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.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Tree Decorating

Last night we pulled the Christmas Tree out of the attic. Yup, we have a fake tree. About four years ago, I thought we needed to have a nice big, real tree for Christmas. So, we bought one and brought it home. Nearly everyone in the house had itchy eyes and sniffling noses for the next few weeks. Many a sneeze could be heard in the house. After Christmas that year, my mom came to town and took me to Michael's (a craft store). We were able to get a beautiful display tree for 75% off the regular price. It's one of the ones that looks real and even has softer bristles. So, as I was saying, we got it out last night and put it up in the living room. I made homemade hot cocoa. The girls made chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies. And some of the boys made sausage balls. We also had pumpkin pie to go with it. We first watched a Hallmark Christmas DVD while the goodies were baking. Then we turned on some Christmas music and ate our lovely treats! Yum! My favorite was the hot cocoa. The sausage balls are always a hit around here. They didn't last too long. Then we all gathered in the living room and began the tree decorating. It was decided that from this year forth, the star would be placed atop the tree by the oldest and each year, the next child down the line would get to do it. This way, each child has a memory of doing it, and we don't accidently forget someone. Previously, we were just guessing who did it last year and assigning it to someone else. I was worried, though, that someone would get missed and then they would always remember that they never got to put the star on the top of the tree. By the time we get to Benjamin, he will be nine years old, old enough to remember that he did it too. Sounds like a plan to me! It was fun watching the children talk about the decorations and see their eyes light up and the smiles so bright!

Papa holding Londyn up to reach the top levels of the tree.

Here is sweet Benjamin really enjoying all the brightly colored decorations.

Here is the tree. I think it's very pretty.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas this year and that we all remember that even though it probably isn't the actual day of Jesus Christ's birth, it is because of His birth that any of us have any hope of salvation. Blessings!

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Well, I did it. I wasn't sure I wanted to try, but I decided to go ahead. When I was a younger mom, I really didn't mind the crowds and the lines. As I've gotten older, I have come to the conclusion that the crowds and the lines aren't always worth it. I don't particularly enjoy the nervous feeling I get while wondering if I will find that "good deal" that I am there to buy. My oldest two boys and their cousin ventured out at 3:00 am for the Old Navy deals. Not sure if they actually got anything there. But I gave them the assignment of getting a few things at Target for me, cause that is where the cousin needed something too. Around 3:30 am my son called to tell me the line at Old Navy for the jackets was too long, so I told him not to worry about it. But now that meant I needed to get over to Sears to try and get a couple of their 12.99 coats. New coats for 12.99 is a great deal for my brood. Plus I had a $10 off $50 coupon. So, at 4:00 am I took my sleeping baby and myself out to the truck. Everyone else in the house was still soundly sleeping when I locked the door. I left Chris a note telling him what I was doing. Do you know what I learned this morning at 4:00 am? That the brain can think 3 or more different thoughts all at the same time and within the time frame of a couple of seconds. Our neighborhood frequently has transients walking through and asking for money. So, as I was buckling the baby in his car seat, I reminded myself to be observant, so I kept my eyes on the road and the end of the driveway. After I buckled him in, I turned around to walk around the front of the truck and saw someone standing in front of me. I thought to myself; Why aren't the dogs barking? Where did that person come from? I need to tell him I have no money to give. I also put my body in a self defensive stance. And then I recongnized that it was Chris, my husband, standing there in the dark. It was only a mere second or two and my adrenaline was pumping so fast, that I told him he had to hold me for a minute as I felt faint after realizing I was safe. (I have pretty low blood pressure, so when the blood stopped pumping so quick from my fright, I felt dizzy. I'm really not such a sissy.) He held me as I calmed down. Good grief! I was NOT expecting to see him or anyone standing there. After my blood pressure returned to normal, I got in the truck and left to go to Sears for their sales. I got exactly what I needed there, yay! Then I drove past Target and decided against stopping there because the lines were 500 long! Then I went over to Office Max, was FIRST in line and got a great deal on a wireless, color laser printer for 99.00!! I can't wait till I can open it at Christmas. I do a lot of printing for our homeschool, so I really hope this turns out to be a money saver in printing costs. I am now home and thankful for the good deals I got that will really help my family. If I get up some more gumption, I may go back over to Sears for their 9.99 jeans with my other 10 off 50 purchase. If I go, I should be able to get 5 pairs of jeans for 40! I like those numbers.

