A Birth Story

Friday, December 27, 2013




The long awaited day has finally come and gone! I was starting to think I would be pregnant forever but I knew he eventually had to come out, no matter how comfortable he was in there! I love hearing other women's birth stories so I am excited to share with you all the details of mine(well maybe not all) Every birth is a miracle and I never want to take them for granted.

This Christmas time has reminded me of the humble birth story of our Savior. He came to earth as a helpless little baby.  He could have  came any way he wanted but he chose to come as we do into the world and experience all of our weakness', temptations and pains.  He was God yet at the mercy of men. Eventually he grew into a man and was killed for our sins at the hands of men but in the ultimate will of God.  He defeated death and was raised up into heaven where he now sits at the right hand of God. We wait now for him to make all things new!

This is my hope in bringing a new life into the world!

 I have looked with much anticipation to the birth of my fifth child but I have also been dreading it.

I have been extremely blessed to have had all natural births with no complications but I don't pretend to like the pain that comes along with it. So at the end of my pregnancy I just wanted to get it over with.

My due day came and went; which was nothing new for me since all of my children have been late. It actually gave me some extra time to get everything ready but I was driving everyone and myself crazy trying to keep everything perfect, so I was ready to finally bring my baby home to his perfect abode...whether he realized it or not!

At my last appointment with my midwife I wad 3 cm, so I knew it had to be soon. I have been 3centimeters with all my pregnancies before going into labor.

I was very thankful to make it past Thanksgiving( who wants to eat  hospital food on Thanksgiving?) but my birthday was coming up and truth be told...I didn't want to share it. What can I say? I like having a day all about me.

                          

On my eighth day overdue I worked out in the morning(hoping to get things moving), went for a long walk that night and even ran into target for some necessities. I couldn't fall asleep until 12:00 and then at 3:00, I started getting some regular contractions.  I didn't want to get my hopes up and tried to rest but they started getting stronger. I woke my husband up and he started timing them and we knew this was it! 

Yes, it was my birthday but I didn't care! I was so excited to finally hold my baby in my arms! I was happy to let him steal the show!

The contractions weren't really painful, just uncomfortable. We called my  mother in law to come over and watch the kids( thankfully she lives only a block away) and got ready. I was hesitant to go to the hospital right away but my husband was insistent since I have always gone very quickly.

We arrived at the hospital at 4:30. My contractions weren't that consistent but  they were getting stronger and more uncomfortable, but still not painful.  The nurse checked me and I was already 6 centimeters!! By the time they got me hooked up to the monitor and filled up the birthing tub it was 6:00. Yay! I was almost there! I was starting to get anxious the tub wouldn't be ready in time but thankfully it was. The midwife finally got there and asked me if I wanted my water broken, which I declined since my last 2 births my water didn't break and they both came out in their sack. Those were also my easier births, slower and not so intense in between contractions.

At 6:30 my water broke and my contractions started getting harder, where I was starting to really moan and groan.Transition was upon me! I think I only had about 5 really hard contractions and then he was there, ready to come out! I couldn't believe it! My Pandora was playing "Revelation Song" and boy was he ready to be revealed!!

At the point where the baby is crowning I pretty much black out and just want that baby out. I don't know how some mothers actually pull their babies out themselves! My midwife's only big job is getting the baby out and I am happy to let her do it!

Yes, I pushed but not that hard... I was focused on not tearing and I knew the baby would eventually come out. His shoulders got a little stuck, so she had me stand up and my husband held me up. I gave one strong push and he was out!!!

I couldn't believe it!! That was it??

God totally answered my prayers above and beyond what I imagined! Wow! I think I could do this again! After my last birth I said, I never wanted to do that again, of course my husband said don't think about that right now. I am glad I changed my mind and was able to have this beautiful experience. No, it wasn't completely free of pain, but like I prayed, it was as painless as possible.

There he was on my chest!!!

 Brand new and so full of life!!!

I have to say the moment I push that baby out relief  and joy fills my being!!! It is such an amazing experience! I always thought I would cry when I saw my babies for the first time but with each one I am just in awe and excitement. All I can do is  gasp with joy," Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!!!" I think I am pretty much in shock. That extra weight I have been carrying around this whole time is actually a precious little person! It is such a miracle!!

