Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Esther Moment

"...And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14b

One year ago I had an enormously defining moment in my life. October 31, 2011 started out like any other day...I got up I fed my kids, we did our homeschool, I prepared things for a get-together we had that night, all was pretty normal. Around noon I received a phone call from the Yes on 26 Personhood Campaign asking if I could come to a press conference at the state Capitol. I would not be speaking, but they wanted me there for possible interviews afterward.

Only when I hung up the phone God told me I would be speaking...& the butterflies began to swirl!

You see, it had only been about four days since I had completely opened up to all my family about my rape & past abortion. For years I kept that a tight closed secret from them and many others, but in the summer of 2009 through a post-abortive Bible study called Surrendering the Secret, the Lord COMPLETELY healed me of the shame, guilt, fear, & worthlessness I carried because of my abortion. He had told me way back in my darkest of times when all I wanted to do was give up & even attempted suicide, that He was going to use me & my story all over. It would be His & He would use it to help others. I never understood what God was telling me until last year.

Last fall the buzz was thick all around Mississippi about the upcoming Personhood Amendment on the ballot. I knew I needed to come out with my story, but because my family & my husband's family didn't know about my rape & abortion I was scared. My church already knew because I had been able to share my testimony a couple times, but having it out in the open was still nerve racking. I felt no shame, but I knew our families might, they could be angry, & completely shut me out. My mom was the only family who knew at the time, I had opened up to her about 2 years after I did it, but she begged me never to tell anyone, that it would just hurt others to know. So I carried it with me for 13 years only sharing with specific people.

However, on Thursday, October 27, 2011 the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me to let it all go & write it on my blog. As soon as I was done I sat down feeling free, amazed at how just typing it for whomever to read lifted a burden off of me & I couldn't stop smiling. Then as I was relishing it all I saw a commercial by those opposed to personhood with a woman talking about how we should vote NO because she was raped & alluded that she conceived & abortion was the best thing for her. I could hear Satan laughing at me, mocking me. So I looked up the number & called the YES on 26 Campaign & told them I would speak out & share my story too. Turns out that lady NEVER conceived by rape & NEVER had an abortion! ALL lies to deceive people into voting NO.

The next day I was interviewed by local news & my husband & I shared the truth with our families. I think hearing my dad's heartbreak was the absolute hardest. But he needed to know the truth like everyone else. I was raped, I conceived, & I had an abortion & DEEPLY regretted it! Rape is NO excuse for abortion! People everywhere use the exceptions clause to justify abortion & it made me want to puke every time I heard it because none of them seemed to understand that the abortion left me more scarred than the rape.

So on Monday, October 31, I got to the Capitol, the press conference went great with all of the speakers, then the media & crowd was able to ask questions. They were hounding hard & a precious retired OBGYN that used to perform abortions before coming to Christ got up to answer some medical questions. Then an angry mob of people screamed out, "What about cases of rape? Shouldn't a woman be able to have an abortion if she has been raped?"

Dr. McMillan was trying her best to answer this question, but not having gone through it she was struggling. I was standing to the side jerking wanting so bad to go up there, but completely terrified at the same time, when very clearly like a peaceful thunder I heard God say, "MOVE!"

And this is what happened.

I'm still in awe of what the Lord did that day! What all He's done & allowed me to do this last year. Personhood is far from over, just as God Almighty is far from over in working in me! Praise His Holy Name!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My thoughts on Akin

Many people know I have been raped & conceived  a child because of it & had that child aborted. Representative Todd Akin recently tried to speak out about his thoughts on abortion & when talking about abortion & rape he used the term "legitimate rape." Everyone is in an uproar over it. Yes his comment was dumb, he has been mislead, all rape is legitimate, that's what separates it from consenting sex. He tried to use a study that says women in rape can keep themselves from getting pregnant, but let's face it, no woman wants to get pregnant from rape.

So what are my thoughts?

He was wrong. He apologized. Let's all learn a big lesson & move on. Forgiveness.

