Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Getting "The Cousins" off to France

I have to get up & teach my children in the morning so I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet but I wanted to share my thoughts about today. So, today was the day. We've been helping the cousins pack and move for the last couple of weeks and today was the day they REALLY went to France. It seemed so unreal for a long time. Kind of like when it finally hits a husband that his wife is really pregnant. (In our family it seems I notice it's "really real" a lot sooner since I feel all the changes in my body.) And then all of a sudden the wife has a really big belly and it gets more real to the husband.

We said our "final" goodbyes last night which Dana and I knew could get really intense so we were very careful how we went about it. You know, we'd kind wipe our tears that we cried in the other room and try to pretend we didn't know the other one was crying...but we knew we knew. You have to understand, we were afraid to "lose it". But, then, when I got home late last night I realized I still had Alyssa's coat in my car and I HAD to see them one last time. We weren't going to do the airport goodbye because we knew that would be extra intense. There was so much craziness going on this morning and we were so busy bringing things they needed to the airport and things like that that it didn't end up being the "cryfest" we expected it to be. There was also something REALLY funny that happened but I don't want to embarrass the party involved... but let me tell you a story about me that is very similar to what happened. A couple of weeks back my grandma and I were shopping at Kohl's. I said to my grandma (as I stroked Sam's hair), "Okay, you put her in that shopping cart and push it and I'll put her (Bella) in this other one..." and then suddenly a female complete stranger was looking me in the eye and saying, "Okay!" I was thinking, "Okay...does my grandma know this woman? Why is she talking to me?" I was so horrified when I looked down and saw that the little girl whose hair I was stroking was NOT my little sweet Samantha but a complete stranger as well. I was so shocked at myself (not that it's out of character for me but I had never done THIS before!) I laugh as I write. I don't even know how this girl's head ended up in my hand! My grandma and I cracked up- you know- the kind that brings tears. This woman thought it was quite funny and so did the workers that couldn't help but notice the scene. The woman joked something about that was fine with her as her daughter had been "acting up in the store" anyway. And, grandma joked that I had so many children that I just thought that one was mine too. Yeah, embarrassing! ;) Well, so, okay...I'll tell you what this person did but I will not name names. ;)They were in such a hurry loading things on the thingymajig that rolls the bags into the airport that they actually opened the wrong van's passenger car door (I'll give it to them that it WAS silver too) and then continued to open the sliding passenger door. I'm laughing as I write this too. It was all in slow motion. I watched it all happen and I was confused thinking,"This isn't right...but is this person helping them and I just don't know them? No...I think they're at the wrong van..." So finally I speak,"Umm...(insert their name)..." Then the woman breaks my voice with a loud, "HELLO!" A hello that says, "Excuse me, why are you opening MY van door?" Oh, man! That was funny! The person blushes and reminds me that it reminds them of my "stroking the little girl's hair incident". We laugh and get back to the busyness.

Dana didn't have her Ergo baby carrier and Ryan had laid it aside earlier and it never got packed. And if you know us, well, that is just a necessity! So, I gave her mine and now hers is mine and it's sentimental to me now (Bury me with it. Ha ha!)The reason we weren't crying is because the day was just that way. It was wild. When they left, the day only stayed true to the wildness. I am just positive I will hear "wild" stories from their plane ride. After they got in the airport I waited by my grandpa's truck so he could park my grandma's van (Ryan and Dana had driven there in it). It took him forever to get back. He said he couldn't figure out how to get back there. I watched a car get towed as I stood there wondering if they'd target his next! As I was taking him home to drop his truck off and bring him back to the van they found out they could bring their high chair (which Dana had really wanted to take but didn't think they'd let her check) so I caught grandpa on the road and told him to follow me to my moms so I could pick it up. Grandpa ended up driving home from there and said to come back and get him. I thought it might be good just to have one of the sweet people who came to say goodbye at the airport drive it back. So, we went to check the high chair at the airport and I had some other things they wanted me to bring but they had gotten on an earlier flight and were going through security when I got there and it was too late. So, on we went...One of the men from church said he'd drive the van if I could take him to work and his wife would head on. As we left one of the other people from church had a dead battery and needed a jump. So, we all scrambled trying to find jumper cables which Derrick told me (over the phone from Kentucky) I had some in a hidden compartment by the time they found some. Then were pulling out of the airport parking lot and there was another sweet friend standing outside of her car with a flat tire and I rolled down my window. She borrowed my cell phone but, of course, the servant- hearted men from church were pulling there cars over and hopped out to change the tire. They had the look of stress off of my friend's face in minutes. The Youth Pastor and Pastor were among the men that helped with all the car trouble and they went above and beyond. Anyway, how's that for short and sweet?!

My sweet in-laws watched the kids and I went to the doctor and then did some Christmas shopping. And, of course, stopped and got my Caramel Apple Spice Cider from Starbuck's. Which, by the way, I've added their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate to my list of favorite drinks (Compliments of a suggestion from Dana earlier after she and Ryan discovered it).

Here are some cute quotes from the kids about the cousins going to France. It kind of reminds me of when Bailey first heard they were going and said, "I wish Oklahoma was France!"

The night before they left we came over and ate very American takeout, Fuddruckers. Alyssa knew I was crying when I told her and Mia goodnight (and goodbye) in their beds. She is really a funny character and said, "Are you crying?" Ha! Ha! She laughed. She totally doesn't get it. But, she's hilarious.

Sam~"I wish we were the "Powell's." She went on to explain she wished our whole family were Powells and were going with them. *Well, I used to be a Powell.*

Bailey~ This isn't funny in the least but sweet. When we discussed how they wouldn't be here for Christmas Bailey said, "It's going to be empty without them." I didn't even know he could articulate something like that. I guess he "gets it".

Sam again~ We talked about how sometimes one family would be awake while the other was asleep. We talked about how they were sleeping on the plane on the way there. Sam said, "Are they asleep right now?" Then, with surprise, she said," Even Aunt Dana and Uncle Ryan?!" as if they were supposed to fly the plane.

