Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How would you like a chance to win a $50.00 gift card to TJMaxx/Homegoods?

Mama Manifesto Gift Card Contest!

Click the link above to visit Mama Manifesto to see what she was able to get with a $50.00 gift card to TJMaxx/Homegoods and enter for a chance to win your own $50.00 shopping spree!  They have awesome clothes, toys, shoes, sheets, quilts, yada, yada, yada!  I could spend hours in this store, not to mention do some major damage to the budget!  Not because things are expensive here, but because of their amazing prices!  I literally could fill several buggies (that's what we say in the south for shopping cart) full of amazing merchandise for home and family!

Talk soon!


Saturday, November 20, 2010


That is all.  Just some Saturday love.  <3

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

He is Able . . . Part Two

The year was 1990. It was late spring. I was 22, had been married to a wonderful man for four years, and was the mother of a beautiful little girl. For the most part, I was a very happy young woman. But if anyone could've seen inside me, confusion and torment is what they would've witnessed.  Let's back up a bit.

Even though I loved the man would would be my husband very much, before we actually married, there was a tremendous amount of contention between my dad and me. The problem was that he (my intended) was a member of the Baptist church. I don't know why exactly, but my dad has this "thing" about Baptists. Truthfully, I didn't really know what anyone outside of the Christian church believed, except maybe Roman Catholics, but I'm pretty sure that the Baptists' beliefs being considerably different from ours was one reason my dad wasn't so happy about me marrying Mister. But I did it anyway.

The Bible teaches that "two become one", but when one or the other (or both) of the "two" doesn't break that tie entirely with the parents, it causes all sorts of issues. I had not made that break from my parents and still worried very much what they would think of the decisions my new husband and I would make.  One of my promblems was whether or not to join my husband's church. I knew that would make things even worse with Dad, so I just never did anything about it. Though my husband really wanted me to, I just could not bring myself to it. I just couldn't risk further issues between my dad and me.

Truthfully, attending a Baptist church was a totally strange experience for me. They sure did things differently than the Christian church. Despite that, I still became invovled in several ministries: AWANA, VBS, teaching sunday school, helping in the nursery, and singing in the choir. I loved every minute of it, settling into the church very easily, and was considered a model Christian.  And I was, I suppose, but only outwardly.  Inwardly there was much fear, guilt, and shame over my sins, though I confessed to have been saved.  Truthfully, I really wasn't a Christian, but I didn't understand that then.

I remember one particular afternoon during that time. Standing at the sink washing dishes, I suddenly dropped to my knees and begged God to help me through whatever it was that was going on inside of me. It is very painful to remember that time, probably it is because I hadn't a clue why I was feeling like I did then, but I can clearly see it all now. Not too much later, God made it clear to me that I was lost. I wasn't really saved. I wasn't a Christian. He didn't know me.  There had been a baptism when I was about nine, but that's all. No repentence, sorrow, or faith in what Christ had done for me on the cross. Long story short, it took weeks of me fighting with myself and worrying about what Daddy would say for me to finally accept what the Holy Spirit was telling me. Eventually it became too much to bear and I quietly called out to God to save me one Sunday morning during the invitation.  Though I could not find the strength to make it to the altar, inwardly I had finally accepted that there was nothing I could do to receive His forgiveness for my sins except believe on His son just like John 3:16 talks about. That was the day I finally started living! No more fear of dying! Peace in my heart, through and through.

When I called out to God that morning, one of the things I prayed for was for Him to do whatever He wanted to with my life. Talk about doing exceding abundant above what we ask Him for!  I couldn't ever have worked out things out on my own like He has done.  About six weeks or so after that day, just a few days before I was to be baptized, we found out that our family was growing again! No doctors. No pills. No keeping up with the temperature every morning.

It did not slip my attention that I had become pregnant not long after my salvation . . . and my prayer to God to take my life and use it in any way He thought fit.  Because I believed that this was one way God was honoring my desire, I have always testified and witnessed about this when talking to others about our family.

Anyway, as some of you may know, that surprise pregnancy ended up being a twins.  I can't even begin to tell you the feeling of knowing two babies are growing within the womb. I truly felt doubly blessed by God. I felt so special. And not only had we been blessed with our first child and then the twins, within four years of that time in my life, I had given birth to a total of five children.

So, how does a couple go from being a two-income family supporting two people to being a one-income family supporting seven people? Only by the grace and provision of God. Over the years, my husband had opportunity to move up in his job, which, of course, meant a pay raise each time. Though there were many tight times, I can truly say we've never been without food, clothing, good medical insurance and care, or a roof over our heads. Not only that, we've been able to see a lot of our 'wants' met as well.

Though God has always provided for us, what I've always prayed about the most is for God to use each of my children and for them to live lives that glorify Him. Each of our children has made a profession of faith in Christ and I thank God for this. Beyond each child's salvation, I've also prayed that I would be a godly example and influence on them to be obedient for whatever God called them to do. I believe God has answered that pray as well.

