Category Archives: Family

Mother’s Days

For Mothers Day I got a sweet book about me filled in by my oldest son. I also got painted rocks, flowers, a big stack of cards and pictures, hugs, and mushy wet kisses . . . It’s wasn’t unlike every other day, but when you love being a mom like I do . . . every day is Mother’s Day.
 
Mother’s day also came with body fluids, falls, spilled milk, lost shoes, crying, 1 stolen donut, yelling, and protests of hunger and thirst! it is highly important to keep perspective about the good and bad of mother’s days.
 
They say the days are long and the years are short and they are not lying.
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A “Love’s” Story

It is worrisome when your battery indicator light comes on. It’s more worrisome when you are traveling on the interstate.  It’s more worrisome still when you are on the interstate miles and miles away from home on vacation with your husband and eight kids. It is down right horrible when all of this happens on a Sunday night.

We about a half and hour away from checking-in  to our cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee when battery light came on.  I was in the passenger seat and so I looked in the manual to see what it said . . . the battery is not charging correctly.  We started to lose power so we pulled off the interstate and tried to get to a gas station before our van completely died. We told the kids to pray.  We made it to the Love’s gas station in Dandridge, Tennessee. IMG_6309-1.jpg

James called AAA and they said they would send someone out. He explained that we he was on vacation with his wife and 8 kids.  The AAA guy called us and said he was about a half an hour away.  Mike got to Love’s and charged our battery. Then he checked to see if the battery would hold a charge. When he tested things, he discovered our battery was good, but we needed a new alternator. On a Sunday night with eight kids we were stranded in Love’s parking lot. The AAA guy closed to van hood and said he would make a few phone calls.

James told me the bad news. We told the kids to keep praying. I looked up some auto repair shops and all of them were closed or closing in just a few minutes. James and I talked getting the van towed to a auto repair place, renting a vehicle, and finding another place to stay if we missed our check-in time.  We talked about how much money all of this would cost.  We talked about the possibility of spending the night in the van at Love’s gas station and calling for a tow, taking the van to the repair shop, and getting a rental in the morning when we knew things would be open.

The AAA guy, Mike, was talking on the phone for quite a while. He got into this truck and sat for a while. He got out of the truck and walked toward us.  James thought he was going to come over to talk to us so he got out of the van, but Mike stayed on his phone and kept walking back and forth so James got  back into the van.  Finally Mike asked James to pop the hood.

Mike got off the phone and motioned for James to come talk to him and then he started changing the tire on his own work truck. He then told James something totally unexpected. Mike had found the alternator at an auto parts store and he would change it that night after he got his truck tire changed! He gave me a thumbs up and mouthed, “we’re good,” at me.  Curious to know what was up I opened my door and James told me the good news!

Mike drove James to go get the new alternator. They got to the auto parts store at 8:02 p.m. and the store closed at 8 p.m.  They saw the guy inside, but he shook his head at them and waved they off.  So Mike called another store a little farther away. They had the part and didn’t close until 9 p.m. so they went there.

Mike changed our alternator and by 9:30 p.m. we were on the road again. Mike would only let James pay for the alternator and he refused to accept any money for changing it out!  The kids and I tried to sing happy birthday to Mike but he was embarrassed and walked away. We thanked him profusely!

While we sat there our oldest daughter said I know the name of this place is Love’s but I hate it! It was not fun sitting in the van for 3 hours at Love’s gas station, and none of the kids wanted to go to a Love’s gas stations again, but I can’t say that I blame them!

God can take what seems like an absolutely horrid situation and turn it into a story about how He is watching out for us all the time!

 

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My Important Stuff

There is a little shelf beside my bed that has my important stuff on it. My family recently moved to a new house so I have been thinking about what things are most important to me. A stuffed animal moose and a camping nightlight moose remind me of Alaska where I went on a mission trip that brought me closer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

A little heart that reads, Always My Mother, Forever my FRIEND. My mom read different ones to my 5-year-old daughter at the store and picked this one out for me. It truly is my prayer that my kids will grow up and see me as someone who is their friend.

The footprint painting is a surprise find that was lost in our old house but my super awesome landlords/friends found and returned to me. On it are the footprints of our five oldest kids and it reminds me of my JOB and my kids. My mom job is the biggest, scariest, most awesome and most important job ever.

One book on my shelf is “14,000 things to be happy about.” It is just a quirky book that I bought a long long time ago that so me! Also on my shelf are the books, A Christian Mother Goose Rock-A-Bye Bible, Tuesdays with Morrie, and Many Ways to Say I Love You by Fred Rogers. My little prayer jounal with Bible verses, prayers, and quotes that I have been hiding in my heart is sitting on my Bible.

Another lost and found treasure is a plastic license plate that reads “Smile God Loves You!” My family got it for my grandparents who had displayed it in their kitchen years and years ago. I kept it after my Grandma went to the nursing home and now that both of them have gone to eternity in heaven it is a little thing that remind me of the BIG TRUTH that they helped me learn: God Loves Me and everyone else too!

