating what is going on in my head and getting it delivered out of my mouth without it sounding like that Charlie Brown teacher or worse.....coming out completely wrong and either dumbing myself down or sending the wrong message.

For example.......the theory that we all evolved randomly from the same amoeba is one of my "hot issues" that gets me riled up. I have this great DVD called From a Frog to a Prince where creation scientists explain so clearly how the evolution theory cannot simply hold true. They show how the air chamber of a bird could never have been "evolved" from a reptile's air chamber, even with the teeny changes over time as they propose, without the creature going extinct due to them having completely different air flow mechanisms/directions. Or something like that. You see.....I'm not too good at explaining it, but I know what I know and I believe what I believe.

So here is the situation.

I have a friend who is a wonderful person.....she believes in God, in the sense that He exists and acknowledges that Jesus also is real.......but she also believes that there are other ways for people to get to Heaven such as Buddhism, for example. We have a great relationship where we respect each other's beliefs......I don't go over to her house throwing my Bible down her throat and she doesn't wrestle me to the ground to a lotus position to meditate. We're cool like that.

anyway......I was at her house the other day with a group of people. I think we got on the subject of God as a spin off of camping as I was talking about our Soulfest experiences. So a bunch of us were kinda chit chatting and I was saying how awesome it is that we can spread the Good News in so many different ways with events, organizations, media, etc.

So this friend waited for a pause and then pitched this question to me......in a kind, but with a teeny bit of confrontation, sort of way:

"So I have to ask you this....If you believe that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ......what about all the people, say in Africa who do not even know about Him? Are they not worthy of being accepted into The Kingdom due to their ignorance? Or what about all the people who sacrifice everything and serve others all their life but are Buddhist, they won't be allowed?.....I can't fathom your God closing the doors on them. That is the problem I have with your Christian belief"

So at first I am a little taken back as it kinda came out of no-where. Thankfully this one guy, who is studying ministry stuff at his church, had all hard core answers that even referenced specific dates/events such as who was ruling the Mesopotamia region in 817 AD and how that affected Christianity as we "know" it today. But I had a feeling it was starting to sound like those famous Apologetics that came to my church that lost me in the first five minutes. I think what she was searching for was just an straight forward clear cut answer.

So she cut him off and turned to me....."Michelle, what do you think?"


I was trying to think of the lyrics to Third Day's Creed as an ice breaker opening statement, but all I heard was cricket sounds in my head.

So, taking all my theological background Children's Bible stories, this is all I could come up with.

"Well I believe what I believe, and I choose to live my life using the Bible as The Word, The Truth.....and I know what the Bible tells me. It tells me that the only way to the Kingdom is through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ only."

At this point I am wishing I had one of those fancy iPhones with Internet access so I could jump on BibleGateway and rattle off a few Scriptures.......but alas.....no such luck.

So I just blurted this out......

"I know there is Scripture to back this up, but the Bible speaks about how good works is not the way to Heaven...."

She cut me off.

"But what about those oppressed people in Africa then...what about them? What if no missionary reaches them and teaches them about Jesus? Then what? So they go to Hell?" Now, she was getting a little emotional (in a good way)

I didn't have an answer at the time......I just simply said...

"look, Cindy (not her real name)....all I can say is this. I care about you alot. I try to love everyone (for the most part....keepin' it real!). And I believe it is my job, as a Believer, to share what I believe and bring others to Christ. OK, think of it as an awesome piece of Death By Chocolate dessert. It is so delicious and because there is an endless supply you just want to share it with everyone you love.

(Hopefully God can forgive me for comparing Him to a dessert, nevermind with the word "death" in it)

So I just went on to say "I don't claim to know all the answers, I am just doing the best I can and trying to live the life that Jesus wants me to. I am sure God has a "back up plan" for those who do not know Hiim.....I would imagine that if they do not know Him, then how can they deny Him?"

I had no clue on what to say....so I decided to wrap it up and fake that I had a text message from Josh (even though I don't even use texting) and needed to blast outta there.

My closing statement was this:

"So, this is what I believe....and I have nothing to lose and all to gain by living my life for Jesus and these principles. If I am wrong,.....I lose nothing. I still am living a life full of blessings and filled with joy and love in my heart. But I just want to say.....what if you are wrong? What then?"

So it got me to thinking.......I would really like to have another one-on-one with her and have some more insight on what she wants to know. I would love to have just the right thing to share so that it might prompt her to consider searching more in the Bible for answers, rather than her spiritual self help books or inner preparation guides to peace.

