A Sinful Past and a Beautiful Future

Every so often I get the feeling that I need to tell my story. I don’t know where the feeling comes from or who it is, if anybody, that may need to hear an encouraging story of somebody who made it out of the miry clay. Maybe it is for me, so I don’t forget. Maybe you have a similar story, or your child is going through something much like what I put myself through.
Either way, here it is in its abridged form.

My daughter, Kait, is 11. We had an amazing talk the other night (we always have amazing talks) and I was impressed, as always, at her ability to grasp and understand tough subjects. She has a heart for God and a love for Jesus. The talk we had was of our past, of where we have come from and how we got where we are now. Kait doesn’t remember, but I do. She and I were in it together and how close we are now is a reflection of the path she and I have shared, even though she has no recall of it. I have, over the years, given her the age appropriate details so that she can see the truth about sin, redemption, and God’s faithful promise of forgiveness.

Up until the weeks preceding my marriage to my dear husband my life was in disarray. I was 22 then and I already had a 2 year old child out of the sanctity of marriage, a very low paying job, absolutely no ambition, trouble to get into, parties to go to, an eviction and loss of almost everything (much of what didn’t belong to me), and many other things that my non-Christian life called for.
By the time Ryan and I married I was ready for a break from my sinful, painful past. Like Hosea, my husband swept me and my lovely 2 year old daughter away from our path to eternal death but unlike Hosea’s wife, I stuck around out of sheer desperation. Ryan was my rock. I felt no need for anything but the gift of him. It was only months before I followed my husband as he led me to Christ. A year later I was baptized. That is when I found true contentment.

My dear daughter will be 12 in January. She is a beautiful picture of a Christian girl. I feel I can honestly say that the sins of my past will not fall on her head and I give all thanks and glory to the Lord for her firm grasp of His word and her desire to live it everyday. Ryan loved her as a daughter from the get go and he adopted her when she was 3. All of her memories are of a completely united family. She knows the truth about our past (or as much as she can understand at her age) and although she is appalled at my behavior, she loves seeing how much God loves us and how he pulled her dear mother out of the depths of death even after such horrible sin. Kait sees what God’s grace has done for her. She understands that she was not the sin, it was my sin that got us in trouble; however, Kait knows that her life would be much different if it weren’t for God’s saving grace.

Changes are possible. Complete 180’s happen. If I can change anybody can.

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A Beautiful Story

I will warn you that the following story may not be suitable for all readers. I did my best to condense it and keep it as safe as possible, but the nature of these events may lead a child to ask questions you may not be ready to answer. Please review it before allowing young eyes to read it.

Last week I had the awesome privilege of hearing a dear young friend give her testimony at a Care Net fund raiser. Her motivation behind giving her tear jerking story was to help draw people closer to Christ, help motivate people to donate money to this wonderful Christian organization, to let others out there know that God can make beauty out of the most horrific events and circumstances, and that, yes, you do have a choice!

Her story is a tear jerker and I am sure my condensed account will not do it justice.

Shortly after graduating high school, my friend, who we will call Faith, left home to start a life on her own. A new Christian, she found herself easily drawn into a not so Christian crowd. She was having fun, making friends, and feeling free.
After an evening of watching movies with a new girl friend, Faith decided it wouldn’t hurt to crash on the couch of her new friend’s home. This small decision would forever change her life.

In the middle of the night she awoke to an intruder attacking her in the worst way, stealing her innocence, opening her eyes to true evil.
She ran away immediately and left all of the new friends she was making and the new life she was living. She never wanted to see them again.
Denial gripped her. She told nobody and pretended nothing happened. She turned away from Jesus, and struggled day by day to make the pain go away.
Months later Faith could deny it no longer because she was with child. She had to deal with what had happened and she had a choice to make.

In spite of all of the pain, the memories, and the knowledge that few would blame her if she decided to do the unthinkable, SHE CHOSE LIFE, and life did happen in a most glorious way.

I met her when she moved to our town to stay with a friend, have the baby, and bless another family with a child. In those months my family became dear friends with this amazing young lady. She did ultimately turn back to God and has gone through this whole process with such grace and a peace that only comes from Him. She has an unbelievable spirit and has touched and changed my and so many others lives during her ordeal.

During her trial Faith managed to turn her horror, with God’s hand, into something so beautiful and right. Her positive outlook has been a blessing to everybody around her and her selfless decision has warmed the hearts of countless people, even if she never realizes it.

She has gone back home now and lives hundreds of miles away. I miss her dearly. She had a beautiful baby who is now an amazing blessing to a once childless family.
Faith is a testimony to the true nature of God and His ultimate saving grace. She is and has given birth to living proof that God can and will make anything beautiful, no matter how ugly, if only we let Him.

I will never forget Faith for as long as I live. She has changed my life forever.

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Here It Is – Morning Sickness. and Other Ramblings.

