Saturday, September 15, 2007

Balancing Ministries - Part 1

Are you a juggler? I'm not or doing this might be quite easy. Balancing the ministries (could also be known as priorities) of a mom is probably one of our biggest struggles - although we don't realize it.

It's probably at the root of many of the issues we face on a day to day basis because how we view our ministries determines how we spend most of our time and how our attitude is effected (and therefore effects others, like our family).

First and foremost we must figure out what our ministries are (or should be!). I won't get into a long debate about a woman's ministries. I realize that there are varying opinions on this, but I just prefer to take the opinion of God, our creator, on these issues. I figure He knows us better than anyone, since He created us, so it would be in our best interest to trust and obey (for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey). But I do want to warn you that I will be hitting some hot buttons later.

1. Seek God daily (preferably in the morning). We see it over and over in scripture. Abraham, David, and even Jesus got up in the morning to spend time in prayer seeking God.

Mark 1: 35 says
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Practical tip: Here's what I do to have this quiet time in the morning. I aim to go to bed earlier, but that doesn't always work. I try to get up before the kids. Most of the time this works, but not always - they are early risers and if I stay up just a hair too late, I can really mess up the schedule. I grab my computer and my headphones. I plug my headphones into my computer and pop on iTunes. Big P has loaded the Bible into my iTunes and we just love listening this way. Now, while I love this, I need to also be reading it, so I follow along reading the NIV in It really helps me to soak it in. I am using this to help me get through the Bible in 1 year. You can choose the various ways you would like to read it, chronologically, new/old, old/new, etc. Here's what my "perfect" quiet time schedule looks like - like I mentioned before, it doesn't always happen this way, but when it does I am truly blessed with a more peaceful day (a commodity in a household with 4 busy children!).

  • Praise - I listen to a praise song on iTunes. We like contemporary music, but we don't like to "jam out" to things that we can't understand the words to. What's the point?
  • Prayer - God, I want to hear what you have to teach ME today. Before I can teach my children or mentor anyone else, I need to learn.
  • Bible - my listening/reading combo mentioned above.
  • Prayer - Thank you God for your Word today. Please help me to live it out (this truly is the hardest part).
Now, sometimes this mama gets a little grumpy when she doesn't have her quiet time. And a few days in a row can really ruin my week!

Randomly the kids will get up, after I have hit the snooze button 1 too many times! When this happens, I grab my computer, and I put on an old cartoon on for them (or Higglytown Heros) and I do just my Bible reading combo and prayer. It's better than nothing and I've learned my lessons enough to know what it is like without it.

Now, I'm sad to say that on the weekends, it just doesn't happen this way. I am working on our routines and will be implementing my quiet time routine (which is also affected by my evening routine) every day this week, tweaking it, adjusting as necessary, etc. I'll post that later in case anyone needs ideas to spark their imagination.

I wanted to start out with this ministry first. Our first ministry is to ministered to by God. Nothing will really fall into place if that isn't our first priority. It's one of those things that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to us. Cindy Rushton mentioned this in one of her talks and I found it fascinating and true! It's like tithing (doesn't make sense how you can make do with 10% less, or more), and Sabbath rest (doesn't make sense how you can get more done Monday through Saturday if you just rest that one day per week), and it doesn't make sense, in our human minds, how you can have a much better day by just spending the first of that day with God.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Little Bulge!

Okay, I've noticed it for a couple of days, but this morning even more so. Now, I must say that I did have some tummy weight, which is why it is bulging out a bit more than if I hadn't gained that almost 10 lb. back! I'm watching what I am eating - how much, making sure to get enough exercise (running around the house - I will pick back up my walking today), and drinking plenty of water.

I have a little bulge in the belly! I can't remember when I started showing with my others - how sad is that?! I do know that with my oldest, I was about 4 months before you could really start to see a belly, and then it just looked like a little pudge (as I was skinny minny then!).

They say that the after birth contractions get harder with every child, and I would have to wholeheartedly agree with that! And it's because your uterus is stretching more each time. So, then it wouldn't seem highly unlikely that I would be showing a little at this point - although no one could probably tell the difference, but me. But my tummy is getting harder!

This is my 6th pregnancy, but 5th to carry this far. I'm going to have 5 children! Wow!!! I can hardly believe it. Isn't God good?

