Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lindsey's Story


Our fourth child is a bright, cheerful & smart little lady named Lindsey Brielle. She is full of life, and is growing up way too fast! She is only 7, but the Lord has already made Himself real to her in a wonderful way. Here is her story:

About 4 years ago, as we were getting ready for church, our 3 year old Lindsey crawled up on our bed and, as many kids love to do, was jumping on it. We were "otherwise occupied" and didn't see her.

Then we heard a noise followed by a scream & crying. When we ran to her, we quickly assessed that she had fallen & busted her mouth on the headboard.

At first, we were unable to determine the extent of the damage due to the blood....oh so much blood! So, we held her & put damp rags to her mouth to stop the bleeding.

When we were able to see in her mouth we saw a horrible sight! Two of her upper front teeth were completely pushed back & were flat to the top of her mouth. A third (an incisor) was twisted the wrong way & dangling. All in all, a very disturbing sight, to say the least!

Let me detour here to say that in the interum, we prayed. We also called some church friends & asked them to pray. I also gave her a dose of Tylenol. We called a dentist & they told us that, unless the teeth were completely out, there wasn't much they could do at this point. So, we did the logical thing: we put them back into place!

And they stayed!

For 4 years!

They were slightly gray, but they were in there & she had a normal smile!

Believe it or not, she WANTED to go to church. So we loaded her up & grabbed some damp rags (she was still bleeding). As soon as we got there, we had her prayed for. She did great.

I want you to know that, other than that intial dose of Tylenol, we gave her NO other medicines for pain!! She had NO pain!!! Amazing, huh?

The Lord helped her, and she knew it, even at the tender age of 3.

====F A S T F O R W A R D 4 Y E A R S=====

Tuesday night, November 30th, 9 p.m.

The kiddos were all getting to bed, when there is a crash and a horrible scream. Cries of "HELP ME" struck complete fear in my Mommy heart! In the 4 seconds it took me to RUN 2 doors to her room, my mind had already processed that I would be seeing something terrible.

I did.

Seven year old Lindsey was sitting on the floor by her sister's bed, where she had landed after losing her balance & falling off of her top bunk, crying uncontrollably & covering her mouth. I sat on the floor by her & tried to determine what the problem was.

She kept saying, "They're gone...they're gone!"

When I pried her hand away from her mouth, I saw. There, in her blood-filled hand were 3 teeth.

OH, NO!!!

Let me insert here that I am always amazed at how my mind becomes so clear & rational at times like this. I don't freak. I just take care of it...and fall apart later.

So, I just started issuing orders to the other children that gathered around.

"Heather, call your dad...we need him NOW!"

"Morgan, get me a glass of milk" (I have always heard to put knocked out teeth in a glass of milk...)

"I need some wet wash cloths"

Then, I just held her.

And prayed.

When Lloyd got there (which, thankfully, was only a few minutes), he took over. He cleaned & assessed. There was one more tooth hanging sideways that would have to come out. However, Lindsey wouldn't let us touch it.

After about an hour & a half, things had quieted down enough for us to take another look. I watched as Lloyd took a flashlight & looked around. His face said it all. It was bad.

Her gum was ripped, there appeared to be splinters in her gums, her lip had been punctured.

We swallowed the "no insurance" fear, loaded her up & went to the ER.

She was such a trooper! She let the doctors do what she wouldn't let us do! She was brave through the CT scan and the exams.

Thank the Lord, every bit of news came back good!!

Her jaw was NOT broken.

Her adult teeth were NOT damaged.

She would NOT need stitches.

She was ok...well, hurting, beaten up, bruised & bleeding, but OK!

I knew then & there that God & His people knew where we were! People were praying all over the U.S., thanks to FaceBook, even those who don't know us!

Here's the kicker:
As we were talking to the Oral Surgeon, we told her of Lindsey's previous accident. She was amazed! Lindsey had knocked out the SAME teeth TWICE!!! We told her how we put the teeth back in place the first time and, other than some discoloration, they were good as new.
I said, "yeah, they were gray, but ok".

The surgeon said, "her teeth were gray?"

"Yes."

The dr. then said, "Do you know that those teeth would have never fallen out? Because they were gray, that means they died. The had calcified to her jawbone & would have had to be surgically removed!"

Lloyd & I looked at each other.

Could this have been a blessing in disguise?

We think so.
No anesthesia.
No shots.
No fear.
Just sudden, irrevocable removal.
Hmmm....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Have A New Blog!!

Because I have nothing better to do...I have created a new blog! ROFL!

It's true! Click this link to go straight to HoNeYcHiLd'S CuStOm CrEaTiOnS.


Since my wonderful friends have been ordering so many cute dresses, skirts, tops, etc., and the orders just keep coming in, I thought a separate site to showcase what I have to offer as well as pricing & ordering info was appropriate.

So, take a look...share with your friends & family.

Order for Christmas.

Leave a comment!


*special note: I am still adding to the blog, so, if you don't see what you need, leave a comment, I'll get right on it!


Thanks!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Favorite Cake

It has been a long time since I have written here. I have thought about it, but don't want to just write to read my own writing.

I want to SAY something.

Don't get me wrong, plenty has been going on in our lives. School, work, projects, church...just...everyday...stuff.

However, it's the "stuff" that life is made of, don't you think?
I mean, it is the mundane, every day things that compiles what our lives consist of. Yet, when it's all said & done, we won't remember that we had spaghetti on Monday, and one of the kids spilled the tea, and we had to stop everything & get the mop. That sounds very trivial, doesn't it? But, it's life. And, I don't know about you, but I don't really care if I remember an incident like that.

There are small things, though, that I stop & think, "I sure hope I remember this in years to come."

Most of the time, I don't.

For instance, I have the memory of "consciously" making a memory (LOL). It was during one of the countless middle-of-the-night feedings with one of my babies. I was just sitting in the quietness of the house, with the wonderful bundle that God blessed us with. I remember thinking, "I want to remember the smell of this baby (I can't even remember WHICH one!). I want to remember the sweet little coos, the breathing...everything." I do remember that I wanted to remember, but I don't.

In some ways, that makes me sad.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a "sensory rewind button"?

If I could, I would go back to my wedding day & re-experience the feeling of walking down the aisle on my Daddy's arm, feeling like a princess with eyes only for my prince charming. I would re-live the feeling I had when I saw my first "+" on a pregnancy test. Oh, to re-experience the wonderful feeling when the children who have given their hearts to the Lord did so. I really could go on & on.

It's all of these things, big & small, that make up our lives.

The moments.