Micah 5:2
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nee Nee's Pink Stuff

Nee Nee's Pink Stuff

1 pk frozen raspberries (or cranberries or strawberries)
1 cup sugar
mix thoroughly to dissolve

1 can mandarin oranges
1 can crushed pineapple (drain well and reserve juice)
1 large banana
1 cup coconut (optional)
add this to the above except for the reserved juice

Add two envelopes of unflavored gelatin to ¾ cup of reserved juice
Place over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve
Add this to fruit mixture

Then fold in:
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whipped cream
Add pecans as desired

Chill until firm

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Well, I didn't make it to my church's Thanksgiving service like I thought I would. It's always such a blessing to hear what the Lord is doing and how He is teaching people to trust in Him more and more. I have so much to be thankful for this year. Benjamin's health is at the top of my list. Even with all his problems, I know without a doubt that other people have a harder time than we do. Like the email friend whose husband was in a life changing motorcycle accident which left him paralyzed and unable to speak just as she found out she was pregnant with her 8th child. I simply cannot imagine taking care of a houseful of children and a husband who needs to be bathed and turned in his bed all the while going through morning sickness and other pregnancy discomforts. Praise the Lord for his provision of help for her in her time of need. I only wish I lived closer to her so that I could have been a part of this blessing. Now I know some will say, if God truly were a loving God, He wouldn't have allowed this in the first place. And it's easy for me to retort, "His ways are above our ways", and while I do believe that, I also believe that so much of what goes on in this old world happens in order to draw people closer to the Lord. So many people witness the way the Lord provides for the needs of the most helpless and if only they will let themselves see the goodness amidst the turmoil, they will see His hand. It is my desire to glorify the Lord each day. (I tell my children that we glorify God by making Him look good. It helps when we have to all venture out into the public eye.) And even though I often fall short of the mark, I am so thankful for a new chance, less than 24 hours away! I do not deserve His grace, but I am oh, so thankful that He extends it to me and to all who will draw near. Have a very blessed Thanksgiving and remember to look for His goodness and mercy even in trials.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Second Born

Well, since nothing exciting happened today, I think I shall write a little about Christopher, my second born. When he was born, he changed everything I thought about babies. My first had cried ALL the time. I wasn't even sure I wanted a second. And then he came. The most serene and calm baby in the world. He watched everything that went on around him with such sweet contemplation. He observed his big brother in action and learned from him. He learned what to emulate and what to avoid. Pretty smart kid. As he grew, his quiet, content spirit was something I admired. He loved the flowers and the insects, like most kids do, I suppose. But he would just watch them and seemed genuinely intrigued by them. Innocence sparkled in his eyes. I always enjoyed, and still do enjoy looking into his eyes. Deep, dark brown, large and full of curiosity and love. Now, as a young man in his teen years, he blesses me much more than I would have ever dreamed. He is kind and thoughtful, helpful and loving. He gives the most gentle of kisses and is ready to help me with the baby every night as I have to go through putting all of Benjamin's tubes and wires on him. Also, when we got a piano about 3 years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he could play by ear quite easily. He gets weekly lessons from my mother in law and he plays so well while reading music too. I love to listen to him play. He's a great carpenter too, takes after his papa! He's always making something out of wood. For my birthday, he used an old window glass and some old wood to make me a "stressed" picture frame. I love it! I can't wait for my older, photographer son to get me a good family picture to put in it. Christopher also makes wooden name signs for his friends for their birthdays. So, if you haven't invited Christopher to your birthday yet, you ought to so you can get a handmade name sign. :) He loves working with Papa and will be such a wonderful worker when he is older. Slow and steady, to be sure, but great with detail. He loves the Lord and reads his bible of his own volition everyday. I frequently "catch" him on his knees in prayer. I quietly turn away when I do, so as not to disturb his time with the Lord. He has the entire first two chapters of the book of Jonah memorized. Because he likes the book of Jonah. Amazing!! So, I will be jealous of the girl who wins his heart, because he has so much love and care to give and he is so good at it. Whoever she may be, she better be Far Above Rubies in worth!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lindsey's swim meet

