New Baby (Part 1)

In my last post, I briefly mentioned that we were blessed with a new baby boy in March. He really is an unexpected gift!

Babe and I had talked about whether or not we wanted to have another baby. He was pretty settled in his heart that he didn’t want anymore children. Our boys were teenagers and our Little Miss was finally out of diapers. He was felt like our family was complete.

But deep down in my heart, I desired another baby. At the same time, I was just not sure if I could manage the stress of caring for an infant while juggling our business and homeschooling and everything else. I was torn, so I never pushed the topic with Babe. I did, however, pray about it.

I knew the Lord knew the desires of my heart, but he also knew what I could handle. I asked him to make a way if it was in his plan for us. In the meantime, I continued to faithfully take my birth control as my husband wished.

Then something happened. I messed up my birth control pills. It was just a matter of forgetting to get them refilled in time. I really didn’t think much of it. I mean, how many times have I done the same thing in the past and never had an issue? I was actually even a little cynical about it. I told myself, “yeah, you’re not going to get pregnant. Why? Because you would be overjoyed if you did!”

But low and behold, about 6 weeks later I took a test after my period was late. I was in disbelief!! The test couldn’t have been more positive!

I guess I should have waited until Babe got home from work to tell him the news, but I just couldn’t help it. I called him. He wasn’t thrilled. As a matter of fact, he sounded a little angry… of course that hurt a lot. But I understood where he was coming from. In his manly way or seeing things, our lives had just gotten more complicated and expensive. We were also in the middle of a crisis with on of our other children and he was stressed!

For the next couple of weeks, there was a little tension in our home. Instead of feeling excited and happy, I felt down and discouraged.

Eventually, Babe warmed up to the reality that we were having a new baby. But there were accommodations that now had to be made for our new arrival.

In my next post, I will share more about how Babe and I dealt with the changes that had to take place in preparation for our little one. I will also share about the depression that I went through during the course of my pregnancy.

Until then…. ❤️

It’s Been Awhile…

Wow… It’s been over two years since I’ve even looked at this blog site! Time certainly does fly, doesn’t it? I don’t know why I stopped blogging. But the last couple of days, I’ve really been feeling like I need to take it up again. So here I am!

Much has happened over the past two years. My last blog post was about our new home and the miracle that God performed for us. We moved into this beautiful place on June 27, 2017. I am still just so amazed that this is actually our home. It’s still just so beautiful to me! I will share more about our home in a later post, but for now, I guess I will just do a quick summary of what else has been going on.

In January 2018, our family was hit with a serious crisis concerning one of our children. It lasted until September, and almost ended in tragedy. We are still experiencing some of the ramifications of it, but thank God it is mostly behind us. However, that period of nine months we very traumatic for all of us.

Yet, like he always does, God brought beauty out of the ashes. What the enemy meant for evil, he meant for good. A lot of wounds were healed in our family and a lot of forgiveness and reconciliation took place. Looking back, I can really see the hand of God in all of it. And I am thankful.

In the middle of this ordeal we were experiencing, we got the surprise of our life! I was expecting another baby! Now, my hubby has two boys from his previous marriage, and we have a daughter (almost five now) together. We were not planning on anymore children. Of course, the Lord had different plans for us.

Our Little Mister was born on March 29, 2019! I will definitely be sharing the story of his birth in a later post. What a blessing, to say the least.

My Babe and I are still running our business from home. We continue to grow and be successful in our business endeavor, only by the goodness of God. We have hired a dispatcher/office assistant who doubles as my own personal assistant. She had been such  life saver. I really don’t think I could have maintained my sanity trying to do everything with the business while taking care of the little ones and the house as well as homeschooling.

Which brings me to what else we are doing. I officially began homeschooling our daughter this year! It took us awhile to really get into a routine, but I think we may have gotten the hang of it now. That is another blog topic I want to post later.

I am sure I could go on with so much that I’ve been up to, but I will stop there for now. I am really looking forward to getting back into blogging. I do pray that it will become a tool that the Lord can use to encourage and uplift others, and to lead people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Until next time! Good night…

My Moriah Experience

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“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and said, Behold, here am I. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:1-2)

Tears streamed down my face as I drove to meet my husband at the mortgage company. It should have been a joyous day! We were supposed to be signing the loan application to purchase our first home together. Yet, my heart was breaking and I could hardly see the road as my eyes were pouring water.

Just a few weeks earlier, we had made an offer on a beautiful new home! We were so happy and excited because we had been praying and waiting for this for a very long time. We’d been married for almost seven years and we currently lived in a mobile home. It was the same mobile home my husband had lived in for 17 years. He lived there for 7 of those years with his first wife. It was time for us to get something together that we could call “ours.”