Yes, most of them are dull, filled with laundry, grocery lists, drives to the dry cleaners or dentist appointments, but even those are good. I have to say, that, when I think over my life so far, I feel immensely blessed.

Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates...".

I say, "Life is like a layer cake."


There are all sorts of things you can put into a cake, many of which, if tasted alone, are quite awful!


Some of them are....OK.

Some...WOW!




There is the ingredient that makes the cake grow and not be flat.

There is an element of moisture, so as not to be too dry or boring.

Sometimes, there are even strange ingredients like: carrots or zucchini or even salt. Not your normal "cake" fare, maybe you wouldn't even eat the cake if you knew those things were in it. But, they add something extra to the cake that wouldn't have been there otherwise.

Then, of course, there are the tantalizing ingredients. The sweet, the savory.


A layer cake has a filling, something that holds it all together. What is filling you? What holds your cake (life) together?

I love cake, don't you? :D

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Promises, Promises

This may be a figment of my imagination, but the other morning, I had to run up to the school to take one of my girls something they had forgotten. It was a beautiful morning & the sun was shining.
I was praying for our kids & asking God to give them a good day at school & to help them move past the hurts that have slammed them lately.
Then, as I was approaching the church/school, I noticed a rainbow right over them.
It was not raining, nor had it been.
I immediately thought of Noah's promise in the Bible & the rainbow that God set in the sky to signify that He was in control, and He was a loving God.
I had such a peace at that time.
I knew in my heart that God is indeed in control of our lives.
Was the timing coincidental?
Maybe.
Maybe not.
It really doesn't matter, the incident caused me to remember God's love & mercy.

"I love the life I'm living,
I love the peace You're giving,
and I love the truth that's hidden in my heart.
With gratitude I stand to praise You,
not just because I should,
but because You're good, my Lord, because You're good!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Time With a Sister




Man, it has been a long time since I have blogged! The funny thing is that I am constantly writing on here in my head. So much so, that I have sometimes been surprised that it hasn't actually been done :D You guys have missed out on so much of my wit, life, and deep thoughts! ROFL
I had the absolute privilege to go visit my dear "Sister" in Illinois a few weeks ago. We aren't actually sisters, of course, but we both have no doubt that God put us in each other's lives. It is pretty funny how we met...it was in Little Rock, Arkansas at a youth meeting last year...we shoved them to the end of the pew & proceded to worm our way into their lives! I warned them that we had a bunch of kids, and they said, "That's fine". Next thing we knew...they both had kids in their laps! She & her hubby invited us to come see them after Christmas.
BIG mistake!
We did.
(yeah, we're THOSE kind of people...lol)
Seriously, though, it was a wonderful time of fellowship for both of our families, and a new life-long friendship was forged. So, when the opportunity arose for me to go visit, I worked out the kid-details, asked my hubby if it could be my birthday present, and off I went ('cause he's THAT kind of hubby!).
Our visit was just so.....girly.
After traveling for 12 hours with my sweet friend who is moving to Illinois...I arrived...and we stayed up til 1:30 a.m. talking, and giggling....just like teenagers! In fact, our 16 year old daughters have mentioned numerous times how WIERD it was....we were like...OLD "besties". LOL *for the record...we are NOT old!!!*
Over the next couple of days, we shopped at high-end malls, a craft mall, a health-food store & shopped at low-end Goodwills. All were equally enjoyable!
We ate at fancy tea rooms, high-priced restaurants, as well as Arby's, and sammys on the porch (a personal fave).
We got drowsy on the porch, chillaxed with the laptop, discussed the intricacies of life, death, marriage, relationships, recipes, ideas, God, kids, *a small amount of gossiping*, cooking, shopping, health...well, you get the idea.
I could just say I had a blast, but I don't think that really conveys my thoughts! :)
Oh...and I learned some new skills from my "Sister", too! She taught me how to make bread and homemade cinnamon rolls!!! It was so fun!
And yummy, too. My kiddos have been after me to try it out on them, and I will...as soon as I can afford it at the scale!

Seriously though, this is something I have wanted to learn for years, and I feel like I can mark something off of my new year's resolution list now. Yeast no longer scares me.
Now, I need a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas....red, of course!
As our visit came to an end, I went with the caravan of cars from their church to meet up with my family in Shepherdsville, KY for camp meeting.
More on that next time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Where Are You, God?" "HERE AM I."


Amanda: Beautiful, fun & talented


The last few days have been positively surreal. A tragedy like this has never touched our protected little world. How do you cope with this?

My children are truly struggling. As a parent, there are difficulties on many levels. Your own grief. Your own struggles to understand. Your sympathies for the parents/grandparents. Your concerns about your older children's questions, their emotional well-being. Your conserns about your younger children & how much they know & how much to tell them.

I have never been a very emotional person, but right now, my head feels like it will explode from the pent-up emotion. The tears that I haven't shed because my kids need me to be strong. The questions I haven't asked because I'm answering theirs. The quiet time I can't have because the chores still need to be done...meals must be cooked.

The extent of my prayers for the last 2 days has been a single word, "Help!"

This hurts so much! Amanda wasn't part of my natural family, but she WAS a part of my church family whom I love dearly. I don't want to watch people I love suffer in this way. And yet, I know...with a sureness that is so deep within me that it's like the oxygen that I breathe...God knows. He sees. He comforts. He heals. He works. HE IS!

I have often read in articles about families who have suffered loss or tragedy, "they are holding to their faith." That has always seemed a little hokey to me. Such puny words for the magnitude of the peace & sureness that comes from KNOWING that the God of the universe KNOWS my name! He knows the pain His children suffer. I think that we tend to feel that, because we cannot see & touch God, then He cannot see or touch us. Yet, if my child is suffering (and they are), I KNOW it. They are my flesh & blood. I can see their pain. We are His children, and He loves us.

We can't make every hurt go away for our kids, but we can do everything in our power to help it ease. A hug. A shoulder. An ear. A prayer.

God does the same for me & you. He eases my pain. He comforts my soul. He clears my mind. He gives me a peace that passeth ALL understnding.

I serve a mighty God! And, yes, I am holding onto my faith for dear life! It is the only thing that makes the pain bearable. I cannot WAIT to get to church, to be with my spiritual family, to grieve, to comfort, to support & to cry out to my heavenly Father. Heather told me today that she could not imagine going through this pain without God.

She is so right.

Without Him, I would be nothing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peace in the Storm

We have been presented with a situation that we've never had to deal with before.
The death of one of our children's friends.

How in the world do you ease that pain? That confusion? What words will make it better? Is there a band-aid for this?

Well, yes and no.

