Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Today, January 13, 2014 we had our first of 3 home-studies.
It has been a long week and a half trying to prepare for this day.  We truly felt like we were going into it pretty blind.  We knew that our case worker would be looking for certain things, but much of our house is under construction and we were very anxious that would disqualify us from continuing on this foster/adoption journey.
We were also very concerned with being confronted with how we discipline our biological children.  Not concerned that our case worker wouldn't agree with our methods, but concerned that it would hinder us from going further in this process.

So far it looks like our worries were just that... fear.

Getting over the hump of our first home-study and actually having a good time with our case worker it is with confidence that I say that God is for us...
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 
-Romans 8:31-34

With that being said I will share a little of my heart to prepare the hearts of the ones that we love.  

I admit that pre-class I had a vision of children coming into our home in the same way our newborns came in, with much joy and celebration.  The children would know that they are safe, that they are loved and they can trust us.  It may take a little doing, but eventually our new children would come to know us as their only parents.  

This simply isn't true.  

Our children will come into our home because at their young age they have experienced something(s) so unspeakable and horrible that their parents will have had their rights terminated by a court of law.  And I already count myself as their [real] mom.  Without knowing their voices, without knowing their favorite food, without knowing if they will share the same blue eyes that my other children have, one thing I know with absolute assurance... someone is hurting them.

Someone who should be protecting my babies is hurting them.  A pain that will likely stay with them the rest of their lives.  

But, here is something that I would beg of all of you.  Don't ask about the pain.  At least don't ask what happened to them.  Don't ask us what their parents did or didn't do.  It's natural for you to be curious.  It would almost be weird if you didn't wonder.  But, their pain is part of their story.  We will be honest with our children about their past and they will know that it's their story to tell.  Perhaps in the telling they will heal.  Perhaps in their silence they will be protected.  Whatever the case please just know that the pain is there, it's real and it's theirs.

In the meantime, please pray for God's grace.  That He might do a work in their tiny hearts so that they will be able to attach to us and build healthy relationships in which to heal.  And pray that they might find hope in Jesus.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

May we fail no more.

Ben and I are currently talking classes to become adoptive and/or foster parents.  That "and/or" in the last sentence is perhaps one of the hardest decisions we will ever make.

Adoption, which has been on both of our hearts for at least 8 years, gives us the opportunity to give children an identity and a forever family.  Fostering allows us to share our family, our faith and our love to many children... and it there are so many children in need.

We are setting that decision at the throne of God for now, so I will move onto so many other thoughts I have about this process we have entered.  This past Saturday, December 28th, we drove from my parents home in Mt. Vernon and traveled about an hour and a half to our class in Waverly.  Honestly I felt as though I was suffering from Christmas hangover.  I was exhausted from many consecutive late nights.  And since I spent many of those nights over eating sugary yumminess I decided to skip breakfast (which is not out of the ordinary for me). But, that morning I had also taken some prescription medication and apparently if it has a label that says, "take with food" that's advice you should follow.

In short I was tired, grumpy, and sick to my stomach, fearing that I would vomit at any moment.  Couple that with the thought of sitting through a 3 hour state run class I was not exactly excited about what my Saturday morning held for me.  On several occasions during the drive I thought, "I don't even want to do this anymore, I just want to go back to bed."

This is the very struggle that rages inside of me.  We have five amazing children.  They are relatively healthy, happy and well behaved.  They all sleep through the night, feed themselves and are potty trained.  They pick up after themselves (about 39% of the time) and all of them help with putting dishes away, folding laundry and doing other chores.  And really did I mention that we already have FIVE children?

My wise husband stopped at a gas station along the way and bought me a bagel so that my stomach might calm down a bit and so that I also might get some energy to make it through the class.  It worked.  And it's amazing how your attitude changes when you don't feel like you're going to vomit at any second!

It doesn't take much to understand that the foster care system is in America is flawed.  But, it has occurred to me that for whatever the reason whenever the adoption of children lands in the hands of any government there is always corruption.  It is this corruption or "hoop jumping" that keeps many potential parents from entertaining the idea of adopting out of the foster care system.  It's this hoop jumping that sometimes makes me want to bail all together.