I had been patient, trusting God and knowing he had promised me a beautiful home for my family. When I saw this house, I KNEW it was THE house! I felt it in my spirit! My husband felt it to, or so I thought. He didn’t hesitate to make an offer. So why were we getting ready to terminate our contract? I just didn’t understand!

Yes, I knew the reasons that my husband had decided not to pursue this house. There were some concerns about some of the neighbors. These neighbors had shouted out some unsettling remarks to him one day while he was walking the property. Then when we did some further research, we found they had been known to be troublemakers in the neighborhood. This was something my husband just didn’t want to take a chance with. We own our own business and have a toddler. We needed to feel safe in our new home. I knew all of this and understood it, but what I didn’t understand is why God would bring us to this point, get our hopes up, then take it from us!

This was what was on my mind as I drove to the mortgage office. As I was crying, I spoke out loud, “Lord, I don’t understand why I am standing her on Moriah…” I felt like Abraham, standing on Mt. Moriah with his promised son of his old age, getting ready to lay him down on the altar and take his life.

God had promised Abraham that through Isaac, his miracle child, he would be the father of many nations. Yet, here he was, getting ready to sacrifice this child as God had commanded. But Abraham trusted God. He knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead, or prevent the killing all together. He knew that obedience to God was the main thing, and he was willing to do whatever it took to do God’s will.

So as much as I wanted to fight my husband over this decision, telling him he was being ridiculous; that the neighbors weren’t as bad as he thought; that God would take care of the neighbors; that this is OUR house and I didn’t want to give it up! God had promised it to me and I KNEW it was OURS! As much as I wanted to say all these things, I submitted to my husband’s leadership and we signed the paperwork to terminate our contract that day.

I cried for several days after that. I had lost my desire to look for anther house. I was so hurt and disappointed by what had transpired. I still dreamed of this house at night. I still thought of it and couldn’t see myself in any other home. When we did look at other houses, none of them measured up. The house I wanted, was not the house for us. I had gave given it back to God when I submitted to my husband and his decision.

But there was a glimmer of hope in my soul. I remembered Mt. Moriah and how God did, in fact, spare Isaac. God provided a lamb just as Abraham was about to thrust the knife into his son. So I knew that as hard as it was to give up this house, God had something better for us and he would still fulfill his promise.

A few days later, our realtor contacted me and asked me if we would still want to buy the house if the sellers could somehow take care of the problem with the neighbors. Of course, my husband and I said “yes!” We were both in love with the house itself. We were just concerned about the situation with the neighbors.

A few weeks later, the sellers offered to build a privacy fence around the back yard. This was appealing to us, because we could park our work van inside the fence and lock it, and also our daughter could play safely outside without the fear of being bothered. My husband met with the seller and they came to an agreement! We were going to buy the house after all!

So here I am, sitting here thinking about this experience that I call my “Moriah experience.” And it really was! God made me a promise a long time ago that he would provide us with a beautiful home. We have waited patiently and when we finally found it, we were so happy! Then it felt like he was tearing it away from us. I knew it was some kind of test, but I didn’t know how it was going to work out.

Of course God never fails us. He not only gave us back our house, but he added to it! Now we will have a beautiful privacy fence around the back yard at no charge! When God does something, he does it well!

 

 

 

 

 

Packing a Diaper Bag for a Two-year-old

In some ways, packing a diaper bag for my toddler is easier now than when she was an infant. Yet in other ways, it is a bit more complicated. It really depends on where we are going and how long we will be away. And sometimes, I need more than one bag!!

For instance, if we are going grocery shopping, I need to be sure to pack a toy and a sippy cup keep her busy for an hour or so while we roam around Wal-Mart. One toy is usually all she needs and most likely she won’t need a snack because we won’t be gone that long. If she does, I can alway crack open a package of cookies while we shop. Or grab her a donut at the bakery.

For church, depending on whether or not I bring her to service with me or leave her in the nursery, the contents of the bag will be much different. If I leave her in the nursery, she will only need a pull-up, wipes and diaper cream. Oh and an extra set of clothes in case of an accident.

If I bring her to service with me, I bring a few snack variations and two sippy cups with juice. Yes two. Why? Because the silly Cups gives her comfort when she starts to get fussy. This is just what she needs when she is in a setting where she has to sit still for a long period of time.

I also bring a few quite toys, books and a coloring book (or notebook) for her to scribble in. I have to bring a variation of things because her attention span will not allow her to focus on one thing at a time. This sometimes requires a smal backpack or tote in addition to the diaper bag.