The best birthday present ever!!


Little Luke! You have to admit he is a looker!


The best Daddy ever!


At that moment when I am holding my precious baby, only minutes old...I  am reminded why my husband and I keep doing this... its all worth it!!...all the pregnancy hormones, the extra weight, the looks from strangers, the tighter living space, the sleepless nights...bringing a new life into the world is one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences!

When my husband and I are in our home together with our children around us, we are filled with love for each other, our children and thanksgiving to God for all He has blessed us with! God gives the best gifts... far better then we could ever plan or imagine!!


                              

"Every good and perfect gift is from above." James 1:17






Sweets to Make and Give for Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I know its only 3 days till Christmas but I couldn't let it pass without sharing my favorite sweets to make and eat  give for gifts. I have to confess I usually have to make 2 batches because I we usually devour the first batch before it even gets in the gift bags.

Trust me these recipes are just too good to keep all to myself.  They will astound your taste buds and you might find yourself with an addiction problem. ( Good thing I only make them once a year!) If you decide to take my word for it and make some yourself, you will find that everyone you give them to will ask for the recipe.

Its so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas and forget that we should actually have a happy heart that wants to give. We shouldn't give just because we feel its expected of us and its just what everyone does this time of year.  It's not how much money we spend or even the time put in that counts, but the thought. The best gifts are the gifts that you find joy in giving and know the recipeient will enjoy and want. These are those kind of gifts!:)

I first discovered these amazing Peppermint Bark treats over at soulemama and she got the recipe from Orangette
Ok , you can wipe the drool off your chin now







The only thing I changed is that I used almond bark instead of white chocolate( its cheaper and my inexperienced palate still loved it) But you are welcome to use real white chocolate if you wish, I am sure it does taste better. Also make sure you do not heat the bittersweet chocolate and cream to fast or it will thicken and be hard to spread.




I put them in the fridge in plastic containers until I am ready to package them. I gift them in Ziploc bags  and then place in paper bags with this pretty printable from biblicalhomemaking.

So please check out this recipe! You will thank me later!

I also have to share this Carmel Almond Popcorn from Martha Stewart. It is also a Christmas staple in our home and makes great gifts! I adapted it a bit.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for baking sheets


  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil/ I use olive oil     
  • 2 cups raw almonds
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup / I use honey 
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Directions

    1. Step 1

      Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Butter 2 rimmed baking sheets; set aside. Place corn kernels and oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cover. Once kernels begin to pop, shake pot frequently; when popping slows to about 3 seconds between pops, remove from heat; uncover. Transfer to a large bowl. Add almonds; toss.
    2. Step 2

      Cook sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until it reaches 255 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer drizzle some of the mixture into a cup of water, if it forms into individual shapes you are good to go. Its called the softball stage.
    1. Step 3

      Remove from heat. Stir in extracts, salt, and baking soda. Pour over popcorn mixture; toss to coat. Line sheets  with aluminum foil and butter, this will save you a lot of clean up later!  Divide between prepared sheets. Bake, stirring occasionally, 1 hour 20 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.


    Merry Christmas!.. and remember you don't have to make these treats or give the perfect gifts to have a great Christmas(God already gave us the most perfect gift of his son Jesus!!)...but they sure do make it sweeter!






    Last Minute Christmas Gifts to Make for and with Kids

    Friday, December 20, 2013

    This Christmas I had envisioned having all my presents  bought, made, wrapped and  under the tree while enjoying all the festivities before the big day,(read more here) but somehow time got away from me( or maybe I procrastinated). It might have had something to do with just having a brand new baby! (who is snuggled up on me now:)

    We have a really big extended family, which I love! But buying presents for them is not in our budget so I try to get creative and make as much as I can. Being that my time is limited I have opted for things that do not require a lot of it and that the kids can help with.

    We usually give family gifts which  include something the whole family can use and our honey that my husband harvest from our own bees. But the kids really wanted to give their cousins presents, so I found this easy and inexpensive recipe for flubber that the kids had fun making.

     


    The kids had fun making and playing with this
    flexible dough.
    store in airtight containers

    we added the food coloring too late so the color is very muddled. Make sure you add it before you put the borax in!

