No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lessons in Joy and Contentment

Is there anyone that doesn't struggle with being content? I'm still working on it, but I never cease to find examples and reminders in day to day life of this struggle I face. Sometimes it hits me when I log into Facebook and see what's going on in the lives of my friends, other times it comes when I think I'm going out on a short grocery trip where I find myself shopping for more than groceries, and yet other moments come from times when I, myself, am teaching the lessons to others. "Gulp!"

In the Bible class I teach at a local Christian school we are discussing happiness vs. joy. Happiness is in the moment, based on emotion, and is often based on what we have (or don't have). Joy, however, is from within the heart, is long lasting, and should be rooted from the salvation we have received.

Like I said, I'm still working on it! As Christmas comes in a matter of a few weeks I have been reminded of how easy it is to search for happiness rather than joy. Where is my contentment? I was amazed by my own children and thankful for the hearts they have and the contentment they display despite me. It's funny to hear people ask my children what they want for Christmas. We don't do the "Santa Claus" thing. He's just fun, but not the one that delivers toys. Of my three girls (12, 8, and 3) none are sure what they want! We actually went to a store one day to look for ideas to give family! My girls are content with what they have and two of the three have joy that comes from knowing the Lord as their personal Savior. We decided to ask more for needs (like clothes to grow into!) and soon they will be requesting our usual trip to drop off a toy for Toys for Tots. I'm sure they'll clean out their rooms and play room that they may donate their old toys to kids that don't have any. I look back and am thankful that somewhere along the line along with all the mistakes I've made, that I've also made some good choices too. Choices to teach my children about those in need and who don't have anything and to care for the needy remembering we are representatives of our Creator.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christmas Preview

I've rarely had time to get on my blog since returning to work. It's just not easy to work full time and still be a wife and mother. It does teach me more appreciation of our time together at home!

An update on my grandmother:
She is still with us. She is in hospice and still at home. She sounds good on the phone, but she is getting very weak. We feel the end is near, but only God knows her appointed hour. Our family is loading up in a few weeks to be with her for Christmas (but's a surprise for her).

Fall will soon be ending as winter takes over. The leaves have almost completed their shedding process and the temperatures continue decreasing with no promise of "one more" warm day. The stores have already decorated for Christmas neglecting Thanksgiving in the process and even a local radio station is playing 24/7 Christmas music. The kids are excited at the thought of beautiful dresses, Christmas carols, new toys, and time with family. I'm trying to share in that with them, but at times am held back knowing there will be no more for my Grandmother. Actually I feel like I'm trying to pray her through this Christmas!

I'm reminded everywhere I go that God is good ALL the TIME!! We all have to face our mortality yet I am rejoicing as I know that I have an immortal soul and spirit. As for my grandmother, regardless of when Jesus calls her home I can rest assured knowing I will see her again.

Now to figure out what people want for Christmas!! I think I'll wait till after Thanksgiving! :P

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New beginnings...

I've never gone this long without posting a blog. As much as I enjoy having a blog, I find it hard to have time to get it done!

So what has been happening? Well, I've spent the last three weeks readjusting to life in the working world again. I am enjoying being in the classroom again, but it is very tiring. It does make me appreciate my evenings with my family and I find myself getting most of my chores done on weekends. The girls are really enjoying the change of schooling. It's a big transition going from homeschooling back into an actual classroom not run by mom. I do still enjoy being very actively involved in their schooling still, especially as I have the two younger ones with me where I teach. The oldest one gets to be with her dad, so I'm very grateful that we are still able to be a huge part of their education.

Hard to believe summer is almost at an end, but I do love fall! We really didn't do anything exciting this summer. We held off on vacations and trips for a couple of reasons this year. We ended up replacing our roof on our house which turned into a bigger job than we originally expected! Our house was built in 1921 and has been wonderfully maintained with various remodels through the years. We did not expect, however, to have the original shingles still on our house under two more labels. I guess previous owners wanted to do the job themselves. :( We are thankful that we have a beautiful new roof. We also held off because of my grandmother. Praise God she is still with us, but she is in a downhill battle with cancer. We wanted to be available in case we had to leave quickly. My family is in the South about 17 hours from where we live. I know in my heart she is dying a little more each day, but I am being thankful for every moment she continues to go on and for the impacts she is having on others.

