Tuesday, October 29, 2013

goings on

Does that even make sense?  It's been a while since I've posted and I thought I would share a little of what I've been up to, but in pictures.  I don't have a lot of words, so I thought I would just do it this way.


Todd and I have been in a coffee rut.  And to top it off, we're coffee snobs.  No Folger's or Maxwell House for us.  We like it strong, fine and dark.  This coffee is so delicious!!  None of the bitter taste and all the strength we love.


I haven't been journaling lately, so yesterday I started back.  I wrote down all my family's names and prayed over them all yesterday morning.  I don't do it that way everyday, but yesterday I did.


Yesterday afternoon found me back at my doctor's office for the fourth time in about three weeks.  Same issues, no solution yet.  I go back again in the morning.  I think she's keeping an eye on my levels to make sure they don't drop too low.


I cried all over so many people yesterday~nurses, my best friend, Todd, a stranger and my mom-in-love.  I think Phyllis felt bad for me, so she bought me flowers!  I love her.


We had school today and I did minimal things around my house.  One of the things I did do was make chili for tonight.  I use the Pioneer Woman's recipe, it is amazing!  You should smell my house right now.

Speaking of...I need to go stir it.  And that's about all I've been up to.  Love to all!

Friday, October 25, 2013

prayer

Prayer~such a gift to us from God the Father.  I am so thankful that I am able to speak to my Heavenly Father at any time of day, however often I want, and any where I want.  We talked about prayer yesterday in our Bible study, as we were introduced to the book of Ephesians.

How in the world are we supposed to pray?  I've always just kinda laid my heart out before God....He knows the contents of my heart anyway, so why not just lay it all out?

Are we supposed to pray for things we want?  Or things we need?  (I would say yes to the "things we need" for sure, whether it be a financial miracle, or a physical miracle, or the salvation of a loved one.  Although I have to confess, I have prayed for things I want as well.  Remember last year when I prayed for God to provide a way for us to go see the Fab 5 gymnasts from the summer Olympics at the Fed Ex Forum?  And then He provided a way for that to happen?  My thinking on that is that sometimes He does want us to pray for things like that, because when He provides an answer or a way, it points to Him.  I could be wrong, though, but doesn't that make sense?)

How about this, though~what if, when we share our need with others, we ask them to pray for something specifically?  Are we supposed to tell people what to pray for?  Down to the very last detail??  I have friends that do this~they tell me exactly what to pray, and I confess to you that it irritates me.  I don't pray exactly what they want, because that might not be what God wants.  I pray that His will be done in their lives and in the needs they have.  And last year when I prayed for that "frivolous thing" (The Fab 5), even in that, I ultimately prayed His will...even if that meant no tickets.  I did give Him praise when He provided a way for us to go, though, and I shared that story with so many people.  Because it wasn't us that made that happen~it was all God!

I don't know the answers.  I wish I did.

Someone said in Bible study yesterday that we are supposed to pray with a totally surrendered heart to God, and that we are supposed to pray His will (I already knew that last part).  She suggested that maybe we won't understand what a totally surrendered heart is until we have released a child into the world.  I don't really know if that's true or not, but it kinda makes sense.  Think about it: when you know that you have raised your child to walk with God, you have done all you can do and they leave home after graduation, what do you do?  You let them go.  You commit them (maybe for the millionth time) to God.

Because as much as you love that child. how much more does God love him/her?

Unfathomable.

What does praying His will mean?  I've always thought that it meant praying not for an answer that I want, but the answer or solution that He wants~even if it means me suffering a little bit in order to point others to Him.

I'll use myself as an example again: last week when I was going through all my medical junk, I did NOT want to be going through that!  I prayed and prayed for that not to happen, for the Lord to heal me, but all my mess happened anyway.  But guess what?  In the middle of my turmoil, He provided me with a wonderful story of why He allowed me to go through what I did~what I still am going through.  He showed me that when I have nothing to cling to but Him and His word, that those two alone will carry me through.  He showed me how to pray for other people around me as I sat in The Jones Clinic.  He showed me that the testing of my faith develops perseverance...and that perseverance must finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything!  (James 1:2~4)

But then someone else said that even Jesus prayed (on the cross) that if possible, this cup be taken from Him.  (Luke 22:42)

So here's what I'm thinking: I'm thinking that I'm going to stop praying the way I usually do...I think I'm going to start focusing more on thanking and praising God, and reading His word during prayer, and then listening.
Listening.

Do you know how hard that is?  How often have you sat and listened to the silence?  I'll be honest and say that I often skip that part.  I thank God for all His many gifts to us, I praise Him for Who He is (friend, love, almighty, faithful and just, etc.) and then sometimes I sing a song of worship, but the listening part?  I skip it most of the time.

Do you?  Truthfully?  If you don't, then how do you sit and listen?  I ask because I would like some tips.

Do you have some method you use?  I've done the SOAP method before~Scripture, observe, apply, pray.

But that doesn't really touch on the listening part.  How do we listen for God?  How do we know when it's Him?  Is it a thought that might jump into my brain?  A verse He might recall to my memory?  A nudge?

I'm just curious.  I was thinking about this more when I woke up and had my quiet time.

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.  Love to all.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

what we spent our evening doing and how we proved we can live in a two bedroom house

The boys decided last weekend that they wanted bunk beds.  All four of them.  Not only did they want bunk beds, they wanted to start sharing one room.  Not only a room, but THE smallest room in our house, with the exception of the bathrooms.

We figured they're only young once, and my man got a killer deal on two sets of bunk beds, so today he made their dreams come true.

We have a crazy busy next few days, so he decided to skip church tonight to put them together.

Here's the first set of bunk beds all set up:


Why yes, those are flannel sheets.  They're all about to have them, starting Friday.  It's freezing in our house!  My husband loves it cold, so we have not yet turned our heat on.  You can hang meat in our house, I'm pretty sure.  And I think I just saw my breath!  It's 43 degrees outside and 63 degrees inside.  Holy  cannoli!

Crash loves the new beds.  He claimed the bottom bunk that's supposed to be Graham's.