    They have been so excited about receiving presents that I was thrilled to help them in giving.

    Our Charlie Brown tree, we cut off of our property. I have no idea what is in most of those presents.


    I have been surprised how many gifts there were under the tree since Daddy and I only wrapped a few so far. I found out they have been going around the house looking for things they could wrap up and give to each other. I think they just like wrapping and opening things. Maybe next year I will just wrap some of their toys they have forgotten about...they would probably be just as excited.


    Homemade Belly Balm

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013



    I don't know about you but I really don't like stretch marks! They just don't compliment my skin. Unfortunately I do have some and have learned to embrace them as my earned beauty marks of being a mother,  but I wouldn't miss them if they were gone. So when its that time again for me I try to lather my belly up to help resist those little marks from popping up. Though there is no magic lotion to guarantee that you won't get them, I say do what you can to prevent them.

    I had planned to make some belly lotion in the beginning of my pregnancy but just never got around to it,(hmm.. I wonder why?) so I just used coconut oil. I love coconut oil and it works great but I wanted to incorporate a powerhouse of natural skin repairing ingredients into my very stretched abdomen.   So... the day before I finally had my baby I found some time to make it. Well at least I got to use it on my baby belly for one day!

    It really doesn't take long to make and is so easy!

    Though my little guy is on the outside now I still use the lotion on my post partum tummy, face and body. It works great!

    It is so moisturizing and healing!

    Here's how you make it:


    Ingredients:

    1/2 c .Coconut oil- great at repairing injured and damaged skin tissue
    1/4c. Shea Butter- helps beautify, heal and protect skin
    1/8c. Cocoa Butter- very moisturizing and loaded with skin protective properties
    2 Tbs. Beeswax-
    1 Tbs. Vitamin E oil blend- heals, nourishes and protects skin

    I doubled the recipe for myself but this should make enough to fill a baby jar.

    I used coconut oil from mountain rose herbs
    I purchased the shea butter from amazon
    The Cocoa butter I bought from a local herb store but you could buy it on amazon also
    The beeswax is from our own bees, but if you don't happen to have your own apiary then you could also buy some from amazon
    I used  Jason vitamin E oil bend, you can purchase it at your local health store or online







    1) Simmer some water in a pot and put a glass bowl on top to melt your ingredients in.

    2) Add first 4 ingredients and when melted add vitamin E oil

    3) Pour into container

    4) Let cool and harden

    It should look like lip balm, disappear into your skin and have a nice soft consistency.  You can add an essential oil if you like but I love the smell of the coconut oil and shea butter. I am not to big a fan of the smell of the cocoa butter but its effects on diminishing and preventing stretch marks are worth it.


    That's it!!

    Enjoy your baby bump and body with this softening and healing balm! ( minus the stretch marks!)

    Bathroom Makeover

    Friday, November 29, 2013


    So this little guy is taking his sweet time and has not decided  to show up yet! I want him to come when he is good and ready but I am trying not to get impatient! I want to see him, hold him, smell him! Not to mention get this labor thing over with!

    But until then I have been keeping myself busy with a few home projects.

    As I shared here I have been crazily motivated these last couple weeks to clean my house from top to bottom and get some things done that I have been wanting to do for a long time but just never got around to.

     Is it hard for you to do things when you aren't motivated too?

    Here is my bathroom makeover I finally finished with the help of my handy family:

    I was inspired by Kim over at turning it home with her bathroom makeover, so I decided it was high time I did something about mine; especially since it has a very high traffic flow, with now 6 people using it! We are going to have to start scheduling appointments! We usually just scream out," I'm going to be using the bathroom, so if you have to go, go now!

    My kids always decide to start fighting or throwing tantrums when I am in there and pound on the door... it's inevitable!

    It"s so true!!!!( from howtobeadad.com)



    I really wanted to repaint it and since I am not really supposed to be painting my mother in law and sister in law were nice enough to come and do it for me:)

     They painted it a nice grey, spray painted the light fixture white and my hubby put up some nice, practical shelves. I wanted him to stain them like Kim's but he didn't have any dark stain so I settled for the natural look.

