Monday, November 16, 2015

My Christian Friend Had Abortions...

We had our fifth ladies conference here at Woodland Christian Church last week. It was wonderful. The theme was "Finding Hope". I loved every minute of it. But there was one part in particular that was so very special to me. My friend shared "a testimony of hope". She shared how she had abortions and how God has brought hope into her life since then. I asked her permission to share parts of it! I pray it blesses, educates you and humbles you as it did me!

"Abortion has affected me in many ways. I'll start with how it has affected my relationship with God since that relationship has a ripple effect into every aspect of my life.

I have never felt fully forgiven by God, which ultimately has kept me a good arms length away from Him. I constantly asked for forgiveness and was continually repenting. I would talk about being forgiven because I believed what the bible has to say about His forgiveness grace and mercy. Yet I continued to feel like I was not fully embraced. Not intimately nestled under His wing as I know other Christians are.

If that's how I felt with my Lord and Savior, the most loving and gracious Being, you can see how that would pour over into every single relationship I have. Some of you may relate, some of you don't and some of you seasoned Christians know that the the problem lies with me and not Christ.

What changed? How was I able to allow God to fully embrace me as His forgiven, clean precious daughter? Well it's been a process and some of it is very fresh.

I remember the moment the scales fell from my eyes and I was clearly able to see that abortion was sin...murder to be exact. I read the Bible and went to church so I fully understood that I was forgiven yet it didn't set me free. I was constantly reminded of how much worse I was than all the ladies around me at Sunday school, Bible study, church, or even just hanging out.

Sometimes I would get mad (silently). Most of the time I just felt dumb. The best way form to explain it would be for you to imagine yourself sitting in a bible study (or at any event really) and you have chocolate pudding literally all over your face. You're trying to hang with the gals and be as normal as possible. Smiling, talking...yet you know you have pudding all over your face and that's all anyone can think about as we just muscle through our time together. 

That picture I just drew for you is just one ugly side effect sin can have on our lives. Me feeling that way has absolutely nothing to do with the ladies I'm hanging out with and has everything to do with me and my sin. Abortion goes deep. It has lasting and deep consequences. How could I ever be that close to anyone with chocolate pudding all over my face? right?!

My 17 year old daughter and I were on a walk one afternoon something struck me HARD that she said to me. It prompted this conversation. She was talking about her struggles and pains that she's endured and mentioned how much she always wished for an older brother that could have watched out for her or had an older sisters shoulder to cry on. She even went on to say that she didn't feel like she should have been the oldest but has embraced it and tried her hardest to be the older sibling she never had. 

My heart caved into my chest at that moment. I fought back tears and told her she wasn't the oldest. She did have an older brother and older sister. She looked at me with absolute shock. I had to confess that in my selfishness I took that away from her. I not only robbed her of the role God created for her as a little sister, I robbed her siblings of life. I went into great detail about how much abortion changes God's intended plans for generations. I explained that regardless of the circumstances, abortion is always a product of pure selfishness. Little did I know, that conversation would save my grandsons life 4 months later. All the glory to God!! 

All sins are not the same according to God's written word. The impact of them, the influence of them and the consequences are not the same. I'm not going to spend too much time on this because pastor Scott has broken this down really well in his sermon on abortion. You can listen to it on the woodland Christian church website. I really encourage all you ladies take a listen! 

Some of the highlighted scriptures are:
1st Corinthians 6:18
Hebrews 12:15
Proverbs 6:17
Genesis 4:10 
Numbers 35:33 
Psalm 106:38

Those scriptures were key in my healing process. No one wants to tell a hurting woman searching for relief from her own sin that her sin is worse than others, but the reality is my sin is much worse than others. I needed to acknowledge that so that I could fully embrace God's grace when He told me yes, your sin is worse but you are EQUALLY FORGIVEN!

That's when It broke. 

The crippling grip keeping me distant from God. I am equally forgiven. I am equally clean. I am equally precious. I wouldn't know this kind of grace and forgiveness if I wasn't going to church, willing to listen to God's word and accept the hard truth about myself and my sin.

His word has brought me true healing. True hope and real peace even though I don't deserve it.

1 John 2:2 says "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins."

Atoning means to make up, as for errors or deficiencies. Obsolete. To become reconciled.

Romans 8:6 says "the mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is LIFE and PEACE."

I'm finally experiencing life, peace and healing that other women are searching for but keep missing because they believe the ear tickling lies of the world. These lies come wrapped in all shapes and sizes. Do not be fooled. Sadly some women are actually "shouting their abortions". It's a sight where you publicly and proudly shout out your abortion. This is a desperate attempt to feel justified in their sin. You get one or the other, self-righteous justification or humbly accepting a beautiful gift of gracious forgiveness that sets you free. I've been given such hope not just through my repentance but accepting His forgiveness.

If I could give a struggling woman one piece of advice it would be to make Christian friends. The advice and prayer a Christian friend gives is priceless.  Even though our past and our sins may be very different, we have something wonderful in common, we are equally forgiven sinners! We are equally loved by our creator.

I'll end with some unsolicited advice to Christian women who may not know they are speaking to a woman that has had an abortion.

