Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mary Nicole forever with Jesus

Yesterday our daughter would have been 20 years old! She lived for a day and a half. She was my first child. I was 2 weeks late having her and we had no idea when before her birth that she was going to have so many health issues, it was a total shock! I went in to be induced and ended up having a c-section.

Shortly after her birth she was taken to a hospital about an hour away. I only saw her a few minutes as I was waking up in recovery. I never did get to hold her because they had her ready for transportation. At that time the doctors were not aware just how sick she was. She had problems with all of her major organs. Jeff was so wonderful. He was torn between being with me and wanting to be with her, though he admitted months later he was scared to be there and watch her die.

A year later we went to visit the NICU that she was in. Jeff explained to the nurses our situation, that I just wanted to see where she was and they let us in. I was absolutely overwhelmed with the love those nurses showed me (and those babies in there). They reassured me that she was held as she died. That bothered me a long time thinking no one held her and was with her as she died, and that visit took care of those worries.

20 years ago today my daughter was welcomed into the arms of Jesus. It was a horrible, painful time for us here on earth and it changed us forever. I don't know why God chose for us to go through all of that, but it is a part of who we are today. I can honestly say it made us stronger as individuals and especially in our marriage. Life is precious and there is no promise of tomorrow on this side of heaven!

The 'experts' say she had a genetic disorder and that each time I got pregnant there would be a 1 in 4 chance of it happening again. Of course I was also advised seriously consider ever getting pregnant again and to consider 'termination' if there were problems. Yeah...right! Personally, I think it was the birth control pill. I stopped taking it and was pregnant a few days later. I am a STRONG opponent against the pill because of that and other reasons I have learned since then. That is another topic for another day!

As for today, I am thanking God for His MANY, undeserved blessings. I have the best husband ever, and he has allowed me to give birth to 3 more children...healthy, happy children!

Monday, February 26, 2007

It may sound silly and simple, but I LOVE to have a clean house and to prepare for guest. There is something about having your house in order and ready to serve that is so rewarding.

Yesterday the girls and I gave the house a good once over before our guest came for our book study. By afternoon the house was finished, the food was ready, and we had some Celtic music playing as I sat on the back porch in the sun and read over the chapter was wonderful!

Olivia brought in a handful of flowers she had picked and said, 'I'll trade you a kiss for a little bit of spring." Now how sweet is that?! I am so thankful our children are with us all day, everyday.

I made some whole wheat rolls and added some Italian seasoning for a special flavor.

I love practicing hospitality. The more I practice it, the easier it gets. The more I learn to relax and just enjoy it, the more I want to do it. Everything does not have to be perfect (it is hard for me to accept that!). A welcoming environment is more important than a beautiful house and extravagant food.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Don't Waste Your Life

Only one life will soon be past,

only what is done for Christ will last.

The Lord has used several things lately to make me stop and re-evaluate my life. Am I really numbering my days? It is SO EASY to get caught up in things that we think we need to do, or seek after worldly treasures. THEN something happens and you realize just how fragile life is, you look back and wonder if the Lord will be pleased to greet you into heaven, will you leave behind a legacy that really matters? Will your life have made a difference for the Kingdom? Trying to live the 'American Dream' makes it difficult to live a life for Christ. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the blessings of God (He enjoys giving good gifts to His children), but the problem comes when it is the things of this world that are our focus, our goal. Where your heart is there is your treasure! Do we treasure stuff or souls? Do we view our hard times, our incredibly painful times, as opportunities to glorify God, to point others to Christ?

Here is a good sermon by John Piper you can listen to:

Don't Waste Your Life

Thursday, February 22, 2007


If you are not reading Amy's Humble Musings this week, you NEED to get over there and do so!

Here are a couple of points from today:

It’s maternal instinct to desire and nurture babies. We’re created for it; it’s basic biology. The problem is that our culture suppresses the natural urge and calls it unnatural. This is why I messed with nature, took synthetic hormones, and hung over a toilet for months. If I said, “I’m getting married and hope raise a family soon,” I’d likely be labeled “irresponsible” by my evangelical brethren; for the more fortunate, it’s possible to escape with just being weird.

After a few babies, reality sets in and the Christian mom begins to think that maybe everyone had a good point. This is really hard. She is knee-deep in Cheerios. The laundry has an unnatural smell to it. She’s knows the theme song to every show in the PBS morning lineup. Her husband gets to talk to people that are taller than his waist during the day and she feels jealous. The kids are crying, but when it’s quiet she is left with the thought, “How does doing THIS glorify God? And how in the world do I do this?!”