Today was my first official day of having morning sickness. It wasn’t too bad. Light nausea has plagued me since the moment I woke up this morning but I was able to eat and that is good. I feel bad but I also feel good at the same time. Morning sickness has always been a relief for me. I usually know I am having a baby before that but when the morning sickness hits it becomes real to me and I feel like I can get excited about it. I know, I am weird.

Still looking for that Zucchini Soup recipe!
I know you have one – GIVE IT UP ALREADY!!!


Tomorrow is Friday! I love Friday because it is my nothing day. I have nothing to do, nothing on the schedule, and nowhere to go. I really enjoy Fridays!

Cute baby clipart provided by A Baby Resource

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all this junk

I have never been a very organized or tidy person. This has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I was a saver of everything that *might* hold significance and that meant clutter and junk in every available space.

My mother was a saver. She found sentimental meaning in everything we touched as children. That is not bad, but it did teach me that it was completely normal to hold onto everything. Storage boxes filled with keepsakes filled every closet and corner. I remember, after marrying my born organized husband, hearing him me that my stuff was driving him crazy. Every time we moved (a lot – he is in the navy) we had to go through everything again, reorganize my many storage containers, and then he had to lug them and stack them in creative ways to make them all fit in whatever space we could find. The more my family grew the more I had to hold on to.

My saver mother decided to declutter – I can remember her starting this when I was still in high school but it didn’t really take hold until I was out of the house. She still couldn’t get rid of all those sentimental items so she gave them to me saying “this isn’t something you sell on eBay”.
I would bring these things home and my husband would say “no!”, we have too much stuff. Trying to give it back to my mother would be impossible so I just went out and purchased a rubbermade and added it to our every growing stack of storage containers.

A few years ago the Navy moved us from a 5 bedroom house in SC and gave my family of 6, plus one on the way, a 850 sq. ft., 3 bedroom house in RI. This house was SMALL and either we lived in it like a 2 bedroom or we got rid of my beloved stuff.

It took 2 full weeks of working about 5 or 6 hours everyday to go through all our stuff. I probably rid my family of more than 10 big boxes of junk, a closet full of old clothes, and more old books than I could count. I felt so guilty at first, sure I would need this or that, or I would end up regretting trashing my favorite something or other (see, I cannot even remember what I got rid of!) After a while it got easier and the more I trashed and gave away the lighter I began to feel.

So here we are now, 5 kids and one on the way and I have less junk than I did 5 years ago. I am still not very organized, and I struggle with a schedule and keeping my home in order, but I don’t have the junk to wade through that I used to have which makes training myself much easier.

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It Worked For Me Wednesdays ~ Greeting Cards

The gal over at Rocks In My Dryer has this great little thing called Works-For-Me Wednesdays. I actually went hoping to gather some tips but I got a little excited and decided to add one to the mix.

One thing that works for me is having a greeting card stash. I have never been good at remembering anything and doing things last minute has become impossible with my five kids in tow.
So, I ended up purchasing a nice colorful card box from a neighbor kid doing a fund raiser. It has categories for all different kinds of cards and was ready to be filled. My problem was that greeting cards have gotten a bit pricey and to fill it was impossible without taking out a loan. Trying my best to make use of my pretty new card box, I walked down to our local Grandma Shop (a garage sale type thrift store). Sure enough they had a ton of un-used greeting cards for sale on their front counter at only $.10 each!

Now I have greeting cards available all the time and I actually use them! Notes of encouragement are my favorite to give and I try to keep blank on the inside and Christian themed cards in my box at all times to give to friends and family who are feeling down for one reason or another. I also love having thank you cards ready. When somebody does something nice, even if it is small, I can whip out a card and drop it in the mail right away!
Not only has it kept me from forgetting to say thank you but it has helped my kids to have a more thankful attitude towards others. They see me making the effort to get a card out and it raises its level of importance in their minds.

Greeting cards:
Good for my friends
Good for my family
Good for my kids
Good for me

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we answer why

It is excruciatingly pleasant to be the mother ship (as my dear husband calls me) of our 5 little DNA combinations. They are gifts, rewards, and completely adorable and we are praying for many more children before God chooses for us to be finished growing our family. Years ago we decided to give the child bearing part of our lives completely up to God. We put it in His hands to do with us what He wills. We knew He wouldn’t give us more than we could handle and we had faith that He only wanted out happiness so who better to control our child bearing years than our loving God?

