Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gingerbread House

We have decorated our home for Christmas.  I love it.  I enjoy creating our home into a space of beauty and sparkles with handmade items by the kids, my Willow Tree Nativity, the Santa that slowly moves his arms and ofcourse our bratty elf Markle Fisby.

Eli and I were admiring his Gingerbread house he made during his last December at St. Johns School.  Its so neat....with a cardboard milk carton as it base and each little gumdrop in its place, a pretzel chimney, a chewy ring for a wreath and a candy cane at the door.  Precious!  All held together by glue, so it would last years.

We had such a long day yesterday.  Started the morning at the tree farm picking out tree our and playing tree farm tag in the mud (it rained the whole day before, thank goodness for mud boots). Then Zahavah and I enjoyed a tea party, decorated our tree in the afternoon and spent the evening enjoying Christmas in the Heart of Charleston.  Busy, busy, day.

As Brett and I were rounding up the children for bed.  I noticed Z was chomping on something.  I said, "Z whats in your mouth?"  She was hesitant to tell me, but we have been "driving home" how important it is to always tell the truth.  Z confessed, "its a candy off that Gingerbread house!"  (insert jaw drop and chuckle here)  Me:  "Z THAT house isn't like the ones we made last year with icing, that house was made with glue, its not for eating, its just for decoration!  Go spit that out and brush your teeth again."  It was one of those many moments that I love as a mommy...cute and innocent.

But it makes me many things in our life are we tempted to enjoy that were NOT meant for us.  What do you need to spit out of your life?

 Tree Farm

 Wonderful tea party
 Christmas in the Heart of Charleston
Notice the candy cane at the door is missing...chomp chomp!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Absolute best & worst...

I'm not gonna lie, I'm too transparent for that anyways...being a stay at home mom of four and homeschooling two of them is HARD.  (yes, I'm very aware of the Super Moms out there that have 5+++ kids and homeschool all of them...they are AMAZING)!  Don't compare, that's Satan's work.
Last night as I walked into Bible Study, I was blunt...I THINK THEY WANT TO KILL ME, FINISH ME OFF!  I walked straight to our study room and laid flat on the floor.  I was having a moment.
It was a long exhausting two hours from 4-6pm, the Golden Hours for meltdowns, bickering, fights. Push Mommy to her limits and then push some more.  They push every button I have (even those I didn't realize I had).  They all want a drink of water at the sametime from the frig that is right in front of the stove...where I am trying to cook.  They all want to listen to Christmas songs on my iphone right next to the stove (no not at the kitchen table, its too far from ME).  They run the circle in our home like a track (do you have a circle?), they are LOUD.  They want into the snack drawer even though I'm COOKING!  I know, I know....I'll miss these days.
Back to Bible Study...we are studying James.  You know JAMES 1...Count it all JOY, whenever you face trials, the testing of your faith produces PERSEVERANCE (paraphrase).  Yep that James.  Our challenge from the week prior was to pick one of three (darn, I can't remember all three) but mine was to be SLOW TO ANGER.  I wish I could say that I have persevered and mastered it.  But I'm sad to say I have not!  Not even close!
I'm still convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is using my children to prune me.  My children bring out my absolute best....I am called a fun Mom, the bestest Mommy ever, and I make the bestest treats, buy the bestest foods, have fun crafts and tons of kisses, hugs and tickles!  But my worst also comes out.  I'm a yeller, even when I'm not mad.  I hate it.  Its a deep rooted, rotten ugly root that not only needs yanked out, but I need some serious repellent so it doesn't come back, maybe even a plastic barrier would help...right over my mouth!  GOD IS FAITHFUL!
And as much as I could sit in this place of UGH and just hate this character flaw, I don't.  I'm sure that is what Satan would LOVE.  For me to just accept it and carry on as if it has no impact.  That is a lie!!!  A load of crap!  It does have lasting effects.  My short temper and my loud voice do hurt.  I am working on it, everyday.  I don't accept it.  I truly do hate it.  I want to be slow to anger, slow to respond, quick to hear, quick to kiss and hug, quick to apologize and quick to forgive as well.  And I'm sure that is what God wants me to do too.
My children are amazing, I want to even say PERFECT (but I won't because you know....every parents in the world will be leaving comments about how their children are perfect and I'm psycho, I maybe but that's besides the point)!  My children are quick to forgive!  They are precious.  We (Brett & I) are very transparent with them.  We want them to know yelling is wrong and not as God desires a family to be...and they do know.  They (crazy as it sounds) call us out when we are raising our voice.  They know our goals (we all have goals in our home, but that's another post)
The most BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS thing about my absolute worst is (yes, there is something beautiful about it).  God is right there.  Meeting me right at that moment, never a minute late.  All I really need to do it stop and give it all to him.  Its not mine to carry anyways.  Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  That scripture is so comforting.  He doesn't give up on me!  He wants to be my strength when I am weak!  There is always hope for my failures when Jesus Christ is my Light.  Never a day late, never a dollar short, his love never runs out on me!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


