Wednesday, December 2, 2009


"Momma - Your hairs grey.  You polish your hair, right?"  -Sweet Pea, tonight in the car on the way to church

"Yes, Sweet Pea, I polish my hair." - Me

Monday, November 30, 2009


Outside my window... is a junk yard of kid toys... a rusty red wagon from my childhood, two electric cars that need some paint, a trampoline, a play house, a swing set... and lots of fun in the Florida sun.

I am thinking. . .  about Christmas  - what it is really about - and about all the trappings that seem to trap me from remembering what Christmas is really about....

I am thankful for. . . a loving husband who is a lot of fun... three healthy children... a baby in heaven... and my parents and Kenny's parents (who are also my parents).

In the schoolroom...scribbling stars yellow with Pumpkin, and enjoying the start of the Advent season! Oops - forgot today was December 1st - well, maybe we won't do Advent after all...

From the kitchen. . .  planning on having soup and salad for dinner... but not just any soup - soup from La Madeline (Tomatoe Basil -my favorite) - Thanks mom and dad for bringing it from Texas. Salad will be fresh greens, homemade vinaigrette, feta cheese, chili sugar toasted pecans, and mandarin oranges.

I am hoping. . . to have a clean house again someday.

I am hearing. . .listening to a song about dogs in the school learning that includes lots of dogs barking.

Around the house. . .
putting up Fall decorations and getting ready to decorate the Christmas tree.

One of my favorite things. . . Pumpkin spice creamer - which unfortunately was not at Publix this week... sad.

A few plans for the rest of the week. . . a friends wedding!

Here is picture thought I am sharing. .Thanksgiving Feast with my mom's Chicken'n Dressing, Ham, Sweet Potato Casserole, Fruit Salad, Green Beans, and Rolls. Dessert (not pictured) Apple Caramel Pie and Rum Pecan Pie with White Christmas Ice Cream for the Kids.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

#5 Books

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." 
                         John 21:24-25

I love to read... especially the Bible. It brings comfort. It is 
amazing how a familiar story can have a different meaning that fits your situation. I love looking at the Bible during life's questions. It never stops amazing me how God answers so many questions in one BOOK.

I have never been perfect at the "daily devotion." I seem to go in spirts sometimes... but on the days when I miss... I realize I missed hearing from God, and missed his fellowship. I have also found that my tendency to read the Bible mirrors my growth in Christ. When I skip a few days, I find that I am not connecting with God and relying on him on those days. 

I have been working my way through the Bible. Right now I am starting Ezekiel and reading in Acts.  Anyone care to join me? 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

#4 Friends

"Bear one another's BURDENS." Galations 6:2

This past week, the burdens were heavy. Too heavy to carry alone... thank you dear friends for coming along side and listening to me weep... for sharing a prayer on the phone, for sympathy, for compassion, for knowing and understanding. The burden was too great, but it was spread out... and the load was lightened. Not gone, nor forgotten, but lighter none the less.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

#3 Rest

Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest. 
Matthew 11:38

Monday, November 2, 2009

#2 Hope

Hope - What could be more hopeful than a baby at the age of one? So much promise when they are starting to walk, talk and dream... 

Where do I get my hope? I have it. I have hope. I am thankful to have hope. This week I needed to remember where I get my hope from.

"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because the Lord's great love we are not consumed, 
     for his com passions never fail.
They are new every morning;
     great is your faithfulness, 
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; 
     therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, 
     to the one who seeks him; 
It is good to wait quietly 
     for the salvation of the Lord."
Lamentations 3:19-26

Duck cookie - Squash; Grass picture - Sweet Pea; Learning to walk - Pumpkin; Cake eater - Pumkin
All pictures taken right around their first birthdays!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

#1 Sheep

Know that the LORD, He is God;
         It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
         We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
                                Psalms 100:3

#1 Happy to just be a sheep.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Picking Apples

Nothing is better than picking apples... fresh from the tree... on a recent trip to Ohio. We still have a bag full... waiting on me to find time to make apple crisp!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My New Addiction... LETTERBOXING!

Letterboxing! Yes, I am officially addicted to letterboxing... ask me what I want to do... and this would be it! On Labor Day, I dragged my family with another family to 3 letterboxes! "We" gave one of Sweet Pea's friend a letterboxing kit for her 8 year old birthday... and surprise... her whole family went with us letterboxing! (Did I have an ulterior motive with my gift? Well, maybe they will forgive me since we are friends...) I think I got another family addicted....

Do my kids like it? Well, sometimes... sort of... well, maybe when it is not 90+ degrees when we go letterboxing in the heat of summer. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit...

Letterboxing is a game where you follow clues to a hidden box. Inside the box is a notepad and a stamp, and maybe a stamp pad. You find the box, and stamp their pad with your stamp... then you take their stamp and stamp your pad. It is fun to follow the directions or story to a location, and find a hand-carved stamp. My favorite find so far is a hermit crab stamp, and we saw hermit crabs while looking for the stamp!

You will need:
1) Your own notepad (or one for each family member)
2) Your stamp (you can hand carve one or buy one - we bought ours).
3) A stamp pad (or two)
4) bug spray (some are hidden in mosquito places or really wet, woody places)
5) non-scented baby wipes (to clean off your stamps with)
6) Directions to the letterbox

On our Anniversary Trip to Charleston, we started this new passion... We found officially 4 boxes... and one location (where the box must have been taken - sad!)... and another we did not find... but as Pumpkin said, "it's a clue" about every 5 steps... We even dragged my parents along... they did not stamp anything... but they had fun!

Does my husband like it? Well, you will have to ask him... but he is smart enough to figure out that once I start a hunt... I don't give up easily... and since he calls me "anti-directional" - he has figured out it is better to help me find it than spend all day "looking"....