Lindsey had a swim meet today. She did very well, I think, for her second meet ever. She swam the 100 Free, 50 back and 50 Fly. Considering she couldn't even swim Butterfly a month ago, she did very well. I was expecting to see her arms flopping around and to see her struggling just to move. But her butterfly was absolutely beautiful!! I was shocked. She looked as if she has always known how to do butterfly. It was very pretty to watch, and I think she came in 3rd or 4th for her heat.  She came in 2nd in her 100 Free and 3rd or 4th in the 50 back. We will be able to look up results online later when they post them.

Here is Lindsey about to start her backstroke race.

This is me and Benjamin waiting with Lindsey for her races to start.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My very long day...

Today was going to be a long day. I knew it when I heard the first sounds of life rousing my house as doors began to open and close with the coming and going of children through the hallway into the kitchen. It was not yet 7 am. And then I heard it. The rumbling of a truck, a very loud, very large truck. Laying there in my bed, snuggled next to my sleeping one year old, I realized that today was Thursday. And somehow, I knew, I just knew that this was the one Thursday in a year that my husband had forgotten to put out the rubbish bins before leaving for work. Apparently my eleven year old daughter knew it too, because as I was leaping from my bed, she peeked in my door and quietly (so as not awaken the little one) told me which way the garbage truck had just gone down our street. Hooray! It was going down the opposite side of the street. I still had time. I asked Lindsey to watch the sleeping baby, as I was sure the noise would awaken him and he'd tumble out of bed. And then, running to the back of the house, I grabbed my eight year old and said to him, "Hurry, we might make it in time!" We ran out the back door, both in our slumber clothes. He pulled the recycling bin which he can barely see over and I pulled the garbage bin and we ran them to the rolling gate that crosses our driveway. It was locked! I raced back into the house for the key, all the while wondering what the school children and their mothers walking down the street to the elementary school must think of the crazy woman running wildly in her pajamas. I grabbed the key off of the keyholder, raced back out to the gate and unlocked it. My son and I each pulled our respective bins out to the curb. Whew! I think we made it. I hope we made it. I fought the urge to run over to the neighbor's bin and have a quick glance. If I did that, the mothers walking their children to school would really have a story to tell. I pretended I didn't notice them. Maybe they didn't notice me. I very casually walked back inside the house, as if running around outside before 7 A.M. in pajamas with wild bed-head hair were no big deal. I thought I would climb back into bed with my baby for just a little while longer. But, it was not to be. He was happily awake and ready for breakfast and the new day. I fed him his breakfast, the only thing he will eat, Gerber Rice cereal with apple juice to moisten it. It smells like apple scented cardboard. I wonder if it tastes the way it smells. Yes, it does actually. I wonder if the Gerber people taste what they create for the most innocent of those among us. From the taste of this, I don't think so. After breakfast, the diapers must be washed. We are down to our very last "easy" snap on cloth diaper. And I can't take Benjamin to his new doctor's appointment in an old fashion "pin on" diaper. I drain the pungent liquid from the diaper pail into the toilet. Flushing the toilet as the diaper water drains, I hope a diaper doesn't slip into the toilet. What a clogged mess that would make! So far, it hasn't happened, but I wonder if one day it will. After draining off the diapers, I tump the diapers into the washing machine. I set it to rinse/drain. Have I mentioned how much I love my front loader washing machine? It takes the diapers 19 minutes to rinse/drain, afterwhich I will then set them to soak for 44 minutes and then to normal wash for another 44 minutes. I play with the baby while waiting on the diapers. The older children are getting breakfast and feeding the animals. Lindsey, who has been up since who knows what hour, has already finished her breakfast and already done her morning chores and made her bed. She is ready for me to help her with her sewing project. She has recently taken a liking to sewing anything she can think up. So, a few days ago, we bought a pattern for making doll clothes. She has her pattern cut out and ready, she has washed and dried her fabric. She just needs me to show her how to lay out the pattern on the fabric to cut it efficiently and productively. We work on that for a little while as the four children aged between 3 and 10 get ready for a sleepover at Memaw's house. The get their clean clothes for tomorrow and their pajamas for tonight and each put them in their backpacks. They are so excited about this little venture. Memaw is going to keep them so that this afternoon when I take Benjamin to the neurologist, I can really talk with the doctor. By now, Benjamin is ready for a little