I was talking to a cousin yesterday who is having a difficult time with the loss of her best friend to cancer after 8 years of fighting. She is still struggling with the why's, the emptiness, and the pain. I have no words for her. No "make it better" wisdom. I CAN pray, though.

Tonight, we've received word that a young lady in our church was tragically shot & killed. My kids are shocked, devistated.

This kind of stuff happens to other people on the news, not your friends!
Oh, the tears....torrents of them.

The questions haven't come....yet. But they will.

Why?

I don't know.

"Lord, I ask for the wisdom to help them to see You in this. To turn to You. To understand that, while they don't know why, You do. Please bring peace to our hearts. Please, be with the family, help us to be a support to our church family in any way we can."

Please, help us pray for this family, for the youth in our church, and for the church as a whole.

A song comes to my mind:


"There will be peace in the valley for me someday.
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord, I pray.
There'll be no sadness, no sorrow, no trouble I see.
There will be peace in the valley for me."

Let it be so.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

*We Are All God's Kids*

Things That Made Me Happy This Week:

Putting baby #7 in a "big girl" bed (only one baby bed, now!)





Making an AMAZING chicken alfredo
pizza for dinner!

Dinner with my honey & some wonderful new friends

My honey was able to go to Washington D.C. for a rally!


Noticing the leaves beginning to turn colors,
then seeing 2 fall very slowly to the ground.


Watching #1 do a "happy dance" when her
grades came back GREAT!!


Setting a goal to lose 2 pounds this week,
and losing 2.2!



Lunch with some great friends.


Finding some very inspirational blogs.
Completing these "ghastly"
pj pants for son #1 (yes, those are eyeballs!)

As you can tell, there are so many things I just feel like I am bubbling over! I truly could keep on going....


Well, life here is beginning to pick up some predictability. The kids are finally easing into the normal fall routine. They all do so much better with routine. Meanwhile, back at home...well, I have just the two youngest girls at home (ages 1 & 2) three days out of the week. Sometimes it is almost overwhelming, I must admit. I am not 21 anymore, and I am so used to other eyes, ears, and hands around all the time that I find that I am busier than I have been in a long time! I feel like a not-so-young mom again! This week, I was getting a bit stir-crazy, and I decided to plan an outing to Hobby Lobby. It went really well! I was so efficient...snacks, sippy cups, stroller...got it all! So, I pushed my luck and stopped by Wal-Mart as well for a few groceries. Again, it went well...until checkout time. By then, I had pushed us all too far. There was some screaming & crying (but I won't name names), but, in the end, I felt very proud of my adventure. I did learn not to overdo it...for anyone. We were able to go out one other day to Target...that was our only stop. It was perfect! heehee It's the little things that bring the most joy.




In the midst of my week, I posted a humorous bit of fact on my FaceBook page. It went something like this,
"I am glad that #8 is the only one who likes to munch on her siblings. However, I am determined that she will not become a cannibal!"
*chuckle*

Well, I received several posts from moms who have "been there, done that, got the bite marks to prove it", which was what I expected. Overwhelmingly, their advice was to bite her back...something that I knew, and would do, if I could ever catch her in the act!

However, one young lady (not a mom, yet) was astonished at this method! She questioned me about the rationale behind it. I told her that I didn't blame her...it DOESN'T make sense, but it does work. She was very polite & didn't want to offend those who had more experience, but she didn't agree.

And that's ok.

But, as I folded laundry & pondered over the discussion, my thoughts turned, as they often do when dissecting parenting issues, to our heavenly Father and His methods of training us. When the girl asked, "So you're trying to teach her NOT to do something by doing it to her?", I replied yes. I explained that it was a cause & effect situation. The baby doesn't know that what she is doing is painful, it is just an outlet for her frustration. Therefore, biting her back shows her that, "hey, this is painful!" The idea is that she will begin to associate the two. However, in order to get her to that stage, we have to (literally) stoop to her very basic level. "Talk" to her on her terms, in ways she will understand.

Isn't our God just like that?

Can you even imagine how He must look at us as babies who just don't understand what we are doing to ourselves & others? How He lovingly takes the time to discipline us, to train us, to teach us to grow in Him & His ways. How much more "beneath" Him could we possibly get?

And yet....He does it!

Just like we, as parents, will stoop to a child's level to get them to understand a concept, using language they will understand because they just aren't mature enough to grasp the idea on an adult level. I began to feel such a humility before God.

So small.

That the same God that created the stars and the moon, and such amazing animal life, such intricate plant life...and an unduplicatable human body...would stoop to MY level & "talk" to me. That He cares enough about me to make sure I "get it". Thank you, God...I can never tell You enough!

*sigh*

I probably should end there. I have tons more that I want to tell you, but it's just about me...nothing much. Just ponder the idea that God loves you THAT much...and go enjoy your day!

Love to you all!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Readin', wRitin' & Routine



Well, back to school has hit our family. This year, I have 6 of my babies in school! All but one of them were excited to get back, either for social reasons, routine reasons, or maybe, just maybe, educational reasons?!? Probably not.

This year is rather a milestone year for us.
1. The most kids ever for us to have in school.
2. Our oldest is DRIVING them all to school!
3. We have 2 in high school.
4. We have 2 in Pre-K.
5. We have the largest tuition bill we've ever had!!!
6. I only have 2 @ home for the first time in uhhhh.....10 years!!!

I have had mixed emotions about it all...well, a little bit, anyway. I really thrive on routine. I try not to be OCD about it, but I tend to get, let's say, testy, when things are chaotic. I truly did enjoy the summer with the kids right up until the last 3 weeks. Then, they were soooo bored & they drove me soooo crazy! It has been unbelievably hot here. So hot that they didn't even want to swim! Oh yeah, that's HOT!

My 2 littlest guys were just button-busting proud to be finally heading off to school! They both looked so stinkin' cute with their ginormous back packs filled to the brim with new crayons, glue, pencils & such. They have come home each day this week telling me about how much fun they're having. I am so glad for them.

Miss priss in the 1st grade is learning how to read & gobbling it up like really good candy! She sat down & read 53 pages to me tonight! Ok, so it was out of the Dick & Jane book, but, still, she was beaming with pride :) She is probably the one who was looking forward to school for the learning.

The ten year old, pain-in-the-patooty-but-ya-gotta-love-him 5th grader tried to act all casual about going back, but he did slip up a time or two & mention that he was "sorta" looking forward to going back. There have been zero complaints since starting back.

:) I got his number!

We have a FISH in the house this year!!! She has hit the ground running, too! On the second day of school, she came to me and asked if she could work really hard & graduate a year early. My advice...let's talk at Christma
s
break. Let's see how Algebra treats you.