What did the Prince and I do on our last date night? Well, we had a baby sitter and we went out to a new restaurant... THEN WE WENT LETTERBOXING! Yes, we did! We went to a local cemetery and found a box!!! So, fun... and we looked for another... and could not find it! Sad! Was it fun? I thought so... Did he have fun? You'll have to ask him....

So - what is LETTERBOXING? Well, check out the letterboxing 101 at - click on the Getting Started tab - to learn more. - my favorite place to search for letterboxes.

Let me know when you want to go with us!
p.s. These pictures were taken in Downtown Charleston where some boxes were hidden in some people's lawns in the historical district (with their permission)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why Homeschool?

The number one question I have received recently is - "Why homeschool?" More specifically, "why are YOU going to homeschool?" Well, at first, I had a hard time telling anyone... I had a hard time committing to the idea of homeschooling.... I still have a back door plan that if "I don't like it" then we will just go back to a local Christian school.

So - here's "why":
5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

For me, that is "why." I want to teach them about God's world and his love, and how to live in God's world. I am sure many good teachers could teach them. The difference I see is that I love them, AND GOD GAVE THEM TO ME AND MY HUSBAND. God chose me to be a mother to Sweet Pea, Pumpkin, and Squash. No one could care more about their education than my husband and myself.

It is interesting that verse 5 is known as the greatest commandment in the whole Bible. However, we just don't pay attention to the the FACT that God wants us to teach his words to our children all the time.

I went to a meeting by Classical Conversations. I knew right away that it was the right place and the right decision to homeschool. I had been feeling God press up on my heart to teach them. The meeting started with a lady reading these verses that have been heavy on my heart for a long time. I just felt it was the right choice for our family, and my Prince Charming thinks so to.

After all, aren't all parents "homeschool parents?" Who taught your child to talk, walk, etc.? Perhaps that was the responsibility of a day care worker, grandparent or you just weren't around, but it saddens me if you missed some of those early "firsts." No matter what choice you make whether it is public school, private school, day care, or homeschooling - only the parent can be responsible and accountable to God about how they raise their child. So, I want to do the best job I can raising my children, and this is the best way I know to see that they get a great education, and learn to love God with all their heart, soul and strength. I know I was not ready to jump off this "cliff" and away from mainstream just a short year ago. So, if you think I am crazy, perhaps you will be homeschooling in a year! Believe me, I never, never thought this would be God's desire for my family.

We had a lot of firsts - the first day of Pumpkin's preschool, and Sweet Pea's first day of homeschooling in second grade. How did it go? Pumpkin loved school. He had a great day. Sweet Pea had a great start to homeschooling, and was finished with her day's work in record time. It is quite an adjustment to go from private school to a different change of education style. I am more concerned in whether she understands the material I am teaching, and not as interested in whether she can complete a worksheet. I know it will take some time for us to create our normal working daily pattern, but it will be worth it. Keep us in your prayers.

p.s. Pumpkin did not take his "blankie" into school... he left it on his car seat for the ride home!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Freezing the Moments

Sometimes I love my children so much it hurts...

When Pumpkin said this week, "Look, I am growing fur" when he saw his arms were growing hair on them.

The squeals of delight when Squash giggles...

The pure heart of a little girl whose biggest sin of the week was saying the word "stupid" in her heart... and crying and begging forgiveness... oh, if her innocence could only last forever... if that were to be the worst word she would ever learn. In our house, "stupid" is a "bad word" - that the children are not allowed to say. Really, what use is there in the word "stupid" - who wants to hear that someone is stupid or that an object or thing is stupid... really, no use in it.... the pure heart of an innocent little girl...

I love to hear Pumpkin tell me he loves me "to the moon and back" - will he say that forever? I somehow think he might grow up and forget...

I love to listen to a 7 year old's logic of why we need to have shakes for dessert.... and why making peanut butter balls is such a good idea... and why can't we watch the Walton's tonight?

I love to hear my Pumpkin ask "what is for dinner?" when he is really asking for dessert... no matter how many times I have told him "what is for dessert?" - he chooses to use his own words...

I love to see Squash come alive... to grow from a baby that only cries, eats and sleeps... to a toddler that says: no, mommy, daddy, uh-oh... and a few other words when he wants to... To shake his head YES when we figure out what he is trying to tell us.

To see a little girl run outside to pick blueberries...

To watch a 4 year old boy learn to ride his first bike...

To see a baby learn to crawl on things... and turn the pages of a book.

Oh, to freeze these moments... to never forget them... I can't even remember 7 years ago when my baby girl was a baby... it seems so long ago... I want to remember her as a baby... but today feels and seems so real...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prodigal Son

What does prodigal mean? Well, according to the dictionary... "recklessly wasteful, or extravagant." Well, I was really praying about a situation when God reminded me of the story of the Prodigal Son... found in Luke 15 in the Bible... It is an amazing story of forgiveness. A parable of God's love that tells of a father who welcomes home a son who has gone astray and squandered his inheritance to return in poverty to ask forgiveness. It is beautiful... but I have never liked it. You see in the story there is the "older son". A son who obeyed his father, and stayed home to help his father with family matters. Me - I have always related to the good son - or the "rule-follower"... the responsible one who stayed behind to slave away....

So - I saw someone in my life being a prodigal - running away and living life recklessly... to be rewarded with a father's love. But in "my story", there was no forgiveness and no change of heart... no hitting the bottom and choosing to repent or change... just the celebratory homecoming. So, my bitterness overwhelms my heart. My righteous anger bubbles over for the father who is loving the son... and the son who is not repentant for all the past hurts and wrongs. For you see, one son can affect the WHOLE family. So, I found myself being the bitter son... the one saying - Father - Why? Why him? Why reward him? Why reward this one?

