Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Safe Families....What is it?

I was directed to this website tonight by our director.  The author is going through a series of interviews and informative articles on Safe Families for Children.   Please check her out!!!  She's explaining the ministry much better than I can!:)

World Next Door:  Safe Families

Friday, October 7, 2011

Safe Families....Our First Placement

Sunday morning Jason woke up and said there was an email from Maridel, director of Safe-Familes Twin Cities.  Three children ages 1, 2, and 3 needing placement for a little over a month with weekend breaks.  He asked me what I thought.  I began to my heart....look at my calendar.....but then... I had to not think of how BUSY I was because I'm always going to be busy.  I thought "If this were my daughter calling, what would I do?"  I would drop everything and take care of the kids.  After consulting with our kids, we decided to take the 2 & 3 year old.
Happy One Year Baby Carson!! 

Sunday evening we were excited and nervous all at the same time. Here we were about to pick up two more children!  We couldn't help but think of the timing of it all.  This exact Sunday one year prior we left our home...during Amazing go to the hospital to meet our surprise blessing!!!  We were now going....during Amazing Race... to meet TWO surprise blessings!!

We arrived home late, but had a time of introductions and snacks before bedtime. 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are a blurr to me.  I do know they were the most difficult yet strangely life altering 4 days of my life.  The kids are coming from a loving, caring mom who wants to do the right thing for them, so they resisted our care of put it mildly.    The days were long, the nights longer for my teenage girls...who dealt with the night mares.  I knew the first day or two would be bad....but by Thursday Baby C was picking up on some of their "habits"...and I became fearful.

This morning I was ready to throw in the towel completely.  I was concerned for my kids.  Jason and I prayed this through sobbing tears....I asked God for a glimmer....just a small little ray.... of hope.  Hope.....that it would get better.... that we would at least have ONE semi-good day.

I'm here to tell you God is faithful!!  He gave us an awesome day!!  Not without it's trials, but there was more joy and laughter and compliance today than the past 4 days combined!! The 2 yo girl loves to help in the kitchen, so we baked a pie together!!  She loved it!  And the 3 yo boy seemed to want to please today....more than ever.  We went on a nature walk in the afternoon where the girl loved finding new leaves, and acorns, and dried corn!!   Thank you Jesus!  Forgive us for our frailties!!  Thank-you for that ray of hope....and showing us that what we do in YOU is not in vain!! 

All week I've been thinking of the saying "Filled, to be poured out again...."  It's in the banner of a blog from a woman in our church that is raising 11 children....or is it 12?.....anyway.....many of them have fetal alcohol syndrome.  I kept thinking of her all week, and her saying on her blog.   I didn't quite "get it" when I first went to her blog....but now I get it....or at least starting to......I'm sure she'd laugh if she knew I was only caring for two....without FASD.    I can't imagine how often she is poured out daily....hourly....minutely...:)...only to be filled!!!(and the funny thing is all week I thought it was "Poured out, to be filled again...".... until just now when I went to her blog to get the URL for the link!!  OH WOW!!)

But the beauty in all of this....this "life altering" work we are doing.  It's not just that we are changing these kids.....although I hope they remember our love and care for's that these kids are changing us!!  I am so full of heart transforming work it aches.  I'm not sure I can even begin to tell you all we've learned about God, about ourselves, about the world, about women/kids in crisis, about leaning on Jesus every minute every hour....about remembering His promises and claiming them for ME personally....about crying out to God....about asking others to cry out to God for us.  WOW!!  I really wouldn't change all this....I wouldn't....and I'm ashamed to say I was wanting to give up....because I'M STUBBORN and I HATE TO QUIT......but I'm more ashamed that I didn't wait for God.....but He knew I needed to be get off my high horse thinking I have all the answers.  God is soooo good that way.

ENOUGH....I am so tired this makes no sense.  I have the mind to do ABSOLUTELY no editing.....just raw I will......

POST PUBLISHED!!!(O.k....I edited a little!!)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Still On-Call!!

I think that's what you'd call us.  A (safe) family "on call".