My sweet little GEM is so exhausted after a day of preschool. She comes home and lays on the couch or floor. It's rather funny. I spend other time going over homework with the other two. HEM is making friends well and getting very involved at her school. EMM is also making friends and adjusting better than I thought she would (she's my dramatic, emotional one).

I don't feel I live a very exciting life, but it is still a very blessed life. I hope to have more to post in the future.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I will treasure each day...

I've been so preoccupied with other happenings in my house lately that I have pretty well neglected my blog. I guess that is a welcoming sign of spring. Tonight seems a good night to blog. I tend to view many of my days as rather bland, however I've come to appreciate what I define as bland.

I am holding up two families in prayer and ask that anyone reading this join me in praying. First, the Mitchell family. I don't personally know them. Their oldest son was in our church youth group and I do know Mrs. Mitchell's sister and brother in law. Mrs. Mitchell was driving with her 11 and 13 year old daughters last week when she was involved in a car accident. All 3 died.

The second is the Bowen family. They lost their son yesterday. He just graduated from high school. Details haven't been released yet, but I can only begin to imagine the details of pain in that family, too.

Each day we have is truly a gift given, not to be taken for granted. I wish it didn't take such sad events to remind me of that. On a positive note, all of these people had given their lives to Christ at some point so what is sad for us is a great rejoicing for them. I shall not worry about tomorrow but delight in today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When you leave this place who will you serve? (Part 2)

Here's the rest of what I shared at the women's retreat during one of my sessions.

Read 1 Kings 18:13-16
Obadiah tells of his good works and expresses his fear of Ahab. Elijah promises to present himself to Ahab.
“Look at me!” What is your true motivation behind your service to the Lord?

Read 1 Kings 18:17-22
Obadiah finally goes to get Ahab and there is another confrontation between Ahab and Elijah. All of Israel is to be assembled to watch the 450 false prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah on Mount Carmel. The offerings were prepared as Elijah had asked. Verse 21: Elijah confronted the unbelieving people as well.
1 Kings 18:23-40
The prophets called on Baal for HOURS (v. 26 & 29) with (my favorite part) NO answer! The water was used to show there was no trick. The water probably came from a stream if not the Mediterranean Sea. The false prophets were killed according to the Law (Deut. 18:20). Before the rain could return, the fire had to fall. This is a picture of Christ at the cross. God’s judgment was on the sacrifice, not the people. All sacrifices were supposed to be at the Temple in Jerusalem. Elijah was repairing the altar, though not ideal, because God had commanded him to. Sometimes our situations and lives aren’t how God originally intended, but God can still use them.
Grace: Romans 11:6 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
Warren Wiersbe: “We’re not saved by God’s love. God loves the whole world and the whole world is not saved. We’re saved by God’s grace and grace is love that pays a price.”
Grace defined: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense; God dealing with us in a relationship based on His love and treating us in a way we do not deserve!
Romans 3:23-25(Prov. 14:12 & Jn. 14:6)
Challenge: 1 Kings 18:21 – “…How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him.” What are the opinions in your life right now? Israel hadn’t totally rejected God, but were trying to combine worship of God with worship of Baal. Are you doing that?
Romans 12:2 “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What level of commitment are you to God? Ahab, Obadiah, or Elijah?

What can we do to become more like Elijah?
1. Use your spiritual gifts
Romans 12:6 “since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly”
1 Cor. 12:7 “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” V. 11 “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” V. 12 – 31 lay out the purpose of gifts – unity of the body
2. Mentoring/Being Mentored
Titus 2:3-5 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the Word of God will not be dishonored.” Be an example and learn from godly examples. Sin is a daily battle and we do not need to fight unprepared! Obadiah recognized Elijah in 1 Kings 18:7 “Elijah my master”…who do we recognize among us in our day? What can we learn from them?
3. Know God’s Word!!
Jesus gave the ultimate example when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 He used the Word of God against Satan. We cannot use what we do not know! Become as familiar with your Bible as many are with their TV lineups!
4. Pray as though it’s up to you!1 Kings 18:37 “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.”
James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.”
James 5:16b-18 “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
How have you let your time-line define your life?
Have you allowed the events of your life to draw you closer to God or push you away from Him?James 1:2-4, 12 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Do you believe this today as much as you did the day you received Him? If you’ve never received Him, what’s holding you back?
Does your life reflect your priorities?
Are they in the right order?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

When You Leave This Place Who Will You Serve? (Part 1)

