Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cast your cares on the Lord...

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

This scripture is such an awesome promise. Just as every promise of God, it is so straight forward. God never leaves any room for doubt. There are NO maybes, mights or could be. Just plain and simple... do this and I WILL do this!
"Cast your cares on the Lord and He WILL sustain you. He WILL NEVER let the Righteous fall."

As a mother of five, I LOVE doing things for my children. I take great pride in caring for them... for a couple of reasons;
One... I love them more than life itself and it warms my heart to nurture them... and two.. I want things done RIGHT! If I do them myself first hand then I know the job is efficient.

Our little arrangement would work out fine. Except... my children are just too independent... especially Serenity.
Reni's favorite words are... "NO! I do it myself."
I can not tell you how many times we have had this conversation...

"Serenity, what are you doing? I already did it for you."

"NO! I do it MYSELF."

Big sigh " I guess you have to learn...Okay, do it yourself."

A minute later, I either go behind her and redo it or she comes crying.."Mommy, help me!"

Either way... I'm stuck doing whatever it is at least twice and we both end up frustrated.

Just like Serenity, I also like to do things myself. So many times I have become burdened down with the cares of this world. So often I have suffered grief. I have carried sorrow. I have felt broken, depressed, lost. There have been many nights when I have cried myself to sleep. So many times I have just wanted to give up. The burden seemed too heavy. I felt the weight of a load impossible for me to carry.

Looking back now, I wonder... Was Jesus looking down on me shaking His head saying..."What are you doing? I already did that for you."

For God's Word says..
"Surely He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4

Why must we insist on doing everything ourselves? We KNOW that we will never be able to do it as well as our Lord. Yet... we insist on trying anyway.

"I'm strong enough! I can carry this heavy load!"

Then soon after, we become overwhelmed... we begin to crumble and we must call out for help.

"Lord, Help me!"

How frustrating it must be... constantly doing everything over and over again.
Yet... Jesus is always patiently waiting to pick up the pieces and mend our broken hearts.

Once we finally make up our minds to cast our cares upon Jesus, He's always ready to wrap His arms around us and shower us with a peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Do we not realize He already holds every tear in His hands? He counts each drop and not one tear is overlooked. He knows our suffering. He knows our sorrow. Do we not realize, He LOVES US! He HAS already provided healing for our mind, body and spirit. He has already provided an answer to every problem we have to face. He has already provided a peace to guard our minds and hearts.

We just have to call out His name!

We just have to lay our cares on the alter and say..."Lord... I give this to you."

Then let go...Completely LET GO...and walk away!

Yet for most of us, even after we make the decision to walk away, we tend to come back. Satan begins to whisper into our ears. "He doesn't want your burden. He doesn't care about you. He has more important people to care for" We know he is the father of lies. We know he is incapable of telling the truth. Yet, we listen to him anyway. So once again, we pick up our burden. This time feeding it with self pity, more worry, and more depression. Before long our burden is twice as heavy as it was before.

All we have to place our complete trust in God. We have to KNOW that He loves us. We have to EXPECT His blessings, EXPECT Him to take care of our burdens. We MUST completely surrender our own will. We MUST completely trust our Savior. We MUST NOT look at the problem but rather focus on the Deliverer. God rose Peter up above his storm. Peter walked on water until his eyes began to wander. Once he started looking at the winds around him, he began to sink. No matter how strong the storm, no matter how big the burden...We MUST keep our eyes focused on Jesus! Problem SOLVED!

"Lord, you will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on you. Because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever. For in the Lord is everlasting strength."
Isaiah 26:3-4

God has promised to wipe away every tear... mend the broken hearted...bring peace in the storm...heal every fiber of our being. Nothing is too great for our Savior. No pain, physical nor emotional, is too severe for His hand to numb.

"Surely He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4

Don't leave Jesus standing there, shaking His head.... "What are you doing... I already did that for you!" Instead..

"Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Water Bandit

Yes... I know that I am cute...

Splashing around in my PINK floaty.

But make NO mistake about it!
I AM armed and dangerous...

And I WILL defend my favorite Damsel in Distress!

"OH Eli... MY HERO!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Be Anxious for Nothing..

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7

God's Word tells us to be anxious for nothing. Yet so many times in our lives we become engulfed in the cares of this world.

"Lord, I need this in my life or I must have that. I need it and I need it now!"

Soon it becomes all we can think about. Our prayer time is consumed with that one concern. We forget to offer Him praises. We forget to worship. We forget our relationship entirely.
Then... when these things fail to happen, we are quick to blame God or assume that He just doesn't care. "Oh well, God must not love me enough. If God really cared about me then He would have answered my prayer."

The first commandment plainly tells us "Thou shall have no other god before me." This commandment isn't strictly referring to other religions.
A god is anything that we choose to exalt or place as a higher priority over our creator.

We can have many "gods" in our lives: Money, food, jobs, relationships, addictions. When we become anxious for these things, we in turn, stop God from moving in the situation. For God Loves us too much to allow anything to hinder our relationship with Him.