Here's the tiny room with both sets:


Does this bring back summer camp memories?  That's what it looks like to me!  They love it, and if you could hear all the, "Thank you, Daddy's!" he got, you would know why we did this for them.  They're such grateful little men...and that alone makes me want to give them the world.  And I have to add that for both of these sets of bunk beds, he paid $160!  Can you even believe that?  I can...Todd is a thrifty shopper.

'Twas a fun night.  I held Graham's mattress down while they did all the work.  I am so spoiled by the men in my life.  It's a good feeling.  They make me feel like a queen, most especially their daddy.  :)

On a side note, I saw my doctor again today.  I begged her for surgery, but she said she can't perform it on me at this moment...my levels are getting better, but they're still crazy low~my iron, my hemoglobin and my hematocrit.  So she gave me two shots of progesterone and instructed me to also keep taking the prescription of it that she gave me.  If all the symptoms return yet again, I will go back and we'll talk more fervently about surgery.  For now, I'm praying that either God healed me today like I prayed, or that this medicine will do its job.

Because I'm done.  And feel like I am going to lose my mind if all this crazy that is happening to my body doesn't go away.

Love to all!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

nothing but lazy

That's how my day has been.  ;)  It's also been Heavenly!  The reason it's been lazy is because the issues I was having last week have returned.  I thought I would be spending my day today in the doctor's office, but she was off.  Go figure.  So, last night after Bible study, we decided that instead of my mom-in-love coming here in the morning and going back into Cordova where she lives, it would be easier to just have all the boys go spend the night.  When I found out my doctor was off today, I offered to go get the boys, but they decided they wanted to stay another night.

That means that I have spent my day doing absolutely nothing.  Well, I did read my Bible and shower and do laundry and dishes, but other than that, I have sat in my chair all day and watched marathon episodes of all my favorite shows on the t.v.  I never do this, and I have enjoyed every single second!

I am going to the doctor tomorrow afternoon at one thirty.  I called her nurse, and we decided I need to come back in right away.  I have no idea what's going to happen, but please pray for my doctor to have Godly wisdom.  (She offered one band-aid type option to me last week, and I didn't like that, meaning that what she offered will not fix my problem, except for temporarily.  I am looking for permanent, as in for the rest of my life.)  The good news is that I feel fine.

Back to my day alone, I removed my nail polish and am about to re-do my nails.  No matter what happens tomorrow, at least my nails will look good!  ;)  I also tried parting my hair on the opposite side and took a picture of it to see what it looked like.


Even though it felt really weird, I thought it looked better than I expected.  (My hair is getting kinda thin on one side, so I need to start parting it differently.)

Oh, and Crash kept me company all day.  He has slept all day, either on his bed or on the couch or with me, at one point.

Exciting stuff, huh?  Well...time to go select that nail color.  ;)  Thanks for reading and for praying (again)!  Love to all.

Monday, October 21, 2013

weekend fun

First off~I love this weather!  Fall is my favorite time of year, and cooler weather has finally decided to make it's appearance in my hometown.  Glory!  Today the high is 73, but tomorrow and the rest of the week, the high is in the sixties.  :)

Sigh.

On Friday, after we had lunch with my Dad, I left and headed to The Grove at Red Oaks (formerly Camp Cordova) for a one night retreat with the girls in our youth group.  We had so much fun...there is something so special about being with just a group of girls that is refreshing for the soul.  There were some pretty amazing adults there as well.  ;)  I do love some socializing, y'all!  After we had dinner in stages (it took forever to get ready), we sat around the campfire and had a time of worship.




They're a little blurry, but you get the drift.  I get all teary-eyed when I hear kids or youth sing.  At one point, I just had to close my eyes and soak it all in.  I know that the Lord was glorified through their worship, and it touched the very depth of my being.


The moon showed off for us Friday night.  It was beautiful.

We had free time after worship, and we made s'more's and just sat around the fire.  Finally, around eleven, we headed back to our cabin.  After scaring the daylights out of the girls by running in and screaming, we all just laid on our beds and talked.  I think it was close to one before the last of us finally fell asleep.

Saturday morning we got up at 6:45 to watch the sunrise (except that it didn't, because it was rainy) and worship.  We had some more activities, and by noon, we were heading back home.

I came home and crashed, after I ate lunch.  I was starving~those girls can eat some food!  There wasn't much breakfast by the time I made my way up to the food table that morning.  ;)

Saturday night, at our old church, we went to a missions dinner.  Our sweet friends who are missionaries in Iceland were the speakers that night.  Mike and Sheila Fitzgerald are some pretty amazing people, and I am so glad our boys got to meet them.


It was also really good to see our old friends from First Assembly.  I don't miss going to church there, but I miss the relationships we had.  And when I think about that, I think about how sweet heaven is going to be someday.  Can you even imagine?  You never know when you might see someone for the last time.

And yesterday was wonderful...I do love our church, y'all.  It's like walking into your house~it feels like home now.  There are tons of people I still don't know (It's huge!), but I love the ones I do know.  I love our Sunday school, I love the youth, our kids and their leaders, and Brother Chuck is just a good 'ole boy.  I love his preaching and his love for the Lord.  I love that our kids are with us and I love when I hear them sing!  And speaking of singing, my little heart was so content to worship God yesterday morning.  I love being able to worship with abandon, and yesterday was no different.

I ended the weekend by dropping off a carload of kids back at church.  I drove them to and from Community Group last night, then we came home and watched The Amazing Race and ate in front of the t.v.  We never do that, so it was fun~Todd worked last night, so it was just the boys and me.

It was a wonderful weekend~how was yours?  Feel free to leave some comment love!

Love to all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Fun

Typically on Thursday's, we go to the weekly meeting of our homeschool group.  Today was our week off, though, to take time to enjoy a "Fall break" if we so chose.  While we enjoyed a day at home, we still had school.  (Their teacher is such a meanie.)  ;)  Well, we kinda had school.  Graham and Jonah went to work with Todd, and Graham took his school work with him.  Jonah worked way ahead on Monday and Monday night, so he didn't take any with him.

I am so proud to say that Noah is finished for the week.  Except for the two tests he's taking tomorrow, but those will take around ten minutes each.  Jonah needs to finish a couple subjects, as do Graham and Drew, but my little No-No is done.  (This is not usually the case.)

