Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Year In Review

What a year! I started 2011 in a very odd place. 2010 ended with relationships I had realized had ended too and would probably never be same if ever recovered so I entered 2011 whole-heartily seeking the Lord to fill that lonely space. I was extremely hungry for His Word & a new direction in my spiritual journey. The last few days of 2010 I asked the Lord to give me a Word for the new year & this is what He gave me:

"Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands." Isaiah 43:19b-20a

At the time I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but for what I was going through with various relationships, I knew I had to let go of them, cling to the Lord & move forward so He could begin a new work in me...& so I did.

A couple years earlier the Lord gave me a dream that disturbed me & I didn't know what it meant at the time, but by mid-January it was revealed. I began the journey of learning about spiritual warfare & how those you trust spiritually & seem to know God's Word cannot always be trusted. Pride, manipulation, greed, & control aren't always easy to detect especially when you love & trust those who are leaders & your friends. In 2011 the most valuable thing I learned was that I have got to KNOW what God's Word says, what it doesn't, to not just trust other Christian leaders, but to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS seek the Bible, seek the Holy Spirit & to trust His Word will NEVER contradict what the Holy Spirit is saying & vice versa. If the two don't line up, it's NOT the Holy Spirit, but a counterfeit.

I began a study of Redemptive Gifts (not spiritual gifts) & it was amazing to understand how God designed me, why I react to things a certain way, why I'm passionate about certain things over others, etc. Romans 12:5-9 lists them, & I HIGHLY recommend the study by Charles R. Wade called Designed For Fulfillment. The leader of my group really made us dig down deep into understand the power of the tongue & how we bless & curse others without recognizing it & how others have cursed us by things they've said to us. This is why Scripture tells to speak in love for the building up of others, because the power of the tongue can be deadly. This study helped me feel bolder about who I am in Christ.

I also began training to be a leader in a chronological Bible study for women my church is doing in 2012. It is going to be AMAZING!!! It was put together by Donna Gaines & Iva May. I also HIGHLY recommend it! If you live near me, my church is offering it at two different times, Sundays 4-5:30 or Wednesdays 6-7:30, childcare available & even if you aren't a member of my church, still sign up!!! These wonderful Godly women have put this study together so the story of the Bible is easier to understand, they've made it fit together like a puzzle so you see how everything relates & it all comes back to Christ. I cannot wait!

On the family front we've had our ups & downs in 2011. In March we had to move out of house for 6 weeks for extreme foundation repair. This was NOT fun for me! Thankfully we had some friends from church who let us stay in a "mother-in-law" suite on the end of their house. Being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom of 3 young boys trapped in a small room day in & day out about drove me nutty! Shortly after we moved back in our house my husband & his business partner started a new business which meant his pay was significantly decreased until the company gets settled. The stress of money could have shaken us, but I am blessed to have a husband who trusts the Lord & prays. We know he is on the right path for his job & we know it will all come together in God's timing. We need for nothing that God hasn't provided.
I was actually able to accomplish some of my physical goals this year! I had hoped to lose 50 lbs, but ended up only losing 20. I'm not complaining because I know you only get what you put in, so I'm going to be thankful & proud of that 20 & keep pushing til I reach my goal! I also trained & ran my 1st 5K in March! I was very proud of myself & have started to train again & hope to reach a 1/2 marathon in 2012!


Some fun stuff that happen this was getting to meet 3 of my favorite Christian recording artists! The beginning of the year, I ran into Kari Jobe at a cafe when she was in town for a concert! Talk about a HIGHLIGHT!!! I adore her! I was able to see her 2x this year in concert! I also got meet Brandon Heath & Natalie Grant at a concert this spring. Favor abounded!

In August I was able to take a girls' trip to Chicago with 4 friends. It was wonderful! Chicago is a beautiful city! It was nice to get away & site see in a new city & take in the shopping, food, & all the tourism could offer! I'm pretty sure we hit all the major sites! It was a good break from reality.

