Thursday, February 25, 2010

Father-Son Farm Retreat!!

Hooray!! Chris and the boys are home. They worked so hard! Both boys grew taller while they were away. Their days were filled with working on the fence and school work. Their evenings were filled with Walton's DVD's and popcorn and chocolate! They visited two churches while there and made sure that Sunday's were a day to rest and recuperate for the week ahead. Here is a photo journal of their trip:

They arrived to see a winter wonderland.

They got out the Norwegian Spark right away!

Getting ready to work!

Exploring the property and enjoying the frozen creek!

A new wood stove to warm up after a hard day's work in the cold!

The tractor doing it's job! (Until it broke!)

Nice, tight goat fence line.
(Hope those goats stay in anyway!)

Christopher and Noah working on the fence.

Clearing a "road" for fence line.

Part of the clearing, looking back towards the house.

A sudden blizzard!!

One of the finished corners. (Closest to the house.)

The goat proof gate. (Near the house.)

I'm so impressed with Chris' corners!
They look very sturdy to me.

The fence through the clearing they made.
It looks so nice and straight.

Walking away from a job well done!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

SNOW!!! in Texas.

We have had a freak snowstorm! There is ten inches of snow outside on the ground. Crazy!

The snowman I built.

Benjamin's first snow.

Londyn, all bundled up!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Hodge Podge

This is just a compilation of some emails I have sent out the past month. Sorry it's kind of discombobulated. I really haven't had time or energy to sit and work on my blog. I'll try to get back in the swing of things soon. For those who don't know, I was also recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. So, I've been battling that and all that comes with it. Emotionally and physically.

Well, Benjamin had a rough start, as some of you know. His pulmonary system is floppy and soft. So, that is likely what caused him to be hospitalized as a newborn. He was too busy working on breathing to eat. His blood sugar dropped and just couldn't get back up on it's own. That was his first week of life. At three weeks, he began having apnea episodes while crying. That was scary, but again due to the floppy airway. I was able to finally breastfeed him as his only source of nutrition when he was around 3 months. Now, though, I wish I had kept him on some formula. But he would throw up the formula, so I guess maybe it wouldn't have helped as much as I think it might have with his weight. He seemed to gain pretty well until May 09, when he was 7 months old. Since then he has maybe gained a pound and a half to two pounds. He also seems to gain a little and then lose it again. He refused solids until just about 2 months ago, when I was finally able to get him to begin eating some foods. But he only wants "real" home cooked food. He won't even touch baby food. Except for rice cereal which I mix with juice and a pat of butter. All along, I have wondered if Benjamin has had some kind of mal-absorption issues. His diapers just never looked normal to me. (And I have some experience to compare it to, which can be frustrating trying to explain to the doctors! They just say, yeah, yeah.) Anyway, Benjamin was still having some problems with turning blue, so the pulmonologist ordered an MRI, to find out why, and that came back showing some mild dilation of three of the four ventricles, which can be indicative of hydrocephalus. (He also has hypotonia, not sure why.) So, we got referred to the neurologist. He ordered blood and urine tests which showed the vitamin b12 deficiency and high levels of methyl-malonic acid. They have rerun the test three times. The first two tests both had the same results. But the third test was run after I added liquid b12 to Benjamin's diet. His third test shows that he is absorbing the B12 supplement. Yay! I thought maybe he was, because he used to cry nonstop, but the first day I gave him the b12 was the first time he ever laughed. And now he always has a little laughing fit within the first few hours of getting his b12 dose. Anyway, recently, ECI was out and they weighed him and I just got really sad and frustrated so I took Benjamin in to our pediatrician and said, "Please help us."  That is what finally got us the referral to the GI. Our appt was scheduled for mid-March, but I called my pedi again and asked him to get us a sooner appt. And he did. I am so thankful for that. We get to go in Monday at noon.  I don't know what to expect, but I do hope for some answers.
Rewind a bit:
At the neuro appt the doctor ordered blood work which indicated high methyl-malonic acid levels and low or non-existent B12 levels. They go together. If a person doesn't eat meat, they don't get B12. If they don't get it from food or absorb the B12 that they are getting, it raises their methyl-malonic acid levels. B12 prevents nerve damage by maintaining the fatty sheaths that protect the nerve endings. Before we started the baby on B12 supplements, he was screaming all day long, purposefully banging his forehead on the floor, arching his back, flailing and just generally a very discontent baby. (I even wrote in to momys before I knew of his B12 issue asking if anyone could advice me on how to have a happier baby.) Within three hours of his first dose of B12, he laughed for the very first time in his life. (Albeit a short, choppy, sort of forced, laugh.) But we could tell, he wanted to be happy. Within a week, he stopped banging his head on the floor. The screaming fits declined to a much more manageable frequency, more suitable for his age and maturity level. He is so much more pleasant to be around now. Also, before, the texture of his hair was very course and dry. It is beginning to soften and shine. 