Ryan and Dana have already grown so much through this whole process. They (and the kids) have given away many, many precious earthly things to them. I watched Ryan give away his "beloved" espresso/cappucino maker my grandma had gotten for him a couple of Christmas' back. He used to make Derrick plain jane coffee and me cappucinos when we'd get together for New Year's to play Bible Trivia and Monopoly. I have a dream to play Bibliopoly with them one day. I think they have a better understanding of the verse, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 better than I do.

Unbelievable but Dana made Peppermint Bark for gifts on the last night they were here. Amidst all she had going on she wanted to leave those Christmas gifts. Which, I am so thankful she did because it is really, really good.

Dana has taught me SUCH a great deal about MANY things. I will still be able to call her constantly with questions like, "What should I do about...", "What should I make for the birthday party?", "Do you think it's okay to use expired (such and such)", "Did you like that...", and on and on. My afternoon will be her bedtime. My morning will be her afternoon. I will just have to time it right now.

And one last thing.God is going to use them tremendously in France for His glory and it is exciting. But, with it will come trials, testing, hardships...One thing I have found in my own life is that God uses those trials to draw us closer to Him and make us more like Him. I am astonished at the way He has used the most terrible things that have happened in my life to bring about the best things in my life. It has caused me to trust Him more and fear much less (although I am still growing). He works it ALL for the good of those who love Him. He used the absolute worst thing in my life for the absolute best thing in my life: my salvation. If it were not for my brokeness, I wouldn't have come to Him. But now, I have a relationship with the God of the universe. And those other things, that is where I have experienced the most growth. So, would I take the bad away? No. That's where He meets us, shows us our need for Him, and that He is worthy of our praise, that He loves us and knows what is best for us even if we don't think it so. He allows us to go through dark times and He uses it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Time with the Cousins

These last days with the cousins (and my mom being in from California) have been so much fun! Lots of good food, laughs, staying up late, and memories. We've been playing, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader," looking at Christmas lights, eating out (once we had some Indian food at my mom's, one night Charleston's-very,very yummy Chicken Piccata, tonight we had chili, cornbread, salad, brownies, ice cream, and French Silk pie at our house), hanging out at Bass Pro Shop, hot chocolate & apple cider from Starbuck's, the kids had fun when I put their faces on "Elf Yourself"...Tonight the kids put on a "Christmas show" for us and made a theatre out of Sam and Bel's room. They made us a ticket and even signed autographs after the show was over. I was just in there picking up some of the toys they played with after everyone left. All I could wish for is more time...more time with them. Or, that time could just stop for a bit. I love them so much and am going to miss them more than my heart can stand. France is getting a HUGE gain. God is going to bless so many lives through them. May He work mightily through them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Lighting of the Blue Whale

Derrick, the kids, & I went to the "Lighting of the Blue Whale" tonight! Our Mayor was there too! We are getting really excited about Christmas! Derrick and the kids got the nativity scene (Papa Rick's) and stockings down from the attic today and decorated. Soon we will get a Christmas tree...

Also, I always like to share a good book. I can't remember if I mentioned how much I have enjoyed, The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot. I have had many sweet moments curled up with that book and snacking on dark chocolate dipped in my favorite White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter. But, now I'm on to a new one that I know I'm going to love just as many others have said how much they love it. It is called, What Did You Expect and is written by Paul David Tripp. I love everything I have read by him and also his brother, Tedd Tripp (Shepherding a Child's Heart). I often wonder why God has allowed certain things in my life or my marriage...Paul David says, "We will grieve because we will face difficulty that we neither anticipated nor planned...With this word, tested, God tells you one of the most significant things you will ever understand about your marriage in the here and now. God decided to leave you in this fallen world to live, love, and work, because he intended to use the difficulties you face to do something in you that couldn't be done any other way...Now, it is not wrong to want to be happy, and it is not wrong to work toward marital happiness..." He went on to say that there is nothing wrong with this goal but the only problem is that it is too "small a goal." He said God is working on something much deeper and if He wasn't, He wouldn't be faithful to His promises to you. He went on to say, "The words mean that God is working through your daily circumstances to change you. In his love, he knows that you are not all that you were created to be. Even though it may be hard to admit, there is still sin inside you, and that sin gets in the way of what you are meant to be and designed to do...God is using the difficulties of the here and now to transform you, that is, to rescue you from you. And because he loves you, he will willingly interrupt or compromise your momentary happiness in order to accomplish one more step in the process of rescue and transformation, which he is unshakably committed to."
;)Love it...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just Random

I read a quote from C.S. Lewis last night that reminds me of Derrick:

"The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come."

This stood out to me this morning and I wanted to write it here so I don't forget to think on it-

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth...'The Lord knows those who are His,'and,'Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.' But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work...And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Isabella is turning 3!

Precious Bella is going to have a birthday soon! She is such a joy to us all! She (and her brother and sisters) adds SO much sunshine to our lives! She is so funny and has the most adorable voice. Derrick is always making her say, "Girl" because it is too cute when it comes out as "Gorilla." "I'm NOT a silly gorilla (girl)!" Or maybe it sounds more like "Gorla" but we tease her and say gorilla. She says she's going to have a blue birthday with a Stawberry Shortcake cake.

Isabella is super laid-back and never did go through the "terrible twos!" When she grows up some of the things I will miss most about her are her "chocolate blankie" (it's pink and brown, fuzzy on one side and silky on the other and she cannot go on without it), the way she sucks her pointer finger when she's holding it, her big chocolate eyes, her precious voice, her affection that has grown so much lately, the way she drags her blankie to the breakfast table, how she (gently) grabs me by my face to get my attention, the way she talks when she's playing with her dollhouse dolls, the sound of her sucking her finger in the back of the car, her cute baby face that is a mixture of us all (Bay looks like D, Sam looks like me, & Bel is a mixture of the two of them), her praying (she has a VERY hearty, "Amen!"), her big smile with a little crook up top from sucking her calloused finger, her riding her little scooter, her riding on the back of the tricycle backwards while her brother or sister drives, the way she loves to sit and read books, her doing her "schoolwork" (scribbling on a coloring book), her asking for her back to be scratched and to be tucked in "snug as a bug in a rug" in her bed, the way she will sometimes put herself down for a nap if she's tired (that's not normal, right?), the way she licks all the icing off a donut and leaves the rest or butter off a roll..., the certain laugh she gets when she gets excited about something, I could go on and on...Derrick calls her a little jewel. And she is.