At our women's retreat last October I spoke on this topic. I really enjoyed preparing for it so I thought I'd share it with you. Here's the beginning part. I did not type out the verses, so you'll need a Bible or use This is also from my notes so not in the best form for blogging, but I'm putting it on here anyway! :P

What are your top 5 priorities in life at this moment?
Read 1 Kings 18:1-12
Elijah confronted Ahab in 17:1 that there would be a drought and left. He was going to confront Ahab once again. God had withheld rain from Israel because of their disbelief (Deut. 28:1-2, 12). Rain would be sent once again because of God’s grace. There is no repentance from Ahab, he was worried about his horses more than the people. Obadiah was Ahab’s chief servant (not the minor prophet). He’s a “secret believer”.

Ahab had allowed Queen Jezebel (his wife; a Phoenician princess who was also a priestess of Baal) to massacre prophets of the Lord, and he was promoting idolatry in the land. Elijah obeyed even though he could have died. He was in full obedience whereas Obadiah feared the Lord and had not bowed to Baal, but not like Moses in Heb. 11:24-26. Obadiah feared for his life and did not trust the Lord to protect him or the word of Elijah.

God is looking for fully followers that are fully committed to Him!
Ahab: no commitment – he allowed worship of Baal and other idols; no regard for God
Obadiah: partial commitment; quick to point out his good works, yet no boldness in his faith
Elijah: fully committed; trusted God to keep His promises and boldly proclaimed the truth of God

1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Life lesson: Partaking in a religious feast was to be taking part with the thing worshiped at the feast. You are opening yourself up to evil by partaking with pagans. Today we often do things to support our friends and family, even if they’re not in line with our faith, and we justify this by saying we are showing love toward them or through our love we can win them to Christ. Paul is very clear about his intent with the gospel in 1 Cor. 9:19-27 yet he was never lawless , he gave up luxuries so he might empathize with the people but yet always submitted to God. There’s a distinction in humbling yourself to reach the lost vs. participating in ungodly practices with the lost. You will be more recognized as a true follower of God because you choose to follow Him…which means standing alone or being different…than participating with non-believers for “their sake”.
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” –The Hope of the Christian.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The title pretty much sums up my day. I am not feeling too well and of course that signaled the 3 year old to being in a rotten mood. I was NOT up for mom of the year award today! Of course to top it off the hubby is out of town.

It was a rough day yesterday, too. We went before the school board to appeal our oldest daughter's open enrollment request to the district where my husband teaches. There were other people there appealing their denials, too. We are one of 5 districts in the state that has a Diversity Plan which prohibits most people from leaving if they are not free/reduced lunch or not low test scores. There was another father there that my heart broke for. His daughter (same age as our oldest, going to 6th grade) had been bullied all year and was actually beaten up in class by 2 other girls. He did everything the district asked yet nothing had been done all year about it. The girls were apparently never removed or punished. He had no trouble with his 5 children in the district until this year so now he wanted his daughter out for her safety. Sadly, the board made a unanimous vote against the group as a whole to be denied without any quetions or further looking into any one case. Instead they had someone explain the Diversity Plan and why we were rejected. I am contemplating writing a letter to send each board member. I need to think carefully how I want to word it as I am angry at the moment.

I hope I feel better soon. I am suppose to go to Chicago to stay with a friend this week. There's a big homeschool sale Saturday morning and I want to sell quite a bit of stuff since I am returning to work in August. For now I will go relax and enjoy my comfy bed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Change is Coming...

Today was a big day! Unfortunately my sweet EMM was sick all day. She was in bed or on the couch most of the day. She's also my most dramatic child, so that didn't allow me to leave her side much. She wanted me with her every time she was in the bathroom feeling nauseated so at one point I was even doing my toes. My 11 year old, HEM, wanted to know what I was doing and I told her I was multitasking since I couldn't leave the bathroom. Fortunately she seems to be on the mend this evening. She's been taking dance for 4 years and this is the first time she has ever missed a class.