So I'd love to ask a favor of my friends.....can you take a few minutes and share some of your input on this? And if you have Scripture that supports what is on your heart, please include that.

I'd love to show her in the Bible, in a loving, not thumping-her-on-the-head kinda way. ;)

Thanks in advance~

my comment section is now up top with this new layout, btw :)

Finders Keepers or (Good Morning...I am God)

(I couldn't decide on which title would work best, so I used both)

We have an enclosed deck that was supposed to be a nice three season room/entry way......but it really just ended up being a catch all for everyone's random belongings, dirty barn boots and shoes, and a place to put all the other stray items in my home as I am running out of corners to pile it in.

So do you ever get in one of those moods where you look around, get fed up and just need to just go on a wild cleaning spree? You know......you do a six hour marathon of sweeping, disinfecting and scrubbing. You start a huge purge of the crap you've been moving from place to place, get on your hands and knees and put some elbow grease and tackle walls and floors......maybe even really "do the windows"?

You have? Oh cool......let me know how that works for you. ;)

Kidding.....we'll kinda. I won't proclaim to ever have a spotless, well organized house. I keep our home clean.....but it's cluttered. And with six people living in a small ranch with less than 1800 sq. feet.....attempting to have and maintain a Martha Stewart house would be like shoveling during a snowstorm, in my opinion.

So yeah, I have a very lived-in home.....people tell me that it is nice and comfortable. Maybe it's because they can reach into one of our couch cushions and pull out an Oreo.....or think nothing about putting their feet up on our coffee trunk due to the fact that it is decorated with water ring marks, some permanent marker and the corners have been completely gnawed off by our dog.

So besides the relief of not needing coasters.......another perk of living in a somewhat unorganized home is that you never know what you might find when you finally get to that corner of the room and start sifting through that pile of clutter. Sometimes I find a random photo of one of the kids when they were babies and it brings me back to those zombie style sleepless nights where I begged God to take me Home, beautiful times when I would just stare in disbelief that this little package was our gift from God and gave Him thanks. Sometimes I even come across a $500 check that I never cashed......well, maybe not.....but I did once find $27 tucked neatly in an envelope, never did figure out who I owed that to. *scratching head*

Well this past week, I decided that the deck was going to be my next project. I had to walk as if I was on a land mine field so as to not roll my ankle or trip on a skateboard or hula hoop. And since I am always barefoot, you can appreciate how careful I have to be if you have ever stepped on a Lego with no shoes on. One of those suckers can bring a grown man to his knees.

So I was sitting in the middle of the floor and I had my three piles surrounding me. Because that is how the professionals on TLC and the Home and Garden channel tell you to do it. You have your "toss, keep and donate" piles. My toss pile wasn't too big as I am a self admitting pack rat.......but I did force myself to put that framed grocery store receipt...... where I saved the ridiculous amount of $76 in coupons, to rest in the toss pile. *sigh* good times. good times.

Now I was up to my ears sorting through various winter accessories (including this FABULOUS pair of snow boots for me that I scored at GoodWill for $2.99, ca-ching) and just getting to that point of "what the heck did I start this project for?"....when I noticed a small envelop sticking out from under the futon.

Of course I was hoping to open it up and find that $500 un-cashed check.....but what I found was worth so much more. It was just a small slip of paper with this typed on it.


I am God.

Today I will be handling
all of your problems.
Please remember that I
do not need your help.

If the devil happens to
deliver a situation that you
cannot handle, DO NOT
attempt to resolve it.
Kindly put it in the
SFJTD (something for Jesus to do)
box. It will be addressed in
MY time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed
into the box, DO NOT hold
on to it or attempt to remove it.
Holding on or removal will delay the
resolution of your problem.

If it is a situation that you
think you are capable of handling,
please consult ME in prayer to be sure
that this is the proper resolution.

Because I do not sleep
nor do I slumber, there is no
need for you to lose any sleep.
Rest, my child.
If you need to contact Me,
I am only a prayer away.

Isn't that so awesome? I have no idea on where this came from or who gave it to me. And considering I probably just moved piles of clutter from place to place over the years.....Lord knows how long this has been here.