Quote from C.H. Spurgeon

"You cannot expect God to listen to you if you will not listen to Him; and when you ask of God, you must not imagine that He will give to you what you ask of Him if you do not give to Him what He asks of you." C. H. Spurgeon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Schedule

While I was cleaning I actually saw a sticker stuck to the kitchen chair under Bella's highchair that said, "Wow!" I thought to myself, "Yeah, that's what I was just thinking." Actually, I can't say if "Yuck!" or "Wow!" was my first thought. Dried milk and crumbs waiting to be scrubbed... I had taken her chair off to clean it. Right now I am working on coming up with a schedule so that I can just do the next thing when I can't even think straight. Things like cleaning the high chair, the car out, refrigerator, laundry, lesson plans for school, my closet!!!...I could go on and on. I heard that having a schedule helps a lot when you are having a rough day and it helps you not to waste time. A friend said that if she is having a hard day she just does the next thing and even though she doesn't feel so great she can still say something like, "But, wow! Atleast my dishes are done!" I already have a rough schedule but I'm talking about a detailed one. It takes me a long time at the grocery store even when I don't have the kids with me but I made a menu and list of things I needed and got out of Target with 46 items in less than 25 minutes the other night. That is really good for me! I'm the kind of person that has to smell everything (like soap, shampoo...)and think everything through and have gotten in a bad habit of going without much of a list and just get whatever recipes are already in my head. I even saved money the other night when I saw I could use some of the same ingredients in another meal that I ended up putting on my menu. People often ask what its like having 4 children. I often say, "Easier than having 3 and being pregnant." It is nice to have my energy back. Nonetheless, no matter how many children I've had having a schedule and being organized when I have stuck to it has always helped. Also, the more children we've had I think the more we've tried to "step it up" in training them whether it be a discipline issue or training them to help out around the house because you know you just have to! Thankfully, Derrick has been good to train them with cleaning because it seems so much easier and faster to just do it on my own. But, the training may be hard at first but the blessings of it come later. Anyway, I'm really trying to come up with a schedule to help me balance my time and not waste any time. I have a lot of hope. Now, if I could only find the TIME to sit and make a schedule that I can attempt to follow... ;)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Jim Cymbale writes, “God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him.”

I am quoting this from Stacie ( I do not get very far in my own strength and I know He wants us in a place where we are dependent fully on Him and not our talents, ability, or anything else. I get frustrated that I still have so much "me" in me if you know what I mean! It is when we come humbly before Him that He liberally pours out His grace. It is nothing but His grace that I am able to homeschool our precious blessings or hold my tongue for very long...All the things I struggle with & all my weaknesses should cause me to look to Him all the more. How often I forget or simply don't seek His guidance throughout the day. And then I wonder in awe at the chaos I have created. We need it every day, every hour, every second...

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." James 1:2-3

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2Corinthians 12:10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rolls and Scones

Good and Quick Rolls

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stir together:
1 cup white flour
2/3 cup powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 TBS yeast

Mix together & add all at once to yeast mixtures
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 1/2 TBS melted butter
1/2 cup honey

Add: 1 cup white flour,2 cups whole wheat flour, knead, & then return to the bowl. Let rise 15 min. Cut rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 10 min. Bake at 400 for 10 min. Yield: 20 rolls

*You can just warm up 1 1/2 cups of milk and skip the water and powdered milk if you want. A friend of mine made these with over-the-counter whole wheat flour and she said they did not turn out very well. I would suggest using either fresh ground flour from a Nutrimill or buying some fresh ground flour from a place like Great Harvest. I also knead it in a Bosch and have never kneaded by hand so I don't know how much of a difference it makes. These are really yummy and pretty healthy. We eat them for snacks, with meals, or even as a breakfast with apple butter or honey. By the way, Cracker Barrel has some really yummy all-natural apple butter without high fructose corn syrup. One of theirs has it and one doesn't so if you get some look for the one that says, "Natural" and not "Spiced" if you want that one.

Bev's Scones

(I got this off of

4 cups white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS baking powder
2/3 cup cold butter (cut into pieces)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp lemon zest

Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Add lemon zest & cream. Knead until well mixed. Place dough in fridge for half an hour. Roll dough 3/4" thick. Cut with a round glass. Brush heavy cream on top & sprinkle with sugar. Bake on 375 for 15 min. To make these healthier you can add a cup or two of the wheat flour I talked about above or probably even store bought whole wheat flour. I also like to add cinnamon to the sugar that goes on top.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

4th of July and Bay's 7th Birthday

Bay wanted to have a birthday party at G-ma Bobber and Papa Mitchell's lakehouse so we had two different parties for him. Thank you G-ma Sue, Aunt Laura, G-ma Bobber & all that came and made it so special. He turned 7! I can't believe it. We stayed there with the cousins for a couple of days. It was so much fun and we ate out a couple of times. We went to a Mexican restaurant that had the best fajitas. Thank you for sharing your lakehouse with us, Gma and Papa!

I grabbed these pictures off of Dana's blog!
We had the cousins over for the 4th of July. We were going to go to a fireworks show after we ate and did some fireworks at our house but we never left!

Hershey's Doubly Chocolate Cookies

If your name is Kimber, you might not want to read this! ;)

These are really yummy!