My older son who has been dx as high functioning autistic is ten. He was pretty much non-verbal until 4 years 8 months when we took him off of gluten. Until that time, he had screaming, arching his back fits and had constant diarrhea from the time he had begun solids until the removal of gluten as well. (My new baby has had diarrhea since birth). Now that I think about it, when we took the older one off of wheat, we naturally began feeding him more meat. Which at the time probably raised his B12 levels. Anyway, within 6 weeks of this change (at that time) my son grew 1.5 inches and quit having diarrhea and began talking in full sentences, and quit screaming. After two years off of gluten we gradually added it back in to his diet. He now eats just like the rest of us. But I just got curious as to how he would respond to B12, so I gave him some. The day prior I had tried to hug him and got his typical, stiff as a board, standoffish arms to the ground hug. The next day, after giving him the B12, he casually crawled up next to me on the couch and leaned against me in the most relaxed manner I have ever seen him exhibit and he told me how much he loved me. This was very new behaviour for him. It's only been about a week, but he is a happier child and less bothersome to his siblings.

I use a liquid B12 that I got at Vitamin Shoppe. It has 1000 mcg in it and I give both children about half of that one time a day. It has some flavoring and neither one seems adverse to the flavor. (I do also give the baby a multi-vitamin and Vitamin D because he doesn't really absorb any nutrients from his foods yet.)

Developmentally, Benjamin is doing okay. About par for the course for one of my children. Corban was the only one who was exceptional and talked early. The others mostly didn't talk much until they were 2 or 3. But they have all caught up just fine with their peers. So, I'm not too worried about that. He just started walking this month, at 15 months. A little late for one of mine, but Elijah was actually later at 17 months. 

So, that's about it in a nutshell. We do a lot of praying these days. I do see the hand of God in the things that have been going on. For example, if I hadn't had a sonogram that showed a big head, my OB wouldn't have moved my due date up, and if I hadn't had a history of large babies, I wouldn't have been induced even earlier. And if I hadn't been induced the day that I was, Benjamin wouldn't have lived another week, much less another month in the womb. I am so thankful to have him here, problems and all. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Over the mountains and through the woods.....

to the farmhouse we have in Missouri! Yay! We are leaving this Sunday for a two week visit to our property. Hopefully the pipes haven't frozen! The children are looking forward to Christmas in Missouri. I hope it snows for them while we are there. Today and tomorrow will be a flurry of activity getting ready. We are taking a load of stuff on the trailer, so there will be less to move when we do. We have a new plan. We are planning to move there in February regardless of whether or not our house in TX sells. If we have to, we will rent it out. So, that's the plan. Pray for us!

Reformed thoughts from a wretched believer

These are my personal beliefs about the Lord's hand in saving sinners from eternal damnation. They are based soley on scripture. I believed these things before I even knew what the word Reformed meant, and before I even knew who John Calvin was. The Holy Spirit led me to these beliefs by using the Holy Scriptures that the Lord has so graciously allowed us to have access to. (Thank you Martin Luther for that!) If you do not read all the scripture I have included in this email, please do not write back arguing and saying that the Lord "told" you in your thoughts otherwise. Scripture is the only authority we have about these things. If you can show me in scripture where I am wrong, then I will most gladly read those scriptures too. I am going to try to put the scripture in bold.

I believe that we can only rely on scripture and not on feelings or thoughts that pop into our heads. Scripture is the great revealer. If something we think does not line up with the Word of the Lord, then it is not to be trusted as true. I have made a few remarks after some of the scripture. I pray that your spirit will be teachable and my spirit will be humble. And please remember Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

Hebrews 9:15
15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Heb 9:15 very explicitly states "those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance"

Man is totally depraved. They are dead in trespasses and sins. Being dead, they absolutely cannot regenerate their own lives. It is only by the working of the Holy Spirit that they can even begin to come to the Lord.