With it being an election year there is so much more we should focus on, like having the most pro-abortion president voted out of office. Let's keep focus on November!

Here are some links to some of my testimonies & why rape should never be an excuse for abortion!!

Much love & many blessings,


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Beth Moore

I just returned from my first LIVE Beth Moore conference & it was amazing! The Lord definitely spoke through her to me & many others. She is a gifted teacher! I just finished researching her using the ever popular Google LoL! Now, I will share that there are some who criticize her for various reasons, some seem credible, but the sources seem to be out looking for something to criticize or be negative about. So be warned when reading such things. And always use the Bible & the Holy Spirit to help you discern & remember no one is perfect.

I will say this weekend was nothing less than fabulous! Her theme was being CREDIBLE & she was! Her focus came from 2 Corinthians 6 & 7. I'm not going to go through everything she talked about, but rather fill you in on what stood out to me.

1) Her life & family. Beth shared that she was molested as a young child & it continued for many years, but the Lord has healed her & has helped her to forgive. She also talked about how her husband isn't a big fan church, but he is a believer. I found this very interesting & refreshing. Here is this lady who has a great gift from the Lord, studies Scripture, hungers for more of God, all the while having a husband who is apparently not the Spiritual leader of their home. Yet you can see she is still submissive to him, honors him, & loves him very much. Too many times I've seen women, even myself, be overly critical of their husbands not being more Spiritual. What I learned from what Beth shared is that no matter the difference in our Spiritual maturity with our husbands, we must still obey the Lord & follow through with what His Word calls us to be as wives. Nagging our husbands will never draw them to God & will only hinder our relationship with them.

2) Fellowship is greater than friendship & kinship. If you've read some of my blogs over the last few years you know I have struggled with friendships. I think the word friend has been turned into something its not, but that's a whole other blog :). In fellowship we are in a deep relationship with others. We hurt together, we laugh together, we love together, we LIVE together. It's an ongoing process to be intertwined in the lives of others & to truly love them. Friends come & go, but when you are in fellowship with others, its life your living together, the ups & downs, the good & bad, the easy & the hard! Fellowship is vital! We must die together (to this world) & live together (in Christ).

3) We have to die to ourselves & love others & many times it hurts. It feels like we are truly being killed. But God called us to love, even the unlovable. One of her points was "Interlocking lives is either double strength, or double trouble." We do have to set boundaries with people at times & even have to flee from some relationships. That doesn't mean though we stop loving them or praying for them. Also, within this point she made the comment that being a carnal Christian really cuts our credibility as a believer. People should be able to tell we are credible by how we live our lives.

4) Another point was "Bondage at its deadly best is trading repentance for regret."  Regretting the things we've done only keeps us in bondage to the past & our sins. Repenting & turning away from them sets us FREE!

5)Having credibility is earned! We can't have it through someone else, can't inherit it or marry it! The Gospel can't be spread if we don't have cred! We can say what we believe, but its believability comes through how we our everyday lives. It comes the hard way through hard work, in good times & in bad. We must have endurance!

6) The Climax: Everything is NOTHING without Jesus! 2 Corinthians 6:8-10 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Oh Eve...she gets a bad rap! So many times I have heard women say, "When I get to Heaven I'm going to have to tell Eve off!" Or something to that liking. I have to be honest, I feel sorry for Eve. She was the FIRST woman, EVER! That's a lot of pressure! Eve's story unfolds in Genesis 1:26-31 & Genesis 2-4. She was the 1st wife & mother. No one to turn to for expertise. What Eve did have was an up close & personal relationship with God. Can you imagine walking in Eden with the great I AM!?!

Let's remember, Eve did not sin out of rebellion to God, but through deception because she wanted to be closer to God. The serpent, Satan, deceived her using exactly what he knew would make her fall. He still does the same thing to all of us. Have you ever thought about why Satan chose Eve to deceive over Adam? I heard Donna Gaines point out that God didn't tell Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, He told Adam. It was Adam's job as husband & leader to tell Eve & protect her. Eve's knowledge of this rule was 2nd hand, therefore it was easier to doubt.

