Family of Warriors

Family of Warriors

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Memories

I thought it would be fun to write out some of my favorite Christmas memories.  I have been blessed with 39 Christmases in my life time.  Each one has brought some deeper meaning to my life.  Some were harder than others, but for the most part I am so grateful that I have fond memories of a season that plays an instrumental role in my faith.

*When I was in high school, my sister was unable to come home for Christmas due to having my first nephew.  My mom decided that she didn't want to get woken up at the crack of dawn.  So, she slammed the front door and jiggled jingle bells and yelled, "HO HO HO!"  My brother and I came running into the living room with our hearts racing.  She informed us that Santa had come!  Santa was very sneaky that year and hid our presents in the tree!  After looking at all our goodies, Mom went to bed and my brother and I went out for breakfast at Dennys!  We bought my mom coffee mugs so that she could always remember the experience!

*Several years later, my sweet niece was born and 7 months later we celebrated Christmas with my family at my grandmother's home.  My niece was in my mother's lap.  My sweet niece grabbed my grandmother's tree and down it came!  Since most of the ornaments fell off, my grandmother decided to undecorate her tree.  I still laugh at that one!  It was such a sight to see.

*My very first Christmas married to my sweet husband found me 8 weeks pregnant and very sick.  During the month of December, we had to paint a new house, move into a new house, and I was put into the hospital for a week for dehydration.  Needless to say our house wasn't very merry for the season. However, I learned a greater purpose of Christmas.  It was beautiful in it own way.  I learned volumes about sacrifice and true love.  I was sacrificing my body, but in return I would hold a sweet, beautiful baby boy.  Jesus was born to sacrifice His life for a sinner--for a sinner like me.  It was a humbling experience.

*Our first Christmas in a far away land called California brings some special memories.  The boys received a R2D2 for Christmas from my Mother.  We decided to do something different that year.  Instead of wrapping the present, we hid him behind our couch.  While the kids were looking at their gifts, Mark turned him on.  Then he proceeded to give him a command.  The boys were delighted and squealed to hear R2D2 and see him roll around.  It was a great surprise!

*Once again, December found me pregnant with our 5th child.  Once again we were moving to a far away land in the Rocky Mountains.  Did I mention that I was very sick.  This year we moved a week before Christmas.  My boys' love for our family was very evident.  They put our tree up and then wrapped it with green saran wrap.  At church, many of our children made Christmas ornaments.  We added those to our tree as well.  It was a beautiful Christmas to remember that love is the spirit of Christmas.

*Last year, we decided to surprise our family in Texas and come home for Christmas.  I was on top of my game.  I had laundry washed, dried, folded and put up.  All the Christmas gifts were bought and wrapped.  I had 2 days to get everyone packed and ready to go!  Then came a HUMONGOUS snow storm.  We had to make a quick decision--to go to Texas or not to go at all.  We decided to leave 2 days early. We decided this at 9:00 at night.  Within a hour and a half, we were packed and ready to go.  We left during a blizzard and drove 25 mph to the border of Texas.  We stopped and slept at a hotel for 5 hours.  We were awoken to the news that the snow storm was coming our way.  We brushed our teeth and took off once again.  We arrived safely to our home town.  We were even able to surprise our family-bonus!  My children will forever remember the fun of "dashing through the snow!"

Merry Christmas dear readers!

Saturday, 8 December 2012


When I first became pregnant 14 years ago this past Thanksgiving, I had no idea how much God would ask from me.  At that moment, I dreamed of nursery rooms, sweet baby feet, and cuddles on the couch.  I never considered the journey of becoming a Godly parent.

As the days have become years, I have realized that God has been faithful to my prayers.  I have prayed for several years that God would make me a wise mom with eyes to see and a heart to give. I have prayed that I would love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.  But I have also prayed that my children would love the same.  In my prayers, I beg God to make laughter surround our home.  Yet, my biggest prayers is that I would just surrender-gratefully.

Surrendering to God isn't throwing in the towel or waving the white flag.  Surrendering is remember who He is and who I am not.  Oh, how this one word as such power!