God called us to homeschool quite awhile ago.  I was disobedient and well my hubby just wasn't on it was easy for me to continue in disobedience.  You can read all about that whole experience a few blog posts back...all about hubby's heart change, kid's last day of public school etc. This post is about a little slice of confirmation God gave me today.  I don't know about you but I LOVE a little "job well done,"  "I notice you,"  etc from the Lord.  My husband aside, I have very little support and encouragement in my life when it comes to my kids and family (although the Lord is changing that)!!!!  We started homeschooling on Valentines Day this year!  That's our anniversary homeschool date!  During that week Brett & Eli came up with the name "Frey Family Jedi Academy" because my son was over the top in love with Star Wars at the time (still is)...thanks to an awesome garage sale where we acquired a couple boxes of vintage Star Wars toys!  My son has read every Star Wars book he could get his hands on since!  I should seriously give that man a thank you note!  I know some people (even homeschoolers) think its odd to call our homeschooling an academy, maybe it is, but for us its adding spice and fun.  Well today we opened our AMAZING Apologia Bible book and BOOYAH they use Star Wars in the lesson.  No really they did!!!!  This conservative wonderful Bible Curriculum used something my son LOVES to teach a message about God!  This post isn't about if Star Wars is fit for a seven year old to indulge in, this post is about how AWESOME God is to give this Momma a little bit of "See I knew it all before you even started!"  "I will guide you through this, I know its hard, but I got you covered."  He knows the plans he has for us, plans to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us HOPE AND A FUTURE!  (para Jeremiah 29:11).
Love the Lord through obedience, trust him to guide you with your portion.  He is faithful, he will show himself to you!  He is (my children are learning the characteristics of God this week)...Omnipotent, Omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, and holy (also perfect spelling words!)  Trust him, He is THE FORCE!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ill Mannered Bratty Rotten OOC Kid

Did I just describe your kid?

 I dropped Silas off at preschool, where he goes to get speech help when the teacher informed me that my Si had been really rude the day before.  My Si?!  Really?  (Sense the sarcasm) We had already been experiencing some changes since school started...oh please tell me I'm not the only parent whose child changes when school goes back in session!  HaHa! Really it doesn't even take school back in session for children to pick up behaviors. That craziness can happen from going to Wal-Mart, visiting a park or Heavens to Betsy (unsolvable origin...just FYI encase you were starting to google it) Church!

The teacher kindly informed me that she realizes he has picked this behavior up at school and even knows which child he is morphing into.  Bye bye tender hearted sweet boy, welcome rude little I-want-my-own-way rotten child!!  What!?!  You called your child rotten, I call it like it is!

Here is where the rubber meets the road for me...I expect my child to pick up on all the characteristics of other children...the good and the bad. Its unfortunate that its mostly bad that comes home. sigh. In my opinion that's really not the issue.

The issue is...we live in a society of ill mannered bratty rottten kids!

Judgemental?!  Perhaps.  People judge us by our children!  They even judge our children! They may or may not avoid us based upon our children.  They judge how we parent or should I say...don't parent!  And many of us can say..."oh I don't judge."  "Been there done that, I know how you feel."  "I'm sure they are doing their best." Blah blah blah, deny it, but we have all done it!

I often find myself not thinking of the child as much, (although someone SHOULD as my Great Grandmother would say "yank a knot in his tail.")  My thoughts are more for Mom and Dad.  What is going on Mom and Dad?  Do you need help?  Have you lost control?  Are you beyond exhausted? Clueless how to parent? To me those are legit questions to parents with OOC kids (out of control kids). Side note: different than ADD kids!  Or at least I think so.

Which makes me think back to my Great Grandmother.  She would talk about the close knit community in which she raised her daughter.  Rebellion wasn't tolerated at home, the neighbors house, school or church.  The community helped raise children.  It was definitely a more stern society. We have come a long way from that.  We are no longer a community helping each other, but rather sitting back, judging and doing nothing.  I know, I don't want it to be true either.  I want those who need help to ask for it.  I wish I trusted my neighbor enough to call my child out on his behavior. To believe others care about the heart of my child, but they don't.

The good news is...I do!  And the good news is that God trusts me to care for my children. I care enough about my child (and other children sometimes) that I take the time to TRAIN THEM IN THE WAY THEY SHOULD GO. (Proverbs 22:6).  Am I an expert, absolutely not! (I read lots of books, pray a lot and ask loads of questions to mothers who have raised well-behaved God-fearing children)  Do my children rebel?  Yes  Are they perfect? Not by a long shot.  Are we together learning patience, forgiveness, respect, obedience, mercy, and grace?  Yes!  Am I strict?  Yes!  Do I expect children to obey their parents?  Yes!  Do I hope parents will step up to the plate and train their children?  Yes (although I think I understand why many don't....Part 2)

Children left to themselves bring shame to their mother (paraphrased Proverbs it, there is more there to help us learn to parent).  We are entrusted with much (what could be more important than the souls of our children?) and much is expected. God is expecting much from us!!!! (Luke 12:48 para.)  Parenting is a hard job.  Its not for the weak.  He does give us the strength each day to endure the path that is before us. (see 2 Cor 12:9)

God uses it all for his glory, even when our children grow up and turn to their own way (Part 3 perhaps).  I really don't have it all figured out, I work hard at it EVERYDAY.

Let's encourage each other to work hard at training our children.