(Hey, how funny is that "Lord knows"......yeah, pretty sure He was behind this)

You see, I still struggle with a few things that I have been having a hard time giving up total control on.....and this was such a blessing to read. I wonder if God had to coax one of His angels to strategically place this for me. I can see it now.....God giving the orders and the angel kicking his feet on the cloud....."Aw come-on God, I have to bring this to HER house?? Last time you sent me to that place, I stepped in dog poop on her lawn and almost broke my neck on that skateboard ramp. And now she has those smelly guinea hens on that deck and only YOU know what else I am gonna have to do to get this done! Can't you send Frank this time? He's had all the easy tasks this week"

OK, well maybe I just have a wild imagination and it didn't really go down that way.....but I do believe that God made sure that I found this mysterious message at just the right time.

And even though this was something that I know it was most definitely for my eyes to find.....I surely cannot keep this to myself. It is something that I want to share and hope this can bless someone. If this speaks and comforts at least one person who decided to come by and visit today....then I know I am putting this in my "keep" pile.

Peace and love~


Slowing it Down

So I wanted to share a few happy thoughts from our Soulfest trip.....and also how God has His own way of blessing me even when I wasn't looking for it. He's good like that.

So as you know, it rained pretty much the whole time. We ventured out a few times when it was merely sprinkling or showering (as opposed to downpouring) to catch a certain event or speaker. Thankfully it was warm enough that we were only getting wet and knew we would eventually dry so it really wasn't that big of a deal....I guess we were getting used to being soggy. Not to mention, kids love getting wet. Isn't it true that they always find that one puddle and have to jump in it?

It was about a 1/3 mile from the festival grounds to our site...... uphill..... both ways. Not really, but I feel like being dramatic this morning. I will say that it really was uphill one way and I calculated that I probably walked it 114 times over the course of our stay, so I didn't feel guilty of the six pounds of nachos I inhaled all week.

So N was walking at a much slower pace and stopping every few feet to pick a flower or a strange looking bug. Normally I don't mind too much, as I am one to stop and smell the roses.......but the rain was starting to pick up and I
reached the limit on the sogginess factor. I really wanted to get back to our camper and peel off my wetsuit. Damp jammies and a clammy blanket sounded heavenly at this point.

People started to whiz by covering themselves with their sweatshirts.....even those "smarty pants" folks who were sooo prepared *scoff* with their fancy umbrellas and rain ponchos picked up their pace.

I turned around and N was now crouched down. I feel my patience wearing thin and was just about to tell her to stop the lally gagging (is that a term?) and move it.... when she said to me, "ya know Mama....I am so sad those people are running....they are missing out on all this beautiful stuff I am seeing.....look, I bet God made this rock to tell us that He loves us."

I stopped and just looked at my beautiful little girl who had this in her hand.

It occurred to me that she is so right......most of the time, we are so busy in life to ever see and experience what God creates for us. More importantly, to appreciate it all. I think that sometimes we get caught up in the "rat race" of life, scrambling to get what our eyes are fixed on and are missing valuable lessons or even the blessings that God has for us. We are just going too fast when God wants us to just slow down and enjoy life at His pace. We've learned this urgency of rush, rather than learning how to wait.

When we find ourselves rushing, filled with stress and anxiousness......maybe we should stop and ask "why?" I just might enlighten us to what really is truly important.

The enemy does a great job at keeping us rushing and busy. He hopes that this will take our focus off of our family and more importantly, God. He brings a little "rain" in hopes that it will discourage us.

Sometimes we just need to slow down and see God in even the simplest things. He is everywhere and in everything. He is the sunshine and in the storm clouds. He is in that random smile from a stranger and in the sullen eyes of that homeless man. He even is in that heart shaped rock that most of us step over without a clue. We just need to slow down and take the time to seek Him.

This moment reminded me of a few posts of a great blogging friend that I admire.......Billy Coffey. I pop over his place, What I Have Learned Today, often and just when I think he cannot out-do himself......he rocks my socks off with another entry that just blesses me beyond words.

