Monday, December 15, 2014

Homeschool Moms Secret Pals

As homeschool moms we can get burnt out before we realize our flicker became a flame! Sometimes it's hard to stay encouraged especially if you don't have other homeschool moms around you rootin you on. So my sweet friend Kim & I have decided to host a Homeschool Moms Secret Pals group!

All you have to do is fill out the questionnaire below & email it to me. Kim & I will split them up, pray over them, & give each mom her secret pal & the rest is in your hands!

So what's expected of you?

Each month you need to mail your secret pal a note encouraging them, maybe a prayer, inspiring Scripture, & every so often a little happy like a gift card to her favorite fast food place, a coffee cup, her favorite magazine, dry erase's totally up to you! You don't need to spend a lot of money. As homeschool moms we know that funds can be tight, so don't let this be a burden! 

Pray about whether or not this is something you can be a part of. This session will run from January to May & the last thing you send in May you will reveal your name to your secret pal! If this goes well, we do it again starting in August with new pals! 

When filling out the questionnaire, be sure to be detailed so whomever gets you has a clear picture of who you are & what you like!

Anytime you get a note or a gift, be sure to post it on Instagram with the hashtag #HSmomsSecretPals. 

The last day to enter is Friday, December 19.

Full name:
IG name:
Mailing address:

Fast food
Shopping store for yourself

Others likes-
Styles: home? Fashion?
Things you collect

How many kids?
How long have you been homeschooling?
What homeschool style do you use?What curriculum do you like?

When is your birthday?

Any other random info you want to ad?😄 like books or bible studies you like? Do you do ministry work? Are you a vegetarian? Follow THM? Anything else you want your secret pal to know about you add it! 

Bless you all!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How do we love those in open sin?

The two greatest commandments Jesus left us with “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

How do we love God? Again Jesus says in John 14:21 Those who accept My commandments and obey them are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal Myself to each of them.” 
1 John 5:3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 
1 John 2:3-4 And we can be sure that we know Him if we obey His commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 

So to love God first is to put His commands first. Not just the famous 10, but all of them. We know that it's impossible to keep them all, and we praise Jesus that He offered us His Life that through faith by grace we can be saved (Ephesians 2:8)! However our freedom doesn't mean we are to continue living a life of sin (Romans 6).We are to fight, wage war against our sins, not embrace them. (Romans 7)

The second commandment Jesus gave us was to love others. Scripture tells us love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8), but in loving others we are not to condone their sins, we are to go to them in love (Galatians 6:1-2).

So how do we show love to those living in open sin? Live our lives as Christ. He loved them, was kind and yet He called them to repent. To go and sin no more. We cannot truly love those who live in open sin if we do not share the truth of God's Word and lead them to repentance. This is a tricky thing because we are human and we all sin and we get our feelings hurt when someone disagrees with us or criticizes us. 

The Bible is clear that living a life of homosexuality is a sin as is any sexual sin outside the constutes of Biblical marriage which is one man and one woman. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

We cannot live in open sin as if it's completely acceptable and be in right standing with God. If we know a person is an alcoholic it would be unloving to buy the person alcohol and not help them see their sin and offer them help and deliverance through Christ. So how is it loving to tell a gay person their lifestyle is is ok and they should be able to marry someone of the same sex? We can't tell them these things and show them the love of Christ because we would be going against the Word and Commands of God. We are to love them by telling the truth of God's Word, share with them the love of Christ that while we were deep in sin He loved us, died for us, He bought our freedom so we don't have to go on sinning, but can be born again! A new creation! (Romans 5)

In John 8 Jesus showed great love for the adulterous woman by saving her from being stoned, but He didn't tell her that her sin of adultery was ok, He told her to go and sin no more. As the Body of Christ we are to love everyone, be compassionate, and kind, but we are never to tolerate sin! We should hunger to see people set free from the sins that bind them, to see them delivered, and sinning no more.

When I confessed my abortion and abuse of alcohol to my pastor he didn't tell me my sins were alright because God loves me. Instead he showed me love by telling me that Jesus loved me and died for my sins and to be forgiven I had to repent. And I did! I gave my life to Christ, but once I moved away and no longer had fellow Christians to hold me accountable I turned right back to alcohol to cope with my pain from abortion instead of turning to God. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I was deeply entangled in my sins. After many years of wrestling with them I surrendered my life to Christ and began pursuing Him for healing. 

I still struggle with food addiction, but I have accountability partners that I can turn to. Would it be loving of them to offer me cheeseburgers and pizzas when I go to them? Of course not! They would be sinning by feeding my sin! Instead they speak life to me, give me Scripture, encourage me, and pray for me. That is LOVE!

Theres a huge misconception that if you disagree with the gay lifestyle, you hate gay people. That's simply not true. You can love people without condoning their sins. It is possible to stand on the truth of Scripture and not be condemning. 