Last, but certainly not least, is our resident Junior. Ohhhhh....it almost pains me to say that! She's driving, she's looking to the future, she's growing up! I am so very proud of her, though. She truly does not enjoy her schoolwork, but, she still makes great grades. She really puts forth the effort to study & pass. Her mindset is to just make it through, and, well, I don't blame her. LOL She will make it & do it with flying colors...I know. I am looking forward to next year when we get to go on the Senior trip together. That will be my reward for dragging her through the last 12 years of her life. :)

I have all sorts of plans for this fall. I am planning to help @ the school as much as possible. I already have responsibility for a rotating bulletin board with current events, trivia & useless info that seems to be a hit. I volunteered to get the library on track (why?). I also coordinate the field trips for the teachers...something I truly enjoy. Oh, I also will be teaching an arts & crafts class for the 5th graders. I am already coming up with ideas for that. It should be fun.

This fall will also hold lots of sewing, including a retreat where I'll learn more about designing & creating children's clothing. This is something I am very excited about! I also want to really hit the scrapbooks & get them caught up...lol...no, really, I'm serious! :)

This is my favorite time of year. Changes in schedule, changes in the day, changes in the foliage, changes in the temperature. Dependable changes. I like dependable changes. Hmmm...I also like oxymorons, and I think this phrase fits that description.





Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Final Summertime Musings

Things That Made Me Happy This Summer...
...Staying up late, and sleeping a bit later
...friends & family coming to see us
...Sunday morning swims
...date nights!
...losing 13+ pounds!!!
...developing closer relationships with my kids
...getting rid of 5 out of 6 puppies!!! :D
...learning to trust God even when it doesn't make sense
...me & my hubby sitting in our chairs into the wee hours, reading
& still feeling connected!
This summer has truly been a whirlwind-crazy time! I cannot recall ever having such a packed schedule. I am hoping that it isn't a preview of the rest of my summers!

I will admit to truly enjoying staying up late & fiddling around on my computer or reading a good book (of which I've probably read upwards of 10 since summer began). By nature, I am not a night owl, nor am I one to "sleep in" (just ask my kiddos). I truly enjoy the early morning hours. However, at night, when the house is so quiet, and I know that I have accomplished my self-imposed goals for the day, I so enjoy sitting with my feet propped up & talking with my honey or doing some "mindless" something. While I do enjoy the morning, I cannot sit & enjoy something for myself as my mind is already whirring about what all I need to do during that day.

As our summer winds down, our thoughts are turning towards the new school year which starts in only 7 days! My kids are all ready for the change (except my #1 child, I think). For the most part, they all enjoy learning & school. My oldest will be a junior in high school, and my 2 little guys will both be starting pre-school. We will have 6 in school this year! I am not going to know how to behave myself with only 2 at home! :o)

During the course of this summer, we have had a couple of milestones. Our oldest daughter got her first "real" job & has really impressed us with her determination. It has been a great experience for her in dealing with an employer & even handling sticky situations. Another important step she took this summer was finally getting her driver's license! GAH!!!!

Seriously, I was so very proud of her! She passed on her first try! I will admit to being very glad that she will now be able to take them all to school (yay!), but, the first time she pulled out of the driveway to take herself to work...hmmm...I don't even know how to describe how I felt. Proud? Sad? Excited? All of these, I think. I am SO enjoying watching my kids reach each different step & accomplishing new things in their lives. I remember how it felt to inch that much closer to adult-hood. I am excited for them, truly, I am. I don't feel any remorse for myself...maybe that will change as we get further down the line of kids...more towards the end. I don't know.

We've also had music in the house this summer! Daughter #2 has resumed her piano lessons, and we are all enjoying the fruits of her labor! She really has a talent. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for her.

Swimming also plays a big part in our summertime. Because we have a 4 acre pond, we feel that it is necessary for all of the children to have swim lessons- NOT a cheap endeavor!!! This year, we h4 in lessons...took a bit to get it paid for, but it's all good. Son #1 graduated-he's officially a fish in the water. Daughter #3 is fearless & can do anything...I think one more year & she's done, too. The 2 little guys both started this year & had a blast! I love investing in my kids :)!

Another goal that we reached this summer was potty-training the 2 year-old! First I must advertise...I HIGHLY recommend this site: www.3daypottytraining.com . It works! I have NEVER been able to get ANY of my kids potty trained before age 3. However, she recommends starting at about 22 months, so I thought, "I'll give this a try." I was skeptical. How could this work? I mean, really! Several of my friends had done it & I was paying attention. So, I set the days, got ready, and we started. That was the longest 3 days of the whole summer! I literally camped out with #7 in the bathroom for 3 days.
We had toys, books, chairs...but, by Wednesday, she was telling me she needed to go & has been doing so ever since (about 3 weeks, now). I will not lie, we've had a handful (or panty-full) of accidents, but not consistantly. The 2 she had overnight were because the baby monitor was turned off & I didn't hear her call out. I have been convinced, and have baby #8 slated for training in January. She will be 22 months at that point. I'll let you know....

I have also been sewing up a storm this summer, and loving every minute of it! I have such a weakness for fabric and I truly enjoy buying a lovely piece & taking it from a flat square to an adorable outfit. So fun! This fun has been compounded by the fact that I've also been able to make some money while doing what I enjoy! Does it get any better? I think not.

One last fun thing that happened in our family this summer was my honey & Son #1's deep sea fishing trip! They had been planning this for several months, and were very excited. They both took along a friend & headed out for nearly 3 days. Unfortunately, Son #1 was very ill, and slept pretty much the whole trip! An expensive nap!!! Between the 2 of them, there was only one "keeper" caught. We managed to make a meal out of it, though. *sigh* :D

Align Center


So, while I will miss my kids, I am ready for our "organized" life to resume. I am a creature of habit. I like things "just so"-no easy task in a family of 10! But I try. I will keep doing the things I enjoy...but maybe not so often. Through the years, my wonderful husband has encouraged me to take time for myself, and, I have told him many times, he spoils me! However, he knows it's what keeps me sane :)....my hobbies, my schedule & my God!
I hope you have had a fun-filled summer, too. With the start of school, that means that cooler weather & fall fun are only about 3 months away (remember we're in Texas...it'll be 90 in October) LOL!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Can I Trust You, God?