This fall brought on a new election in my state & on the ballot was Amendment 26 which would've declared a person from the moment of fertilization & it would have led to shutting down cloning in our state, an end to abortion, & better treatment of frozen embryos from IVF treatments. Of course Planned Parenthood & other pro-choice groups leaped on our state filling even the smartest & wisest people with lies about what 26 could possibly, maybe, might, do & out of fear & no reverence of God's Word, the majority of Mississippians voted no. This amendment did a whopper on me! God told me long long ago He was going to use my past to bring Him glory, to share with others of His healing grace, & the truth of His Word. My time had come! After writing on this very blog I was contacted by a pro-life group to share my story on our local news, & from there the Lord kept calling me places to speak. You can read more about all of it here.

Even though it didn't pass God awakened many Christians in our state to rise up. You CANNOT be pro-life BUT...! You are either pro-life or you're not. Now more than ever I see why we have got to know God's Word, to trust Him, & to fight for Christian values & morals!!! It breaks my heart that Mississippi, known to be the heart of the Bible Belt, couldn't vote for something that is simply lined up with God's Word. In my opinion MS has lost the right to call itself the Bible Belt. Many in the pro-life movement are still working toward personhood & an end to abortion & I am PROUD to now officially be apart of this! I'm in awe of what the Lord has done in me through this! Humbled doesn't even begin to describe it!

This year again has led me to an end of some friendships & the beginning of others. Some of those others are merely through Twitter & homeschool blogs with other homeschool moms. It's nice to have that support from other moms walking that path! Another lesson I've learned is that we all get too easily offended over things that don't need to be offended about. I'd go into detail, but that's another blog I'm working on! :)

2011 is definitely ending better than 2010 did & how the year began! I'm incredibly excited to see what Christ has in store for me this year! I know I'm utterly blessed & thankful for everything, the good & the bad. I pray this year I continue to hunger for His Word, dive into the Bible & learn it deeper, apply it daily, & continuously seek after God! Jeremiah 29:11 doesn't mean a lot if we don't 1st follow Jeremiah 29:13!

I pray blessings over you all in the year of 2012! May we all seek after God & love others as He has loved us! 



Sunday, December 25, 2011

NEAT-O

I LOVE the beginning of a new year! With one week left in 2011 I am preparing & researching tips to help me stay more organized this year. As a stay at home mom & homeschooling my house tends to get crazy cluttered VERY easily! My boys, 6, 3, & 1 are home during the day playing, schooling, crafting, just being boys! This makes it hard to stay on top of cleaning because they are always around to mess things up, not that I'm complaining :) Add on top of that the homeschooling papers & books & such & organization flies out of the window!

I am not even close to be a Type-A neat freak so I need all the help I can get! Here are some links I plan to utilize to help me in this endeavor. If you've found some other sites or have your own tips PLEASE share!!

Blessings to you all!

Ash

Here is a  52 week challenge I'm going to try out for organization. Each week I will post each challenge.

10 things to do each day to stay organized.

2012 Declutter Monthly Calendars (LOVE this!)

10-15 mins of cleaning each day (this WHOLE site is awesome)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Why We Don't "Do Santa"

First I want to say I do not consider myself more holy or righteous because we don't do Santa, nor do I think any parents that do Santa & elves less holy or unrighteous. I firmly believe everyone has their own convictions & when God leads you down a certain path then you must take it & this is why we don't do Santa. Secondly, I am not writing this to convince anyone to see things my way, but rather to share what Christ has led us to & if you have any questions, please ask me, & most importantly seek God & search the Scriptures for yourself. No one has to answer to me, we all however have to give an account to Him. So obey Him as He leads you.

In college I babysat for a family who didn't do Santa. I never heard of such a thing before! They explained to me that their decision rested in God. The husband came from a family full of liars & exaggerators & even himself would tell little lies for no reason. Lying was a generational sin in his family that was very strong & Scripture tells us that Satan is the father of all lies (no matter how big or small). Because lying was such a strong issue they knew they couldn't afford to lie to their children about anything, especially things that could cause confusion later on or that Satan could use their personal generational sin as leverage against them. Plus, because of their faith in Jesus, they wanted to focus on Him in all that they did year round. They also didn't do the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy, but explained to their kids that other children did believe in this stuff & that if a child asked them if they believed, they should be honest & say no, but they didn't need to try & convince them, or make them feel bad because they believed.