Romans 8 tells us that IF we are in Christ there is no condemnation in Him because He frees us from our sins. It goes on to say we have an obligation to live by the Spirit not by our flesh. We cannot truly love people if we don't share the Truth of Scripture and Scripture is clear on the sin of homosexuality. We cannot love God first or most if we give into a worldview of marriage instead of a God view. We must look at this as any other sin with our spiritual eyes, not our fleshly eyes. 1 Corinthians 5 gives us clear instructions on how to deal with all sexual immorality in the Church. Paul clearly talks about it in Romans 1.

So what happens if we give our lives to Christ and yet keep on sinning?

Hebrews 10:26-30 says, "Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 
Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the Blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us."

Continue in reading all of 1 Corinthians 6 and the book of 1 John. Study the Scriptures, pray, and discern. We cannot love this world to salvation if we don't first love God. We cannot love God if we ignore the commands we don't like. We can't make this world understand their need for Jesus if they first don't understand their sins. 

I plead with you my brothers and sisters in Christ stand firm on the Holy Word of God! Love Him first and He will show us how to love others without caving into the sins of the world.

Much love and many blessings to you all!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Interview on Teleios

Last week, the awesome Matt Friedeman had the kids & I over for lunch & during that time he also interviewed me for his Teleios podcast. It's about 40 minutes long, but you can listen while you clean ;P 

Hope you are blessed by it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Mommy Had An Abortion

I knew this day would come & I've dreaded it. How do you look at your children & tell them you killed their big brother? 

Once The Lord began pressing on my heart to have our kids involved with our prolife ministry, I knew it was a matter of time before I had to confess my deepest, darkest secret to them. It was hard telling family & friends because deep inside you still fear their judgement & disappointment. I know Christ has forgiven me, healed me, & made me new, & I don't worry any longer about what others think of my past, but I have feared looking into my children's eyes & seeing the hurt & confusion of why their mommy killed her baby.

For the last few years we've taken them to the abortion clinic to pray & told them what abortion was. Very simply we stated that it's when a mommy chooses to have her baby taken from her tummy before it's time & the baby dies. This has always hurt their sweet, sensitive hearts, but it's driven them to pray for an end to abortion even at such tender age. Any time they've had questions we've answered them in the simplest, most appropriate way for their maturity. 

God has told me I need to stand outside our local abortion clinic with sign that says, "I regret my abortion." I haven't been able to do that with them around because Brady can read. So yesterday I sat them down & confessed to them. I told them something very bad happened to mommy & I got pregnant & at 18, I was scared, confused, & even though I knew it was wrong, I had an abortion.

Brady told me he was surprised, but he wasn't mad at me. Rylan was excited to learn that he was named after his big brother Joshua. They asked a few questions, "Where would Joshua sleep if be were alive?" "Would you homeschool him or would he go to high school?" It made me giggle & brought me comfort, but I told them we can't focus on the "what ifs" because they can end up making us depressed or angry & doesn't change the past.

Instead we will focus on Christ. He's redeemed mommy & He's called us to speak the truth about abortion & to help others come to know the saving grace of Jesus.

Then Rylan looked right at me & exclaimed, "We will see Joshua in Heaven!" To which Brady responded, "Yes! Because he's safe with God!" I asked them if they forgave me & Brady so gently answered, "I'll always forgive you for anything." And my heart beamed as my tears flowed.

It wasn't nearly as hard as I imagined it would be. I'm glad I told them now rather than waiting til they were teenagers. They know they can always ask me questions & we don't have to keep Joshua a secret. He is real. He exists. He is loved!

Sunday is the 16 year anniversary of my abortion & it's sad & weird to think I would be getting ready to take him to get his driver's license! I will always miss & grieve him. Joshua is as much a part of my life as his 4 siblings are. I don't have to let depression & self hate eat me up, I can cry out to Jesus when missing Joshua hurts too bad & I can hold my head up high & talk about my son & give his life honor. I can do this only because of Jesus & the redeeming Blood He shed for my sins.

If you are struggling from a past abortion, please contact me! I would love to help you! 

Ashleysigrest at hotmail dot com


Monday, August 4, 2014

Share Sips & Socks Giveaway!

If you've joined the Sips & Socks swap on IG you can also enter the giveaway!

Share this pic & tag #sharesipsandsocks to enter. You can enter once a day til Wednesday, August 6. 

Prize includes the 14x11 painting pictured, a $10 Target gift card, cute socks, & other goodies!!

Now go share & invite your friends to join the swap!



Saturday, August 2, 2014

1st annual Sips & Socks

Are any of you on Instagram? 

This year I'm starting a fun swap to ring in the upcoming Fall season!! 

You will be given info on a fellow IG lady to send her a special mug/cup & a cute pair of socks & will get something from another IG gal! 