You know, sometimes I just can't wait to sit down & write this silly blog! Years ago, when I was in high school (MANY years ago...), I rather excelled at writing. I took advanced English courses, was the editor of my school newspaper, won a letter jacket in writing for the newspaper....etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. I haven't really had much of an outlet or need for writing in a very long time til I started this blog. Maybe that is one reason I really put off starting a blog for so long, I knew I'd get hooked! :)

I have been pondering the meaning of life this week. LOL! I know, that sounds rather...shall I say...obnoxious, doesn't it? Seriously, though, God has really been working in my heart on the issue of faith & trust.

This is an area where I feel that I have truly grown in the last 18 years. Fear has always been a biggie for me. I have heard so many wise & pithy sayings regarding fear and the life of the Christian, and, try as I might, I just couldn't get past it. I feared all sorts of things: financial ruin, death- of my hubby and each of my children, not pleasing God, being wrong, not being accepted...oh, the list goes on & on.

I remember one time in particular when I woke in the middle of the night paralyzed with fear. I couldn't even reach over to wake my hubby. I had to talk because I was too afraid to move. I asked him to turn every light in the house on...no help. I asked him to pray...no peace. I could literally FEEL the fear trying to take hold of me as I lay perfectly still in my bed. Finally, he called our pastor & he prayed with us both & helped us to rebuke that spirit of fear that was trying to suppress me! Finally, I received relief & fell asleep.

The Bible says that fear is NOT of the Lord.

Makes perfect sense, and yet....HOW, with our feeble minds do we learn to have blind trust?

The only way I know of is: experience.

And yet, that doesn't seem right.

A baby is born & has blind trust that it's parents will take care of it, and, if all goes well, they do. However, if the parents are neglectful or abusive, then the child slowly learns to mistrust them.

Is our God like that?

NO!

Maybe it is this human nature. Maybe by the time we are old enough to know better, we have been let down enough times for us too be wary of an unseen God. How can you trust that which you cannot, at the very least, SEE?! So, we make Him "prove" Himself to us.

"Well, if God helps in THIS way in this situation...THEN I'll trust Him".

What if He doesn't?

What if "THIS" way isn't HIS way?

So often, I find that I have wrapped God up in a nice little box with a tidy little bow (red, of course) on it & said, "Here's how You need to handle this...now, I'm 'trusting' You!"

How He must laugh!

Through the years, He has been oh so good to me. He has gently turned my fears in to falsehoods, time and time again. And, when my fears have been realized as truths, He's held me & helped me through them with such grace & mercy.

Not so long ago, I truly struggled with a situation that I felt God had "done" to me. I flat-out told Him, "I am too mad at You to talk to You right now!" I went for quite awhile giving God the "cold shoulder", and, as I think back, that was such a lonely time for me. I knew my anger was misplaced, but I really didn't know where else to place it. I didn't feel that I could trust Him to take care of me through what was about to be required of me. Because I didn't feel adequate for the job He had given me, I didn't trust Him.

Let me say that again: Because I didn't feel adequate.....I didn't trust Him!

Imagine that! I was mad at God because He hadn't asked me if I could handle it first! I wasn't in control, therefore, I didn't trust God. Sounds rather warped, doesn't it?

"I will trust You as long as You do it my way." hmmm....

When I look back at all the times I've cried. All the times I've fretted & obsessed. All the times I've ranted & panicked. And then how, with the greatest of ease, God has "handled" it, I am ashamed of myself. Embarrassed, even.

Fear is NOT of the Lord! It isn't. It is a product of our own mind. I put God on the same level as a fallable human because, well, I really can't fathom anything else. Does that make me right?

Nope.

I have been trying something different for the last few "trials" *chuckle*. I think about the situation, then consider the worst outcome. Next, I think of what would happen if God didn't take care of it the way I think it should be handled. Then, I just consciously....let it go. I remember all the times He's brought us through a seemingly impossible time. I remember how He's held us. Then, I swallow my fear, and, everytime it rises up, I just remember. Sometimes, I sing a faith-building song or recall my life's scripture (which God was so wonderful to give me during the time I was 'mad' at Him), "I can do ALL things throught Christ which strengtheneth me." Phillippians 4:13.

One more story, again, from the amazing Haitian people (this is true, AND recent!)

A man had died and his family was preparing to have his funeral & burial. However, Bro. Josef (sp?) told them to wait. He said, "We have not excerised faith!"

He told them to wait for 3 days & pray & fast (I think) for this man. Would you believe that man is ALIVE today??? Our brothers met him!! No kidding. A modern-day Lazarus! Oh...I serve an awesome God!

Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief!



Monday, July 19, 2010

*Schedules, Menus, & Chore Lists*

I have had a request or two to post some of our family's schedules.
I have not always followed schedules, lists & menus, but, the more chaotic my family life became, the more necessary these items became. I have been making lists, charts & schedules for about 8 or 9 years now. I tweak them about twice a year, at the start of school & the start of summer. Other times that I have made changes includes: birth of a new baby, any type of life changes, or when things just aren't working out.

I will admit that some of these schedules were confusing. Some were too micro-managed. Some chores weren't appropriate for the day or child they were scheduled for. It is important that you keep the following in mind:

Do NOT get so fixated on your schedule that you forget to LIVE your life!!


You may use a schedule as a starting point for your family. Make one up, try it out for a month or so. Keep an extra copy to write in changes that you need to make. Tweak, then go :)
I have tried to post my individual schedules that I have kept through the years, but I am having some technical difficulties in just transferring the files to the blog. However, I would be happy to email you my file, just let me know if you want it.

I would be happy to help you in any way I can.


You might want to check out a site I have found EXTREMELY helpful through the years.

www.Titus2.com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

An Issue of Faith







I had a photo shoot one morning last week at the rose gardens here in town, and, after I was finished, I decided to capture some of my favorite subjects while they were playing. A few of the results are shown throughout this post. ENJOY :)


I would like to share something that really convicted me tonight in church. Several of the brothers from our assembly just returned from a mission trip to Haiti. Our church supports the Haitian ministry, and, when their world was turned upside down after that horrific earthquake, the men in our church got there as soon as possible. They saw the real needs of the people: food, clothing, shelter. Basic needs of every human. Yet, the stories they came back & shared with us were not sob stories of terrible poverty & human suffering, but of a wonderful all-powerful FAITH! These people had lost EVERYTHING! Homes, clothing, and, in some cases, loved ones...gone. The ones which are affiliated with our church are living in a commune-style camp; several families per tent. Washing clothing in muddy water. Existing on beans & rice. And yet, our men were wakened every morning to the most beautiful sound of singing. As they soon discovered, the Haitian people were meeting at 5 a.m. to start their day with praise & song to their God! PRAISE!!! How contrary is that to our human mind?!? Doesn't it make more sense to grumble? How about that sackcloth & ashes? What about a good ol' pity party--everyone is invited?!?


