Guest post on a mama's story: The most important work

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

As a full time satisfier of everyone else’s needs it can be easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed from the constant demands of motherhood. You feed all the hungry mouth’s and sit down to feed yourself only to be bombarded with demands of more. You finally get the baby to sleep; heaving a sigh of relief only to hear the sound of cries once again...read more here on my guest post on a mama's story.

Our Christmas

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

This Christmas was memorable, fun, beautiful, delicious, priceless, messy and exhausting!

It started out with Israel our oldest coming into our room at 3:30 saying he couldn't sleep; we promptly told him to go back to bed. It wasn't long till the rest of the house was restless and at 5:30 we were wakened to very excited children jumping on our bed asking if they could open presents yet.

We needed some more sleep so we told them to come back and wake us up at 7:00. Precisely at 7 we were greeted once again and agreed it was time! But before we opened presents Josh read the Christmas story and we all prayed... I think this was my favorite moment of the day.

 Let the unwrapping begin!

                             Judah wanted fishing tackle  and Israel wanted Lego's of course!
                                                               The aftermath...
After we opened our presents we went over to my husband's parents with all of his 7 siblings and their families!! It was crazy, fun and so precious to all be together!
 Afterwards we went over to Josh's 96 year old grandpa's(great papa) and sang Christmas songs...what a blessed time!
Then from there we went home for a little bit and then set out for my sister and brother in law's an hour away in the country. We had such a fun time!


 This girl wants to be just like her mommy and it just melts my heart...she wanted a sling and a phone for Christmas...just like me.

                 The grandma's cleaning up...I have to admit I was happy to just watch this time;)


                                                                  My beautiful sister.
Like father, like son.



                                                      Beautiful way to end the day.

At the end of the day I was tired, thankful, full of food, filled with love and hope because of the gift of Jesus.
I hope you were too.

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

When Christmas isn't merry...there is still hope

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

painting by Israel Harris


I have really been looking forward to Christmas this year. The anticipation is the best part! When I was little I couldn't sleep all night because my little heart was bursting with excitement. I  probably won't get much sleep this year either.

 Now with children of my own, I love seeing them count down the days and get excited about giving and receiving gifts. It's so precious to share in their joy and wonder!

But there were many Christmas' that I didn't look forward to when I was growing up. Many that were hard; that I wanted to get through as quickly as possible.

The Christmas when my Dad died that year.

The Christmas when we didn't have any money for presents.

The Christmas when we were alone.

The Christmas when  family relations were strained.

The Christmas when my mom's health was bad.

I know for many this year, Christmas will be difficult  also.

When a loved one dies.

When money is tight.

When you are all alone.

When family relationships are strained.

When health is bad.

But in Jesus we can still have hope that this Christmas he can:

Bring life after death.

Meet all your needs.

Be with you when no one else is.

Restore relationships.

Sustain you in sickness.

Jesus came to bring us hope and joy in this life not just when we are happy and well but when we experience sorrow and pain. He is the only one who can redeem the hard things in our life and make them into something beautiful.

He delights in taking our difficulties and making us wiser, stronger, meeker and more compassionate through them. Most of all he is glorified when we give him praise despite our circumstances.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this Christmas, lets remember that not only did Jesus come into the world as a baby and died on the cross as our Savior but he is coming again as Lord and King to take away all our tears, sickness and death once and for all!

So when all your pain is magnified by the joy you see in others and you are feeling anything but merry; take joy in knowing that Jesus came into this broken and weary world to bring hope...hope of a new life where all will be made new!

"A thrill of hope that weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn"
- Oh Holy Night

 This Christmas I rejoice in my Savior and the gift of this joyful Christmas. I thank him for the hard ones in the past and I know to come in the future...that make this one all the merrier. 

His mercies are new every morning even when its a crazy one!

Thursday, December 18, 2014


So far this morning I turned the wrong burner on and almost burnt down the house, dropped an egg on the floor, had to come between two squabbling siblings, convinced a whiny, very particular 3 year old that the green cup was dirty but a an orange one is just as good, cleaned up a spilled cup of water that somehow managed to cover the entire table and floor and wrangle  2 distracted boys into doing their chores.  
                                                                                                                                                 
So thankful I spent time in God's word this morning! I need him at the start of every busy morning and the end of every long day. He is faithful to keep us and give us his strength and mercy for each new day  and all the craziness in between!

How is your morning going?

Did you get time in God's word yet?

If not take comfort in knowing his love never ceases and his mercies never come to an end for you!


Guest Posting on a mama's story

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


If God has called you to home school it can be easy to get overwhelmed and question why you started in the first place.