I don't want to play their games.  I don't want any government agency to have their hands in my life.  I don't want them telling me how to run my home or raise my children.  You know what I'm talking about.  Even though I have nothing to hide, I value my family's privacy and freedom.

Here's what it comes down to for me:

My God tells me, as a disciple of Christ, to take care of the fatherless.  Sometimes I think I can do things my way.  Ah-hem, not eating and taking prescription medication, comes to mind.  And it doesn't end well for me.  My unwillingness to help the fatherless is actually an act of disobedience.  If I know that God commands the disciple of Christ to do something and they justify a way out of it they are in sin.  Christian brothers and sisters, do you have any idea how many orphans need a family?

Furthermore, there are approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system.  According to the Success Beyond 18 campaign 26,000 youth (a year, I believe) are aging out of the foster care system.  That's 26,000 teenagers who have not been adopted and no longer have a place to call home.  They have no roots.  They have no support from parents.  It's likely that their siblings have been adopted into other families or will eventually age out of the system as well.  These children may have been in the state run system for many years and the state has offered them no hope and no future.  Without the support of a family many end up dropping out of school and will rely on public assistance and/or be incarcerated.

And it is in this reality that I believe the American church has failed its youth.  While we rally as pro-lifers we leave orphans in foster care with no hope of family.  We complain that each generation becomes more dependent on entitlements and have no work ethic, but we have left orphans in the hands of the state instead of bringing them into our homes and training them in the way that should go.  There are so many lives that need to hear the truth of the gospel and there are so few of us willing to pluck these children out of Satan's hand.

It really should break our hearts.  It really should cause us to examine our hearts.  There are far too many children in dangerous situations with little hope of finding a loving family willing to offer them hope.  May we, as a church, fail no more.  Our children need us.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Out of the belly.

I was listening to "It is well with my soul" (the version by 4Him) and was thinking how can make sure that it is well with my children's souls?  That whatever their lot they will be able to say, "It is well with my soul."  Even though Satan shall attack they will stand firm in their faith and not be swayed.

They have all professed faith in Jesus.  They are all so very young too.  They have not had many blows to their faith.

Mamas want to protect their babies from the things of this world that would break their hearts and their spirits.  We don't want them to feel the crushing pain of the betrayal of a friend, the pain of lost love, sorrow of the death of a spouse or child, the despair of poverty, the desperation of a failed marriage, the fear of having been diagnosed with cancer... and oh so many other things.

But the awful wonderful truth is that these are the things that make you decide what you really believe.  These are the moments that make you decide if the One you put your trust in can really make things well with your soul.

I remember well a time of great trial in my personal life.  It was a time of great sorrow, anger and the deepest darkest pain I have ever experienced.  While I'm a very open person this trial was not one that I shared with those closest to me.  In fact I turned to my "inner circle" of just three people that I feel like God choose for such a time as this.  And even within that circle there was one prayer warrior that had a great impact on my life... almost always giving the wisdom I needed and also knowing when to just silently help me carry my burden.  Yet, even with my inner circle there was still an overwhelming feeling of being alone.

Trials of this kind are hard enough.  But there seemed to be no one able to fully understand the desperation of my heart, for no one had ever carried my burden before.  At least no one in my inner circle and no one that I was willing to bear my heart to.  I feared that if I shared what I was going through that I would be shunned by those who meant the most to me and even if they didn't shun me our relationship would undoubtedly be forever changed.  So, I remained steadfast in my resolve to carry this burden in private relying on the prayers of those who knew of my breaking heart and shattering life.

It wasn't enough.  Undoubtedly there was power in their prayers.  And I recognized their wisdom for the truth of God and went to work at putting their advice into practice, but ultimately the despair always returned.  And in those darkest hours my anger turned toward God.  Because I believe that He is sovereign,  I believe that He could have prevented my pain,  He could have taken my trial away long before I had to walk through the pain that threatened to take my life.

But, He didn't.

And I was mad.

So mad that I would choke on His name as I began to pray again.  I began to doubt if He could really heal me.  If He did heal me, I imagined that I would always walk around with metaphoric limp.  Healing at that point became a hopeless journey.  My faith was deeply wavering and I was sinking further and further into my own despair.