Continue to speak out against abortion. Don't be shy about it. Its very important to stand firm in voicing what an atrocious and heinous crime abortion is. Talk about the biblical view of children. Talk about what a gift and blessing they are. Realize that abortion is a very spiritually evil act and please understand that an argument with a pro choice woman is one of spiritual nature not common sense that can't be hashed out with lots of words but rather prayer.

When you are talking about sin or making a point or comparison don't ever compare what they've done to murder. You don't know how many times I've heard the comment "Well it's not like you've committed murder" in a discussion about sin. And sadly yes I have and many others have as well. All that does is make us feel that much more unforgivable. That much farther away from God than others. So undeserving of His grace. And believe me, even as of right now I feel very unworthy of sharing any of this. Its such a battle to even speak about this. I'm only sharing this out of obedience to Christ and to bring hope and peace to others."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Top Five Areas I Am Simplifying In My Life

I am craving simplicity in my life right now. Having five children eight and under will do that. It seems life is all about moving from one season to the next and finding a "new normal" and finding a new normal is always easier if your life is simpler. Here are the top five areas I am seeking to simplify.

#1 Wardrobe: Have you heard of the "10 rule"? It's where you have only 10 shirts/blouses, 10 bottoms (skirts and/or jeans) and 10 winter tops. May still seem like a lot to some of you... but not to this "clothes hoarder"! :) The other issue with clothes for me is the season of childbearing years. My weight fluctuates within a 50 lb range so it's hard for me to get rid of clothes knowing that I might need them some day. Either way, I am seeking to implement the "10 rule". 

#2 Schedule/Commitments: When Scott and I first moved to WA I wanted to be involved in and head up everything! Now I am barely involved in anything. My only consistent commitment, outside the home, is to be the nursery coordinator for church. I also plan a ladies' conference once a year and that's pretty much it. I am not in a season right now that enables me to be involved in many things and that's okay. My main objective in life is to serve Christ and I serve Him best right now by serving my husband and children. Here is a simple sample of our average daily schedule.  Another way to simplify my life/schedule is to make as few trips "into town" as possible. I do much of my shopping online through and (you can get free delivery and better prices by shopping online!... I am thinking of doing a separate post just on how to safe the most possible on and get your groceries delivered to your door AND get a big gas discount!)

#3 Meal Planning: One friend of mine recommended that I ask my husband which two areas in my stay at home endeavors were most important to him. He said: house cleaning and homeschooling. Meal planning came in last. So our meals are very simple. Cereal, toast or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch is almost always "homemade lunchables" (just grab a variety of crackers, lunch meats and cheese and put on fun tray) or sandwiches with a choice of fruit. And dinner is either: tacos, homemade pizza, homemade almond flour pancakes, pasta with veggies, quesadillas, or soup/chili with homemade bread. (I also throw in a "ninja smoothie" with at least one meal a day which consists of frozen fruit, mixed greens and water). Simple but yummy and pretty healthy. If your husband just wants his favorites made consistently and on time consider writing down his favorites and then picking a day of the week that corresponds with each meal: "Taco Tuesday", "Lasagna Wednesday", "Chili Thursday" etc. 

#4 Homeschooling: I have chosen ACE. It was tempting to keep looking and looking at all of the bajillion choices out there but we are happy with ACE and I love that we just set the workbooks out for each child in the morning and they get to work. So much easier than making all those lesson plans for all sorts of curriculum! The kids do about four pages a day and I supplement with extra reading and geography workbooks. They are each on time or ahead of their grade level. We usually do our homeschooling in the morning right after breakfast and finish by noon. 

#5 Stuff: De-cluttering your life is the quickest and most efficient way to simplify your life! Click here to read a post I did a while back on decluttering our toys (often one of the main culprits in messiness in homes with lots of littles). I think that I throw away between 5-10 things DAILY. Clutter makes messes and complicates our lives and if you're anything like me, stress us out! So grab a few garbage bags and run around your home right now and grab whatever is not useful or beautiful and toss it or bring it to salvation army and let it clutter someone else's home :)

How about you? What are some ways you are seeking to simplify your life? Share in the comments below. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Organizing and Homemaking Links and Advice!

In June I told you I was "going back to school"  and I have! I promised I would be sharing with you some things I have been learning and so here you go! 

Places online and products that have blessed me!:

I bought these wonderful videos on homemaking and highly recommend them! So blessed by the simple example of this keeper of the home!

5 simple pieces of advice that have helped me tremendously!:

#1. Don't put it down, put it away. I have to repeat this to myself through out the day! so hard to do when you have lived a life of putting things down rather than putting them away. Which brings me to number 2.

#2. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything. Now putting things away rather than putting them down only works if those things have a place to go. I can't believe how much cleaner my home looks when I have a place for everything! If there is no place and I don't have room then I give it away. Which brings me to number 3.