I participated in an IG swap last year & it was a blast!! 

☕️To join, email me the following information: 
1⃣IG name & real 1st & last name
2⃣mailing address
3⃣whether you're a coffee or tea lover or both & some of your favorite flavors & things you like with your coffee or tea. You never know what else your secret pal might send you! 
4⃣Tell me some info about you so your secret pal will have ideas of how to shop for you! Favorite colors/styles, hobbies, interests, etc...

📅I'll close this down by Wednesday August 6 so I can gather all the info & get you your secret pal by Friday, August 15 giving you a whole month to shop before you have to mail your package on September 15. This gives us plenty of time to get our goodies before the 1st Day of Autumn on September 23.

You do NOT have to spend a lot of money on this! You can often find cute socks & mugs at the Dollar Tree. 😄

📷Be sure to take pics & tag #sipsandsocks so can all join in the fun together!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weight Loss Goal #1

Today I hopped on the scale & saw a number I haven't seen in a while! I now weigh the same as when I got pregnant with Keller!!!

About another 10 lbs & I'll be at my pre-pregnancy Chapel weight, another 10 to pre-Rylan, & then another 10 for pre-Brady!!!

You might be wondering why I need to lose Chapel's weight after Keller's when he is older than her...

After Rylan was born I was able to be a stay at home mom & not having a schedule to tell me when I could eat like I had as a school teacher, I began eating sporadically & not healthy. My idea of health was pre-packaged "diet" foods. Of course they didn't fill me up so I would binge a lot at night. During this time I felt very stressed to be the mom who had it all together like the other stay at home moms I knew & I ate my stress along with my feelings of inadequacy.

By the time I got pregnant with Keller I was 20 lbs heavier than when I got pregnant with Rylan & 40 lbs heavier than I was when I got married. With the various things life has brought me like homeschooling, ministry, etc etc, fitness & health were on the back burner, yet always on my mind. Thoughts of not being able to succeed made me feel guilty & kept me in the cycle of bingeing. 

10 weeks after I had Keller I began Couch 2 5K & ran my 1st race. I lost some weight running, but then we had to move out of house for 6 weeks while it was repaired of foundation issues. We ended up living in a small bedroom at a friend's house & eating out a lot. Shortly after this, a best friend completely shut me out of her life & it broke my heart. Like always, food was there to comfort me.

Years later when God revealed I'd be pregnant in October 2012 I tried to start getting healthy & lose weight, but it's seriously a hard battle for me! Food addiction is triggered by almost anything. That year I was able to lose around 15 lbs before I got pregnant with Chapel. 

Now that's my next goal...

 I have an amazing support system with this battle in my husband & my friend Emily! I track my food & exercise on my phone, & my Fitbit helps push me to be more active. Over the last couple years I've learned what healthy food is & it doesn't come in the freezer section at the grocery store in the form of a prepackaged meal!! Slowly yet surely it's coming together.

Hopefully in the next month or 2 I'll be at my pre-Chapel weight! 

Blessings friends!! Be healthy & give me some encouragement!! ;P

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Schoolin

We have thoroughly enjoyed the summer so far, but we have continued to do some light schooling as well. Rylan is finishing up My Father's World K, without the extra crafts & stuff, & continually works on his math & phonics skills. Brady continues to read whatever books he chooses for fun, reviews multiplication & division skills, & does a reading & language sheet each day. Both boys also play educational games on the iPad & neither have complained about doing any of it. YAY momma! :)

I work with Keller as I can...he just wants to play & that's totally fine by me...after all he's 3! Besides his lack of interest I've been busy with other "life" things, but I am slowly integrating more "school" for him in hopes to do more when we start back full time next month.

Little by little all of our new stuff is trailing in & I feel like a kid at Christmas!! :) I've changed my mind a couple times on what I want us to do, but it's all panning out...I think :)

I hope your summer has been going great too! Blessings!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chapel turns 1

I can't believe the 1st year of her life is over & her 2nd is beginning! I think the older I get the faster time flies! :( regardless of my sappy state, I've had an incredible week celebrating my lil Cha Cha! 
On her actual birthday her brothers & I took her to the Splash Pad & she crawled  all over the place! I was worried it would hurt her knees, but she didn't seem to mind one bit! When her daddy came home Chapel opened her gifts from us & then we went out for her birthday dinner. 

On the 4th we went to my daddy's to celebrate Independence Day, but is also had cake to celebrate the July birthdays in the family. 

As you can see, Chapel LOVED the cake!  She also enjoyed the pool & NEVER stopped kicking her legs when they were under the water! She's a lil fish like her momma! 

We wrapped up her birthday week with a small party back at the Splash Pad with my husband's side of the family. She was given LOTS of super cute smocked dresses & some girly toys. I cannot wait to see her in each dress!!