I woke up thinking about something this morning, probably because of all the report card posts I'm seeing on Facebook, and that is the fact that while Drew was in public school, he hated math and usually managed to bring home C's or low B's at the best.  Since we've started our new math curriculum this year, math has become his favorite subject and the lowest grade he's received has been a 95%.  Funny how that works, huh?

I was told tonight that my mom-in-love prays just that for all seven of her grandsons~that their homeschool grades far exceed their public school grades.  Phyllis, if I didn't tell you tonight, thank you for praying that.  Thank you for praying for them so faithfully, period.  And for us...for me.  I love you.

So speaking of report cards and Facebook posts, I will take a moment to tell you that my kiddos are excelling in school this year.  Drew's lowest grade is a 95%, Graham's lowest grade is a 90% and Jonah and Noah have each made an 80% in reading...but on their actual test grades a B is the lowest they've gotten.  (The 80%'s that Jonah and Noah made were part of "home" work, not an actual test or quiz.)

Isn't that awesome?  I'm so proud of them...and they're learning so much this year.  Drew learned something in science today that amazed me...I would tell you if I could remember, but obviously I cannot.  ;)  Almost every single day I am told, "Mom, I love homeschooling.", or "Thank you for homeschooling us, Mom."

Sigh.

I thought I would share some pictures from our day:



I let Drew and Noah have a late start on school today.  While they were upstairs playing, I finished the entire first week of our study on Ephesians in my homeschool group's Bible study.  It is so good!  I love Ephesians and marked up all the pages that went along with this week's lesson.


While eating lunch today, we were all cracking up at something that Noah was doing or saying...I wish this picture had better captured his adorable face.  He was laughing so hard that I think tears fell at one point...I love hearing my kids laugh like that.


At two o'clock we packed up Crash and left home to head to my in-love's house for dinner.  Phyllis wasn't at home yet, and Graham and Jonah were waiting for us at her house, so we picked them up at went to a park nearby their house.  The weather today was gorgeous, as was the sky, and well...you know my love of sky pictures.


When we got back to the in-love's house, all the boys took Crash outside...I love this picture of Drew and the dog just chillin'.  This is also the only furniture Mimi will let Crash sit on.


We enjoyed a yummy dinner of salad, bread and lasagna and afterward Jonah said, "Man, I wish we had a Costco cake."  So what did my mom-in-love do?  Get up, drive to Costco and buy him a cake.  I laughed because of the pumpkin and "happy birthday"...but Jonah might have just died and gone to heaven.  He LOVES their cakes.

It was a wonderful day for us...how was yours?  (I got good news from my doctor~the results of the biopsy she took came back benign, with no pre-cancerous cells~praise God for that!  Thanks again, to all of you who were praying for me.  God has blessed me with such amazing family and friends...I've spent a good portion of this week crying over everyone's generosity and kindness.)

Love to all.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

some things I love about homeschooling

~After a long day of sitting in doctor's offices yesterday, I took the opportunity to not get dressed today.  I mean...I'm dressed, just not for public viewing.  I made it a self-proclaimed pajama day.  Except that when you have boys that don't really wear pajama's, it's just another normal day.  Whatever works, right?

~Todd was standing in the living room this morning, about to leave for work when all of a sudden he asked Drew if he wanted to go to work with him.  Of course, Drew jumped at the opportunity...he never asks to go with Todd, and I love that Todd recognized that and offered it to him.  It's a major perk of homeschooling, and his reward for getting so much work accomplished yesterday while I was gone.

~We don't have to go to bed or wake up early.  We usually begin our day around nine, sometimes a little before.  Drew, Jonah and Noah usually are finishing up around one, sometimes before.  It takes Graham longer, because high school is harder.  Today he worked until two or two-thirty.

~Our house is so peaceful during the school hours.  There's not a lot of talking going on, just the running of the appliances, the smell of candles burning and I get to have really good quality quiet time.  Today while they were working, I was reading and writing down the book of James.  (That book is so jam-packed that I take it chapter by chapter, sometimes only verse by verse.  I made it through half of chapter two today.)  Of course I do allow them to talk during our school day, they just don't.  Or at least, not a lot.

~We turn off the television and turn on the radio.  Mostly I listen to Pandora...but I need to figure out how to create another station.  I love piano music and am thinking a little Jim Brickman might be nice.  Oh, and I figured out how to create the new station.  Easy schmeasy.  ;)

~I love that the kids work at their own pace.  I create their to-do lists for their week, and they pick and choose what to do each day.  As long as they finish their weekly lists, I'm good with however they go about it.

~I also love how they sometimes work in different areas of my house.  Sometimes we're all in the kitchen and dining room, sometimes in the living room, sometimes upstairs...I let them pick and choose their location as well.


Today, Noah and Graham both chose the living room.  Noah was at the school desk, and Graham was at the computer desk.


Crash was helping Graham do science today.  ;)

There are tons more reasons why I love what we do so much, and for us all these things make it perfectly ideal.  I know it's not for everyone, and I know people think I'm nuts for this, but I love it.  My job is to care for these charges God has given me, and what better way than to see to it they're getting the kind of education we want them to have?  (I will say that when we did public school, we loved it.  We would also  have loved private school, had we been able to afford it.  I'm not judging your way of school, just sharing what works so well for my family.)

I'm thankful for our moments like today.  Love to all.

Monday, October 14, 2013

an update

Thank you so much for all the prayers, my friends.  I cannot tell you how much I appreciate each and every one of you, and all the prayers you offered up on my behalf.  God heard each one of them, and He provided the peace that I needed to make it through a long day.

I am done with iron infusions, praise God!  That doctor wants me back in a month to recheck all my levels, but I suspect all will be better by then.

My other doctor thinks all my issues are just hormone-related, and we're treating that with progesterone.  And another medicine to help me along, but I'm trusting that this will make a difference.  She did a biopsy while I was there, but she did so just as a precaution.  I'm not even slightly concerned with that result.

She wants to see me in another eight weeks, to talk about a more permanent solution.  I don't know what that is, but I'll be open to whatever she suggests.