Life does get overwhelming at times. The house becomes a wreck, and making meals becomes tiresome. As does cleaning poop out of the bathtub, changing diapers, washing clothes, and all that stuff. But, when I truly think about it, really deep thinking now, I realize how blessed I am! I mean REALLY blessed! My children are loving to me (and sometimes to each other - just kidding, sort of!), they say sweet things, and they thank me for the meals that I make.

I realize that I am in a thankless profession, but my husband does such a wonderful job of thanking me, even when I don't feel like I deserve it. This isn't a job where you go work for someone else all day, get a pat on the back along with a paycheck, and leave at 5. This is the hardest work I've ever done in my life, because it is 24/7. But, I know that God has prepared me for it. He never leaves me!

He is there in the bathroom when I'm sitting on the side of the tub waiting for the 3.5 year old to poop. And he's there when that little boy says "Mama, I poop!" in his excited little voice and waits for a round of applause.

He's there when I am changing that diaper, as messy as it was, while my 18 month old laughs at the funny faces Mama makes and tries to HELP!

He's there when my big boy comes up to me and tells me that he loves me, when we are walking together at the Heritage Village where he volunteers. He tells me all about the history of the building and I am so proud of the boy (ahem, excuse me, young man) he has become.

He's there when my little girl makes me a treat that she has made in the kitchen. She thanks for me for teaching her how to cook and bake and gives me a kiss to go along with it.

And I think about all that I would have missed out on if I wouldn't have been there to do these things with them. Or all I would have missed out on if I never had them at all.

And so, even though the little bulge in my tummy is half from the extra weight, I thank God for being there and giving us the little signs of His love for us. And who would have ever thought I would have been thankful for a bulging tummy?! :) And I thank God for the changes He has made in me!

Joyfully busy at home,

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Diet, Exercise, and Water Index Card

Another freebie from Molly at - I thought this was a very cool one!!!

I've been trying to be careful about what I eat, exercising, and drinking plenty of water - because I've got an extra special reason to right now. I think this will really help me!!

Instructions for how to print on index cards is on Molly's site. Also, you can get EL cHEAPO dELUXE index cards at walmart - like 48 cents for 100 cards.

I wonder if she would considering making one for kids. My children have the hardest time getting in all the water they need - and we don't drink anything but water and milk in our house! LOL

Whole Lot of Nuttin' Kind of Day

That's about what I feel like I accomplished today! Did a little of this and a little of that. Didn't feel bad or anything, just felt a little unmotivated today I guess. The kids likely felt the same way as they were asking for the day off school. They will do school on Friday instead.

Got some chore cards printed to start the chore system back up. I have been lax about it and the house shows it! I had bought the chore card system from Molly at and really wanted to implement it, just haven't.

So, I sat down today and started printing some off. Then I bought the Mom chore set. It's $2.50, so if it helps me at all, it will be worht it. She is so wonderful and even created a couple of cards that weren't in the kit, just for me! Wasn't that sweet?! She has wonderful freebies on there, as well, so check them out.

The kids played outside so much today - 3 times. They only complained about the heat once. Big P nipped that in the bud really quick, so no more complaints after that.

They just played and played and played! It was so cool and it reminded me once again, why I love the cooler weather so much - everyone is happier. I wonder if we could afford to get a summer home up North - way north! LOL Yea, right! We might be able to shuck up enough money to get an acre of land and plop our pop-up camper on it - but Big P can't take 3 months off his job! LOL He has a nice vacation package, but not that nice! Believe me, I've proposed the idea before.

And so we played around most of the day. Doin' nuttin'.

B.3.5.B. become facinated with some grasshoppers the kids caught in my canning jars. He carried those little critters around with him all day. He told me they were his "friends". It was precious!!! They got dropped a couple of times, which seemed to send the little things into a tizzy. And then he would say "they scared". Yea!!! How would you feel if someone stuck you inside a cylinder and sloshed you around all day! And then stuck their face up to check you out and shook some more.

We were able to free his "friends" tonight when he went to bed. I'm sure he'll get up asking for them tomorrow and they might have to catch some new ones. Using the same jars, of course, that have now been "labeled" the bug jars (and lids, and rings).