I'm incredibly thankful God blessed me with this feisty & sweet lil gal! Here's to hoping this next year of life slows down!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No Coincidence In Freedom

Two important dates in my "outted" post abortive journey also coincide with two very important dates in Chapel's life.

October 31, 2011 I had my "Esther Moment," which you may have read about. That was the day God surprised me & a room full of people at a personhood press conference to speak out about my rape & abortion. It was huge moment of freedom for me! 

The following July 2, 2012 The Lord asked me to stand in front of the abortion clinic in Jackson, MS with a sign that said "Women Do Regret Abortion."

That was a crazy day, yet another huge moment in freedom & healing for me. I was pushed, bullied, & even had the cops called me...all for holding a sign! Shows you just how afraid the pro abortion side is of the truth!

Fast forward a few months to October 31, 2012 when God once again surprised me & I found out I was pregnant with Chapel! He had already told me I would be pregnant that month & had promised me I would have a daughter, but nonetheless, it was a joyful surprise! Especially since it was on the anniversary of my "Esther Moment!"

And just like our Heavenly Father, He showed out big & Chapel was born on July 2, 2013, the one year anniversary of my stand in front of the clinic. 

You may believe in coincidences, but I don't. These dates will forever hold a special place in heart! They signify incredible growth in The Lord & strides of freedom from my past shame. Jesus replaced that shame with courage to stand up for truth no matter how hard it is. He also fulfilled a promise in Chapel. 

Redemption & birth. Life & love. 

How wonderfully blessed am I!

Friday, May 23, 2014

I'm an addict

Hello, my name is Ashley, & I'm an addict.

My drug of choice is food. I'm an over-eater. Sometimes I get in such a "trance" from food I don't even realize exactly how much I've eaten til it's all gone or I'm so stuffed I'm nauseated. Then after the nausea is the guilt, shame, & self-condemnation that "I did it again!" Ugh! It's a sick cycle & most people don't understand it. In their minds they think, "Why don't you just stop?" But you see, I'm an addict & addicts can't simply stop. We struggle with self-control knowing that we should stop & the high our drug gives us in that moment.

This stupid addiction drives me mad! Through The Lord I've been delivered from many things. He has healed me & set me free from mounds of bondage, yet I continue to struggle with addiction. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life! My husband not only tells me I'm beautiful, but he also makes me feel beautiful. Other areas of my life are good if not great, but this is weighing me down like never before. I often wonder if this is my "thorn."

2 Corinthians 12:7 ...Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to lose weight & I'm certain I've tried at least 3/4 of them. Whether it's a certain type of workout, pills, supplements, shakes, drinks, meal plans,   counting points or calories, eating paleo, whole 30, clean, THM, low carb... It doesn't matter. As long as you stick to whatever weight loss path you choose, you will see the pounds start to drop. However, for people like me who are addicted to food, if we can't fight off that craving to keep eating none of those will work because we sabotage the plan for a momentary food high.

Losing weight is definitely something I want to do, but in my attempts to do so losing weight became my idol. I become legalistic in what I can & cannot eat & I can become prideful in my successes with workouts. Then somewhere in the mix I lose my focus ( body being the temple of the Holy Spirit), the temptation of food creeps in, & instead of having just a little I justify it somehow & overindulge. And if this happens in the day time...I feel guilty, like I blew it anyway I might as well eat whatever I want the rest of the day, & many times it leads to a bad binge.

Not binge & purging like bulimia, just straight up bingeing, over eating compulsively without the ability to truly stop myself, gorging on food when I'm not hungry becoming completely crapulous. If I had to wear a scarlet letter to confess my secret sin it would be a big fat letter G for gluttony.

Ezekiel 16:49 Sodom's sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.

Yep know the place God destroyed along with Gomorrah? My pastor did a sermon a while back on the sin of gluttony & shared this verse & like a dart between my eyes I realized I was Sodom. Not that I ignore the needy & poor, but I certainly have pride, gluttony, & laziness when this issue overtakes me.

When we think of addicts we tend to think of drugs like pills, crack, cocaine, alcohol, maybe even sex addicts & porn come to mind, but rarely do we think of food as a drug. After all we need it to survive. I can't just quit eating like when I had to quit drinking alcohol to overcome that addiction. And yes I could take some magic pill, shake, or drink to make me feel full, but I don't need to feel full, I need to feel that sensation that a good binge gives me. It's learning how to not crave that.

And yes, I have read Made To Crave more times than I can count & am even currently doing the devotion on YouVersion for the zillionth time now! I'm confessing this not for anyone to tell me how to "fix" it, but to be honest, to keep myself humble, to share my struggle with others who fight the same battle, & for those who don't understand how hard it is for some of us.

I've had horrendous anxiety attacks about not being able to control my eating & not losing weight that they've kept me up all hours of the night researching the next new thing to "help" me. Thankfully I finally hit my knees in surrender & our precious Lord pours out His mercy on me. 