If we are going on a day trip, I basically pack like I do for church, but I will probably bring more snacks. I don’t worry too much about her sippy cup, because riding in the car is soothing to her. Also when we stop to eat, I refill her cup with milk or juice from the restaurant.

So here is a basic list of what I pack in the diaper bag, which also doubles as my purse, by the way! There are several items on this list that I didn’t mention above. It doesn’t include my own personal items.

1. Pull-ups (or diapers)

2. Wipes

3. Diaper cream

4. Hand sanitizer

5. Snacks (make it easy)

6. Sippy cup with juice (or drink of choice)

7. Change of clothes

8. Hair brush and container of rubber hair bands

9. Toys (variations for trips and church)

10. A notebook and crayons or washable markers for scribbling (optional for church and trips)

11. A change of socks and shoes (maybe)

Did I leave anything out? What do you pack in your diaper bag? Share your list!!

Why Keep a Private Journal?

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In this day and age of social media, I wonder if anyone really keeps a private journal anymore. Since I was a freshman in high school, I have kept a hand written private journal.  But when I was introduced to Facebook several years ago, my private journal entries dramatically decreased.

Not long ago, I realized that Facebook statuses and sharing in Facebook groups have taken the place of my faithful paper and pen. I guess because it was much quicker, and I could also get a reply, and even encouragement, from others; whereas in my private journal, no one read it but me.

But lately, I’ve been drawn back to my private journal, and I’ve felt the need to stop sharing so much of my personal struggles on social media. I believe keeping a private journal can really be healthy and beneficial to our walk with God as well as our personal growth, while sharing too much on social media can really have the adverse affect.

Here are a few reasons I’ve compiled to keeping a private journal:

  1. To have a safe and private place to sort through and understand your feelings.
  2. To be brutally honest with yourself; dig deep into your own heart and find what needs to be changed and/or healed.
  3. To clear your heart and mind of distractions so you can hear the voice of God more clearly; and record what he says.
  4. To keep a record of happy, sad, and momentous events in your life.

These are all very good reasons to keep a private journal, and I could elaborate on each of them. However, I’d like to focus on the first two. Let’s start with having a safe and private place to sort through and understand your feelings.

When I write in my private journal, I do not have to censor anything. I can say exactly what is on my mind and heart without fear of hurting someone’s feelings or “getting in trouble.” My journal is my “safe place,” Its the place where I can take off my mask and be honest about how I feel about things and even about other people. I do not have to maintain a filter. What I write doesn’t even have to make sense. It is just me, pouring out my heart of all my fears, hurts, anger and yes, even happiness and joy. It is full of every emotion imaginable, sometimes all in the same entry.

The benefit of writing out all of your emotions like this is so that you can better understand why you are feeling the way you are feeling. As women, we can feel a thousand different emotions all at once and the reasons for each emotion do not have to be related to each other at all. Because of this, we sometimes get confused and we cannot articulate what we are feeling. That makes it hard for us to resolve issues, especially when other people are involved. Writing things down can help us map things out.

The second reason I want to address, is that when we journal, we are free to be brutally honest with ourselves about our own faults and insecurities without the fear of judgment. When we are truly honest with ourselves, then we can begin to work on the things that need to be changed within ourselves. We can identify the things in ourselves that have caused the turmoil instead of always throwing the blame onto others. When we do this, we can begin the healing process and take steps to positive change. After all, we cannot change others, but we can change ourselves.

I like to think of the Book of Psalms as King David’s private journal. Have you ever really read it as such? All throughout, it is full of David pouring out his heart. He cries out to God about injustice, betrayal and disappointment. But the thing that I have noticed is he always turns his attention back to the goodness of God.

When I journal, I try to do something of the same. After all my venting and complaining, I try to remember how good and faithful my God is to me and I try to turn it all around into praise. By doing this, I can truly find healing and rest from the struggles of life. I feel like this is the main goal for private journaling in the end.

So I want to issue a challenge to anyone who may read this. Let’s cut back on how much of our personal struggles we post on social media, and instead, put it in a private journal. Give yourself freedom to pour your heart out completely, but then be sure to return your thoughts back to God and give him praise in the midst of your circumstances. Try this for awhile and see if there is a change in your spirit. Maybe even come back here and tell me about how it works for you! I’d love to read about it!!

The Bathroom Remodel Parable

It started out as a small hole in our bathroom floor, or so we thought! It was just a weak spot, and we assumed it would be easily repaired. So we called a floor repair man. He sent his crew out and they began pulling the tiles back. This was the first sign that there was something majorly wrong.