In Him, Micah

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tough Stuff

Its been almost a month since I have posted anything here.  I would like to say its because life has been so smooth and busy.  The busy would be 100% true and well the smooth 100% false!  (Did you hear the teacher in me come out?) Its really been insane, that I can't even remember back a month to start with the craziness.  We had two birthday parties in August (I have to look through the pics on my computer to remember...I'm too young for this to be happening already), Brett's Mom and Bob visited and then later his brother along w/ our niece and fun!  Eli was sick with that nasty respiratory virus, I ran two 5K races within a week of each other (haven't ran much since high school...let's not go there), signed up for another Color Run in a couple weeks to do w/ our Classical Conversations homeschool family, went to my first Major League Baseball game w/ Brett, Zahavah and Eli!  And this month we started back to homeschooling.  And I garage sale'd some through all that.  All that sounds peachy and wonderful and fun...and IT IS, but....the enemy is alive and pecking (like a rooster, chicken whichever of those evil birds you prefer).  And I have been feelin it, from about every angle of life.  Its to be expected when your Pastor decides to preach on TOUGH STUFF. Tough stuff is gonna happen.  And it has been since before he started the series!  We also knew we would be under attack because my husband spent 72 hours on A Walk to Emmaus.  I have found myself in unrelenting spiritual battles.  Still happening today.  I rejoice that God has been faithful.  He DOES NOT promise a life free danger or hardship.  It was interesting last week when our small group leader said, "I don't want to sign up for a life of Job!"  And I thought...but haven't we already?  Haven't we already signed up for that by proclaiming our Salvation in Jesus Christ!!!!!  I didn't say that out loud, but I did think it.
Today my friend Pam Hudson spoke on stage with Pastor Scott because she has been fighting cancer for five years (I HATE cancer)...some tough stuff you bring on, and some finds you all on its own and Pam lives daily with HARD tough stuff that she didn't go looking for.  I know a Mom who lives with HARD tough stuff daily too, as two (YES TWO) of her children have a terminal incurable disease.  These ladies lead tough lives I'm clueless about, they have my daily prayers.
There is tough stuff we kinda sign up for too.  When we step out of our comfortable little box into the great unknown through OBEDIENCE, we can meet tough stuff face to face.  I think that is where satan likes to show our unchartered, unfamiliar places.  Homeschooling was a lot like that for me...a move out of total obedience and yet God is using it to shine light in all the places of my life that need refined.  I struggle and I do not enjoy it everyday, but I'm honest about it.  So many people ask, "So, how is homeschooling going?"  I'm not sure they are asking because they really want the truth or just asking to be nice, but I tell them the truth.  God is refining me!
He will use whatever we let Him.  Its called surrendering. In the big picture my tough stuff isn't tough compared to many, but it doesn't change the fact that it's still my stuff that God is using.  We all have stories. (rabbit trail)...I was just telling my husband how hard it is for me sometimes to look around and see the pain and suffering of people.  I see it, I can feel it, everyone has a story and a hurt.  I understand why drug use, addiction and suicide is on the rise...people are suffering without hope!
In all our tough stuff, we as believers are promised an eternal life FREE OF pain and suffering.  God wants to use our stuff to mold us into HIS image.  He also wants to shine His glory through us. Proclaim His faithfulness in our lives. He wants to BE IN the trenches with us.  I don't know about you, but I tend to want to run, no BOLT from my tough stuff.  I don't like it.  I don't like pain...physical or mental (I suffer mostly from mental, I know, har har) and I don't like those around me to suffer.  In my rare but occasionally busy co-dependent self I want to fix and help, fix and help and help get you back in your happy hole.  But really...what GLORY does God get in that?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Serenity Prayer

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right (new) if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next. 
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Most people stop at "difference", I did too til I knew there was more!  And the more is SO MUCH MORE.  Its important!  Those lines are the ones I find myself repeating more often, like...

living one moment at a time...
I so often find myself not living in THE MOMENT.  I'm either beating myself up over the past or living in the past hurt.  Or I am so focused on the WHOLE day, week, month planning that I ignore the PRESENT (which is a gift, remember!)

...accepting hardships as a pathway to peace...
oh boy...diapers can be a hardship...really they can be!  Rebellion in your child.  A detached family of origin, finances, addiction, death of a spouse or child...God works through all of that pain and suffering for HIS GLORY. Keep reading the prayer...

This where I land and think  New doesn't mean fixed, comfortable, managable in the present, the rest of the prayer indicates new as in eternity and that makes the most sense, that lines up with the book of Revelation.

Sometimes life is hard when the new isn't instant.  When the pain lingers.  When the hurts and betrayals resurface reminding us again to accept that hardship as a pathway to peace.  That pathway is, well exactly that...a path meant to walk through to heal.  I'm not going to lie, its not easy, its painful.  But our Hope is in Jesus Christ alone and he does promise to make all things new AND he promises to walk that pathway with you!  Keep walking.  Grab a cup of coffee and your Bible God is always ready and waiting to walk through life with you.  Have a blessed day!

NIV Revelation 21:5  "He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

NASB Deut 31:8 "The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Simple yet so profound...