He got some ant bites today and tonight his little foot was swollen and a bit bluish. It was on top and didn't bother him until someone touched it. I gave him some benedryl and he was out.

Landon pooped in the tub, so the tub had to be cleaned (again!) and all the tub toys washed.

And tonight, after a pretty lazy day, the big kids and I got to sit down and watch Sugar Creek Gang on DVD- the first episode. They crashed and this mama is about to.

I'll have a more productive day tomorrow, I just needed a nuttin' kind of day! They sure are nice when we take them now and then. :)

Joyfully busy (sometimes!) at home,

Tons of Freebies

Here is a link for tons of freebie downloads from Tawra Kellum and Living on a along with lots of friends of hers.

Check it out:

A Little Glimpse of Autumn

Yesterday afternoon as Big P was getting ready to take the kids to the park (after both of them had to cancel horse and guitar lessons) I walked outside to see how torturous it was. Now, I haven't complained here too much about how I dislike the summer in Texas, but believe me, everyone else knows.

I think I might have been spoiled a little bit this year, because we had such a short summer. With all the rains we got at the beginning of the summer, and now, fall seems to be coming a little early, I don't k now what to think - except to be very Thankful and Praise the Lord!!! For He truly knows the desires of my heart.

My best girlfriend sent me a card the other day. She had stamped it and it said, Let It Snow. I thought she was cleaning out her scrapbook stuff and found a card that she had forgotten to send me. Then I realized that it was just her being funny - and trying to make me feel better.

Of course, she and her family seem to think that 110 degrees is the time to be outside enjoying the good 'ole sun. They must like to sweat their pants off! I tease her with things like when it is really cold outside, she could just park her chair in front of their open oven and she'd feel like she was really living a Texas summer - which is exactly what it feels like!!!

Of course, she thinks 55 degrees is some sort of of blizzard and that's my time!!!! I love that weather. My favorite temp has to be 72 degrees!! I just don't think it gets much better than that.

It's going to be 82 today, which is still a walk in the park compared to a normal Texas summer day. I just may go outside and enjoy it, too.

The kids had a blast yesterday playing at the park. Of course, it seemed to be a day of trouble for B.3.5.B. He ran from Daddy and ended up parked right beside him on the park bench almost the whole time they were there.

I should have had an idea of the direction of the day when I had to clean super glue from his body that morning! Can you imagine me going to walmart with my 3.5 year old - fingers sticking together and his lip glued to his cheek????

No, it wasn't quite that bad, he had it on his arm, his fingers, toes, and my hand! It has pretty much worn off now. In case this ever happens to you - SURELY THIS HAS HAPPENED TO SOMEONE ELSE ??- just throw them in the shower very quickly - like while it is still wet - and hose them down. Should do the trick.

I got to go to teh Local Scrapbook Store and work on the cover page for our San Francisco album, which was really fun. Just an hour out, and not having to be in the scorching heat was the energy boost I needed. I came home and ironed the rest of Big P's clothes for the week and did some laundry. It was really nice to not be dying of heat exhaustion!!

I love the autumn, winter, and spring - just not a Texas summer!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Heavenly Homeschooling

No, we haven't arrived there yet, but I believe we are on our way. We are moving into our 7th year of homeschooling. We have used almost every curriculum out there - or at least close. You can ask my sweet hubby that has paid for it over the years and my best girlfriend, who has tried to help and be as supportive as she can!

In March of 2006, I realized that we really need a change in our homeschool. I was really struggling to teach Math to C.11.5.B. It was tough to learn math and then reteach it. We made the plunge into BJ Homesat that following year (2006-2007) using Math, English, Spelling, and Handwriting. We were also using My Father's World and it seemed that the day just drug on and on. So, we plunged even further and this year we are using BJ Homesat for Bible, Math, English, Spelling, Handwriting, Science, and Heritage Studies.

Now, we really like Homesat! I think it is a wonderful curriculum and is perfect for Mama's with large families!!!