      



    I am so excited with how it turned out! Paint, new shelves, shower curtain and some spray paint and I have a brand new bathroom. I just like to go in there and look at it... it makes me happy!

    I loved the watercolor picture that Kim put up and remembered I use to dabble with water colors.  I found this simple painting I did a long time ago; it actually doesn't look that bad!







    I hope this inspires you to get motivated and spruce up some things around your home! Its amazing how adding a few new things, some paint and elbow grease can make everything look brand new! I find that  as I try to make the most of the home we have been given instead of complaining about it, I am more content and thankful to be here.

    Can't wait to show you what else I have been up to around my house!

    Any projects you have finished  that you have been putting off forever?

    Linking up with I Heart Organizing

    Simple Countdown to Christmas Garland

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013




    I know its not even Thanksgiving yet but the voices of my children are already asking "The Big Question".... How many days till Christmas?? I can't blame them, I am excited to! I love this time of year, I love giving gifts, making crafts and goodies and anything to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus!

    Looking forward to good times with family and friends and any celebration is half the fun, so why not savor every day by counting them down.



    I love paper bags, when they ask you at the grocery store," paper or plastic?" I know you are supposed to say, plastic or even better if you remember your reusable bags(which I am horrible at) but there are so many things that you can do with the paper ones that I find myself always saying paper.  Sorry if you are disappointed in me that I am not helping to save the environment...sometimes I am just to lazy. You have to admit you can fit a lot more in the paper bags and they are easier to bring in the house.

    My kids love making monster costumes out of them, using them for crafts and I am planning on using them to wrap presents this year. There is something Christmasy( Is that a word?) about brown paper bags...hmmm.. I wonder if it has anything to do with a certain song?

    So I thought why not use them to make a banner?

    I simply cut out a triangle pattern and traced it out on the bags, so they would at least be somewhat the same shape and size and then had the kids cut them out.



    Then I had them glitter glue the numbers on.


    Once you have all the numbers done, let them dry.

     Our space is limited so this is the only spot I could find for it, but it works. I used clothes pins for easy removal of the days that have passed and some brick a brack ( is that what its called?) to hang them on.




    Have fun counting down the days and enjoying every moment of this wonderful season!

    How I Prepare to Give Birth... Naturally

    Saturday, November 23, 2013


    Today is due date for  my fifth baby! Of course that means my senses and body have been on high alert for the first signs of labor. I have gone overdue with all of my children. My last one was only 2 days late which was pretty much like coming early. The one before that was 12 days late!!! I could have been induced but would much rather have them come when they are good and ready if there are no complications.

    It sure got old though hearing everyone ask, "Haven't you had that baby yet?" It's an estimated due date people! It's not like the baby has to come on your due date. So if you see a weary pregnant women in the end of her pregnancy don't ask her if she is ready to pop or drop yet...believe me she is!

    Though I look forward to finally seeing my long awaited baby, I usually dread the labor part. Yes, I don't enjoy pain, but when I have been waiting for almost 42 weeks I'm ready for the pain to begin...bring it on!

    So how do I get my mind and body ready?

    Determination

    First you have to be determined that you are going to do this naturally! If you have second guesses or aren't sure, once those snake tightening contractions start you will want to say, yes give me that epidural!( Confession: along with not wanting an epidural for the most natural birth possible, I can't stand the thought of a needle going into my back!! yikes!)

    Positive Support

    Surround yourself with people who encourage and support you in your decision! Now I know this isn't always possible but turn a deaf ear to those who don't understand or try to tell you what they think you should do. There is nothing like the encouragement that comes from someone who tells you," Yes, it's hard...but YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    Do What Feels Best To You 

    I never went to any birthing classes or had a doula but I am sure they would have been helpful so look into your options but remember your body was made to do this... listen to it! Do what feels right! Whether that means moving to a different position, moaning and groaning( yes everyone does it)and breathing.

    Exercise!