The moment I wake up my mind is spinning 100+ mph (or whatever, I don't lay there for an hour...seriously like my kids would ever allow that!).  The typical morning is I need to do this and that oh and scrub the tubs today and change bed sheets, and teach teach teach (that has to be a top priority as a homeschooling family...I cannot forget that one; don't worry, I never FORGET).  Then pinterest (let's just stay off social media today b/c I have too much to do today.  Oh and I should take the kids to the library and then maybe the park.  Perhaps DQ for breakfast, wait lunch.  I should reach out to my BFF, I miss her!  Oh and I have to memorize all the Bible Scriptures to sign language for CC and and and and.  That's just a watered down sample of my ADD mind at 5:30am.
And then....I read something so simple, yet so profound!
"There is hard work in surrendering to God.  Being a follower of Christ is all about getting to know the heart of God and having a close relationship.  The best part is, this relationship is the only one we take into heaven.  So I must choose to get to know Jesus.  If I don't, the end of my life could look like this: I walk slowly up to the pearly gates and wait while someone checks to see if my name is in the BOOK.  I then walk forward to shake Jesus' hand, but I walk slowly because I don't know him that well.  For me, getting to know Him better means that I'll run through the pearly gates, jump into the Lord's lap, give him a big hug AND FINISH THE CONVERSATION WE STARTED THAT MORNING." -Meg Wilson (emphasis added)
Simple, yet so profound.  I don't do that!  Obviously, read that messy 1st paragraph.  And so I woke up one morning and said, "HI GOD."  I think I ever chuckled a bit.  How silly of me not to run to the creator FIRST thing every morning!  Don't get me wrong I pray with my husband before he leaves for work, so we do pray in the "morning."  But I'm not giving God the very first part of my day, my thoughts, my life, my day!  So I have started...
"HI GOD!  Its so hard!  Thank you for my wonderful blessings.  Please give me the strength for the day for all you have created me to be."
He promised he would...give me that strength and he also said  Have A Relaxed Day.  I love you, we got this together.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Friday, July 25, 2014

Teach them in the way they should go...

and when they are old, they will not depart from it. (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6)  This morning over breakfast I glanced at our marker board that I had my reminder (from last week) to "Be the hands and feet of Jesus."  The reminder wasn't written for my children, but for me.  Last week God hand picked, special delivered four precious souls into my yard.  They were straight from him for me to love on, feed, hug, listen to, provide a safe energetic place to play and relax.  I probably would have missed the whole package (I mean lesson) had I not just been praying and asking God about mission work.  Oh how my heart sometimes longs to work along side those mighty missionaries in Africa with all those beautiful orphans.  I'm in touch with many ministries that are feeding, clothing, nursing God's orphans in Africa...and I LOVE it.  You see their transformation from near death to alive and surviving and joyful, right before your eyes!  I want to do that!  But God in his majestic authority reminded me that I am needed HERE. In America to do the same.  (He told us when we adopted that His plans were not our plans)  Africa and America's orphans needs are the same, some more extreme than others...but needs nonetheless, and its not for me to determine where to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  I (and you) are just called to obey the calling.

Which takes me back to breakfast.  It dawned on me this morning that perhaps my children thought the reminder was for them.  And I realized they probably don't know what the reminder means. Its up to me to TEACH THEM. Over breakfast we talked about what it looks like to be the "hands and feet of Jesus."  How Jesus walked the earth during His years.  My smart little whipper snappers grasped it quickly.  I told them the reminder was for me, not them.  But now they too can join with me to be His "hands and feet."  It wasn't a profound lesson for them, shocker!  I think its easier for them.  Matthew 18:3, might have some bearing on why its so easy for them! (this might be a rabbit trail) but somethings are just easier and more natural for them when it comes to embracing the poor and loving the fatherless.  They don't see what I see.  I think that's beautiful. Probably the way God intended it to be.  Kids don't see the imprints the world has left. I want to encourage my children to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus and then stand back and watch and pray that they too are used for His glory and make an impact on eternity.

We are all called to be the "hands and feet" of Jesus.  It looks different for each person, but God has gifted each of us to do our part. It could be in Africa, it could be in America, it all matters to God.

James 1:27; "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Monday, July 21, 2014