Shortly after I wrote the last Safe Families update the Minneapolis area Safe Families went through a bit of restructuring.  So....knowing that it would take a bit for all that to be settled, we put Safe Families in the back of our minds....and moved on with our normal hectic but very fulfilling lives.

The past few days, however, there has been a flurry of phone calls our way.  Three actually.  The first one was for two toddlers.  That decision is mostly on the mom and where she would like her kids to be placed.  She has time.  The other one was for three older children....and it could be long term.  Jason and I prayed and knowing the full situation decided it wouldn't be the best for us to take them.

Today, we received another call.  This time from a mom sent unexpectedly to the hospital and needing care for her two sons.  This mom wasn't familiar with Safe Families and how it worked and was really scared to allow her kids to come to our home.  She feared her kids would be taken by the state and not knowing who we were she had many reservations.  I was asked to call her and talk to her.

This was my first Safe Families interaction, so I was a bit nervous.  I prayed before I made the phone call, and left it up to the Lord.  I was able to reassure her about our family and our home, and that we are here to care for her children and give them back, not to keep them.  After hearing about our home she was then scared (I believe jokingly) that they wouldn't want to come home.  I reassured her that they would definitely want to be home with their mom.  I told her that the kids would be occupied enough to not be worried about her.  They would have a little mini vacation while she was able to heal.  She said she believed she would say "yes."  But we haven't heard

Again...another "leaving in the Lord's hands" scenario......He knows what this mom needs and what the children need.  I've been praying for her all evening.  How be in the hospital and no one to care for your children. 

I suppose I'm writing tonight to get the word out on Safe Families.  This mom had never heard of the program.  She thought we would take her kids away.  But that is not the intent at all.  In fact it's the opposite.  We want to help her so she doesn't get to a place in her life where her children would need to be placed with the state.  We want to help her and her children.

It may take awhile for the word to get out in our area, but I hope it does.  I hope more families come forward to help.  Is there room in your home?  In your heart?  Maybe you aren't in our area.  Safe Families has offices across the US....check out their website to see if they are near you!!  God Bless!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Shameless plug...

I know I don't have many followers, but maybe somebody will stumble upon this and vote before September 30, 2011.  My daughter is in a photography her photo here!!    Thanks so much if you voted for her!!  Hugs to you all!:)

TODAY.....This was my life......

Hoping and praying tomorrow will be happier....for you my little man and your tired Mama.  Sleep like an angel Sweetie....:)  Mama's excited you are walking now!!  Love you bunches!! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Munsinger Gardens Photo Shoot

I'm finally getting around to posting the kids pictures from Tuesday.  Here are the pictures they each picked out as their best shot.   I'll let you pick out which one belongs to who. A them is on my daughter's blog. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Baby Signs????

While I was at the library yesterday I began looking for American Sign Language books/videos.  Mainly for my sophomore who needs a language requirement, but doesn't really like "languages" per se.  BUT....I also thought if she began learning sign language we could use it with Baby C.  We've used it with the past 2-3 children and love it.  Wished I'd done it with my second.  Anywhooo....

I was reading the book Sign With Your Baby: How to Communicate With Infants Before They Can Speak last night and I read that when you nurse you should show the sign for "milk".  Since I didn't nurse J.J. I hadn't thought to use it for nursing.  I was telling Jason this when Baby C was getting really sleepy and Jason was bringing him to me to put to bed.

But you know what Baby C did????   He picks up my Kindle on the bed and hands it to me!!!  That was his signal that he was ready for bed.   We have this routine where I find my kindle, and nursing pillow, and turn on his sleep machine and close his shade and, get the picture.  I do the same routine every time I want to put him down for a nap or to bed.  My kindle has a lighted cover so it works perfect at night for nursing.  He watches me turn it on and open it up then he leans in to nurse.

So much for BABY SIGNS!!!!  I wonder if they should add "hand mom her kindle" to their signs book!??!:) I was editing this post....I realize that signing "milk" for nursing is really unnecessary.  Baby C make's it pretty clear he wants to nurse.;)  I do see it being helpful in other areas though....he really likes to scream to get my attention.  I can at least try to teach him a better way to communicate with me!:)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


When Baby C woke me up at 4 am I didn't think my plan was gonna happen!! Really didn't!! When he does this I'm usually wiped out the next day. But all the more reason NOT to sit inside with "SCHOOL". It was a good day for a field trip.