When Serenity was struggling to survive, her life became a god to me. It was all I thought about....all I cared about. The status of her health consumed me. If you've read her story, then you know it wasn't until God asked me.."Would you still love me?" that I learned how to completely surrender her into His hands.

Just as Paul taught us.. we have to "learn to be content in whatever state we're in" (Philippians 4:11) For it's when we are truly content that we are fully trusting in God. Once we fully trust God, then our faith becomes pure. Faith moves the Hand of God.

I knew it was God's will to heal my daughter, but I had to become content with whatever decision He made. I had to say.. "Yes Lord, I would still love you! I would still serve you and hardest of all... I will still Praise you!" Immediately after those words left my lips, God's assurance came. From that moment on, the peace that surpasses all understanding guarded my heart. I knew but I knew but I knew just as I know the color of my eyes... I knew my daughter was healed and no word, action or deed was going to change my mind. With His peace came pure faith and God's hand soon moved mightily in our midst.

So we are to be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with THANKSGIVING, let our requests be know to God.

How can we give thanksgiving during our time of need? Simple..when we are a child of God, and when we are truly doing our best to strive toward "Christ like" perfection, Then we fall under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91). We our sheltered within the wings of the ultimate protector. The enemy can NOT bring anything into our lives that God does not allow. So if God allows it... then we also know this promise...

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

We have a promise of Victory! We have a promise of blessings! We know God loves us and is doing His best to perfect His chosen vessel. (James 1) So why should we become anxious, or impatient? Why should we worry?

We shouldn't!

Here's a tip I have learned...the sooner I allow God complete control and fully trust Him with every situation... the sooner I become content in whatever state I'm in.... then the sooner I obtain Victory and God receives His glory!

We are to offer our prayers to Him. Then be obedient to His commandment to...

"Be still and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10

So be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made know to God, then...

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Big Catch...

Tommy spent the entire Memorial day weekend fishing! A friend allowed him use of their small private lake. He was ecstatic! On Sunday, he thought he would share some of that bliss with me. After many long minutes of persuasion, I finally gave in!

We loaded up the boat, dropped the kids off at my mom's and ended up here...

Several miles out, with only one road in, we were VERY secluded! After the first chirp of a lone cricket, I was ready to bust out into the chorus of "I think we're alone now!"

Oh... there's nothing like the sound of SILENCE!

Alone at last, we enjoyed the small quiet boat ride. As we strolled through the peaceful waters, The view was beautiful...

To top it all off, the fishing was incredible. I've never seen anything like it. We would drop the line into the water and immediately feel a tug. We were catching bass left and right with little to no effort.

Even little ole' prissy me soon became a lure expert! I was catching them like a pro. I was fearless... A master of the tackle.... Grabbing those slimy fish and yanking those hooks right out of their mouths. They took one look at me and KNEW they had met their match! I'm tellin' ya, Bill Dance had NOTHING on me! Yes... I was quite the fisherman! Ahhh! (Stares off into a daydream)


Okay...Okay... So I might be exaggerating just a tad. Maybe I had a little help....

Oh... all right I had a LOT of help!

But why should a damsel like me have to touch a nasty, slimy ole' fish when I have a goodlookin' backwoods boy like this...
Just begging to do all my dirty work?

Notice that cute little wink? Yeah....he LOVES me! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Train up a child in the way he should go...

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

As a Christian mother, so often I wonder...Am I saying or doing enough to train my children in the ways of the Lord? It's one of my greatest concerns. God has entrusted five little lives in my hands. I desperately do not want to disappoint Him. The thought that my babies might miss out on God's perfect will or plan for their lives because of MY failure... terrifies me! I want to do ALL I can to ensure they follow His path. For like most mothers, I only want the best for my children and I know with all of my heart that God's way is the only certain path to true happiness.

Of course I am human. I often make mistakes. I often get caught up in this fast paced world. I miss plenty of opportunities for bible discussion. I've been known to rush through prayer time on occasion or even (dare I say it) ...forget it completely.

I am also not one who likes to talk a lot (believe it or not). I can write down my feelings or type out long letters, but to actually put my thoughts into spoken words... is nearly impossible for me. I just don't talk a lot.

So I become concerned that I may not be doing enough. Are my children learning the ways of the Lord from me? Are they getting enough "soul" food for their spiritual growth?

Then remarkably they answer my question.

The older ones are constantly asking for prayer for their friends, talking about Jesus, humming Praise and worship songs. They know right from wrong. They LOVE to read their Bibles.

Even little Eli has picked up some good habits. Lately he has become quite the little preacher. Whenever he see a child his not familiar with, he will ask them about Jesus.
Just the other day I overheard him talking...

Eli: "Do you know Jesus?"

Little boy ignores him

Eli: "Hey! Do you know Jesus"

Little boy again tries to ignore him

Eli: "HEY! You know JESUS?"

Little boy shakes his head in hope that Eli will stop bothering him. This only entices Eli more. He gets right up in the boy's face and again boldly asks..

Eli: "You know CHURCH?... JESUS?... HEL-LO?"