Eve tempted by the serpantWhat lesson can we learn from this? Read God's Word for yourself! Study it, devour it, apply it, always stay hungry for it! There are many great pastors & teachers out there that are very wise & knowledgeable, but they can't replace your one on one time in God's Word letting the Holy Spirit speak His truth into you. As great as pastors & teachers are, they are human & subject to fault & our main source of God's Word can't be second hand knowledge, it has to be first hand straight from the Word.

Through this fall she was cursed with childbirth pains. (And every woman flinches LoL). Not only that, her firstborn son killed her second son. I'm sure Eve felt a ton of mommy guilt! "If I hadn't listened to that serpent, if I had been a better mother..." You know what I'm talking about, we all do it. Blame ourselves for anything & everything, but that in itself is not of God! God did bless Eve with another son, Seth, & someday a Savior would be born to save us all from our sins.

And we can't forget that as the 1st woman, God made her in His own image. He designed our bodies, our minds, & our hearts to reflect His goodness, love, & mercy to others. He gave us His strength & imparts His wisdom to us as we seek Him. No matter how far or how often we fall, He is always there to help us back up & to shower us with His grace.

The next time you start beating yourself up about who you are & what you look like, stop & confess it to God, remember He made you just the way you are & He desires to mold you into who He wants you to be. It's time to surrender yourself to the Lord & let Him make you into the person He designed you to be to fulfill your purpose in His Kingdom plan!!

Many blessings to you all! Next week: Beth Moore!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday's Woman

I'm beginning a blogging series where I will research various women each week. Most will be women from the Bible, but I will also highlight others that have had an impact on our world, whether good or bad. I've been praying about this for months & have studied many Biblical women, but I want to share the things that God has revealed to me with all of you.

I used to have a GREAT fear of women. I'm not even kidding! Girls were VERY mean to me in school, I was bullied, called names, had false rumors spread about me, & I never took up for myself. I was a big pushover! Hard to believe now :) Nonetheless, over the last 5 years, God has especially been working on this fear & instead of being afraid of women, I long for that companionship with them.

The Lord has blessed me with some amazing women in my life! I couldn't do all I do know without these women behind me cheering me on, praying for me, supporting me, joining me, & just simply being a friend to me. God has also revealed a lot about myself through women in the Bible. I yearn to know these ladies more! Their struggles, fears, strengths, & how God used them for His Kingdom.

I hope you join me each Wednesday as I take this journey. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts, what God has shown you about these women, & link your own blog as well if you like!

Next week we will begin with who else, but the 1st woman to grace the earth: EVE!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Unspeakable Joy, Everlasting Peace-my day at the abortion clinic

I could not have fathomed how Monday July 2 was going to go for me. A few months earlier Mississippi passed a law requiring any doctor performing abortions at the only clinic left in our state had to be a board-certified, licensed OB-GYN & have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The two doctors that had been performing abortions are from Alabama, at a clinic owned by the same lady, Diane Derzis, who owns the Jackson clinic. It had just recently been closed because these two doctors had botched so many abortions & hurt a lot of women. They do not have the proper credentials.

Sunday, July 1, a federal judge ruled that the Jackson clinic could remain open until their appeal was heard in court. Upset, hurt, angry; none of those feelings truly encompassed how I felt when I got that news after coming home from church that night. I was shocked in a sense, but not really surprised. I know our judicial system is in disarray, but I was really hoping this law would sustain. That night I got a message from a pro-life friend asking me if I could go to the clinic early Monday morning because they assumed a lot of media would be there to cover the story & they hoped maybe they would hear my personal testimony. 
I honestly didn't want to go. I wanted to take my kiddos to the pool & have a relaxing day, but God totally had other plans!