As they began to pull the floor up, we realized that the entire floor was rotted, all the way to the wooden beams and it spread all the way underneath the big garden tub and to the wall. When they removed the bathtub, there was a huge gapping rotting hole and we could see the ground. There was also a horrible rancid stench that burned my eyes.

What we thought would be a simple fixed had turned into a huge and expensive job. We ended up having to replace everything in the bathroom except for the toilet. It took more money than we had anticipated and about a month to complete, as opposed to the week we originally thought it would be.

During the work in progress, our bedroom was filled, first with the smell of mold and rotting wood. Then as they cleaned that away, the gaping hole in the floor left our bedroom exposed to the elements. We went to bed each night praying a stray cat or raccoon would not decide to climb in! Then as they began adding the new wood and doing the carpentry work, our room was filled with sawdust. Because of all of this, my husband and I became sick with sinus infections and it took weeks for us to get over it.

 

Now, looking back, I wonder how we ended up going from just a small weak spot in the floor, to completely overhauling the entire bathroom. What could we have done to prevent the damage in the first place? The answer is now pretty obvious and it is a mistake we will never make again!

About 10 years ago, my husband decided to replace the carpet that was originally in the bathroom with vinyl tiles. He had good intentions! He knew if carpet were to get wet, that in itself could damage the floor. He figured putting down tile would be a better bet. However, there was one small thing he didn’t realize he was supposed to do. That was seal the tile to prevent water from seeping through the cracks into the floor beneath.

As the years went by, a little bit of water here and there did in fact seep through. Except no one knew it. It was undetectable. When I married my husband, the floor was still in tact and all the tiles were in place, but a year or two later, a few tiles became loose. Instead of fixing them and sealing the floor properly, we simply stepped over them. Then as one or two completely became free from the floor, we just put it back in place and kept right on about our business. All the while, water was getting sloshed out of the tub and dripped out of the shower, directly onto that particle board flooring beneath, and it was ever weakening.

I can’t help but think that many times, this is our spiritual lives. We come to God in the beginning and we give everything to him and we allow him to change us and make us new. God, being who he is does a perfect job! He doesn’t leave anything undone, but he does leave it up to us to maintain our relationship with him.

As time goes on, we neglect our relationship with God, here and there. We may let up on prayer, studying the word, and fasting. We may skip church once in awhile, but then it becomes more often. We may even find ourselves doing things that are not in line with a godly lifestyle.

At first, we don’t notice anything is wrong, but inevitably, if we continue to let things unravel, we will find ourselves stepping on a weak spot and falling through the floor, so to speak. And we will sit wondering how it got to this point.

The good news is, if we do find ourselves in this place, there is still hope! We can pull ourselves out of the hole in the floor and we can begin rebuilding our relationship with God. It will not be easy at first, and it may be costly, but the end result will be beautiful. And if we are smart, we will learn from our mistakes and be sure to seal things properly this time, and not neglect the things that need maintained.

The Power of Forgiveness

In my last post, I talked about my grandma, who passed away last week, and how I felt unloved by her much of the time. Well, my parents, sister and I made the trip over the weekend to her funeral. We arrived at the viewing after the rest of the family. No one was there but us.

This was a good thing for my dad who wanted to just be able to morn the loss of his mother in quiet peace. And it was also good for me, I soon realized.

At first, I felt no emotion and, honestly, I didn’t expect to. I loved my grandma, but I didn’t have much of a relationship with her. But right before we were to leave I decided to have a few minutes alone with her.

It was then, when it was just me in there with my grandmother’s lifeless form, I began to weep. It took me several minutes to compose myself. It was then that I realized I needed to verbalized my feelings and forgive.

It never occurred to me that I may be holding some unforgiveness in my heart towards her. I do not dwell on the past and I never felt any animosity towards my grandma. Yet, standing there in that room, I felt a lot of hurt and regret.

I wish she would have wanted to get to know me. I wish she would have tried to understand me. I wish she would have treated me like a granddaughter.

I voiced these feelings out loud and I spoke the words, “I forgive you.” I stroked her hair and then I bent down and kissed her forehead.

When I walked out of the room, I felt a cleansing peace envelope me. I felt the sweet strength of my Heavenly Father. It felt good.

I know my grandma did not hear me speaking to her. And I know she never showed remorse or asked for forgiveness from me before she died. But my simple act was not for her benefit. It was for my own.

I needed to release the hurt I had been carrying. I needed to forgive so I could be healed.