I think of my two sons, and wonder if there will be a day when they leave home with reckless abandon and depart from their teachings... I pray not. But then, I think I could be a bit more understanding and less bitter... so today...

I heard the most wonderful sermon at church... about forgiveness, grieving the loss, get God's strength, follow God's guidance, and expect God's restoration.

I find I am the one older son that stayed home... but I don't want to be him. I learned after careful examination that the one bitter son was just that - bitter. He was just as bad as the one who went away. He did not ask the father about the reasons why - but instead sent a servant to ask the father. I don't want that in my relationships. I want open communication. Plus, the one son was so self-righteous... and don't I have a closet full of sins that God has forgiven? Of course. I may not be a prodigal... but I have had my foolish moments that makes me thankful for grace and a forgiving God.

I heard in the sermon that I have two paths... just like this narrow road I am on... I can choose to 1. rehearse or 2. release.... I am a bit more of a rehearser in life... playing that scene over and over in the theater of my mind... but I want to release it... I want to be free. I have some hope. Releasing is not a one time thing sometimes... it is everyday, every hour, and sometimes every minute. As I write and type, I cry out to God for me to release this prodigal son, and I cry out to God to forgive me for my sin of being the bitter one... I cry out for more love for the Father and the prodigal... to release this... to find peace... for the prodigal to be a prodigal that is restored... For it is not the prodigal that scares me, I don't want to be "other son" that is home and angry. I want to be at the celebration. I want the forgiveness and love. I want to give the first toast... because when the prodigal left... don't you think the older son must have missed the prodigal so much? Just as much as the Father?

I found today that I had to admit my bitterness came from love. I love this prodigal.. and I have missed the prodigal in my life... but until a prodigal can ask forgiveness... how can there be true restoration? Only a party... So, I pray for the restoration... that the prodigal becomes what the Father wanted all along... So, a prodigal in this story could not be a son or a brother until he was restored, returned home with forgiveness on his lips... the Father must have waiting... for he saw him a long way off... and ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.

In my own life, I want God's love. I want to be standing at the window waiting... my bitter heart has turned from the window... and can't imagine that prodigal returning... I can't see the picture with restoration. So, I can pray. I can ask God to begin the restoration in my soul. I can ask God to help me be the party planner... you know I love a good party.... and I prayed today to want to plan a party... to feel that love again.... not this bitterness that wells up... not the hurt... to be filled with love... for even if the prodigal never asks for forgiveness... and never returns.... I want to be home waiting at the window... I want to buy the streamers and balloons... I want the menu planned... so just in case, I am ready for the party.... my heart will be ready... I pray God changes it... and I will choose to obey and forgive.

How many of us are prodigals with God the Father waiting for us to come home? Just choose the narrow path, choose to go home and ask forgivensess.... and how many of us are no longer filled with joy when a lost son returns to God? Is there a party somewhere waiting on your attendance? Are you ready to give a party?

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Well, I just went to the homeschooling convention in Orlando for two nights with Sweat Pea. We had a lot of fun. It was so strange to go out of town without the Prince and the boys. We missed them, but it was a true vacation... However, the convention was challenging. By the end of the convention, I did not want to go to another convention again. I am sure by next year I will be ready to go... but it was overwhelming... it really inspires you to be in control of teaching your children and how and what. There are so many great choices out there. I am usually so "black and white" so I want to choose the BEST curriculum. Truly you can ask 10 people what is the best Math curriculum and you would get probably 5 different answers. There are some curriculums that are more commonly used, and the one a person is using seems to be the BEST in their eyes. So, it is a wide road, and hard to choose which path we will be on. I have chosen next year's curriculum... I have heard it seems I might be doing "private school" at home... and I am sure I will be. I want all my children to have the best education, and I do think that she can have that.. but being home will have so many more benefits for our family. We will be blessed to get to teach her ourselves. We won't miss those moments. I am so excited to start. We actually will be starting slowly this summer.

Math - Purposeful Design (published by American Christian Schools) and Abeka timed drills
Spelling - Purposeful Design
Reading - Bob Jones & Abeka readers
History - Abeka Our Histoy 2nd grade and Veritas Press timeline cards with Classical Conversations
Bible - Bob Jones
English - English for the Thoughful Child and Bob Jones
Art - How Great Thou Art book and Classical Conversations studying specific artists
Science - Classical Conversations and some different experiments including Abeka and ABC
Health - Abeka
Spanish - Vocabulary building - journaling
* Classical Converstaions on Fridays and Memory work daily

We kicked off summer with a day at the beach on Sweet Pea's Last Day of School Party with her class. I don't know if you can see how much sand is in Squash's hair... lots and lots... and this is Pumpkin with a face full of sand (it was the best picture I got of him)... they were way too busy to pose for pictures.

We are thanking God for a bountiful harvest in our garden. These zuccini's were huge... we kept finding them hidden... it was not our intention to let them grow so big. Yes, they are better small in my opinion. Notice all the corn and squash in the little red wagon. I got some great pictures of all the kids pulling the husks off the corn.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Sometimes I get so caught up in seeking God that I forget to SHARE Him. I am so interested in learning more about God... studying the Bible... talking to other Christians... I was not always this excited about God... somehow it became about the motions... going to church, carrying my Bible to church, acting... then God changed me. I can't say it was a specific sermon or book or prayer or moment... just remembering I asked God to be wise (kind of like Solomon in the Bible) and to know Him. I made a list some time ago of friends and family that I wanted to see come to know God. I realized the people on that list had not changed... and it has probably been about a year... and I realized I had not really been doing my part about simply talking to them about God. Why is that so hard? I think it is hard, because it is so personal... because God is so convicting that people can be really resistant to hearing about God. Plus, there are many who call themselves "Christians" who simply are not children of God.