    Of course talk to your Doctor or midwife first, but if you have already been exercising you can usually keep it up in a modified form. Since I had already been working out when I found out I was pregnant I was able to keep up my routine, just not at the same intensity. Though of course I have gained weight, it feels good knowing I haven't lost all my muscle that I have worked so hard for not to mention its a great outlet.  Join a boot camp or find a friend to keep you accountable, its a lot more fun and easier when you are with other women and have someone to tell you what to do.  Along with the benefit of staying in good shape, exercising will help prepare you for the physical demand of labor and give you a head start on getting back into your clothes once you have had your baby!

    Be Prepared

    I don't know about you but when I reach the last couple of weeks of my pregnancy I get a little crazy. I have to have everything ready, clean and organized at home or I can not rest. I gain new energy and start to nest like a mad women. I think all the projects that I have been putting off all year get done in those 2 weeks. I do not want to come home with my baby to a big mess, I want to relax and enjoy my baby. Of course the baby wont care what your house looks like but at least you will feel better knowing everything is ready for your new arrival, at least I do. So be prepared!

    Rest

    Try to cut back on any extra activities. Get as much rest as you can! Though I admit that is hard for me to do at times when I have so many things going on and little ones to take care of; I can't function if I am overtired. I don't want to go into labor exhausted and stressed. Life is busy and unexpected things happen that you can't foresee but as much as possible give yourself some slack knowing that you have a big job ahead of you and you need to be rested and relaxed.

    Check Out Your Options

    If you are opting for the most natural experience try a water birth! It doesn't take away the pain but it sure helps! After having my first flat on my back, I had a water birth with the last three and much preferred it. Its warm, soothing and easy to move around in. Its also a more natural transition for the baby who has been swimming in fluid during his growth in your womb. Talk to your midwife or doctor about your options.

    Hold On To Scripture 

    Ask God to give you a scripture to hold on to. The word of God is so powerful and comforting! Here are some I like to mediate on:

     "My flesh and heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalms 73:26 

     "I love you , O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock, my  fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge." Ps. 18:1-2

    "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not bring delivery? says the Lord." Isaiah 66:9


    One that I feel God has given specifically for this upcoming birth is:

    "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being." Ephesians 3:16-17

    Not only do I pray for physical strength but even more; spiritual and emotional strength. I want Him to strengthen me in my inner being to bring this new life into the world.

    The Pain Will Not Last Forever 

     Know that it is going to be painful and difficult but that it will not be forever. Believe me I pray that it will always be as painless as possible but I know there is going to be pain. I know there are people who say they have had painless natural births; which if so good for them, but I have not experienced this euphoria.

     The Bible says, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children." Genesis 3:16

    We don't unfortunately live in a perfect world, we live in a fallen; sinful world where we experience joy along side pain and sorrow. Our pain and sorrow in this life is only temporary and is going to be exceeded by a far greater joy when we are reunited with our Risen Lord. I love the example Jesus gives of this:

    "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world." John 16:21

    This experience of going from such pain to such joy is indescribable!  Though I must admit that the painful memories of giving birth have unfortunately not completely left me. But here I am again and I am looking forward to it because the sheer joy of bringing a new life into the world supersedes all the painful memories.

    10.) Whatever you ideal birth experience looks like remember that sometimes things don't always go as we plan. Yes, have great expectations but  know that you are not a failure if things didn't go as you hoped, it's not your fault. You don't have to compare your birth story with someone else's. Though all of us pray and hope that things will go as smoothly and quickly as possible we are still stuck in sinful bodies in a sinful world that doesn't always cooperate with what we want. The most important thing is that we are healthy and the baby is. This trumps everything else.

     Every experience is different and special! Embrace this precious gift that God has given us as women! This has been what I have experienced for which I am so grateful but remember that each experience is different and to do what you feel is best for you and your baby!

    Have you had a natural birth? 

    What would your advice be to giving birth naturally?

    Linking up here!

    Preparing to Bring Home a Baby

    Monday, November 18, 2013


    You would think being with child for 9 months and it being my 5th that I would be ready for this big event but in truth the reality quite hasn't hit me yet that I am about to bring another life into this world.

    It is such a miracle and even though I am not new to this it is still mind boggling to think that I am going to be holding a brand new life in my arms very soon.

    Last week I started getting contractions and cramping all day... what was this? Wait... I am not ready... this baby can't come yet!! I still have so much to do!! I haven't even washed the baby clothes, gotten a car seat, got the bassinet out, cleaned the house, packed my bags...etc...etc.