So thank you so much for praying.  Two precious friends who serve our youth at our church brought us an amazing dinner tonight.  Seriously, it was delicious, and it was so nice coming home and not having to worry about making dinner!!


On Instagram, about this picture I said that this is what edible love looks like!  My sweet friends Erin and Abbey were the hands and feet of Jesus and brought us this tonight.  We devoured it.  Seriously, there are almost no leftovers!

I'm so glad to be home and in my pj's.  I canceled our Bible study for tonight and am enjoying relaxing with my favorite people.  They all seemed relieved that I'm okay for now.  ;)

Thanks again for praying.  God gave me a little distraction today while I was getting infused with iron.


On the left, in the second square, the little black dot you see is the spider that hung out with me all morning at The Jones Clinic.  He never dropped down, though, just stayed up there and did his thing.  I also enjoyed this view:


The waterfall was mesmerizing, when I wasn't snoozing.  I did my praying thing while I was conscience, and the man who got to me the most was there for his 5th chemo treatment.  I heard him say how sick he gets during the treatment, but today, at least while I was there, he did not.  I thank God for that...he seemed so down and discouraged.  I prayed that he would feel the love of Jesus all around him, whether through me or through one of the precious nurses there.

I feel like everyone should visit this kind of clinic.  It is truly a place where God uses people, y'all, and those sweet nurses are amazing.  I prayed for them, too, that God would strengthen them and keep on enabling them to minister to their patients.  I truly felt God's love in that place today, and I think it was more than just a feeling.  I believe that I was in the midst of sisters in Christ.  I don't get that feeling very often, but today it was a strong sense.  I may never know until Heaven, but until then, may I encourage you?

Whatever you're facing, ask God to use you.  I asked Him of that today...that in the midst of my anxiety and jittery nerves, that He would use me as a vessel to bless others.  I believe He did.  I made some pretty neat eye contact with several people today, and I believe it was a look of recognition that passed between us.  Their eyes had light in them.  I pray mine did, too, even though they were closed a lot.  (I prayed myself right to sleep several times!  Ooops!)

He will use you in the midst of your circumstances.  Mine may or may not be over, but I'll take one day at a time, and I will be thankful.  How many times can I write Philippians 4:6-7?  I love the part where Paul tells us to thank Him for all He's done.

I am doing that tonight.

I will leave you with yet another video, my newest favorite song by Matt Redman.  Your Grace Finds Me.

Listen and concentrate on the words.  "I'm breathing in Your grace, and breathing out Your praise."

Love to all.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

jitters

I've been so brave all weekend, and the closer I get to tomorrow, the more the jitters set in.  ~_~

(Just keepin' it real.)

I'm not nervous about the needles or the iron part, I'm more nervous at what they might find when I go see my doctor.  For a gal whose worst nightmare involves the c-word, this is more than a little nerve wracking.  I'm typing this and listening to Laura Story's, "I Can Just Be Me".  The words say "Be my God, be my warrior, be my guide, be my strength"...and it seems that they're comforting to me right now.  I'm praying for peace, and I do have it for the most part, I just feel jittery.

It's been a really low-key weekend for me.  I purposefully haven't done much all weekend long, except for travel from one place to sit to another place to sit.  I cleaned the kitchen today and did some laundry, but that's about it.  Good news, though, the medicine is still working!  But at the moment my heart is racing.  I don't know if it's nerves or my iron still being low.  I'd be willing to bet that it was nerves.

Today after church, I had a friend text me and ask if she and another friend could bring us dinner tomorrow night.  She figured that if I was gone all day, that would be one less thing for me to worry about.  And that made me bawl my eyes out.  Y'all, it's time like these that I wish I could explain to you the importance of a church family.  I have other family, too, that are helping out in so many ways, and I have friends that are offering to help as well, but my church family is just...different.  It's people that love you like they love Jesus.  I have no other way to explain it~they don't do things for you because they're obligated, they are simply obeying and being the hands and the feet of Jesus. There are no words to describe how important it is to fellowship with a body of believers!!  If there's one thing I say in this post that challenges you in your faith, let it be this statement: find a church and start attending!

Before I go on, though, let me say thank you to some other major people: Mom, thank you for shopping for me tomorrow!  You know the boys will appreciate it.  And thanks for the chili~the boys can't wait to eat it!  Daddy, thank you for taking care of my kids tomorrow!  Phyllis, thank you for coming to relieve my dad and picking up where he leaves off!  I could not be whole tomorrow if I had to worry about any of these details.  So thanks to all of you and I love you.  (And Trish, for relieving Dad on Friday.)

Another song I listened to this morning a couple of times was Mandisa's, Overcomer.  If you missed it the first time I posted it on Facebook, I'll share it at the end of this post.  Listening to the encouraging words of the song alone makes me feel ready to tackle anything.

Well...for those of you that read this on Facebook and commented, thank you so much!  Your response was a little overwhelming for me and I cried in reading most of them.  I feel so loved and treasured and blessed to be living my life alongside all of you.  I am counting on all of you praying for me tomorrow, and for God's peace to continually wash over me all day.  Thanks in advance!  I'll write again tomorrow night and let you know what we found out.

I will leave you with Mandisa's video of Overcome.  I pray that in the reading of what I'm going through that God will use me in some way to touch the lives of others.  All for His glory.  Love to all of you!






Saturday, October 12, 2013

the up's and down's of life

This morning, I am completely overwhelmed at the goodness of God.  Yesterday was the scariest day in all of my thirty-six years on this earth.  I've been having female problems since the very end of June.  Because of the issues I've been having, they all kind of came to a point of exploding yesterday.  Before I tell you about yesterday, I have to tell you about Thursday.

A friend of mine had these exact same issues a couple years ago, and she recommended her doctor to me.  I went to see that doctor on Thursday, praying that she could help me.  I have an appointment scheduled with my regular doctor on the 21st of October, but I needed something earlier than that.  So I went to this doctor and she ordered that blood be drawn from me to determine what my iron level and hematocrit was.  She also informed me that my thyroid felt like it was enlarged and that my heart rate was elevated.

