Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Can Make a Difference!

To be honest with you I've been struggling lately. And I want to be "real." I hope that in my being "real" someone else will not feel alone. With that being said, here are the natural circumstances of my life currently. I am a single homeschooling mom of 3 daughters. Both my parents are deceased and during the holidays I miss my mother something awful. Although I have done daycare out of my home for almost 8 years now to support us, I currently have no families and no income. I have found myself in the hospital having surgery 6 times over the past year and it doesn't look like the problem is fixed yet. That means there might be additional future surgeries. I am weary. I am tired.

Now, that being said....I serve an amazing God who has been right by my side every step of the way. It is HE alone who gives me strength each and every day. I was telling my daughter the other day that I can see so clearly those areas in my life that I have let the Lord take control of. Those areas that I recognize I absolutely can not do on my own. Those areas I trust Him in completely. For instance I know nothing about house repairs. If I were married, that would be my husbands responsibility. And so as long as I don't have an earthly husband, HE is my husband and so I've left that to Him. He has faithfully over the years sent me "Handyman Angels" to help. Different husbands, fathers, or friends will ask me if I need anything done around the house. God has been very faithful to send them, so I always keep a running list available so that I'm prepared when they ask.

This holiday season He has provided for us as well. I find myself once again at the receiving end of His goodness and grace. Since coming home from the hospital in October and still having no income, the outpouring of blessings has been quite overwhelming at times. We have received groceries from friends and family time and time again. We have received Walmart gift cards and gas cards multiple times. We have received anonymous gifts in the mail. I have more than one friend who thinks of us/buys for us each time they grocery shop. We've been adopted by a family for Christmas, my children will have gifts to open! We've won drawings for Thanksgiving dinners and been blessed by our church as well. The list goes on and on. We have so much to be thankful for! I think one of the things that has so amazed me during this time is how God has provided everything in such a thorough way. I mean that none of these different people knows what the other is doing. Each one gives something different to us. There is not a lot of extra or waste. One friend admitted that they didn't think what they were able to give was worth much, wouldn't make a difference, and was tempted not to do it at all. And I was able to show her that none of the other gifts.....gave us what she did. It was a HUGE blessing to my family!!

It's made me think of all the times the Lord has laid it on my heart to send a card, write a note, cook a meal, make a phone call, babysit, buy something seemingly little and not done it. And not done it because deep down....I didn't think it would make a difference. Now I know....If God is telling you to do makes a difference! Don't delay!!

So then how is it that I can be surrounded by such generosity and still be tired and weary??? Is it because I am worrying about the future? How will "I" provide for my children? How will "I" pay my mortgage? Instead of trusting Him to be our Provider. Trust. Do I really trust Him? Do I really believe that He will keep a roof over our heads and food on the table forever? Do I really believe that He can and will use this trying time to grow strength and character into my girls? That what the enemy meant to destroy us, God will use to strengthen us? I have a choice to make. We all do. Whose report will we believe? The temporary, always changing circumstances that we may find ourselves in? Or the promises of God's word which are eternal and never changing! I choose God's ways as they are higher than my own. I choose to trust Him! What about you?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blog Award

My amazing sister in law gave me a blog award this weekend. Thank you Mrs. Taffy!

Here are the rules:
1. Say thanks and link to the person that gave you the award.
2. Tell 10 "honest" things about yourself.
3. Award this to 7 people who's blog design you like or have received encouragement from. Inform them of their win and the rules of this award.

Ten Honest Things About Myself:
1. I don't like coffee, the taste or the smell.
2. I absolutely love the smell of fresh bread baking.
3. I don't like to mop the floors, but I do like to vacuum.
4. I love to scrapbook but don't do it very often.
5. I love Jesus!
6. I think I have the best children in the world.
7. I have been to China and Russia twice each for short term missions trips.
8. God miraculously healed me of Cancer as a child.
9. I am "technology" challenged.
10. I think this is very hard! :o)

7 people I give the award to:
Jessica H.
Mrs. C

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Girls Day Out!