When I first arrived I greeted the other pro-lifers that were there already praying & reading Scripture. They showed me that CNN was across the street & had just finished interviewing the clinic owner & that I should go over there to talk to them. After praying I felt God nudge me to go. The CNN crew consisted of 3 men, a producer, a reporter, & a cameraman. They took my name & number & listened to a bit of my testimony & then in a VERY patronizing way told me they'd have to do a back ground check first. I was puzzled. See, I was a journalism major & I know that anytime you think you have someone who would make a good story you always film them, get your info & do the check later. God told me it wasn't going to happen & I was a little hurt as to why He had me go over there knowing they wouldn't dare talk to me.

I told the men I understood what they were doing. They only came for the story they wanted to show. They really didn't want the truth about abortion. "You'll talk to the owner," I told them, "& you'll show footage of the 'crazy' older white pro-life man with his graphic signs, but you wouldn't dare air the testimony of a woman who's actually had an abortion & has spent the last 14 years regretting it."

The producer tried to patronize me again, but I bluntly told him of my degree & I knew exactly what he was doing & I wasn't mad at him, I understood the game. I just wanted him to know I wasn't some idiot & that if he ever wanted the truth instead of a slant that he could call me. As I was talking a lady who works in the building across from the clinic was turning into her parking lot, rolled down her window & began to SCREAM at me for being on her property talking to them. She & her business HATE the sidewalk counselors who come each day to the clinic to pray & try & talk to the girls going in & out of the clinic. They also often turn on a sprinkler to soak the side-walk counselors...sad isn't it. That's a lot of hate! After the lady screamed at me the producer looked horrified, I told him to make sure he paid attention to which side was truly filled with hate.

I crossed the street back to the sidewalk in front of the clinic & grabbed a sign someone else had brought. The truth is WOMEN DO REGRET ABORTION! I stood in front of the gate, no one ever goes in this way, trying to grasp all that just happened. Why did they hate us so much? Why did God tell me to go over there for that? As I was contemplating all that had just happened, a worker from the clinic opened the gate, bumped me out of the way to hang up the yellow sign you see in the picture. She looked at my sign, rolled her eyes & laughed. I told her women do regret abortion, I should know, because I regret mine. She then laughed again & called me a hypocrite. "That's right, you're nothing but a two-faced hypocrite! You got your abortion & now you don't want anyone else to get theirs!" I tried to talk to her, but she was screaming so loud I couldn't get a word in, then she slammed the gate door & went inside. 

Hypocrite. Hypocrite! I was NOT a hypocrite! At that point I lost it. I had a good break down. I'm talking gut-wrenching, heart-felt, pain-filled cry. I couldn't have stopped if I tried. Before I knew it I was crying to God. My soul was bearing words. How in the world could she call me a hypocrite when all I was trying to do was share the truth of what abortion does to women. All I want to do is stop women from making the worst choice they could ever make! HYPOCRITE!!! I was broken. I closed my eyes & remembered Jesus hanging on the Cross asking God to forgive His persecutors, for they truly did not know what they were doing. So I did the same thing. Then Tenth Avenue North's new song Losing began to play in my head, "Father give me the grace to forgive them, because I feel like the one losing!"
 That was definitely a God-moment for me. A precious part of my journey that I will cherish forever. Because that moment I was undone & even though it doesn't come close to what Christ went through, I understood on a whole other level like never before. I thank Him for sending me into that fiery furnace because in the midst of the fire, I felt so close to Christ, for He was with me the WHOLE time!

I decided to take a break because I was emotionally worn down & the heat was UNBEARABLE! Luckily my sweet husband worked to blocks down so I was able to go get comfort from him & cool off for a bit. When I walked back to the clinic there was a lot more pro-lifers there. They were gathered in front of the gate where I had once stood & were praying, reading passages from the Bible & singing hymns. It was a beautiful sight to see these warriors in action. Peaceful, full of love & determination for the Lord. I decided not to interrupt them so I stood with my sign on the corner so the traffic passing by could see my sign & my face. 