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups Hershey's cocoa (Once I made it with Hershey's Special Dark and once with regular. I liked them best with the Special Dark).
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 (12 oz.) pkg. Hershey's milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts (they were really good with finely-chopped pecans)

Preheat oven to 350. In large mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min. Cool slightly.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Loving Our Children

This picture is of the "boo boos" I talked about in the last post. They had all three hit the same bump in our road one right after the other and fell off their bikes/tricycles. Isn't it terrible of me that I thought it was so funny?! Not that they got hurt, but the situation.

Right now I am going through "The Titus Two Woman Study Guide" by Pastor John Barnett. I love it and there is so so so much to apply from it. I want to share some things from it on loving our children. Maybe some time I will share some on loving our husbands too.

"A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral the dwelling place for an immortal soul. No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities." (I put an emphasis on those two words because I think we all understand! ;) )
Dorothy Patterson, one of the authors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

I want to summarize some of the main points:

*Express ways you want to be a deeper part of their life (monthly dates, weekly prayer studies, nightly prayer times, ongoing shared prayer list)...

I know my brother and sister-in-law often take the cousins out on a "daddy/daughter date" or "mother/son"... Derrick takes turns taking one of the kids out to breakfast to meet with his mom sometimes.

*Start a life-long prayer list with specific areas that you have learned from them need prayer, and then PRAY. Ask for updates. Celebrate answers. Pray Together. If you are not praying for them each day, who is?

He pointed out Christ's model prayer in John 17.
v.15-17- "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth."

Another scripture came to my mind to pray that they would be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

*Another point is to be students of our children.
We can do this by knowing their interests. "Get into his or her world." Be lovingly persistent in communicating with your children, share activities, take the initiative in asking them questions, and listen to your children with full attention- "Let them see your eyes light up when they talk to you."

That last point I definitely want to work on by being off the phone more and by not being distracted with something else such as the dishes or something. It is sad but sometimes I may not hear my daughters voice until the 4th, "Mom."

He writes," Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they meet their needs with love: through a regular schedule of nutritious meals, clean clothes, clean bodies, adequate sleep and rest. Give them a heart that serves. And as we do so, we add to that more gifts:
Give them a heart that rejoices and is filled with happiness. Psalm 113:9 describes a 'joyful' mother.
Give them a heart that gives like Christ's (Mark 10:45): because love gives (John 3:16); because love is generous (II Cor.9:6); because love expects nothing back (Luke 6:35)
Give them a heart that plays and is full of fun.
Give them a heart that celebrates all their special days (Matthew 5:41); and since we have to do all those things in the family, why not make them special!
Give them a heart that prefers you family first (Titus 2:4 says they are your first priority).
Give them a heart that is focused (Matthew 6:24).
Give them a heart that is present and attentive (Psalm 119:10 'my whole heart').
Give them a heart that trusts in the Lord (Isaiah 26:3 'perfect peace trusts')."

Oh, how I long to have perfect peace from trusting in the Lord, especially when it comes to the lives of my children. Oh, how I often I fail in this area. Fearing is not trusting in the sovereignty of the Lord. Maybe, Lordwilling, one day I will get better at trusting instead of fearing. Sometimes I think that I think it is in my control how my children turn out rather than in the Lord's control. How overwhelming, especially seeing how imperfect I am! He may use this broken vessel (me) in the lives of my children but they are ultimately not in my hands. They are in His. Remind me of this from time to time, would you?

"You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You." Isaiah 26:3

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We love our cousins!

I'm pretty sure if these babies weren't in there own daddy's arms that one could still tell who they belonged to!
The picture of the older cousins in the tub is actually the night I went into labor with Livi. We watched them that night. We ate dinner out on the picnic table and took them down the street to ride bikes and play. Just before midnight that night I was eating some fried potatoes, I think. I hadn't had a lick of contractions except for earlier on in the pregnancy and thought I remembered always having the warning of contractions.I was just reading one of my old pregnancy journals and realized I really didn't have very many with one of the other babies & realized I didn't necessarily have to. I thought to myself, "I better get to bed! What IF I went into labor anyway? That would not be good to not be well rested." Of course, I truly didn't expect to go into labor and was always telling people, "My babies never come early!" Sam came on time, Bay was 5 days late, and Bella 2 days late. The girls even had due dates that got moved up a week on top of that! This day was 6 days before my due date. You can imagine my surprise when my water broke just one hour after I had been in bed at 1:00 a.m.! I couldn't believe it. I told Derrick, "I'm not ready for this! I haven't rested! I haven't packed!" He said, "Shouldn't you have done that a couple of weeks ago?" I said, "My babies never come early!" In actuality, I really have had my hospital bag packed way early but we had just moved out of one house and into another one and I had been focusing on getting the new house in order before the baby came. Add on top of that I had to pack bags for 3 children. Derrick wanted to be of more help but I knew what I wanted and needed and ran around packing, which was a bit tricky with broken water. Anyway, it was a fun night with the cousins. Two of mine and one of the cousins flew off their bikes or tricycle all three right in a row that night. Derrick had all three of them sitting next to each other crying as he bandaged them up (maybe if I find the picture we took of it I can put it on here). Then they all hopped in the whirlpool bath with their swimsuits on. What an exciting day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Mama's Sore Heart