#3. Get rid of what you don't use. Sounds so simple doesn't it?! But it's not! Here are four reasons it's hard to get rid of stuff and four reasons you still should.
1) "I might use it someday." Go on a major purging expedition in your home. Go through each room (with your kids if you want) with giant black garbage bags and have one bag that represents things you definitely want to give away and then another "I might use it someday bag". Then, take the ones you are giving away and load them up in your car and drive them to the thrift store THAT DAY, don't delay or the bags will probably just lay around. Next, take your "I might use it someday bags" and put them in some closet. Go to your calendar and skip three months ahead exactly and write: "Get rid of those bags". Whatever is left in those bags (that you didn't have to take out because you didn't have to use it) is what you take to the thrift store THAT DAY that you wrote on the calendar three months in advance. If you didn't use it in the last three months you probably won't use it. Worse case scenario you have to go to a thrift store and buy one. Just as a note, I have only regretted one thing I have gotten rid of: my massage table I paid like 500 bucks for that thing and sold it for 75 and now I wish I could give my husband and kid's massages on it. But considering the hundreds (yes hundreds) of things I have gotten rid of, having only one regret isn't bad :) 

2) "Someone gave it to me." Yes, and someoneS are going to continue to give you lots of things. You shouldn't be bound to keep things just because someone gave you something. People who know me well know I don't keep things and so they give to me sparingly and that is okay because I am upfront with people that material gifts are definitely not my love language. More stuff means more things to find places for (see #1 and #2) which means more of my time which means less time doing the things I love which means more stress. I have gotten rid of quilts, pictures, drawings, glass thingeys and souvenir  stuff that people have given me. So just a heads up, don't buy me anything. Hang out with me instead. Pray for me. Bless my children with a trip to the library or park. Try to do the same in communicating this to your loved ones. Let them know what would really bless you: a cup of coffee, free babysitting, email encouragement... things that don't clutter your home and make you feel guilty for throwing away! I have had to tell my parents and my husband's parents to give each child one present for Christmas and their birthdays. No more than that. One special gift is plenty and less likely to be thrown in the trash :)
3) "It's pretty." There are lots of pretty things out there. Now, I don't have a problem with having a few pretty things I really love. Like this one chalk board I made out of an old painting my daughter had. But the key is to have just a few pretty things. Some people think way too many things are pretty when really they are just adding to the messiness of their homes and making their overall homes less pretty. 
4) "It's a sentimental object." Oh yes. This is probably the toughest for people. At times, even hard for me. I still have my mom's mother of the bride dresses from my sister and my wedding. Not sure why. I think I'll get rid of those asap. I just took my wedding dress to a wedding dress consignment store and that was a great call. I do have a few pieces of my mom's jewelry as well... but that's about it. I don't think I struggle with this one as much as most but it saddens me when I see people unable to let go of sentimental things. Not just one or two things but people who have closets just of things they don't want to get rid of. Things that serve their current living situation or family in no way. Things that add to the clutter and messiness of their homes all in the name of sentimentality. Pray and ask the Lord to help you sort through why you are attached to something and see if it would be best overall to part with these things. They are just things. "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. "Col. 3:1-2  “Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth. and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal; 20: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor. rust consume, and where thieves don't break through and steal." Matthew 6:19-20 Which brings me to #4. 

#4. Keep an eternal perspective. When it comes to clutter ask the Lord to give you an eternal perspective. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING that you can set your eyes on will not come with you. It is all temporary. But the ministry you provide out of your home serves an eternal purpose. The way you keep your home will effect your ministry in the home in positive or negative ways. You do view homemaking as a ministry right? It's a ministry to your children, your husband and all your guests. 
Remember, people before things, always! Practicing hospitality is a command not a gift some people have and it is a command much easier to live out if you have a orderly, non-cluttered home. Pray the Lord helps you to view your home from the perspective of eternity. 

#5. Your morning begins the night before. This little saying has helped me to enjoy my days much more. When I spend too much valuable evening time on the computer and not enough time sweeping, doing dishes, setting out clothes, finishing up laundry, writing my to-do-list/schedule for the next day, I always pay for it in the morning. How our mornings go often determine how our entire day will go. So don't waste your evenings! Use them for your mornings!

How about you? What is one practical piece of homemaking advice that you use daily? Which one of my pieces of advice spoke to the most? Share in the comments below!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why More Kids?!

"I couldn't handle 5 kids!"

"I was done at 2."

"I just don't have the patience for that many kids."

"Why have more kids? How are you going to have a relationship with each of them?!"

I have heard these statements and questions many times. "Why have more kids?" I like to reply with: "Why not?" I don't know about you, but many of my own answers to the "why not?" are selfish. 

We are allowing God to plan our family size because:

*I want everyone that God wants here, here.

*I don't want one little person to be missing from our family.

*I know that God uses children to refine us in major ways to make us more like His Son.

*I believe He designed us to have children. He designed us with a desire to be intimate and out of that intimacy He designed conception. (p.s. I know intimacy has more purposes than just making babies) Preventing pregnancy goes against His design and His desire to bless us with the wonderful gift of a child! 

*Children are forever. I don't like messing with deciding if a little one that lasts forever exists in the first place. That's too big of a decision for me.

*My husband has the conviction to let God lead in all areas of life including family planning. 

*Children are presented as a blessing, gift and reward and why turn that down from our Creator? He presents debt as a curse and children as a blessing... it seems our culture is embracing the wrong one.

I am not doing this:

*Because I want a whole bunch of kids.

*Because I am so good at being a mom (I am not a very good one. Especially with babies.)

*Because I want to earn extra points in heaven.

*Because I love being pregnant (I hate it actually because I have 9 month all day "morning" sickness). 

Here I am with our second "reversal baby". Chloe Marie.
So.... What are your reasons for the way you "family plan"?