But that wasn't the big moment of my day! Last week I took the 2 older girls to the Christian school where I use to teach for standardized testing. I've done it for 3 years now just for my own records. EMM absolutely loved being there and stayed for recess every day. (She almost cried at the thought of leaving before recess!) GEM, who is only 3, wanted to know where her room was and why she couldn't play with the "little people". The principal, whom I love dearly, was asking if I wanted to come back. In the past I have always said no, but this time I wasn't sure. This last year has been really hard for our family financially. God has been good and gotten us through every time though. I spent a lot of time praying and asking God for guidance. I spoke with my husband at great length about it. Every day I went back to the school the door just seemed to be open more and more with clear signs in front of me. This weekend we made a final decision. Today I called the principal and accepted the offer! I feel really great about it! I love the school and I will still be with EMM and GEM throughout the day. We've been in the process of enrolling HEM into public school where her daddy works for the last few months so hopefully we'll get approval for that soon. It will be a change of pace from homeschooling, but not a new change since I worked there for 4 years until I had GEM.

I've had positive reactions from people so far. I really feel this is where God wants me for now. I'm excited for the future and the kids are excited, too.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Road Map in Life

I am constantly amazed at how in one moment you know what direction you're headed in life and then the next moment comes and seems to take you in an entirely different direction. This has been a week that has made me really think about what I want to do and what I need to do in my next moments of life. I am asking God to make it very clear what He desires for me, and so far the door is swinging WIDE open! Sorry to be rather vague, but until definite decisions are made I cannot elaborate. Don't worry won't be long before I know for sure!

Can you think of times where you've seen direct leading in making decisions? Share your stories!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blog Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

I'm joining the blog party I just found out about. Looks like fun and I've already visited several awesome blog sites I discovered from the list of blogs on the blog party site!

I'm Stacy, originally from Georgia and now transplanted to Iowa. I love it here with my husband of 12 years and my 3 girls! I use to be paid to teach other people's children and now I stay home and teach my own. I am the VBS director at my church and enjoy playing piano for our church praise team. I am also involved with a local MOPS group. My husband is a public school teacher and is also in the Army National Guard. God has been so good to our family and I can't imagine my life without Him!

HEM is my oldest daughter, she is 11. She loves Jesus with all her heart! She is in 5th grade and loves tap, jazz, and gymnastics. She also LOVES reading and history. She is a second mom in the house. She loves helping people.

EMM is second. She is 8 years old and in 2nd grade. She accepted Jesus as her Savior earlier this year! She also loves dance and gymnastics. Her favorite things are math, Polly Pockets, and board games. She is my little snuggler!

GEM is our last. She recently turned 3 years old. She absolutely loves singing! Her life is a living musical! She is a prankster and loves playing with friends. She really likes to laugh and she is ALMOST potty trained! WOOHOO!!

I hope you enjoy following my blog. I blog about all kinds of topics from homeschooling, personal devotions, family, life experiences, humor, etc. I also enjoy reading other blogs, too! Enjoy the party!

I almost forgot!! Prizes! I would go for 7, 8, 22, 32, 33, 36, 46, 48, 49, 68, 69, 96, and 113. No particular order. I like them all!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

This is the most important event to recognize as a Christian. This is the event that separates us from other religions. We serve a risen savior . We serve a Savior that predicted His own death and resurrection and whose death and resurrection was foretold by prophets. We serve the only Savior that conquered death and that did it out of His love for us.

"and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:4

Our family enjoyed a beautiful day in church celebrating Jesus' resurrection. HEM got to recite Isaiah 53:5-6 in church. The children sang beautifully as did the women's choir, and the congregation. I love playing the piano when I can hear such a wonderful sound! It was a treat to hear from the Chinese choir, too. The musicians were excellent and great people organized everything today, all because they serve a risen Savior, too! Rejoice Christians! He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

HEM asked me today why it's "Good" Friday? It wasn't "good" for Jesus. I replied to her that it was good for us though. Maybe it's not the deed to think of as good on this day, but the person that made it good, Jesus. I looked up "good" in the dictionary and I would certainly attribute many of these meanings to Jesus. Here are a few:
morally excellent
of high quality
not spoiled or tainted

This is what made Jesus the perfect sacrifice for us. He was the One that could take on our sin because He had no sin. Maybe if I visualized His journey to the cross more frequently, I would examine my daily behaviors more closely. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wanting Our Own Way

It's been a hard journey in parenting my now 3 year old, GEM. She is strong willed to say the least. Yesterday I loaded up the girls and headed to the park to meet up with friends. I specifically told GEM when we arrived we were not feeding ducks and to stay with Mommy or HEM. Not 2 minutes into our playtime GEM had walked herself down to the pond where the ducks were causing my heart to skip a beat. I began to run toward her and call her to me seeing the potential danger that lie ahead. Instead of coming to me she began to run away from me along the water's edge. Instead of playing she rested in my arms the rest of our time at the park. Today it we had an uphill battle all morning because she didn't like the answers I gave her. She was being very disrespectful and screaming so in order to not lose my temper inappropriately I put her in her room and didn't let her out until she stopped crying and could talk to me.