I learned early on that pregnancy and the life with a newborn would make sure that I surrendered my body and my sleep. After 8 pregnancies, I see how gravity has shaped my body and all my extra skin.  

Lack of sleep is a natural progression of parenting.  It is natural to be awake with a newborn.  However, there have been many nights that I have been awake because of  prayer needs or a broken heart.

I have set up with small children in hospitals. I have slept in chairs with asthmatics. I have done many loads of  puked on laundry.  I have lost sleep over nightmares--mine and theirs.

Recently, my family said good bye to sweet friends family as their journey took them to another state far away. My young daughter has a rather unique relationship with this precious family.  She loves them very much and would often spend the night. It was her second home.  At the age of 3, she is learning what this world offers at times. I have spenT several nights laying in bed with her snuggling and praying as she processes her grief. These days will pass and she will once again sleep well on her own, but for now I am blessed to surrender my sleep. In return, I see a glimpse of God's grace and hand- not to mention all the sweet snuggling. 

Sleep cannot be our god if we desire to raise Godly children.

Then came my time and energy. "Me" time does not really exist in my home. Staying up late with teenagers and getting up early with little ones allows little time for "me" time. There are times that I need to get away and refocus.  There are times when I really need to just do something mindless.  But, overall I cannot be checked out day after day. God has asked me to give Him my time and energy and to acknowledge Him.  He promises to direct my steps and give me endless strength to the things He has called me too.  When I surrender, God opens up opportunities for me to disciple my children, opportunities to truly listen to my children, memories that will help to remember my children, and experiences that will allow me to inhale His goodness.

Then God asked for my parenting ideas and even my beliefs to be put upon the altar table.  I just knew I had it all figured out when I was pregnant with Kaleb.  I bet God laughed and told the angels to watch how much He was about to rock my world. 

I never dreamed of homeschooling my children.  Well, for the last 9 years I have done just that!  I never ever thought I would have 6 kids.  I am now entertaining the idea of God expanding our family again--if He so chooses. (No, I am not pregnant.) I didn't think I could be a good mom to boys--I have 4 of them.  God has truly changed my parenting ideas to let Him be the ultimate boss and not because I just think so.  Scripture is the key to all discipline--adult and child alike.  So, as I search Scripture I learn better parenting skills.  I learn what mercy really means and how to apply it.  I learn what is acceptable and what I should detest.  Scripture has become my parenting filter.  If its in the Bible---sweat it and make it real.  If it isn't in the Bible--leave it alone and let God work out the details.

All these challenges were great areas of strife for me.  However, the greatest area that needed to be put on the altar was my pride.  YIKES! I needed to remember who God is and who I am not.  I needed help---

I don't really need help in the day to day things.  I needed help in being fully with my children.  It is so easy to check out mentally and still be home with my large crew.  They needed me though.

They needed me to be fully here. 
They needed me to listen to every detail of their story. 
They needed me to watch them succeed in a video game. 
They needed me to rock their babies. 
They needed me to see their lego creations.
They need me to enjoy their gluten free alphabet soup.
They needed me to see their success and their failures.
They needed me---all of me.

So as I gaze upon the one lesson that would sum up my life as a parent, it would be to surrender.  I have to surrender myself daily to Christ.  He will help me.  He will give me strength when I have been up all night with a sick little one.  He will give me wisdom to help small ones work out differences.  He will give me joy when the day is full of the grumpies.  He will be the one to hold me as I grieve over them leaving one by one to their life beyond my home. 

He will be...if I just surrender.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Celiacs and My Thoughts....

I was recently diagnosed with an auto immune disease called Celiacs.  The diagnosis was a bit hard to take (UNDERSTATEMENT).  Thousands of thoughts raced through my mind.  Could I eat out again? How would I handle church meals and pot lucks?  What about eating on vacation?  What about eating at parties or at other people's homes?  Oh my! My very small social life was going to become even smaller.  I was a bit terrified and sad at all the changes that would be made.  In short, I was OVERWHELMED!