We  all need to be constantly reminded that this is a calling; a calling that God will give us grace and strength for. It's a journey that God is equipping us to follow one step at a time.

There are days when its easy to feel like you can't take one more step and all you want to do is retreat. But God is so faithful to meet us right where we are; giving us strength to carry on and find joy in the journey.

I am excited to be guest posting over at a mama's story where I am sharing how God has helped me through the hard days of homeschooling to experience they were all worth it!

 Check out my post here!

Letting go of the perfect Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

               

So for some reason I didn't think Christmas was for two weeks yet...then I looked at the calendar and its next week! Hit the panic button!

I thought I was doing pretty good. I have most of  my Christmas presents bought, made and wrapped.(phew!) But there are still a lot of things I want to make and do. I don't have to but I want to. I genuinely love making and giving gifts...it's one of ways I show love but there is another part of me that has other intentions.
                                                        
There is no one putting pressure on me telling me I have to have everything perfect for Christmas but there is a little voice inside me whispering prideful, self-centered lies.

They sound something like this:

"If you don't make all handmade gifts for your friends and family they won't think you are an amazing superwoman."

"If you don't make and buy your kids the coolest presents they won't think you are the best mom in the world."

"If you don't go above and beyond what is expected of a mother of five you will just be average."


"If you don't make homemade cookies and ornaments and blog about it all, your kids won't have any good memories."

But here is what Jesus tells me:

"You don't have to prove anything to anyone. I accept you, love you...despite your failures and despite your accomplishments."

"I came to earth as a helpless baby to show you that you also are helpless without me."

"I delight when you realize your weaknesses and look to me to give you strength."

"I am glorified when you show your children why you celebrate my birth; by giving to them and others even when you receive nothing back and when you feel like you don't have anything left to give."

Choosing to hear his voice instead of my own is so freeing. It gives me joy and hope in the midst of my daily chaos. It helps me to let go of the idea of a "perfect" Christmas. The birth of Jesus was anything but perfect. The only thing that was perfect about it was Jesus!

So even though I truly love all the Christmas traditions and look forward to keeping some this season(and blogging about them), I am going to try to stop stressing out when everything doesn't go perfectly.

When the house doesn't look like a Christmas post card because my kids decided to bring ALL the dirt from our yard into our house!

When the hours in the day just won't fit all the baking and crafting I want to do because it takes me ALL... DAY... LONG to do the laundry and put it away.

When I can't get ANYTHING done without the baby hanging on my legs or on my hip because well,  he IS the baby.

When I am trying to make lasting memories with my children by listening to Christmas music and making a gingerbread house but a fight breaks out because one of the kids didn't get to put the candy decorations where they wanted and now crying and whining is clashing with the Christmas music and ruining the mood.

Does this sound like your house also? Well it's perfectly normal!

As I write this my busy, needy 1 year old is finally asleep in my arms. Quiet and content... for a little while at least, reminding me of how on Christmas I am sure Mary was just thankful and relieved to have finally given birth to her baby... the Savior of the world.  Wrapped tightly in his blankets to keep him asleep, Mary must have held him close and then heaved a sigh of relief as she lay him in the manger; cherishing the quiet and peace after a long eventful day!

Cherish this season, make memories, enjoy making or buying gifts, bake and eat lots of cookies, listen to Christmas music... but don't let your quest for the perfect Christmas steal your joy. If you are like me( perfectly imperfect) you will stress yourself and your family out trying to attain it; because it just isn't possible when you are made of flesh and bone.

Jesus, the only perfect one exchanged his heavenly glory for our earthly shame. He is acquainted with our weaknesses and knows our sorrows. He knows our struggles and joys. He knows all that we expect of ourselves and our families. He knows that those expectations will not all be met because he is the only one who can meet our needs and exceed our expectations!

He is the greatest gift we could ever receive or give!

So as we go about our day just trying to keep our family alive and house somewhat clean plus checking off our to do list before Christmas, let's remember why we are doing what we are doing. Letting go of any pressure we have unnecessarily put upon ourselves and enjoy having a imperfect Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our perfect Savior!

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8








DIY wood signs

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Throughout the year I am on the lookout for inexpensive free Christmas gifts to make and give. Lo and behold while out in my own back yard I stumbled upon (literally) a pile of scrap wood that my husband had leftover from different projects. A light bulb went off in my head! Why not make these into signs? It couldn't be that hard to slap them together and paint a phrase or scripture on?




We even used an old gate we had lying around.

I recruited my husband and had him reluctantly show me how to use a skill saw and nail gun. Once I got the hang of it we busted them out and I have to say I felt pretty cool wielding these manly tools. I think my husband was impressed surprised that I didn't do a bad job for my first time also. 