The oldest of our children is attending Bible college and feels called to missions; she loves God with her whole heart and wants nothing more than to always be in His will. Each of the boys works in public safety, one as a fireman and the other in law enforcement, a dream they have each had from they time they were very young. I tell them often that by the Lord answering their prayers and dreams, they're in a unique position to minister to others who are need or are facing a crisis in life, either directly or through prayer . . . or maybe both. As for the two youngest children, that's still to be seen. It's exciting to watch God mold them and lead them down the path He has set before them. Whatever each of them becomes or does with his or her life, I see them being active, influential members of society with much potential to reach many for the Lord and with the gospel. Would that not truly be a prayer that was met exceding abundant above all that I asked!

So as to not make us seem more than what we are, I'll be the first to tell you that we are not a 'perfect' family by any stretch of the imagination.  I am thankful, though, for how God has worked in our lives in spite of that. With each trial that we go through and each mistake that we make, I know that He is working to perfect us.

When I was a girl, I had but one dream: to be a wife and mother. That dream has been answered way beyong my expectations and now I am entering a new phase in life: the children are reaching adulthood. College, serious relationships, living on their own, and adult responsibilites are issues in the family now.  Within a few years, all five of the children will have finished high school and will be pursuing their dreams, if they have not already begun the process.  I have a few new dreams of my own that I will be working toward. How it will all turn out is a mystery to me: where will our daughter serve God in missions and where will the boys' careers lead them? who will the children marry? when will I get to be a grandmother? what will happen to me once I'm an empty-nester?  So much to consider!

When it comes right down to it, though, no matter what happens, past experience has taught me that He is able. But most of all, He will answer my prayers exceding abundant above all that I ask.



Saturday, July 10, 2010

He is Able . . . Part One

Do you ever just step back from your life and reflect in amazement at what God has done for you? I do . . . and I'm often overwhelmed by His blessings on our family and how He meets our needs and makes our very dreams a reality. It is true what the Bible says: He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask of Him! He doesn't just answer our prayers; He answers them far, far beyond our expectations and in ways that make us look to in in awe of His love and concern for us!

When my husband and I had been married but a year or so, my desire to start our family was overwhelming. After some begging, pleading, and sweet talking, I finally convinced him that we needed to fill our home with little people . . . a mini him and a mini me! Except, eventually that turned out to be a mini me, a mini him x2, another mini me, and then another. And they all came along rather quickly. In fact, five years, four months, and twenty-two days is all the difference there is between the birth of our oldest and youngest children . . . and the three that fall between the two. And, boy, was it an interesting journey getting to that place.

I think one reason Mister was reluctant to start a family then was the fact that I'd have to quit my job when a baby came along. He probably was weighing the financial shift this would cause and wanted to be sure that he would be able to support his growing family on an income that was a lot less than it had been. This is definitely one area that we have seen God bless us in. And I'll share more about that later.

At first, conceiving a child seemed to be beyond our reach. It was disheartening each month to realize that it wasn't happening. Long story short, I did end up at a GYN who figured that things with me were not quite in working order and had me take a fertility drug called Clomid for a about six months. Well, obviously things were so broken and I was pregnant within the first month. I was so excited! My dream of being a mother was going to come true! It was something I had dreamed of since I was a very young girl . . . getting married and having children of my own.

You should have seen my collection of dolls, doll clothes, toy dishes, and doll furniture growing up. Every year from the time I could remember, I received a doll for Christmas . . . and occasionally on my birthday. I don't remember ever losing one of those dolls either! In fact, I've still got all of them and most of the clothes and dishes . . . and a doll cradle that my grandfather picked up at a yard sale or something. My favorite thing to play growing up was house.

Once our daughter was born, everything just sort of fell into place. I was not one bit apprehensive about taking care of her. In fact, I'm ashamed to say now that I didn't even allow my mom or my mother-in-law to come over and help take care of the baby or me when we came home from the hosptial. I wasn't trying to be selfish, but I've always been fiercely independent. Not in a rebellious way . . . but just in a "I can do it my self" way. My husband took a few weeks off to help out but then I was happily on my own at home was he was back at work. Being a mother was second nature to me and I was right where I wanted to be.

I think part of it stemmed from wanting something I could call my own. My own husband . . . my own home . . . my own children. When I was growing up, finances were generally pretty tight and I didn't have as many opportunities for lessons and classes and activities that many of my peers had. I didn't really have anything I was really good at, no special talent or anything like that. I was still very young when I got married and not really ever had the opportunity to do anything that defined who I was. This was my chance and I latched on with gusto.

During this time, we weren't trying to have more children, but at the same time we didn't do anything to keep from having more children. I was just sort of under the impression that I would always have problems becoming pregnant. I mean, it wasn't easy the first time and I just thought that it would always be like that.

But what happened next in my life would forever change who I was.

To be continued . . .