Recently I hit a wall with this addiction. See, in my attempts to lose weight I was merely trying to treat the issue not the root. Let's say I lose weight, but not attack the root which is addiction, then I just become addicted to something else, maybe whatever pill, supplement, meal plan, etc I took to lose the weight, or I become addicted to not eating & develop anorexia, or I become addicted to working out, or things not even related to weight loss or food.  As long as that spirit of addiction is there it will manifest in some form or fashion & I will have a whole new stronghold to battle. 

So my game plan? Not sure except pursuing after Christ & leaning on Him like never before & becoming aware of my triggers. Letting Him help me with strengthening the spirit of self-control in me. 

The 1st step is admitting it right? There are others steps in the AA 12 step program I need to do. There's a girl from high school that I hurt by blabbing how much she weighed to others & other instances I mocked someone's appearance related to weight & I need to make an amends to them where applicable & for those I've never met, to make confession to God. 

No doubt this won't be easy, but it will be worth it! 

I pray you have a blessed weekend & that you will pray for me with this addiction. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Brady's Birth Story

After the unideal pregnancy I had I was beyond ready to give birth! I had a epidural, do whatever I could to have Brady naturally. 

We got to the hospital the day I was 36 weeks pregnant. It was a dark, cool spring morning. We were there right on time at 5:30am. They got us to our room, hooked me up & then the nurse asked me the most horrible thing! She asked me to roll over to my side so she could give me an enema!!! An EN-E-MA!!! I sooooooo did not know that was going to happen & I still have bad memories from that incident in case you can't tell!!! LoL!!

So after that most horrifying moment, they began the drip of pitocin to get things moving along. But they didn't. I labored for 6 hours & only got to 2 cm. my blood pressure started to rise so I gave in to get the epidural to help me relax. Right before the nurse who had been with me was off work & a new nurse came in. I did not like the new nurse! She was rude as rude can be on what should've been the most joyful day of my life. During the epidural it was hard for me to relax. It's scary knowing a big needle is going into your spine! Then they made Brad leave the room & I got stuck with nurse meany-head for comfort! I wish I had known what a doula was back then because I certainly would've had one!

I could not bend over the right way to open up a good place for the needle to go. I was severely large from the weight I gained plus swollen like the marshmallow man from the preeclampsia & toxemia. So nurse poopy pants had to get right on top of my shoulders & push me down. MORTIFIED again. I wanted to cry & just leave. 

Finally Brad came back & I tried to relax but it did no good. By 5:30 pm I had only dilated to 3 1/2, my blood pressure was constantly rising & Brady's heart rate was showing signs of distress. A c-section it was.

 Now I have watched A Baby Story many many times & whenever they aired an episode of a woman having a c-section, she was covered & awake & all was well. 

That's not my story!

First of all they made Brad leave again, loaded my Shamu-sized body onto the table, opened my gown so I was completely naked & exposed (goodbye what little modesty I had left!), then they strapped my arms down like Jesus on the Cross! All I could think was, "They did NOT show this on TLC!!!!"

Finally I was abled to be covered again & Brad was by my side. I was told I would feel tugging & pulling but no pain. That tugging & pulling was THE most awkward feeling I had ever felt! My body just shook from one side to the other, rocking & swaying as they did their thing on the other side of the curtain. Then it happened...



What was this I was feeling?? I wasn't suppose to be feeling anything!!!


Burning....uh oh


I told the nurse I could feel pain, but she didn't believe me! I told Brad & began to panic! The next thing I know I have an oxygen mask on & Brad is being whisked away again!!!!


As my eyes started to flicker open I could make out a blurry version of Brad. He said I would start talking then just stop & stare at him as if I had forgotten who I was. I apparently kept doing this. I was in recovery, but couldn't see Brady yet. I do remember telling Brad MANY times over the next few weeks that I would NEVER do that AGAIN!! NEVER! ;P

They let my dad back to see me, I'm sure because he was going to beat the door down if he couldn't see with his own eyes that I was ok. They eventually let my niece Britany in who said I kept asking her if she was touching me, to which she was not, though I kept demanding that she or someone was. But was just the drugs wearing off.

Once I was more coherent they brought Brady in to nurse. The first time I saw him I was scared I named him the wrong name or that they brought me the wrong baby (still the drugs). He immediately began nursing like a champ & has been a great eater ever since! As I nursed him there was no doubt that he was mine! My precious, sweet Brady. My second chance. Redemption. I melted.

At 36 weeks gestation, Brady was born weighing 8 lbs 15 oz at 6:30 pm March 16, 2005!!! Chubby cheeks, dark black hair, & red-skinned. Brad wasn't sure he was his, said he looked like an Indian baby...the pic above was lightened so its hard to tell, but there's no denying Brad's the daddy ;P

I adore this picture of my amazing dr praying over Brady in the nursery with Brad!!