I began the day by gathering them and reading the Bible. Then asked for prayer requests (many had to do with SCHOOL...said in a long drawn out negative sort of way)....we prayed, then I began to write the agenda on the white board. I began with "have a good attitude". Then I wrote "library cards". That was enough for them to get excited. By the time I finished my list a few had already scattered. I did get the "Can I take a shower?" question, but no real dissenters. When I asked if it was o.k. we were going somewhere one of them responded "Who wouldn't want a field trip on their first day of school?" Like DUH, Mom!!!

The library didn't disappoint. I love how the entire first floor is the kids section.  Baby C could crawl, climb, scream and it didn't seem too obnoxious....mainly because there were other kids screaming too.

The Munsinger Gardens were also really nice. The kids made a choice between bringing their sketchbooks or their cameras. They decided on cameras...J.J. borrowing one from his sister. I overheard him say "This is funner than I thought it would be.":) We all got some great shots. Their assignment tomorrow is to pick their best one and edit it, so I will hopefully post some tomorrow or the next day!


WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TOMORROW??????? ( JUST kidding......)

Monday, September 5, 2011

First Day of School

Oh the excitement of school starting up again.  I loved going back to school when I was a kid.  The new books, new clothes, new shoes, new school supplies....all of it!!  Well, I didn't like thinking about the nervousness of having a new teacher and not knowing people, but loved the rest.

My husband on the other hand absolutely hated going back to school.  Would rather cut off his fingers and toes than go back.  I suppose that's a typical ADD boy response.  To him school was a prison.

Well, I get the privilege of introducing a first day of school to my kids every year.  (Whatever "first day of school" means in a homeschool???)  I suppose for us, we try to get more disciplined with our time, and try to move forward with whatever we are working on.  Maybe start new math books, maybe not.

When the kids were little I'd always start out the "first day" by making a batch of cookies.  It was fun.  I talked about all the ingredients that go into learning....that the ingredients need time to "bake" to become a full fledged "cookie"....and so on.  They liked the end result!!

One year it was in the 90's on the "first day".  So we headed to the beach!!  It was great!!!  All the public school kids were back in school so we had the whole beach to ourselves.  I brought a book to read-a-loud while they ate lunch and they had all day "physical education".    

My plan for Labor Day weekend was to get my "schedule" nailed down for the kids.  Thursday I realized I was way to behind to get any sort of schedule up and running by Tuesday.  On Friday I read the first line of the curriculum I had purchased this summer.  It told me to read The Three R's by Ruth Beechick.  So I did.  And I am extremely thankful I did.  She gently reminded me of my teaching style....natural and relaxed.

So....what are we doing for the first day of school?????


We are going to the BIG library!!!  The first time we went I overheard one of my children say, "Wow!!!  This is better than an amusement park."  Anyway.....the BIG library and Munsinger Gardens.  I figure in one fun day we'll cover Language Arts, Fine Arts, Science, Math(they'll work on that in the car!) and History in the evening when their Dad reads to them!  Plus whatever fun and interesting subjects they find at the library.

My kids don't know it though....they think they're starting the DREADED "school schedule"!!!  I sure hope my plan doesn't backfire.  I think I might have some dissenters.....who think they are overloaded this year and can't get it all done.  Or others who will scream "But I didn't get a shower in....I can't go without a shower."( take three a'll be fine!)  So who knows......we may end up here....staring at a blank schedule!!

Either way.....thanks to Ruth and my relaxed, natural approach we'll have a good day.  But I sure hope they let me go to the BIG library!:)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carson 11 Months

I couldn't resist putting up pictures of Carson today as I think about him being 11 months old!!  I know some people would call him our "oops baby"....but I like to call him "Our Surprise Blessing".  God knew I had more to learn, so He gave us Carson.  I am so thankful God brought him to us.  Happy 11 months Carson Sweetie!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Safe Families: First Call & Star Trib Article

We got our first Safe Families call today.   Maridel, our local director, gave us the scenario and wondered if it would work out for us.  I called Jason who happened to be almost home.  We prayed and decided we could do it.  It was a short stay situation, which we are somewhat hoping for in the beginning to get our feet wet!  While talking to Maridel she alerted us to an article in the Star Tribune about Safe Families.  It's exciting to see Safe Families get some press!!  Read the article....good stuff!!