The little boy causally pushed him away but Eli was persistent until finally the little boy gave him a yes answer. He never gave up! The whole time I'm thinking... Wow he could teach ME a thing or two about witnessing!

I'm also in awe at how Serenity has learned to praise Jesus for everything. She praises Him for her favorite meals, toys and even getting her way.
Last week we were out shopping for new shoes and were having a hard time finding some to fit her foot. She tried on several pair... they were either too short or too wide. Finally we found a pair that fit.
Immediately, Serenity shouted.."Oh Thank you Jesus! Praise the LORD!"
Everyone in the store heard her Praise!

Moments like these I am so proud of my children. Moments like these ease my conscious and help me to realize that they are in deed being trained in the way they should go.

I may not express my thoughts or feelings well verbally. But, they are learning! They are absorbing every minor detail.

From the time they were conceived I have prayed God's will over their lives. I have asked for His hand to guide their steps and I strive to live a Godly life before them. Even with all my imperfections, I strive daily for "Christ like" perfection. They watch...they listen....They are learning...By the Grace of God... They ARE learning to walk the right path!

And they will continue to learn
through Prayer and by....


Friday, May 22, 2009

Toddler Talk - Shopping Spree

Playtime With Eli and Serenity:

Serenity climbs onto her Winnie the Pooh ride on toy with her Easter basket strapped over her shoulder. She begins to sing as she pushes her way through the kitchen.

Reni: "We're goin' to All- Mart. We're goin' to All-Mart."

Once she reaches the dining room, she carefully parks Winnie the Pooh and ducks under the table where Eli is patiently waiting.

Reni: "Ello All - Mart man."

Eli: "Elcome to All-Mart. You wanna sticker?"

Reni: "Yep"

Eli: "K here ya go" pretends to stick something on her shirt

Reni: "Tank you All-Mart man. I need cereal."

Eli: "K here some cereal." hands her imaginary cereal.
"That be 9 hundreds of dollars"
(Wow inflation's a bummer ain't it?)

Serenity reaches down into her "purse like" Easter basket and hands him the imaginary money. Then turns to leave.

Reni: "Bye-bye All- Mart man!"

Eli: "Bye-Bye Come back again and gimme er money."
(A true business man)

Reni: yells over her shoulder "K... I will."

Serenity climbs back onto her ride on Winnie the Pooh and pushes her way back through the kitchen.

Bet ya can't guess where we spend the biggest part of our time away from home? :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Draw me close to you

Lately my heart has been filled with praises! Songs of worship fill my mind and I can't seem to think about anything else. I just want to worship Him. I just want to draw closer to Him.

Draw me close to you
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend
You are my desire
No one else will do
Cause nothing else can take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to you

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want
Help me know you are near

I long for more of my Lord! I want to be closer than I have ever been before. The closer I get... the closer I want to become. My soul hungers for a deeper relationship. My heart yearns for a tighter embrace.

I am so in love with my Savior.

I often feel His presence so strong around me! I can do nothing except bask within His presence. I can not move. I lose my breath yet he breathes for me. I collapse to my knees and just cry out... More...More...More! I want more of His presence, more of His guidance, more of His wisdom. I want more of a relationship.... a closer walk. Each day I seem to only need Him more.

I need You more
More than yesterday
I need you more
More than words can say
I need you more
Than ever before
I need you Lord
I need you Lord

More than the air I breathe
More than the song I sing
More than the next heart beat
More than anything
And Lord as time goes by
I'll be by your side
Cause I never want to go back
To my old life

I need you more
More than yesterday
I need you more
More than words can say
I need you more
Than ever before
I need you Lord
I need you Lord

Right here in your presence
Is where I belong
Now my broken heart
Has finally found a home
And I'll never be alone

I need you Lord

I feel God drawer me closer to Him I feel Him preparing me for a work. I feel that time is quickly running out. I feel a joy, an anticipation and at the same time... a Desperation. I must not waste a moment here on earth. There is so much work to be done. I must focus my eyes on the task at hand. I must seize EVERY opportunity! Time is an essence that quickly dissolves. Every moment has a purpose. I must fulfill that purpose!

I feel God drawer me closer to Him. I feel Him pulling me near for His protection. He is my refuge. He is my safe haven. Out of His presence are the issues of life. As long as I keep myself cradled within His midst, saturating my family with His word, doing HIS will, I am safe. One step in the wrong direction, I find myself vulnerable. We are in the last days. We are in the last moments. I must not allow myself to become vulnerable, for if possible even the most elect will be deceived... even the most elect will fall away. (Matthew 24:23-26) I must not leave room for any evil possibility. I must remain close. I must remain within His presence!

He is so ALIVE! He is so close and yet I want Him closer! I feel Him drawing me closer to Him. Why me? I am no one! I am not worthy of His love. Yet I feel Him tugging at my heart. I hear Him whisper within my spirit...
Come closer to me my daughter, Come closer to me!

I feel His unconditional love and my soul continues to sing...