What made me excited about God again? Reading the Bible. Is is easy to read the Bible? No. You have to commit to do it. You have to choose to read the Bible over something else (doing dishes, watching t.v., being on the computer...) But I am doing it. I am reading through the Bible... and I am now in Isaiah - I wrote down the date of starting in Genesis last July... and I think that is when I really started to change. Actually, I think God started to change me.

Sometimes I get so caught up in talking about God that I forget to TALK to God.

Sometimes I pray so much about what I want that I can't HEAR what God is trying to tell me.

Today, I stepped out in a leap of faith... I did my part. I sacrificed. I cried. I prayed and pleaded with God. I obeyed. Did I want to? No - not really... I looked for excuses and reasons to do it differently.

Today, I asked friends who I knew were prayer WARRIORS to pray for my leap of faith. I did my part. I feel at peace now. Until I acted, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy. Now, I have let it go. God will work now. God will water the seed.

Only God can draw someone to him... Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.

Each individual person can choose to follow the narrow path and choose God... or they can go with the crowd down the path to destruction.

I'll have to tell you about my leap of faith later... but if you are a Prayer WARRIOR... I did go to the post office today.

So, I am off to pray over my list of friends and family who do not know Jesus... I talked to Rachel and Luke a bit about that tonight... how sad to not know "Amazing Grace" or "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus" or "Jesus Loves Me"... in those early morning hours of rocking babies, nothing soothed my soul or theirs as much as singing "Amazing Grace" - So, I am off to Pray... and get a little closer to finishing the book of Isaiah... oh, that is - after I finish cleaning the bathroom...

p.s. If you read this, I would love to see you comment. Just click on the comment button, and leave a message. You can comment "Anonymously", but please sign your name. Thanks. Someone must be reading this... right? Is anyone out there?
p.s.s. If you are a serious Prayer Warrior - let me know - I would be happy to share prayer requests with you... I will pray for you... you can pray for me... we're a happy family!!! (oops! That sounds like a Barney song!)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sad - Goodbye "Baby"

September 26, 1992 - May 7, 2009

Adopted November 7, 1992

In college... I went once a week with a good friend or two to do "pet therapy." We went to the local animal shelter, and took puppies to a local nursing home. It was really hard to give those puppies back. I always fell in love with the dogs and really wanted one. Growing up I had an outside dog, but I really wanted one inside that would be a real companion. Well, one day I talked my roommate into getting a puppy together. I think our neighbors told us about the puppy that was at a local flea market. Well, it had fleas all right. The puppy supposedly had "papers" and was a registered Cockapoo. He was black and cuddly, and had white down the front. He was so soft. Of course, getting two girls to agree on a name was challenging. My roommate liked Harley Davidson bikes, so he became Baby (my name) Harley Presley (he lived in a room with a felt picture of Elvis).

Did I mention having a dog was against our lease? We had to pay for that later. We hid the dog, but eventually someone told on us... he lived hidden under our staircase in a closet for his early weeks. Then, he was moved to a sorority sister's boyfriend's house (well, you can't find too many people willing to take in someone else's puppy)... So Harley moved in... he stayed much of in the time in an empty bedroom that was covered in newspapers... you can imagine it was not too clean. So, those early days of hiding him in closets, and living in someone's back room led to him never quite getting the idea of going to the bathroom where he should.

Harley never liked grass, and probably had an allergy to it. He would bite his feet after walking. He would just as well go to the bathroom on the sidewalk...

Harley got into my Hershey Kisses, and we panicked when he was a puppy. The foil came out alright.

I lived with the same roommate for 3 years until we graduated. She was getting married, and I took off to graduate school. I was more attached, or at least I was the one who took him after college. Harley was my "baby" in every sense of the word. I had to live in apartment complexes that allowed pets. I found really good vets and even bought pet health insurance for awhile. I really loved him. He was my child. I spoiled him. I walked him daily, and slept with him. I talked to him during my management years when I lived alone and was very lonely.

He was with me for 17 years. Being a fan of older people,I equated and still do putting "animals to sleep" with euthanasia. I really don't believe in it. I felt that I made a commitment to this animal, and it was my job to care for him even if he was old and not very fun.

As he aged, he got arthritis and had bumps (little growths) all over his body. He hurt his spine several times and went through steroid treatments. He became blind, and probably only saw shadows. One eye was almost white with cataracts. He could not hear. Last Friday, he got lost in the wooded lot next door, and he sat down and barked. I think he was disoriented and could not see to get back. For the last several years, he has lived in the garage due to a persistent cough he developed and incontinence (or lack of ever learning to tell us when he had to go outside). So, I found him two days ago barking in the garage (which he did not do very much). He could not get up, and appeared paralyzed. But this time, he could not see his water bowl or food bowl. I had to help him go to the bathroom, and his kidneys and body were shutting down. We called the vet. I knew it had been "time" to say goodbye for years. Honestly, I had prayed he would die naturally at home. But truthfully, for years, I had literally prayed he would live to be very old.

He was a good dog. I loved him very much. He was loyal and protective. My dog Harley loved me unconditionally. I said goodbye at home, and my Prince took him to the vet for me. Prince even stayed with him until the end. I could not do it. I feel cowardly about that, but I could not watch. I know that he could not see me today or even hear what I said to him... but if dogs get to go to heaven I hope God lets him in.

The children asked if he was in heaven. I told them that there would probably be animals in heaven which is what Revelations says, and some passages in Isaiah. I guess you can question whether an animal has a "soul" - dogs do know right and wrong. I basically told the kids that "I don't know". Sweet Pea wants to know if she can have a fish now. Pumpkin is really curious and wants to know why we were putting him in the ground. The Prince actually buried him at home after the kids were in bed. They were not attached to him. Harley was old when they were born, and was jealous. Harley was not fond of the kids and would snap at them. He probably reacted that way since he was in pain due to the arthritis.