God's Word

This world fights for my attention, the small tiny things to the big things, but in the wide picture they are "simply" distractions, they look different for everyone...for me its stuff from that dirt on my kitchen floor, dishes, cars and legos scattered all over the kid's bedroom floors, bed sheets that need changed way more often in the Summer than in the Winter, the awesome clearance sales, those horrific weeds in my yard oh and my garden, dust and cat hair, mountains of laundry...I could go on and on and on. These things sometimes keep me distracted from training and teaching my children, but more than anything they keep me in a place of internal chaos.  Restlessness.  Not peaceful and eventually angry!  I know, really anger!?!  Yep! They all roll up into ONE BIG BALL of self pity and self defeat.  I can't keep up.  I can't do it.  I have no help.  Its too much. Blah blah blah blah.  But ultimately it keeps me SEPARATED from Jesus. That's the real tragedy. Not that some of those things don't get accomplished, (uhhh laundry never really gets done anyway right and let's be real two-two year floors may never be clean all at once...EVER AGAIN!).  Its sad really, not the floors, the disconnect from my personal savior and the FACT that I'm responsible for that.  Its something that I allow to overwhelm me too often, too much.  Satan knows.  He knows the distractions to use to pull me away from the peaceful spot I long to rest in, stay in, in Christ's presence, His arms.  I got to get back to that place I love.  And often times, that's a battle in and of itself as well.  I have to constantly remind myself what is important.  I already have two, sometimes three "to-do" list (and yes I have those "to-be" lists too).  Satan wants my soul, and yours.  He knows my weaknesses.  I have to redirect myself, just like I have to with my kids...everyday!  I have to make a CHOICE to turn my back from those distractions and open the Word of God and soak up his promises.  So easy, but yet, so hard.  But it is MY CHOICE.  Today I soaked up:
1 John 4:4-6 (TLB)
 Dear young friends, you belong to God and have already won your fight with those who are against Christ because there is someone in your hearts who is stronger than any evil teacher in this wicked world. These men belong to this world, so, quite naturally, they are concerned about worldly affairs and the world pays attention to them. But we are children of God; that is why only those who have walked and talked with God will listen to us. Others won’t. That is another way to know whether a message is really from God; for if it is, the world won’t listen to it.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God's Word is reassuring.  His Word is reliable.  His Word is Truth.  Its what I rest in.  Its what I train myself to turn to, to lean into, to trust in, to live break away from the chaos.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

5am and a Vacation to Remember!

Is a wonderful hour.  Its super quiet at my house.  I love the stillness, the quietness where me and the Lord connect, and the coffee is hot and fresh.  I think it my favorite hour of the day.  Its been a very busy last couple of weeks.  We went on vacation to Nashville TN, came home to 3 baseball games (so exciting), our 9 yr anniversary- celebrated with a two hr Kayak float and then a six hour vehicle shopping extravaganza (if I never do that again, it will be too soon) traded in my four wheel love (that van was good to us) Town & Country for a newer T&C. And we are missing one of our four pets.  I'm sure there was more chaos, but that is what I can recall right now.
I MUST talk about our trip! We stayed with a couple I friend'd on FB. They have a son from Ethiopia too. I LOVE getting to know other families with Ethiopian children, I like the common bond me and the moms share and I want my children to know and have relationship (as much as possible) with other Ethiopian children. Michael & Amy offered to put my family of SIX up four nights in their home (which they just moved into the week prior)!!!!  It reminds me of God's word encouraging us to be hospitable to one another. Hebrews 13:2 "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." They were amazing hosts.  I don't think we are angels (haha) but I'm sure we have angels among us! They were incredibly kind to us and made us feel very welcome.  They took time to show us Nashville and she let me cook in her kitchen! And we shopped Goodwill for TWO HOURS! We played in their community pool (and managed to get all the way home with their pool key...opps).  And Michael entertained Eli for some hours with Playstation, and a crazy game of Life...Eli was in "heaven."  He even cried when we left. (I love that he bonds with people and feels the loss when its time to sweet). Amy was kind enough to snap some pics of me and my kids together because I really don't have many. (A nice thunderstorm is moving in...I love it!!!)
On Sunday we went further south to meet another friend I met on FB who has 12 children, only four bio and the rest were adopted a sibling groups from Ethiopia.  This jewel has been precious to me from day one on FB.  She is committed to her children and I love reading about her adventures. Her children are wonderful.  We took them a blessing basket (that is a basket me and my children fill with goodies we think people will be blessed by, they are always FUN to give, its always FUN to be a BLESSING).  I wish I would have had more time to get to know each of the children, but it was truly fun.  Z got to meet two of the girls she has been pen pals with, she introduced them to Polly Pockets.  They played with side walk chalk and explored the woods.  Miss. Z managed to make it home with two tickets and two legs covered with chigger bites (hey...thats country living sister, I remember!) Eli lego'd it out with the boys.  Brett & I chatted with the Momma for awhile while the kids played and she gave me samples of her wonderful homemade products...I MUST say the Ouchie Butter is worth ordering.  Kenenisa LOVES it on his scrapes!  "Put ouchie butter on my blood!"  And it works!
Ok back to a super cool part of this trip.  I friend this Momma of 12 on FB probably b/c we have ONE mutual friend, maybe, and well come on...she has a LOT of beautiful Ethiopian children and I'm so inspired by such wonderful people (some would say crazy, but no me...I think she is an angel).  Brett gets to talking to her about their adoption timeline and asks when she brought her second sibling group home, b/c he thinks he recognizes her.  Brett had met her on the flight bringing our children home...they all came home on the same plane!! He chatted with her on the plane about her big family and remembered her well!!  How crazy is that?  What are the chances of Brett having met her BEFORE I facebook'd her 1 1/2 yrs ago!?!  For was a God moment.  God doesn't do coincidences, he does devine blessings! Moments that make you go Wow. Moments where you know the hand of God orchestrated the whole thing.  I must say too because we have yet to ever tell our whole adoption story, this is NOT the 1st time God has moved like this in our adoption.  We have many more magical God moments.  This gets me so pumped up, I have now lost my I'll add pictures now.  :)
Oh I did I mention my childhood friend Cassie?  She lives right down the street from Amy & Michael, I did not know this til I texted I got to meet up with her too.  I got to meet her triplets for the first time. So cool, so God!
 Anniversary Kayak float