Further Reading: 
My first blog post about our vasectomy reversal

Love these thoughts from Barbie at "In the Nursery of the Nation" 

Kelly Crawford with Generation Cedar

A neat interview by Holly Elliff on Revive Our Hearts

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Favorite Places Online!

The internet can be such a blessing... and a distraction. Let's use it more for the blessing part and look for ways to build ourselves and our homes up spiritually! 

Here are some of my favorite places to do that:

Looking for some awesome audio messages on godly womanhood?! 

A great resource for bible study!

Our associate pastor's wife's blog! I met her through her wonderful blog!

I have been following Kelly's blog for years and have been so encouraged!

Another great resourse for bible study!

Got questions about the bible or Christianity in general? This place has solid answers!

Our church website and audio sermon page!

Endless sermon options here!

Looking for solid homeschooling info?

Looking for godly tv? Hard to find I know. Look no further! Joni did an awesome job creating a tv series that will build your family up!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Facebook Reflections

I have been off facebook for four months now. My original intention was to just take a month off but after my first month off I realized I didn't want to get back on.

When you are not on the biggest social network in the world you may feel a little left out but you will probably get a lot more done in the real world. There are those rare people that some how "don't check their facebook much" but I don't know many... most seem to check it constantly and then recheck it.... like I did. 

About 6 months ago I was asking the Lord what His will was for my life and it is answered quite simply in Titus 2: to keep my home, to love my husband and to love my childrenUnfortunately, facebook wasn't part of the list. So I thought I would take a month off and that month turned into four months.

This post by Kelly Crawford also convicted the socks off of me! 

I have been reflecting lately: "what is it about facebook that makes it so appealing and for some, addictive?"

Here are three possible answers to that question:

1. Everyone wants to be affirmed. We all love to hear: "good job!" "I believe in you!" "I like you!" We all enjoy a nice compliment, but sometimes that craving can get unhealthy and before we know it we are craving the approval of man more than the approval of God. It is His opinion that matters most! It is His opinion we should crave the most! It is His "like" that we should be looking for! You have all the affirmation you will ever need in Christ. 

2. Everyone wants to be heard. One of my children in particular wants to be heard. So much so that when he is not heard his eyes often fill with tears. Some adults are like that too. They just want to be heard! They just want to vent whatever is on their mind and have others say: "I hear you." Facebook provides this for many people. 

3. Everyone wants to feel connected. We are made to be social, hence the word "social network". Facebook provides a sort of crack-cocaine form of feeling connected. God designed us to feel like part of a community and facebook provides that... in a way.  

Here is something to think about though:

Is the facebook world robbing our families of the opportunity to be the ones that primarily affirm us, hear us and make us feel connected?

Are we so tuned into our computer and phone screens that the very ones God put around us are not able to love us the way He designed because we are so distracted by our facebook family? 

Not everyone needs to get off facebook. But for now, it is best for me. My hope is not that this post makes anyone feel condemned but that it makes you think about why you are on facebook and if you are letting it rob you of the real life relationships and duties God has given you right within the four walls of your home. 

 "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands." 1 Thess. 4:11

Friday, August 28, 2015

4 Ways to Nurture Your Marriage In Busy Times

It's easy to pay attention to your husband and put his needs first when it's just the two of you. But when you throw 2, 3, 5, 8 kids into the mix it makes things a lot more difficult. Add to that homeschooling and ministry and you are bound to be scrambling just to keep your head on straight much less figuring out how to pour into your marriage. But it's easier than you think! Here are four ways even the busiest wife can nurture her marriage:

#1 Smile. Weird huh? But when's the last time you intentionally looked at your husband across the room and smiled? A smile can change the whole mood in the home. When your kids are running around like monkeys make an effort to look at him and smile. This is a small way to warm his heart and let him know you not only love him, but you like him. 

#2 Text him. Text him things you are thankful for about him. Text him about how thankful you are that he works hard for the family. Text him some of your favorite things about his personality. Text him about how you appreciate his love for your kids. Text him anything during the day that will encourage him and put a little pep in his step!

#3 Put the kids to bed early and plan a "in home date night". Make his favorite dessert and sit together at the dining room table or out on the front porch and talk about your day. It's amazing how much this time together can nurture your marriage and save you money! :) 

#4 Touch him. Embrace him with a big hug and kiss when he gets home. Hold his hand when you sit together. Lay your head on his chest when you sit next to each other on the couch. Some men are not "touchers" and so you can ignore this one. But it is important that you find out how he does feel loved! Does he light up when you verbally affirm him? Does he seem extra thankful when you serve him his favorite meal or bring him a cup of coffee? Does he beam with joy when you surprise him with a special gift? Figure out what blesses him the most and look for ways to incorporate it into your life! Figuring out your husband's love language and looking for opportunities to do it will be a major way to nurture your marriage. One love language most men share is sexual intimacy. Be sure to be available sexually for your husband too! You are the one woman he gets for life to satisfy him and you don't want to disappoint. God has made it very clear in His Word that your body belongs to him too. Don't deny him. 

When we pour into our husbands and marriage this way we are nurturing ourselves too! When we feed our marriage we are feeding ourselves! After all, two become one flesh. However you nurture him you nurture you.

Please leave a comment and give your own ideas of ways that you nurture your marriage in the midst of busyness. Also let me know if you do one of these four things! Would love to hear how it goes!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Headcovering Movement

There seems to be much talk about headcoverings around me lately. In person and on the web.