At sometime along this journey when the pain was too much to carry any longer, when I thought that I would surely drown in my own vain imaginations and when Satan's voice became loud... I began to sing.

The song I sang most went like this...
Father, I adore you,
I lay my life before you,
How I love you.

Jesus, I adore you,
I lay my life before you,
How I love you.

Spirit, I adore you,
I lay my life before you,
How I love you.

Because it's such a simple song to sing it became easy to do it over and over and over again without much thought.  I didn't have to worry about messing up the lyrics or when the chorus began or all the other things I think about when I sing.

Instead I was just able to sing many times through the pain.  I was able to stop thinking about the things that threatened to destroy me. The more I sang the more I wanted to sing (of course not where anyone could hear me) and little by little my anger began to fade.

I began to change the lyrics a little...
Father, I adore you,
I lay my heart before you,
How I love you.

Jesus, I adore you,
I lay my life before you,
How I need you.

Spirit, I adore you,
I lay my mind before you,
How I want you.

And as I sang it I began to notice that I began to believe it.  Instead of running from the God I blamed, I began to cling to the Father I needed, that I wanted more than anything.

In that clinging I realized that this trial, though incredibly hard and painful, made my God very real.  I had always claimed to be steadfast in my faith and unconditional in my love...but perhaps I was more like the  Peter who denied His Savior than the Peter whom Jesus built His church on.  Perhaps the most precious place to be is in the belly of a great fish.  A place where the only One who could possibly save you is the One who created the great fish.

It was through this trial that I can say that I know without a doubt that I love my God.  I can trust Him for the good even in the midst of great sorrow.  And though I never want to go back in the belly, I know that I was never alone.  My Father was there every step of the way and he has made my heart more beautiful than it was before, for He has made my heart more like His own.

While there is still a part of me that desperately hopes that my children will never experience the pain that I have walked through, I also trust that God is more than able to bring them out of the belly.

It really is well with my soul.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Before I was married I had a vivid image in my mind of what marriage was like.  Sure it was going to be hard, but mostly marriage would leave me with a euphoric feeling of magical unicorns dancing in my heart all day long.

Ohhhhh!  And did I ever have an image of what pregnancy would be!  You know sundresses, glowing skin and walking in a field of flowers... actually levitating above the flowers with just my fingertips gently caressing the tippy tops of the blooms.  The joy of future motherhood carrying me in the breeze.

When home schooling enter the equation of marriage and motherhood my mind once again started working overtime.  There would be craft projects that accompanied every chapter of every book that we ever read.  We would take nature hikes and make murals on the walls.  We would memorize whole chapters of Scripture at the age of five.  The whole family would learn together and skip through those fields of flowers with a euphoric feeling of magical unicorns leaping over rainbows would dance in our hearts all day long.

I believe I've mentioned this before.

Well, it turns out that a mythical creature can't dance in your organs.  I'm sure that if a horned horse did dance in your heart that the outcome would be fatal.

My oldest daughter and I are in our 6th year of home schooling and so far it has been nothing that I ever thought it would be.

I know.

We are beginning our third week of homeschooling this year.  Hannah is in the 5th grade, Emma is in the 3rd grade, Benjamin is in the 2nd grade and Gabriel is a very enthusiastic Kindergartner.  And I can say that this year has the potential to be the absolute best school year ever.

Say it. Best.School.Year.Ever.

The last few years I have spent hours upon hours searching for a curriculum that would fit our family needs.  There are loads of quality curricula available for every teaching style imaginable!  It's amazing really. Home schooling families should be very grateful that so many publishers have spent so much time and energy in helping us give the greatest education possible to our children!

That being said...I cannot find the perfect fit.  Perhaps asking for a curriculum to be a perfect fit is similar to chasing down a unicorn to tap dance in your heart.

But, I did say it was going to be the best school year ever, I even tried to make you say it.  Here's what happened.  I found a curriculum that has been around for years and is known for its great literature.  It seemed like it would be a perfect fit for our family.  One look at the price tag and I knew quickly realized that I was wrong.  It was too much.  So back to the drawing board.