Anyway, I am sad today... and I miss my dog. He lost "baby" status when I had my own children, but he really made my life better. He was my first "baby."

Taking a fun blog design class online... so I have been playing with the design... not done yet... a work in progress.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baby Stellan and Prayers

I am not sure how I first heard of Baby Stellan... I think it has been over a year now. I pray for this baby daily. I love to look at pictures of his brothers and sister. I pray for his mother and father. I feel that I could be "best friends" with his mother. I probably have prayed more for this baby than I have for my own children. I probably have prayed more for this mother than any other woman I know. The thing about that is I don't really know them. If Stellan saw me, he would see a STRANGER. If his mother passed me at the grocery store, she would not even glance my direction unless my kids were throwing a fit (which I am sure they never do in a store). You might be a bit confused now... I have been a bit perplexed about it myself... but you see God isn't.

There is a woman named Jennifer McKinney who lived somewhere (I can't even remember the state since she calls it the Frozen Tundra most of the time - Minnesota) who started a blog about her family. People know her as MckMama. She used to use her children's names... but she switched them out to protect their privacy to be known as "Big Mac", "MckNuggett" and "Small Fry" - but the baby's real name is Stellan. Stellan has a story - he was not supposed to live according to the medical world... but God had a plan. God gave Stellan life in his mother's womb, and chose to continue his life in this Earth. He is a miracle... and over 10 million times have people clicked on his mommy's blog to read about his life... Yes, I did say 10 million. He has also made the news... several times.

So, a baby not expected to live... lives. So, a baby supposed to have heart problem... doesn't.... for months... then, SURPRISE he does. It was no surprise to God... so, each one of these curious 10 million glances into their life... let's think a small percentage prays and asks God for mercy on this family for this baby to live... and he lives... and he has major surgery to try to stop his heart problems... and he lives... but he is not "fixed" yet... but he is living....

And his mother... she is telling the story as best she can... with humor, compassion, a bit of rough language (well, don't we all get angry and upset), and best of all, she tells us and shows us and gives an example of God's faithfulness... God's love... and God has used this story to reveal bits of himself to us all... so I pray... I continue to pray for these "strangers" ... but I am really praying for my sister in Christ... and a baby that I love a lot. And I pray for the Daddy that is not with the baby in the hospital... and the boys who miss their mommy while she is with their baby brother in the hospital... and the little baby girl that misses her mommy while she is gone...

MckMama posted about prayers... on April 22 - "Why Bother Praying?" with so many praying... we all wonder "is God listening? Is God going to do another miracle and heal his heart?" We want the MIRACLE... the MIRACLE of a healed heart with a baby that goes home with his mommy.... we want the Hallmark card... but God he wants the Masterpiece... I believe God is using this baby and his family to teach all of us readers and those that come to know them about him... Stellan is a miracle, because 10 million times people have checked on him to see what GOD IS DOING with this baby and this family. This family is ALL ABOUT GOD and this baby is FROM GOD.

When Squash had his surgery, I craved and really wanted people to pray for him... and I was faced with the same questions... Will our prayers make a difference? Will it help to have MORE people praying? Will the prayers of my innocent children touch God's heart MORE than mine or another adult? I thought of all the negative things that could go WRONG during surgery or post operation. I realize though that I have no more control of my sweet baby's life on the day of surgery than I do right now as he sleeps sweetly in his bed. It is scary when you realize it... but it so means that this child belongs to God. We prayed to God and asked him to protect him... He belongs to God. God gave him life, and God knows what day will be his last... I am not sure if these questions are questions of an immature baby Christian - or the true burden carried by many strong Christians - who have looked into God and choice and free will and lots of other deep theological questions.

So - what is the point of prayer? Does God hear? Does God care? YES! YES! YES! I can't think of any examples in the Bible where MORE prayers affected the outcome than one prayer of one person. I stumbled - and I am sure it was not by accident - but by God's appointment on a Max Lucado book called - Everyone Needs a Miracle - HE STILL MOVES STONES- and there was a segment on - you'll never believe it - PRAYER.... Chapter 10 - The Power of a Timid Prayer - When You Wonder If Your Prayers Matter - and guess what - the Bible story is about a father with a sick son seeking a MIRACLE.

The father asked Jesus "IF You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." The father questioned, and had doubt - IF. Jesus responded "if you believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Wow! All things possible... but sometimes I admit I don't have that kind of belief...This loving father did not either - and the father said, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" - The father wanted to believe - just like I want to believe in the things I pray for... The disciples had tried to heal this boy, and failed... so they asked Jesus in private, "Why?" Why couldn't the disciples heal this child when they were able to help others... Jesus responded, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." Who prayed? Not the disciples - but the father - the one with inadequate faith... a simple cry from a father asking "IF" and wanting to believe - changed everything...

The story is found in Mark 9: 14-29. To sum it up, PRAYER MAKES A DIFFERENCE. Just in case, you ever wondered... and wanted the proof.

So, read Stellan's story (really God's story) if you dare - You will fall in love... because she is just like you and me... and you will PRAY... how could you not? But, if you don't want to hear about a miracle, and obsessively click on her blog and check to see if she has any new news... then don't check it out...

Because of MckMama's blog, I finally decided after a year of thinking about it to write... why? Because I knew that exposing my heart would be hard... but I want to see these miracles recorded in my life. I also wanted to make friends with amazing people like Jennifer - and I wanted my "in real life" friends to learn more of my heart - and for them to share more of theirs with me... so, please post a comment - or I will never know you cared enough to read this...