We had a very special day today! I won 6 free tickets to the MN State Orchestra and we invited my sister in law and her daughter to go with us. It was called an American Tribute. The music was very patriotic and heartwarming. Plus it was an excuse to get all dressed up, which my girls LOVE to do!! This is the outside of the building. Isn't is unique? We were wondering if the people "outside" could hear the music "inside" through those big blue structures? Our seats were located on the front row of the first balcony section! We had a great view. What a blessing!!
I had the flash turned off on my camera, so the pic is dark. But there was certainly excitement in the air!
The very first selection was our National Anthem. Did you know that the British use the exact same music for their nation anthem??
All our sweet girls after the performance!! Aren't they beautiful?
After the performance we went to Starbucks for a treat. Now, I have to explain why this is such a treat for my girls. I DON'T like coffee. In fact, I don't even like the smell of it! I know that may seem un-American to some....but it's true. But thanks to my brother and his family, they are being taught the finer points of coffee drinking! LOL
Today the girls just had steamers. But Rosebud informed me that next time she wants a Frapachino. Don't ask me what it is.....I have no clue. I probably didn't even spell it right! LOL
One last thing......One of the selections today was called the Turkey Trot. Toward the end of the performance this is what came "trotting" down the isle!
It was a wonderful day spent with people we love! Thank you Lord for blessing us with these tickets!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Making Memories Together

This is Rosebuds latest creation. Peanut Butter Popcorn. (Thank you Jessica!) It was so delicious!! And we had so much fun making it. Her sisters were off working on a "secret project" so it was just the two of us in the kitchen! I try to capture moments in time when we can make a memory. This was one of those times that "just happened." We talked all the while she measured, dumped and stirred. Then we tickled, laughed and laughed some more while it cooled. I'm so grateful to the Lord for creating these moments in time for us to make memories! It smelled sooooo good!! We are peanut butter lovers over here. However, she decided that the next time we make it, we need to add chocolate chips! A daughter after my own heart! What's better than peanut butter and chocolate???
This would be her attempt to get me to let her sneak a piece before dinner!
And on another note, she did something amazing today during LLATL. She was given the assignment of memorizing a two verse poem. I told her she had lots of time, but she wanted to go into the bathroom and practice in front of the mirror right away. In less than 10 minutes, probably closer to 5, she came out and declared that she was ready to recite it! I think what impressed me the most, was that on her own, she put it to music! Isn't it amazing what we can learn when put to music? Memory verses, books of the bible, geography.....the list goes on and on! She actually did it perfectly the first time, but I messed up my camera and so she had to do it again. This time she got a little flustered, but I still think she's adorable!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I have so much to be thankful for right now. I find myself in awe of His goodness and grace in my life. Every morning before I get out of bed I recount, put myself in remembrance of, a testimony of His goodness in our lives. I make myself remember all the times He's provided for us. All the times He gave me favor. All the times He gave me Mercy!!

Just recently a friend asked if we would allow her family to "adopt" mine for Christmas this year. She asked for a Christmas list for each of us! As I am currently unemployed, this is a HUGE blessing!! I have also received several anonymous gift cards in the mail for Walmart and Gas! God knows our every need and is WELL able to provide for us! I am also grateful for all the yummy homecooked meals that we've received since coming home from the hospital. And I've really enjoyed the wonderful visits to my home as well. A special thank you for the friends who think of me each week as they grocery shop and pick up "deals" for my family. Thank you!!

Just as special to this mama's heart are the words that came from my daughter's hearts this week. God opened a window and let me see what He is doing in them!! We have a friend in a desperate situation right now. Her husband lost his job, they lost their house, she's pregnant and now has cancer. She's walked away from the Lord and my heart is just breaking for her. My girls know everything about the situation and have prayed for this family every day since they heard. And do you know what they pray for? Of all the things they could pray for.....they pray for the new baby's health and they pray for their marriage! For those of you who don't know, my girls have never known the love of a father. My ex-husband left us after the birth of my third daughter. So for them to be so sensitive to this need.....I'm grateful for the work that HE is doing in them!! Although I have never been able to model the marriage relationship for them firsthand, we have The Word of God!! I'm so glad He's not limited!!

And finally tonight when I was tucking in the girls, Rosebud told me that she was so glad that "I" was her mom and not someone else! That I was the perfect mom for her and that she didn't want any other mom! She was glad that God gave her to me! How sweet is that?!?!? She often tells me sweet things, but tonight....I really needed to hear it!