As I reflect on what I can do to be more effective with GEM I also wonder if this is how our heavenly Father sees us at times, too. We, too, are strong willed and do not obey what He has asked us to do. We want to go our own way. We also run the opposite direction from Him at times. There are times where God has to tell us "enough" and shut us in a room so to speak. Sometimes we can't see that what He is doing is because He knows what is best for us.

Now as we begin to prepare for Easter we can remember what a great Savior we have. No matter how many bad deeds my children perform, I am still their mother and willing to give my life for them. Jesus did this for us. He DID have to give His life for us.

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." Isaiah 53:5-6

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reflections of the past week...

It was a wonderful week spent with my Granny last week among other family. I arrived safely back to my own home this evening. I cannot express enough thanks for all the prayers I've received since my grandmother's cancer diagnosis last June. I also can't say thanks enough to those who have sent my grandmother cards. She absolutely loves them and hangs them on her doors and wall to see at all times for encouragement. She made me laugh about the cards from my church because she said they must be wanting me back!

I held up really well emotionally this week! There was one night where I couldn't contain my sadness and I cried. I was surprised at my grandmother's response. She said at least I could cry. She hasn't been able to for years because she has no tear ducts! She cooked two wonderful meals for me this week. My mom also had a lot of time off from work so that was great too. My step-mom, aunt and uncle, and my youngest brother with his family were able to come spend time with us as well. It felt so good to have everyone together. I was happy to have some good discussions with Granny, usually in the evening. I know I'll treasure them forever. I made a few journal entries from the week, too, so I can always look back and remember more details. I did that last summer when I was there and will one day enjoy reading those again.

I don't know if I'll get to see her again in this earthly life. I have no regrets though. I am so glad I could have more time with her. I'm adding some pictures below.

I did learn a few new things like her favorite colors are blue and lavender, she likes any food that doesn't eat her first, she likes spring and fall (not too hot and not too cold), she likes the hymn It is Well With My Soul, and her favorite inventions were running water and the washing machine.

Here I am with my grandmother and my brother.

This is Granny laughing! It was one of the best moments of my visit!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Lesson in Smushed Bread

Today I loaded the girls in the minivan and off we went to the land of roll back pricing to pick up a few groceries. As we were preparing to check out I noticed my 3 year old had grabbed the loaf of bread and put it in the front with her. Right in the middle of the loaf were a couple of pieces of mangled looking bread. I sighed and my oldest asked if I'd like her to go get another loaf real quick. In that split second I realized a teaching moment.

How often have you found yourself in that kind of situation where you are tempted to trade in the goods you damaged for one more perfect? Is it really a big deal?

Let's look at it from a spiritual perspective. Could you imagine if God took that attitude with us? We know we have all sinned, made mistakes in our lives we regret, etc. When we come to know Christ, He wipes our slate clean and forgives us our every sin. But what if He used our mistakes to judge whether or not we were worth keeping or passing us by for another? It seems to me that God has used some of the most "mangled people" to do the most honoring work for Him. When we are repentant in our hearts for what we've done we are made perfect once again. It's a continual process of forgiveness. We never arrive at perfection until we leave our earthly bodies.

"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12
"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14

My conclusion? We left the store with the mangled bread in hand. After all, it was a result of my child so why shouldn't I take responsibility for it? I've learned that mangled bread is still edible. :)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blessings in my Time of Need

I'm not sure exactly what I'm about to write. This has been a long week for me, emotionally. On Tuesday evening I received the call I have known would come. My grandmother's cancer is spreading again and she is done with treatment. Hospice has been called so now it's just a waiting period.

I've been so blessed with e-mails, phone calls, and Facebook messages from my friends that care about me. I have really appreciated those that have taken the moments to let me know they care.