But wait!
Our kids were coming too close together! We had vacations to plan, military moves to make, money to save or spend, and other more selfish wants. God wasn’t making this easy and we faulted in our original decision to leave this in God’s hands, if only for a short period of time.
We’ll admit that at times this has been hard for us. And when our youngest child, Ben, came much sooner than we had expected, we decided that after he was born we wouldn’t make the mistake of trusting God to work on our timing. I repeat that again, we wanted and somewhat expected God to work around our wants and needs and not to proceed with what He wanted for us. For many months we were quite selfish, and without admitting it outloud, after Ben was born we decided (more me than my husband) that God didn’t know what was best in this area of our lives and we took control of it into our own hands.
I don’t know what we were thinking because we look at Ben, now 18 months, and wonder why we ever thought he was bad timing. Had God asked us if we would like another baby so soon we would have told him “no thanks, we would like to wait a bit longer”. Watching Ben grow up has showed us how very wrong we were and how very right God was and how He knew our hearts so much better than we ever knew them ourselves. We had no idea what we wanted or needed. My husband and I are blessed so much more when we let God take control of our lives. Our cup is so full that it is spilling over and our children are soaking up the spill because they are so thirsty for what my husband and I have.

My point is we learned that when we feel a conviction from God to run with it. We have to let go of what it is we are holding on to. Whether it is watching TV or just a specific program or movie, hanging out with certain friends, accepting or leaving a job, letting God take control of our finances, having children, or anything else God is convicting us about, we have to just let it go and trust Him to know what is best for us. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes we stumble, however, by giving our heart to God and letting Him work in and for us there is a peace that surrounds us that is unexplainable. Our family notices it, our friends desire it, and we feel a contentment like never before.

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Adorable Feet

It is hard to continue feeling crappy and tired when you have this many toes to tickle.
This pic was taken today outside in our front yard – aren’t they cute? Okay, I know they are just feet, but still.
I just love being their mama!
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Out Of The Depths Of Death

As I was praying this morning for guidance about our struggling little web store and help with my stinky attitude when I am with child, I started to feel sad and alone again.
Then God led me to Psalm 86:13.
“for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death!”

This verse almost brought me to tears, reminding me of what I have been through in my life, how close I was to eternal death all those years ago, and how God pulled me up out of the mirey clay and set my feet upon firm stone. He was with me then, in my darkest moments, when I was ignoring and denying Him; and He is with me now, teaching me, molding me, and guiding me.

I really needed to be reminded of His presence, His love, and His grace. Because, lately, I haven’t been hearing Him answer me. I have heard that many Christians, no matter how devout, go through the same thing every so often but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

I hold onto my faith that if I need something God would surely provide it, he always has. I remind myself that God is not ignoring me. Maybe he isn’t talking to me because I am not ready to hear what he has to say, or maybe he wants me to wait – His timing is, after all, perfect.

My lessons in patience are not my favorite but they are lessons I must learn. So, I will wait on Him.

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Labeled Christian Must Mean Safe?

ABC NEWS: “Facing the Giants” is about a down-and-out high school football coach who uses religion to fuel a personal and professional comeback.

The two evangelical pastors from Georgia who made the film on a shoestring budget thought they might get a PG rating because the hard football hits and frank talk about one character’s infertility. They say they were shocked when the motion picture association told them they got the PG rating because of the film’s religious content.

Read the entire story here

Okay, so this is old news, but not for me! I just ran across this story this morning.

This Christian movie, which I have never seen, earned itself a PG rating for its evangelical elements. Christians are outraged and are offended that the Bible and its message, long been looked at as standard for good, could be cause for a PG rating in a said G story.

I agree that it should have a PG label. I can say this without even seeing the movie. I will tell you why I feel this way.

We have 5 kids and one on the way and are Christian fundamentalists. We live on the Word of God, period. We do our best to raise our children in a manner pleasing to Him. It isn’t easy. The world sends mixed messages to them and I am in a constant battle to guard and keep them safe. To be successful at this I must be very careful and not let the words “Christian”, “religious”, or “evangelical” cause me to lower my guard. Actions should by more of a guide than a simple word or label.

Getting to my point – The PG rating lets me know that I MUST screen the movie first. Although “Facing The Giants” is probably a wonderful movie filled with Christian theme and evangelical discussion, I still feel the need to watch it first and make sure there aren’t any inconsistencies that could confuse my children during these impressionable years.

Many movies, books, and musical recordings have been labeled “Christian” or “Religious”. These are just labels and they do not mean “safe”. They should not and cannot replace good old Parental Guidance.

“Facing The Giants” official movie site

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dinner table games

My family has enjoyed the dinner table together for years. We didn’t realize how much fun the table could be, however, until we added a large world map covered by a plastic table cloth to the mix. My husband would start with “I am standing in a place that is _______, where am I?”. My kids would search high and low, discuss the clue among themselves then provide an answer, sometime wrong and more clues are given until they guess correctly. For some reason they can find mass amounts of humor in this, but that shouldn’t be surprising, my kidlets can find humor in a stick.

This little game has changed a bit and a number of new games have been invented since. Making up new dinner table games has become a game in itself. In my quest to find something new to try I found an actual dinner table game collection! I was so excited and since we purchase a new game for our homeschool every month I decided this would be September’s game buy and purchased it right away!

I am sure my kids will have loads of fun with this one!

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