Anyway......our family was excited and anxiously awaiting a call with more details about pick-up times etc.   We were bummed, however, when Maridel called to say the mom had made other arrangements.  Oh well!!  We know that's just how it works sometimes!  We have to be flexible.  Apparently God has another child/children in mind.  That's just fine with us.  But we'll pray for this family and mom.(As a side note:  We are obligated to privacy in regards to the moms, kids, etc.  So most of the details I give will be vague, generalized.....and obviously no pictures....unless my resident photographer does a great job of editing!:)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Safe Families for Children Training for Minneapolis Area Sept 17th!!

EDIT: Obviously most of this information is out of date...being it's almost OCT.....and Bethany went through website none of those links work...but I'm leaving this post up because I think the prayer requests are still needed.  Thanks!!
I got an e-mail yesterday from our local Safe Families for Children director stating that they will host a training day on September 17th in Eden Prairie.  This will satisfy the requirement needed to become a Safe Family.  If you are interested and want to know more leave a comment and I'll get back to you....or contact the number on the website.

Other needs that were stated in the e-mail are:

1. Drivers: Could you volunteer to drive a child to his Safe Family host?
2. Notary: Would you be willing to meet us when papers need to be signed when a child goes into care?
3. Fund Development Committee: Our program is only available through the generous gifts of our donors. 
4. Marketing: Social networking, advertising - we could use your help to get the word out to family and friends.
5. Event planning: Do you like planning/coordinating events? we could really use your help. 
6. Can you host a child OR provide respite to a host family?  We need 100 more families to volunteer. 
7. Administrative/organizational skills with data base background.
8. Pray for all the families in crisis who call for help. We are only able to serve 1/5 of the calls due to our limited capacity.

Please join us in praying for these needs!!!:)

Our far!!

UPDATE ON OUR STATUS:  They forgot to have us sign some paperwork when they were here last Friday, but we were able to get that completed this week.  We have been presented with a few cases that are coming up in the next couple of months.  Pray for our discernment as we strive to serve the Lord in His strength, yet knowing our feeble human strength can only take us so is a battle we face daily as we honor Him!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Blogger Stats...

I was trying to get a blog out about how I survived my Facebook Fast....but I am too crazy busy tired.  If that makes any sense.   But I have enough working brain cells to write about my blog stats....which I find intriguing.  I know I haven't blogged in quite a LONG time, so to pick it up again and hope to get traffic to my new stuff is not going to happen spontaneously. why am I writing???  Don't really know.....other than to say that my blogger stats show that my most viewed post is.....drum roll please.....CHICKEN BUTCHERING!!!   Often people are searching for "mean rooster".   It's crazy how much traffic I get to this one post!!!  And the pictures are not appealing.  But I suppose it's a tutorial type of post.  

I'm thinking I may need to write another mean rooster post soon!!  We now have three roosters on the property.   ONE is extremely HUGE and MEAN!!!  Two of them are from a new batch that was hatched in April.  One of those is extremely aggressive already.  So we know one to three of them have to go!!!  I absolutely love the BEAUTY of our roosters......they are gorgeous.....but can't stand how mean they are!!  I know they are doing what God designed them to do.....but attack the hand that feeds ya!!  NOT GOOD!!

So now you know why I shouldn't blog late at night....when we are crazy busy....and I'm tired......

Ramble City!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Carson's Breastfeeding Story: Part 1...Setting the Stage

I've been meaning to share our breastfeeding adventure with Carson but haven't found the time.....not like I have time now....but seeing that it's National Breastfeeding Month...I thought I'd at least start the story!!  Today I'll share my past experiences with breastfeeding because I think they "set the stage" to where I was mentally when Carson was born.