She had her nurse give me two injections of iron, she gave me a prescription for iron sulfate, and I left, still not really knowing anything, but armed with two more appointments.  I'm having a thyroid ultrasound this Tuesday and I kept my appointment with my regular doctor.  I continued on with my day as usual, but that night I felt rotten again.

Fast forward now to Friday.  Graham had to go to work, and I got up as usual to do the things I always do in the morning.  My floor was filthy with little dog prints, so I decided I would vacuum.  Oh, and the nurse had called me with the result of my lab work.  My hematocrit was 25.2, and it should be between 35-40.  My thyroid level was elevated, too, which we figured.  She told me that depending on what my iron level was, that I might possibly have to start having iron transfusions.  I kinda knew that, because my friend had to have those, but I also really didn't think I would have to do that.

So I vacuumed my house and all was okay.  Then I decided to mop the floor, just in the living room by the back door and by the dog beds.  Big mistake.  By the time I finished, I felt like I was going to pass out.  I was drenched in sweat, my heart was racing and I was completely out of breath.  I couldn't even put the vacuum and mop up.  The boys came in to ask me something and when Graham saw me, he goes, "Whoa, Mom...you look terrible.  Are you alright?"  I wasn't.  But I sat for twenty minutes and did absolutely nothing, and then I felt a little more normal again.

My dad came over and we went to lunch, after I felt the Lord impress upon me that I should tell him everything that had been going on with me.  Before he got here, I had called my regular doctor and gotten my appointment bumped up from the 21st of October to this coming Monday.  They also called me in a prescription for me to help with my issues immediately.  We had lunch with Dad and came back home, and I started feeling pretty bad again, and exhausted.  I was just thinking about taking a nap when my phone rang.   The lab work with my iron level came back and I was at thirteen.  My level should be fifty-two.  They were immediately setting up an appointment for me at a cancer treatment clinic to receive my first ever iron transfusion.  Thank God I had told my Dad everything, because without even having to really explain, I was able to leave and he went to pick up Graham from work, then stay here with them all until my sister Trisha came over.

I did freak out a little.  I also might have given my poor husband a heart attack, bless his heart.  He dropped everything and ran to meet me there.  God and His timing are perfect, though...Todd had been scheduled to work on a piece of equipment in Germantown near my doctor's office and when he got there, the building was locked up tight and nobody was there.  He went from there to my doctor's office to talk to them about this iron transfusion, then he met me at The Jones Clinic, where I was heading.  When I went back in the examination room, the doctor was really concerned about my heart rate.  It was 136, and it should be around eighty.  He was so freaked out by that, that he ordered the nurse to do an EKG on me.

Thankfully, everything was fine on that...the racing heart is all related to my iron being so low.  Afterward, they escorted me into the room where patients receive chemo, or iron like me.  I was escorted to the most comfortable chair of all time.  I told Todd I really needed one at home.  ;)  And yes, I took pictures.


In typical fashion lately, I was freezing and they gave me a blanket to snuggle under.



The sweet nurse hooked me up to an iv, and the drip began.  It only took about thirty minutes, and in that time Todd returned calls to people who were asking me things and to his parents and my parents.  I took the time to just sit and pray.  There was a precious lady next to me who appeared to be receiving chemo...and I took that time to pray for her and the other patients in the room.  There were only three and me.  I'm so glad I had that chance...and even in this time that I'll spend doing this, I look forward to that part of it, the praying for others.  And the sleeping...I was informed that they will be giving me a lot of Benadryl to make me sleep through part or most of the four hours.  I can always use that...I haven't been sleeping all that great lately.

I will be going back to this place on Monday for another transfusion, this time a four-hour one.  I'll be going from The Jones Clinic to my regular doctor.  I am excited to get these issues figured out, and while they're all kind of pointing toward a hysterectomy, I won't know anything more until after I see my doctor.  I'm open to whatever she suggests, and while I don't love the thought of surgery, I will do whatever to make all of this stop.

So, will you pray with me, please?  I do have two praises~my heart hasn't raced anymore since yesterday, and I feel so much stronger and awake.  That tired feeling is gone, and I even stayed up until eleven last night, which I haven't done in forever.  And I didn't have a nap yesterday, which is also unheard of.  ;)  The other praise is that the medicine the doctor called in for me is doing its job!  My friend told me that it wouldn't necessarily work, but it appears to be at this moment.

So that's what's up.  I know it's all personal, and for that I'm sorry, but I wrote this so that you can pray for me.  It's not often I ask for it, but this time, I need it.  I have more hurdles to cross before a solution, but I'm trusting God.  Oh, and remember the post I wrote about memorizing Scripture?  I think yesterday was the reason God has prompted me to do this...as I was freaking out yesterday as they were hooking me up to get an EKG, I literally felt the peace of God wash over me like a blanket.

In mid freak-out session (ask Todd, he witnessed it) I started quoting Philippians 4:6 and 7 and Isaiah 26:3:

"Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He's done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."  Phil. 4:6-7

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You."  Isaiah 26:3

I said those in my head over and over and over again, y'all, and like I said...it worked.  So this morning, I'm more than a little overwhelmed by His infinite goodness.  My situation could be so much worse, but it's not.  He has His mighty hand upon me, and I know that whatever I go through, He's right there beside me.  To Him be the glory.

Love to all.




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dear Friends on Facebook,

(I refuse to call this an "open letter" to so-and-so, even though it very well may be.)

Let me start with telling you that I love you all, or you wouldn't be my friend on Facebook.  I love being able to pray for you, and I love being able to connect with you in the great world of social media.  I love looking at your pictures, too, so please...keep on posting them!  I even love looking at your vacation pictures...I used to get kind of jealous when I saw all those, but not anymore.  I really do enjoy looking at them.

I pray that in us being friends on Facebook and in real life that you always see Jesus in me.  My number one goal in life is to point others to Him.  I don't have a perfect family, a perfect record with homeschooling, or a perfect home and extended family.  But I have Jesus, and He makes everything better.  He is my light in the darkness, He is my strong tower, my shield, my Redeemer, my Rock and fortress, my hope and blessed assurance.