Draw me close to you
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear you say that I'm your friend
You are my desire
No one else will do
Cause nothing else can take your place
To feel the warmth of your embrace
Help me find the way
Bring me back to you

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed
You're all I want
Help me know you are near

Draw me close to you Lord!
For you're all I want!
You're all I've ever needed!

I need you more
More than the air I breathe
I need you more
More than the next heart beat
I need YOU Lord
More... More.... More of YOU!

"Oh God thou art my God, early I will seek thee; my soul thirsts for you... my flesh longs for you.... To see your power and your I have seen you before."
Psalm 63:1-2

Accident waiting to happen...

"Hee Hee Hee!"

"I told you she was ornery! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

They grow up so fast..

It's hard to believe that my niece graduated from High School over the weekend!

The time I spent with her went by so fast.
I remember snuggling her tiny body while rocking her to sleep.
Telling her funny little "made up" bedtime stories!
Singing her favorite lullabies.
I remember the funny way she would answer the telephone..
Talking before she was even a year old...

"Ello? No Papa's not ear. Can I eve a message?"

Now she's graduating High School...going to BOYS!

It just doesn't seem possible!
Where did this cute little chubby baby go?

In the blink of an eye,
She's turned into....

A Beautiful Young Woman!

sniff sniff
Excuse me now while I go snuggle my own babies.
I don't want to miss one moment.
Because they grow up SOOO fast!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Toddler Talk: Potty Break

The other day Serenity was being a big girl and went to the potty all by herself. From the other room I could hear her sing "Twinkle Twinkle little Star."
Well...her own version anyway. :)

Serenity: "Tinkle, Tinkle ittle star how i underwear you are. Up above da word so hi like a.... Flush.... in da sky! Yay I tinkle in da potty!

A few hours later, she is back. Only this time she has an audience.

Eli: Neni you go peed?

Reni: Yep

Eli: Are you all done?

Reni: Yep

Eli: K... I flush for you.

Reni: NO! I go peed! I flush

Eli: You don't know how. I flush for you.


Eli: K...Sor-ry! We flush together at da same time... K?

Reni:nods with approval K

They both place their hands on the handle

Eli: When I count to three flush it...K?

Reni: K

Eli: 4...5...6...7...

Mommy: Eli, what number are you counting to?

Eli: Three

Mommy: Well then you better start over.

Eli: nods his head K....4...5....6...7

Mommy: Uh...This may take ALL night!

Eli: ....8....9....

Mommy: Eli start with ONE.

Eli: OH! 1...4...5...6..7

Mommy: quickly 123

Eli: ...8...123


Together we walk out singing..."Tinkle, Tinkle ittle star how I underwear you are!"

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Tragic Loss...

I was watching the news earlier and saw a segment that just horrified me. Apparently a beautiful 18 year old girl (whom I will NOT disclose her name) was involved in a terrible car accident. She was killed at the scene. Her body was so disturbingly mutilated that the coroner refused to allow her parents to identify the body. Now just wait, the story only becomes more disturbing.

Allegedly an officer on the scene leaked out the accident scene photos. In a matter of days, millions of people across cyberspace were viewing the last remains of this couple's daughter. Someone even went as far as to email the most explicit picture to the girl's dad.

My heart broke for this family. Why can't people just live their lives and let this girl die in peace! Why can't they just give her family time to mourn their loss! The other three daughters are scared to even access the Internet. They're terrified of what they might see!

According to the news, if you were to google this girl's name, you would get nearly 3 million hits. (Hence the reason why I will NOT disclose her name) 3 million hits guys....3 MILLION. This entire scenario literally makes me sick to my stomach. It makes me ashamed to even call myself human.

Truth is most people will view this post for no other reason except for the title! Twice as many people will read an article entitled, A Tragic Loss, compared to those who would read an article entitled.. um let's say... A family celebration. This poses a question for me. Why are people so fascinated with death? Why is it impossible for us to turn away from the sight of a train wreck? I know that we all have come across an accident or car wreck at some point and just had to stare. "OH NO is everyone alright?" Am I right? Is it the curiosity of the unknown... Or on the most part, do most of us just genuinely want to help? I'm not sure...

When Serenity was facing the very real possibility of death, we had people coming out of the wood work to help us out. We were overwhelmed with the love of complete strangers. So many were so genuinely concerned. There is no possible way I could ever repay the love we were shown during our time of need. People were praying for our daughter, who knew nothing more than her name.

To make it perfectly clear, I AM forever grateful for each and every prayer offered for our daughter.

However at the same time I have to wonder, where are all those people now? Few have ever kept in touch. Once Serenity received her healing, everyone just seemed to disappear. Is my daughter any less special healthy than she was ill? Does she need prayer any less? I believe we ALL need prayer. We ALL need a daily intervention from God. We ALL need a mighty move of HIS hand.

Why do we feel that tragedy must strike before we show God's love? Why must someone feel misery BEFORE we drop to our knees to pray?

I have mentioned before in this post, complete strangers notice a difference in Serenity compared to other children. They are drawn to her, without even knowing anything about her.