Here's what you will need to make your own:
1.Skill saw/table saw
2.nail gun
5.old weathered pieces of wood you have lying around/or you can buy some and distress or paint it
6. 2 by 4's for backing
7.Someone who knows how to use a skill saw and nail gun/or can show you how (If you can't find someone like this take your wood to home depot and they will cut it to your desired length)
8. craft paint
9.paint brush
10. computer/printer
11.pencil/ scissors

How to make signs:

1.Cut 3 to 4 pieces of wood to equal length
2.Use 2 by 4's as backing
3.Place wood together how you want them to look
4.Use nail gun to attach 2 by 4's to  back of sign
5. Screw in hangers to back


Once they were all done I set out looking for the best way to transfer words on to them. There was no way I was going to free hand it; nobody would know what they said with my scraggly handwriting.

I tried a few ways but without much success until I realized I could just make my own stencils. 

How to transfer wording:

I went straight to picmonkey a very easy, no brainer editing sight for computer illiterate people like me.


When you get to the sight choose the edit image and make a white canvas, then picked out what font and size you like and print it out.

After you print out your template then comes the time consuming part: cutting it out. Remember to keep the white parts in tack, this is your stencil.You can choose just one word or a whole verse or phrase, its up to you. But once you have it cut out you can use it as many times as you want. I printed mine out on printer paper but if you want a more durable stencil you could use card stock.


      

        
        
                                         I used kids scissors to cut these out

I had coupons for Micheal's and bought this paint  in black, white and red and  a paintbrush similar to this one. 

Lay out your stencils where you want them to be then tape them down.


On the wood signs that were of finished wood I traced the stencil with a pencil and then painted in the lines. I used some pallets that were very grainy and rough and painted over the stencil with those ones. The lines weren't as clean as the ones I penciled in first but they still looked good.


     

                                                            



I was pleasantly surprised with how good they came out and it was actually therapeutic painting them when Luke wasn't hanging on my legs and the kids were napping;0 

I really want one for myself now! I wish I could keep them all but then what would I give my family? I always end up being crafty when I need a gift for someone else but never take the time for myself but this time I am going to make one for myself!

Since we already had the wood, skill saw, and nail gun I only had to buy the paint and paintbrush and hangers. All together I spent about $10 with coupons( hopefully this won't get out to the people I'm giving the gifts to) and I made 6 signs! It might have taken longer then going to the store and buying something but I would much rather spend more time at home doing something I enjoy and forgo the stress of last minute shopping and spending money I don't have!

I love having scriptures or inspiring quotes on my walls to remind me of God's grace and truth through out my day. My home is where I spend  most of my time so why not fill it with beautiful meaningful art. I know my family will love having their home decorated with uplifting decor also. Plus the fact that I didn't have to spend a fortune on them doesn't hurt;)

If you are looking for a  cheap rustic/ shabby chic gift to make; look  no further, this is the DIY project for you!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you purchase an item after clicking on the link. Thanks for supporting this little blog:)

Linking up with: frugal friday, The Creative Colection, I Heart Naptime

My baby is 1!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Once you have a child you can't imagine your life without them. Last year this precious boy came into our lives and now our lives will forever be changed.


There is nothing better then holding a sleeping baby in your arms

He graced us with his presence on a cool November morn...on my birthday to be exact! I had been dreading going into labor but he was so considerate and gave me the easiest birth( though  the words easy and birth should never usually be combined) I've had or could imagine. He truly was the best birthday present I've ever received!:)


I love when they are so small and fragile

I love watching him grow and change and develop into the little person that God has ordained him to be. It's so much fun seeing his personality come out. All the while I wish I could hold time back and keep his chunky baby rolls and sweet breath, I can't so I am  going to enjoy every precious day I have with him and just love him.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

4 months
                                           
5 months
6 months
                       
7 months
8 months
9 months

10 months

11 months

12 months

      1 year!




I love taking pictures  and videos because I know one day I'll be able to look back and relive all these moments that go by in the blink of an eye. His first smile, tooth, wobbly steps and infectious laugh will be captured in time.

Though he is my fifth  baby I had forgotten how high maintenance 1 year old's are.  He is everywhere and into everything.

If the door to the bathroom is open he will be found splashing in the toilet. If I am opening the fridge or the oven... he is right there. If I have to take a shower he is there banging on the door.( Or going to the bathroom) If I am sweeping up the floor he is playing in the dirt pile. If I am eating, he is on my lap. I am learning that sometimes I just have to let him cry and sometimes I just need to pick him up and snuggle him because he won't be my baby for long.


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