Thank you Lord for reminding me how blessed I am!! I love you!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Can you believe it? I cut my finger open on a can. Never happened before....I really hope it never happens again. I'll spare you all the details suffice to say I saw stars and for the first time in my life I thought I would faint due to pain. The doctor said it hurt so bad because I sliced all the way into my nail, where all the nerve endings are. He wanted to give me 3 stitches....but I talked him out of it! LOL After an hour we were able to get the bleeding under control so that glue could be applied.
This is my right thumb and I am right handed. Not fun! I keep bumping it and making it bleed again. I probably should have let him put in the stitches. But I've had enough needles this year. No more!!
One good thing came out of it in that it was an excellent visual for the girls on just how important every member of the body is. Whether we're talking about the body of Christ or the members of a family. Everyone is vital, each affects the well being of all the rest! There are no small insignificant parts!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Backyard Raking

I was trying to take a picture that would reflect not only the size of our backyard but also help show a before and after view......because I forgot to take one before we started working. If you look closely you can see a line of leaves in the back. It's a solid leaf covering.....that's what the entire backyard looked like. A bit overwhelming. But we conquered it!! And on the far back right is our HUGE leaf pile. I was trying all different angles and at one point I stood up on the railing of our second level deck. The look of shock and dismay from Pillar was priceless!! I just had to capture it! LOL
The girls worked so hard and never complained once. I was so proud of them!! With the help of our good friends the day before, we were able to knock out all our raking in one weekend! That's a first for us!!!


After raking 3/4 of the leaves in our backyard we decided to reward ourselves with a bonfire. We had some huge marshmallows left and that's what we tried to use for smores. I don't usually post this many pictures....but the girls were soooo funny! We laughed really hard! As you will see, there are some "hams" in the family. It was a great way to end a day of hard work outside! These marshmallows were vanilla and strawberry flavored. And for some reason they lit on fire easily. None of us care for the charcoal flavor.....
They do make great torches though! If you look closely you can see the fire.
Now what mama is gonna resist taking a picture of those cute puffed out cheeks??
And of course I made them try at least one bite! After all, I've been told that their uncle actually prefers his this way! Maybe they would too.....or NOT! LOL
Her roasting stick is on fire and is smoking like a sparkler during the 4th of July.
Rosebud's given name means God's Gift of Love. I tell her all the time, that she's God's gift to present from God! Isn't she sweet?

Uh oh.....caught on fire again!
Trying harder and harder......

She wouldn't give up, because "I'm not a quitter mom!" but tried to "pick" off the black stuff!
Nope....didn't work. So sad.
This would be the BEFORE face......
And the AFTER face!!
And end to another wonder filled day!

Leaf Raking Party

I love all the beautiful colors of fall leaves. I never tire of the vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. However, that being said.....raking an acre of them does get a bit tiresome! LOL The girls and I have learned over the years to just split up the property into sections and tackle it that way. This year we were blessed by our wonderful friends from Olson's Merchantile. They all came over and helped! I was so impressed by all our hard working children. We did almost the entire front yard in about two hours! That's a new record! Some of us raked, and some filled up the trash cans and dragged them to the back corner of our lot where we made a HUGE Gargantuan pile! Here are all the kids afterwards playing in the pile. A person could get lost in there!
And of course, no leaf raking party would be complete without a leaf throwing fight!
This would be my nice freshly raked front yard. Yeah! Thank you to our special friends!! We appreciate all your help and hard work!
I wonder if we'll have the energy to do the backyard tomorrow?? It's supposed to be 55 degrees and sunny. Beautiful day to be outside!

