Monday, October 19, 2009

We'll be back!

Sorry everyone-didn't mean to disappear like that. I put a block on temporarily until I could do some editing. As I mentioned awhile back our family is going through a pretty big valley/trial. As we walk through this, for the safety of our family, I've taken some posts down. I did this during our adoptions and then reposted everything when everyone was home and safe.

I'll be journaling during this time and will put the posts up later. This blog was started to give God ALL the glory and that will not change no matter how big of a trial or valley we go through. We praise God for every single blessing he has given us and even for the valley we are walking through now. We know we will come out the 'other side' with even stronger faith and a deeper relationship with Him.

Have a blessed day- see you soon!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Song of the day

Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord
We will wait upon the Lord

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Home again- Home again- Jiggity Jig!

We've been home for5 days now and I'm still drowning in laundry and the business of unpacking. The kiddos asked me which I liked better, packing or unpacking. Packing for sure! It's much more fun and a lot less messy! We came home with so much more than we brought- thank goodness my mom-in-law came this past weekend and brought the over flow. I still don't have a final count on the total amount of applesauce (and apple pie filling) we canned, but it was A LOT! We were so blessed to get tons of apples and everyone was so happy to share and bring me bags (or bushels!). My dad found me 1/2 gallon canning jars- we filled 18 of those and lots more quart jars besides.

One cousin brought me tons of veges from her garden and fresh eggs, another cousin brought frozen and packaged foods as well as 4 zucchini and a pumpkin for each child to carve. One of my aunts brought us dessert treats and coffee cake- she also brought the kids little treats when she came to visit. The kids had a blast seeing all the grandmas and grandpas and getting to know my hometown (as well as visiting the library- just down the hill). We had such a great time visiting our old church and re-connecting with friends there. I even attended a weekend seminar there while grandma and grandpa watched all the kiddos. We had to go out and buy some warmer clothes because the weather got colder than I anticipated. I found a great consignment shop and when she saw me come in with all the kids- she gave me 1/2 off everything we got. What huge blessings we received during our visit!

I've been trying to download pics of our trip and even a birthday from the beginning of September! Of course our internet isn't cooperating because we have such icky weather. I joked with Hubby that when he keeps checking NOAA for the weather- he should send them an email and request their name be changed to 'NOAH.' A friend of mine asked on Facebook where anyone could find a good price on gopher wood.... hehe! Family and friends, up north, are enjoying lots of snow. Good thing we're not there now because we really would have been unprepared with the clothes we had! They would have needed full snow garb to play outside in all the pretty, white stuff!

I'll get pics up here soon- you'll have lots to look at when I finally do!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess

Princess turned 4 on September 26th! We made her cake together and she decorated the top with sprinkles. Her very own creation!

Since I don't have internet access where we are (during our vacation), my posts have to be fairly short. I've been bringing the kids to the library every few days for books and movies so I just have a few minutes while they browse. Today we have 47 degrees and rain so it's looking like an inside day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Festival Day

Our first morning in my hometown (we came for a family reunion). This is the fog that set in over the Christmas Tree Farm. I sat out on the back porch and drank my morning coffee (55 degrees that morning).

Picture of Angel Baby...don't know who took it but I thought it was pretty cute!

Waiting for the parade to start down at my dad's house. My sis was there with her two girls so there were 8 cousins all together that morning.

The 'rival' band from a neighboring town. They do all sorts of cool moves as they play and walk down the street!

The band from my high school- it's looking pretty small this year...

"Mom! I think they're throwing candy out of that car!!!!!"

The candy scramble...

I thought our southern friends would enjoy this pic. It's a 'cheese-head' driving through the parade on a 4 wheeler.

And the parade is always ended with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus... after all, it's called The Christmas Tree Festival!

After the parade we walked around to the various booths to see all the crafts. The kids all found various little treasures to bring home with them. There was lots of family around (this was also our reunion day) so we got in lots of visiting, eating and LAUGHING! Believe it or not the weather was great this year. Most times it's cold and rainy. We escaped the rain and it was pretty warm... thank goodness!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


What does the word mean to you? When I used to hear the word persecution I would think of foreign countries where the Christians are fighting to preach the Gospel. I think of people smuggling in bibles, people having bible studies underground with meer pages of a bible, people loving and living for the Lord no matter what their circumstances.

