Friday, March 29, 2013

Such Were Some of You

I went on facebook the other night and it was lit up with posts on both sides of the gay marriage issue.  I was frustrated and I thought I knew what I would be writing about today.  But then I took my anger and my thoughts to prayer...and instead of talking to God, I listened.

I was listening hard.  I have been learning that I do too much talking and thinking, and not enough hearing.  I wanted to hear the heart of God.  I wanted to know what He thought about all of this.  I want my heart to be more like His heart.  And by the time I was done praying my heart had changed, as well as my thoughts and hopefully as well as my actions.

I am grieved by what I see going on around me.  I think facebook is a terrible, terrible platform for sharing your thoughts and opinions on anything deeper than what you ate for breakfast that day.  But aside from facebook, I am seeing and hearing things that make me wonder if we are fighting for a cause rather than the cross.  I think we need to be seriously reminded that the real battle is taking place in the spiritual realm, not the physical.  So why the bloodshed?

We are fighting flesh and blood when we need to be fighting spiritual forces.  Instead of loving the lost and fighting in prayer, we are fighting the lost and defending it in prayer.  Friends, gay marriage is not the issue- the issue is that there are people who are lost to sin and who are being deceived into a life apart from Jesus.  Gay people are not the enemy.  Liberals are not the enemy.  President Obama is not the enemy.  The enemy is the one who prowls arounds, looking for those he may devour and carry into hell.  All those people defending gay marriage, trying to marry their partner, and pushing to change the laws are PEOPLE.  They are souls, loved and created by God- and He grieves over their separation from Him.  He grieves their life choices, knowing that it will not fill the void or bring true happiness in their souls.

We are creating a chasm between the lost and the saved.  We are widening the gap between them and Jesus with every hate filled post and every thoughtless argument.  I understand the fear- we are afraid of allowing this country to continue to spiral down its path of sin.  We are afraid of having the churches diluted and straying from the pure gospel by conforming to culture.  We are afraid of losing our rights.  It's all valid, but the fighting technique is not.  There is a fire that is burning hot and spreading fast- don't try and build a wall to keep the fire out, but instead gird yourselves with armor and do everything you can to reach in and pull people out of the flames.

I have a dear friend who is a pastor in California, and he has not- to the criticism of many- declared openly the church's stance on gay marriage.  I thought a lot about this and I think he is dead on.  He does not skirt the issue when asked, and he has taught new converts about the Biblical stance on it- but he refuses to alienate his very mission field by purposely drawing a line in the sand before they even cross the threshold into his church.  Jesus met with sinners and as they spent time with Him, their hearts began to change and be molded.  If you are living and believing the pure gospel, then one cannot help but be drawn to be more like Him if they are around you.  Let them come as they are.

Or are you forgetting that you were just as lost in sin before you met your Savior?  God help me if I have any pride about my life.  Homosexual, drunk, liar, thief, murderer, adulterer, idolater..."and such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:11) You were no different until you came to Christ and He washed you clean and gave you a new heart and spirit.  That is what the lost need.  They need Jesus.

I have NEVER seen someone argued into giving their heart to Christ.  But I have seen people loved into giving their heart to Christ.

Get on your knees and fight the real battle.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Let's Talk- Sick Kids

My house is finally staring to get back to normal.  I was very worn out today, having had a sick household for the past bunch of days.  After I wrote my Friday blog, Jeff also came down with the stomach bug...I am the only one in the house that has not gotten it, and I hope this is the end of it and I won't get it!

1) How do you handle sick kids while also running your household?
It is very tough, whether you have 2 or 10 kids.  Sick kids need a lot of love and attention, but just because a kid is sick does not mean some magic fairy visits your house and does the laundry, cooks the meals, or keeps the house clean. So while you do need to care for the sick ones, you also have a house to tend to.  But this is one of the many times I adopt my "do whatever you need to do in order to survive" philosophy.  It goes like this: cereal, soup, grilled cheese, paper plates, wear-your-jammies-all-day-so-there-is-less-laundry, watch movies, and use whatever medicine/remedies will help.  You need to make life as simple as possible when you have added stresses come into your life.  Keep the meals clean and simple, use as few dishes as possible, and just basically do whatever makes the least amount of work.  I am also the queen of throwing things out- I would rather throw out a sheet covered in puke then try and deal with it at 3am.  No, I am not made of money, but what can I say?  Some things I know I can replace fairly inexpensively, so I have definitly been known to throw out sheets or underwear rather than spend the time cleaning it from a particularly gross mess.  Hey, don't judge, lol.
It is also important to keep the kids as happy as possible- mainly because the happier the kid, the easier the days will be.  If your kid thinks medicine will help his tummy ache, then give him Tums and tell him it will help.  So what if it's a stomach bug and Tums won't do a thing- the placebo effect really is true, and especially powerful on kids. :)  So give your kids a jammie, movie, and chocolate milk day, while you do the bare minimum around the house- and just hunker down and remember that it will not last forever!