All of sudden I heard a lady yelling at me telling me I had to move, I was on their property. I KINDLY told her I was not trespassing, that where the sidewalk is painted white & says "PRIVATE" is their property & where I was standing was public property. She then got in my face, & I mean all up in my face, screaming waving her finger, but I didn't move. I knew my rights & I was not about to be intimidated or bullied. So I stood. By this time the media came out of the clinic from interviewing the owner, & I mean a lot of media, not CNN, but many of our local stations & papers, the Associated Press (who took all the pictures you see on this blog) & the New York Times. They all began to pull out their cameras to capture what was happening. Now I know my face looks fierce in this picture, but I assure I was a lot more calm :). She threatened to call the cops & I told her to go ahead.

Then some of the precious sidewalk counselors came to my defense & the lady continued to scream at them, calling them all sorts of names. At one point she got too close too close to Mr. Ron (red shirt) for my liking so I stepped back in & told them we are here for Jesus & His love & we won't get into a yelling match, that she could call the cops if she felt the need, but I would not be moved! I felt the serene peace of God Almighty wash over me. I knew that no matter what happened, I would stand for Him & if that meant going to jail I was ok with that. After all, it didn't stop Paul!

She went back inside to call the cops, things calmed down for a bit, & I heard someone calling my name. It was my sweet sister in Christ Melissa! She & I went through our post-abortion Bible study, Surrendering The Secret, together. As we walked toward each other we both began to cry & we just embraced & held each other while we continued to cry & pray. This is what abortion does to women. It's an unending pain that never leaves. Jesus has most definitely healed us, but we will always hurt & long for our children that we aborted. We know what this clinic & others like it do to women. They just help you end a pregnancy, they help you kill your child, forever wounding you, & leaving you to deal with it. This is why I do what I do. To give God the glory for redeeming me, to show His love, to warn others of what this "choice" will do to you later, to save the unborn, & to help those who've already made the "choice." God told me years ago He was going to use me in this fight & I am a willing vessel.

Shortly after, three cop cars pulled around the clinic, two drove off while one stayed & pulled up to talk to us. He was very kind. The workers came back out screaming & acted crazy. The officer told her she needed to calm down. She told him we were trespassing, but I showed him the line & the part that said 
private. He said I was fine, to be sure we stayed on the public side, told the abortion workers to go back inside. He left, they went back inside, & we continued to pray & sing. So the abortion workers brought a radio outside & started to BLAST their music to drown us out. They also continued to come in & out of the gate to push past us, bump us out of the way & make rude comments, but it didn't deter us.

As the day went on many of the sidewalk counselors had to leave, but I stayed til God gave me the peace to go. The president of Pro-Life MS, Dayna, stayed as well. She looked at me at one point & said, "You're glowing! You're smiling SO big!" I hadn't even noticed, but she was right, I couldn't stop smiling!!! I had fought a battle that day & even though the clinic got to stay open, even though they yelled at us & were just downright rude & hateful, I feel like God won! He did a lot in me that day! My pastor had just preached a sermon the night before about Peter. How before Christ died he continued to say he would NEVER deny Christ even if it meant death, but then just as Christ said, Peter denied Jesus three times. But after His resurrection Peter changed. He became more bold in his walk, in the power of the Holy Spirit he had in him, even through persecution, Peter never stopped preaching Jesus's Truth, even to his death Peter remained faithful. I learned this day I had an unspeakable joy, an everlasting peace that no one could EVER take away from me. I learned this day firsthand that no matter what, as long as I'm preaching Jesus & doing as God leads me I have nothing to fear. 

I am prepared to fight this battle & any battle God's puts before me until I die, even if it costs me my life. I have an amazing supportive husband & the best prayer warriors I know! I could feel their prayers so thick around me this day, I could see the angels encamped around me. And so I smiled & apparently I glowed.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pregnant Without a Baby

About a month ago the Lord opened a door for me to lead women through a healing journey dealing with miscarriage. I myself have not "technically" had a miscarriage where a baby's life was lost. In November 2006 I took a pregnancy test & found out I was pregnant. My husband & I were overjoyed! I had a blood test & another urine test done at my 1st doctors appointment & both were positive, but it was too early to hear the heartbeat, so we would have to wait til my next appointment at 13 weeks.