I pray that you always see Him in me.  I pray that you hold me accountable to always pointing others to Him.  If you see something that I post that isn't like that, please prayerfully consider telling me (only in a nice way, though, please).  My skin is thin and I cry really easily if people aren't nice to me.  I pray that I am always nice to you.  I know sometimes I tend to be gossip-y (talkin' to the friends I spend quality time with), and for that I am sorry.  I pray that God takes those tendencies away from me, because I know that is not honoring to Him.  I constantly work on this~and I am a definite work in progress.

But now...the point to this post.

I know that the world around us sucks right now.  We are flat out living in the last days, and guess what?  Things are going to get worse.  We are literally, as a nation, going to hell in a hand-basket.  (Tell me I'm not the only one who's heard that phrase before!)  I believe that things are not going to get much better.  If I had the choice of stopping this, I would love to, but I'm afraid I don't have that ability.  Or that choice.  Things are out of our hands at this point, in the times we are living in today and in the leaders the majority of our nation picked.

Things might get more bearable for a little while, but ultimately, in order for us to get to the grand finale of this life, the world as we know it is going to have to come to an end.  Jesus will come back for us and He will win the battle.  (Need proof?  Read Revelation.)  I'm no theologian, but I don't think He's going to come back when everything is peachy keen.  Wars will be going on, all kinds of things will be happening when He makes His glorious reappearance.

I know we all have different political opinions, and thank the good Lord for that!  How boring would life be if we all agreed on everything one hundred percent of the time?!  It actually sounds kinda nice...but it would get boring.  I believe that's a freedom that we have~the right to express our opinion.

And I'm not asking you to stop that...not directly, anyway.  I guess what I'm trying to say is this: how about, if before you hit that "post" button to share yet another something or other blasting our President, or making sure that I and my kids know how freaky things are right now, that instead of pushing that "post" button, you would stop and consider what else you might do in its place.  For instance, instead of going off on yet another political tangent, you stopped to pray for the man?  (In the words of my beloved Bible Fellowship Class teacher, Eric, "Have you gotten your toes stepped on yet?  Keep listening...it's coming.")

I need to stop right at this moment and confess to you: I do not do this enough.  I do pray for our nation and her leaders when I think of it, but that is not every single day.  Shame on me!  I should have verses posted on my fridge as a reminder, but I haven't really thought of doing that.  I will do that sometime, though, before the weekend comes.  And I give you my word, I will pray for our President and other leaders more.  Hold me accountable!!!

Speaking of the Bible, it tells us to pray for our leaders.

"I urge you, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."  1 Timothy 2:1~2

If you need more verses proving that we should be praying, click here.  There's a whole page worth of verses.

Have your opinions, think what you may, but instead of complaining, would you maybe consider praying instead?  It's far more effective.  I believe that the things we post on Facebook about our political preferences are useless~nobody of enough importance sees them, and it's not going to make a difference on how things are at this present time and how much our government needs our help.  ;)  (That was a funny, feel free to laugh.)

Please, please, please know that I write this in love.  But I also write this as a woman of God who tends to get freaked out and fearful about what's going on around us.  I do have faith in my precious Lord and Savior, but I also get scared, y'all.  I don't want to think about how bad things may get.  I don't want to dwell on it.  I know that things will get worse eventually, but I'd rather not read about it on the page of a TON of my Facebook friends' pages.

And yes, I could keep scrolling, but seriously, I might as well not ever get on the blasted sight.  Or I would have to un-friend or hide a lot of people.  And I could do that.  And I might still, if things don't change.  But I love the lighthearted part of Facebook, the fun part.  The pictures, the funny statuses, the beautiful Bible verses my friends share, the prayer requests my friends ask us to pray for...but this morning, most of that wasn't there.  Almost every single friend of mine or a page that I "like" had something to say about our President.

I'm not saying anything negative about the man, y'all.  I would never in a trillion years want his job.  I think that right now, even HE may not want his own job.  He is a man and he is imperfect.  And that is all the reason we need to pray.  I am not wanting to start any political debates, and if that happens in the comment section, all such nonsense will be deleted.  (Especially if it's hateful.  We can say what we need to say without being a hater.)  All I'm asking of you~is to pray.  For our nation, our President, all of the House, the Senate, the head officials of our state.

That is all.  Well, almost.  I'm going to leave you with a song from Chris Tomlin called, Crown Him.  Read some of these lyrics, then listen to the song.  Or read them while you listen...but I urge you not to skip this part.

Crown Him (Majesty) by Chris Tomlin
with Kari Jobe

Crown Him with many crowns
 the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark!  How the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own;
Awake my soul and sing!
Of Him Who died for me,
and hail Him as thy matchless King
through all eternity!

Majesty!  Lord of all!  
Let every throne
before Him fall!
The King of kings,
O come adore! 
Our God Who reigns forevermore!

Crown Him Lord of life
Who triumphed o'er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
for those He came to save!
His glories now we sing!
Who died and rose on high!
Who died eternal life to bring
and lives that death may die.

Majesty!  Lord of all!
Let every throne before Him fall!
The King of kings
O come adore!
Our God Who reigns forevermore!

Forevermore!

All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For He has died for me!
His praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity!

All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For He has died for me!
His praise and glory shall not fail
throughout eternity!

Majesty!  Lord of all!
Let every throne before Him fall!
The King of kings
O come adore!
Our God who reigns forever!

Majesty!  Lord of all!
Let every throne before Him fall!
The King of kings
O come adore!
Our God, who reigns forevermore!
Praise God, who reigns forevermore!
You're the God who reigns forevermore!

And now, for the video:


Thanks for reading.  You may not ever want to again after the content and length of this.  Love to all.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bible study & a few of my favorite things

I LOVE the Bible study I'm participating in on Monday nights.  It's called David: Seeking A Heart Like His, and it's by Beth Moore.  Can I just say that her studies speak to me more than any other kind of study by any other author?  I don't know if it's her writing or what, but she makes the Bible come alive for me.

Last night was no exception.  I love the verses we studied last night in the DVD session.  We studied Psalm nineteen, which is one of my most favorite passages of Scripture.  I memorized the fourteenth verse forever ago, back when my kids were a lot younger and required more patience.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer."  