I was a new believer & I had never heard of this concept before, but I thought it was pretty amazing, being honest about everything...who would've thought?! You see I grew up in lies. I knew my parents & siblings lied about lots of things. My friends from school would lie about things, & I would lie when I felt I needed or just wanted to. I knew lying was wrong, but apparently it wasn't that big of deal. I never really believed in Santa. I remember being 4 years old & arguing with my mom that Santa did not bring me my Strawberry Shortcake bike because the Sears logo was on it. (I was quite smart-ha)! In my head if Santa brought it it would've come from the North Pole not Sears, I had seen all the Christmas movies where elves made the toys. Then in 1st grade I found all my presents in a closet & when I asked my mom she said Santa brought them early because we weren't going to be home on Christmas. I didn't buy that either. I wanted to believe in Santa, but I just knew he wasn't real. It also made me mad that everyone kept lying to me & refused to just tell me the truth. So sometimes I would go along with it, even though I knew the truth.

I didn't feel any less "magic" at Christmas because let's face it, presents are good no matter where they come from! I think this time of year is full of  "magic" for many people in spite of what you believe or don't believe because the "holiday" season has been engraved in our heads as a special time to give & get, to celebrate life & love, family & friends etc etc. No real need for Jesus at all right?

When I became a momma my thoughts & views on many things changed & have continued to change. The more I grow in my walk with Christ the more my thoughts & views change, because now Christ is opening my eyes & my heart to His ways. I battled Brady's 1st 3 Christmases over the Santa issue. He was too young to understand anyway, so I didn't really talk about it much. I debated about having Santa bring him 3 gifts because the Wisemen brought Jesus 3 gifts, but it still bugged me that I was lying to my child. Most people don't seem to think that lying about Santa is a big deal, that letting them believe in a myth is ok because "they're only kids once." Well, it bothers me. I know the majority of people who grew up believing in Santa aren't scarred because they realized it wasn't true, but my spirit was strongly opposed to it anyway.

When I 1st became a teacher there was a young child in another class that didn't believe in Santa & her teacher complained about how annoying it was that she didn't believe & all the other kids did. This teacher thought this young girl sucked the fun out of all her Santa activities because she knew the truth. I never understood it because I had never met this young girl. Two summers ago I got the privilege to hear this now teenage girl speak about her faith in Christ & how her Godly parents had raised her to know Jesus from early on & the truths of Scripture. Listening to her talk about her parents & how they raised her helped her to love others & speak the truth of Christ to everyone, especially the lost. My spirit was relieved, because I imagined her as child not annoyed by Santa, but probably heartbroken that her peers were more excited by a myth than the Reason for Christmas.

Two days later I was in Target with my boys & a worker came up to me & asked if I wanted her to tell them an older man down the aisle was Santa & he was spying on them. I looked at the man, big belly, snowy white beard, & laughed. I told her no, we didn't do Santa. She didn't scoff at me, she just politely said ok & complimented on how well behaved my boys were being. It was such a weird moment, but I knew God had orchestrated it for me. The very next day driving around, Brady, who was 5 asked me if Santa was real or make-believe. He didn't hear the woman ask about Santa, it was July so nothing about Santa was even around, so I'm not even sure what made him ask. I knew that this too was a moment God had put into motion for me & I answered truthfully, "He's make believe honey, but there was a real man named St. Nicholas..." & I proceeded to tell him what I knew about the real one.