Our 21st-century homes do not have front porches. Quilting circles are only found in books. And the hospital nurse at your last delivery? She was 20. Her coaching consisted of asking every few minutes if you were ready for an epidural.

Has it really come to this? And if so, is it OK?

I don’t think it’s OK. I also think many women agree with me. We weren’t meant to do it alone. We weren’t meant to take our cues from the broader culture. We want to know that it’s OK to cross-the-line and have Baby #3 (on purpose). We want to raise them to love Jesus and not lose our minds at the same time. We want to know that our sacrifice means something, and at the end of the day, our pursuit of God’s glory made a difference.

This has brought tears to me this morning! I bought the lie of our culture (and self) and had my tubes tied. I had a tubal reversal 5 years ago. God has chosen not to give us any more babies and I am FINALLY to the point of accepting His will about that, but I truly ache for those Christians that do not see and understand the incredible blessings of a Godly marriage, home and family, with LOTS of babies! Now I am praying for Godly mates for my 3 children and LOTS of grandbabies!

Is there really anything more challenging or rewarding than raising children? It IS hard, especially if you want to do it right! Is there a career more fulfilling than spending all day with you children? Is there a car or house that can make you feel/know that you are doing a good job? Are our treasures earthly or eternal? At the end of life will it matter what I lived in, what I drove, what I wore, what company I made wealthy? What will matter is if I was faithful to God's command to be His daughter, Jeff's wife, the mother of his children....then the keeper of my home...and then reaching out to the needy... When doing all of that, who has time for a career?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

ONE of the wonderful blessings of living in the south is that you can
enjoy daffodils on cold February day!!!

I've been sick the last few days, but not near as sick as my friends have been. Here is a description her husband gave of their weekend trip...funny, but not funny:

We're back, at least to some degree. You know that feeling, no not the feeling of returning home, that feeling that so few of us ever get to enjoy. It's that feeling of taking your family to your (sister, cousin's, etc.) sister in law's, the one who has no children and 3 inside dogs and a moderate amount of advice. That feeling that, although you never serve your kids pre-packaged kool-aid in a bottle, it should be ok this time. That feeling of hearing that sound, you know, of a child in distress at midnight. Only this time it's red kool-aid on a goose down bed, and the bed is not your own. And for some reason it attacks the young and old first. Next its the mother in law and she now has the other bathroom and is in a violent way expelling previously enjoyed meals. Then it hits the spouse, the one that was taking care of the 5 yo with a problem at the other end, so quickly that we do not have enough clothes to change into. But there now needs to be laundry started, the sheets for the bed, the clothes for the 5 yo and something for the 3 yo to sleep in. But your spouse has now been taken in by the scourge. You set the 3 yo in the living room, go check on mom, and your 11 yo starts. Violently. It's been two hours and 5 have already been hit. The 3 yo starts back, nothing left to expel, but he insists he is going to die. And you left all your medications at home. And so it goes until about 3 a.m. At 6 you wake up to a battle scene. There are no sheets or blankets left that do not bear some scars of this battle. Those crying for medics are slowly returning to their sense but the scourge is not over. Your 15 yo now has suffered an attack and yes, your family has given it to the sister in law. That's the feeling I'm talking about. A gift that keeps on giving. You load everyone up and set the cruise on 90 and you are just praying you will be pulled over so you can have someone to tell.
So yes, we're back, at least to some degree; 4 hr 10 minutes from Mobile to the farm. I need to go, I think my stomach is rumbling.

So here I sit, counting my blessings of not being THAT sick!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Modesty Survey

This is well worth the time to read.
Whether you agree or disagree with the results,
this is the voice of the men, young and old, around us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Gift of Faithfulness

Have you been to Walmart the last couple of days? If so you know the card and flowers areas are covered up with people searching for a Valentine goodie. I love Valentine's Day, not the commercialism of it, but just the fun of doing something extra special for those you love. It adds a cheerful day to the dull drums of winter! I miss the days of our kids making their own Valentines.

This year I bought the girls a mug and candy rings,
and Josh a bag of red hots.
I wrote them each a little message.
I had this on the table this morning when they got up!

The funny thing is I'll buy a couple of little things for the kids and maybe a card for our parents, but I usually don't BUY much of anything for Jeff, and I EXPECT nothing from him, not because he's not high on my priority list, but because EVERY DAY is Valentine's Day for us. I am so secure in his love, and he in mine that Valentine's Day, Christmas, Anniversaries, and so on really aren't big deals. Jeff treats me like a Queen EVERY DAY, so how can that be out done? :o)

I haven't always been this way. I use to be very selfish, expecting grand expressions of his affections, but after 20 years of marriage I have learned the simple fact that he is FAITHFUL and always kind is the GRANDEST expression of love. I don't need flowers or anything else. All I need is to know that his heart is mine and mine his!