 The coolest baseball team ever!
 All of us at Amy & Michael's right before we headed home.
 Penpals!  I can't wait to hear more from them!
 Blessing Basket dig in.
 Group photo
 This is a photo of Brett showing them Haile (the famous Ethiopian runner) that Brett met at the airport.  They didn't believe him, so he showed them the pic of him and Brett together.  Then when the boys realized Haile was on the flight with all of them, "MOM...WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!"  Mom, "Uhhhh I didn't know who he was!  How am I suppose to know?"  (Poor Mom!)  Its kinda like finding out you were on the plan with Michael Jordan and didn't know it, its kinda a big deal.  I told him I would send him a picture of Haile if he wanted one.  :)
 Farmer's Market!
 Opryland Hotel Gardens, my favorite spot.
 Family pool pic!
 Amy is such a gentle sweet precious soul.
 Me and Cassie and all of our children-Micayla. Its a bit weird when you think about having grown up with someone from the beginning of time and moving through life with them, but not really with them.  Cassie has always been special to me.  She has always treated me with kindness.  She too is a precious soul.
 I'm so glad we didn't spend two hours in the car to see the Hendersonville Freedom Fireworks because let me tell you...this subdivision was having their own little (I mean BIG) Firework Wars and it was AHHHMAZING!  I have been to tons of firework shows in my lifetime, my Dad always took us, but this was incredible.  BIG works from almost every angle.  They would light up the whole sky right above our heads.  Super impressive!
One of my favorite shots!

Oh and a super special THANK YOU to my Girl Amy Plummer and Lakers for taking care of our furry family while we were away.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fathers Day and JOY

Well, I was going to write about Fathers Day, like six hours ago when I started writing this...."There are no words for how precious a Father is to a child, boy or girl...doesn't matter...he is the first image children have of their heavenly Father."  And then it happened, interruptions and life.  And now I'm tired, exhausted really.  My children are BUSY. (A phone just rang in my house that I have never heard before its either Brett's new tablet or he left his phone and changed his ring tone or....).  Ok, where was it.  Oh ya, busy...well they keep me busy.  Today we had fun, I gave them free rein of the hose!  They loved every minute of it and no I didn't get any pictures because then I would get soaked, they have no mercy!  They took turns soaking each other, which is wonderful!
 This past week I have been trying hard to land in a place of peace and patience and JOY (I know, you are never suppose to pray for it...BUT I DO!)  Mostly JOY despite my circumstances.  I'm reading "Choosing Joy" by Angela Thomas (She is wonderful, I got to meet her at Hearts at Home this past March, see picture...don't look at me, look at Angela and oh you must hear her speak, love love love her!!!!).  Anyways...those "fruits of the spirit" are tough for me. (There is an annoying fly, flying around I tried to get the cats to come in and get it, but they won't come because they are too busy chasing fire flies...see what I live with!)  (I think I have ADD).  Today I just decided that its a choice, it is, I wish it was more than that, but I don't think it is.  And its hard especially if you battle depression or anxiety or addiction etc, its hard to make the choice to "let go and let God."  But TODAY (no, not every day...clearly, have you been to my house?  Its crazy! But I love it). I made the choice to relax.  I prayed for God to show me what he sees.  As I read with my tired baby girl (she is trying so hard to hit two hours a week for the Library reading program) I sat her on my lap and stroked her hair as she sounded out each word.  And I cheered her on when she reread the sentence "the fast way."  I love watching her face light up when she gets excited to have accomplished a book (or another 20 min of reading time).  I saw the JOY in my son's face when he lined up every one of his lego guys he could find and made a parade (out of legos, no easy feat) for them to watch and then asked ME to take a picture and send it to Lego Magazine!  I always have joy when I hear my children playing well together and when Kenenisa's siblings make him belly laugh...there is almost nothing more grand!  Or when Silas speaks a whole sentence and I understand him (and Kenenisa doesn't feel the need to translate it for me), I tell him I'm so proud of him using his Dona Words (that is his speech therapist), I give him a high five and his face lights up...that is JOY!  I wonder if that is what God sees, or does he see something deeper, something more significant that I miss.  Nevertheless (although I would love to know), it makes my days more enjoyable.  These days truly are the longest, and the years the shortest.

Me and Angela Thomas at Hearts at Home
 Super Hero Dad, nobody wrestles like Dad, except maybe Uncle Stanton and cousin Adin.
 Eli went golfing with Dad for the first time ever this Fathers Day, from what I was AMAZING!  Eli set this shot up, not me, I LOVE it!
 Brett is my Hero, I was sick this past weekend and he took the kids to Douglas Heart, they loved it!  Nice Science field trip!
 Love her.  Love him.
Dad is fun!
Brett is an amazing Dad and wonderful husband.  Its not always been easy, but its always been worth it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A quick snap view of homeschooling since we started

I'm clueless today where to start because there is so much I would love to write about since we started back in Feb.  I promise I won't always write about just homeschooling...I'll write about life too.  For now...we all love blogs with pictures, so here we go....
 Sensory pans...lots of people doing it...I did two...I'm not so sure!
 Field trips are AWESOME.  My silly kids called this a gerbil, but Zahavah knew better!
 They love the goats, we need to get back to see the babies.
 We love our local gymnastics homeschool group.  Eli saw Mr. Zack yesterday at church...he just thought that was so cool!
 We do Eli is learning to draw.  He is really good!
 Science experiment with Apples.  LOVE LOVE LOVE Apologia Science!  Which apple would you eat?
 More Apologia Science...we made an edible cell!