When Christmas came around I prayed once again that God would give me the right words to share with my boys. I bought the Veggie Tale movie about St. Nicholas & we read a story about him & how Santa Claus came to be. Then we read about the birth of Jesus & I shared with him the true meaning of Christmas. We still get our picture taken with Santa each year, we enjoy looking at lights, & watching the many Christmas shows that come on, but Brady understands that Santa is a character like Buzz Lightyear & Lighting McQueen. That Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We do lots of fun activities & crafts, we even do a Jesse Tree that teaches the genealogy of Christ.

I don't feel any pressure to make up stories or lies to make Christmas magical because it is magical in a supernatural way! I do enjoy seeing the crazy fun things people come up with for their Elves on Shelves & I don't think any less of any parent who does the worldly view of Christmas & the Christian view of Christmas. That is between them & Christ alone. I however have to do what Christ has led us to do.

Here are some Scriptures that remind me of why I won't lie to my kids about Santa & why I have to keep the focus solely on Jesus:
  • 2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
  • 1 Timothy 1:4 Don't pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
  • Mark 7:13 setting aside the word of God for your tradition that you delivered; and many such like things you do.’
  • 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; :4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
  • Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.As a Christian momma the best thing I can do for my children is to walk a Godly path the best I can, to continue to grow in Christ, to teach them truth & Scripture & how to apply it in their lives & not to give in on the convictions God has laid on me because someone else does it differently. So my only challenge for each of you reading is to seek Him. Ask the Lord if there are traditions & things you need to change for His sake. And then do as He calls you to. Not just about Santa, but in all things. It's not always easy, & I fail more than I like, but with Jesus by my side I know ALL things are possible!




Many Christmas blessings to you all!


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blessings Unlimited Virtual Gathering

Welcome to your Blessings Unlimited “Virtual” Gathering!  
Here you will Shop, Connect, Win Prizes and be Blessed - all on-line!

     Let me take just a moment to give you just a little history about this amazing company called Blessings Unlimited.  We were founded in 2006 by DaySpring Cards, the world’s leading producer of Christian Greeting Cards & Gifts.  DaySpring became a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards in 1999.  Since 1971 DaySpring has partnered with Christian stores in local communities to offer meaningful products.  Blessings Unlimited continues this tradition and extends it to the home.  Based in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, the name Blessings Unlimited is based on this Scripture from John:  From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16NIV

     When a company’s Mission Statement is: “To pursue the heart of God and bring blessings to others.”  How can you NOT want to team up with them?




So, what is a Gathering?
     I’m so glad you asked!  Traditionally, a Blessings Unlimited Independent Consultant brings an assortment of our fabulous products to your home for a totally unique get together for you and your friends, family and neighbors.  It is a wonderful blend of fellowship and shopping of products that will surround you in your home and remind you of His Word!

     As a Hostess of a Gathering, you are automatically entered into our Hostess Rewards Program!  You can earn your favorite products for half price or free (based on the sales of your Gathering).  Even earn a FREE Bonus Gift - when your Gathering reaches a goal!

Guest
Sales*
FREE
Products*
Half Price
Products
$100-$249
1
$250-$39910% of sales1
$400-$79915% of sales2
$800+15% of sales3


Hostess Rewards Bonus {Free Gift}

 Your Choice of One! 



Why a “Virtual” Gathering (My Specialty)?
Well, if you are like me, you are so busy these days you rarely have any free time for yourself.  In fact, do you even remember what that is?  By Hosting a Virtual Gathering, either on your blog, Facebook or through e-mail, you can still gather all your Besties together to shop products that will uplift your homes and all who enter it!  Plus, win some awesome prizes!




Let the Shopping BEGIN!

          


     Pour yourself a warm cup of coffee or tea.  Mmmmm maybe even treat yourself to a cinnamon roll as well!  Sit back, relax and have fun shopping our Blessings Unlimited website.  Browse through our beautiful on line catalog and place your orders on the “Shop” tab - it’s that simple!  Oh, but first, don’t forget to check out the November Hostess & Guest Promotions (click here) for all of this months fabulous offers!
     

     Now of course, you can’t have a Blessings Unlimited Gathering with out someone winning a prize (or two or three)!  So, are you ready to find out what YOU could win?  Here you go!