Here are some great online resources/links I would recommend if you are wanting some further reading/studying.

This one is a short book written by India Evangelist K.P. Yohannon.

Here is a great sermon on why wearing a head covering is not cultural but biblical:

Here are a number of great articles too:

Great video answering why the passage is talking about an actual head covering and not saying that your covering is your hair:

Ladies! Don't do what every one else is or isn't doing around you. Decide for yourselves what the Scriptures say. Be sure to read my post on why I wear a headcovering to public worship. 

1 Cor. 11:2-16

Instructions for Public Worship

I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you. But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.[a] A man dishonors his head[b] if he covers his head while praying or prophesying. But a woman dishonors her head[c] if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head, for this is the same as shaving her head. Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.[d]
A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory.For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man.10 For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority.[e]
11 But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. 12 For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.
13 Judge for yourselves. Is it right for a woman to pray to God in public without covering her head? 14 Isn’t it obvious that it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair? 15 And isn’t long hair a woman’s pride and joy? For it has been given to her as a covering. 16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The VERY BEST Way to Make Money From Home!

Okay, are you ready? You want to hear the very best way to make money from home?! Here it goes....


Yep. That's it. So many women go back to work because "they have to" (don't get me wrong! I know there are cases in which women really do have to go back to work). But many women actually could stay home if they just wouldn't spend the money their husband is making.

I know it's impossible to not spend ANY money, but so many women WASTE money. How many actually buy what they need instead of what they want? How many women are looking for ways to save by not spending rather than shopping the sales? Many of those "sale purchases" are unnecessary and shouldn't have been purchased in the first place! Just because something is on sale doesn't mean you should buy it!

Think of ALL THE MONEY you would have if you didn't waste it! Think of all the money you would have if you didn't waste it on meals to go because you did a better job planning meals for the week! Think of all the money you would have if you simply stopped spending it!

Those $40 shoes that you "have to have", not so much. That "special" toy that you MUST buy your 5 year old only so they can toss it to the side in a week in hopes of getting something else, not so much.


Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
(Proverbs 21:20)

So, that's my advice for a stay at home business! You will make big bucks for sure!

P.s. Be sure to check out HOW WE PAID OFF OUR MORTGAGE ON ONE INCOME (I'll give you a hint, a lot of it has to do with NOT SPENDING MONEY :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

5 Ways We Ruin Our Relationships With Our Children

Our relationships with our children can be such a blessing but there may be some ways we are hindering it from being a blessing...especially for them. I would like to encourage you to live in ways that do not embitter your children toward you. I haven’t had children very long, only 8 years, but I have been in ministry for about 10 years and I have seen some pretty sad and sour relationships between mothers and their children. Here are the top 5 ways I am seeing parents ruin their relationships with their children:

  1. Poor communication. Some parents simply don't talk with their children and when they do it’s often with a loud irritated voice...with annoyance or biting words. We need to be available to our children. We need to be women they can look up to and whom they WANT to talk to. We need to be approachable and not freak out when they share their honest feelings and questions. Freaking out is what makes our children NOT want to communicate with us. Speak with your children often. Ask them questions often. Praise them often. Communicate how much you love them and tell them specifically the things about them you are grateful for often.
  2. Being a bad role model in what a wife should be like. Many sons and daughters have become embittered with their mothers because of how they treat their daddy.  Even if daddy isn’t living out that spiritual leadership role he should, our role as wives is to submit to and honor our husbands. Don’t try and poison your children toward their daddy. Esteem him. Praise his good points. Don’t ever mention his weaknesses to them. Our role is to show them what a godly, submissive, gentle wife looks like. We aren't responsible for our husband's behavior.
  3. Not loving them. This may seem like a duh point. But it’s one that needs revisiting because it’s easy as a mom to go about life, working through our to do list, making sure the kids are bathed and fed, and forgetting the essential action of love. Titus 2 says that the older women are to instruct the younger women to love their husbands with a friendly love and to love their children with an affectionate love. It’s the greek word philoteknos (Fa-La-Tick-Nos) and it’s only used this one time in the new testament. It comes from the greek word phileo which as you know refers to friendly love. The older women are to teach the younger women to have a friendly love toward their husbands AND their children. Why? I think it’s because we forget to love this way. We can often end up loving like servants, meeting their daily needs and training our children in the ways of life but we forget to have fun with them. We forget to hold their hand and laugh with them. We forget how much it means to them when we participate in their favorite game, craft or other hobby. Let’s love our children with that friendly love and shower them with affection, even (or especially) when we don't feel like it or feel like that is our "love language". To truly love others often means doing so outside our comfort zone and against our natural inclinations.
  4. Being lazy and expecting them not to be. I think this is a relatively new issue. I bettcha 100 years ago children didn't see lazy parents! Our i-phones, televisions and computers constantly tempt us to lay around and shout orders at our kids. They watch us as we spend hours scrolling our phones, watching our favorite episodes on tv and surfing the web for hours while we get frustrated with them for wanting to play with their electronics. Something I have to constantly remind myself is that my children are not my little slaves, yes they have chores, yes they "carry their share" around here, but I am the one called to be the homemaker... I am the one that primarily is called to keep the home and I think many children are embittered toward their parents because their parents expect them to work hard around the home while they lay around. God says: "Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys." (Prov. 18:9) When we are slack in our work at home we are sisters to him who destroys. Let's set an example for our children in working hard and not just shout at them "work harder!".
  5. Being a different mommy at home than you are in public. This one hits close to home. Can I share a super humiliating moment with you that recently happened? My husband and I live in a parsonage. We have a lot of traffic right outside our door often. We have a lot of traffic that consists of our closest friends. Recently one of my friends (who walked through my carport to leave the church, that's how close our home is to the church) confronted me on how I was talking to my kids when I was at home. You see, I don't talk to my kids at home like I would in public and this could potentially make my children very bitter toward me. Lord help me! I told the friend thank you and cringed inside. My immediate response was pride. I thought: "I never get 'a day off'! I'm always 'on'! It's not fair living next to the church! I live in a fish bowl everyday!" And then I was convicted and humbled and started thanking the Lord instead of having a pity party. What a gift that was for my friend to show me what a hypocrite I was! What a gift that was for her to love me enough to rebuke me and reveal very clearly that I was being a different mommy at home than I was in public. Be the same mommy at home as you are in public. The Lord's eyes are never far and we truly have to live for an Audience of One. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My Second "Non-Babywise" Baby