Even as her mother, I honestly do not think my daughter is any more special than any other child. I love her, but in a world outside of a mother's love, she is no more special than the toddler down the street or a starving child on the other side of the world. She is Serenity... plain and simple... just Serenity. Yet people are always picking her out of a crowd. People continue to be drawn to her. Why? Simple... Prayer! She was covered by earnest prayer for a long period of time . God's presence surrounds her and people are drawn to His presence... not my daughter.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

There are so many sick children out there who need our prayers and attention. There are so many lost and hurting souls who need God's intervention. I am definitely NOT saying pray for them any less! Quite the contrary, Pray MORE, MORE, MORE. Pray until you KNOW you have reached the throne of God and received your answer. Then hold onto that promise with EVERYTHING you have! Hold on and don't let go!

I am not saying pray less for anyone! All I'm saying is, why should we look at the world through our little telescope. Why should we focus on only the most obvious selections. If we were to pray as earnestly for all those we come into contact with, imagine the mighty generation we could raise up for God. Imagine all the attacks of the enemy that would be PREVENTED!

I was just thinking what if... 3 million people cared about this girl BEFORE she left this world....
Let us just say that one million of these people are NOT actual psycho paths obsessed with morbid behavior. Even if those 1 million or 500, 000 or 100,000, or 100 or even 50 people had earnestly prayed for her BEFORE she passed. Would her family still be able to wrap their arms around her?

That's all I'm saying!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Honor and Humility

Stephanie @ Confessions of a Student Nurse has blessed me once again. This time with a double dose of recognition. What can I say....She loves me! :)

Stephanie nominated me for...

This means so much to me. As I have always prided myself as being a loyal person. It is something that I have always tried my very best to be. I LOVE showing God's LOVE in my life! I haven't known Stephanie very long...only a few months. So It's nice to know that she already sees the qualities of a true friend in me. Although, I'm confident it's not me, but rather Jesus within me that she sees.

She also nominated me for the attitude of gratitude award...

When life hands you lemons, what do you do?
Call on Jesus!

This award is also special to me. For the entire purpose of this blog and Serenity's website is so that God will be Glorified. For HE took a situation in our life that Satan meant for harm and turned it around for our good. When we make the decision to trust in Him, God will always take satan's bitter lemons and give us a nice refreshing drink of His Living water!

So thank you Stephanie! These really are special to me!

Now technically I'm suppose to pass them on to some other bloggers I deem worthy. However, I haven't been a part of the blog world very long and I know very little about few people. So... instead I'm just leaving them up for grabs. If you feel you deserve one or both of these awards, then that's good enough for me!
Okay now that my ego has been boosted a little, I need a quick reality check with a good dose of humility. We need to remain balanced here. Wouldn't want to get a big head!

Anyway, last night I rocked the babies to sleep, the way I always do. Once they were sleeping, I had to carry them to bed. So I gently let go of Serenity and carefully raised up with Eli tightly in grasp. Now make note of the fact that I'm trying to be just a quiet as I possibly can. I don't want to wake up the babies that I've spent the last hour trying to get to sleep. Every step is taken with caution, every move is subtle.

As I slowly turn away, my foot lands directly on the edge of a toy that's barely sticking out from underneath the chair.

I'm sure you know where I'm going with this!

Yep... My feet go flying out from underneath me! I feel as if I'm stuck in slow mode as I plummet to the ground. All I could think was..."Oh man I'm going to hit the ground hard! There's nothing I can do about it and it's going to HURT!"

Then suddenly I remembered, ELI! My Mommy instincts kick in. I turn my body in mid air to spare him the blunt of the fall.

I land directly on my right hip bone. OUCH! Did I hear a crack? OH MAN! Pain shoots down my leg and into my toes. I look down. Eli's sleepy eyes are wide open! He looks at me, as if saying...Wow what was THAT? I give him a quick... Shh it's okay.... Then he drifts back to slumber land.

Meanwhile my eyes are squinting trying to hold back the tears. I slowly rise to position and hobble into the bedroom... moaning the whole way.

Tommy is sound asleep and what I mean by sound is...he's LOUDLY snoring! But, evidently not louder than my moaning!

Me: "OH..OH..OOH...UH...OW!"

Tommy: startled "HUH..WHAT?" smack smack "Oh..What's wrong? Are you alright babe?"

Me: "No...I fell hard on my hip. I was trying to carry Eli and slipped on a..."

Tommy: snoring loudly "zzzz ZZZ ZZZ zzz"

Me: "Tommy? TOMMY? HELLO?"


Me: big sigh "Man...Glad I'm not dying or anything!" :)

I start to close my eyes.. then realize, "Oh...Serenity is still in the chair!"

"Tommy... Tommy.... TOMMY!?"


Could you please go..."

ZZZ zzz ZZZ zzz

"Oh never mind!"

I get up and hobble back into the living room. This time being much more careful of where I step!

So there you have it! Honor and Humility in one day. I guess they go hand in hand... when you move as gracefully as I do! :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brownie Delight

Guess Who helped Mommy make brownies!

Okay...So it's more like....
Guess who helped Mommy get rid of the brownies!