May God receive all the glory for our marriage.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fight or Flight

I read Amy's, of Amy's Humble Musings ,post today about Fight or Flight and it tied in with an experience I had today!

This morning I was reading Hudson Taylor to the girls and we came to the part where Hudson and his co-laborers went to a Buddhist Temple. They were shown a "holy man" that was WILLINGLY closed off from all of the world as not to come in contact with evil. He had only a small opening just large enough for a hand as his means for a little food and light. How sad! I stopped to make sure Emma was paying attention and that she understood the situation. Her comment was, "That's dumb, you protect your heart from wickedness, not lock your whole body away!" :o) It was one of those moments that reassures me that they are 'getting it'!!! Which is ONLY by God's grace!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Pincushions

These are so practical!
I place one next to my machine,
one on my cutting table and
one at the ironing board.
The square part has bating in it and dry beans in the bottom for weight.
The scrap bag has boning to hold the bag open.
It is PERFECT for catching those small scraps
and tread as you cut and sew.

Here is a teacup pincushion...
beautiful and useful!

Friday, February 9, 2007

This verse has been on my mind all day.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business and to work with your hands,
just as we told you,
so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders
and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

We have had several things happen this week that makes me just want to say, "HEY! I didn't sign up for all of this." But in reality God says it rains on the Just and Unjust alike. I am so thankful to have a Savior to run to, to give me comfort and wisdom. I also have more blessings than I can possibly count!

But back to the verse...

I long for a quiet life, to always be busy with my hands either creating or serving. If we are busy doing those good things with a humble heart, then and only then, can we stay out of trouble. I remember my teen years and my early years of marriage the HOURS AND HOURS I would spend on the phone with friends, shopping or just doing nothing. What a waste of time! I should have been busy learning, creating and serving. That idle time brought shame not respect to my reputation because I would usually fall into sin by talking about things I shouldn't (gossip).

We have a couple of family members that have made bad choices of what to do with their time and who they choose to be with. Because of that, it has caused a bit of chaos in our home this week. All I have been able to think is, 'What's wrong with wanting to lead a simple, quiet life?' I want to be busy with my hands, minding my own business and seeking to honor God.

So give me plenty to do and give me a simple and quiet life.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Thoughts on Grieving

This week has been a sad one for our family. We unexpectedly lost a dear family friend. He and my husband have been friends for 18 years, and over those years he had become like family to us. He lived alone about a mile from us. He spent many a holiday meals with us. Last year when our 18 year old son was raging with rebellion, James took him him with his hope that we would 'all stay calm' and resolve our issues. He was a good friend to all of us, but especially to Jeff, he was like a big brother to him. Last Friday James called Josh while he was in Fl to make sure he was ok because he knew the tornadoes were close to where Josh was working. He told Josh, "I'll see you this weekend." (Josh was coming home Sat.) Sadly, he did see him, he saw his empty shell of a body, no smile, no manly hug, no slow southern drawl coming form his lips. James had such a tender voice, I'll miss hearing it. Every time our dogs bark I look out the window expecting James to pull up in the yard. It just doesn't seem real. Olivia said, " He was like an uncle to us." Which means lot considering we have no family close by that cares to be family.

We seem to have alot of suffering and death around us in the past few months, I wonder if it is because we are getting older?

James did not belong to a church. It was sad to listen to a man that did not even know him preach his funeral. A friend from his childhood said he was saved at age 10. He was a good man and as Josh said, "All we can do is hope that he had things right with God." I don't know the state of James' soul. I cannot bare the thought of him not being in heaven. It's one of those things you have to push out of your mind, knowing that only God knows. If he truly did belong to God he can now lay down his hammer, and rest. He was a very hard worker, much like Jeff. Oh, how I hope he is rejoicing with the Lord, perhaps sitting there basking in Christ's love and forgiveness.

Sitting in a funeral home in disbelief and with a broken heart really gives a reality check. What am I doing with my life? Am I really seeking things that will please God? Am I wasting time chasing after nothing? Do I TRULY live for and worship Jesus? When my days end, will I be filled with regrets? When I pass over to the other side will Jesus welcome me and say, "Well done"?

Right now it is hard to focus on anything. I'll miss our friend. Jeff and Josh will miss him even more.

Death and grieving forces you to examine your heart, your life. I think grieving is a good thing, painful, but good.

Here is another reality of life and death. It is sad, but it good to remember, to press on for the glory of God and not get wrapped up in things that don't really matter.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Be sure to see our Frugal Friday Tip just below this post. :o) Be sure to check out Crystal's Blog for other great ideas!