 And more Science...we just love Science (can u tell?)  Here we are studying bones.  We made clay people with bones and without bones (toothpicks)!

The guy on the far left...well, he has lots of broken bones sticking out!

Hope you enjoyed some of the things we have done!!!!!
I'll write about the Classical Conversations part of their education some other time.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Part 4 Happy Happy Happy...

Eli wants to know how many parts there will be!  He wants 50 or 100 parts.  Don't worry, there won't be!  He loves reading my "stories."  Honestly he just loves to read.  Magic Tree House book are HOT right now, he devours them as soon as he picks them up.
Ok, now part 4...
St. Johns has a nice park day at the end of the year.  I was able to get the date and surprise everyone (even my kids).  I told them we were going to go somewhere I took them to some of my favorite spots Goodwill, Salvation Army that morning!  "This is NOT fun Mom!"  Hehehee.  I'm kinda fun like that.  Eli is a super smart bean, he figured it out as soon as I picked his year book up from the school office, then we headed to the park across the street.  Once again, I was not prepared.
One would have thought I pulled up with a celebrity!  He was literally mobbed.  The news spread like wildfire across the playground.  "ELI IS HERE, ELI IS HERE."  I must say, it warms a Momma's heart to know her child is so loved.  I stood back and took it all in...their smiles, their laughs, the way they hugged him, adored him.  He was feeling it too.  Loved.  Cherished.  MISSED!
I will forever enjoy our memories at St. Johns. Its a wonderful school, with fantastic teachers and children.  I think that is what made it so hard to surrender and be obedient to God...which is ok. Well, and fear, which is totally satan driven.
I do have pictures from our last day.
Oh you maybe wondering about Zahavah.  Her class was not at the park (bummer), so we went for a quick minute to the classroom.  She got to hug some of her friends...and we hope to catch up with them this Summer.
 The welcoming crowd
 Signing his yearbook...its so cute, they are still young, so they all just wrote their name.  No little notes...yet.
 Someone is checking to see if Eli is taller than him! Hehehee.
 Hiding from the HOT sun.
 Being squished!
 I love this one, the girls are so sweet.

 They seemed to love Eli's hair. Ahh...nice photobomb between the boys...I just now saw that!!!!!
 These two are super cute.
 The whole gang together again.  Happy Happy Happy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Part 3 Not Prepared

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

I'm a little disappointed this morning because I thought I had some pictures to post from our last day at St. Johns, but I guess I only took a video.  On Feb 14, 2014 my children attended their last day at St. Johns.  I picked them up at lunch time for our Cracker Barrel Celebration, but as I walked into Eli's classroom little did I know what was about to unfold!  All the children were sitting on the classroom rug listening to a story.  I watched.  I love watching all their little faces.  Little did I know the teacher had just told them it was Eli's last day right before she started the story.  When she finished the book she had Eli come up and each child was welcome to come up and say good-bye to him.  That's when it NOT BEING PREPARED.  They hugged him, they loved him, they expressed their sadness, "I'll miss you buddy"  "you are my best friend Eli"  lots of sad faces.  My tears started to roll.  Then some of the student's tears started to roll.  I was caught off guard.  By my tears and theirs!  I'll never forget seeing one of Eli's best buddy's tears after he hugged him good-bye.  It will forever be etched into my memory.  My child had bonded with wonderful children, at a wonderful school and now we were closing that chapter.  I was not prepared.

Sadness set in.  I was expecting happiness (my own and well, everyone else's too.  Reality check!!!!).  We slowly left the classroom and loaded into the van (and I'm thinking Oh I get to do this again with Zahavah...Lord what are you doing here? This is painful!).  But we didn't even make it to the K room, we made it to the van (K and 2nd are in two different buildings) and Eli busted into tears.  Again NOT PREPARED!  Tears rolled, second guesses set in.  I heard, "Take me back in"  "I change my mind"  "Noooo please take me back in"  Yikes!  We had talked a lot about homeschooling.  He wanted this, I wanted this, Daddy wanted this and most importantly God wanted this.  "Oh no buddy, its ok to be sad, its ok to cry" I told him.  I touched his little face, wiped his tears.  "It is painful isn't it, I wasn't expecting that either" I explained to him.  We talked for awhile in the van before driving over to get sister.  And at this point I kinda wanted to crawl in my shell.  I'm feeling like maybe I made a mistake, second guessing our decision and wiping away my own tears.  Hello God?

I am happy to report that picking Z up was a breeze.  She was her happy go lucky self.  I'm pretty sure she was oblivious to what was actually happening.  Her best buddies...Oh I want to name them but I'm sure I will miss some Ava, Claire, and Faith are deeply missed.  She talks about them often, but the last day was definitely different for Eli than Zahavah.  Its ok, Eli had 2 1/2 yrs with those awesome kids, Z had 6 months with them.  We did make it to Cracker Barrel, we did stop shedding our tears, and smiles came back, especially when Daddy surprised us as we were leaving with Valentines Day goodies...a bouquet of flowers and little gifts for the kids.