nap. He rarely wants to wake up before 8:30 and would nearly always sleep until 9:00 if the house were a bit on the quieter side. But the happy noises of his siblings are far more enticing than the bliss of peaceful sleep. So, for today, he is back in bed by 9:00 am and sleeping soundly. The other children and I get some things done that need done. A little learning is the order of the day. Then by 11:30 am, the diapers are clean, the children are packed for their trip and it's time to get in the car. We've much to do before we can go over the hills and through the woods to grandmother's house. Loading everyone in the car is a bit of an adventure itself. Did I lock all the doors on the house? Did I turn off the heat in the house? Does the cat have food and water for the day? Whew! Yes! Now, is everyone outside? As I was checking doors inside, I was calling out, "Anyone in here?" It must be done. More than once, I have locked the front door, only to have someone come right out afterwards. The children race each other to the car. Even so, they also help the smaller ones to get in. What a blessing they are to me and to each other! Once we are in the car, I must do a head count. One child in particular seems to enjoy looking for something on the floor during the headcount time. Today though, as I am looking back, I see his little hand pop up in the air, as he seemingly knows I must be counting them. Funny, I hadn't announced it. I presume after so many years of it, they just know. I do not back out of the driveway without knowing exactly where everyone is. I'm a bit paranoid that way. Now, satisfied that all are accounted for, we make way to our first destination- Sam's Club to pick up medication. While there, we share a large pizza for our lunch. We have to wait for it to cook, so we roam the aisles in search of the sample ladies. We are quickly rewarded for our efforts. Cheesecake! Ah, the joys of eating dessert first! Next stop, peeled, deveined and deheaded shrimp. There are only two brave souls who try this. The next sample isn't ready yet, but then over near the bakery, it's cookies for everyone! We head back to the front of the store, happily munching our treats and find a place to sit down with our pizza. Parmesan? Can you ever have too much Parmesan? Most agree that you cannot. The lone dissenter gets to pick her piece first, so that she may choose the one with the least amount. It never ceases to amaze me that people love to watch large families. Some watch with approving smiles on their face, while others not so much. We do try our best to put our "best foot forward" as the saying goes. Smiles all around today. Yes, it is a good day.  When my children were much smaller, I did not reward them for behaving in the store UNLESS a total stranger complimented me or them on their behaviour. I found that this tactic makes for especially well behaved children in the store because they know that their behaviour isn't being judged by mommy who might be persuaded to be swayed in her opinion, but their behaviour is being judged by others over whom they have no ability to prevail upon. We finish our lunch and head out the door to the van. The children are ahead of me. My daughter is anxious to be the one to show the receipt to the doorman. He seems not to notice it is a cart full of children and that there is no adult, as if everyday a mere child of the age of eleven shops at Sam's Club with 5 little siblings in tow and no parent. I giggle to myself and finally catch up with them. We get in the van and drive over to the gas station. Some $60.00 later, we begin our journey towards Memaw's house yet again. We still have another stop to make though. With eleven people in one family, the family vehicle tends to collect dirt, dust, trash and various other sundry items. After nearly a month of non-stop rain, our poor van is in desperate need of a good washing and vacuuming.  So, we go through the $5.00 drive thru car wash. It is loud, the baby doesn't remember the last time. My ten year old announces, "Benjamin has a funny look on his face." I glance back, and indeed, a look of shear fear and panic encompasses his being.  I smile at him and clap my hands, cajoling him to enjoy the funny scene surrounding him. Bright pink, soapy windows and big blue octopus tentacles rubbing the windows. I don't succeed. He is happy when we exit the carwash. We pull into a vacuum stall and my 8 and 10 year old sons hop out to get the vacuums. I relax in my seat and nurse the baby while they vacuum. When they finish, I look at the work they have done and tell them how good they did. They think it is great fun and I am thankful that I did not have to contort my body inbetween van seat rows to vacuum. As we drive away from the carwash, I see the sign they have that drives me crazy. It says, "If YOUR happy, tell a friend, if not, tell the manager." I have another chance to resist urges. This time the urge to tell the manager of the grammatical error on his sign. Surely by now, SOMEONE has told him, surely.  