This was my 3rd pregnancy (1st was by rape in which I had an abortion, 2nd my son Brady) & my husband & I had already agreed on names & were planning away never for once thinking something wouldn't be right. Two days after Christmas we went in to hear the heartbeat & my doctor was unable to find it with the Doppler. So I went to the sonographer's office to do a vaginal ultrasound, but I soon realized something was wrong. She kept moving it around as my husband, son, & I watched on the TV screen on the wall. I saw something & asked if that was the baby, her response was no, it was my ovary. She continued to look around, "Is that my baby?" I asked again, "No that's the placenta." I began to get a bit worried knowing deep inside something wasn't right.

"Is that my baby?" I asked once more in complete desperation begging her to say yes, but once again she said no. She then left the room with pictures in hand & came back with my doctor. They continued the sonogram & I remember looking at my husband who was holding Brady & looking worried. Then my doctor spoke up & said it seemed as if I had a missed-abortion & there wasn't a baby in my womb. I began weeping uncontrollably at the words "missed-abortion" & thought to myself, I didn't miss my abortion I was there all those years ago, what is she talking about.

Seeing how broken I was she told me to get dressed & meet her in her office. I remember breaking down in the bathroom, unable to dress myself. I felt so guilty. I felt like because I had an abortion before, I had caused my husband this pain, it was all my fault. He came in to console me & I couldn't do anything but cry & apologize. He comforted me & kept reminding me it wasn't my fault.

When we finally made it to the doctor's office she showed me the pics from the ultrasound which showed I had everything a pregnant woman had except a baby. How could this be? How does your body get pregnant without actually having a baby inside? I felt betrayed by my body. With my other 2 pregnancies I experienced horrible nausea, hyperemesis, but this time, though I felt nauseated it wasn't that bad, I didn't throw up as much, but I still had some morning sickness. I hadn't experienced any cramping or bleeding like a miscarriage would cause. My breasts were swollen, my taste buds had changed, I was pregnant, but as it turned out, pregnant without a baby.

My doctor told me the closest medical term was missed-abortion, but she had never heard of anyone staying pregnant 13 weeks without a baby or without any bleeding or indication that there was a baby. We would have to do a D & C to remove the sac & placenta the next day. I was beyond sad. Beyond devastated.

I didn't sleep at all that night. I laid in Brady's toddler bed (he had gone to Brad's mom's) & I wept. I took a bath & wept. I went outside & looked at the stars & I wept some more. I was undone. I felt like I deserved this because of my abortion, but my husband & child did not. I still couldn't wrap my mind around how my body could betray me. No baby yet 3 positive pregnancy tests & normal pregnancy symptoms. My husband awoke & we went for the D & C & thankfully they put me to sleep for it. I came home & slept all day & anytime I woke up I would write in a journal. I kept looking at the space beside me in the bed thinking a baby should be there, but there wasn't one, never was.

The days that followed were rough. The bleeding was excessive & I kept cramping uncontrollably & it was so bad at times I couldn't even stand. I called my doctor to explain what was happening & went back in for an ultrasound. It was clear, everything had been removed & looked fine. But when I got into the elevator I felt something pass & it was now out of me. I ran back straight to her office to her. It turned out to be a piece of the placenta that was missed & never showed up on the ultrasound, but it was causing me to have contractions to remove it. My sweet doctor kept apologizing for missing it, but I watched the ultrasound & nothing was there. I'm not sure how it was missed. I went back home & began to move forward.

When I prayed to God to help me deal with this pain, to help me understand He kept assuring me not grieve a baby, because there wasn't one, but it was ok to grieve the loss of the pregnancy. In time I finally understood this was a gift. I was in denial about my first pregnancy for so long & hated the thought of being pregnant by rape. And though I grieved the baby I aborted, I took for granted the pregnancy itself & never acknowledged it. Through this I was able to let out all those emotions & finally grieve. Pregnancy is a true miracle of God. Doctors can put sperm & egg together in a petri dish, but only God can make it sustain & live in a mother's womb. He alone is the giver of LIFE!