So when we got home and settled, I wanted to share with him how he came to mind with this lesson I learned from a child. I shot him a quick email on how I had a "Billy Coffey moment". Not that I was surprised, but he replied with this profound statement that I just had to share:

"There are times when I think God blesses people with children just so they can have tiny souls who will help the grown ups unlearn everything they've learned."

good stuff, huh? I encourage you to pop on over in his world.....often. Tell him I sent ya! ;)

OK, more Soulfest stuff.......One thing that we did slow down to do (and I am talking an hour of slow time in the rain) was wait to meet Casting Crowns. N is a huge "Mark" fan (she calls him by his first name, apparently because she is his number 1 fan) and was determined to get a picture she drew for him in his hands. So we waited in this meet-and-greet line for over an hour with her picture tucked safely in a plastic bag. When we finally got to him, she decides that she is too shy to even talk to him, never mind give him this picture. So I had to pry it from her white knuckles and peel her off the back of my thigh to at least allow him to say hello to her. He told her he loved her drawing and tried to shake her hand. By this time, she was practically under my skirt, so that didn't happen. So, after we went through the line and met the rest of the band, she did not want to leave. She just waited at the corner of the tent and didn't take her eyes off of Mark. He must have sense the child version of stalking and when the last person went through......he called her over again. I told her this was her last chance to talk to him and pretty much dragged her over. I stood in the pouring rain all that time and got sucked into buying the $5 promo band photo for them to sign for her.......she was going to cooperate and have fun meeting him, darn it!

So here you go.....me and N.......soggy and shy, respectively.......with Mark from Casting Crowns

So I'll leave you with a few other photos of our trip.....much better than a couple of drowned rats near a cool singer who was probably regretting his offer for the snapshot as it appears he is trying to keep his distance from these two moldy damp fans.

Here is The Cross. At the base of this cross is a bucket of nails and a hammer. The nails can represent whatever you want to leave at Jesus's feet and walk away knowing He is taking over the burden. It can be past hurts, struggles/addictions or anything that is holding you in bondage such as sickness or financial distress. Banging in a nail is symbolic of rededicating your life to Jesus and acknowledging that Christ has already paid the price of sin and you are now free.

At the end of each day.....each nail is covered with a white carnation. The white flower represents God's love and how His love can cover any and all sin. His love can protect us through our trials as long as we turn them over to Him.

And here is one of the many prayer walls found throughout the Soulfest grounds. Everyone was given a paper with a red heart on it and encouraged to jot a specific prayer request on it. Then pin it to these partitions where many warriors would come by and pray over them. Yet another way of being able to dig deep and share what might be on your heart where you might not have been comfortable sharing at any other time or place. It also was an opportunity to pray for others. There were prayer requests for family members needing salvation, cries for miraculous healings for children afflicted with cancer.....jobs for dads who have been looking for work for months. This again was another example of the True Love theme.....causing you to take the focus off of your own needs/wants and place it on other's much more unfortunate circumstances.

So that's that......a little smorgishborg of our trip that I thought I'd share. There definitely was so many other awesome things like amazing testimonies, inspirational speakers and even some of my personal time with Jesus on that mountain, but I'll wrap it up.

So much to do, so little time......I got some roses to stop and smell.

peace, love and stay barefoot~


True Love

TRUE LOVE: That sums up what SoulFest is all about.

"It's the revolution that Jesus started!"

True love is when we take the attention off of ourselves and our own needs and shift it to others. And when we now see the poverty, cruelty and horrific injustice that others are experience every day........true love demands our response and action.

True Love is about using our gifts and talents to serve others....from our closest neighbors to impoverished countries across the globe. It is about displaying acts of kindness to our family and loved ones. It is about accepting responsibility of being a steward to this beautiful earth that God created for us. It is about leaving the world a better place than when we arrived.

OK, so let me back this up a bit.....it was no secret that I was psyched beyond words to return to The Soulfest this year. Not only was I looking forward to seeing all the great bands/artists such as Casting Crowns, Third Day, Newsboys and Skillet.....but I knew it would be a great time for me to relax, unplug and refuel. I looked forward to the prayer tents, the inspirational speakers and great t-shirts with something powerful written on them (yeah, I'm one of those Christians *wink). I also was looking forward to late nights...... sitting by the campfire, eating junk food and babbling with Josh. Point is....my intentions were pretty much all about me and my needs.

Now, not that refueling and taking it all in is a bad thing, in fact.....I believe that they are very needed at times. But God had something different planned for me on this trip.

First, He decided that bringing downpours throughout the week would mix things up a bit. Thankfully, we were in a camper, because I think I would have asked God for a raincheck (no pun intended) if we were staying in a tent. These tent camping people are hard core and stuck it out. I can do the no-shower, stay in the same clothes for a few days.....but something about being soggy and moldy and sleeping in those conditions.....I just cannot hang. My idea of camping/roughing it is no cable, no Internet and re-using towels all week that lose their Tide fresh scent.