Ever seen a chocolate covered Reni?

And now you have!

She didn't mean to get so messy. That's just how it played out.

I made the mistake of laughing at her. Evidently, Eli felt left out.

He wanted Mommy to think he was funny too. So....

Now we have a chocolate covered Eli as well!

As you can see.... His mess wasn't quite so accidental! :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Mother in Prayer

Mother's day came and went. As a mother of five small children, I often get asked the question..."How do you do it?" I would LOVE to say that my life is an exact replica of "The Donna Reed Show." I would LOVE to say that I'm always organized, always patient, always perfectly on top of things. However if I did, I would be lying through my teeth. I'm not always organized. I'm not always patient. To be perfectly honest, MOST of the time I'm stressed beyond recognition.

I raise my voice more times than I want to admit. There are moments when I'm irritable, grouchy and unreasonable. There are moments when I'm overwhelmed by sheer exhaustion. I often find myself praying for the strength just to make it through the day.

I wake up with babies. I go to sleep with babies. I even go to the bathroom with babies. Yes... when nature calls, I have two choices. One...I go with one baby standing next to me while the other sits on my lap, or Two...I close the door and watch tiny little fingers poking up from underneath while I listen to them scream "I want my mommy!" I rarely get a break. I rarely get even a moment of privacy.

Although, I spend 90% of my time awake cleaning, my house is NEVER clean. I mop... something spills. I do laundry...someone changes. I wash dishes...someone eats. I feel like I'm constantly spitting against the wind!

Our home is anything but a quiet place to rest your head! Noah LOVES to pester his sisters and they in return LOVE to tattle. The girls can not stop bickering for five measly minutes. I swear I'm raising the biggest drama queens ever to grace the theater. They touch each other and suddenly the world is coming to an end.

I'm constantly dealing with whining, fighting, crying, spills and thrills. My options for the day are, feeding, bathing, scrubbing, washing, drying, folding, or cooking. It's an never ending battle in which most of the time I swear I'm losing.

Yet somehow I make it through. Somehow I remain sane. At night when I check on them sound asleep in their beds, or when I'm holding a baby within each arm rocking them to sleep, or every time one of them wraps their arms around me and says, "I love you Mommy!" These are the moments that ALL is well.
These are the moments when my life is simply beautiful, simply wonderful...simply perfect!

Love gets me through!

Love is the driving force that pushes me on!

And 1 John 4:8 says... God is LOVE.

So whenever someone asks me the question, "How DO you DO it?" I always reply with..."Only by the grace of God."

As a child I was blessed with a very loving mother. So naively I thought that ALL mothers were nurturing. As I grew older I began to realize how very wrong that notion really is. Not ALL mothers are driven by a love for their family. Not ALL mothers are even capable of loving their children. For not all mothers even know what love really is. Just as I believe that it's impossible for a marriage to happily survive without God as the center. I also believe a mother can not truly be the nurturer she was created to be without God as her source. For without God true love does not exist.

I was blessed with a very spiritual and loving mother. Many years ago, I wrote her the following poem:

A Mother in Prayer
By: Dana Burk

A Mother in Prayer knelt gracefully on the ground
Hands held high with angels all around
One wish upon her lips, one need to be met
"Let my children follow the path thy Lord hath set."
Since birth her love has been our protection
Bringing every need before God for His divine intervention
Though times grow hard, she never gives in
She walks only by faith, KNOWING the Lord will win
Love, strength, a mother has it all
A shoulder to cry on, a friend to call
Qualities of a loving mother, they're easy to see
Still there's one thing more a loving mother must be
Whenever you need her, a loving mother will always be there
But a mother is just a woman UNLESS she's

I believe those words with all of my heart! I know I'm far from being perfect! I desperately need God's wisdom, direction and strength on a daily basis.

However, after reading all my beautiful mother's day cards....

Dear Mom happy mother's day. When I look at you I see a mother who loves me and cares for me. And you are the best cook I ever seen. You are beder (better) than a chef. I love you mom. I am really spieshle (special) because of my mom. I love you mom.You are beautiful. You are the best. Everyone wants to have a mom like you. But haha I found you first. Happy mother's day. Love Kayleigh

I find comfort in knowing... with God's help... I must be doing something right! :)

For I am Loved and Blessed beyond measure!

The 99

On Friday, We took Strong Tower Youth to see...
"The 99: The Ultimate Near Death Experience!"

What is the 99? The number 99 represents lives of people between the ages of 10 and 25. 99 young people die every day. Many of these deaths are influenced by drugs or alcohol and a vast majority of them could be avoided. 31 die in auto related accidents. 16 die from homicide or domestic violence. 12 commit suicide. The other 40 die from drug overdose, accidents or natural causes. The 99 is a walk through theater that dramatically reenacts these leading causes of death in teens and young adults. Once your eyes are opened to the reality of deadly consequences for bad decisions, then the program introduces the salvation and protection our Lord Jesus Christ provides.

Just a warning, the scenes are very graphic! So everyone who attends must be at least 11 years of age.