I have realized the problem that I have had with curriculum all these years, though. The problem isn't the curriculum, it's me!!! I try to fit myself into a curriculum, as I'm really great at following directions. The problem is when I follow the directions, I do just that. When we used KONOS, we were supposed to pick a few activities, but I wanted to do them all!!! Because I knew that there were moms out there that were doing most of them, if not all. When we used Sonlight, I didn't have the guts to chunk a book that we didn't care for. And so the story continues. When we did various unit studies, I went back on them because they didn't fit into where we were learning in the course of history at the time. And I have a hard time just doing what I want to do without chunking the whole thing!

When we did KONOS, we had to have a KONOS timeline. And when we didn't use KONOS anymore, I took the timeline down! And we went through that with the Sonlight book, too!

I did express my concerns to Big P about the kids doing Bible, science, and history with Homesat this year and we both felt that it would be the right thing with what we had going on in our life. Well, most of those things are out of our life now. And now, I've started thinking about where we want to be when this journey is over.

So, I believe that I have figured out my problem. The deal is that I'm the "Little Bit of Everything Mama" and I like just that - a little bit of everything!

After looking at so many curriculums the last few days that looked really wonderful, but just didn't mesh with us. And then, after listening to a couple of seminars, I am realizing the way that we can make what we love to do actually work!

We are going to read GREAT books, we are going to do some unit studies, and take some field trips - all for history. We are going to keep it all flowing with a timeline notebook and some notebooking!! This will give C the reading that he wants and P the hands on crafty that she wants, and me the field trips and "quality time" that I want. We spend quality time together all the time, but I like doing it out of the house, too! Like field trips and vacations and camping!

For science we are going to be using Apologia's Elementary Zoology 2. Per b's suggestion, I wrote all the topics of study in each book down on a piece of paper and had them "vote" by giving their first choice and second choice. Actually, she suggested taking them aside and asking them. They really like the whole paper thing, so we did that! We drew for a movie tonight! Just something to let the fun Mama side come out - in a very simple way.

We are keeping some Homesat, because it is a great curriculum. They are going to be doing Math, English, and P.8.G. wants to keep handwriting with Homesat. I'll do something that takes less time for spelling. And when C.11.5.B. finishes his current math, we will most likely be going to Teaching Textbooks.

For the little boys, I believe we are going back to a Before Five in a Row type of approach - don't know what the "formal" name for that is. We have Little Hands to Heaven, but I am finding that I'm breaking my neck to crawl around on the floor like a snake and the little boys could care less!!! They just want to read books and the Bible, color, and glue beans to paper letters. Oh, and we did a cool thing the other day where I showed them how to make shadows, simply because B.3.5.B, was really intrigued by the shadow in this book. It was so fun and so little work!!! So, I know that we will keep some of the components of the curriculum, just not do "it all".

And even though we aren't following a particular curriculum, I have more peace than anytime in our homeschool career. And I truly believe that we are listening to God for our homeschool. So, that's why we are on our way to heavenly homeschooling. Yes, there will still be rough days, but I think that hearing God for our school will give the rewards and meet all the learning styles that we are missing with what we are currently doing. I miss being with my kids in the afternoon. I just don't want to look back and have regrets. I've removed the whole "perfect homeschool mom" picture completely from my brain, and am now just trying to see this through Jesus' eyes.

The "perfect" thing about this method, is that when Mama is tired and 8 weeks pregnant, or 37 weeks pregnant, we can just sit on the couch, snuggle, and read together!! Now, those are precious memories!!!

I'm Expecting Great and Mighty Things

Yes, we are expecting!!!

This is not your "typical" pregnancy, though! All of my babies have been miracle babies. Just seeing how God creates a life within you and makes a path for that life to come out, is simply amazing to me!! It is pure evidence that our God is real and designed us so wonderfully!

C.11.5.B is a miracle, because had it been "my way", I would have picked a different time in my life to find out I was pregnant other than the day after high school graduation. He has turned out to be an incredible kiddo with a love for life that sparks us all!

P.8.G. is a miracle because after Big P and I got married and decided we wanted more children, we tried and tried for 9 months before she was conceived. We had pretty much given up on having anymore. I'm glad we were wrong. She has been the creative little firecracker that kept me interested in so much all these years.

B.3.5.B is a miracle because after P.8.G., Big P had a vasectomy and then a reversal a couple of years later. Although we were following in obedience to God, I never thought that He was going to bless us so soon - what a treasured gift. Now, you want to talk about keeping us on our toes, little B does it everyday! :) He is such a little love bug. He loves to rub my face and say "mama soft" and "I play with your hair". It's just precious! Oh what we would have missed out on.