My sweet Chloe was born on December 6th 2014. She was my second homebirth (you can read about my first homebirth here). The birth went as expected: lots of pain followed by lots of joy :) oh and p.s. this was the first time I didn't find out what I was having and it definitely was NOT all it's cracked up to be. Not doing that again.

Oh my goodness! How cute is my Chloe bug?!
I had decided when I was pregnant that I would do a "non-babywise" thing again with this baby as I had done with Charis. Now truth be told I was terrified (slight exaggeration) that I would change my mind... because... well... I do that A LOT. But yeah! I didn't change my mind and I am loving having my sweet Chloe bug on what I call: a go with the flow sleep training schedule. 

Now "go with the flow" and "schedule" don't usually go together. But I believe I have found a happy balance. Here are my tips on how to not have your baby screaming their head off periodically while also not losing your mind. 

#1. NEVER sleep with your baby. Alright, so I totally just lost half of you right there. But try it out! Sleeping with your baby trains your baby to sleep with you. Duh. But sleeping with you also means lots and lots of nursing and that can often mean no sleep for you or daddy or baby. Now, hey, if you want to sleep with your baby and that's what your husband wants (mine definitely didn't) then by all means go for it.

#2. Have a transition plan. My babies when they are first born are placed in the little bassinet and placed next to my bed. When they start to become more aware of their surroundings I transition them to a more private place like a bathroom or closet (big closet with good air flow) that is still close to my bed but far enough away that they don't see me. Around 6 months I transition them to the crib. Chloebug (her nickname) is almost 7 months so has been in her crib for about a month and it's going great! Now, by great, I don't mean: sleeping through the night. That, unlike babywise moms, is not my ultimate goal. I'll sleep later in life. I am able to nurse and go back to sleep and so it's not a big deal to lose out on sleep in 10 min. increments knowing that I am still in my own bed without a baby about 7-8 hours a night. Chloe usually gets up around 1-2 times in an 8 hour period. I nurse her in the dark and lay her right back down with her pacifier (I LOVE THE PACIFIER). Which brings me to number 3.

#3. Use a pacifier. There are so many oppositions to the pacifier that you can start to fear it's use. I didn't use a pacifier with my third and fourth child and they both still suck their finger (one is 2 and one is 5). Pacifiers can be taken away. Chloe has never shown "nipple confusion" and it never has hindered her nursing. Lastly, I taught her how to take it in and out of her mouth on her own so that I don't have to go in constantly and put it back in. You just practice when they are awake. Pacifiers have also been shown in helping preventing sids. Speaking of that, this is the first baby I have put on their back. I was not too excited about that but my husband insisted that I did and I was petrified of one of our babies dying from sids and us having to live with that if we had them on their tummies. One of my friends is a NICU nurse and she said she has never seen a baby come in who died from sids that was on their back... every single one was on their tummy... put that bit of info together with the fact that our friend's neighbor had just lost a baby to sids and they had the baby on their tummy. So I put Chloe on her back and swaddled her with one of these. It went fine and now she is swaddle free and rolling all around in her crib. I still lay her down on her back and she often chooses to sleep that way now anyway.

#4. Try feeding your baby whenever they wake up. This idea actually did come from babywise with it's: feed, wake, sleep routine. Chloe wakes up, I nurse her, let her "play" and then lay her down WIDE AWAKE. Now here's the deal though, for the first three months this rarely happens as planned and I am okay with that. I wore Charis (my first non-babywise baby) a lot the first three months and I did that a lot with Chloe as well. I was so afraid to wear my first "babywise babies" and was so pleasantly surprised that they could still sleep by themselves at night and that I wasn't training them to only sleep on me like I had feared. I never let Chloe and Charis scream like I did with my first three. I would do a "go with the flow schedule/routine" of: sleep, wake, feed, play, sleep. But sometimes I nursed them to sleep and sometimes I would wear them to get them to sleep during the day. By the time they were almost four months old I wasn't wearing them anymore and they were going to sleep happy! I never watched the clock but instead prayed that God with give me motherly wisdom to nurture, love and train my babies as He would have me do, not as man says I should. How did Eve survive without Gary Ezzo telling her what to do?! In fact, she didn't even have a clock! Oh. my. 