The 99 travels to various cities throughout the US. The company my husband works for is a National sponsor for the 99. They actually built the cross that is used for the crucifixion scene. It's made to look VERY realistic! Tommy was one of the first people to stand on it. He says it's even harder than it looks!

All the way home, the group could not STOP talking about their experience. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the topic of their discussion. In a van full of 12 year old boys I would not have been surprised if they were talking about all the blood and gore. However, there was actually very little mention of the gory stuff. On the most part, it was the last of the production that stood out to them, Jesus on the cross and the ending video which depicted a father's sacrifice of his only son to save a multitude of unworthy people.

At the end of the drama, every person had their own individual one on one conference with a prayer partner. This REALLY impressed me because these people didn't just hurry through the process. They actually took their time and counseled each individual. Every person was prayed over... whether already saved or not saved! As you can see....

The volunteers had their work cut out for them. We arrived early and the line was much longer when we left.

Strong Tower Youth enjoyed the experience and fellowship! Once again they achieved their goal...To have fun while growing in Christ!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fashion Parade With Serenity!

Good Evening and Welcome to fashion parade with Serenity! Tonight we will be introducing a brand new line of fashions.. as well as some oldies but goodies. Every ensemble you encounter is a one of a kind creation by Serenity. Please no bidding at the end of our presentation. Each outfit is a work of art and clearly not for sale. :)

First we'll introduce one of Serenity's classic attires.
Note the perfect symmetry...

one arm out, two legs in, and one boot on.
Ah sheer genius that could only be topped by...
a lovely stretch pant hoodie...

Now we have a fabulous blend of polyester and cotton.
One slightly older brother's dinosaur sweatshirt, accompanied by cozy pajama bottoms, and completed with this season's newest trend snow boots.
Orange, Pink, Red?
Only a mastermind would put these colors together!
Yes folks we have a winner here!

For those of you who LOVE to have a good time,
Try dancing the night away in Serenity's own version of a "Potty" hat!

Don't like dancing?
Well how about a nice cozy night at home?
We asked Serenity what kind of night wear is in this season and the verdict is in folks!
This year's greatest fashion sensation currently sweeping the nation is....BIG.
Yep according to fashion expert Serenity,
the bigger the better!
Be the talk of the town in your own oversize pajama bottoms.
They're so big, who needs a shirt?

Or how about some fabulous tennis shoes?
Not one or two but....12 sizes too big!

Yes! Serenity has a style for EVERYONE!
Like western wear? Well check out THIS cowgirl!

Western not your thing? More into hip hop?
Try on one of Serenity's bling bling stocking caps!
They're guaranteed to be all the rage next season!

But wait!
Who could forget her most popular ensemble?
Definitely her favorite choice of ALL day attire!
(despite countless parental objections)
You know which one I'm talking about...
Oh yes...
Now complete with one new added feature...
A Dora the Explorer miniature sized back pack!

(Sorry... No picture for obvious reasons!)

There you have it folks...
Fashion advice from one of (in our opinion) the Nation's top style experts!

Well... That's it for tonight!
But we'll see you here next season on
Fashion Parade With Serenity!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Getting to know us - Fact or Fiction

I realized that other than Serenity's story, the blogger world knows very little about our family. It's hard to know if a story is credible if you know very little about the teller. So I've decided to fill you in on a few facts...or are they fiction? Hmm...

Fact or Fiction? Tommy and I dated for several years before we were married?

Fiction: We dated for one year and were engaged for six months of that said year.

Fact or Fiction? Tommy was my first serious relationship?

Fact: Although I had a couple of puppy loves when I was younger, Tommy in many ways has always been my one and only! He takes great pride in that! :)

Fact or Fiction? Tommy and I are the same age?

Fiction: Although he refuses to admit it to anyone who doesn't know better...Tommy is actually six years my senior.

Fact or Fiction? I graduated college with a degree in Journalism?

Fiction: I was offered a small scholarship in Journalism. I had planned on taking a year off from school and picking things back up the next fall. However during that time, Tommy proposed and I decided to get married instead.

Fact or Fiction? Noah was born a mere 9 months after our wedding?

Fact: We secretly refer to him as the little souvenir we brought back from our honeymoon in the Bahamas. :)

Fact or Fiction? Tommy and I have always had a strong, nearly perfect marriage?

Fiction: We have been through the fire more than a few times. We've been separated on several occasions and even filed for (yet never pursued) divorce once. The only reason our marriage stands strong today, is because of the Grace of God! He mended hearts and gave us Love when I thought it was impossible. Today we have a closer relationship then we ever could have imagined! God has revealed the power of prayer many times throughout our marriage. It has been nothing short of a miracle. We have an amazing story that I'll have to share sometime in further detail. God is SO incredibly awesome!

Fact or Fiction? My parents have been married for 44 years?

Fact: 44 years this past February. Can you believe that? Wow!

Fact or Fiction? I was raised a Baptist?