Here in America we are free to believe in God, talk about God, live for God and raise our children the way we want to raise them. We are free to stand in Walmart and talk to someone about the Lord, we are free to share the Gospel in a parking lot or anywhere we please. But, as Christians, do we? Do we take advantage of these freedoms? Or do we take them for granted and stay in a comfort zone and let someone else take the persecution or rejection for us? Do we let someone else walk through fire to try and further the Kingdom of God? What does God call us to do?

Persecution is persecution and it takes on many forms. Have you ever been persecuted for something? How have you responded? Most likely you haven't gone to jail for sharing the Gospel, most likely you haven't had your family ripped away from you for loving and living the way God has asked you too, most likely you haven't REALLY relied on the Lord for everything. Think about that for a second... what would you do in the case of Job? How would you respond in such a situation even close to what happened to him? He lost everything material (all his riches), he lost his family (that would be worse than any material possession!) and he lost his health to the point of living in absolute misery- no matter what he still loved the Lord and would not curse the Lord. Can we say the same about ourselves? Hard questions... I can only pray for half the strength and fight he had.

God gave me a strong spirit- especially the spirit to fight. Not aggressive fighting, not physical fighting...but a spirit to endure. No matter what gets thrown at me, I always respond by fighting my way matter how far I get knocked down. I guess I'm like a boxer who never gets totally knocked out....I always have the strength to get up again- the fight is never over. And it shouldn't be- my strength comes from the Lord and sometimes that's all I've got. But, I continue to have that still, small voice that tells me to stand firm in the storm and to hang on. And I do, I hang on for all I'm worth. Even when I'm on the edge and praying for the strength to hang on just one more moment.... I thank God for that spirit of endurance.

So, today my gratitude journal reads, "Today I am grateful for the strength to endure."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The favor of God

Recently, we've been going through yet another trial. But, I've been trying to keep an 'outsider's view' on it- realizing that we are indeed receiving favor from God. We are still walking through this specific valley, and it may be awhile before we come out on the other side- BUT, God is showing us His faithfulness. Sometimes it's hard to see/rise above our own issues or problems. It's so easy to get caught up in the stress of our lives and let our problems overtake us. But, if we can remember to praise God in the midst of our storm- He promises to reach down and pull us out of the pit we're in!

Exodus 3:8, "So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey..." **When God came down to deliver the children of Israel, He 'came down' to them. He came right down to where they were suffering and made bare His mighty right arm on their behalf. God will also 'come down' to you, into the midst of your life, your home, and your circumstances. YES...He will come down to you, right where you are. He will manifest Himself to you. He wants to fill you and your home with His presence and His glory!

I wrote a post once about keeping a gratitude journal- an account of things you are grateful for. I've gotten away from that and I think it's time I get back to keeping a journal. I let the busyness of life get in the way and keep me from jotting down a few notes every day. Whether I write something I am grateful for, every day, or answered prayers or how I'm seeing God's favor in our life- I think it's just another great testimony to how God is ALWAYS faithful. It proves to be such a blessing to be able to look back and see how God has come to me personally in my good and not-so-good days.

So, how about you? Do you keep any kind of a journal? If not, I encourage you to jot down a few notes every day. It can be something you're grateful for (I remember one time being grateful for peanut butter and thanking God for making the peanut- HA!), something you've prayed for (and maybe received an answer for), etc. In the past I've even jotted down a single scripture that went along with what I was dealing with that day. I'm starting on my journal today, I'll be writing down how God is showing us His favor at this time in our trial. A scripture that goes along with our situation right now is Isaiah 54:17, "No weapon formed against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD." There may be a weapon 'formed' but it will not prosper, praise the Lord!

Be strong in the Lord, put on your armor (Ephesians 6: 10-18) and have a great day!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Climb we have a 'tween' girl around here and she LOVES Hanna Montana! While she was watching the new Hanna Montana movie, I heard Miley Cyrus sing this song... it was awesome! You all know I love songs and that they really speak to me... if you haven't heard it, enjoy! Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The way we live

I was on Facebook this morning and saw that my (second) cousin posted some pics of their home school room. It's a GORGEOUS room- a whole room devoted just to their homeschooling. Then I checked out a friend's blog (fellow homeschooler as well) and she posted about grocery shopping - complete with pictures! That got me thinking more about the way we live and what other people see when they observe us.