Nope, nope, & nope!



Can you even imagine? Probably not.







That was soon after the earthquake.

















Tonight, we heard about how things are going now.

Has that praise & faith abated as the situation has progressed? NO!!



A story was shared about a woman who had lost everything, including her husband in the 'quake. Her pastor said that she REFUSED to grieve over her husband! She said that, if this was God's will for her life, she wouldn't grieve over it, she would just trust Him! BAM!! Right between the eyes! A real sucker-punch! I mean, I whine when my air conditioning isn't cooling below 78 (it is 110 degrees in Haiti & NO air conditioning)! God really touched my pity-partying, mully-grubbing, whiney-baby heart with this story. I felt so....petty. So...small. God, I....am.....? What? What do you say when you are just slammed with the reality of your gross humanity? I'm sorry? hmmm...seems....small.



Oh, there were many more stories of amazing faith & trust in God by these people who have nothing- really, less than nothing. Each one more convicting than the last.



One brother read from Hebrews 11...what my Bible has titled "The Honor Roll of the Faithful". Wow...you should read it! If your faith needs a boost, this is the passage for you.




After he read these words, with emphasis on FAITH, the Spirit truly gave witness to the fact that we, as a people, need to step up in this area. NOW!
I feel my need, dear Lord, of a closer walk with you...if I ever make it through. After this race is run, don't let it be in vain! Take my hand, dear Lord, help me the victory gain!





Oh, yes, Lord...help me, for I am too weak in myself!


"I believe, help thou my unbelief!" I truly want to serve God in such a way that, no matter my circumstances, I know that He is holding me in the palm of His hand, and I am right where He wants me.

"Not my will, but thine be done!" Can I say these words today?


no

My eyes have been realigned. I can see more of me, and, as usual, it's not as pretty as I thought. Ugh. If I am getting tired of the ugliness of me, I can only imagine how God feels. Well, no, I can't because as a human, all I can think is human thoughts. My impression is that God is sitting up there in the great beyond shaking his glorious head at my pitiful attempts, maybe chuckling at my vanity. Then, getting annoyed, and, maybe even angry. It is nearly impossible to imagine that He is sorrowed by my humanity, and that He loves me to a degree that I cannot even fathom.


It's a new day.



"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."


Yes, I believe I will.










Sunday, July 11, 2010

Counting My Blessings


Count your blessings, name them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count your many blessings.....name them one by one....
Count your many blessings SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE!



This morning, I went to breakfast with my mom. We went to Cracker Barrel (bluberry french toast! Yum-O) where they are already putting out fall decorations. Among them were those fabulous "green" shopping bags. You know the ones. They are kinda plastic, but stiff. Anyway, I just LOVE those goofy bags! I have a whole bunch of them because I'm a tote-y kinda person. The one at Cracker Barrel had several things going for it:

1. It is HUGE!
2. It was $.99!
3. It was brown, gold & red with sunflowers on it.
4. It had a snap closure.
5. It said, "Count Your Blessings"

Well, seriously, how could I pass it up? Truly, I am now wondering why I only bought one (so I won't buy so many of them at the same place that I can't buy one at the next place I find them).

You know, if you listen with your heart, you will hear ALL KINDS OF THINGS. This bag "Spoke" to me. Do you know what I mean?

The first thing it said was, "Remember how blessed you are. Don't EVER forget what all God has done for you!"

I hear ya!

Then, it said, "Aren't these colors so warm & comforting? You know that you love this combination...most of your house is done in these colors."

True, true...

And, lastly, it said, "You would be a complete IDIOT if you passed up a deal like this!"

Ok, OK already!! LOL

Really, The bag had me at "Count Your Blessings".

I am SO blessed. Oh, trust me, it has NOTHING to do with money...at ALL. Nope, we ain't got much 'o that stuff. But what we DO have is love. Oh yes, so much love it will make us cry if we start trying to comprehend it.

My hero & I often get misty-eyed when we talk about the depth & blessing of our love for each other and our children. It is just SO much more than we can even fathom. And, when we think there can be no more...there is.


I chuckle when I think back on the days when I wondered how I could possibly love another child, I already loved the 2 I had so very much. I couldn't love another one, so God expanded my heart! I have had so many heart enlargements, that I'm just about full to overflowing! :) Each one of my 9 blessings (my hero + 8 darlings) is so unique & wonderful that I truly enjoy exploring their personalities with them...discovering who & what they are becoming.

Oh, and the life we live. Really, I could go on forever about the things in my life that are blessings.


"I've a roof up above me, I've a good place to sleep. There's food on my table, and shoes on my feet. You gave me your love, Lord, and a fine family. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me!"

Not to be materialistic, but I have a gorgeous piece of property upon which to feast my eyes daily. I enjoy my house, it is suficient for our needs (ok, I could use more closet space, but ehh...who's complaining?). True, it isn't the dream house we had in mind, but it is a blessing. It came at the right time, and at the right price! Who could ask for more? Not me.

I have eyes...literally & spiritually. I can see all that God has for me to see. Sometimes, there is just too much for me to see, and He so gentle to only reveal what I can handle for the moment.

I have ears...again...literally & spiritually. Music floods my ears. Sounds of joy. Sounds of praise. Sounds of laughter. Sounds of sorrow. Words that cause peace, love, and understanding.

Even the trials, disappointments, hurts & sorrows are blessings. These are the things that cause us to grow. I so want to grow. Growing pains are not fun, but they ARE necessary. I am thankful that God is helping me to grow.

Oh....the blessings. Hmmm....it is time to stop for now, but I hope that I have made the impression upon my readers that I am, indeed a very blessed woman.

Have you thanked God for your blessings? Have you sat down & truly thought about the ways that you are blessed?

Go by Cracker Barrel. Have a yummy blueberry french toast breakfast, and buy yourself a tote bag. When you use it, pause a minute & think on your blessings. Go deeper than the obvious ones. Search your heart & pray...is there something in your life that you hadn't seen as a blessing before? Look at it from God's perspective...quite possibly, it is a blessing in disguise!



Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Summertime Musings

My Sweet Lil' Girls on the 4th of July
Our Holiday Weekend

To say that we have been crazy busy would, in fact, be a gross understatement! I do believe that this has been the busiest summer we have ever had. I am beginning to see some relaxation on the horizon, though. WHEW!

Our wonderful friends came for only 1 night last week, but we so enjoyed their company, we followed them to Houston to celebrate the 4th of July! We really had a great time visiting with friends & family that we haven't seen in a while. We went to church, ate, went to church, ate, played @ the church, ate...food was everywhere!