After agonizingly trying to make up my mind to find a curriculum that would be a good fit for our family, while not breaking the budget, I declared a year of freedom.

That's what I needed.  A year of home schooling freedom.

Now, before you panic and think that we're "unschooling" our children... we're not.  Instead this year I am free of my expectations ... there will be no murals and very few craft projects.  Because, I'm not that mom.  I know that mom and she intimidates me.  Not because she's rude or mean or demands I get my crafting on, but because I see her photos on Facebook and I know that I'm not her.  So, I try to be her and it ends in me yelling my ever loving head off because these children have minds of their own and they're not making it just the way I told them to do... and then they spill glue on my table and before long there is glitter everywhere. ev.ery.where. 

And I'm not science experiment mom.  Have you met that mom?  She can turn anything into an experiment, have her children reproduce it and enjoy it.  She can pronounce the terms in the science book correctly and understand what they mean without having to Google it.  She intimidates me too, not because she's an awful person, but because to me she seems pretty fabulous and my kids will never have that mom.

There are plenty of other moms I will never Patient Mom, Never Yells Mom, Super Organized Mom and Wonder Mom.  Yet, after years of telling other moms that they are the perfect moms for their children I decided to see if I could believe that I am the perfect mom for my kids.  I'm not perfect, nor do I have to pretend to be... because if there are any people in this world who know that I am not perfect, it's my turkey bottoms.
This is our motto this year.  It works for mom as well as the turkeys!

So this year I will have the freedom to be me.  To teach them the way that I know best and to spend time enjoying them.  I want to laugh with them.  I want to learn along side of them.  I want to cuddle up with book after book after book and watch their imaginations and interests bloom.  I want them to grow in the truth of who their Savior is and what He wants for their lives.

While I didn't find a curriculum that suits me perfectly I did discover that by going on Ebay and buying some books used that I had enough extra money in our budget to buy some of the literature that I really want my kids to enjoy.  And I did that by seeing what books my 5 favorite curricula were using for the time period we will be studying. 

I also picked a "foreign language" that excites me.  So this year we're learning American Sign Language and some English Sign Language.  This will help with memorizing Scripture and other aspects of our schooling that we're already learning.  Plus, according to some sources ASL is the fourth most used language in US. Furthermore, it will give our turkeys a unique opportunity to share the gospel in the deaf community (should we ever meet anyone in the deaf community).

This year the turkeys will continue to go with their Papa to sing in a few of the nursing homes here in town.  This has been a wonderful opportunity for them.  Not only do they learn the value of serving others, but they also get to serve along side of their Nana and Papa.

The other thing that I'm finding freedom in is that I'm the boss of the schedule.  Of course, I've always been the boss of the schedule, though there are years when I let the curriculum enslave me.  If it says I need to read 12 pages then by golly we read 12 pages.  Whether kids are falling out of their seats exhausted or are in tears because it's bored them to death.  Believe me, we've had a bore you to death curriculum and it made all of us want to shove pencils in our eyes so we would have an excuse to call it a day!

I do hope that my other home schooling mamas will have the freedom to make this the best school year ever.  It makes learning so much more fun for everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No one can fathom...

Just last week I attended the sentencing of Jeremiah Mumford and William Clayton with Ben.  I hadn't slept well the two nights prior and was up very early in the morning.  I don't think that my lack of sleep had anything to do with nerves, fear or other emotions dealing with the case, I just wasn't sleeping well.

When I don't sleep I get emotional very easily. No sleep = loads of tears. 

My takeaway from that sentencing was that neither Mumford nor Clayton seemed very remorseful.  Actually Mumford appeared uncaring and confrontational at times.  But, even in the midst of that hearing I very much felt the prayers of friends and family and had a great peace in the recesses of my soul.

Last night we experienced thunderstorm upon thunderstorm and again I was up.  Around 4 am it was obvious that the creek in our backyard was raising quickly and I was positive that our upstairs hallway was leaking.  On top of that my business is located in our garage and any flooding that would reach the garage had to potential to wipe out the business.  I tossed and turned all night trying to come up with ways to pay for a new roof. 