Not just my words, but the thoughts in my heart.

Last night's session was so wonderful that this morning I went ahead and completed day one of our homework for the week.  I can't help myself...it's so good!  The sessions that we watch on DVD are really good, but the homework is where the meat is.  It's in that quiet time that His word resonates deep within my soul.  This morning was no different.

There are few things (my Jesus, my man and my kids being who I do love more) that I love more than doting on some God~fearing women.  God has given me a love for all types of females, mainly teenagers and ladies whom I study His word with.  I love teenagers because they are so young and impressionable right now, and when I was younger, I didn't have great role models at church.  My Sunday school teachers were always male, and I never really connected with anyone at church.  It's important to me that I connect with the sweet girls in our youth.  It's part of what I prayed about over the Summer, and wouldn't you know it~only the Lord would have me dive right in.  I love them, and I wouldn't change one single thing.  In fact, in a couple of weeks, I'm going on a weekend retreat with them.  I can't wait!

I also love my precious lady friends!  I love studying God's word, and there is something so precious and powerful about worshiping and studying His word with other Godly ladies.  I love the relationships we've formed, and I love the whole accountability thing.  (Speaking of~hey ladies, are you doing your homework?!)  The good Lord knows I need it, so He has placed a burning love for His written word in my heart.  And the more I study it, the more deeply I fall in love with Him.  He draws me closer and closer to Him through studying...and I pray that He uses me to encourage others to do the same.

Only His word is life~changing, and I can tell you that it changed mine.  That is why I love Bible study.  The more I study His word, the less worldly I am.  I am a nicer wife and mom, I have more love for people, I have more patience with life in general, I am kinder, I have the peace that exceeds anything I can understand, I am more gentle and I have more self control.  But the way I got all those things is by studying His word!  Those are the fruits of His spirit, by the way.  He alone can give them.  And trust me when I say, it's all Him.  All I am is willing.

Back to last night~I try my best to make my home as welcoming and inviting as possible.  I want these precious ladies to feel totally at home here, and I love getting everything ready for this special time each week.


Oh yes.  These would be the most Heavenly coffee creamers in all of the world.  :)  I always try to have coffee and tea or lemonade for them.  Sometimes we have snacks, most times we don't.  My sweet friend Scottie brought cookies last night, but my kids ate them all.  HA!  Isn't that just like a boy?!  ;)


Our prayer request book.


The most favorite Bible I've ever owned, my workbook and my glasses.

Another favorite thing of mine is to memorize God's word.  As much as I love it, I don't always have my Bible with me.  Over the course of the last eight years, God has been prompting me to start committing His word to memory.  I told you that He's given me a burning love for His word, and with that came this passion in memorizing it as well.  It has also been life~changing.  I cannot tell you how many times I've used this in my life.  It might be when I'm talking to someone about a prayer request they might have~and I'm able to recall to mind a certain Scripture that helped me during a time I've faced something similar.  I always try to share these verses...and I pray that the Lord always uses me in doing this for His glory.

I might have used this during a time of fear.  A moment of panic.  One of my most favorite verses of all time is Philippians 4:6~7:

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He's done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything you can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

I say that one all the time~does that say something about me?

I've had a lot of people ask me how I do this.  How about I just show you?


That's my secret.  I write the verses I'm memorizing over and over in a notebook or in my journal.  Another place I write them is on note cards.  I punch holes in the note cards, then I keep them bound together by a silver ring.  I carry them with me almost everywhere I go, that way if I'm waiting or if I'm just sitting somewhere, I can do something productive.  I go over them again and again in my mind and out loud.  That's how I remember them.  The key to this is repetition.

It's not hard or difficult, and I'm not the first person to do this.  I actually got this idea from Beth Moore.  Back in the very first Bible study I ever did, on the book of Daniel eight years ago, she challenged us to memorize a portion of Daniel 3.  She told us to use this method, and I did.  And now, eight years, hundreds of note cards and countless passages of Scripture later, I'm still using that same method.

Most of these verses I've written.  Some of them in the picture above were given to me by a friend.  One year, my girlfriend Christa and I exchanged our favorite verses with one another for Christmas.  We bound them together and wrote encouraging notes to each other, and I still have mine that she gave me.  That is one of the best gifts I've ever given or received, by the way.  Hint, hint!  ;)

As I've been sitting here writing this, would you believe I've had my house all to myself?  Jonah and Noah are at a friend's house and Graham, Drew and their friend Will are at the park.  Do you know how rare that is?!  I'm not complaining, I'm just stating the facts.  Homeschooling moms NEVER get a break from the kids.  But you know what?  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love this job that God has given me.  There is nothing that is more honorable (to me) than being a wife, a mom and a homeschool mom.

Which brings me to my last favorite thing of this post:


I have library books on my counter, but I decided to re-visit some of my favorite books of all time: the Sisterchick series of books by Robin Jones Gunn.  She is one of my favorite authors of all time, and these books are all lighthearted and fun and leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.  In honor of the amazing women God has placed in my life, I am re-reading these.  I grabbed this one because I remember it being one of my favorites in that series.  There are eight of these (I think), but it doesn't matter if you read them in order.

I'm going to go read it now.

I pray your day is going good, my friends.  This weather is amazing, is it not?!  It's 70 degrees as I write this.  Pure perfection.  Love to all!

Monday, October 7, 2013

a day's worth of pictures

We started our day very early; by eight-thirty we were already at church having breakfast.  Every first Sunday of the month is designated for a meeting for all our Bible fellowship teachers.  The kids love this time~basically it's all you can eat donuts and orange juice.  Who wouldn't love that?!

And yesterday was the day we took communion, which is my favorite kind of Sunday.  It never fails~Brother Chuck preaches such a wonderful sermon on these days, and it's so touching that I always cry.  Every single time, without fail.  It's usually either the music or the picture he portrays right before.  I think yesterday was both.


We all know how I love to take church notes.  ~_~

We went from church to home really quick to let the dogs out and change, then we headed in the vicinity of downtown Memphis.  First we stopped for lunch at Lenny's.