Fiction: Although my mother was saved in a Baptist church and has always appreciated it's beliefs, Her faith walk led her in another direction. I was actually raised with Pentecostal roots. However, for many years we searched for a happy medium.... a good bible based church that Always brought forth the word and still left freedom for the spirit to move. Now we just consider ourselves Full Gospel and attend a non-denominational church.

Fact or Fiction? I was saved at a very young age!

Fact: I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have a relationship with God. I asked Jesus to come into my heart at a VERY early age and was baptized by the age of 8. Since then I have always strived for a deeper relationship. I have always had this incredible hunger for God! I have rededicated my life on a couple of occasions but have always tried to walk closely in my faith.

Fact or Fiction? When I was younger my favorite scripture was John 3:16?

Fiction: Although I do love John 3:16 and it was the first scripture I actually memorized, Mark 11:22-24 has always been my favorite. This was the first scripture I can remember that really made an impression on me. I believe God was preparing me for needing it in the future. As it was also the main scripture we stood on during our journey with Serenity.

Fact or Fiction? I have three brothers and one sister?

Fact: It's true that I only have two brothers and one sister on this earth with me now. However, I also have a brother waiting for me in glory land. My oldest brother was killed in a car accident in 1985, He was only 18 years of age. Although I was only six at the time, I still vividly remember him. He was a hero in my tiny little eyes. I still miss him tremendously!

Well that concludes fact or fiction for now!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know us because I would LOVE to get to know you!

Anything else you would like to know? Just Ask!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A night out

Tom and I had a lot of fun on our night out. First he surprised me with 11 beautiful roses. (one for every year of our marriage) There were ten normal red roses and one unusual rainbow rose. Every petal was a different color....

Is that not the coolest thing you've ever seen? It sure impressed me! Of course it doesn't normally take much to impress this stuck at home Mommy of five! :)
We dropped all the kids off at my parents house. It's hard to remember the last time we were alone. I'm pretty sure it was on my birthday FIVE months ago and the time before that was our anniversary LAST year! Uh yeah... we make a habit of being alone twice a year whether we need to or not. :)
The drive to the restaurant felt so strange. The car was unusually quiet. Tommy and I talked the entire way, yet the lack of fighting siblings made for a boring ride. Consciously I thought, Wow this is nice. Unconsciously, however was a different story. My maternal instincts kept kicking in as I was constantly turning around to check on the EMPTY car seats in the back.
Tommy made reservations at Osaka's Japanese Steakhouse. If you've ever been to Shogun's it's very similar. The chef prepares your food at your table and does all the fancy tricks, tossing things around. I tend to think we happened upon the only rookie chef in the joint, as he dropped about as much as he threw. The bowl which was suppose to land in his pocket actually landed in the waiting area next to the restrooms. Customers were ducking their heads every time the poor guy picked up his spatula. We shared a table with an older couple. You should have seen the look on the woman's face when he picked up the matches to do his volcano stunt. I was sure she was going to sprint toward the door! It was hilarious! But, we really didn't mind his mistakes. He was actually a very nice young man and it made for a more interesting and comical night! Also, our food turned out delicious, so a few flying eggs was soon overlooked!
After dinner, we killed some time with some window shopping. Then headed for the dollar show. (Hey when your raising five kids you cut corners any way you can) We ended up watching, "Taken" Wow! That was an jaw dropping, eye opener.
It was so nice walking into a public place without being the center of attention. Usually we enter with all our little ducklings in a row and people can't help but stare. Last night we simply entered a room and the world continued to spin. We didn't have to answer the age old questions..."Are these ALL yours?" or "Don't you know what causes that?" We didn't have to stop every few feet for someone to offer us candy or pinch the baby's cheeks. We didn't have to tell our entire family history to every passerby, reciting each child's name and age. (although I did a few times anyway) We weren't the center of attention. We were simply a couple out on a date and....It was so NICE to just blend in!
After the show we made a quick stop for some....*whispering*.... ice cream. But shhh.. that's our little secret! You know it's actually a pretty inexpensive treat when you're only buying for two...instead of the normal seven. Who knew?
It was really nice to spend some alone time with my hubby. We really needed some quiet time! But to be completely honest by the end of the night I was SO ready to hug ALL my babies!
Our life may be a wild ride at times. We may be the topic of many whispering conversations between strangers. At times we may be stressed beyond measure and even want to pull our hair out. But every day we thank God for all the blessings that make up our home! We are honored by God's decision to entrust so many wonderful children in our care and humbled by the difficulty of the task. We offer thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the comfort and love we find in each other and the strength we find in Him! For our relationship thrives ONLY by HIS grace!
We praise God for our simple.... yet completely fulfilling life!
We enjoyed our night out! However, when it comes right down to it, both of us would just as soon prefer a (not so quiet) night at home snuggled in the recliner watching TV with all the kids!

Friday, May 1, 2009

On this Day...

On this day eleven years ago....

I joined your life while holding your hand!

On this day eleven years ago....

I made a commitment by your side to forever stand!

On this day eleven years ago....

Your kiss took my breath away!

And eleven years later....
I'm still breathless....on this Day!

May 1st, 1998

Happy Anniversary Tommy Boy!
I Love You!