~ All you need to do to be entered to win one of thee awesome prizes is post a comment right here on this blog telling us what item(s) are your ABSOLUTE MUST HAVES - from our catalog!  Be sure to leave your e-mail address for us as well! ~
Blog Prize ($25 Retail Value): 
A Blessings Unlimited Eco Tote, 2- “Ten Blessings for Your Home” 5x7 Pictures, Pen and Sticky Note Pad, 8 Assorted Birthday Cards, and 10 Thank You Cards!
~ One guest from this Virtual Gathering will WIN this PRIZE! ~


By Grace Alone ($26 Retail Value): 
Bonus prize #1 goes up for grabs when this Virtual Gathering reaches $300 Retail Guest Purchases - YOU could win this Wall D├ęcor!


Joy Necklace ($48 Retail Value):
Bonus prize #2 goes up for grabs when this Virtual Gathering reaches $500 Retail Guest Purchases -  YOU could win this beautiful necklace!



That is up to 3 prizes ($99 Total Retail Value) that could be given away! 
So Invite your friends, tweet away and post about this Gathering on Facebook!  The more who join in and shop the more prizes I giveaway!



This Virtual Gathering will be open November 28 thru December 2 at 8:00pm!
All winners will be chosen at random by www.random.org



     To find out more about becoming a Consultant or Hosting your own Virtual Gathering contact me at:  BlessingsUnlimitedWithMeg@gmail.com

     Thank you so much for joining our Virtual Gathering!  I hope you have fun shopping and making your wish lists!  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.







Be inspired.  Be connected.  Be blessed.



Blessings Unlimited - Independent Consultant

You can find me at:  Facebook ~ Twitter ~ BlessingsUnlimitedWithMeg@gmail.com ~ www.myblessingsunlimited.net/Meg




Be Inspired. Be Connected. Be Blessed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How this all came to be

The last few days have been a whirlwind to me! I feel like I should lay flat on the ground & worship Jesus & never get up! I need a new word for humbled because I don't think humbled even touches what I am! Last Thursday I finally gave in to Jesus & wrote in my blog about my rape & abortion. The feed back was immediately great. That night I saw a commercial against Amendment 26 with a woman saying she had been raped & that abortion is ok for rape victims.

Immediately my heart sank. I felt like Satan was mocking me, laughing in my face. I immediately called the Yes for 26 campaign & told them my story over the voicemail. Early Friday morning they called me back & said they wished they somehow could do a commercial with me, but time was just so short, but if something came up they would call me.

I went on with my morning, got the kids some McDonald's & went to get my hair done. As soon as I walked in Yes on 26 called & said they wanted me to do an interview with a local news station to share my story! Now you know God has EXCELLENT timing because my roots were HORRID! He waited just in time for me to get all prettied up :)

My family still didn't know about what I had been through. So before the news aired on TV my husband called his family & I got in touch with mine to let them know. The cat was finally out of the bag! They were all supportive of me, but my dad seems to be taking it hard that I didn't tell him back then. So please pray for him. I don't want him or anyone else to hurt.

That afternoon I went to the MS Baptist Convention to film my interview. It went great! The MBC were so excited I was sharing my story they wanted the footage to show at their convention. Unfortunately when the interview aired it wasn't at all what we were expecting.

 Social Media Used In Battle Over Personhood


I was really bummed that after all I said, that is what aired. But I kept trusting God & knew His will would proceed. Over the weekend many people were calling, texting, facebooking me to let me know they saw the clip & were praying for me & thanking me for being so brave. My former BSU (Baptist Student Union) director asked me to speak to his students at a local community college next week. I was just amazed at the response I was hearing & could only thank Jesus for using me & keeping His promise, not that I ever doubted He would.
Unfortunately the news channel wouldn't give out the raw footage to the MBC for them to show at their convention so my wonderful church agreed to refilm me. The Lord made a way. My in-law's church will be airing that footage this Sunday too! God is doing a MIGHTY work! I am  merely His vessel! Monday morning I got an email from the Yes on 26 Campaign asking me to come to their press conference & possibly speak. The whole day I just prayed & prayed that Jesus would speak through me! And boy howdy did He!!