We finally got out of bed this morning a little before 6:30 am to water in the basement and did a quick shuffling of items held down there and prepared the sump pump... while trying not to step in the crap filled water. 

Ben's dad always says that if you eat a toad first thing in the morning your day has to get better... I think we were eating toads right away this morning! 

I was exhausted as I climbed into my shower and almost decided on going back to bed instead of heading to a second hearing/sentencing for Mumford and Clayton in Fayette County. 

I'm glad I didn't.

I had been praying that at this hearing that both men, but specifically Mumford, would have the courage to talk.  To say anything.  To not be a coward.  I'm not sure why it meant so much to me, but I knew that there are a lot of victims in this case and they deserve to hear something.  Hear them say that they're sorry.  Hear them say that they did a stupid dangerous thing.  Hear them say anything, even if they said that they weren't sorry, had no remorse or would do it again if they had the chance.  I just wanted to hear something that would reveal their hearts.

Jeremiah Mumford spoke.

He rambled for 3 minutes.  Though he never said he was sorry (that I remember) he did say that if he had to do it over again he wouldn't.  He did say that he regretted his actions and that he was remorseful.  He also said that he didn't know if it was possible for the victims to forgive him, but he hoped that they could.

And that's when the tears began to fall.

For sometime I have been an emotional wreck.  I cry for what seems to be no reason.  No one seems to understand what I'm feeling and very few people have asked how we're doing.  The shooting happened almost 8 months ago... and there has been this horrible, nagging, emptiness and loneliness that has been coursing through me.  I get angry about all sorts of things dealing with the shooting and how things have been dealt with since the shooting. 

I was telling my sister this past weekend that whatever this feeling is was something that I couldn't put into words because I wasn't sure I knew what it was.  I knew that it sucked and that it was wearing me out.  It was also causing problems in our marriage.  I could not understand why Ben couldn't understand what I was feeling.  Which is ironic to say the least since I couldn't identify what I was feeling!

I know what it was now.  It was an unforgiving heart.  I didn't want to forgive them and quite honestly I was pretty ticked that Ben forgave them.

I will never truly know if Jeremiah Mumford meant a word of what he said in court today.  He may have been lying through his teeth and laughing at the rest of us for falling for it. 

But, that's on him.

I have chosen to forgive.  And I will live in forgiveness because that's the only way that they lose power over me.  It's also the only way that God can heal my heart and my fears. 

 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  - Ecclesiastes 3:-10-11.

I have no doubt that God has seen the burden that we have carried and that he is making us beautiful in His on time.  We cannot fathom the good that will be brought about by this season of trials. 

Friday, May 17, 2013


I was 16 years old when I discovered that I was in need of forgiveness of a supernatural variety.  After years of chasing after popularity and destructive things of this world I knew that there was nothing good within me. 

I was selfish.
I was mean.
And within the depths of my soul I knew that I was on a path that was going to lead to death.

On more than one occasion I considered taking my own life.
Had I not been so scared I believe I would have...

Yet, this blog is not about the darkest days of my life.  Instead it's about how a mighty God walked into my life and changed everything.

He started in my heart.  He showed me something that was bigger than myself.
He showed me a love that laid down its own life for others.  He not only saved my life, but He gave my life purpose.

It is the prayer of my heart that my children will never choose the path that leads to destruction.  I pray that they will make it their life's purpose to share the good news of Christ with others.

So on Wednesday night when Hannah came in very concerned about how to minister to her friend "M" I thought for sure my heart would surely burst...

Hannah: "How do we minister?"
Me: "Um, well, that depends?  Can you tell me what you're thinking about?"
Hannah: "I asked M today if she knows Jesus and she said that she didn't.  So, I got out that devotional that Grandma Cyndee gave me for Christmas and we read all the devotions and verses on "Who God is"."

We spent the next hour talking about the importance of praying for the salvation of our friends and family.  We discussed how loving others the way that Jesus loves them and living a life that points others to Christ is a great tool to get people to ask more questions about our faith.  We talked about what it means to give a reason for the hope that is within us and so many other things.