#5. Don't stress. Easy right? Ha! Yeah right! Stress is something we as people, especially a Christian people, have to combat daily. Stressing usually is due to a lack of trust in God but in the case of being the mama of a new baby it's often due to just not knowing what to do! It's hard to meet the needs of a little one that can't talk yet! It's hard to know why they are crying again and again. Mothering seems like something that should "come naturally" but just like many things in life, it is a learning process. For some of you though the learning curve isn't as severe because you were raised around babies, I wasn't. But I have found such a profound difference in mothering my fifth baby verses my first. Oh that I could go back and tell myself to chill out! I remember sprinting through the house as fast as I could to pick up Rhea (my firstborn) because she was crying. Now I understand crying is part of life. It's a part of my life as an adult and for a baby. I don't believe in letting my baby cry for long periods of time because frankly that's what "crack moms" do. Sounds harsh. But it's true! Crack moms don't tend to their babies needs and nurture them. Crack moms leave their babies to cry for hours. I have learned to enjoy this season more. Not freak out about crying and not let it go on and on. Now when I lay Chloe down I recognize which cry means: "I'm not going to sleep" and which one means: "I'm sleepy and need to fuss a bit". I enjoy my "go with the flow" mothering so much more than rigid scheduling! Life doesn't always happen on schedule and so pray and ask God to help you to not stress when things don't go according to your plan. Stressing totally takes your joy and prevents you from loving the baby season!

#6 Have a "security blanket" for them. I love my pacifiers and blankies. I pick out a soft blankie, preferably lighter so that it isn't too hot in the summer, before the baby arrives. I nurse them with it and lay them down with it. These come in so handy in the car when they need to settle down, at church, when they are upset and best of all at nap and bed time! 

Those are my 6 simple tips on how to "train" a non-babywise baby to sleep. Thoughts? Questions? Be sure to leave them in the comment section! Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Top 3 Reasons I Don't Blog Much

#1 There are A LOT of AMAZING bloggers out there. Thousands. In fact, there are thousands that blog about the very things on my heart: mothering, marriage, homeschooling, homemaking etc. They are better writers than me. More popular than me. More creative than me. Why in the world would I invest time in something when I know that I will never even come close to these wonderful ladies? 

#2 No one else is married to my husband. Sound weird? Well it's not. It makes perfect sense actually. I just had this thought as I was scrubbing the toilet in our guest bathroom. Lots of deep thinking happens during this activity for many of you, I am sure of that. Anyway, I was scrubbing the toilet thinking about how I would like to blog more and I thought: Scott would rather I be scrubbing the toilets. Well, my husband would like it if I was doing any sort of homemaking thing but that was what I was doing at the time of my epiphany. You see, I am married to a man that loves a clean, organized, clean (did I already say that?), noncluttered home. I am also called to be this very man's helper. The bible says I was made to help him and help carry out his vision for my home and his vision is very simple: teach and train my children and keep the home. Blogging is not at the top of his priority list and therefore it's not at the top of mine. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't mind me blogging and actually enjoys reading my posts but he minds if blogging comes before my children and my home (which it totally would if I invested in it more). Which leads me to reason number 3.

#3 No one else is the mommy of Ricky, Rhea, Johnny, Charis and Chole. Yep. Nobody else is blessed to be their mommy. I'm the only one. And when I blog I am not available to them. When I blog I am distracted... very distracted. When I blog I am missing out on watching them, training them, loving on them (unless I did it when they are sleeping which honestly is my best time to catch up on other things of greater importance). My children get one childhood and one mommy and I"m not going to miss it staring at my computer screen. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

I'm Going Back to School...

Well, that's what it feels like at least. You see, I spent 13 years going from kindergarten through my senior year and then I spent another 6 years getting my BS in psychology. What. A. Waste. OK, I know it wasn't ALL a waste. I did learn my alphabet and how to read. But as far as learning how to be a homemaker, mother and wife I learned nothing. Even my home economics class in high school has proven to be of no worth in terms of benefiting my current day to day life. 

I am putting myself back in school. I am studying homemaking, motherhood and being a godly wife like I am getting degrees in all three! 

Ladies, I am already seeing the fruit of this endeavor! As I am diligent in studying and putting into practice what I am learning, I am being blessed with visible fruit!

Why in the world don't we study for these major roles? Why spend so much time studying and investing in things that have little value eternally or even practically, for how we will spend most of our lives (as mothers, wives and homemakers). 

God addresses older women to train the younger women in Titus 2 to: keep the home, love their husbands and love their children (among other things). According to God these are the things He wants me to be trained in. These are the things He wants me to be investing in. 

That is why I am looking for Titus 2 women on-line to teach and train me! What a blessing to have so many godly women available to us 24/7 to train us in the things God desires for us to be trained in! We have no excuse.

I am by nature a very unorganized woman. This does not work out well for me when it comes to being a keeper of the home and training my children. There is hope though! With God's help we can change! If you are like me, believe with me that we can become organized! I have been praying that God would help me to think differently since that is how we change ourselves! (Romans 12:2) He is changing the way I think and He is using my investment in studying in keeping the home to actually keep it! 