After the speakers of the press conference were finished the reporters & crowd were able to to ask questions. A retired OBGYN was giving her medical side on a question then a group of people from Parents Against MS 26 yelled out, "What about in the case of incest & rape? Shouldn't women who are raped be able to have an abortion?" And this video is what followed.


I knew I was talking, but Jesus was speaking through me! It is now all over Facebook & YouTube. Can't go back now. :) But God told me years ago, many times He reminded me that He was going to use my story to bring Him glory. After all, it's really His story because when I gave my life to Jesus, I gave Him my past, present, & future.

I just hope & pray & ask that you pray that the LIES & MISINFORMATION about 26 & the HYPOTHETICAL situations don't scare people from the truth about what 26 says & what it WILL do, not what it MIGHT do.

Blessings to you all!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Truth about LIFE

In Mississippi there is a lot of buzz about a new amendment being proposed to voters. Amendment 26 if passed will end abortion & cloning our state. Mississippi would then be the 1st & only state to stand up against abortion, though it wouldn't completely be able to overturn Roe vs Wade. Right now there is only one abortion clinic & it has been under fire for years due to the abortion doctor's bad choices. I know a lawyer who has a case a against him & the clinic & I pray it gets shut down soon.

Along with Amendment 26 comes a lot of misguided lies about what this amendment will or will not do. Those against it say it will ban birth control, stop invitrofertilization, choose for a mother to die over a baby, & could even have mothers arrested for murder if they miscarry. How absurd!!! This amendment will end abortion in the clinic, stop other clinics from opening, end cloning research on human embryos, & discontinue abortifacients type drugs, which are not THE PILL :)

If the amendment gets passed then it will have to go to our state's legislation who then lay the groundwork for the new law. Amendment 26 is meant for good not harm which cannot be stated for abortion.

As Christians we have got to start sticking up for what the Bible teaches & not what we fear because Scripture teaches us to not fear & to stick up for those who can't speak for themselves & I'm certain an unborn child falls into that category.

If you are a Mississippian I ask that you spend a great amount of time in prayer before you vote. Do not let the lies & scare tactics sway you from God's truth. If you are not a Mississippian I pray that you will pray for our state on this issue & your own state.

Many people agree that a woman who gets pregnant from rape or incest should be allowed to have an abortion. I disagree. A month before my 18th birthday I was drugged & raped by a high school guy I would have considered to be a good friend. I ended up getting pregnant from that rape. This is the first time I have ever blogged about this, but I need to share. A week before my rape a friend & I were being silly & video recording ourselves doing skits & such. On that tape I said that I believed abortion was wrong (and I meant it!) & that even IF I ever got raped I wouldn't have an abortion. (Famous last words!)

I won't go into all the details, but my home life was horrible. I was already depressed (though I didn't know that) & I was scared out of my mind to tell anyone the truth. I told the guy that if he paid for the abortion I would have one. I basically wanted to run away from my problems, but I have learned the hard way, you CANNOT run from your troubles no matter what! You have to face them!

I went into the clinic & told the "counselor" I was raped but really didn't want to have an abortion, but I didn't know what else to do. Her response, "Ok, sign this paper saying you understand what will happen during the procedure." That was it. My counseling. No warnings about about the emotions & such I would face afterward, the pain, my breast swelling & filling with milk, etc. Ok honestly, it was all in this packet I got, but no one verbally told me anything. Here I was a scared 18 year old girl who just went through a traumatic event & was having to make the hardest decision of my life, completely alone. I NEEDED someone to talk to.