We arrive at Memaw's house promptly at 2:00 p.m. The baby has fallen asleep, so I unload the children who are staying as quietly as I can. They are so excited and happy to get to be with Memaw. She must have the patience of a saint. Or else, I just have super children who are easy to care for. (hahahahaha) Now it is just me and Lindsey and Benjamin. We traverse the metroplex yet again. After waiting 6 weeks, after reading through the MRI report myself and searching the internet for clues as to what it means, we got in to see the neurologist today. Finally! Even though we weren't scheduled to see him until Dec 1, someone else cancelled and we got the opening. I am thankful to the Lord for that bit of mercy. I'm sure He knew I needed some information. I want to have the peace that only He can give, but I also want to know what the doctor knows. Ya know? I do struggle with that. Am I being discontent if I wish doctor's appointments would hurry up and get here? Anyway, we arrive at the doctor's office at 2:45 p.m. for our 3:30 appointment. They are very prompt today. We are taken to a room before I can even finish filling out new patient paperwork. The neurologist comes in the room. I knew he would be foreign because of his name. I am so thankful that his accent is very understandable. I truly dislike having to ask a doctor to repeat him/herself simply because I cannot understand them. I am certain they are brilliant, else they wouldn't be a doctor. It embarrasses me to ask them to repeat themselves. But he is understandable. I do not have to ask him to repeat himself. He stays in the room a good long time. He lets me go on and on about everything I can think of. He does not make me feel rushed. I am glad about that.  He asks lots of questions. This helps me to remember some of the things I want to say. I did not understand all he said when it came to medical things. How can a baby have a small brain, but a large head and not have hydrocephalus? That did not really make much sense to me. Benjamin does still have low muscle tone. The neurologist thinks it is due to a traumatic birth. He ordered some tests though, bloodwork and urinalysis. And he is referring us to an opthamologist to have Benjamin's eyes checked for pressure. I do not feel as if I know much more. And I certainly do still have concerns. For example, Benjamin's head circumference has grown disproportionately larger than the rest of his body. His head started out in the 50%, then gradually went up through the 60%, 75%, 95% and now above. This is not normal. Normal is consistent. His length, that is normal. He started in the 50% for length, and is still in the 50% for length. His weight is not normal. He started in the 25% and has now dropped below the 5% on the growth charts. He seems happy enough at times though. He is social and interacts with us and others. I just pray we don't become complacent and then he is the one who will suffer for that complacency. If he truly has hydrocephalus and there is more and more pressure put on his brain, then he could potentially have irreversible brain damage. And I should advocate for my son as much as possible, shouldn't I? We left with our bloodwork orders, so while we were in the same building as the lab, we went ahead and got that drawn. Benjamin did not want to share his blood. I do not believe he is a fan of Twilight. ;p  It took a while for the phlebotomist to find a vein. She had to use one from his wrist. But he just didn't bleed well. Another nurse came to help and between the both of them, they finally retrieved what was required.
Did I mention this was a long day? It wasn't over yet. By now it was 4:40 pm. Lindsey, my sweet helper and darling first daughter is on a swim team. They practice 4 days a week from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. So, she and I and Benjamin ventured on over to the practice pool. I walked her inside and then went back out to the car to nurse Benjamin again and see if he would nap. I drove him around also, trying to encourage sleep to come upon him. I do believe the sandman couldn't find us though. Because Benjamin would have nothing to do with sleep or any form of relaxation. We chatted and listened to some talk radio. Very interesting politicks going on these days. Things I haven't had much time to engage or educate myself in. I do hope others are getting the job done. Swimming is over and now we have a date with a friend whom I haven't seen in a while. With both of us having many children to tend to, getting together happens far too infrequently. She wants to treat me to birthday dinner. The local chicken house is the happening place! You can tell because there is no place to park. They serve a side of chicken and all you can eat veggies. Mashed potatoes are so good tonight. I'm needing some comfort food. And you just don't get much more comfortable than scratch mashed potatoes! The food is good, the fellowship is sweet. I really appreciate my friends, and am thankful for each one of you (especially if you are reading this! and made it this far! Ha!) And so, the day is about to end. I drive my two sleepy children home and put them in bed. And instead of going to bed myself, I, for some strange reason, feel compelled to transcribe my day for the whole world to read. (Except I only have two followers and one of them is me! LOL!) Goodnight and God Bless. May tomorrow be a blessed day for everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Birthday