I hope that throughout this ordeal that follows that I will truly reflect a godly mindset. I know that I have friends that don't believe in God or have walked away from Him. I have friends that would ask why a real God would allow such innocent people to suffer. I could write at length a blog about why there is suffering, but today I won't. None of us are innocent. Even the "best" of people have done wrong things in their lives. My grandmother is looked up to by many people but would be the first to tell you she has done wrong things in her life. However, our sufferings aren't necessarily a judgement of heaven. We live in a fallen world. Believe in God or not, just watch the news or read the local paper and you'll find evidence of that. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." Because I am a Christian doesn't give me superpowers to be above doing wrong. It does hold me to a higher standard though and thankfully I keep short accounts with God recognizing my sin and asking forgiveness for every sin I do is another time I picture the Roman soldier driving the nail into my Savior's hands and feet. Regardless of the suffering I will endure here, I know that glory awaits me where there will be no more suffering or pain. I have security in my future, the same security my grandmother has. My grandfather has been celebrating in heaven for almost 13 years now and I will find a way to rejoice when my grandmother joins him. My faith will not waiver in this world, because if it does, it was not real faith to begin with.

Thank you again to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are doing what the body should do by encouraging me. Thank you to everyone for holding me up. God is good! I hope my life may be a reflection of His love and His saving grace.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All the Way My Savior Leads Me

I really enjoy hymns, more specifically the words of the old classic hymns. I wanted to post this one today because it's one I really enjoy written by Fanny Crosby. I believe Rich Mullins did another arrangement of it that is just beautiful.

All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me
O the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages—
Jesus led me all the way.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Terrific Three!

Well, last Saturday my GEM turned 3 years old! I can't believe how quickly time has passed. I am surprised at how much I miss getting up with her to nurse in the night, swaddle her in a blanket, watch her learn to walk, etc. She's not a baby anymore! She has not allowed a single moment of boredom in our house. I told my husband today that I'm glad she goes to Sunday school because she learns a new song every week and always comes home singing it. She LOVES to sing.

I have a friend with an AWESOME blog worth checking out. She even has a giveaway right now. So to earn my extra entry as well as give her the credit she deserves I am recommending her site, She always had wonderful ideas. She is a homeschool mommy of two beautiful girls. I really appreciate how she lets you get to know her girls so in honor of that I am going to mimic her on my own blog as I introduce my girls to you. I know many of you are friends that see me regularly, but there are some of you that don't and might like to know a little more about our family. So today I will introduce GEM since it was her birthday last week (EMM will folow in a couple of weeks!).

GEM joined our family on February 13, 2007.
She LOVES to sing and play with her babydolls.
She wants to do EVERYTHING her older sisters do with everything they own.
She also loves books, being read to and "reading" to others.
She enjoys playing with her best friends who are both 4 years old.
Making a mess is her specialty.
A very strong minded little girl!

Here are a few pictures from our celebration last weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A challenge in regards to suffering...Worth a read

Forgive me if I've previously blogged on this before. It has been great on my heart in recent times. Perhaps my favorite quote is from Madeline L'Engle, "I don't envy those who have never known any pain, physical or spiritual, because I strongly suspect that the capacity for pain and the capacity for joy are equal. Only those who have suffered great pain are able to know equally great joy."

The other day I had a Jehovah's Witness couple come to my door. They had been here previously in the summer which I vaguely remembered. Of course they hoped to win me over to their thoughts and wanted me to question what I believed. I wasted no time in being up front with my faith. I won't spend time with details, but they really wanted to talk about suffering and what happens when we die. It's not worth mentioning where they wanted to go with the conversation, but it has helped me continue my thoughts I had been having on suffering the last few weeks anyway.

We all have our issues in life. What may seem major to us is in fact really minor so many times. I have been challenged in the last few weeks to be cautious of problems in life. I think we (myself definitely included) forget to let our trials mold us to God and instead use them to distance us from Him and give room for complaint to enter our hearts.

I guess what has really sparked this is the experiences of many of my friends' lives. I think of Cyndi who lost her 18 month old daughter to cancer, Angie who has a toddler son and has cancer (but is about to celebrate the end of radiation YAY!), Carol's daughter with a serious leg injury, Rachel who has suffered from fibromyalgia to the point she could hardly get out for 2 years until remission within the last month (another YAY!), my grandmother with stage 3 stomach cancer, a friend in Georgia years ago that lost her baby 2 weeks before her due date...need I go on?