And about those prayers for SQUASH- it carried us through. It gave us peace to know others were praying. It gave us comfort to pray during the waiting... and Squash is great. He has his cast off, and his hand is healing nicely. As a friend told me today as I showed off his hand, "looks great to me - I never noticed it before." So, it is healing nicely... I think it is still tender. I don't think he has all the strength back yet... but he will be able to wear a wedding ring. Thanks for praying.

p.s. (Couldn't give you the link before - or you would have never read the rest of this blog!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Power Tools & Imagination

Well, today we visited the plastic surgeon. The Dr. cut the cast off of Squash's arm, and we checked out his hand. He really wanted to touch it and feel it. It was quite swollen from being immobilized, and it was explained to me that it was fluid. There were lots and lots of stitches. The stitches were black, ugly and ragged. It looked like a switchblade was used on his hand. If the doctor did not have such a good bedside manner, I probably would have been really upset.

I left feeling hopeful. The doctor said he had a VCR in his head and could fast forward two weeks, and it looked really good. The Dr. reminded me he had grey hair, etc. Actually, how could you not like a guy that wears fluffy red bow ties and carries a worn brown doctor's bag. The Dr. has grey hair, glasses, and a great smile. The Dr. told me the stitches would just fall out, and I did not even have to count them! I told him he must know me- that I am exactly the type to count stitches and make sure they all came out... Squash picked at his hand a bit (which I hated!). Then, the Dr. washed it off really well with some soap. I was thankful. The mother in me wanted to really wash off all the dried blood, etc. (don't want to be too graphic). Then, he re-wrapped it, and put the cast back over it and taped it up. The cast was cut off with a power tool that had a rotating metal disk that was sharp enough to cut through the fiberglass cast... I was a bit worried, and of course, the baby was SCREAMING. He warned the other two kids, Sweet Pea & Pumpkin, that the baby would cry but would not actually be hurt. However, it was quite a power tool.

When we left, Pumpkin asked me, "Where are the suckers?" since our pediatrician hands out suckers at the checkout desk. I was thinking at that moment we ALL deserved a sucker.

I think it takes quite a bit of imagination for a plastic surgeon to do his work. He cuts, pulls, tears, stretches, and steals from other places to sew something together to make a child more beautiful in the future. When the child is all stitched up, it may not look better, but given time... the end product will be beautiful.

I was reminded this week that the reason I so wanted this surgery was so that he could wear a wedding ring. It's true. If he did not have the surgery, he could not. You might have never noticed the extra skin, and it might never have affected anything he wanted to do physically in life... but I want to look down the road a bit. I want him to experience life with a wife, and yes, I want to see him stand up someday in a church and exchange vows and put a symbol on his finger of a ring to show the world that he has made a covenant before God to love and cherish his wife forever. It's important.

SO, I've been thinking a lot about imagination this week. It really started about a week ago. When a friend's child asked, "Mommy, why do parents LIE about Santa?" right after I mentioned that SANTA brought my kids a trampoline this year. Yes, the Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and the lot can cause quite a bit of controversy in Christian circles. I am not about to tell ANYONE how to handle it. I am not sure I am handling it right... but it is fun to give Easter baskets, and hide eggs. It is fun to "play Santa". I love the look of wonder on my kids faces, and yes, I am elusive when they ask if it is "real." I grew up with visits from Santa, Bunnies, etc. I never questioned whether Jesus was real, when I realized that Santa was not. I don't have the answers on this one, and I am struggling with it. Jesus never celebrated Easter or Christmas, and never told us too. Jesus celebrated Passover, but we don't. I wish all Christians did. I want to learn about Jesus's feasts, and his holidays... not the ones made up with presents and baskets. I want to dig deeper... but I struggle... I still want the eggs in the tall grass... I still want to hunt them... I still want to have chocolate bunnies smeared on my fingers... does it mean I am clinging to the world? I think "those that don't do bunnies and baskets" probably think so... but I think that Jesus would be running and giggling with childish delight as my kids find each egg... and yes, the bedtime story that I read tonight about Jesus's Palm Sunday, his betrayal, his death, and his resurrection... that is what I will make sure my kids will remember MOST about EASTER. I dare you - ask them - What is Easter all about?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Squash Surgery Update

Yesterday was a day I hope to never do again. I fed Squash at 3:00 to 3:30 a.m. - the last time the doctor wanted him to eat due to anesthesia. Then, we got up at 4:00 a.m., and left home at 4:45 a.m. to get to the hospital by 6:00 a.m. We walked in at 6:05 a.m. A children's hospital is definitely a place to go to if you have a child in need of medical care. They had their program down pat of where to go, wait, and what to do when. We went to admission, and waited to see a lady behind the desk. Then, he got his i.d. bracelet, and we paid our co-pay. They give a 20% discount for paying the co-pay. I found this interesting. In my mind, you HAD to pay the co-pay so why would they give you a discount for doing it right then? (Interesting irony for my Ramsey friends.) Then, we went to another waiting area. Then, we went back to the short term stay area, and met with the nurse practitioner who approved him "well" for surgery, and had his blood pressure and temperature taken. They have these really modern scopes that have a ball on the end that they run over the babies head to take the temperature (maybe they have been around for years, but I have never seen one). I thought it was really neat until I noticed they don't seem to clean them - so basically it "appeared" that they ran it over his head and all the other "well" kids waiting for some surgery... anyway, I digress. Then, he was dressed in a children's gown, and we were sent to wait in a waiting room we just came from. It was full of play cars that looked like they had NEVER been cleaned... of course, we let him play on them, but I was still wanting not too... anyway, we were called to go back to another room with a lot of other families and kids waiting on beds to go to surgery. We met with the anesthesiologist back there and talked to his doctor before surgery. Strangely enough, there was NO privacy in this room. We heard about the other families, and they heard us. I saw a family with a baby that was probably about 4 months old talking to the doctors and anesthesiologist. They were up before us, and I saw them kiss their baby goodbye. I tried not to look or pay attention, but I saw the tears in her eyes when she walked by. There could be a better way to do this...