My Little "Constructor"

This week we attended a free children's concert given by a college in our area. They played several up beat, lively selections and ended with Peter and the Wolf. It was wonderful! I just love the orchestra and the theatre. For one of the pieces the conductor taught all the children in the audience how to "conduct" a simple one two beat. Then he stepped off to the side of the stage and instructed his orchestra to "follow their direction." The kids LOVED it!! Here you can see Rosebud enthusiastically conducting! If you look closely at the picture you'll see other children with hands raised as well.I wasn't sure how to turn my flash off so I didn't take many pictures. But watching Rosebud.....I just couldn't help myself! LOL Afterwards she took a straw and said, "Look mom, I'm a constructor!" She practiced the whole way home. And since then she's taught Felicity and Baby Kate (her dolls) as well!
Anyhow, here is a flash-less picture of the orchestra after they were finished. They did a marvelous job. We had a wonderful time. And I get to count this towards our Fine Arts requirements! God is so good!!

An exercise in the Fruit of the Spirit

This week I took pictures of the girls meant to be portraits for our wall. My sister-in-law had already taken theirs, had them printed at Costco, and hung on the wall. Absolutely beautiful!! So I attempted to do the same Sam's Club. The girls cooperated and I ended up with nice pictures of each of them. So I uploaded them and picked them up the next day. Much to my disappointment, they did not turn out. First, the "sheet" of wallets that I ordered consisted of "2" prints. Just 2. And the 8x10's were very blurry. Not crisp, sharp, bright colors at all. I'm sure the blurriness had to do with the setting/resolution on my camera. But the muted colors and overall dullness??? Bummer. I was disappointed to say the least. But, I got over it. Not the end of the world.

While there I decided to pick up some cheese. It's such a bargain there! And then we headed to check out. This is where the fun begins! There were two open registers. Both had long lines. So we picked one and waited. I'm a patient person. The girls and I chatted and laughed as we waited. I finally got close enough to put my "2" items (pictures and cheese) on the conveyor belt! Yeah!! But then the lady in front of me handed the cashier a slip of paper with a number on it. And the next thing you know we're waiting for a manager that never shows up. Finally the cashier leaves her station in search of ???? After more than 10 minutes she arrives with a computer box. And we're back in business!! Whoot whoot! But then the discussion begins as to whether or not the lady should buy a warranty. And even more than that is which one is the better deal. There is much talk, debate, discussion going on in front of me. By now two lanes at the other far end of the club have opened up, but the lines are still so long that it hasn't relieved anyone down at our end. And people are getting upset. There's nowhere to go that looks any better than where we're at. How much longer can this transaction take anyhow?? She's just about done. Right?? Wrong. The lady makes her decision and when it's scanned into the guessed it.....ERROR! So yes, we get to wait for a manager again. This time not quite so long though. She fixes things and we're good to go. But oh the lady's credit card doesn't work. And now the manager's on the phone. So we get to wait.

FINALLY, someone opens the lane next to us and very loudly tells us that she will help the next person in line. But as we walk over there, someone comes from behind and pushes their cart right past us, almost running over my daughters toes. Lovely. People are mad, they don't care about etiquette, they just want OUT! Cashiers are nervous and not making eye contact anymore, they've stopped apologizing, and customers have reached their more Mr. Nice guy! lol In an effort to stay out of the path of an angry person, I moved back into my position and waited. Thankfully, the cashier saw everything and took our items off her conveyor belt and placed them at the front of the line next to us. So we were able to check out. Lest you think this saga is over, let me tell you it isn't. By this time we had waited nearly 40 minutes and I now had to feed the girls dinner before an outing that night. So I wrote my check for $10 over to get hot dogs to eat on the way there. Can you believe she forgot to give me my $10 and shut the drawer? At this point what do you do? Both cashiers stopped and looked at me with horrified faces. So I laughed. I looked at my three daughters and told them that it's easy to show the fruit of the spirit when everything goes your way. It's when NOTHING goes your way, that true character is formed! And in that instant, I felt all the frustration and anger that was trying to well up inside me the past hour....just slip away. I was free. I passed the test!!

PS. We ended up waiting for a manager that never did show up. The cashier next to us finally just gave us $10 out of her drawer. Thank you!! And why didn't we just leave? Good question. I guess because I just kept thinking we were almost done. (I can just see my brother shaking his head! LOL)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I was given the privilege recently of writing an article for Heart of the Matter Online. Please take a moment to read it and tell me what you think!! Here is the first paragraph:

Trusting His mind, transforming mine
By Laura L

If there is one thing I have learned recently, it’s that God has NOT changed His mind about me.