I literally had a sore heart yesterday. It all began at the library. I had the kids in my sit-n-stand stroller that I love so much and was standing in an aisle at the library. Samantha gave Bella a "knudge" or whatever it was when they were sitting on the bench of the stroller together. She said she didn't mean to knock her over. Isabella fell down to the floor and started crying. At first I was thinking more along the lines of "be quiet!" rather than "are you hurt"? I quickly realized that Isabella wasn't going to stop crying even though I was trying to help her. A woman next to me said, "Can I help you?!" She seemed to think it was more urgent than I did. Then I saw what she saw. The blood. It was dripping down from Isabella's head to her shirt to the floor... Again she said, "Can I help you? Can I hold the baby?" She looked at Bella and was saying, "Sweet Jesus!" softly. I was holding Livi because she had gotten fussy before Isabella fell. I let her hold her and asked her to put the baby in her carrier on the stroller. I was holding Isabella's head with her blood on my hands. The lady went for help. I had Bailey push the stroller and made it to the counter where a man was trying to get an ice pack to work but it wouldn't. At one point I looked and saw all eyes in the "used to be quiet library" were on us and the blood running down Isabella's back. Some were gasping or saying something along the lines of, "Oh, my!" I was glad when the lady reminded me what I have already learned from the other kids that head injuries tend to bleed a lot. The lady helped us to the car. She was so sweet. We got the kids in the car and suddenly it started pouring down rain. I welcomed it as it washed the blood off my hands. I called Derrick and he said I should go back in the library & get ice and apply pressure but I told him how difficult it was in there and just getting to the car and that it was now pouring down rain. I assessed her head well enough to know I could go to my grandma's down the road. When I took her inside there I was able to get a better look at it. I knew we needed to get it closed up. My grandpa sent my grandma with me because he thought I was a little out of sorts. She drove and I applied pressure with ice to Bella's head, tried to feed the baby that was now overdue for a feeding, called the doctor, some other calls, tried to instruct my grandma how to turn my wipers on because it was still pouring down rain (I thought we were all going to die!)... Then we got turned away at an urgent care because they don't stitch 2 year olds. So, finally we got to the emergency room and walked in looking like wet rats. Isabella's hairs were standing up on her arms being cold from the ice and rain. We put a blanket on her. The doctor told me to hold her arms and legs down because we were all sure she going to be pretty upset when he stuck the needle around the wound. She layed on her stomach as quiet as a mouse and still as she could be. She didn't move or make a sound. She hadn't cried since we left the library. I watched him stick the needle all around and then staple it six times. It hurt me! Even with the staples she just layed there! We couldn't believe it. The nurse said in her 14 years of experience Isabella was the best patient she ever had. I thought maybe she has a high pain tolerance. When she sat up I said, "Isabella? Did that hurt?" She just quietly nodded her head yes. Then she said, "Can I have a piece of gum?" I laughed and said, "YES! Yes, you can have a piece of gum." She smiled and chewed her gum heartily. On the way home I decided we were going to pick up dinner. My body was physically spent and my heart literally hurting. We smelled of the metallic blood smell with blood all over the back of Bella's shirt and dried in her hair and on me as well. Bella was starving so I let her eat some leftover Chik-fil-a fries in the car. She spent some time visting with Derrick and he was looking at her head when we got home. Then we showered before we ate our dinner. It happened to be one of those days that I was ready to be over with. The toilet clogged and yucky from a Weeble Bailey had flushed down it, Bailey slinging hot sauce into the refrigerator that resulted in having to take out shelves and drawers to wipe it clean, couldn't find my wallet to pay for dinner and had to get back in the drive-thru line just to pay for it (thankfully Sam had reminded me that it was thrown in the stroller at the library that was now in the back of the car)...And Bella, I thought she would have passed out, still had a lot of energy at bedtime. I couldn't sleep when I finally did get to bed. But I am so thankful to God that Isabella is okay.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Another Book (for adults this time)

Derrick got in from Kentucky last night. He took a short summer course. I thought about taking the kids and going with him but decided not to take the 10 hour drive with him. I wasn't sure if we'd get much time with him between being in class and doing homework so thought it would be best if we stayed here. It turns out Derrick thought Kentucky was fabulous and there was free time for him as well as lots of fun free stuff the kids and I could have done when he was in class. Rats! We will remember that next time. He brought back some really good kids books, a Greek t-shirt for me, and a book for me called,"Don't Make Me Count to Three!" A Mom's look at heart-oriented discipline. It is hilarious so far (I'm only to Chapter 2)! But, the best part about it is that it gives biblical and practical advice on how to reach your children's hearts rather than just dealing with their outward behavior. It is not going to take me long to get through this book. Something she said made me feel so much better or like I'm not the only one, ya know? She was describing her life before kids and said, "...I never found the milk in the pantry, and I never experienced the sheer panic of trying to remember whom I was calling before the voice at the other end said, "Hello?" Yesterday, I placed an order by phone. When the sales lady asked me for my address, I had to put her on hold. I absolutely could not recall my own address. It did finally come to me as I was reaching for the phone book to look it up." If you know me, it will not surprise you to know that I sometimes do that with the phone but I have yet to forget my address. I thought I was the only one that did stuff like that so it made me feel better to know someone who is actually "solid" does stuff like that too. ;) Adding Livi's birthday to my brain was a little bit challenging (more numbers to remember now) and it sometimes takes a minute for me to think of the correct birthday for a child at the doctor's office. She also told of an experience she had while she was in the process of writing the book. She said, "Recently, I actually waited in line at the bank drive-through, pulled up to the window, and stared blankly at the teller as I said, 'I have no idea why I'm here. I'm supposed to be going to the post office.' She looked very concerned as I drove off." There is something she shared that made me laugh the most but it is too embarrassing for me to even write it. Anyway, I strongly recommend it. Tedd Tripp (author of my favorite parenting book, Sheperding a Child's Heart) endorses it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Funny Book

The kids are doing the summer reading program through our library so we have been reading lots of books. One of my favorites is a Berenstain Bears book called, The Bike Lesson. It is hilarious! The kids and I got some good laughs and I made sure to do a deep voice for Papa Bear and a cute, high-pitched voice for small bear. It was fun sitting and laughing with them. We also got the Berenstain Bear book called The Honey Hunt and it is funny too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Some Things on My Heart

I have had a few things that have been impressed upon my heart lately that I don't want to forget. I want to share them here and meditate on them as well.

The first one is from a one year devotional that my sister-in-law got for me. It's called, The One Year Devotions for Couples by David and Teresa Ferguson. I will summarize some of it.