So, they make you part ways in a hall, and they promised he would be asleep in 5 seconds. Kissing my baby goodbye and watching him be carried off - and hearing and seeing him crying and looking at me was HORRIBLE. We both needed more than a few tissues at this point.

The surgery was supposed to take an hour and a half. It was scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. He actually went back for surgery at 7:45 a.m. Then about 9:00 a.m. a nurse we had met came out and said he was doing well that the doctor had less than an hour of surgery left. Well, 10:00 a.m. rolled around, and still no doctor. Did I mention we were freezing. I put on an extra t-shirt I had brought in case I needed a change of clothes and had to spend the night. I had on 2 t-shirts and a light jean jacket and jeans. It was so cold back there. They let me use a blanket, but the blanket they gave me was icy cold. Also, we waited in a tiny individual "conference room." So, you did not wait with anyone else... we were given a pager so we could go to the cafeteria, but we did not want to leave the area. So, the doctor comes about about 10:15 and lets us go back to see him. He was laying down with a blanket up to his chin holding a bottle (very small) and was drinking glucose water. Actually, the nurse said he chugged 6 ozs and asked me how much he usually drank. Since he is breastfed, I had no idea. Mostly, he eats food - not milk. So, they let us follow him to the short stay unit and stay with him. We immediately left the short stay unit. He had been out of surgery about 30 minutes, and had been awake about 15 minutes. He was really calm and quiet. Not fussy. Then, when we got to the short stay he started to fuss to be picked up. I got to pick him up and nurse him for about 30 minutes. He was content and not fussy. He was a bit cranky after nursing and was not happy. The nurse said she would check back in about 30 minutes. She checked back and took the i.v. out of his foot. She checked his fingers for good blood flow. Then, I asked when we might be discharged, and she said, "Right now." So, that was it. The longest time there was the surgery. He did not seem to need any more pain medication, but we picked some up before leaving the hospital. We left about 11:30, and pulled out of the parking lot about 11:45. We were home about 1:00 p.m. and exhausted. Did I mention we had been up since 4:00 a.m? Also, it was extremely stressful waiting.

Now, he has a huge cast up to his shoulder to immobilize his fingers and hand. In 10 days, we go to have the cast taken off to see his hand. Then, the doctor will put it back on... So, he should be in a cast about 3 weeks. The cast or weight of it seems to throw him off balance. So, he is not walking as good as he was before. Also, he is having to play and use his sippy cup and eat with one hand... so, it is a bit challenging to scoop him up (he is heavier) and arrange his arm.

I am so thankful for everyone that prayed. Please continue to pray for his healing. I have to admit I feel that I have a scar on my heart. It is painful to watch your child leave you for surgery and be in a cast. I wish he could tell me if he is in pain or hurts or is uncomfortable. He also has an incision and some type of stitches where they took the skin for the skin graft. We have not taken off the bandage yet - and aren't supposed to remove the special tape. He found the spot during a diaper change, and tried to rip off the bandage today.

My handy husband put duct tape on the end of the cast to keep him from pulling out the stuffing and bandages after he succeeding in pulling some out. Later, I talked to the doctor and he recommended a sock. Well, the tape is off now, and the sock is working just fine... He is really missing his bath time. I am glad I let him play in the bath a long time the night before the surgery.
Did I mention his cast is bright blue?
If you read this, please comment. Also, if you prayed, please let me know. I want Squash to know someday about all his friends and loved ones praying for him.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Thinking of all kinds of verses for fear. Squash is having syndactyly surgery on his hands tomorrow, and the surgery will include a skin graft. Many people that saw him every week for the first year of his life never knew he had syndactyly. I really did not want to talk about it, but now, I do. Why? Birth defects are scary and hard to understand. Why? My child's toes and fingers are so precious to me. As his mommy, I did not want him to be talked about or remembered for his toes or his hands. I wanted his stunning smile and his giggle to be what people associate with him. Not his differences. I suppose differences define each of us.

"God has always been faithful to me." That is the lyrics of the Sara Grove song on my blog that I am hearing as I write this. So true. The pediatric plastic surgeon said Squash's syndactyly is the mildest he has ever seen. What a blessing is that. It is a blessing that he has all 10 fingers and all 10 toes, and that he has all his bones.

My parents style is more of a "worry" style that I inherited. I don't "like" worry, but I am working on it. I think God gave me a husband that helps me with worry. I don't trust babysitters or sleep overs or others with my children... it is not that I don't trust the PEOPLE - but I just want to be with them, and I want to know they are SAFE. I want to be their protector. God gave them to me, and I always think that no one besides the Prince would love them as much as me.

So, tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. I will hand over my baby to someone I don't know. I will trust a doctor that I have spent less than an hour with to take my baby to surgery. I type with tears in my eyes as I ask for your prayers - for an easy surgery, for his safety, for the doctor's skill, for minimal scars, for quick healing, and for the waiting for me and my husband. My other two children will be staying with a close friend that I really trust, and they are so excited. It is hard to go and pack for their exciting sleepover - when I know in a few short hours I will be waking up my little SQUASH to nurse at 3:00 a.m. and waking up at 4:00 a.m. to get ready to leave for the drive to the hospital. I have waited 15 months for this surgery, and though you may have never heard of it before - I have thought about it every day since the day he was born. Every time I wiped his fingers and washed him at his bath.

So, I crave and beg you to pray to God for this child. I love him so much. There are sicker children and children with more needs. This is a minor surgery in the eyes of the world, but major in this mommy's heart. So, I go to hold my baby and pack our bags.