Since then I have had 2 more pregnancies that did produce babies, my precious 4 year old Rylan & my 19 month old Keller. So last night as I was preparing & researching about the various types of miscarriage I came across missed-abortions & read all the descriptions I could find. Then I was overcome with panic. What if there was a baby & my doctor was wrong?! What if I never grieved that baby or honored it?! Did I have another baby in Heaven?! I began frantically searching & reading the Internet searching for a clue to give me closure. As I told my husband why I was so consumed in the computer he said, "Ashley you know that's not true." And it clicked.

Stupid stupid Satan had gotten in to knock me off focusing on a ministry the Lord had called me to begin at my church. Satan was trying to confuse me & distract me so I couldn't complete what God had set before me. I immediately just shut the laptop & told Satan where he could go. I reminded Satan that God had already confirmed years ago that there was no baby, that I only had one child in Heaven & I believed in Him alone!

I'm so thankful for God's confirmations, His promises, His faithfulness!!! I don't have to listen to Satan & all the "what ifs" that come my way. I can rest assured in the truth of Scripture & the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Break For Me! Hallelujah!!!

 This sweet lil guy LOVES school! After 2 weeks of finishing 1st grade he begged & begged & begged to start up 2nd grade. I really did NOT want to, I needed a break! This past year was a whirlwind adventure in opening up about my past & the Lord opened many doors for me to travel & speak. As if being a full-time homeschooling momma didn't keep me busy enough, I was off doing events & press conferences a LOT! 
Now I completely loved every bit of it, even when it was hard, & depressing, because I know the Lord had me doing exactly what He had called me to do. But I'm tired. Worn out. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, & mentally exhausted! I had prayed & asked God to give me a break, some rest to regroup, refocus, & just be. Then my precious Brady comes begging & begging to do school again & I caved in. We started a little, but things kept coming up, knocking us off track & then he & his middle brother got very sick for almost 2 weeks. 

So in the midst of my tiredness & wanting a chance to relax I overloaded myself with more schoolin, not fully prepared & then stuck in the house with sick kiddos. I was at a breaking point. I cried out to God to show me what to do, where to go & He gave me peace, stillness, time to reflect. I asked Brady if we could please hold off on 2nd grade, Momma needed a break. And his reply?

"Sure. I just wanted to be in 2nd grade so I could be in class at church with my 2nd grade friends before they went to 3rd grade. But my teacher told me I couldn't change until August."

I died out laughing! So now, praise the Lord, I get a break! We are still practicing his math facts & reading of course & doing fun stuff with Rylan because I'm still doing preschool stuff with him. I must say I am so relieved! This summer we have a lot of fun stuff planned with VBS, play dates, & this will be Brady's 1st year to go to church camp! Lots of fun adventures await us.

I pray you all have a great summer as well!!

By the way, please come on over & visit us at  Schoolin The Boys!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sicky McSickens

Oh my word! Cabin fever has set in on us. Last week my precious middle son same down with a fever that never came down. Rylan was miserable. His fever ran as high as 104 & even with alternating Ibuprofen & Tylenol every three hours it wouldn't fall below 101.7. He even missed his last King Singer performance at church for the year. It was not a good week. After taking him to the doctor all he could say was that it was a severe sinus infection, hooked him up with an antibiotic & sent us home to recover.

Each day Rylan seemed to improve & then night time would come & so would the raging fever once again. After 5 days of this he finally woke up Friday morning feeling better, but his big brother did not. Brady ended up getting a viral infection & was having trouble breathing & his fever was scorching hot as well reaching almost 105!!!

So here I am a full week later & I'm still locked inside my house with a sick kiddo. I have enjoyed the extra cuddles & snuggles that sick lil ones need when they don't feel good, but with that has meant missing the fun of swimming & play dates we had planned. Brady has had to miss baseball practice & now a game. I don't know who's more bummed about that, him or his daddy ;P

I have been able to use these days to reorganize some homeschool stuff, do some deep cleaning & getting rid of stuff. Overall I must say that I am ready for everyone to be well & to get back our normal routine of things.