"Giving freedom in marriage means I allow my spouse to be different from me, to be unique. Freedom means not dwelling on past hurts. It means not being fearful about the future, but being committed to living in the present. Freedom means learning to relax and enjoy life with one another. It means not fearing rejection or a withdrawal of love. Freedom means living in liberty in all that we share- physically, emotionally, and spiritually...True freedom means that I can live and love liberally and yet I am constrained by the love of Christ. What an awesome thought: Christianity isn't about what I can't do, but about all God has provided. A free man is under no obligation and is not motivated by fear. God's grace frees me from the bondage of performance, and security in Christ frees me from the fear of His judgment or rejection. Because of the gift of such love, I now have something to share with others, beginning with my spouse. I can share grace and acceptance, not fear and rejection."

Live as free men... live as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

The second one is from a Bible study book I am doing on James. It is called, Growing in Wisdom & Faith by Elizabeth George. I will summarize the things that I really wish I could grasp and live out.

"He who teaches the Bible is never a scholar; he is always a student." I really need to remember this because I sometimes put pastors and certain people on pedestals.

"It's beens said by someone that 'there are two dangers which every teacher must avoid...He must have every care that he is teaching the truth, and not his own opinions or even his own predjudices. It is fatally easy for a teacher to distort the truth and to teach, not God's version, but his own. He must [also] have every care that he does not contradict his teaching by his life...'"

This because I teach my children (and also the co-op class of pre-k children this past year). The last sentence being the hardest for me yet. But, how I hope to push on toward the goal of "living it out" in front of my children. Have you ever, like me, been convicted when you have loudly yelled something to your children like, "Stop yelling at your brother!" I remember wondering where my kids learned to say, "Oh, great!" when they dropped something or something. I didn't say anthing to them about it but I just thought it sounded kind of negative. And then, one day I spilled something or something and said, "Oh, great!" just like them and I then I knew.

Here is something else from this study:

"If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:1-8

Oh, my tongue! I have much work needed in this area. I need to let my words be few. I get frustrated with myself because I get nervous and feel like I have to fill up space in a conversation so I just talk. Or I don't think before I speak. Or I speak when I should be listening...

And the last one is from a recent sermon.

He said we bring glory to God by the way we live. He said when he was 30 years old he realized that he was dead to himself and could live for Christ. That he didn't have to worry about his wants, needs, and desires anymore but that he was free to live for Christ. He said he has asked himself thousands of times since then, "What can I do for Christ today?"

How often I get tangled up in my own affairs and, much of the time, insignificant things instead of remembering to live for Christ instead of fulfilling my own desires.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Really Yummy (and really big) Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are not your average chocolate chip cookies. We enjoyed them so much around my house that I made them twice in one week and I really don't want to admit we had them the week before when someone brought them to us. I just had to have the recipe! The second time when my husband saw them he said, "What are you doing?!" I said, "Oh, those aren't for you!" and smiled. Meaning, "You don't have to eat those!" He said, "I guess I'll just have to have self-control." Did he though? No.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
tsp salt
1 cup butter softened, unsalted (I used Land of Lakes)
1 cup sugar
3/4 DARK brown sugar (that is supposed to make them crispier)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 bag of chocolate chips (around 12 oz.)

Beat butter & sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Mix vanilla. Add flour, soda, and salt. Add to other mixture. Don't beat too much. Add chocolate chips. Drop by 1/4 cup 4 inches apart (I use 2-3 cookie sheets because these spread so big). Bake on 375 for 15-18 min. Leave on pan for a little bit to cool.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Lovely Little Livy

Oh,how I love her! She is living up to her middle name and bringing such "Joy" to our home.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

An addition to the "New House Rules"

#11. Make sure all doors are latched securely before turning the alarm on at night.

Derrick was away and at 5:00 a.m. in the morning I was not awakened by the alarm blaring in my house but by a phone call. I remember thinking that I didn't know the number and I was sleeping anyway so I wasn't going to answer it. Then I heard the blaring alarm. Not a comfortable thing to hear at all. I decided that I WOULD answer the phone. If he would have said any other door than the interior garage was open I would have had him call the police immediately. But, I knew that Job (the cat) could open that door if it wasn't shut tightly. Turns out that is what happened but scary nonetheless. The kids slept through the whole thing!

* Also, I noticed there are some new followers and I have tried to check out your blogs but have had trouble getting to them so I haven't been able to. Maybe if you leave a me a message I will be able to. ;) Thanks!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Err... Joys of Living in a New Home

Moving to a new home is a very wonderful and exciting experience but, I have found, along with it come the establishment of a whole NEW set of rules. Here are some of them:

1. We don't lock doors.
This one was made after Samantha locked my bedroom door and ran and told me she needed help opening my door. Puzzled, I wondered why she couldn't open it on her own. That was when I learned it was because she locked it. I was trying to get us girls ready to meet the boys who had already headed on to church and now I couldn't get into my bedroom. This was only our second morning in and I didn't know where a hanger was, much less where I would find clothes for us to wear. Not that we have any wire hangers anyway...I finally found a tool of Derrick's that was small enough to unlock the door. This rule was set more firmly in place after she locked her brother and others out of her room on purpose. Who puts a lock on a kids bedroom door?!!

2. We don't play with fans.
Bailey has a fan in his room now. Need I say more? NO, we don't throw marbles in a fan to watch where they go and we don't stick other things in it either.

3. No PURPLE grape juice.
We didn't have any water hooked up to the refrigerator before Derrick bought a part for it so I made some grape juice because it was much more appealing to drink than tap water one morning. Bailey reached for his cup and I didn't know it and I moved and it went tumbling down to the floor. It spilled all over the place in the white kitchen. It was running down the cabinet, inside of the cabinet under the sink, on the dishwasher, pantry door, floor, going into any crevice it could find. After I was sure I cleaned it thoroughly enough that ants wouldn't find a trace of it in the near future, Samantha spilled hers all over the floor and it splashed on the walls, baseboards, and window. So, no more grape juice for awhile...unless possibly it's white grape juice.