Sometimes, going back where you came from gives you such a clear view of what God has done in your life. We both grew up in Houston, and never really had any plans to leave there. However, one day, we decided to move, and we have NEVER regretted it. We love our life here in the country!



Number 7&8 in the field behind our home





Book Recommendations & Reviews Page



I am an avid reader, and I have a stack of books & a mental list of other titles that I want to read at all times. I will admit to really liking a good love story as much as anything else, but, I do try to put other more, shall we say, intellegent information into my head as well. :)
One of the best gifts I have ever received is my Kindle. A Kindle is an electronic library of sorts. It utilizes e-books & I can download any of thousands of books in about 30 seconds from Amazon.com. Plus, with free samples of each book, I can try new stuff that I might not have ever tried before. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Anyway, I have a friend who posts books that her family is reading on her blog, and I have found this to be a great way to hear about new stuff. So, I would like to share with my plethora of readers (LOL) the books that have moved me in some way or another. I hope this will be a helpful feature of my blog. Please, if you try one that I suggest or if you have already read it, put a comment!


Thoughts & Other Stuff

I have truly been feeling overwhelmed recently with gratitude towards my wonderful God! He has made Himself so real to me & my family that I just find myself tearing up while driving down the road.

Why would He choose us?

I was introduced to the idea recently (through reading) that we are physically incapable of understanding God's thinking. For us, we just have to have the faith that He DOES love us. Sometimes, it is hard to believe that, especially when things, seemingly, aren't going our way.
We have been going through something with one of our kiddos in trying to help them rise to the challenges of responsibility. Unfortunately, this hasn't been going too smoothly for them. As adults, we know firsthand the sorrows that will come from not being diligent in your labors, or what slothfulness can do to your reputation. A child has no knowledge of this,and, as a result has real difficulty believing their parent's words in this regard. So, as good parents, we have talked 'til we are blue in the face. Laying it all out, complete with drawings & diagrams.
Cause & effect.
If, then.
Still...disbelief.
Finally, something drastic needed to happen-a 2x4 to the head, so to speak. I tell you, as a mom, I just hate, Hate, HATE to do this to my children! Why can't they JUST BELIEVE my words?

Why can't they just HAVE FAITH??

oops.

yeah.

sounds familiar.

God is the best parent ever, so, of course He would have the same types of thoughts regarding His kids (i.e. me & you). Why, oh why, does He love me even when the 2x4 up side my head doesn't work? Why is He so patient with me? Why are we so lovingly patient with our kids?

*sigh*

I just love God, don't you? :)



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime Musings


Well, our summer is off to a great start! We have been so very busy already. These next 2 weeks will be the busiest of all, then...hopefully, we will be able to slow down.

This week started our 2 week stent of swimming lessons. Numbers 3,4,5, & 6 are all going this summer. It is NOT a cheap endeavor ($320!), but with a pond AND a swimming pool, we feel it is absolutely necessary for all of our children to learn to handle themselves in the water. Not to mention, they absolutely love it! Getting them to & from classes is an excercise in scheduling, though: 11-11:45, 11:45-12:30, and again at 3:00-3:45. Whew!

Also this week, some wonderful friends are coming to stay with us on their way down to Houston. We just love these people, so it is NO imposition to have them....still...the house needs to be clean.

At the end of next week, #'s 1 & 2 and I are headed out to Louisville, KY for a youth convention. They are excited, and I have mixed emotions. I am turning into a real homebody.




Otherwise, I am being a real bum! I have been able to do several things that I enjoy so far this summer, such as: sewing, scrapbooking & reading.

I just finished Laura Bush's "Spoken From the Heart", and I thoroughly enjoyed it. She really made it personal. She starts with her childhood & brings it up to this year. While the book did get a little bogged down with detail during the White House years, the wonderful little stories & tidbits of information made up for it.

So, that is what I'm up to right now. Now you know... :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

LORD!




There are so many things on my mind that I really don't know where to begin. So, I thought, for today, I would attach something my #1 daughter wrote. I must say, when I first read it, I thought..."This is amazingly good!"

When I read it again, I thought..."Thank you Lord for talking to her!"

My hero & I both feel that God has something special in store for #1...a work for her to do. It is our distinct privilege to be able to have ringside seats as we watch her life unfold! Here it is:




LORD!! Lord, my heart is burning. My tears are flowing and Im just... Sitting here. The burning is a desire... A want... A need to be more than I am. And Im just... Sitting here Lord, there is children... Dying... From either lack of food in countries like Africa and Haiti. Or from lack of love... Sitting in a shelter... one of many. No home.. No family.. No love. And Im just sitting here. There are teenagers my age stealing and doing the unthinkable! LORD!! They need you! And I have you. I feel useless. They are not happy. No. They are not. Oh Lord! Im just sitting here! Help me Lord! I have many abilities! I can love a child with no hope or love. I can share You with teens who want what they dont realize they dont have. God, Lord, I have food, more than some children in foreign countries have ever imagined exsisted. Lord, I want to help the suffering children in hospitals... Lord, they need your LOVE! And I.. I am just... Sitting here. What can I do Lord!m just a teen! But lord I want your will! Tell me Lord! Direct me! I want to help and yet I CANT!! LORD SHOW ME! I AM JUST SITTING HERE! Move me God. Lord theres so many stories of people who sacrificed their life for you! Amy Carmichael.. Went to India... The unknown and risked her life for... YOU! Missionary work. Lord theses people need you and Im willing! Show me! Stephen in the bible... He was SEVENTEEN!!! And he stood up for you lord!! I want to have that courage... That ability! To know whats right and whats wrong and to suffer for you Lord!! God, these great people, I want to be one for you. Lord Im just sitting here! Please use me! I feel so useless. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Are you using your talents for God? Are you shining your light for Him? You are here on this earth for a purpose DONT MISS YOUR CALLING!! People! We are in an age now where God is going to work mightier than he did in the days of Jesus! Miracles are going to happen... Greater things than you have imagined are going to arise! The blind WILL see again and the Deaf WILL hear again and the lame and sick WILL be healed!! Are you ready? Am I ready?ask yourself!! NOW is the time! Young people! This is from my heart! Seek God NOW because you wont have time when he is choosing his Church!! WE ARE THE CHURCH OF TOMORROW!!! And the years to come!! If we are not strong... If we are not consistent... If we fiddle and poke around we are going to MISS it!!! Spread it! Have no shame for the Lord God Almighty is our leader and we will not fail! We will not stop! We are in Gods army and we are dedicated! We are going to march into that world and we ARE going to share the Gospel! Because that is what our COMMANDER, JESUS CHRIST has plainly told us to do! Lets follow the orders!! Why are we sitting here?! Why?!?! Because we are afraid. Yes. We are. But who will fail with Jesus on our side?! Nobody! Our emotions will get hurt.. Our feelings and our personal lives! But those are not of God! We! Must! Move! On! Carry this message people!!! Dont stop! There are people! Teens, adults, children! Dying everyday in car wrecks and other disasters! And they die without knowing the truths that we have been taught. Lets move. Gods spirit is pouring out in our youths today. Lets use it. We have a great work ahead of us. And It is our job... To see that its done.