Wishing you & yours many WELL wishes & prayers for all the sickness in this house to leave are VERY appreciated!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saving Money & Living On A Budget

 My friend Shellie shares her family's tips on living on a budget & saving money:

We often have new goals, such as losing weight/exercising, getting organized, saving money and the list goes on and on! I’d like to share some tried and true practices that can help you save money this year. I’m not promising the following tips are easy (or popular) but they are all possible!

1. Tithe Cheerfully! I want to save money and you’re telling me to tithe? YES!  
Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 teaches “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 
We cannot disobey in this area and expect the Lord to bless our finances! I can testify to the Lord’s faithfulness!

2. Cut back on every bill possible:
      a. Cable- reduce your plan or even disconnect service
     b. Cell Phone Plans- it’s possible (even in 2012) to live without being “connected 24/7”. Remove your data plans and save big dollars over the course of the year!
     c. Save energy- you know, the stuff your parents taught you! Turn off lights when you’re not in a room, don’t take a 30 minute shower, adjust your thermostat to come on less & add an extra blanket to everyone’s bed during the winter. Use fans in the summer.

     d. Cut your grocery budget- make a week long meal plan of economic meals then make a grocery list of only the things you need. Once at the store, stick to the list! Use coupons and/or shop sales. Stay with me here. You don’t have to start extreme couponing to save money in this area! Simply shopping the stores sales will save you money. To save even more money – plan your meals around the stores weekly sales! Also, ask your store when they mark down meat & produce.

     e. Don’t eat out! Gasp! You can save some serious money here! Just plan well and eat at home! Pack lunches for your husband to take to work. You’ll be glad to see the extra money at the end of the month!

     f. Cut entertainment expenses- get the creative juices flowing and plan free dates (ex: on your patio with white Christmas lights strung under the umbrella) and fun family outings (ex: a new park, hiking trail, game night, etc)

     g. Shopping – if shopping is your downfall, STOP going to the stores! You can’t spend money if you’re not there! If a need arises, shop sales or at a local thrift store – you may just be amazed! Buy clothes at the end of each season for your kids’ upcoming sizes.

    h. Do maintenance on your vehicles yourself & save the labor charges.

     i. Make home repairs/ improvements yourself. There are many websites out there to offer advice & there are helpful people at local home improvement stores.

3. Extra Job - If you make all of the above changes and still come up short, find a side job. There are plenty of options out there; ex: pizza delivery, mow yards, clean houses, making & selling goods such as jewelry, gift baskets, candles, etc. If you’re a stay at home mom, look for a Saturday job or a work from home job – but research these carefully to find something legit!

4. Give your savings a boost by having a Garage Sale. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University! If you don’t have the extra money for that right now, I recommend setting a budget. If an envelope system will help you be better accountable, do it!

I urge you to give your finances to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal His will, listen, and then follow Him.  
Matthew 6:25-34 says,
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  

Resources – Financial Freedom – Home project help - Great crock pot recipes – learn how to coupon & find coupon match ups for current store sales
101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, Priscilla Y. Huff
555 Ways to Earn Extra Money, Jay Conrad Levinson

I am a child of the King, a wife of 10 years to my best friend from high school and a homeschooling mom of three precious boys! I enjoy reading, outdoor activities with my family and time with other moms! My husband and I have lived through some difficult times financially, but the Lord was faithful to see us through every time. He always provided for our needs. His promises are true!  

Luke 12:22-31 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. or shellie jones baum on FB

Making changes to our budget seemed monumental at first, even impossible. The world tells you that you can't live on one salary anymore--and I believed it! But the Lord showed me differently! Learning to live on a budget has been a huge blessing to my family! We know it is ALL the Lord's and want to be good stewards of what He so generously gives us!  

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1)