And when I am talking rain....we are talking Noah's ark flooding. And even when the rain ceased....there was a ton of mud. I have always said that SoulFest was the Woodstock for Jesus (minus the nakedness and acid trips)....and from the photos I have seen about the original Woodstock, this was exactly the same with the mud factor. At one point.....during Family Force Five, what started out as just sprinkling turned torrential in a matter of minutes. H and I just looked at each other and laughed. We figured we were already wet, we were sinking a few inches in the ground so moving was gonna be just as inconvenient. Not to mention, the band was awesome......so we stayed along with 3,000 other head-banging worshipers who went to this show. We couldn't get any wetter, right?
(I am talking even-my-underwear-was-soaking-wet" wet)

So yeah....the rain def. put a damper on things, literally.

Secondly, I didn't get to venture out as much as I wanted......but when I did get to.....I quickly found myself overwhelmed with the many organizations that were represented. Each tent opened your eyes to such injustice, it was hard to comprehend. I didn't know what made me more sick.....hearing about the thousands of children sold into slavery, the massacres of entire villages in Africa or the nations succumbing to lack of water and sickness. My thoughts were now consumed with what can I do for these people rather than what can be done for me.

I made it to one conference, Global Benefit's I Will Scream for You campaign where they talked about what you can do when you know that something is wrong in your world but you feel that your voice is too small to speak out against it all. It's in the grassroots stage, but basically it's a platform to become unified with others and help for whatever cause you want to raise awareness for/support. I really am going to pray for guidance on what caused my heart to stir the most and get my small homeschooling group involved as well as encourage my older boys to take some action with our church youth group.

I just cannot fathom what is going on in other parts of this world.....it made me sob to learn about children, the same ages as my younger ones, who are living these lives of hell. I cannot comprehend my son, who is 11.....being thrown off a boat with rocks tied to his ankles so that he can untie fishing nets for the six fish that might be in them. Or my six year daughter being beaten while picking cocoa beans for a national chocolate company or worse.......sold into the sex slave industry. It just sickens me.

Here is a video from The Not for Sale campaign.....it's not easy to watch......but if watching it makes you cringe, how can we sit back and do nothing?

So sorry to be a little doom and gloom with this post (and I promise to share some of the SONshine we experienced as well soon enough).......but it's real. And it's happening right now. I encourage you to take a few minutes and check out some of the awesome organizations that are the voices for the ones who cannot be heard.

Because it is not all about us. It's about others.
And it's about taking action like Jesus did.
That is TRUE LOVE.


Here are just a few of the many wonderful people who are making a difference. You can too!

To Write Love on Her Arms

Child Voice International

Stand True

Crucified Ministries

The Love Alliance

We're Home!!!!!!!

So it pretty much poured 75% of The Soulfest.......

but no amount of this

or this

could stop this

(this is a photo of the candlelight vigil shown on the Jumbo Tron screen)

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. ~Matthew 7:25

As soon as I can climb over Mount Rushmore of laundry (you can imagine what I have with that mudfest week), clean the camper and get my house back up and running (and possibly sneak in a little nap).......I'll be back to share more of our amazing trip with you. Despite all the mud and rain, we were truly blessed. I have to admit that my dry warm bed was a blessing last night as well. ;)


A good pair of jeans (re-run)

(originally posted Feb '09)

.....makes for a GREAT day (life).

OK, so let's face it......when you are wearing jeans that fit right, make your waist look small and your "butt" look perky.....nothing can bring you down.

I, like most mothers.....always put my children first, especially when it comes to clothes. For example.....H has to have certain jeans from Pac-Sun that fit his super skinny rocker frame. G needs those basketball sneakers whose price tag is comparable to our mortgage payment. You get my drift.

So when it comes to me....factoring in that my wallet is in the red after taking care of said children's wardrobes and the mother's guilt that comes with spending any money on myself....I usually hit the second hand stores or defective styles at TJMaxx these past few years.

I consider myself pretty current or "hip" as far as I can see when I compare myself to today's youth. I cannot compare myself to many fashion magazines as they either feature corporate America business/conservative styles.....where I have never worked a 9-5 job in my life.....or high fashion Hollywood garb that I cannot even afford the socks they have on.

So, I like to just shop at stores that have a more youthful appeal to them and see what works for me. I know my limits and will not try to pull off the super tight tees baring my mid-drift.....as that would bare what is referred to as the onset of a muffin top, not to mention......how comfortable is that? I prefer looser, more comfortable tops such as a nice broken in tie dye tee or a peasant style hippie shirt.