L.1.5.B. is another little reversal miracle. I've heard stories of people who had reversals and conceived and then it reversed itself back and they were never able to conceive again. In a way, I feared this for us, even though I knew God was in control. And what a sweet little boy he is, another love bug, who loves to tickle and get tickled, and play peek a boo and love on his playmate B. He is also still my little nursling!

Then in April I had a miscarriage after just finding out we were expecting. I was so torn questioning God as to what happened. He said "trust me, I love you". As inquisitive as I am (I'm 100% positive God made me this way!), I immediately began seeking physiological answers for my miscarriage. I found that I had low progesterone.

We were still trusting the Lord for our children and I began to feel in my spirit that I was expecting. Of course, that early on a pregnancy test would not show up positive. But, I ignored any embarrassment that I may potentially have if I wasn't and called our family doctor. He knew about the miscarriage and that I had linked it to the progesterone. He said that he would get me in that next morning. He is also a believer and very much pro-life and didn't want to see me lose another baby.

That morning, I woke up and my temperature had dropped. I knew what this meant. I was losing progesterone and quickly! I even had the fleeting thought that I would skip the appointment because it was pointless. He was going to give me a shot of progesterone and we were going to try to save this baby.

I got there and he felt horrible - they had run out of intramuscular progesterone! They ran a urine test and got a negative - I told them they would. They drew blood to run hcg and progesterone. And he wrote me a prescription for oral progesterone and I was to continue using the Arbonne Prolief cream.

I started taking it as soon as the pharmacy handed it to me.

I got home and started bleeding, I realize that 1) it was too late or 2) maybe I wasn't pregnant, even though I just knew that I was.

The light bleeding continued for about 36 hours. The cramping wasn't as bad as the time before and I continued to pray for this baby. But through it, I had peace. Not like I thought that I wasn't going to lose the baby, I knew that I probably would. But, I had peace that God was there with me the whole time. And I knew that my baby would see a side of heaven that I have only dreamt of. At this point, the Dr. had called in intramuscular progesterone for me. I took a pregnancy test and got a light blue line.

All of a sudden the bleeding stopped!

Well, it was at that point that I realized that I was indeed pregnant! I prayed hard and had friends and family praying for me. Big P had been working from home the whole time as I laid on the couch fighting a cold and a miscarriage. What a blessing that was!!!

I (or should I say, Big P) started doing the shots.

A couple of days later, I took another pregnancy test and the line was dark blue! I hadn't lost the baby.

We got the results back from my blood work. My progesterone was 7, I was INDEED going to lose the baby without a miracle. Oh, and the hcg test came back that I was pregnant - very very early pregnant.

I have continued on the shots twice per week now and had my blood checked last week and are you ready for this??? My progesterone was up to 22!!!!!!! Praise God!!!!!! My hcg was up, too, indicating that this was a pregnancy headed in the right direction.

Now, would anyone doubt that I'm holding yet another miracle in my womb?! I should say not! God has a story to tell, we just need to make sure that we are LISTENING!!

Joyfully busy at home,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Update on Toilet Paper

Went grocery shopping on Sunday. This is what I found. It FULLY explained all the issues that I was having with frequent toilet paper change-over. The Mega rolls are over 500 squares per roll. The "family size" are 175 squares per roll.

Now, why would they call this "family size"? It surely isn't because it's easier on mom, who seems to frequently be the one stuck on the potty with little to no paper on the roll and ultimately is the one who changes the roll.

Is it because it's supposed to encourage "family" involvement of roll changing?

Oh, oh, I got it!!! It's because the rolls are a nice small size to fit into the diaper bag (or your BACK POCKET) for frequent family runny noses. Yes, that must be it!!!

I'm so glad I figured that out. The confusion and frustration just may have been enough to cause serious friction between myself and the toilet paper holder.

We often get teased about living the Little House days. We do thoroughly enjoy Little House, but as of yet, I have no desire to use the Sears Roebuck catalog as an alternative to my Mega rolls!!

Back to the regularly scheduled program....

Joyfully busy at home,


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