It is said that unforgiveness is like a poison that we swallow hoping the other person will die. It is so true. It will slowly kill us, yet the other person is never affected by it. In fact, if they are a malicious person, they may even enjoy our suffering.

That is why we must forgive! We must not give people power over us by holding grudges against them. Our lives are too precious to waste on bitterness and hate…

The Vapor of Life

I just received the news that my paternal grandmother passed away. It wasn’t unexpected. She had been sick for awhile.

I wish I could say that my grandma and I were close, but I can’t. As a matter of fact, I never felt very special to her, even though I was named after her, and I was her very first granddaughter out of about forty grandchildren. She had her favorites, and I was not one of them.

Growing up, I knew this very well, but oddly enough, it didn’t bother me too much. The only time I remember ever really being hurt was at Christmas time. We would visit their house a few days before the holiday and there would be a mountain of toys under the tree, but not one of them was for me or my sisters.

I did receive a gift from her one year for my birthday. A dirty second-hand doll. My parents just happened to bring me to her house on my special day and I told her it was my birthday, so she dug this doll out of a box or something she had in her house. How nice…

I know grandma didn’t dislike me, but I also know she didn’t really care much about me either. I think she was more indifferent than anything. She also knew that I had a relationship with God and her own lifestyle was silently condemned by the one that I was leading, even as a child.

You see, I loved the Lord with all of my heart, and I knew and recognized, even at a young age, that my grandmother was dishonest and untrustworthy. I would often talk about the Lord in her presence and I think it made her uncomfortable. I truly believe that is why she didn’t have much to do with me. She was putting me at arms length to keep herself from feeling convicted.

As I grew up, though, whenever she needed prayer or someone to encourage her, it was strange how she came to me. If only she would have turned her life over to God in those times. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed with her and for the few years before she became ill. She would even cry and tell me “one day” should would give her life to God. Sadly, that “one day” never came for her.

So this weekend, my dad, mother, and sister and I will be making the trip to her funeral. They do not live for the Lord either. I pray that somehow all of this will get into their souls and they will turn their lives over to God. Maybe the Lord can use this tragedy of a wasted life to save them… I pray so.

 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

You see, life is so short! The bible says it is only a vapor. Like steam off of boiling water, you see if for a moment, and then it’s gone.

I am concerned for those who say “one day I’ll give my life to God.” What is wrong with TODAY? Today is here and we are not promised tomorrow!

I tried to convince my grandma of this many times. She just nodded and said, “I know.” She would cry and feel sorry for her sins, but she never committed her life to God. She would never make the choice to change. I see this in many others like her, and I just do not understand it.

My life living for God is so sweet and fulfilled. I look at people like my grandma and I cannot understand what the attraction is. All I see in them is misery and sin. I do not see happiness or joy. I see someone locked up in chains.

Life is a vapor… it is here and then it is gone. I want my short life to have meaning and fulfillment. The only way to have it is through Jesus Christ.

 

Prayer is the Answer!!!

We are seeing a lot of turmoil going on in our world today. It can cause a lot of anxiety in our homes and lives. Just watching, listening to, or reading the news can create fear in our hearts. Social media is full of people asking the question, “How are we going to protect our family? What is going to be done? What is the answer?”

Well, I have the answer! It is so clear in the word of God! PRAY and TRUST in the Lord!

If we are children of God, born again and living for him, we have a wonderful promise from Jesus himself:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

How do we obtain this peace? It’s very simple! Through prayer and believing that God is TRUE to his word!

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:6-7)

Much of what has been going on in our world is related to hate. People feel like they are being treated unfairly, either due to race, lifestyle, or religion. They are taking the law into their own hands or they are ignoring the law all together. Our society as a whole has forgotten that none of us are without fault and that God is the answer, not more violence and retribution.

Again, God’s word has the answer:

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

So let us remember that none of us are perfect. Let us confess our own faults and forgive each other. But most of all, let us PRAY for each other and for our nation!

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

Scriptures to Pray for Safety

The last couple of days have stirred up a lot of fear and anger in our country. Many lives have been senselessly lost. My heart is broken for all the families involved.

A friend ask a question in a Facebook group. “How can I keep my family safe? How can I not worry that my loved ones may not come home to me at night?” This is a valid question and it is a question that many of us are also asking.

The only answer I can give is prayer and trust in God and his word! Each day we must entrust our families to the care of the Almighty God. He loves them after all! More than we do, in fact.

Here are a few scriptures to keep in mind as we pray for the current state of our nation and the safety of our loved ones:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; he shall preserve your soul.” (Psalm 121:7)

“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

“The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies.” (2 Samuel 22:3-4)

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)

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