While discussing reasons for the hope that is within us, Benjamin and Emma walked in and Benjamin said this...
"Mommy, I know the reason for the hope that is within me!  I have hope because I know I'm going to heaven.  It's like this man at church was telling his kids, 'Heaven is the most fun place ever.  There's no more crying there and we get to be with Jesus forever!' and when I heard him telling his kids that I thought, 'I'm going there someday and I can't think of anything better."

I have to tell you that it took everything in me not to start bawling.  I've found that my tears of joy almost always makes my boys think that they've said something wrong, but you can bet your bottom that as soon as I tucked everyone into bed there were tears.

And so the next day as soon as school let out there were 11 kids in my yard and the majority of them gathered on the front porch... for what soon became a church service.  As Hannah, Emma and their friend, HR, began telling the neighbor kids that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead three days later.  They had their Bibles and devotionals out and soon Hannah came in a little perplexed.

"Mommy where's a dictionary?"
Me: "Why, what word do you need to look up?"
Hannah: "Evolution."
Me: "Why?"
Hannah:"We're reading something and it talks about it and we don't know what it is!"

The girls graciously allowed me to come out and discuss and answer any questions they had about evolution and creation... which lead to Hannah, Emma, and HR sharing the gospel with M.  Soon, Benjamin, Gabe, Jack and another neighbor boy "I" coming up, each with their own questions and desire to help M understand that Jesus loves her.

Before long Benjamin suggests that we pray together and so the nine of us gathered in a circle and each of the children (with the exception of Jack and M) prayed ... most of them prayed that M would one day be in heaven with them.

And again it took everything within me not to weep.
I do not know what the future holds for my children.  But, I am learning everyday what having faith like a child looks like and I am so incredibly blessed to be their Mama.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

For the love of homeschooling!

I spend a lot of time complaining about how hard homeschooling is and so this week I've been trying my best to count my blessings and think of all the things that I really love about teaching my children at home.

One thing that I really appreciate about homeschooling is not having to get up early.  My 8:00 AM alarm clock is a beautiful thing!  I also like the freedom of letting the children sleep in a little bit longer, though they rarely do! Not having to rush to meet a bus or get to school on time also gives me time to lay in bed and pray for my husband's safety at work, for certain issues that the people I love are struggling with and whatever else is on my heart.  This time is my most essential of the day.

Another thing that I really appreciate about homeschooling is that my children are almost always together.  Now, I must admit that this might also go on my biggest complaint list too!  The other day at our homeschool group one of the other moms pointed out what a blessing this is.  The natural process for many children is to go to school and develop friendships with their classmates.  I know this was true for me growing up.  Not having classmates means that my children are developing friendships with their siblings.  They don't have separate groups of friends that they spend most of their time with and only spend a few hours with their siblings when no one else is around.  Please do not think this means that we discourage our children to make friends or we are sheltering them from having quality friendships with other children. 

I'm also very excited that our kids get to be a part of a ministry to a forgotten people.  This month Papa Dan preaches at a local nursing home.  Before he leaves he takes 3-4 of my turkeys with him.  While they're there they help by singing a few hymns and of course songs like "Father Abraham" and "Jesus Loves Me".  Afterwards the older kids will say hello and talk to a few of the residents.  The younger two tend to hide behind Papa and Nana's legs! 
James 1:27 says:
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. 
Having our children go to the nursing home brings this verse to life.  God has great pleasure when his children serve widows.  And beyond that I love that Papa gets to be a part of their homeschooling experience. 

This year Nana Susan has retired from working as a Title 1 teacher in the public school.  She now has time to come 2 or 3 times a week to practice piano with Hannah.  Which is huge since I can't read music and am absolutely clueless when it comes to all things musical!  I wish that I would have learned to play an instrument at a young age.  She also takes Benjamin home with her after Hannah and her are done practicing.  While at Nana's house Benjamin gets extra help with phonics, reading and sometimes math on their computer.  It's amazing that he never whines about going over there for extra school!  Maybe because if he works hard Nana gives him M&Ms. ;)  How many other children get to spend their early years learning from their grandparents? If they went to the public school there would be no extra time for grandparents to be actively involved in their education.