The point is what do I have to complain about? I have 3 healthy girls, a loving and providing husband, supportive family, a nice home, no life threatening sickness. Why should it greive me that my garage door doesn't shut despite the new door?! Stinkin' wire! :) Why do I get upset over my leaking roof I know is soon to be replaced? Why do I stress about the bills every month that never fail to be paid? Why do I get upset when one of my kids gets me up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning? You get the idea again. It's bad enough to worry about these things, but too many times I find myself complaining out loud about them. There are many that would love to even have a garage, have their own home, have a job, and have their child back. I never forgot what Cyndi wrote on her daughter, Courtni's, care page near the end of her battle with neuroblastoma cancer. She referenced Matthew 26 when Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane and how she really understood His words. He tells His disciples, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me." Then when He gets to the garden he "fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.'" Maybe it's too bold, but I challenge anyone and myself to not ask for the minor inconveniences to be passed from us. The loss of a mother's child is much more than ANY problem I have so far encountered and believe me, I've encountered my share.

I reflect on my life and think how the problems I've had in my life have molded me into who I am today. I allowed them to bring me closer to God as I grew up with many challenges. If you want to know more about some of those challenges, let me know and I'll e-mail you privately.

A few nights ago my precious GEM, who just turned 3, was up with an earache. She cried from 11 p.m. until 4 a.m. It was 5:30 when I returned her and myself to our respective beds and she was up at 7:30!! Pardon my pride, but I was proud of myself for not once getting frustrated of complaining. I actually found myself thanking God for this beautiful child that I could hold in my arms and comfort (to the best of my ability). I thought about how that night would soon enough be a distant memory to me as my children grow up so fast! (Anyone else have that problem?) I want to enjoy life with all it's challenges for I'm certain I face greater ones in the future. Nothing I go through will ever compare with the suffering of my Savior and He holds my life in His hand.

Here is a verse from a great hymn.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.“

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Catch Up Blog

What's been happening with me in the last few weeks? Well, I was blessed to celebrate another birthday on January 26th with my family. It was another 29th birthday! HAHA! I also have purchased a plane ticket to fly to Georgia and visit my grandmother as well as the rest of my family in March. I'll be going alone on this journey and look forward to my time in warm weather! This week we will celebrate GEM's 3rd birthday and on Valentine's Day I will celebrate my 12th wedding anniversary. Seems like a lot in such a short period! It reminds me how blessed I am with each event. Three weeks after GEM's birthday will be EMM's 8th birthday. I just can't get over how quickly my children's lives are going by. I have set a new goal to savor more moments with them, even when the moments aren't pleasant (take potty training for example). I do not want to look back and long for the tantrums and sleepless nights just to have another moment with my children. I want to feel I took advantage of all the moments of my children's lives and was a great mommy. I told my husband the other day that I'm getting a new outlook and that is to not sweat the small stuff. I want to stop letting the worries in life get me down because it's taking away from my happiness and my joy with my family. I challenge everyone to do this. I'm sure I'll fail at times, but with the goal in mind it will help me to strive for the rewards.

Friday, January 22, 2010

From One Homeschool Mom to Another...

I'm currently watching my kids, along with a friend, play Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader on the Wii. I'm realizing how much I don't know in the process! We had some icy weather here in the Midwest this week resulting in my husband having 2 days home with us. Although many kids were out of school, my kids don't have that problem since they're homeschooled. At this point they really don't even ask about days off much anymore. Because my husband was home, we were actually able to accomplish more on those days since he could entertain GEM during some of our work time. It was refreshing to get more done! We even accomplished some art which I am not very good at doing. We did crayon drawings and washed over them with watercolors. I'll post a couple of pictures. They did some with their names, so I won't show those. It is so fun and exciting for me to see the girls learning so many things and watching their excitement at learning every little thing. At this point we plan to send HEM to public school next year where her daddy teaches part time. She is SO excited for this. I think it'll be harder for me than her. It's hard for me to relinquish control of her education! I hope she has good teachers that like involved parents. HAHA! I know homeschooling isn't for everyone just as public school isn't for everyone. HEM will have the opportunity to have Christian school, homeschool, and public school education when all is said and done. I'm so proud of my children and their tender hearts and curious minds. I'm proud that that are compassionate and eager to learn, creative and obedient. I am very blessed and will not take for granted how fortunate I am that God has given me these children to care for. I'm especially thankful that even in today's economy we can still find a way for me to be home full time with the girls. The time with our children will seem to flee from us as quickly as our favorite song is sung. I have really been thinking more about how to cherish the time with my children so that I don't regret my decisions in the future. At least with the homeschooling I feel I have given my girls a part of who I am, a clear understanding of my priorities, and conversations that I don't have to share with a stranger. My husband and I are the main influence and no one has their best interest at heart outside of God. I hope all of you homeschool moms feel blessed by this reminder. Some days are hard. We may not get a paycheck or adult conversation much, but we get hugs and kisses! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases...