God, Bless this child. Use him for your purposes. He belongs to you. Heal his hands with this surgery and watch over him bringing him safely home to us. Be with the doctors and nurses. Bring his parents peace. Thank you for the incredible blessing of these three children. We are richly blessed. Thank you for letting us know you. I know you alone love this child more. May this surgery be the last. Your child and baby - Andrea

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ten and Counting

Yesterday, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary. I had the most beautiful post written about my sweet hubby - but he disliked me sharing it - anyway, to avoid any further embarrassment - I guess you got to be "super fast" to read this blog. I posted it - then deleted it. I sent a post about posting it on face book, then deleted it. I am curious if anyone read it... anyway, it was worthy of reading. I love my husband (that was the gist of it). I had 10 reasons I love him - but I could name 100. Anyway... did I mention I really WANTED you to read it. I am excited about 10 years - not everyone makes it.

Well, moving on... guess what God showed me yesterday... I am reading through the Bible in "90 days"... I asked a few of you if you would keep me accountable and read along. Needless to say, there were NO takers. So, I started it last July, and it is well - a few more than 90 days - but God really cares that I read the Bible, but I KNOW he does not care if I read it in 90 days or 50 years. Well, maybe 50 years. But I started in Genesis, and I am now in Proverbs (past the middle if you are not Bible literate). God has taught me a lot.

Oh, back to yesterday - Proverbs 21:9 &19.

"Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman." (vs.9) "Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman." (vs.19)

Contentious women. Are you one? Am I? I hope not. What in the world does that word mean? Contentious? Webster says - "likely to cause an argument... exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes." Wow - how can a word so close to "content" or "contentment" mean something so different.

My commentary in my Bible said - "The wife is commanded to respond to her husband and respect him."

So, this of course, sent me over for some cheering up - since I do tend to be a bit argumentative - so I turned to Proverbs 31 - THE VIRTUOUS WIFE. Well, for some reason, when I read Proverbs 31 - I feel a bit lacking. This is so beautiful -

"Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Proverbs 31: 10-12

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." (vs. 26)

I have to admit even at 10 years, I was a bit contentious yesterday. You see I like BIG - Big EVENTS, Big PRESENTS, Big DEALS... Bigger is Better as they say in Texas. So, it was a nice day, but it is/was 10 years... we are planning a fabulous trip somewhere after Squash's surgery. But on THE DAY, God showed me that spending time with my husband was what was important- having a nice lunch and dinner - but I have to say the best meal was breakfast with the banana pecan pancakes my husband made for me. The point? Not sure if I had one. I find that my expectations are contentious. I know my expectations are wrong. No one could jump through those hoops, but I want what I want in my own selfish heart. I want AMAZING all the time, but I really want to learn to be CONTENT with today. So, my prayer is:

Lord, grant me contentment with today, and joy with the daily everyday moments. Grant me many more years of marriage, and give us peace in the upcoming days. Help me not to be a contentious wife that is "continually dripping" (Prov. 19:13).

Squash's surgery is scheduled for Monday, and we will be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. Keep us in your prayers.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your Invited to Visit

My Life from my Perspective
Perspective – that is what holds me back from writing. I want to share – my story. Whatever unfolds I want to share my story of how God leads and guides me and my family along the way. I want a Miracle. I want an Amazing Life. I am learning that a miracle and amazing does not mean scaling Mt. Everest (which I have no desire to do). A miracle is God’s presence. The answer to prayer. I prayed for a husband to lead my family, and to be the spiritual leader. God granted this request. It meant leaving a church and church family I loved to find a church to serve – and a new family to love. Now, I am a Deacon’s wife which the Bibles says… . “their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.” (from 1 Tim 3:11) Goodness, that is not me – but I am a work in progress. I am trying each day to be more of what God wants me to be. I am excited to see the work God is using my husband to accomplish. I have not felt so in love with God as when I was first introduced to God at the mere age of 9. I want to tell and SCREAM of the wonders that is going on in my life. I CRAVE your prayers as you read this. Prayers that God would use my family and direct us on his path.

Seeking the Narrow Gate. Why this title? I want to live differently – not punk purple hair different – but differently as “not of this world.” I want to have Fruit of the Spirit – (Church language for the ability to show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)

I will use this blog to answer the WHYs in my life… perhaps you can share a clearer path with me – take a few stones out of my path with a few kind words or a simple prayer. Share the journey. Things coming up…. Homeschooling? Preschool? Starting a Business? A Dream?

Down the path a bit – I will be learning lots of new things this year – and if you read my blog – you will be the the “know” or one of the first to know… I want to open my Etsy shop (Mere Rubies & Trifles). I want to learn to homeschool my daughter as God leads me. (First I have to find out if homeschool is one word or two – “home school”). SURPRISE – Yes, we have decided to homeschool Sweet Pea next year. I am exploring which preschool to send my son, Pumpkin . Did I mention I have visited NINE – yes, 9… I don’t take very lightly who will be teaching my son.

Did I mention that I will be using their online names instead of their real ones? Meet Sweet Pea – the first adorable daughter we had – who taught me patience as we waited two years to conceive her. Then, there is Pumpkin – I never knew I could love a boy so much. Now, there is Squash – well, being #3 – means you get squashed A LOT. Hence, he is the one who got stitches on his first birthday party. Besides, squash are ripe and juicy – and so great fried! Believe it or not, these are their real nicknames. They don’t answer to them, but they know them as nicknames… so, if you want to “follow” me on this journey. You can….

Tomorrow I will tell you about “Seeking the Narrow Gate.” (or whenever I get around to it).

p.s. I love to read and to learn… so as I “learn” something new this year I will share it. If you leave me comments, I will be so excited that someone bothered to read this.