Speaking of no extra time... I see so many of our neighbor kids getting home in the afternoon from 8 hours at school and going inside to do their homework right away.  Some of them don't finish before supper and have to finish after they're done with their dinner.  This leaves such a little amount of time for the family.  On the other hand our kids do around 4 hours of school a day (less for the younger ones) and then they're done with their book work.  There are still other opportunities for learning of course, but they're not locked to a desk. 

There are many other things that I actually love about homeschooling and perhaps I'll highlight more items at another time. But, for now I'm going to go read a book about bees to our kids.  Which reminds me... bees!  Bees will be at the top of the list for why I love homeschooling in my next blog!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hotsauce and I were bestoyed an honor...

My niece tells me that I haven't blogged since Easter and that I need to get on it...
She also told me that she brags to her friends about my blog!  Perhaps she knows that flattery works with me, but seriously, just the fact that she reads my blog is inspiration enough to get back in the swing of things!


Yesterday I turned 35.  I think of it as the beginning of middle age.  And I have to tell you I kind of like it!  The older I get the more I realize the less I know and the more I want to "figure it all out"... but the less pressure there is to "figure it all out"... 

That probably didn't make a lot of sense, but like my sister says, "There's no other place in life I'd rather be."  And that's exactly where I am!  Life seems to get better with age.

As I was saying, before I started to ramble, yesterday was my birthday.  I don't really have high expectations for birthdays.  Not that I think they're going to all suck, but I'm also not ever expecting a huge surprise party where at the end Hotsauce announces that we're headed to some tropical island where children aren't allowed to keep asking the same question over and over and over and over again.  Though, to be clear, I wouldn't object to said birthday party extravaganza!

To celebrate I was looking forward to going shopping.  I'd been saving up my blow fund and I was ready to get a few new items into my closet.  Our first stop on our shopping journey was Target.  Target was relatively empty on this rainy Tuesday afternoon, but nevertheless when you head out shopping with five children, not matter how they behave, you can expect to draw attention.

Now, anyone with a larger family will have stories about comments people have made ... usually well intended, sometimes offensive, and for us almost always encouraging.  But, I'm pretty sure our Target outing yesterday has topped the rest of our experiences.

You can imagine how thrilled Ben and the turkeys were to spend their afternoon shopping exclusively for me... they were all giggles and grins and some other adjective that starts with "g"... I don't know... I'm middle aged and the brain is failing... 

I think out of shear excitement one of the kids exclaimed that they had to go to the bathroom.  Since I was looking at a few shirts, Hotsauce decides to take the kid with him.  Soon others children were volunteering to go to the bathroom too.  You know, public restrooms are the single most wonderful places in all of shopping centers...

I notice a lady is kind of smirking as the majority of the turkeys realize they need to go to the potty all at the same time.  Not thinking much of it I continue my shopping in earnest knowing that they won't be gone for long!  When Ben returns the "Smirky" Lady mentions how well behaved our kids are being.  Ben graciously thanks her.

She presses on. "No, really, they are very well behaved children."
Ben responds with another thank you.

A few seconds pass and she says to him again, "They are really great kids."
My Spidey senses are telling me that he's a little uncomfortable and he responds back, "Thank you.  They're for sale if you want any of them."

They both laugh.  I look up from my shirt hunting and smile nicely at her, acknowledging that I have heard her compliments and assume that we are moving in our separate directions now.

Another child decides they have to use the restroom.  I believe this child was in the original group of potty goers and barely 3 minutes have passed since they've returned.  On a normal day this would greatly annoy Ben, but I think believe he saw his way out of an awkward situation and took off with all of the kids except for Hannah who continues to shop with me.

Some time passes and I hear Smirky Compliment Lady telling another shopper that we have really good kids and before long she says, "And then he says, 'They're for sale!!!'"  And her and the other lady have a laugh together.

Upon the group of restroom warriors return the Smirky Compliment Lady is beaming.  She again tells Ben that the kids are so so so goooooood!  To which he says, "Honestly they're very easy kids to parent."  This answer seems unacceptable to the lady and she replies back, "Oh, no, they've got great parents!"  He nods and thanks her again.   I'm not exactly sure where he heads to at this point, but seeing that she's headed in my direction he pretends to look at something else for a bit.