Carson being child #6 means I've had some experience with breastfeeding.  Eighteen years to be exact!!!  Each of my children had their set of problems and trials.  That is the first misconception any prospective parent needs to debunk.....breastfeeding does not come easy or naturally.  I get all wound up when I read articles that state how easy it is!!  It isn't for a LOT of mommies and babies.  BUT..... is it worth all the trials.....YOU BET!!! SET THE STAGE....

Child #1.....This lovely girl came out NOT nursing.  She refused my breasts for the first 10 days of her life.  This was a huge blow to a brand new mommy wanting to breastfeed so badly!  I worked with a nurse from the hospital and began pumping.  I continued to try to get her to latch on and finger fed her until one magical day....I'll NEVER forget where I was and the excitement I felt......she latched on.  We had a beautiful breastfeeding relationship from that day forward.

Child #2.....This girl came out with a strong desire to suck and me having the experience from the first we started off pretty good.   However, at about 4 months into it the pain started.  I would nurse at night and 20-30 minutes after the session I was in EXTREME pain....deep within my breasts.  It didn't seem to hurt as much during the day.   I saw my doctor for it, but she wouldn't treat me for anything because she said she didn't know what it was.  I was in agony for 2 months before it went away.  Her bedtimes would get later and later, but my husband would plead with me to put her to bed at a reasonable time.  I just hated the pain.  Still not so sure what was going on with her.

Child #3.....My little peanut.  She was born with the cord wrapped around her neck twice and her body once.  This didn't pose a problem until about 3 weeks later when she began to vomit all her meals.  NOT SPIT UP!!!  I had so much pandering from my doctor..."Well, you know spit up looks like a lot, but it's actually about a tablespoon."  WHAT.EV.ER!!!  This child vomited for the first 2 years of her life.  We didn't nurse well because I felt like I was always nursing, then vomiting, then nursing.  It was really hard to figure out.  She wasn't gaining doctor wanted me to put her on formula.  UMMMM.....Let's work on the VOMITING before we try to put weight on her!!!

Child #4....This girl came out sucking her thumb....I'm not kidding!!!  She was a great nurser from the beginning, but we must not have had a good latch or something.  I ended up with mastitis often in the beginning.    I was in bed quite a bit getting over fevers and the pain.

Child #5....The "one I didn't nurse"!  There was something about him.  I started out instantly with extremely cracked nipples.  He would "chew bite" suck.  It was soooo painful.  Plus the mastitis.  I was in a daze for the first two weeks.  I had the other four children to care for.  I saw my doctor and 2 lactation consultants.  They were saying my nipples weren't recognizable and I needed to stop for a time to heal.  Me being as exhausted as I was and constantly getting high fevers, I succumbed quickly to buying formula and feeding him a bottle.  But I did begin to pump.  I tried latching him on a few times after the first couple of weeks, but his "suck" was so painful.  I instantly bled.  I did not nurse this little guy, but was able to pump for about 5 months before it got too overwhelming.

I think the fact that I didn't nurse baby #5 (which also happens to be my "diabetes boy"....apparently not a correlation, but this mom has a hard time not feeling mom guilt over it)....had a huge influence on what we eventually ended up doing with Carson.

So there you have my past experiences.   They all "set the stage" for BABY #6!!!

*****Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor/nurse/lactation name it.  I'm a mom!!  Plain 'ol MOM!!  So don't take what I write as medical advice....although it could be used to bombard your own doctor with questions!!

*****ANOTHER Disclaimer:  I share my breastfeeding story to encourage moms along their journey's.  I'm not here to DEBATE or be an ACTIVIST for or against breastfeeding.  I did what I did given the circumstances I was in and what I believed was best for our family.  You will do the same for your baby/family I'm sure!!:)  So don't be discouraged if you didn't breastfeed or tried and couldn't (see baby #5...been there, done that!). 

Friday, August 19, 2011

We're Approved!!! So why am I so nervous??

The final step in our approval process was this afternoon.  The director and her intern just drove away.  Seems like we "passed".

"When can you take kids?  I almost brought two with me today."  M.queried jokingly, yet seriously.