    How did this happen?!

    I have been so busy with homeschooling, caring for the house and kids, helping my widowed and practically blind mother, other everyday responsibilities and functions that it has slowly snuck up on me with out  my being aware.

    I quickly found myself praying that I wouldn't have the baby early! Quite the opposite of what I usually pray!

    Being so busy has helped to keep my mind off worrying how I am going to mother and  have the strength to care for 5 children in a 2 bedroom house, but I hate feeling unprepared!!

    With the new realization that this baby was coming and I wouldn't be pregnant forever I became completely engrossed in getting everything ready or in other words.... I became a crazy person!!

    I always feel better and can think more clearly when my house is clean and in order. I can usually let things go when I have to and not get too stressed, knowing the messes can usually wait and that other more important things can't. But with nesting mode upon me, everything HAS to be clean and organized or I CAN NOT rest!

    I have been continually warning my children and apologizing for my neurotic and obsessive behavior.

    "Sorry kids, Mommy is just going through a little time where EVERYTHING HAS to be clean!! You  CAN NOT make any messes...no dirt, no spilling, no leaving clothes and toys on the floor... you have to be perfect!!!"

    Needless to say this is impossible for these very normal kids but I have to say they have been as helpful as they can. They might wonder what happened to their mother and who this strange, deranged cleaning freak is but I am thankful they are so forgiving and still manage to love me despite my insanity.

    Its crazy how I don't notice the dust and dirt that has been collecting for years and then all of a sudden not be able to sleep because I am thinking about the dust bunnies under my bed, the food on the wall, my unorganized closets,  and gunky refrigerator.

    With most of my to do list accomplished I have to say I am feeling much better and can finally breathe a little better with many of them crossed off. Though this transformation in me has been quite drastic I believe it is a God given instinct that comes with the territory of being a mother... and I am actually thankful for it.

    It feels so good to be prepared and not caught off guard!

    This time in  my pregnancy always reminds me of this scripture:

    No one knows the day or the hour not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on your guard! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." Mark 13:32-33

    I know a lot of women have scheduled inductions and c- sections where they know when their baby is coming. I have been blessed to go into labor naturally which means I don't know until its time. Just as I want to be ready for the arrival of my baby I want to be ready for Jesus' return.

     I want my heart and my life to be always prepared to welcome my king and savior as well as this baby!

    Do you go through a crazy nesting phase when you are ready to have a baby?

     Is your heart prepared for the return of Jesus? Are you ready to welcome the Messiah when he comes?

    How Pregnancy is Teaching Me to Die to Myself

    Tuesday, November 5, 2013


    When you think of pregnancy you usually think of birth and new life...not death!

    Though I have been so blessed to be having my 5th healthy pregnancy I have to admit that I don't always have an easy time embracing this BIG change in my body. Being pregnant not only changes my body but my emotions and my abilities. Let's face it; I am selfish with my body... I don't always feel like sharing. For me pregnancy is a process of dying to my sinful flesh.
      
    You might ask, " Then why get pregnant?"...Because my life and my body is not my own... it belongs to my Creator.  I believe that each family has to seek God for themselves with this big decision. There is no one secret number or formula for every family; God leads us all differently. For my husband and I, right now we feel it is His will to trust him with the size of our family. Don't ask me after I have this baby though... I might change my mind. 

    It's so amazing to know that there is a little, brand new life growing inside of me! I really can not comprehend it! Each one of my children is so unique and has brought so much joy(and pain) into my life. I never imagined how much love I could give and receive! Each one has not only taught me so much about life and love but about myself. I never knew how selfish I was. I like to think of myself as giving, selfless person... but it just isn't so! I am pathetically selfish and self-centered. 

    Here I am able to get pregnant easily and have easy, healthy pregnancies and I am complaining that I am gaining weight, tired and feeling so hormonal. What a small sacrifice to pay to have the privilege of carrying this precious cargo for God. He has created my body to do this! He will give me the strength I need to do it!