I'd like to say the story continues to be happy now, but is doesn't...

After laboring all day, being sat on by nurse rudeness, the tugging & pulling during the c-section, the panic attack I had during, my body was completely worn out! During the night another nurse came in & had to press on my belly to make sure my uterus was going back down...let me tell you...this HURT!! By the 3rd time she came in I begged her not to touch me, to please just let me sleep! I pleaded, "Please leave me alone! I hurt everywhere! I'll sign a waiver!" This nurse looked no older than 12 years old, yet she had the determination of a rattle snake & came towards me as I started bawling my eyes out! Thankfully my knight in shining scrubs got between the nurse & I & he told her NO, she had to leave me alone & let me rest! Thankfully we did not see her again, & the rest of the nurses I had were extra gentle & kind!

The next day I was still in a lot of pain & really didn't want many visitors. My iron had dropped & my blood pressure went from too high to too low. That evening I was finally able to shower with a lot of help from Brad. When I tell you my body hurt, Im not exaggerating! I didn't want to breathe I hurt so bad even though I was taking my pain meds. 

As I was trying to eat dinner, the first real food in over 24 hours, Brad's mom & brother came to visit as well as some of his co-workers. My hair was still wrapped up in a towel on my head & I did not want to see anyone! Then it happened...

A co-worker wanted to take pictures, but I told her no, I was not up for that. She was welcome to snap some of Brady & Brad, but none of me. She kept persisting that I would want these some day & then raised her camera & took one. It set off another panic attack in me & I  couldn't breathe again. My arms & hands stiffened & was frozen in fear. It sounds silly, but I had been through the ringer physically & emotionally, a picture was the last thing I wanted. I was mortified & freaked out, but you know what...every co-worker left! :)

The next day I started feeling a little better & allowed my sister Kim to take a family photo of us.

The story of Brady will continue on another day...oh & all those panic attacks were caused by an infection I had in my heart that we didn't know about at the time.

If you've never given birth I hope my story didnt scare you! It gets better & I ended up having 3 great births after this & plan for more :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Brady's Beginnings

I didn't have a blog when my oldest was a baby, so in honor of our Brady-man turning 9 on Sunday I'll be sharing all about our lil Boudreaux this week!

Three months after Brad & I were married we had the bright idea to start a family. We then immediately decided we should wait at least a year, but low & behold it was too late! I found out I was expecting Brady July 21, 2004.

 My stepdad had recently passed away & I was in TX staying with my mom. I mentioned to my sister Mignon I was a day late, but assumed it was the stress of losing Richard. Mignon insisted I was pregnant & bought me a $1 pregnancy test from the Dollar General. You know the kind where you have to pee in cup & use a dropper to transfer it to the actual test!? It felt like doing a science experiment & I was sure I wasn't pregnant because after all, we had only "tried" one time then decided we needed to wait until after our one year anniversary. 

Well I was wrong & knew it when that 2nd faint line showed up! It didn't seem real! And Brad was all the way back in MS! I immediately called him & told him our good news! He too, was just as shocked as I was! 

Everything seemed fine & normal until my 7th week when I began viciously vomiting! To make matters worse I had just started teaching my 1st year of school & every smell of those sweet 4th graders made me puke! I ended up losing 27lbs that 1st trimester! But I gained it ALL back plus an extra 50! 

By my 12th week I was able to eat...& eat...& eat & eat & eat!! Food had NEVER tasted soooooo gooooood!!!! And my belly just kept on growing! This is when I found out how mean some women can be! I was saddened at how many women felt the need to tell me how HUGE I was! That's exactly what a woman wants to hear when she's pregnant :/

Nonetheless I was happy & loving the feel of Brady move around in my womb! This helped me heal a lot from my abortion & couldn't stop thanking God for giving me a 2nd chance to be a momma! I had no doubt I would never take this gift for granted!

My 2nd trimester was going great & I was already in nesting mode! One day I was scrubbing our kitchen floor, got up too quick & slipped with a hard landing! We decided to be cautious & went to the hospital to make sure Brady was ok. She put the monitors on & left me, but then the nurse checked the results & quickly left. She cane back in questioning me about being only 24 weeks. I assured that I was, she checked my charts & I was...but she looked puzzled. She then asked me if I was taking anything other than my prenatal vitamin & I told her I was also taking Omegaplex by Advocare. She jotted that down & bolted out the door! Brad & I were a bit scared. We were told it was safe to take omegas while I was pregnant. At this point in time they weren't part of prenatals. The nurse finally came back in with the on-call dr who told us Brady was great! His brain results were advanced for a 24 week gestational baby, that he was on level with that of a 28 week gestational baby! The dr asked if she could send Brady's results to a study that was being done on taking omegas during pregnancy & sure enough not long afterwards they were a part of ALL prenatal vitamins! 