The need is so great, and we desire to help, and we know the Lord is with us, and is leading I'm nervous.  Before it was all about filling out paperwork.  Going through training.  Passing the home assessment.  Each step along the way I asked God to stop the process if it was not what HE wanted for our family.  So now we are approved, and in waiting mode.

It all started with the first week at Camp Good News.  This particular week they had almost all homeless kids.  Two of the volunteer workers were not "regulars" and as I sat and talked with them I was informed of the inner city crisis in a new way.  A tornado had swept through North MPLS in May.  Some of the landlords decided to abandon the houses instead of fixing them.  Many families became homeless or continued to live in the condemned homes.  They didn't have anywhere to go.

The conversation with these ladies and the difficulties they were facing, seemed so foreign to me.   We have a support system of family and friends that would be here in a heartbeat to help us in our time of need.  Many people don't have that luxury.

Jump ahead a few weeks later.  I stumbled upon a need on our church community website.  It described an organization designed to help people in crisis with their kids. I hopped over to the website and watched the videos.  I called Jason and described the program as I saw it online.  He didn't hesitate and called the number I gave him.

At first M. said "NO."  We are too far away.  How would they get the kids to us?  Jason told her that wouldn't be a problem because he's all over the map....his office is in the cities, he's always on the him the cities are not that far.  When she heard that, she was more on board with us.  We were signed up online for the training.

I took forever to do the training.  Mainly I wanted to NOT do it, but knew I had to.  It's so hard to get stuff like that done.  BUT...I'm thankful I did.  I learned sooo much!!!

We then went to see the founder, Dave Anderson, speak the following week.  So much of what he talked about had me nodding my head in agreement.  Safe Families is a ministry of hospitality.  A word lost in our culture to the Martha Stewart's and Better Homes and Gardens of this country.  I've always known that hospitality as it's used in the Bible actually means "love of strangers".  I never understood how that definition jived with what we Christians like to call "hospitality". (Oh...I have so much to SPEW FORTH about this....but I will hold off and maybe write separate blogposts!!!) we are today.  It's no longer a what if?  It's no longer...Are we going to pass?  We are now a SAFE FAMILY!!!  We are hoping to be a home where we can minister to parents in crisis....who need someone to help with their children, but have nowhere to turn.  Please pray with us and for us!!   We know the road will be difficult but we also know that we are called to serve.....God is with us!  Amen!!

I will now write down my fears and put them in my Faith box!!  God is FAITHful!!  He is always with us, and we don't have to fear....O.K....I will...but I'll give it to God...AGAIN!!:)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Signs of a LARG(ER) Family......

I make signs hoping they will help to alleviate bring order....because living in a larg(er) family means that every person has his or her own idea of where things should go, when things should happen, etc, etc.  So here are some of my signs....lets see if they've helped any:

Last year I had one huge tub to collect all these.  Not fun to separate this year...SEPARATION and SIGNS!!  My hope was that they would actually read and follow them.  I must say they aren't doing too bad.  But already you can see the screen(for caterpillars no less!!) in the glass basket!  I've also discovered the broom, dustpan, and vacuum in the baskets. 

AHHH.....our weekly dinner menu!!!  I put this up in hopes that it would alleviate the barrage of questions I get asked about our weekly schedule.  It has helped some.  When they were little I would pull my hair out with them asking the same question 5 times!!  Alas, it's not foolproof.  No sooner had I put this up my first question from an inquisitive 10 year old.  "Are we having Tator Tots or Chips with our Hamburgers?"  And from our 8 yr old "So, can we have pop for dinner?"

I had this sign made to let people know that we are changing the rules around a bit.  I used to have one person doing the kitchen area, but now I'm having them each bus their own dishes!!  Did it work.....NOT REALLY!!!  Old habits are hard to break.  They blame it on the baby sleeping....but I told them if he was sleeping they still needed to RINSE their dishes and get them ready for the dishwasher.  We are still in training!!( took me a day to realize the misspelling...oh well...he's a hard worker!!)