    "He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young." Isaiah 40:11

    I am so thankful that we can be real with God. He doesn't condemn us for how we are feeling but allows us to come to him with all our imperfections, struggles and trials and cry out to him to help us in our time of weakness and need! We don't have to act like everything is a piece of cake and we have it under control... because we don't! He wants us to come to him and allow him to help us and carry us when we don't have any strength of our own.

     So to be honest...I am looking forward to not being pregnant anymore and excited to hold this new little life in my arms but thankful for this time that I have had to learn to lean on God and cry out to him in my  time of weakness. As I learn to trust not in myself but fully submit  my will to the one who formed me in my mother's womb. If I always did everything I felt like doing I would miss out on so many blessings. I am thankful for God's gentle yet strong hand to push me out of my comfort zone.

    Dying to my flesh does not come easy... believe me I don't always jump up and down when God is calling me to surrender to him, but it is amazing the peace and joy I experience in laying my life at his feet, knowing He is the one who gave it to me in the first place. I can fully trust him.

    Whatever it is God is asking you to die to in your life and surrender to him, know that we could never come up with a better plan then He has for us and our family! Death to ourselves will always bring life!!!

    "For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body." 2 Corinthians 4:11

                                                                                                    

    Fall Fun

    Saturday, November 2, 2013

    All year long the kids look forward to dressing up for the fall festival. What should they be? What should they wear? Decisions.. decisions....

    I get excited too and have fun helping them choose and make their costumes.
    Judah was the turtle man... which fits him perfectly because he love anything to do with critters
    Simeon fit into Judah's old Robin Hood outfit that I made for him 2 years ago...he's just happy he got a prize for being so cute!
    Ellie kept changing her mind about what she wanted to be, so I gave her a little help, deciding on Red riding hood



    There is a small church in our area that hosts a yearly fall festival. My husband and his family have been going there every year since he was small. Its fun to carry on the tradition with our children.

    They hold  a costume contest for each age group and this year I had a child in almost everyone! They all won prizes except for my clone trooper...he was pretty disappointed especially since he worked the hardest on his outfit. I know it was a good lesson for him to have a good attitude and learn that not everyone can win but I felt so bad for him that I went out and got him a prize. What can I say I am a sucker for a wounded heart.

    Along with the anticipation for the costume contest was their excitement over winning candy. They had numerous fun games where they had to earn their candy. I usually bag up their booty and hand it out sparingly so it will last them quite a while; I am tempted to just get rid of it all, but I know I will never hear the end of it.

    I think one of  the best parts of being a child... for that matter an adult, is the excitement and
    What!? No more candy?!
    anticipation of looking forward to fun events. I usually like to spare my children disappointment and not
    tell them things until I am sure they are going to happen... so I am not hounded to death. I have to say though that I love seeing their eyes light up with excitement over the simple pleasures in life... even if it means having to deal with  my kids on a sugar high for a couple of weeks.

    Mango Smoothie

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Okay, so I know this is the season where we put summer behind us and fast forward into everything pumpkin, apple and squash but to tell you the truth it's been hard for me to get in the mood here in Florida.

    Yes, there is something different in the air but I think my senses are sore from straining to feel a cool breeze.

     Don't get me wrong, I love fall!... it's my favorite season not to mention the time of year I was born but the weather here in Florida doesn't quite feel fall like until the rest of America is experiencing frigid temperatures.

    I have already even made pumpkin pie and some other fall dishes this week in attempt to get into the spirit of things but let's face it, it still is so hot!!...my pregnant taste buds have been craving some refreshing fruit...and the mango's are ripe on the trees...hey they are orange!

    My grandfather's tree is heavy laden with them and we have been the happy beneficiaries of their luscious bounty. I honestly think mango's might be my favorite fruit. I would be happy to cut them up and eat them as they are but since we have had such an abundance I decided to try them in a smoothie and I have to say we were all very happy with the results( not including my one non-fruit eating son.)

    Here is what you will need to concoct your own:


    -1 ripe mango/ cut up( be careful to cut around the big pit) If you don't have the luxury of getting them fresh, try the freezer section in your local store.

    -2 frozen bananas
    -4 cubes of ice
    -1 1/2 cups of orange juice
    -2 Tbs honey

    Mix all ingredients up in blender and prepare to have your taste buds transported to a tropical island...no matter what time of year.






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