Not His plans, His purpose, His calling for my life. None of it has changed. Before the foundations of the world, He had a plan for my life, just like He does for you, a specific purpose for me alone that no one else can fulfill. The enemy would like me to think that because of poor choices on my part, or other people, that His plan has been altered somehow. He would like us to think that divorce, death, or financial crisis has the power to change His mind, that now I must settle for Plan B so to speak. That is a lie that we must not allow ourselves to embrace!!

You can read the rest of the article here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Handyman Angels

Over the years I have learned to keep a list of projects that I need help with around the house. Big or small, I write them all down. Because God in His faithfulness will speak to a persons heart and I will get a question something like this. "Do you need anything fixed around the house? My husband would like to help you." I never know when it's going to happen, and usually it comes from someone that I never would have thought to ask on my own. I call them my Handyman Angels! It's one of the ways that God truly demonstrates that HE is my Husband, my Provider. I am always amazed and so grateful when He takes care of us in this way. Sunday, I got to know a new Handyman Angel by the name of Christopher. I've known him and his beautiful family for years, from a distance. But they said that God had really laid me on their hearts. So his wife brought me a couple home cooked meals that were absolutely delicious, and he offered to help me in any way he could. Yeah!!Christopher put all the bikes up on the ceiling and hung all the car seats on the walls. I have so much more floor space now! You may still think my garage looks a mess. And with all the daycare "stuff" I suppose it is. But this is what "I" see. Blessings and miracles of provision! That riding lawn mower was only 2 years old when it was given to me by a business man. What a time saver! What a blessing!! I see cases of toilet paper and Kleenex that were given to me. I haven't had to buy tp or Kleenex in over a year! I see hours and hours of work donated by many hardworking husbands to serve my family. So when I look around my garage......I see the Goodness and Faithfulness of God!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Little Monkey

For the last couple years, Miracle's favorite animal has been the monkey. She just LOVES them. So I think it's funny that she acts like one too!! Of my three girls, she is the one you will find climbing a tree on any given day. We only have a couple good climbing trees though, despite living on a forested/treed acre of land. The pines in the front don't have any low branches and neither do the oaks or maples in the back. So sad! So you can imagine my shock when Pillar came inside to tell me that Miracle was more than 20 feet up in one of our front pine trees! Evidently, a boy showed her how to use the neighboring trees to push off of, flip onto, and fly through the air to get up there. Great....just great! lol

She's very limber and agile, so I wasn't really worried. But I asked Pillar to take pictures before I went out there to make sure she could get herself back down.

Here she is climbing higher and higher. Once she finally reached the branches, the sky was the limit! That would be her....the pink speck heading toward the top!
I lived on farm for several years when I was younger. I have the fondest memories of climbing trees all the way to the tippy top and watching my mother's shocked face when she discovered me all the way up there! LOL

Friday, November 6, 2009

Family Pictures

I know some of us are positioned a bit weird, but our smiles are the best in this here it is! From left to right is Miracle (11), Rosebud (8), Me, Great Grandma (82....doesn't she look great?!), and Pillar (12). My brother and I with our Grandma. Doesn't he look tough? He wouldn't smile for the camera! lol We didn't plan the blue jean thing either. Just happened that way!
I love this picture of my Grandma! Isn't she sweet? I also like it because we're all in it together. Usually the "moms" are the ones taking the pictures, so we're not in too many of them!!
But this is definitely one of my all time favorites!! All the great grandchildren together with Grandma. What a treasure!! What a heritage!!
And as an added bonus, a lovely picture of my brother's family. To learn more about them you can visit their blog here.

Games Games Games!

The girls and I love to play games. Card games, board games, name it, we play it! So it was fun to have Grandma here to play with us. This particular afternoon they were playing Uno. Guess who won??? That would be Rosebud much to my Grandma's shock!
I'm so thankful that the girls had this time to make fun memories with their Great Grandmother. She lives in Arizona, so we don't get to see her as often as we would like to.
My Grandmother is so wise and wonderful. We spend hours talking. Her stories are like a walk through history. Her memory is amazing. I hope I do as well at 82!
Thank you Grandma for loving us so much. For spending your time with us. For making special memories with us. We love you!!