AHHH....the story behind this one....we were away for a few days at camp when I came home to discover I had left out a bad plum.  Plus I think there were some bananas out (they always breed fruit flies!!)  Anyway....I got on the internet to figure out how to kill the annoying things, and made up a trap that involves apple cider vinegar!! It was working like a charm until someone came along and dumped my trap!!!  I was bummed....o.k...actually a little frustrated.  So I made another trap and added this "sign".  It hasn't been thrown out yet.....but the culprit hasn't been home since I made another one!;)

These signs are to show the kids how this cupboard is arranged so they don't just throw stuff in there and hope it all fits.  It's so annoying to try to find things in such disorganization.  I figured if I put up the signs they would have absolutely NO EXCUSE!!!  Did it work???  You be the judge!!

Is this like the photos???
I put my most successful sign up last!!!  It works every time I remember to put it up!!!:)

Well.....What do you think.....signs good?  Not worth the paper their printed on??  How do you organize a larg(er) family?

Perfect Perceptions.....

A few days ago Jess happened upon this necklace over in ETSY.  I thought the phrase was fitting for the trials that have been sovereignly placed in our lives.  These trials have to do with perceptions of our family.  Perfect perceptions.....we put off an air of perfection....we try to be perfect....."acting" perfect. UGH!! 

So what have I learned from these perceptions of us......

  • We need to work on pride.  Perfection=Pride.  Plain and simple. 
  • People's perceptions are a result of their own lives....where they've been, where they are now, their outlook on the future.....not necessarily based on reality.
  • I am not responsible for other people's perceptions....they may be accurate or false...I need to seek the Lord to sift through my heart....and be humble, willing to learn and change if needed.
  • GOD will one day bring me to perfection....AMEN!! (Phil 1:6)
I am saddened, yet thankful that this was brought to our attention.  I've walked the path of role-playing in the churches we've attended.  I've seen that destruction and resolved NEVER to walk that path again.  I am a person that wants REAL.  Always have been....I can't stand FAKE(see last post!).   For the past 4-5 years I've tried really, really hard to make sure people know we aren't perfect.  I am who I am....take me or leave me.  Seems that many will leave....I can't control that.

The perfect perception is hard one to combat.  I don't know how many times I've had someone say to us:

"I thought you believed such n such".  Homeschooling for example.  Because we have followed the Lord's call to homeschool people assume we believe that everyone should follow this path.  We've had people "argue" their public school stance, and are surprised when we wholeheartedly agree with their choice.  Homeschooling isn't biblical anymore than washing your sink with Comet verses Soft Soap.  It's a preference....a choice....a decision everyone makes for themselves.

So I completely understand that sometimes our choices make other people uncomfortable with us.  That I can't change.  But I do ask that they don't assume they know what we believe.  They might be really surprised at the responses we give.

I know within our family we've tried to model forgiveness.  We show our "true colors" daily to our children.  We've had to ask them many times to forgive us....that we were wrong.  Something I didn't hear much growing up.    I appreciate this article..."Living by Conviction without being a Hypocrite" over at ends with:

"Our children and anyone else we minister to do not expect us to be perfect. In fact, if we pretend that we have it all together, they will know we are lying! But they do rightly expect to see progress, which means living lives of integrity that start with admitting when we fail and then doing something about it."

A great friend to our family gave me this plaque the first year I met her.  I absolutely love it!!!  I look at it all the time and nod my head in agreement to it.  Especially "We do LOUD really well"....but also we do "REAL"....we do MISTAKES....we do I read it again....I am agreeing with it all.  That's what I think our family is!!   This is what I hope it to be.  Actually my hearts desire is to have our family be a fragrant aroma of Jesus!!!

And this is the funny thing about perceptions.  On the heels of the perfection perceptions I get a phone call yesterday and out of the blue this person started praising our family.  How she'd wish we lived closer so her kids could play with ours.  It seemed like she went on forever.  I was in tears, however.  I shared with her  the perfect perceptions and that we aren't perfect.  She knows that, but she said (and this is what really got me crying)....."You guys are living for Christ.  That's bound to convict some people.  It may depend on where they are at with their walk with the Lord.  You should never have to apologize for that."  We talked a little about pride and perfection. So I'm thankful for that phone call....all 12 minutes of it!!  Thankful for the situation that precipitated it....(even though it was another trial....see... our family isn't perfect!)