June 22 2010

This is my heart, not my words.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

*Things That Made Me Happy Today*

Chocolate covered mini-marshmallows-a simple indulgence!
#3 saying that working makes him happier than being lazy! (Progress!)
Relief from a terrible headache
My chiropractor (see above!)



Thoughts for Today

I cannot really say that I have any earth-shattering things to pour out to my unseen audience today, but I haven't been on here in a few days, so I felt like messing with my blog :).

I am working on expanding my humble blog to include several pages that reflect some the activities in my life.

Most people are surprised to learn that I actually have "spare" time...whatever that is! Truly, I have always just "made" time for the things I enjoy doing. What I enjoy has varied through the years. I took sewing lessons shortly after I was married, and have had a love/hate relationship with it ever since then. However, the more I have sewn through the years, the more I have learned, and, therefore, the more enjoyable it has become. I am currently sewing up a storm making all sorts of cute dresses & outfits for my girls as well as for other people. It is fun to me to mix & match fabrics, and then to whip it up into a frothy, girly creation! I will be making a page to show off some of these as well as to bring in some business!













These 2 dresses I made for #'s 7&8 to show their patriotic spirit!






The next page I want to add is one for my photography. I have been a photographer for 10+ years & really enjoy the creative outlet it affords me. It also helps fund some of my other habits :). As a stay-at-home mom, I am always looking for ways to bring in a little extra cash to either help with a special need such as a vacation or Christmas or maybe just to have a some pocket money for myself. The Lord has always been faithful to bring me a customer just when I need it! Because He is so good to bless me, I try, whenever possible, to use my business to bless others. My goal has always been to provide good-quality portraits at a budget-friendly price, mainly because that is what I need!


The final page I am planning to add (for now) is also related to my photography. I have been accepted by a non-profit organization that provides portraits for families that have children suffering with serious illnesses. I will be using this page to showcase the work that I will be doing for these families as well as provide any updates on things you can do to help brighten these children's lives. Inspiration Through Art also has several other ways that they show support to these young heroes that fight for their lives every day. Log on today to see what you can do: http://www.inspirationthroughart.org/

Ok, that's all for tonight. Watch for changes. I'm staying up late working on it...and dragging through my days :) LOL

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Thy rod & thy staff, they comfort me."

Sunday morning, our family had a Bible study. Usually, we go through whatever Proverb that corresponds with the date, so we read through the 13th chapter. I have read through Proverbs many times, and it never fails to amaze me that I can find SOMETHING that applies to my life that day.

Years ago, we learned that, when you sit down to read God's word, you should pray and ask Him for a word or "Rhema" that will carry you through the day. I have to say, any time I have taken the time to do this...God has been faithful (as usual) to answer my request. In Luke 11:3 where Luke gives his version of the "Lord's prayer", he says, "Give us day by day our daily bread." This is just slightly different than the version in Matthew 6:11 which says, "Give us this day our daily bread" which is the way I have always known it to be. For some reason, Luke's version speaks to me more plainly. God gave His children manna from heaven day by day. Each morning they awoke and it was there. God never failed them, even though they failed Him numerous times...as do we. Our manna from heaven is in God's word, if we ask, if we seek, He will supply our daily bread day by day. I must admit, that I have always thought of the Lord's Prayer literally in terms of real food...not spiritual food.

Anyway, I digress from my original thought.

On this day, God supplied some spiritual bread for me. It came in the form of Proverbs 13:24 which says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." My kids just hate that scripture! LOL We never fail to point out that this is where God gives us instruction to discipline our children in order to love them! A fact that they have real trouble believing.

However, this isn't about chastening our children...not today, well, not really...ok, kinda. :)

As we were poking at our kids about the meaning of this verse, a light went on in my head & I thought of Psalm 23:4. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Again, I have always thought of this verse literally; the rod & staff as a shepherd's tools. After all, weren't the Psalms written by David-a shepherd? Of course, we tend to make our points to others in ways that we are familiar with. But, for the first time, I thought of the word "rod" in the same way as it is referenced in Proverbs when dealing with our children.

Are we not the children of God?

Does He not love us as much as, if not more than, we do our kids?

Here is my understanding: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." Here, I feel that this is referring (at least, to me) to the world in which we live. We walk on this earth under the shadow of the punishment of death as brought on us by Adam & Eve. No one can escape this inevitable ending to our lives. Death is all around us, both literally & spiritually. There are so many things in today's world that can lure us, but will only bring death to our souls. We walk constantly under the shadow of death. I don't know that I am most concerned about physical death as I am about spiritual death. Although, I don't relish the thought of either one!

Next portion: "...I will fear no evil..." As children of God, we have nothing to fear. The grave can only be harmful to us if we suffer spiritual death, and, as long as we stay close to our Shepherd, we will remain spiritually alive.

Now, here is the part that really got me to thinking: "...for thou art with me, thy ROD and thy staff, they comfort me." As God's kids, He sometimes finds it necessary to apply the rod of correction in order to protect us from dangers, and even death. Likewise, with our own children, we are to be looking out for their lives, both physically & spiritually. There are many things that they either don't see or aren't even aware exists. It is up to us to use our rod to guide & direct their paths safely. I know for myself, there is a comfort in the knowledge that an all-seeing God is looking out for my safety. No, I don't enjoy or even like when He has to use the rod on me, but He does.

Does a good shepherd use his rod to beat or hurt his sheep? Does God harm us in His use of the rod? Absolutely not! The rod is for gentle, steady correction; firm & constant.

Even though a child probably does not realize it, and, if they did, they would never admit it, the boundaries created by their "shepherds" are a source of comfort & well-being. With boundaries, there comes peace, both to the child & the parent. Just the same as it is with us & God.

I love knowing that God looks out for me, that I am in the palm of His hand. He knows the things in this life that will harm me & therefore uses His rod to steer me right. In the knowledge of these things, there is love.