I thought that having the abortion meant it would just all go away, I moved from TX to MS to get away from it all, but it never left me. Horrible nightmares plagued me for years about my rape & my abortion. Suicide attempts were made, constant drinking to numb my pain; I was a wreck. Years later when I finally got some real counseling I was diagnosed with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). At 19 I got saved & things were looking up. I knew Jesus forgave me & was able to forgive my rapist, my mom, friends I told, but didn't stop me (I blamed a lot of people). But I could not in ANY way forgive myself!!!

What I did to my child was FAR worse than what my rapist did to me! No child should be punished because of the sins of the parents. My child was innocent.

When I transferred to my university I found myself alone again. All my Christian friends went to different schools, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) was working 4 hours away, & Satan saw a perfect opportunity to ravage me. And because I was so eat up with guilt & fear & shame & worthlessness, I let him. Nightmares came back worse than ever & the drinking got worse than ever. I remember begging God to tell me my baby's name because the Bible says He calls us by name & I wanted to know my child's name! He told my his name was Joshua. That gave me some peace, but now when the nightmares came I could see my little boy's face so clearly it made it harder to sleep.

 I finally threw myself on the altar at church one Sunday morning & begged God to break me of this cycle. He told me that He loved me & I could feel His arms wrapped tightly around me. I never took another drink & the nightmares stopped. About a year later I was married & pregnant with baby number 2, my sweet Brady. Unfortunately I still couldn't forgive myself & continued to listen to the lies of Satan.

"You can't tell anyone! These Christians wont understand! They already know you're not good enough! It's too shameful! Your friends will leave you! You'll have to leave your church! You'll bring shame to your husband! What mother could forgive herself?!" etc etc etc. I believed every single LIE!

When I was pregnant with my 2nd born (Rylan) I was at church one Sunday & God reminded me that 10 years ago that day I was pregnant with my first son Joshua. He wanted me to see how far He had brought me. :) He told me that Joshua was another name for Yeshua, which means JESUS! Joshua means "The Lord is my salvation." It was because of my rape & abortion that took me to the lowest pits of hell. But I had a love for that sweet baby that made me run toward Jesus. My son Joshua helped lead me to Christ. We gave Rylan the middle name Joshua in honor of his brother. :)

A couple years ago I did a post-abortive Bible study at a local CPC (Center for Pregnancy Choices) & it was terribly hard! I had to relive every moment of my rape & abortion, but it was necessary for my recovery. During the 6th week God gave me Isaiah 43:1b-3a

"“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through rough waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through raging rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!"

The moment I read that verse I was HEALED!!!! No more shame, guilt, fear, worry, or worthless feelings! I felt like a new woman! I WAS a new woman!!! Jesus set me free & Satan couldn't lie to me about it anymore! Praise GOD! Jesus also gave me "beauty for ashes" with blessing me with my 3 sweet boys, Brady, Rylan, & Keller!!

At the end of the Bible study we had memorials for our babies that had been aborted. You see they were REAL HUMANS!!! Not tissue!! Not a mass! REAL BABIES THAT WERE ALIVE!!! We honored them & called them by name. This December Joshua would have been 13 years old. I am ever so grateful for my Redeemer! I know without any doubt that someday when my life on earth is over I will be reunited with him in Heaven! We serve a LOVING GOD! A loving God who can cleanse every spot, wash away every sin no matter "how bad" that sin is! A loving God who I believe with every part of my being would want us (ALL CHRISTIANS) to vote YES on 26! Because LIFE matters. He is the Creator of LIFE!

Think about it! I got pregnant by rape-unplanned, God created Joshua, not me, not my rapist. My other 3 boys were planned, but I did not create them, GOD DID! Men & women who struggle with infertility cannot create life! ONLY GOD CAN! Even those who go through IVF, the parents & the dr.s cannot make those embryos implant into the mother's womb so perfectly that life is sustained, ONLY GOD CAN! Miscarriages happen all the time for so many reasons, most unknown, but GOD created that life & ONLY HE DESERVES the RIGHT to end it! NO ONE ELSE!!