I think about running, but can tell that she has me in her sights.  I also feel Hannah's hesitation and she takes a step behind me. 

"I don't know if you heard me telling your husband this, but I think you should know, you have the best kids on the planet!!"

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but my immediate reaction is... On the planet???  Of course, I don't know this lady, but I think I can assume that she doesn't know every child on the planet.  After all, there are a lot of children in... I don't know... say China, or India, or Africa, or heck the U.S. of A. 

But, it does seem legit.  She has observed their behavior for the last 15 minutes, 7.5 of those minutes they were in the bathroom, but still she's probably nailed this.

Not really knowing how to respond, I say to Hannah, "Hear that?  You're one of the best kids on the planet!"  I emphasised "on the planet" too.  I couldn't help myself.  But, this was quite the honor for my eldest daughter... what being in the Top 5 Best Children On The Planet!!

Poor Hannah just shakes her head no and sinks further back behind me. 

Miss Smirks A Lot keeps at it.  "Well you are!  And you should know that people are thinking it! I was just telling that other lady that was shopping by us that you kids are the best kids I've ever seen."

So, wait, not only are you repeatedly stopping us your also dragging other unsuspecting shoppers into this weirdness??

"And you know why you're one of the best kids on the planet???"

Hannah shakes her head no and is silently begging me to get her away from this overly nice lady.

"Because you have the BEST PARENTS ON THE PLANET!!!"

And there you have it! 
The boldest, most ridiculous, comment we have ever received while out in public with our children.

I'm sure that many of you with children will probably cry yourself to sleep tonight.  What with falling short of our parenting genius smacking you in the face every time we go out into public and all, but I want you to know that there's room for you to become 1st Runners Up On The Planet. That's nothing to be ashamed of and you know what they say, "Shoot for the moon, if you miss you'll still be among the stars."

But, you'll never be us... said the best mother on the planet. ;)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Not sure I want to post this...

Since getting married I have gained 37 pounds. 

Ugh.  Really?  37 pounds?

I have also gained a double chin.  Or maybe three?  But, who's counting?

I also have this fat roll around my middle that makes me gag when I look at myself in a mirror. 

My thighs are starting to touch. 

In general, I'm getting fatter and older each year. 

But, you know what else? I've gained 5 wonderful children who don't see my fatty chin and love to press on my wiggly belly.  I've gained friends who may or may not notice, but still think that I'm worth being around no matter how much weight I've gained.

Tomorrow I'm going to start running again.  I look forward to it.  Not because I have illusions of becoming a supermodel... though I wouldn't complain, mind you ... but because I feel better when I do.  My body feels better and my mind is clearer.  I'm not as easily depressed on days that I run.

Last year I made it my goal to run a 5k and I successfully accomplished that goal. 

This year I want to run a 10k.  And last year blogging about wanting to run a 5k, insured that I wouldn't give up.  So now you're my accountability partners.  So this year a 10k, next year a half marathon and who knows what after that!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I want him to move it, move it... a little quicker.

Yesterday I received the following text from a friend:

"R u guys still thinking of adopting?  I know a family group u could adopt as long as they weren't split up."

I read it and immediately had a physical reaction.  My heart pounded a little faster and I gasped.  I had to remind myself that I was driving and I needed to get my emotions under control. 

Every time I hear of an opportunity to adopt I want to stand up and scream, "Pick me! Pick me!!!!!"

Yesterday, I feared that my heart might get too quickly attached (like always) and that if it didn't happen I would be devastated.  So I took a deep breath and silently prayed that God would protect my heart no matter the outcome and then asked Him, "Is this really it?"

A stillness filled my heart and soul.  God is protects me from my own emotions and is always good to me.

Turns out that my friend was offering her own children up for adoption!  She of course wasn't (entirely) serious and they had "straightened up" before I got the chance to take her up on the offer.

I'm not sure if God will ever see fit to let us adopt, but I do know is that He has not forgotten me.  He knows my heart and is faithful to care for it. 

But, I sure wouldn't mind if He would move a little quicker! :)