Saturday we had another house showing, it was #8. While I sometimes feel it's exhausting, other times I wonder about what people think while they're walking (and looking through) our house. I wonder what they're thinking when they see 'how' we live. I wonder what they are thinking when they count the beds in the children's rooms- 1,2,3,4,5--6!!!

I was at the drive through at the bank last week and the teller commented on how she found my blog and enjoyed reading it. I thanked her and as I drove away, that reminded me that people are always watching us- even when we don't realize it. In this town of over 9,000 people- many people know 'about' our family and recognize us. That's still new to me because sometimes I feel invisible- especially coming from such a small town growing up (population 200). But, as a Christian family, that's something I really want to be aware of in our every day lives- how do we live our every day for Christ? Is it the same inside our 4 walls as it is when we're out in public? Do we encourage other people even in the midst of our trials? Do people see Christ in us? **Please feel free to comment on what you think, either way!

So, the following pics are a walk through of our house. Can you discern anything about the way we live- through a picture? Mind you, we did pick up the floor- no baby toys strewn around. There's usually a sippy cup (or two) laying around, many shoes by the door and Princess usually has a pile (or three) of discarded, changed clothes in random places (she changes her clothes A LOT!). **This is also a good look for anyone in the area wanting to buy an AMAZING HOUSE with 10 acres of (wooded) land.

This is us...

My 'controlled' mess of an office.

The 'dining room.' Only we use it for all this furniture...the dining takes place in a different room.

The Whole Armor of God...this is placed next to our bathroom mirror. It reminds me every day to put on my 'armor.'

I'm in the process of making sourdough bread starter. This is the flour and purified water needed to add to the starter every day...

You know there are lots of girls around when you see-- APRONS!

Our laundry room- complete with the 5 gallon bucket of homemade laundry soap.

One of the MANY school book shelves- complete with sleeping cat.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weekend Retreat

Many years ago, my sister-in-law introduced me to a ministry named 'Above Rubies.' Honestly it took me awhile to fully embrace all its principals. A woman named Nancy Campbell started Above Rubies over 30 years ago to encourage women in their calling as godly wives and mothers. I've read the magazine faithfully, every time it was printed and sent out, and I've even given away many extra copies. I've purchased some of Nancy's books as well as CDs and given them as shower gifts, wedding gifts and gifts for new mothers.

This was my 3rd retreat and I was so blessed to finally bring all our girls along. This retreat was a good price and it was not too far to drive (just under 7 hours). We were all so blessed by Nancy (and her daughters- 3 of them were there) and I met some wonderful women whom I hope to be friends with for a very long time. A few women there had children from Liberia- so that was another common bond. We talked together, prayed together and laughed (A LOT) together. It was a nice time of sharing and encouraging.

If you've never heard of this ministry, I encourage you to check it out. Two of Nancy's daughters have very talented singers and have many music CDs out. Another daughter is a powerful speaker/preacher! Nancy has many books, preaching CDs and DVDs available as well as her husband, Collin. Her magazines are free (or by donation)- she does not charge anything for her ministry. The magazine gets printed as the money comes in. The Campbell family are originally from New Zealand, by way of Austrailia, by way of Tennessee. I've gotten to know the women (and some of the children) over the years and they are so wonderfully sweet! If you can get to a women's retreat or family retreat- GO! You will surely be blessed! Check out Nancy here.

Here's Nancy!
Praying for someone...

Something you don't see all the time, moms with their kids... the children were welcome there and mothering was expected (not 'put up with'). It was a nice change of pace to see lots of moms with LOTS of kids...we didn't stand out because of our size! :)

I brought beads and glittery 'pipe cleaners' along for the girls to make bracelets. What an easy way to make friends! 'Anybody wanna make a bracelet?'

My 9 year old won these cool bendy things as a door prize. All the girls were having a blast making things out of them. This little girl's name is Engedi (she's from Liberia), she is one of Nancy's grandaughters. Precious, precious girl!

Lots of mamas with their girls...

This wasn't from our retreat weekend, but I couldn't resist it. I LOVE bathtub pics just about as much as I love sleeping-baby pics!

My bathing-baby-bathtub helper...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Before church...

It's Sunday morning and we need to leave for church in approx. 50 minutes. As of now, 5 family members are in the pool- in their pajamas...

So what happened, you ask?

