A place of encouragement:

Living By Faith, Walking in the Light, Saved By His Amazing Grace

Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Year in Snap Shots

A year full of moments captured in snap shots....
It's been a year full of moments. They've captured my heart and filled my mind. I am in awe of how time changes the faces of the ones who call me Mama. I am always amazed to see God weaving in and through out our lives. We all have aged not only in time but in wisdom......

My New Year prayer is this....... As we continue to age may our moments glorify Him. As we live and make  memories may they carry us from generation to generation. May His truth live on in our hearts as they intertwine and create the branches of our family tree. May His word  forever be the roots that keep us grounded in His love.

I pray that we grow and reach out. May we stretch out our branches toward the Son and bask in his light.

I am thankful for this past year full of firsts, Bitter sweet 16, new life, cherished memories and yes even the tears. With each stepping stone came wisdom, conviction, love, truth, and sweet moments never to be forgotten.

Lord knows I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes, talked when I should of listened, acted when I should stayed still, and stayed still when I should of acted. Lost all track of time, misplaced my priorities, thought about me instead of others .......but then I look at the snap shots and I see so much more than my sin soaked self.  Sweet blessings and strong Love. I see moments where I've learned so much.....And moments that I may never get again. I see life being lived. I see Grace and Mercy. I see GOD!

I'm just a sin soaked Mama learning how to love like my Savior.

Happy New year to all and may God Bless you with moments that encourage you to look for the blessings even when there are tears and mishaps, mistakes and failures. He can take all of those things and wrap them in pretty ribbon to work them out for good for those who love Him. Someday you will be able to unwrap what you thought was worthless and you will be able to see the beauty in the mess.

Share your "beauty in the mess" with others....they need to know His Love can re-build all that was broken.

I'm looking forward to the New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Morning After

The morning after always brings that feeling of wishing it would of lasted just a little bit longer......After all the hustle and  bustle......Eating, laughing, preparing, and enjoying life's gifts we have a chance to breathe in all that was given. If only I could remember to capture these every day moments and treat them as if they were gifts all wrapped up....waiting for Christmas morning.

So what is the gift of Christmas?
To be honest my gift was really in the giving....My blessing was being able to see the gift being opened. Those are the gifts, the moments I remember. Faces all lit up. Smiles wide with thankfulness. My gift was in an old man's eyes when he came for dinner and sat and enjoyed our moments ...... My gift was seeing how thankful he was for the time he had spent with us because he didn't have to spend this Christmas alone.

My gift was hearing about a baby growing inside a young Mama's womb. My gift is hearing about precious life.

My gift was in the phone call to home..Every year I find a quiet room in our home away from all the noise. That's when I share my Christmas with my Mama, Daddy and Big Sister. It's the only way we have shared over the past 20 years. We all take turns opening up gifts and through the laughter and thankful shrills of giving and receiving my heart aches a little because I can't hug or touch with arms wide open. It's only with thankful words being said over air waves that I am able to...........send my love.

And sometimes I leave myself all wide open because that's the only way I know how to be. I share my heart and my mind because I want others to see their gifts.....the ones that are right in front of them and they never really realize how precious how, in the moment, their gift was always right there.

It's the gift of family. Whether near or far....In an old widower who shares our Christmas. It's in the laughter, the tears of being over tired and all raw and wide open. It's in the wanting to be real and honest. It's in learning how to let go of anxiety and learning how to hug and kiss because we just .........want to. Because we Love. It's in throwing away the awkwardness of all the years that there was no communication because it was just easier to build walls and shut down. It was just easier to avoid the gift of learning how to be a family and work things out. But then your missing out on the gift. The gift is found in the raw nakedness of it all. The gift is learning how to handle hurts and anger. The gift is learning how to just let it go because sometimes those issues really aren't worth hanging onto.

It's in the forgiving........Because we all mess up. Even when we have the best of intentions. It's learning acceptance of those who might be just a little bit different than you. It's in realizing how important family is no matter how different or strange we may seem to each other.

The gift is Love and Love came down for you and me. He came down all wrapped in flesh. The King of Kings. He teaches all these gifts. He came down bearing all these gifts so that we may live this life in the moments with forgiveness and HOPE.

He never promised us a perfect Family.......But when you are in the family of Christ your gift will always be JOY. It's a forever promise......A forever gift.

 And He's waiting to be received........

Monday, December 17, 2012

I need To Clear A Few Things Up!

 And I've heard people say recently in the past few days..." So now I'm beginning to understand why you homeschool." I must tell you that I need to clear a few things up.
 The reasons I choose to homeschool are many but, homeschooling because I fear a crazed killer will storm the doors of a public school is not one of them.

Although if I were to be honest I can't help but feel the comfort of them being home with me.....Especially now. And then again just because we are home does not guarantee safety.

I've always been very protective of my children but, just because I choose to homeschool does not mean I live in fear of the outside world. My husband and I do not shelter our children to the extreme.

We are called by God to go out into this world, not to hide in fear of what may come.

Paul said in Philippians,

15 Go out into the world un-corrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night 16 so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing. 17 Even if I am executed here and now, I'll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ's altar, a part of your rejoicing. 18 But turnabout's fair play - you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don't feel sorry for me. Philippians 2:15-18
{The Message}

We chose to homeschool so that we can give them a good strong foundation in Christ. So we can have the freedom to teach them Christ loving principals. And yes I wanted them home with me because this time is so fleeting and I want to be the one to see them grow and learn.

Despite what people may think our children don't stay home locked up away from the community. There are plenty of outside activities that they are involved in....I've said before my children are very social beings!

Last week my son had a 3 week commitment working at a packing house. During that 3 week time period he managed to keep an often cussing employee from cussing and when he did he apologized for it. He also asked if two of the employees would like to come to church with him. This is my 16 year old son witnessing to two 30 something men.