Ephesians 2 1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Eph 2:4-5 states that it is God who made us alive when we were dead
Eph 2:8 states that faith and salvation are a gift of God, not of ourselves
Eph 2:10 God prepared in advance (indicating He knows us beforehand)

Reformed believers believe in:

1. The Absolute Sovereignty of God:
God is the Great King of the Universe. He rules over all things perfectly and completely. God does whatever He wishes, no one can restrain His will, His plans and counsels are always perfects accomplished. God never fails; nothing is outside of His perfect control and His overarching rule.

Scriptures supporting the Lord's sovereignty:

The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all. –Psalm 103:19

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You done?" –Daniel 4:34-35

“And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power.” -Deuteronomy 4:37

(again, God did the choosing)

“And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." –Revelation 7:10

(Salvation belongs to the Lord)

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” – Jeremiah 31:3

(The Lord draws us.)

“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace.” –Ephesians 1:4-6

(Again, He chose us and those who are chosen are predestined.)

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” –John 15:16


“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” –Deuteronomy 7:6
(He chose us.)

“And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted.” –1 Kings 3:8
(God's people are chosen.)

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” -1 Peter 2:9
(We are chosen by His own calling.)

2. The Total Depravity of Humanity: Human beings are born sinners with a sinful nature we inherited from Adam. We are born condemned, and our personal actions and choices only worsen our condemnation. We are dead in our sins and trespasses against God and His law. We are slaves to sin. On our own, we can do nothing that pleases God or has any real spiritual value. This does not mean that we are all as bad as we can possibly be. God’s common grace restrains us from total chaos. Yet, we are thoroughly corrupted at every level of our being: mind, body, heart and soul.

Verses concerning man's depravity:

Psalm 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. –Genesis 6:5

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? –Jeremiah 17:9

"There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." –Romans 3:10-18

3. The Complete Sufficiency of Christ: The only hope such sinful people have of salvation lies entirely in the work of Christ on our behalf. Jesus’ sinless life, perfect and sacrificial death and glorious resurrection accomplished our salvation in its entirety. The whole basis for our forgiveness and acceptance by God is the work of Christ. We add nothing to this work by our own actions or decisions. Christ and Christ alone is our entire salvation.

Verses concerning the sufficiency of Christ:
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Romans 3:24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Corinthians 1:30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

Now, regarding accepting children as a gift from the Lord and not limiting them, that is absolutely not contrary to the Lord. We allow Him to bless us with those whom HE chooses to bless us with. We believe in His sovereignty so much that we know that only He is the author and giver of Life. Who am I to reject HIS blessings? I am nothing.

And lastly, for those who say they cannot believe a loving God would create souls destined for hell and for those of you who do not believe in predestination, Do you believe in univeralism? Do you believe that all people will be saved regardless of their beliefs? So, the Muslim, and the athiest will also be saved? Because it is obvious to me that these people were created by the Lord, and if they don't come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, then they will perish. But all I am saying is that it is the Lord who draws them to salvation (or any of us!)

Blessings and praying for all who read this,

footnote: paragraphs labeled 1, 2, and 3 -

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Calvin and Me

I recently wrote this in reply to a question on an email list about whether the God of Reformed Calvinists is the same loving God of other protestant denominations.

I am a reformed Calvinist. I attend a reformed Calvinist church. This is the best church I have ever been in my entire saved life. I spent twelve years in a typical baptist church where my spirit waxed and waned and where I was the oddball for allowing the Lord to open and close my womb and for homeschooling. By the time I left that church, I was cynical and depressed. My spirit was just beaten and had rarely (especially at the end) received the nourishment it needed in the baptist church I was in. When we changed churches, it was like a veil was lifted from me. My heart began to be convicted anew of sins I had not seen before, because I was in a spiritual coma. Life became pleasant again, and I no longer had a critical spirit. I too, battled with the idea that if some of God's creation were predestined, then logically, some were created unto damnation. But that is wrong thinking. God calls whom He will call, and since absolutely none of us deserves His grace, who am I to judge His intentions about the elect? When I was doing that, it was as if I thought I knew better than God. I have since repented and know that it is not my place to say whom the Lord should save through His election. When we read through the old testament, do we not see the Lord "playing" favorites, as it were? He chose Jacob over Esau, He chose Abel over Cain, He chose Isaac over Ishmael. He saved Noah and his immediate family, but no one else. He saved Lot and his daughters, but not others. I'm sure there are more examples I am missing right now. Anyway, who am I to tell the Lord whom He should save? I am nothing, I am the creation, He is the creator. Isaiah 45:9 "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'?