Today was my birthday. I'm getting old. I can feel it in my bones. I always thought I would age gracefully like my drama teacher from high school. I loved her long graying hair and used to say, "I want to be like her when I get old."  Well, it is quickly approaching, much faster than I like or care to admit. And I'm not accepting it gracefully. I feel like kicking and screaming. I'm not ready to be old yet, for crying out loud, I still feel like a small child when I am in public situations! Humf! Enough on me getting old and feeling it.

It was a very good day, all in all. My children were sweet and quiet this morning and let me sleep in (until 8:30) That counts as "sleeping in" these days!  Then I took my 11 yr old dd to her ortho appt. After that I came home and put Benjamin down for a nap while my mother in law gave my children piano lessons. (Which she kindly does week after week. Thanks, Memaw!) My MIL also brought over a Razzleberry Pie which was delicious and is my second favorite pie, but exactly the one I wanted for my birthday. (We are about to eat all we can of my first favorite pie in the next 6 weeks! Can you guess what that is?) After piano lessons and a short rest time, I took DD to swim team and then after that it was out for Dinner at Pappa's Burgers where they had half price burgers and .35c buffalo wings. YUM! Then home again, home again, jiggety jig! A little FB time and blogging and soon it will be off to LALA Land for me. Good night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kids Pictures

I'm working on getting the pictures of my children posted. Hopefully they will be up by tomorrow evening.

Signing up for dual credit classes

Today I am thankful that I was able to (fairly) successfully sign my 16 year old son up for more dual credit courses at the local community college. If all goes well, he will have 19 credit hours by the end of spring 2010. If possible, our goal is to have him get an AA degree by the end of spring 2011. It will take a lot of work, motivation, will power and most of all PRAYER! Can't get by without that, for sure! I said we were fairly successful because we were told by three counselors that he could take four dual credit classes if he had permission from his school principal (me!) but when it came down to it, the registrar wouldn't allow it. He can only take two classes per semester, but we did get permission for him to take a class in the winter break. (During their mini-mester.) I am thankful too, that he is motivated to get the job done. He is so "ready", in his mind, to go on the mission field.  He will be a very good missionary I believe. He has such a heart for people. He is the most people oriented person I know.  I pray that doesn't also become a weakness for him though. I love that kid!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thankful for...

November is a wonderful month. It's the month I was born, oh so many years ago. kids don't know how old I am. (Or at least they let me believe they don't know.) This November, I am trying to post one thing I am thankful for each day. So, today I am thankful for my church family and the huge blessing they are to me and my family.

Just today, I was blessed by a dear friend Penny from my church. Here's how:
    Friday, my eight year old, Jeremiah got his finger caught in a folding chair and it pulled the outer layer of skin right off! It looks like his finger was scalped. It's not a very large wound, but it looks pretty bad. I called my pediatrician's office to ask how I should take care of it. There was no skin to piece back together. They said just keep it clean and covered. About 30 minutes later, the nurse called back here at the house and said they wanted me to bring him in to have another Tetanus shot because he was due for his third booster anyway. Well, I drove him all the way over there and after waiting in the little room for about an hour, they came in and told me that they didn't have the right shot for him. They told us to go to the health department instead. That was a bit of a pain. I asked when the last shot was and they said in December of last year, so I decided not to take him after-all. So, today, sweet Penny from church, who is a nurse, had a look at it (no one at the pedi's had looked at it at all, cause they thought he was just there for a shot) because I was just worried about how it will heal.  Penny said to soak it in salt water twice a day and change the bandages twice a day and apply neosporin. I sure pray it heals well. But with her sweet advice, I am sure it will! I am thankful for good friends who share their knowledge! Should I post a picture? It's pretty gross looking. :)