We spent the rest of that day together as a family finding a deeper peace with our decision.  Was it easy?  No, it was not.  I second guessed myself.  I asked God again what happened?  Why was I so not prepared for myself and my children!?  I don't know if that's really important or not, nor do I believe you could ever prepare for such a thing.  What I do know to be most important is that God laid it on our hearts.  We prayed about it a lot, we talked about it a lot.  And then we moved out of obedience to the Lord.  And that...that obedience to obey and follow what the Lord has laid in front of you...that's most important.  That is also what keeps me (us) going, on the hard homeschool days when I'm ready to pack their backpacks and send them back to St. Johns (come on let's be honest, not all homeschool days are peachy).

This was a life lesson for me on obeying the Lord when he lays something on your heart.  It wasn't my first lesson and I'm sure it won't be my last.  God has been so FAITHFUL in this journey.  We LOVE homeschooling.  My children LOVE being home and taught by us.  We check in with them every once in awhile and they are happy and content right where they are at.  They don't have a desire to go back, except to visit their friends from time to time...and I'll leave that for Part 4.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I interrupt this series for a clear cut reality check...

You know those wonderful Momma blogs that portray their perfect lives....where everything from their kitchen floor, child's face, car floor and yard are PERFECT!  Not here sister.  Let me tell you some hard core life is not perfect.  It is perfectly CHAOTIC!  (I wouldn't have it any other way) Rarely easy, but I don't think its suppose to be.  I'm slowly learning that, I'm being conformed to the image of Christ.

 2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 

Pause and let that set in for a moment. Me and you being molded into the image of Christ. Sinful, self-centered, strong-willed, type A - no extreme A++ perfectionist...oh yeah nothing about that is going to be easy and today, well today was no exception. Let me give you a little glimpse of my molding process...

     I told baby K he could help himself to some water when all the sudden I hear water gushing, I'm thinking he is having fun w/ the frig water dispenser- that would have been easy enough to clean up!  Nope! That little booger got ahold of my FAVORITE 64 oz bottle of Blackberry Crush juice FROM TRADER JOES (4 HOURS AWAY) 1/4 full and had poured the remaining yummyness all over the kitchen table and it was running all over the floor.  SNIFF SNIFF.  Did I mention my house cleaner just mopped the floor THIS MORNING?  This is the most refreshing drink made by man! As my blood was boiling up from my toes to my eyeballs I sent the little rugrat outside BEFORE he saw the blood in my eyes.  I kept trying to keep calm, asking God, "What do you want me to see?  What do you want me to learn?"  And it hit me...I saw communion juice...I saw Jesus' blood...more blood on Calvary poured out for ME than what was on my table and floor.  It was a painful sacrifice for Him but one He was willing to do.  Was I willing to clean this disaster up AND with a cheerful heart? The cheerful part is the pruning God is doing, I do not do it well!

Proverbs 15:13: A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit, and Proverbs 17:22: cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Phillipians 2:14-16:  Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  James 1:2-3:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

That's what I'm (we) called to do, have a cheerful joyful heart!  Santification doesn't feel like that!!!!  Pruning hurts.  But I got what God was trying to teach me.  

The kids were outside playing while I cleaned up the mess, and as I was soaking it all up I hear raindrops on the skylights.  Oh no!!!!  I just need them to stay outside for a few more minutes (a little rain never hurt).  I hurry!  And I'm glad I did.  I made it to the door just in time to watch my children playing nicely together under the big tree in the sandbox (I love this) but this time was more neat-o than usual.  I got to see them all each slowly discover that it was beginning to rain.  Baby K was the cutest...he ran out from under the tree, held out his hands, looked up to the sky, looked at the drops on his arms, felt his hair-he was in ahhh.  His expressions were priceless. Then he ran back under the protection of the tree.  Now there is a thought!

I would like to say it all ended peacefully with the rain, but it didn't!  My little booger picked up a wasp or bee near the pool and screamed bloody murder and about gave me a heart attack!  I ran to comfort him. He was really upset, screaming and talking faster than I could understand but I did get...."dat bug got me!"  "Owwww"  "It hurts SUPER bad"  "Kiss it"  "No Daddy, Daddy kiss it" "bad bug"  "It stung me, bad bug"  My poor little guy.  One of the BEST things about being a Momma is being there to comfort them.  I love it.  But this little man was also STINKY, super STINKY.  You know the diapers where you think something DIED in there STINKY.  No cuddlin was happening until that was dealt with - blah - the not-so-fun Momma part of parenting (but vomit is worse).  So I cleaned him up, put some lavender oil on his sting, grabbed his blanket, cuddled and let the tears roll.

That's exactly what my heavenly Father does, it's what he wants to do.  I can make a mess of things and he comforts me.  The tears roll.  He hasn't given up on me (EVEN when I fail the lessons given to me).  He WILL complete his work in me (AND YOU) until the day of PERFECTION!

Philipians 1:6: And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.