I woke up with Angel Baby at 5:45, rocked her and put her back to bed. I decided to stay up and get some quiet time before the craziness began. I read my bible for about 45 minutes then made a few changes on the blog (picture and added text on sidebar). At 7am, the kiddos started to come down the stairs. We tried to wake up Hubby but he was slow to come around... Sunday is supposed to be his day to cook (with Dear Daughter #1) but that didn't look like it was happening today. So, I got the coffee made, biscuits in the oven, chocolate gravy made and the sausage warming. He could atleast make the eggs, right?

We all had breakfast and then everyone headed outside to do animal chores. The chickens needed to be moved because they were in full sun. We moved them and decided to do something a little different with their water (no more bucket of water- we needed the self watering bucket) and they needed to have their feed in the 'chute' instead of in a bucket. So, we got them fixed up. Then they were off to the bunnies. They also needed to be moved to shade, etc. The goats have been breaking out of the fence during chore time- I think they hope to catch any feed dropped by the kids. 3 broke out and JUMPED UP on the table where we keep all the feed. So, Hubby had to fix it so they can't do that. Did anyone tell me goats would be THIS MUCH trouble? Wow...

On the way back, we were all walking to the hose so Hubby and DD#1 could clean out the watering bucket. Hubby stopped, picked up our oldest boy and threw him in the pool. Then while they were cleaning the watering bucket, Hubby got a little crazy with the watering hose and started spraying people. They all walked over to the chickens and got that all taken care of...then on the way back to the house Hubby grabbed DD#1 from behind and threw her in the pool. I was inside by that point, with Angel Baby, and by the time I looked out the window (you can imagine the squealing going on!) I saw Hubby jump in the pool. Then the game was on, 4 of the kids went running to the ladder and jumped in.

So, even though we're now rushed to get to church- it has been a fun morning so far. This is the stuff memories are made of. Maybe someday in 20 or 30 years, we'll all be sitting around the table and one of the kids will say, "Remember when we jumped in the pool with all our clothes on?"

Life is good!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

You know an African when...

You can spot an African anywhere...especially when she is carrying something heavy on her head! This is the day our shipment of National Geographic magazines arrived in the mail (I found 3 years worth on Ebay for around $6 plus shipping!). None of the kids could get it from the mailbox to the house so Big Sissy when down to the mailbox to remedy the situation. I watched her out the window try to carry it in her arms. She didn't make it very far- she was struggling to hold on to the heavy box. Before I knew it, she knelt down and lifted that heavy box right up over her head! She then quickly walked up the driveway with little trouble... **Let me just add that I've tried to carry various things on my head with little success. I have no idea how they can keep their neck from bending under the weight! This is NOT as easy as it looks! I cannot imagine carrying a bucket full of water on my head- like they used to do many times every day!

I was so pleased to find these magazines for such a cheap price. They're in great condition... our school curriculum is an eclectic collection of things I've gathered for each child's specific needs. One of our kiddos is stuggling very much in reading & phonics, another can read ok but struggles in comprehension (as well as with severe ADHD symptoms), another can read anything at lightning speed but hates to work on math, etc. Add a first grader in with that, a preschooler and a one-year-old-get-in-to-everything-baby and I'm gonna be a busy mama!

The main theme in our curriculum this year is exploring countries and cultures. There couldn't be a more perfect subject base for our family! This is one of the reasons I got the National Geographic magazines, as a supplement. The kids were busy for over 2 hours just looking at them the day they arrived and they asked unending questions. I'm so excited they like learning and that they are so open to learn about how other people live and why. It's neat to hear some of the stories that come out about life in Africa (when Big Sissy sees a picture that reminds her of something).

We're so blessed to have everyone at home this year for schooling! This is what I envisioned in the very beginning but we were unable to do. Now that the African kiddos have adjusted and have a relationship with me as 'mom', I can now approach them as 'teacher.' We've had a successful summer doing school and learning so I'm optimistic for the school year! God continues to get all the glory for the success in our blended family- we've become united as if we'd never been apart!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, Angel Baby!

Our sweet, precious Angel Baby turned one on the 30th of July. I was so happy- and a little sad too. It seems that after the first birthday, their independence grows by the day. That's a good thing but for a mama who's trying to hold on to her 'baby', it's tough! She's so cute though and we're enjoying every minute with her. She actually started taking a step or two on her birthday. As of today, she can walk about 6 or 8 steps before tipping or falling. Before long she'll be running!