But let's get to jeans. My current wardrobe has jeans are acceptable.....they fit fine, they are just....well jeans. They are not mom jeans with stretchy waistbands fitting under my ribcage. They do not have 50% spandex in them where they look like denim Saran Wrap. They are simply normal ho hum jeans, slightly low rise (I feel suffocated with anything up high) with a little flare at the bottom. They don't make me look great......they don't make me look bad....they just are there, I guess. I never looked in the mirror and felt WOW....I feel great! I just give one last glance, make sure I don't have anything stuck in my teeth and go on my way.

Well this weekend.....after re-evaluating the important things in life......and listening to the words of wisdom from Big Mama and other fashion connoisseurs of the world.....I put my priorities in order and changed my fate.

I went out and splurged on not one.....but two....new pairs of jeans at The Gap.

At first I felt sheepish and awkward walking into the jeans department. After all....I was accustomed to flipping through a rack of miscellaneous jeans grouped by size with not many options. I was overwhelmed by all the choices......what style do I want/need? Long and lean? Comfy and curvy? Stylish and sleek? Bootcut or straight? ACK! Apparently these are options I have failed to address in my previous jean purchases.

So I sucked it up and actually went against every grain of integrity in my body, approached the sales person on the floor and asked for that four letter word.......h-e-l-p.

Of course, she was this young perky little thing.....a size 2, if that. I took a deep breath and held my head up high while I asked if she could help me choose what might work best for me in the jean department.

She bounced on over to me (did I mention she was perky?....in all areas?).....and asked what style I was looking for. I politely reminded her that was why I needed her help....I am a Gap jeans virgin and have no clue.

I felt the need to remind her that I was over 40 and these hips have birthed four children. But I also asked her to be kind when she when she suggested a size.....and that I would forgive her if she overshot the actual size number.

We narrowed it down to a low rise, wider leg style, The Essential jeans.....Ms. Perky was kind enough to use the term flattering as opposed to "these will camouflage your thicker thighs".

So I went into the dressing room.......fully expecting to be disappointed. I did, however, notice that a woman definitely was the one who designed the dressing room as there was very soft lighting. Lord knows that most dept. stores have men calling the shots with their choice of fluorescent lights that will send most woman out in tears. Well at least I have. Those suckers show every vein, dimple, roll.....*shudder*.

This dressing room was very pleasant....and soothing. Almost like a sedative before the dreaded deed of trying on clothes. I walked in with the two pairs and went for it.

To my surprise.....they went on nice....I didn't have to suck in my belly or wriggle them up like a wetsuit. The only word I can use to describe it was.....they "glided" on. Doesn't that sound so nice?

I looked in the mirror and couldn't believe how nice they fit.....I ventured out to those three way mirror dealios and positioned myself to get a "rear-view" shot. I was even more excited when I didn't see something that resembled a sausage casing.

I think I even giggled out loud in excitement. So *this* is what those women I envy when I see them strutting around in those perfect fitting jeans feel like ALL THE TIME? I have been missing out on this euphoric feeling all these years? I am pretty sure I bounced......yes, that happy little perky bounce that Little Miss Size 2 does....to the dressing booth and tried on the other slice of heaven....pair of jeans, which although was a different style....fit every crook and nanny of my body perfectly. At least I think so....even if it *was* the magical lighting.....I was taking it all in and riding this wave.

I was tempted to be like my daughter and ask the cashier if I could wear them out....but I decided that it wasn't a great idea. After all....my debut in these jeans had to be so much more spectacular than pairing them with the Native American style blanket/wool hoodie I was sporting.

The cashier asked if found everything OK....and I almost jumped over the counter to give her a hug, but I refrained and just gave her a big smile with a nod. And then she told me that this sale gave you $25 off any purchase over $75......so that was like a cherry on top. :)

I am a new woman. I have new jeans that make me feel good inside.....and make me smile. :)

So, I will wrap up this testimony of how a good fitting pair of jeans can change your life and encourage you to do the same, if you haven't already. If you have, please leave your favorite brand in my comments as I feel an addiction coming on.

.....I leave you with a quick snapshot of my glorious new jeans..... (excuse N's messy room). The photo doesn't do them much justice. I should have shot a video, because I am sure you would see a little bounce in my step. ;)

Talk soon~


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