4. Always keep a tag on your animals with your information.
Job (our cat) sometimes gets his collar off and I hadn't put it back on him. It only had his rabies vac. tag on it at that. We knew we had to be really careful about getting Job established here before we let him outside as I thought he might run back to our old house which is less than 5 minutes away. We didn't let him out that we knew of but he was gone. We spent many hours of the day thinking we may never see him again and drove to the old house and looked for him. Later that night he emerged from Bailey's room somewhere (maybe his closet?). We were excited but promptly went to Petsmart the next day to make him a tag with our information. We let him out after we got it on him and he knows his new house well!

5. Stairs. Hmm... what are the stair rules?
I need to get with Derrick on this one. Do you let them roll down them? Slide down them? Throw things down them? Slip slowly down each one with their feet? Now, I know they should not roll their baby sister, Isabella, down them EVEN if she is laughing. Yes, this happened.

6. We don't go outside without permission.
Bella came running to me one morning while Derrick was home on a quick break from work. She was excitedly asking me something and I couldn't decipher her words. I said, "I don't know, Bella...?" Then she ran to Derrick squealing, "Ask Mama? Ask Mama?" After she repeated that about 5 times I didn't hear her voice anymore. Derrick came and said, "Where's Isabella? She was asking you if she could go outside." "I don't know I thought she was with you..." (turning and looking at our front door that was wide open.) He had been carrying stuff inside and the door was still open. I ran out there crying, "Isabella!" and found her in the driveway. I think I broke her little heart when I shrieked, "NO!" at her. That was scary.

7. Don't panic if you see a wasp in the house.
We are going to have to find that nest and get rid of the source! We randomly see one flying around in here.

8. We don't play with blinds.
We have a lot more windows around here.

9. Don't lounge in the tub all night when you should be in bed. (This is for the adults).
The master bathroom at the old house had a crack in it and we couldn't use it so we are really enjoying this one.

10. Don't potty on the carpet! (This one is for Molly).
We had all wood floors at the last house with only a rug or two. Now we have mostly carpet and only wood flooring in the kitchen.

I am sure there will be more rules added but, in the meantime, hopefully I will get some of this stuff unboxed and put away!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do What You Can

Do What You Can

I like this post that I was led to by This is something I struggle with. It is such a busy time right now and I do not get to sit and savor God's word as I would like to. It really did help me when I laid a Bible open and came back to it periodically through the day. Of course, I have my scheduled time in the morning but you just never know when you are going to be interrupted by an earlier riser! My energy level is very poor. I am hoping it gets a little better after I have the baby. I would also add to not only do what we can but to cut some things out. Time is very precious and I pray I will get continually better at managing my time wisely and accomplishing the things the Lord would have me to. Also, getting enough rest. Umm, eating right (this I plan to get back on track with as I think it really makes a huge difference in feeling better and having more energy.

We are in the process of moving (this Saturday, yay!) so it has been an extra busy time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Potato Lasagna Casserole

This is really good. My kids rarely eat seconds at the dinner table but they could not get enough of this! I don't know if it's because they thought the spinach was going to make them extra strong or if they were feeling starved that night. We will see when I make it again this week. Isabella had 2nds, Bailey had 5ths, and Samantha had 6ths! I am not kidding. By the way, this is another one from my church cookbook in case you have it. Here it is:

Potato Lasagna Casserole

2 TBS olive oil
Garlic powder to taste
7 to 9 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used red potatoes).
1/2 lb. to 1 lb. bulk sausage
1 large onion, chopped
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup lowfat or fat free cottage cheese
2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar or Mozzarella (I used Cheddar/Jack)
1/4 cup chicken broth

Toss potatoes with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread evenly in an ungreased 9X13 inch or larger pan. Top with foil and bake at 400 degrees until slightly tender, not mushy. Brown sausage and onion; drain.

Combine spinach, cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, and sausage mixture. Remove potatoes from oven and pour sausage/spinach mixture over potatoes. Pour broth over all. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 to 35 min.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black Bean Casserole and Cherry Dump Cake

A friend of mine wanted these recipes and I thought I'd post them incase you might enjoy them too. That is, unless you go to my church and have both of the recipe books they are in!

Black Bean Casserole
2 Cups chopped onion
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 can Rotel
1 can diced plain tomatoes
Garlic powder to taste
2-3 tsp. ground cumin
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans , rinsed (unless you make the ones following the directions on the package)
12 (6 inch or larger) whole wheat or corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch squares
2 cup sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Combine onion, green pepper, diced tomatoes with juice, Rot-Tel, garlic, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in beans and tortillas.

Pour into 9X13 inch dish. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated through and not runny. Can top with sour cream.

Cherry Dump Cake (or Cherry Delight)
As easy as this recipe is, it has not turned out very well for me to make it in the oven! There is always some cake mix that is still dry or something. My friend gave this recipe of it in the crock pot and it always turns out great! You will probably want to double it because it will go fast!

1 can cherry pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix (I love it made with Butter Pecan cake mix if I can find it.)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/3 cup chopped pecans, optional

Place pie filling in the crock pot. Combine dry cake mix and butter (will be crumbly); sprinkle over filling and top with nuts. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Cultivating" Our Children

I was reading No Greater Joy Volume 1 last night. It is by Michael and Debi Pearl. Now, let me just say, most people either really, really like them or really, really don't. As for me, I really like what they have to say concerning training children to obey the first time they are asked by being consistently disciplined and trained. I like them but sometimes wish they were a little less harsh when they word things and we do have some doctrinal differences but it is not over any essentials of the faith. That being said, he gave me a really good word picture that I would like to share.

"If you will take time to anticipate the character you desire in your teenagers and cultivate it while they are young, you will be able to enjoy the fruit later on. We gardeners know that it is much easier to weed early in the season, before the sun gets hot and the ground gets hard. If you wait too long, you may wait until the experience is so painful and humiliating that you give up on one of your "plants" and say, "Well maybe next year-next child..." "I encourage those of you with small children, train up your children now. Do not wait until they are one year old to start training. Rebellion and self-will should be broken in the four-month-old when it first appears." He then gave an encouragement to think of ways you can train your child.