I keep a little album of photos of my grandparents by my bed. The other day was 16 years since my Grandpa has been gone and though I miss my grandparents so much I celebrate that they are with Jesus! Photos are priceless memories!

My stuffed animal purple turtle that my husband let the kids pick out me because they know my favorite color and my favorite animal! James was pretty surprised to find it because they knew what they wanted to get me! a purple turtle! It reminds me that they do love me (even if it sometimes seems like they are just trying to make me crazy)! An Ewok from my sister who knows I love Star Wars. A Precious Moments white porcelain cross that was our wedding cake topper, and a plaque with part of the Footprints poem are on the bottom shelf. They are symbols of my two best friends my James, and my Jesus.

The shelf itself was made by my husband’s late great-grandfather. He loved his family and he loved to make useful things for his family.

It is hard work to unpack and organize after a move. It has made think about what is most important to me and why it is important!

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Tomato Soup

With 4 out of 8 kids recovering from a stomach bug I opted for a super simple dinner.  I suggested soup, and even one of the kids who hasn’t been sick wanted chicken noodle soup. I suggested sandwiches to a healthy kid and the kid was not impressed. All of the things he wanted required extra cooking and time. I went to the pantry and looked for other options and found one single serving microwavable tomato soup cans and offered that to the healthy kid. The tomato soup was approved. Sandwiches and soup were prepared and dinner was served. After the kids prayed, one of the sick kids said to me, “Thank you for making supper.”  The healthy kid flashed a big grin at me. It made me feel like the best mom ever just because the kid was so thankful for the tomato soup.

I am happy that I could make my kid happy by heating up some tomato soup. It seemed like a very small thing to me, but it was a big thing to the kid. You never know how the things you say or do no matter how big or small affect those around you!

I am happy to report that no one has been sick since early this morning and everyone seems to be feeling better! We are so thankful for the prayers of our friends and family!

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It’s a Good God Thing

When James and I were going to get married, I bought the first wedding dress that I tried on. I tried on another just to make sure that first dress was the dress for me!

When James and I needed to find a bigger house to live in we only had two little boys. God led us to the first and only house that we would look at and we’ve lived here for over 8 years.

When James and I felt led to find a different church to attend, God led us to the first and only church that we visited and we’ve gone there for over three years.

James and I need to move to a new house. Our landlords are selling the house because they need to move out-of-state to be closer to family. I did a lot of searching for houses and very few people even responded to my messages or phone calls.  Most rentals in our college town are August to August leases and we need to move by July 1. God led us to the perfect house for us and it was the first and only house that we looked at, from friends, in a neighborhood that we like where most of people on our block are related to our friends who are also our neighbors!

Our dryer recently died and that same day loaded all the kids up and went to pick out a new dryer. The first one we picked out had a door that could be reversed. That one was not in stock so we picked out a second dryer. When the guy helping us went back to look for the only one in stock he couldn’t find it, so we ended up picking a third one. Each dryer was more expensive than the first but we only were charged the price of the first dryer!

Remember how the first dryer’s door could be reversed?  I thought it was a real bummer when James realized that the door cannot be reversed on the dryer we got!  BUT . . . At the new house the dryer will be on the opposite side of the laundry room AND the dryer door will be on the right side! How about that for God being in the details.

God is in the big things and in the small things and in absolutely everything . . . keep looking up!

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Looking Up

Maple Tree LeavesWhile walking through the woods I often pause to look up at how the sunlight streams through the leaves above. I can’t remember when I started doing this, but it’s a long-loved habit of mine. The TRUTH for life is this . . . If you stop to literally and figuratively “look up,” you will see that God’s light shines on everything.

I connected with another homeschooling mom who is from Indiana and has 10 children because she authors some homeschool books that I use with my kids. Amazingly, she makes enough money from her book sales that her husband is able to be home full-time and they do missionary work in the Ukraine. I secretly thought it would be wonderful if there was some way that my husband could be home full-time too, but I didn’t tell a soul about it. I thought it was impossible, but nothing is impossible for God!

My husband’s new job as a historian/archeologist allows him just that . . . He works from home! Not only that but he got a significant pay increase, he’s salary, and he has unlimited paid time off and vacation days. The other benefits he has are too many to list.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:21

God is so good and I cannot thank Him enough for how he has provided for me and for my family!

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Our 2016 Thankful Tree

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We put up our 2016 thankful tree! We traced handprints for the branches this year and we have Bible verses that we are working on memorizing every week that are about being thankful. Each day the kids all say something that they are thankful to God for and then we add leaves to the tree. Their answers are sometimes silly and sometimes serious, but they are all things that we are thankful for . . . today the kids said they are thankful for Squishy (Joshua’s nickname), Gabby, bunnies, making stick people, Jesus, and fluffy wookies!  I am so glad that I started this tradition in our house! Here’s a walk down memory lane of some of our thankful trees from years past.

Here’s our 2011 tree with Joshua and Eliana

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Our 2012 thankful tree with Eliana and Isabel

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Our 2014 thankful tree with Danielle

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Our 2015 thankful tree with Danielle, Eliana and Gabrielle

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