The Memphis Fire Department has a ceremony for all the fallen firefighters each year, and this year my Mom-in-love decided she wanted to attend.  She asked us to come with her, and I never turn down an opportunity like that.  It was really nice and touching.  I fought tears almost the entire time, because stuff like that just gets to me.

Here are some pictures:




Here's the wall with all the roses the fire department gave the loved ones to lay against the wall:


These guys played for the ceremony.  


After the ceremony, we had refreshments.  Drew was in Heaven.

We came home and let Jonah and Noah change into their AWANA shirts, then took them and Drew to church.  I came back home and watched Todd and Graham do this:



We sat outside for three hours and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for s'mores.  This is one of our most favorite things to do as a family.  And the night sky and weather were beautiful.


I hope your weekend was wonderful.  Love to all.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

just another day

Once again, Graham and I woke up at the crack of dawn for him to be at work by seven.  One advantage to this (although I'm not sure he would agree) is that I get to see this:


Can you believe this picture?!?  I had pulled up to the red light and rolled my window down to snap this...and sometimes I use a photo editing app, but on this occasion I did not...this was all God.

Glorious.

Graham went to work, Drew left at seven forty-five to do a car wash fundraiser and Todd went to maintenance day for the sheriff's department.  The rest of us stayed home.  I fell asleep for ten minutes sitting straight up.  Then I caught up on my cooking shows.

Todd came home and he, Travis our neighbor and all the little kids left to get the big rig that belongs to their company.  They brought it home to wash.  And our day just became a whole lot more fun.




So, so fun.  Their little arms didn't have to be twisted too hard to get right to work.  ;)

I never realized how huge these things are...when you have one sitting in your driveway, it all of a sudden becomes bigger than life.

Fun times were had on this day.  We're about to leave for dinner at my Mom's~tonight we're having catfish.  Yum!  It's been a good day for me, too, I talked to two of my sisters and I'm seeing the other one tonight.  They were sweet enough to call and wish us a happy anniversary.  :)  There is nothing quite like family.

Tomorrow our fun continues, but in the beautiful downtown Memphis.  I can't wait!

Love to all.

through the years

Yesterday, Toddley and I celebrated seventeen years of being married.  All those years haven't been perfect, and we have days when we have our struggles, but we cannot deny that God has had His hand on us from our first day of being together.

Toddley and I met the first time at kids camp when we were about nine years old.  He'll tell you he doesn't remember me, but I remember him.  He was always the outgoing one, the boy who wanted every girl's phone number.  I never gave him mine.  ;)

We met for the second time at church, our junior year of high school.  He was always doing things to me~like jumping on my car as I drove, or pulling my hair, or teasing me...all the things that boys do to girls that they like.  But we didn't really like each other that way~we were just friends.  Time went on, and we got closer and closer, until I considered him to be one of my best friends.  And by that point, I liked him.  ;)  Our first date was a double date with a friend and the boy she liked...we ate dinner, although I cannot remember where, and we went to see The Little Rascals.

We broke up for a while while I went to college for a semester, but ended up getting back together.  Shortly after we got back together, about three weeks later, he proposed to me.  And now, seventeen years, four kids, five furry animals, several fish, two guinea pigs and a leopard gecko later, here we are.  I thought I would share some pictures.


This was the summer we graduated from high school.  My dad, step mom and I were taking a trip to the beach, then onto Orlando, and Todd went with us.  Awe!  I'm pretty sure we took this on the sly, since my dad was driving the car and would have croaked if he'd seen us in the rear view mirror.  ;)


The above picture was taken on a snowy day~we took the kids to a giant hill and went sledding all day.  Fun times!  I froze, and he was fine because he had on all his camouflage hunting gear.


Christmas, two years ago.  (Man, I change my hair a lot.)


Last October, at his best friend's wedding.


And last Christmas.  We were laughing, and I was making the goofiest face, and the picture took.  It ended up being one of my favorites we've ever taken.  

To celebrate, we went out to dinner last night.  My mom and step dad came over to stay with the boys, and took them out to dinner.  I'm so thankful we have family in town to do this!  Do you know where have NEVER paid a babysitter?  That is a blessing, indeed.  

My sister Trish was here, too.  She hung out with us for a bit after Mom and Bill left.  It was a great evening, and I am blessed to have this man that God has given me.  We have our growth opportunity moments, but we love each other and will never give up on that.  We know that with God, all things are possible.  

Thanks for reading!  Love to all.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

do you know what day it is? do you know what day it is?

Hump day.  :)

This has been the weirdest day ever.  First off, it's weird because Drew is in pain.  He was playing football in the yard last night and fell on his wrist.  Todd thought it was broken and took him to get it x-rayed.  Praise God that it is NOT broken.  I had a couple of my prayer-warrior friends praying for him last night!  It is sprained, though, and that's causing him major pain.  I'm keeping him loaded up on ibuprofen to try and keep it at a minimum.  And, it's in a brace with steel plates to keep him from moving it.  Hopefully he'll feel better by the weekend.

Yesterday we had to make a trip to our vet in Germantown to get cat food (they're on a special kind), and we accidentally got the wrong bag.  So this morning we had to go back and exchange it.

Then when we got home, we babysat my neighbor's baby.  Poor little guy screamed his head off for thirty minutes.  I didn't get a whole lot done while he was here, needless to say.

And now, I have misplaced something.  Or Graham has misplaced something.  It is driving me BONKERS.  I've torn the house apart (so it seems) looking for it, to no avail.  I've prayed that God would help me remember where we last saw it, and if you would like to pray that as well, I assure you, your breath will not be wasted.

All of these things have messed up our momentum for the day.  I have found that if we don't start off with a good strong morning, the whole day just goes kaput.  But still...even in times like these, do you know how thankful I am for a God who knows me, loves me, cares for me and hears my cries?  I've done some crying out to Him today.  He is so good and so faithful to me (to us), and I thank Him for it.  I've had the lyrics to the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul" rolling around in my brain all day.

In fact, I'll leave you with them.  Love to all.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

a list of random, something super exciting, and a giveaway

I have so many things rolling around in my brain, that I thought I'd just sit here and write a blog post instead of doing all those thin...