With that said, You can not protect your children from everything. As much as you would like to keep them safe from the outside world ...they need to live this life. Experience only comes when you live life in and around people.

One of the questions I had when this horrific thing took place last Friday was: Did any one ever show that young man Christ?

My reasons for homeschooling are personal and designed for the specific needs of our family. We homeschool because it fits our family. Not every family is called into homeschooling.

I don't believe we should look down upon or fear for those who have chosen to place their children in public school, for their job is a special one. They too are called for a specific purpose. The needs of their families are different and are designed for God's purpose.

The decisions we make as  families should always be in prayer asking God to guide us and direct us on the path he would like us to walk. God has a plan for every one of us and they are all different to fit the specific needs of this dying world.

Jesus said in Mark 16:15 "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."

No matter where you are in this life you are to live for Christ. That's why we are here. We were not called to shelter ourselves from the outside world. Too many children of God have stayed silent, locked up in fear. And  could that tragedy have been avoided in Connecticut last Friday if just one person would of broke their silence to the  one who was filled with darkness? We will never know......

In the words of Dori from "Finding Nemo"   "you can't keep everything from happening to him, because then nothing will happen to him. Not much fun for little Nemo."

So do I homeschool to keep my children out of this dark world? Absolutely not! I homeschool them because I want to send them out to be the light in this dark world!

No matter what your path He is the light unto your feet! Walk in the way of the Lord!

We serve a Sovereign God....Who then shall we fear?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where Is God Now?

It's hard to enjoy the day with out feeling guilty for having what others have lost and yet I feel so blessed all at the same time. Such a crazy mix of emotions. I find my self turning the TV off because I can't bare to put myself where they are right now.

And people are wondering where is God now?

I can tell you that God is right where this Nation has put Him. Off to the side, out of the picture, out of our schools and out of our towns. He is only doing what has been requested of Him.

But does God ever really leave the scene of the broken hearted?

I don't believe so. He's always just a whisper away. Why did He allow this to happen? Well, I don't believe any one has the answer to that. All I know is this world needs a Savior.

And doesn't He make good out of evil? Doesn't He turn something so horrendous into GOOD for those that Love Him? We may not see the ripple effects right away. And then again are we seeing it now?

The love of community and people drawing close, huddled in churches and praying to God. He's the only comfort in the midst of such tragedy.

And isn't that what we are called to do?...To reach out to Him. To reach out to each other.  Love on one another. Help build stronger communities so that we can have stronger, healthier families. The love of Christ can be found in an open heart willing to receive. And once He takes up residence, there will be no room for evil. All the darkness is washed away with brilliant light.

But it's not just in tragedies....He wants to hear from you in all the small ways. In the very little things that make up your day. He wants your every day. He wants to be invited back into our homes, our schools and in our communities.....

Most importantly He wants to be invited into your heart.

You see, where there is light the darkness has to flee.

I believe there is a reason that this Nation stood strong and tall for so long. It's because she was founded and built by Christ loving men.

And now we are seeing her get weaker....Her structure has fractures and she is starting to break.... Soon if we don't pull together as a nation...she will fall and we will continue to see more horrific tragedies like Sandy Hook.

As I am waking up to the sun rising in the east. I am reminded to love my family and care for my neighbors. Help those in need. Keep visual over the broken hearted. I'm praying for the eyes and heart of God....So that I may see what He sees. So that my heart breaks for what breaks His. This paragraph is full of action verbs. Love is an action verb. Things will never change unless we Love with Action!

America's children need stability and protection. They long for loving homes and stronger communities. They need to be allowed to pray in school and on the streets again. We need to lay down our phones and technical gadgets, get off the computers and live, love, actually touch those around us with our presence. We will only get stronger and healthier if we get involved. We can make a difference!

Where is God now? He's just a whisper away.........


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cloth Diapers

This is my sixth child but, she is my first to be in cloth diapers. Well......my first to stay in cloth diapers. I tried them almost 17 years ago with my first born and let me tell you cloth diapers have come a long way baby!

I have three different kinds but just two name brands. Gro-via and Bum genius 4.0.

My lovely little model is wearing bum genius all in ones. These little gems are one size fits all. Well all the diapers I purchased are one size fits all.

These are probably my favorite. These are the ones I put on her the most. If I had the chance to purchase again I would probably buy just these.

Bum genius with inserts

These are the bum genius with the inserts. I don't mind using them but I would rather not use them at night. It's too frustrating trying to stuff the inserts in the shell in the middle of the night. I'm not quite awake enough to be messing with the little things. So I mainly use the all in ones at night, unless I haven't done laundry.


And these are the Gro-Via. They have Velcro closures but snaps for the inserts. The Gro-via are nice but I find I have to change these more often. They tend to not  absorb as well as the bum-genius.

You may find that you have to change the cloth a little more often than the disposables but, it's not overwhelming more.
This is the soap I use to wash them. I bought it off of Amazon.

There are two things that you absolutely must have if you want a better experience with the cloth diapers and that is a large wet bag to put in a closed top waste can. The second is a sprayer that your hubby can hook right up to the toilet. It power washes those dirty diapers off right into the toilet! No more dunking the diapers! Yuck! This is what sold me on trying them. I remember dunking and I hated it!
 I use Thieves spray to keep the smell away! I just spray the inside of the can and nobody knows they are there!
You also have to hang dry your diapers but, the inserts you can throw in the dryer.

I bought my cloth diapers from Cotton babies. They have tons of information on all cloth diapers!

So what's my opinion on cloth diapers? So far so good. I like them. I don't mind washing them or hanging them to dry and I'm saving money!