So....I want to wrap this post up by saying bold and loudly.....


I also want to say.....although we know we aren't perfect and really aren't trying to act perfect.....we won't air ALL our dirty laundry.....NOBODY does!!!  See my post about FB!!!  No one is going to share the deep secrets of their family, children, wives, husbands, themselves.....unless God calls them to minister to others in that area.

Finally I'll end by asking for grace as we work on our pride and arrogance.  Please forgive us!  We really aren't trying to be or act perfect.  We try to walk with the Lord...obeying Him....but we are sinners. 

O.K.....NOW....I'll REALLY end with....... how I began....

Any good you do see in us is because of JESUS!!!

(NOW...hop on over to the ETSY shop and get your's for a good cause....they are trying to earn money to adopt!!)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Facebook Fast

It's official...I'm not on Facebook anymore (for now!!).   I've wanted to wean from the addictedness that is called Facebook for quite some time.  I'm not sure what even draws me there in the first place...but isn't that how it is with addictions(idols)?  We are hooked and we don't even know how we got there.

I remember that fateful day sitting at our dining room table while my father-in-love showed me this cool site they were on.  I'm always the cynic....skeptical one.  I even said...."Looks like a waste of time to me.  Who has time for this stuff?"....  Much to the chagrin of my FIL I'm sure!!

Yet here I am a few years later weaning myself from it.  This is my second attempt in the past year.  The first attempt was thrust upon me like a baby with a dirty diaper.

I was trying to show how one of my darling children was addicted to that other addiction we women tend to crave.....CHOCOLATE.  I challenged her to give it up for awhile, to which she charged back....

"If YOU give up Facebook!" 

OUCH!!  WOW!!  Snarky teenager!!

"Fine!! Challenge on!!  Let's see who gives in first."

I'm the ultimate competitor.....I'm gonna WIN!!!

So I set out.....NO FACEBOOK here I come!!  I made a list of all the activities I could do instead of waste my time on FB....(you know really.....I wasn't on ALL THAT know how kids exaggerate!?!)  The list was long....really long.  I even put it up on my bedroom wall...right by the light switch so I would see it every morning as I got ready for my day.

I would show you the list....but it's gone...not even on my computer!!  That about sums up how well that worked!

But seriously....I don't know exactly what drew me back.  Maybe Extreme Couponing??  Sooo many companies were offering great deals for "liking" them on FB!!  I couldn't miss out on that!  Or was it that most of my "friends" contact me through FB?  I don't know.....

I do know I got back on.  I don't know who won the bet!

So jump to last week.  Another challenge to a teen....another counter challenge to me.  Actually this one was different.  I offered my fast.  I desired it.  Facebook is really not good for me.....not good for my health!!


Yes, my health!!  Because my brain was beginning to think in STATUS UPDATES.  Short 180 character updates.  I would go through my day not thinking in long, drawn out, fully descriptive I used to.  My journal was non-existant.  And even now as I've started to write again....I can only write in "bullet points".....not paragraphs.

The other problem is that Facebook is fake.  Who is going to post that they threatened death upon their kids?  Kicked out their husbands?  Have anorexia?  Are a closet smoker/alcoholic/lesbian/pornography viewer/(put your own vise in here)?  Who puts on there that they are in a deep severe depression?  That their kids are felons?  Their teen daughters pregnant?    I don't know....I could make the list a mile long!

When I first heard that psychologists are now diagnosing teenage Facebook depression, I kinda scoffed.  But now I don't.  It makes perfect sense.  When we log on to facebook we see such "perfect" lives.  We only see the good, fun parties everyone(but you) is attending!  But of course we see these things.....who wants to throw out their dirty laundry to a bunch of  "friends"??

So I'm off.  Really off!!  (O.K....I only "deactivated" it....the next leap will be "delete"....but I'm not there yet.)  It's only been a week and I have high hopes this time.  I am hoping to regain the way I used to relate to people....personal notes, a quick "hey, howya doin'?" phone call, an invite for dinner, swinging by to say "hi"......and even blogging!!!

So here is a salute to the DARK AGES......before FB....quill pen here I come!!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I needed this quote today....

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
— C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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