As far as missions goes, if a church does not believe in sending missionaries to the far ends of the earth, then that church is disobeying a direct command of our Lord. I would say to anyone, run away from a church like that, no matter their denomination. My church went on 5 mission trips this last year, we had a missions conference and 12 of our young people and 10 more older people committed to moving towards a life of missions. We currently support approximately 8 missionary families and intend to support those leaving from our church to go into the mission field. My oldest son, who is 17 today, is finishing high school this year with his mind on becoming a missionary to Mexico. In fact, becoming a missionary as soon as possible is what finally motivated him to get his schoolwork done and not only done, but done early. We are commanded by our Lord and savior to Go!

Just because the Lord chooses whom He will choose, does not make Him an unloving God at all. It makes Him a loving and just God. He keeps His word. I am so thankful to now believe in the election of the saints, as before, I was always worried if I was really saved. Am I doing all the right things. Even before, though I "knew" that I could not save myself, now I really know it. It takes the pressure off of me. I do have assurance of salvation as well.

John Piper and John Macarthur are both Calvinist. If you can get some books by either one, they explain it so much better AND accurately. Also, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem is very good.

My knowledge of Calvinism probably isn't as refined as it should be. But I know this, the Lord is a loving and Just God and He changed my life radically when I responded to His wooing. I am not saved by Calvin, but by grace alone, in Christ alone, through faith alone.
Serving a loving, all mighty, all knowing God.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Morning After Breakfast

The morning after our Christmas Tree decorating, we had a special breakfast. I'd like to make it a tradition. We don't have very many family traditions, but I believe it is beneficial as well as biblical to have traditions and create memories and to have remembrances. Well, on my birthday my friends surprised me with a birthday lunch where I had the most delicious ham, potato, cheddar quiche there, so I decided I wanted to make one for my family. My quiche's are usually just OKAY. Nothing to rave about at all.  I looked up some other recipes. I found that the general concensus appears to be 6 or 7 eggs to 1.5 cups of heavy cream. So, that is what I did. I also boiled some red potatoes first, because I didn't want them to not cook well in the quiche. After boiling the potatoes, I cut them into about 1 inch chunks. I also used some black forest ham that I diced into about 1/2 inch pieces. I used sharp cheddar cheese, so the cheese flavor wouldn't get lost. Some sea salt and some pepper. I did not make the crust. I was not that brave. While my quiche was in the oven, I cut up some nice big chunks of canteloupe, honeydew, fresh pinapple and kiwi and threw them all in a bowl, along with some grapes and blackberries. It was a very pretty fruit salad. Oh, and I also made some Lemon Poppyseed Muffins (courtesy of Betty Crocker in a box). I LOVE Lemon Poppyseed Muffins, well, really Lemon Poppyseed anything!! We had orange juice and eggnog served with our meal. I tried to serve the children at the table (usually they make a line in the kitchen). Funny, when my parents or the in-laws take us out to eat, my children are the best behaved children in the world and we always get many compliments on their behaviour. But not for me! They were so silly! They laughed and giggled about being served at the table.  They went on and on about how they had the prettiest and best waitress, that she even knew their names without asking. Sweet, silly children! And of course, one in particular was anxious to help serve, she kept coming in the kitchen to try to help me. They are so used to being helpful, I guess it really was too different for them to sit and be served. I will have to try to do that a little more often, although I am glad they will know how to run things when they grow up and move out. Anyway, after breakfast, we all relaxed and played some Bananagrams, which I got for my birthday! It was a very nice morning, just like I hoped it would be.

The fruit salad.

The quiche.

The meal. Yum!

The fun game we played!!

Have a blessed day!

Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

(Photography courtesy of my eldest son, Corban.)