This whole pro-life pro-choice thing is far bigger than I think we realize! Please do not let fear & lies stop you from voting YES! Don't let anything stop you from praying that abortion will end & that those who have already made that choice will find healing & salvation. Don't let Satan fill your mind & heart with lies. Seek God's Word. Stand up for TRUTH! Protect those who cannt protect themselves! (Proverbs 31:8)

I pray blessings to you all! I pray I was able to speak truth in love & that my passion didn't overshadow the love I really have for EVERY human life. :) Have a blessed week & never doubt how much JESUS LOVES YOU!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fun @ the state fair!!!

Here are some pictures from our fabulous time at the state fair a couple weeks ago. As you will see we had an AMAZINGLY fun time! My wonderful husband took off work 1/2 a day & precious niece came home from college to go with us. I love doing fun things together as a family & making memories! Hope you enjoy!


 The bumble bee ride is always the 1st ride we hit every year for the last 3 years :)
 We felt like Superman flying around! Below is my husband & nephew Dylan.

 Here's my darling niece Britany with the boys.



 There's a SUPER HUGE slide that's always a big hit with my boys! I think they did it at least 5x!

 The log ride was our favorite! They actually let Rylan ride the 1st time down.

 Good daddy riding many of the rides with the boys!
 Keller didn't get to ride anything, well except the Ferris Wheel (later on), but he had fun people watching & hanging out.
 Brady was SO scared he started crying but I got him to laughing & he wanted to ride it again!
 As you see below we hit up the log ride again, this time with daddy. Love our faces!

 Bumper cars are always a hit! ;P


 Brady rode this dropping ride in TX this summer & cried the whole time! But this time he laughed the whole time! He's getting VERY brave!






 I married a sweet daddy!
 All of my boys on the ferris wheel


 And per tradition, we always end the night with the petting zoo!


We had such a great time! What things do you like to do with your family?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Laundry Low Down!

 I don't know about y'all, but I DETESTED laundry! With 5 people in my family it's never ending! I mean it's me, my Mr., & three boys ages 6, 3, & 11 months, so it had become quite consuming!

I was doing on average about 2 loads almost every day & it became so tedious that I would just skip that day & the next day I had double my work so I put it off until I had a HUGE pile on my couch. I remember feeling so discouraged that I let myself get so behind.

During the boys' nap/quiet time I decided to tackle it. I turned on the TV to catch up on my DVR & went to work. I was amazed at how quick it went by. I mean I actually sorted, folded, hung up, & put away about 8 loads in what seemed like no time at all! That's when my new plan came into place!

Instead of doing laundry everyday, I have 1 BIG day, with 2 smaller days. I start on Sunday afternoon washing & emptying them on one of our couches once they've dried. We go to church on Sunday nights so I don't even bother folding them because we can usually get pretty busy. I continue the washing, drying dumping cycle on Monday morning in between waking up, getting breakfast fixed, & doing school.

I pull out any clothes that need to be hung up & lay them over the top of our other couch sorted by each person. Around 1pm it's nap/quiet time & all the boys are shoved away for about 2 hours. This is when the Laundry Low Down begins!!

I put on some music or a TV show on the DVR & attack the massive pile all at once! I forgot to take a picture of the massive pile, but below is my sorting process.

This is couch #2 where you can see our hanging clothes laid out on the top sorted by person. On the cushions are mine & my husband's folded clothes sorted by which drawers or shelf they'll go in.


Here's our coffee table where I sort the boys' folding clothes.

When the massive pile has been depleted I sit down & hang the clothes on the back of the couch & when the boys are up enjoying their snacks & playing I immediately put away all of the clothes. Then I am free from clothes laundry unless something comes up unexpected. Wednesday I do all of our dirty towels & rags which is usually about 1 or 2 loads & Friday I wash our bedding.

The only MAJOR laundry day is Monday is it's no longer overwhelming. It's actually kind of peaceful because I'm getting alone time to watch something non-kid related :) & I'm getting a lot of work done quickly & efficiently! Although I do admit, I still long for a nice laundry room with shelves, a sink, ironing board etc. But until then I have found a system that works for me!

So what's your laundry low down like?