Now, I have tried to do some things in the hot sun and hardened dirt in a small garden that was so difficult to deal with I don't even have it in the backyard anymore. It is SO much harder. I have also had some difficulty with my little "plants" because I failed to train earlier and let some things go. It is much harder to undo the behavior than to train in the beginning. We learned that they understand waaay more than we think they do at an early age. We started training Isabella much younger and we are enjoying the fruit of that. My children are wonderful blessings and are little sweethearts but we do have issues that I think we wouldn't have had we trained them earlier. But, I pray God will help us where we are to train them up. I, myself, am still being "trained up" and hope that I can be a better example for my children to "follow me as I follow Christ."

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Year 2010

This year, of course, will have in store many blessings. One being the birth of our precious Livi in May. But, at the same time, we have had a significant loss and this year we will be without some of the blessings we have had in previous years. We lost Derrick's dad on December 30th and this will be our first year without his presence. He fought a long and hard battle with cancer and was extremely strong and absolutely amazing with the things he could still do being that sick. One being, putting together much of my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law's wedding.

There have been many things written about him including his obituary and the article the Tulsa World did on him, the things spoken about him at his funeral, and the many wonderful comments from friends and family on his facebook. He would feel so honored by the many events that have happened concerning his death. Derrick said, "I wish he was here to see all this." I said, "I know, but then there wouldn't be all this..." This is not an attempt to write something wonderful and elaborate but just my thoughts. I can't sleep as I have been laying in bed going over and over the events of the day from his funeral. Derrick and I talked and talked as he could not sleep either but I hope he can get some sleep because, bless his heart, he has drill he has to get up for at 5:30 this morning and it will be his birthday.

This may just be me but I feel like you can't really feel the weight of a person until you don't have them anymore. Like, you don't fully realize how much you love a person until you don't have them anymore. And then, even their annoying traits become endearing. In the last days I have definitely felt the weight of Rick's life. His friends left so many comments on his facebook, we watched the touching video of his life at his funeral, and all the things we've learned about him from his death. I looked at the pictures of him when he was younger with his children in the stage of life Derrick and I are in right now. I've been thinking over his MANY talents. And the little things...but they were huge. He used to elaborately decorate his place for Christmas with two Christmas trees, set a fancy table with namecards and decorations to take home (Christmas ornaments), make his wonderful Syrian food (I especially loved his grape leave rolls and baklava), and pour sparkling grape juice or apple cider for us. He was the best dog owner! His dogs were like his children.

This is the first time I have had anyone close to me die. One of the saddest things I have discovered about it is the impact it has on my children. Mostly Bailey because Samantha is kind of in "La La Land" about it. It was the saddest thing when he bawled and bawled and I just held him. Once he said, "Even though he died, he's still my Papa." Bailey understands and has lots of questions. I have to explain things like, "Why did God take him when he was only 56?" I contrasted that one with our little 4-year old friend that died of lukemia and our little baby I miscarried this year. I talked about how blessed he was to have those 56 years and how blessed we were to have him as long as we did. Then I reassured him that "everything works together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes". I told him that even when some things "seem" bad to us that God has a reason for it even though we may not understand it and that it is for our good even if it doesn't "look" like it. I gave him a scenario of our baby. I said, "What if God knew that our baby was going to live maybe even really long on the earth to be 70 or 80 years old but that it was going to reject God? What would be worse for that baby to live long on the earth and reject God or for that baby to die and go to heaven?" As I have said before, I have prayed (what John Piper prayed about his children), "Lord, if my children are going to grow up to reject you, take them now, take them now." Meaning before the age of accountability when they understand and may willingly choose to reject God. I, of course, don't know the reason why God allowed this to happen but I still know that He will work it out for our good.

Already, I have seen atleast a couple of really exciting things come out of this. One of them being that someone came and spoke to Derrick after he spoke about his dad at the funeral. Derrick gave an account of some of the happenings the last couple of years of his dad's life such as his being interested in reading the Bible, praying more, and seeing God's hand in the events of his life. One of the things he told us that Derrick quoted at the funeral was something like, "I'm going to miss thunderstorms. The sound of the thunder, the way the clouds look, the lightning..." He had gotten a liver transplant almost 2 years ago and his heart stopped beating. The doctor had to cut a huge incision and reached in and massaged his heart. Derrick talked about how he thinks his dad ended up receiving much more than a liver but he thinks a new heart after that event. A new heart that only God can give when a person begins to see things from God's perspective and however gradually or quickly begin to turn from their own way of doing things and begin the process of leaving behind the things that grieve God. Anyhow, this person told Derrick that they used to think his Christianity was fake and he was just excited about his newfound "faith". They said after hearing him speak they could tell that his faith was real and they said they trusted him and were interested in doing the same with their life. That is SO exciting that God would use Derrick in that way. The other thing is way too precious and I haven't even gotten a full grasp on my thoughts of it and maybe I'll share that at a later time.

And now I want to draw my thoughts to what our church family did for us. They put together a reception for us and it was VERY nice with a variety of foods and, of course, tons of desserts. I cried when I walked in and saw what they had done. These women (and a couple of men) have young children and many responsibilities at home (believe me, I know what it entails) and, yet, they devoted their time, energy, effort, money, and love into this day for us and made it so special. There was so much food we split it atleast 5 ways and got to take a bunch home. What a huge blessing as I don't have to go to the grocery store right away or cook. I have no idea how to thank them enough but wish I could. I hope to pass it forward to someone in need in the future. I struggle to keep up with the many things that have to be taken care of at home so I know what a huge sacrifice it was for them. I am so thankful for the many people who have ministered to us whether it be by praying, sending us a card, providing food, sending flowers, donating to Rick's scholarship or to Arts and Humanities, serving us and cleaning up at the funeral, giving us a phone call, singing or playing an instrument at the funeral,coming to the funeral, for loving and caring for my father-in-law, and much more.
Well, I think I may be able to sleep now and am starting to realize I will struggle tomorrow if I don't so...I really better go and try.