I feel like the days have been creeping by. I go to bed each night praying for a settled mind and a peaceful night's sleep. I will ask those of you that like to pray to remember me if you would. I can't really put a finger on what's gotten to me so. I think it's a combination of waiting for my blood tests to confirm what's going on with me, my grandmother's test results (coming tomorrow), and finances (you know...paying bills, medical bills, a new garage door, new roof needed, etc.) Sometimes the last is hard because I feel bad for not bringing in any income. I know my job is priceless, but I know I have the capability of bringing in a decent salary. Honestly there is little desire to be in a classroom for me right now. I know God could change that, but right now my desire is to be home. I feel blessed to be surrounded by my children and my home during the day. I feel blessed, too, to have my friends check on me, pray for me, and read my blog. :) I have felt a dark cloud of depression lingering over me lately, but I am so far able to keep things in perspective and not allow it to consume me. I remind myself of God's graciousness and steadfastness. It gets me through days like this.

Friday, January 1, 2010

My 2009 Recap

Hard to believe another year has begun today. Many people are excited to be rid of the previous year and hoping for something better in the coming year. I look back on 2009 knowing there were some trying times but also seeing the blessings that it brought.

January: We began the new year with many of our friends in our home. I celebrated yet another birthday. We also said good-bye to our friend who has almost completed one of her two years serving missions.

February: My husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary and GEM's 2nd birthday.

March: My husband was in S. Korea when we were in a car accident. God provided all our needs! My EMM celebrated her 7th birthday and I enjoyed my first attendance at the Hearts at Home conference. I thouroughly enjoyed the Go Fish Guys in concert there, too!

April: I got to take HEM to the Revive Our Hearts Conference. It was a great bonding time for us and a scary wake up call to the danger facing my children's innocence.

May: I spent a weekend with my friend in Chicago and began preparing for my next homeschooling year at the big sale there. I was blessed to celebrate Mother's Day with my family. HEM got her braces on finally. We also got to see our two oldest daughters perform beautifully in their dance recital.

June: My husband celebrated another birthday. I got to see old friends at a graduation party for someone I had known since she was 2! Sadly on the way to the event I got the news that my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 3 stomach cancer. She was given 6 months, maybe more with treatment. (She's still here!! :D)

July: We had our annual 4th of July event at our house and enjoyed the fireworks with friends despite the rain that afternoon! HEM went to horse camp at Hidden Acres for the first time (and it was my first time being there, too). All the hard work for VBS came together and I was blessed to see the fruits of our labors as we saw 7 children come to know the Lord!

August: Our family drove down to Georgia so that the girls and I could spend 6 weeks there having quality time with my grandmother. As a family we enjoyed a day trip to the St. Louis Zoo (a fave of the girls). I also got to attend my 16th year high school reunion.

September: Enjoyed my final weeks in Georgia including a trip to Panama City with the girls, my mom, and step-mom. My mother-in-law was able to fly down too. We got to enjoy the GA Aquarium and experience the Creation Museum on our journey back! We also celebrated HEM's birthday and then had to say good-bye to friends that moved to Maryland.

October: One of the people that introduced Sean and I got married. We were able to be there to celebrate with him and his new wife and see some old friends, too. I spoke for the first time at our women's retreat introducing my testimony to a wonderful group of women.

November: My grandmother celebrated her 84th birthday! We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with our family in our home.

December: I finally got a physician who has discovered some of my health "abnormalities" and am making progress to get back to normal! We celebrated another Christmas together as a family and also celebrated the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. As the year ended we were blessed to have friends over to bring in the new year with us.

So what will 2010 bring? I really can't say. It will reap many things I sow and there will be things that I have no control over. I wonder will my grandmother get to enjoy much of 2010 and will we all stay healthy and well? Will I take advantage of the opportunities to share my faith, to grow stronger in my relationship with my Lord? Will I go without things I want for the sake of others and to give in the name of the Lord? What accomplishments will my beautiful girls have? How will HEM do in school next year? How will I do with HEM at school next year? :)

May we all take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead and not dwell on the negative things, but be blessed with all the positive things that God gives us this year! Happy New Year to all my family and friends!