The 2nd trimester continued to go well, but my 3rd was very troublesome! I kept swelling up even though my blood pressure was fine. I started to not sleep well because I couldn't breathe or get comfortable. My favorite part was feeling Brady have the hiccups inside me! My belly would jiggle with each one! My least favorite part was the unending acid reflux! It felt like fire racing up & down my esophagus! Anytime Brady would get to moving too vigorously at night I would sing Jesus Loves Me & he immediately calmed down. It worked after he was born too! Another thing Brady liked to listen to while in the wombvwas hip hop or anything with a good beat! I swear he kicked to the rhythm! 

By week 32 I was MISERABLE! At work one day I was walking down the hall after taking my students to their elective & started seeing spots & couldn't breathe! I was terrified I was going to pass out! I could see the outline of a young boy & I remember telling him to get his teacher...the next thing I knew I was sitting on a bench with a huge fan blowing air on me, wet paper towels on my head & neck & many teachers were gathered around me praying. As I looked up, however, I saw my two principals shaking their heads, arms crossed, whispering to one another & looking at me with disgust as if me passing out offended them!! (More on these two later).

Brad quickly came & took me to the hospital & sure enough I was in early labor! They gave me lots of meds to make the labor stop & some to help me rest. I was diagnosed with toxemia/preeclampsia.  I was put on mandatory bed rest. If I walked down the hall in our apartment to the kitchen, my contractions would start back up. I basically could only get up to go to the bathroom & to my dr. I had to have Brad leave food on my night stand & a big cup of water...not that I felt like eating anymore. 

I was really bummed about having my baby showers canceled, but the lovely ladies from our old church brought a baby shower to me! My sweet sister in law Elizabeth also finished decorating Brady's room. It was a fun night!

At my check up at 34 weeks Brady was measuring over 7 lbs! My dr suggested I get an amniocentesis to be sure Brady's lungs were developed so she could induce me at 36 weeks. I told her no because I was frightened! She told me she would not induce me without one & if I went full-term Brady could weigh 12 lbs at the rate he was growing! So I chose to have one. As soon as I walked into the room the nurse said, "Why haven't you been following your diet!!!??" She was really rude about it! I asked her what diet she was talking about & she said my gestational diabetes diet. I passed my test & was told I was fine, but the nurse was right, the amino showed my sugars were sky high & I did in fact have a late onset gestational diabetes!

When the amino began I was crying & scared out of my mind. Brady had put his elbow up as if to block the needle. The nurse told me I needed to talk to him to help him calm down & move so they could finish. As soon as I started rubbing the side of my belly & talking to him, he put his arm down & they finished. The results showed his lungs were fully formed & we scheduled his birthday to be March 16, 2005. 

To be continued...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A tiny foothold goes a long way...

Last week I gave satan a foothold by comparing my weight loss journey to others. I thought surely I would be losing just like them & started weighing myself every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I know without any doubt the number on the scale doesn't define me & I know comparison is a joy stealer, but I gave satan this foothold without even realizing it. I was up ALL last night in a panic having a down right anxiety attack feeling like this stupid issue would never be resolved. 

I mean I know The Lord is my Healer. Jesus has saved me, led me through many journeys, healed me, restored me, & made me new concerning some very deep & hard issues & it's so frustrating to still battle with this one!! 

But I know He not only cares for me, but He loves me more than I can comprehend! He doesn't want me to be defeated & to let satan bully me around & sidetrack me. God made me a fighter! And I know if I wasn't a threat to Satan & his kingdom he certainly wouldn't be bothering me! I've been through this time & time again, but Im human...I sometimes forget to watch where Im letting satan in.

The Holy Spirit really spoke some clear words to me this morning as I was bawling my eyes out in defeat. And after He did I rose up & remembered Whose I was & there was NOTHING I couldn't do with Jesus on my side!! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Our Promise of God

With each pregnancy I get a horrible case of hyperemesis the first trimester. With Chapel it thankfully wasn't as intense, but still pretty bad! When I was 9 1/2 weeks pregnant I had a dream I was in a small church praying at the altar. A bright light was shining on the altar & I heard God say, 

"Her name is Chapel Elise."

I immediately woke up & told Brad. He gave me a simple smile & said, "We'll see." Pretty sure he didn't want me to get my hopes up. :) That morning we decide to go to church & had planned to ask a prayer warrior I know to pray over me for my sickness. When I asked, she told me she felt like our pastor had a word for us. 

He prayed over me & for the baby & then he looked right at me & said he had a stirring in his spirit that this child would fulfill a promise of God.

Of course just hearing that made me bawl my eyes out! I knew deep inside this baby was a girl! When we sat down to eat lunch I decided to look up the name Elise to see what it meant. The first definition I found said, 

"Our God is a vow, a promise of God." 