This was my attempt at a carousel-horse cake. My aunt sent me some cake pans a few years ago and we've used some of them for birthdays. This was the first time using this pan- and I was armed with only white frosting, food coloring and some baggies. Not too bad...

Trying to get some dinner in first before the sugar rush!

First bite
Ohhhh, squishy!

This is where the games (and laughing!) began. She decided to try and feed the kids and everyone was hysterical! Of course, the kids began making noises, dancing around and saying, "Feed me, feed me!"

Angel Baby was 'belly-laughing' here-she thought it was great!

The aftermath....all done!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Great info!

Ok, so you all know we're super busy around here. And I love to be organized- I've explained that I'm really OCD at heart- I would have every shelf labeled if I could find the time! :)

I found this great site awhile ago and I'm just loving it. Not only do I like to be frugal but it's an absolute necessity with 8 people in a family (and one income)! So, when I saw these monthly digests on different subjects- I was hooked! This month's digest is really great so naturally I wanted to share my 'new' find. Here's a little about August's digest:

Get your busy family happily organized --buzzing like bees as you start to organizzzzze!

Are you ready to tackle the dirty dozen?

Learn how to organize a dozen different aspects of your life and home. From cleaning closets and sorting school papers to making meal planning a breeze, your home will soon be running more smoothly.

Month after money-saving month, Molly presents ideas to help families economize as she shares practical tips, delicious recipes, and helpful interviews with experts. Guest author Martha Greene (Marmee), provides pages of tips and recipes for make-ahead mixes that will save you time and money.

Check out the details and topics you'll find in Molly's August Digest and think value:
  • Begin with the Basics --Make-Ahead Mixes from Marmee: Is your family ready to get rid of the extra junk in your home? Find help for making mixes ahead of time and feed your family frugally while enjoying Cream Soup Mix, Oat Cookie Mix, Biscuit Mix, Fiesta Rice, even Blackened Chicken Spice Mix, along with others, including some variations!
  • On Sale This Month --Find out what sale items are hot in August!
  • Keeping it All Together --Organization of Bank Accounts: Have you ever wished you could safely set aside funds for specific bills in a separate account you won't be tempted to touch? Molly tells you how as she reveals a success story in gaining control of a household budget --it takes time, but it is possible! Learn how.
  • Feather Your Nest Frugally --Watch a beautiful cross collection you've had displayed for years become transformed to enhance a wall with fabulous decoupage framing using old hymnals. Sound intriguing? It is! You'll have to see the photos!
  • Pull up a Chair --August is a month of family fun, peaches, golf, and more!
  • Parenting that Pays --Jennifer shares how her family implemented a plan to renew some good, old-fashioned training in the forgotten art of organizing.
  • Something Old-Something New --Enjoy beautiful photos of a finished design that makes the verse Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” come to life in a beautiful and very visual way.
  • Monthly Feature --Organization for Busy Families --Gain control of “the dirty dozen” working step-by-step through problem areas in an average home. Here are the 12:
    • Closets --How to Clean Out a Closet
    • Garage --Clearing the Clutter From a Garage can become a reality!
    • Recipes --Kudos to the Cook. Benefit from and follow a clear description of just how to categorize it all.
    • Kitchen --Come Into my Kitchen! And discover welcoming ways to store and better utilize all your kitchen gadgets and necessities!
    • Mail --The Mail Monster. Tame it with easy to implement changes in your home.
    • Photos --Organizing Photos. Digital or physical --it is time to do something!
    • Toys --The Trouble with Toys. Give yourself a little R&R by learning the acronym ROR.
    • Clothing --Organizing Clothing. Take into account your lifestyle, do a little planning, and follow through with some purging!
    • Finances --Organizing Finances. A few practical tips for you to stick to!
    • School papers --Papers, Papers Everywhere! Get them under control and keep them that way.
    • Bathrooms --Bathroom Organization. Tricks to quickly organize your bathroom and make daily tasks easier.
    • E-Books --E-Books Everywhere! Learn of the options for E-Book storage.
  • Goal Getter Spotlight --From revealing a need, to praying for an answer, and then finding victory as God shows the way, one family shares their success in gaining a more comfortable children's bedroom.
  • Readers Write In --Enjoy practical advice for laundry day. You sort straight from the dryer --your children fold and put away and everyone wins!

Hope you can find something useful! Have a great weekend.