My next feeling that reared its ugly head was anger. I was angry because I was predisposed for this disease, yet I was never told.  Then God in His awesomeness and pure love began to teach me how to eat, shop and live.  As time began to heal my body,  I saw the diagnosis in another light. 

My pregnancy with Stephen, my smiling seven year old, is when I believe the disease was no longer dormant.  I began to have struggles with my hands during his pregnancy which later moved into joint issues with ankles. hips, and knees.  There were days I could barely walk. The absence of that pain made me realize what bondage I was under with a misdiagnosis of my ailments. God truly came and set my body free from pain and exhaustion.

As I continue to digest the diagnosis of celiacs, I see several more blessings from God.  It is a treatable disease.  It is controlled by my intake of meds and foods.  They must all be gluten free. The super markets are full of all sorts of gluten free alternatives.  We also have the ability to afford all the food which is a blessing worth repeating.  My grocery bill has gone up exponentially in the last few months.  God has been completely faithful with giving me the finances needed.

One of the biggest blessings for me is that we were able to diagnose my daughter, Mary-Elizabeth. Celiacs has a huge genetic componet.  It became imperative that we test of all our children that are older than 2 years of age.  Mary-Elizabeth is our only child with the disease being active.  The boys all have 10% greater chance of having celiacs at some point in their life.

 Mary-Elizabeth's numbers are outrageous.  The next step was a biopsy.  Her biopsy came back this last week.  She definitely has celiacs.  She also has a few other nutrition issues we are treating.  I am so grateful to God that we were able to diagnose her before she began to feel sick. 

I have to be honest.  Accepting the fact that I gave my daughter a disease that will be with her for her whole life is tough.  So, I take God's character into account and know that He is faithful and loves ME more than me.  I also take refuge in God's greater plan. 

Ultimately, I pray that we can became better instruments of His ministry because of this diagnosis.  At the least, celiacs has taught me volumes about self-control.  It is definitely another post though!

Monday, 3 December 2012

God's Grace

I have had a wonderful opportunity to teach a group of ladies at my home church.  The past few months, we studied the book of Galatians.  The major theme has penetrated my heart and my mind.  I can do nothing to earn salvation or good gifts.  It is freely given by a gracious God.

The other day I read Psalms 51.  I could barely get through the first verse without tears.

Some of you already know what Psalms I am talking about.  It is the Psalms of penitence that King David wrote after being convicted of having an affair and then having her husband killed.

Psalms 51:1, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to
Your unfailing love;
 according to your great compassion blot
out my transgressions."
I don't think we can truly accept who we are without seeing us next to a Sovereign God.  When I see what God has done for me because of His love, I am in awe of the true, living God.  You see I didn't get where I am today because I did good works.  He gave me good gifts because of His faithfulness.  He gave me the blessing of my husband and children because of who He is.  He did not give me my family because He knew I could "handle it."  He gave me a home and money in my account to take care of our large family not because I am awesome with money, but because of who He is! 
I am free to be who God has created me to be.  I am no longer compelled to do good works for good works sake!  I desire to read my Bible, memorize verses, tithe, teach my children and work diligently for His cause because of who He is. 
Seeing myself in the eyes of God keeps my attitude in check.  He is faithful. I am wishy washy at times.  He is love unconditional. I love conditionally.  He practices mercy.  I beg for mercy.  He is Sovereign.  I can only see for moments at a time. He is God and well I am not!
"You my brothers, were called to be free." Galatians 5:13

I Am Back!

I have had a great desire to blog lately.  So, I decided I would give in and start sharing my heart to the open public again.  Sadly, I cannot seem to figure out blogger anymore.  It is way pass me on my computer abilities.   The blog may not be eye appealing anymore, but it will be about my heart.

I cannot wait to share with you some of the nuggets God is teaching me. However, right now is not the best time.  I am busy trying to help several children complete school and I am trying to keep up a stubborn toddler who is very sleepy.  That is my life--chaos with joy!

Chat with you soon!