Study the Word of God first and foremost, seek His Kingdom first and He will add unto you what you need. Don't neglect the study of His Word to study even good things like keeping the home, loving your husband and children. Read it first and then go to studying practical ways to live out His design for your life!

I feel a bit like a guinea pig for y'all! I am going to be checking in every once in a while over the next few months to share with you what worked and what didn't work. What was worth investing in and what wasn't. I will be sharing practical ways to better keep the home, love your children and love your husband.

Stay focused on these few things God has called you to ladies! Don't get distracted by all the things there are to pursue in this world. (For me this means no facebook :) If you are feeling overwhelmed cry out to God and ask Him to reveal to you what needs to be removed from your life to be able to carry out His will. Remember, there is ALWAYS TIME FOR THE WILL OF GOD. 

There is a lot at stake when we don't live out God's design. 

It actually says that His Word is dishonored. Let's honor God today and every day by pursuing His best and endeavoring to be excellent in the few roles He has called us to!

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.…" Titus 2:3-5

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Morning Sickness Tips

Morning sickness. The. Worst. Thing. Ever. Okay... maybe not ever. But it is TERRIBLE. Especially when you have hyperemesis like I do where you can't stop throwing up. I was so sick we actually decided to stop at three children... but then reversed our decision!

I have been asked numerous times if I have any tips to help mamas suffering with "morning"/all day nausea. After five pregnancies with extreme morning sickness here are my tips: 

1. Eat. Eat. Eat. Really Katie? Eat? That's what you got for me? This really is the best tip I have. I remember with my first pregnancy I had no idea that eating was the main answer to combating my nausea. Who wants to eat when they feel like throwing up? I threw up so much with my first pregnancy I lost 20 pounds in three months and threw up blood because I had thrown up so much. My doctor gave me these nasty suppositories that made me feel drugged and tired all day (which I am sure is also what it did to my baby) but he never advised me to simply eat as often as possible. The main key with eating is to eat BEFORE you get too nauseated. For me, this meant going to bed with three bananas and eating them through out the night whenever my nausea woke me up. If you don't have morning sickness that badly I recommend having a banana by your bed and eating it first thing in the morning while laying down with your eyes closed. Don't get out of bed till you feel the nausea has gone away. Eat whatever sounds good. Don't worry so much about what is the healthiest those first few months. Just eat whatever you crave and can keep down. Worry about eating healthy later when the nausea has subsided a bit. I did Trim Healthy Mama this last pregnancy toward the end and only gained 30 pounds total. Ginger, motion sickness bracelets, probiotics etc. did nothing for me.

2. Rest. If possible, lay around... a lot. The more you move the worse you will feel. Remember, this is not forever and you are growing a human being. Even if you do nothing else all day that is a huge accomplishment! ;) If you have other littles, like me, purpose for this time to be about reading lots of books with the kids and watching beneficial movies/documentaries. Rest.

3. Zofran. If your morning sickness is as bad as mine you may have to take medication to keep yourself from going to the ER for dehydration. I recommend zofran as a last resort. They say there are no side effects but I have a feeling in a few years they will tell us it causes growth of a third eye or something. Take it if you must, but first try to eat and rest.

4. Unisom at night. Along with zofran this would be last resort but in those beginning months you can. Take one at night with a vitamin b6. It really helped me with my middle of the night throwing up episodes.

5. Drink diet coke. Ha. But seriously, this worked wonders for me. If you are scared of the aspartame drink something carbonated and prefereably with caffeine. The combination of caffeine and carbonation is great! Scared of the caffeine? Fine. Drink carbonated something :)

6. Focus on eternity. This is essential with morning sickness. Just ponder for one second what you are doing. You have a little eternal soul growing inside of you. Hello. That's crazy and amazing. What a gift! In the midst of great trial and suffering God is accomplishing something miraculous in your womb! With each nauseating moment ponder what He is creating and give thanks. He is able to encourage you through nausea as you focus on your sickness being temporary and your sweet baby living forever. These were the verses that I meditated on day and night:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24) Remember, even when you feel like you are dying physically that God is bringing forth much beautiful fruit through it. 

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:16-18) Don't lose heart!!! Even though you feel like you are wasting away, God is creating life inwardly! Your sweet baby is being renewed and growing day by day. Your nausea is light in momentary in light of the eternal glory it is accomplishing which far outweighs all your suffering. Fix your eyes not on what you feel and see but on your sweet baby that you can't see which is eternal. The one "seen thing" you should fix your eyes on is your other children (if you have some). This helps me immensely because it reminds me of what my suffering will bring forth! I would gladly go through nine months of nausea all over again for any of my children.

Lastly: "
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-5) As much as we all hate suffering, God thinks highly of it and uses it for own good! The suffering is not what we rejoice in but it is what suffering produces, and in this case it produces a wonderful, one of a kind child!! As well as, endurance, character and hope.

Those nauseating days seem to never end but they will. Your baby however won't. They will live on forever!

Below are pictures of what 45 months of nausea produced for me. :) 

My Sweet Ricky! Named after my dad. My second born.

Rhea (pronounced Ray-uh). Our first born child! We love our Rhea Grace!

Charis (pronounce Care-us... like Paris). Our fourth child and first reversal baby!

Johnny. Our third child. He is our special boy!

Our most recent blessing from God. Chloe. Now 3 months old! Our second reversal baby.