Again tears filled my eyes! I had no doubt she was a she! God was giving me the daughter He promised me years earlier.

For years I had longed for a mother-daughter relationship like my friends had, like my sister-in-laws had with their moms. They'd go shopping together, have lunch, their moms were always there for them to talk to, to watch or help with their kids, their moms were now their friends, their closest confidants. I don't have any of that with my own mom.  Not just because she lives far away, but because she's not that kind of mom anyway. 

Around Mother's Day 2009 I was driving around listening to K-Love & all week long they were asking people to call in & tell happy, exciting stories about their mothers. Mother's Day was already hard for me. One reason because of my past abortion & the other was because I felt like I couldn't celebrate my mom because I still had a lot of issues with her. So when I heard this on K-Love for the thousandth time I lost it. I screamed at the radio & then burst into tears! Then as clear as a bell I heard God speak,

"Am I not enough for you?"

I told Him that YES! Of course He was! Then He said,

"Let Me be your Father & your Mother. You will have a daughter someday & you will be the mother to her you've longed for your mother to be to you. Let Me mother you & you be that kind of mother to your daughter."

I wept the rest of the way home, but was completely comforted. I knew I could trust Him. The next year I got pregnant with Keller, but felt no remorse about having a 3rd son. I knew in time I would have a daughter like God promised. Until then, I was going to fully enjoy the precious fellas I had been blessed with.

Fast forward back to December 2012 where this story began & you can see why I had no doubt this baby was a girl! Another cool thing God did to show me this child was a girl before the sonogram was when we got her baby furniture. I had never had a matching set & showed Brad a picture of a beautiful bed, changing table & armoire I wanted if this baby was a girl. Well some friends from church gave us their daughter's set & said they believed The Lord was calling them to give it to us. Well wouldn't you know it was the EXACT set I wanted!!! I love how The Lord lavishes His children with gifts & blessings!

I pray that He will bless us with more children, maybe a sister for Chapel to play with :) Ha! Only time will tell! Until then, I'm soaking every moment up with my promise of God & her brothers, my lil warriors, my beauty from ashes! Being these kiddos' momma is the best job in the whole world!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2013 Year in Review

I know I'm late! Lol I think I get later with this each year! Instead of boring you with lots of words I'll show you some of my favorite & least favorite pic of 2013!

Had such a great snow day!! I'm not sure why, but it felt extra special this year!

I returned to the March for LIFE & met Josh & Anna Duggars (squeee!!!) & Rick & Karen Santorum.

This month was pretty normal, but we found out the sweet baby in my belly was indeed a girl!!!

The best part was Brady turning 8. He planned his own party & we all had a great time! I just love that sweet boy!!

Unfortunately the fun didnt last...2 days after his birthday a horrible hail storm hit! I was home alone with the boys & it sounded like our house was going to cave in!! So scary! Here's a pic of our poor Tahoe!

The end of Match gave us another scare! The boys were playing & Brady fell & hit his head & got the biggest, grossest, scariest goose egg I've EVER seen!!!

This month was full of baseball! Brad coached Rylan's team & Brady played his last season of coached-pitch.

My amazing friends also gave me a very cute girly baby shower for Chapel. It was AMAZING!!!

This month was crazy!!! We were still playing ball, I was in my 3rd trimester, Britany got married & Rylan turned 5. I swear I blinked & this month was over before it began!

This month brought in VBS fun, an insane amount of heat which kept us inside during the day & when Brad came home we headed to the pool. June also marked a super sized preggo belly as my pregnancy came to an end.

By far my favorite month of 2013!! On July 2 we welcomed Chapel Elise & became the Sigrest 6! July was an AMAZING month all together!

I slowly got us back into schoolin...and I mean sslloooowwllyy!! The night before we started I decorated our school area & made the boys favorite muffins so they would be even more excited to kick off!! 

This month was pretty mellow...praise Jesus! I began walking again, slow but steady to get my body strong again after having a 4th c-section. We also had our baby dedication at church for Chapel. She wore a dress I bought the day I found out she was a girl :)

I. Love. October!!! The weather gets a lil cooler & we celebrate FALL!! We had 2 fun field trips with our homeschool group. One to the Ag Museum & the other to Mitchell Farms. I was so thankful Brad came with us! We had a BLAST!!!

My sweet Mr also celebrates his birthday & I was able to surprise him with MSU tickets. It was a much needed date night & we LOVE going to Starkville!

Our lil Keller feller turned 3 this month! He had a fun super hero party! 

We thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas season! I just love this time of year! 

Britany graduated college & met her dad for the 1st time! It was a great day! She's so much like him & her lil sister! 
The end of 2013 Brad & I went to Memphis to see MSU play in the Liberty Bowl & to have us a lil getaway. Perfect way to end a pretty perfect year!

Here's to a blessed 2014!!!