2) Any special remedies you use for sick kids?
I'm not the best one to ask.  In my blog title, I freely admit that I am both crunchy and mushy- meaning there are some things I am really all-natural about, and other things I just pull more mainstream on.  I know there are a lot of great home remedies for things, but I usually can't remember what they are, and even so I still find that a lot of the time OTC medicine really does the trick the best.  I pray with and over my kids and home when they are sick, but when I use medicine my arsenal consists mainly of Tylenol, Benedryl, and some kind of tummy stuff, like an antacid or tums or something.  These things tend to keep my kids comfortable when they are sick, so I use them as needed.  I also believe (as I mentioned above) in the placebo are very persuadable.  If you make them believe that certain things will help, then they tend to help.  I will give my kids a warm bath and have them lay on the couch with a blanket, while explaining to them that these things will help their bodies fight the sickness.  I will give them juice and tell them their bodies need liquids to keep the fever down. I tell them I think the worst is over and that they will probably start to feel better soon.  Im not talking about lying, I'm talking about positive speech and encouraging, loving words.  "As a man thinks in his heart, so he is."  See, the Bible even agrees with me...what you believe inside affects your reality. :)

3) Does Jeff help out a lot when the kids are sick?
Hahahahahaha....well ok, in all fairness, Jeff isn't home a lot because he works 2 jobs.  So I mostly do the work when kids are sick just because I am the one that is home.  He has to go to work in the morning, so I do all the night shifts.  If he has a day off, then he does whatever he can to help- like letting me sleep in, or just generally helping me run the house.  We run our marriage and parenting with a very strong sense of give and take- not that we keep score, but we are very aware of each others needs and whether or not they are being met.  When Jeff got sick 2 days ago, I let him rest- he slept in, took naps, and just laid on the couch all day.  Sure, I was tired after having taken care of the sick kids all week, but he was sick and needed rest so I gave him that.  But then today on Jeff's day off, since he was feeling better he did not hesitate to let me sleep in and lay on the couch all day myself.  He pretty much ran the day while I rested.  It's just really important to your marriage's survival to really keep a close eye on how your spouse is doing.  Don't just focus on your own needs- focus on your spouse's needs and trust that if you are loving and giving that it will be returned to you.  Your spouse is much more likely to help you and be loving toward you if his needs are being met and you are watching out for him.

Sorry for the kind of gross topic!  But, it was my reality this week and I know a lot of you find it to be yours as well, so maybe this will help!  Try and keep your sense of humor, and always remember that it will not last forever.  Hope you are all feeling ok this week, and I will see you on Friday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Purpose Deep

Last night was the worst night I have ever had as a parent.  I have been a parent for almost 7 years.  I have 6 kids.  This should give you an idea of just how bad it was.

Ironically enough it had nothing to do with behavior...we had a dreaded stomach bug pass through our house.  Picture if you can having 6 children all throwing up through the whole night.  Grossed out?  Yea, I was too.  

All the kids got sick, even the baby.  The good news is that it really was a 24-hour bug and while fierce, it was short-lived.  The bad news is that when you have a lot of kids, odds are they will be sick at the same time.  I spent the whole night comforting upset kids, changing sheets, washing sheets, and bathing messy kids (and myself, since I got caught in the puking crossfire a couple times).  It was awful and I was very tired.  Thank God Jeff had today off, or I don't know what I would have done.  Jeff and I have this understanding- I do the night shift, and then if he is home, I get to sleep in the next morning.  We both like it this way- I get my best sleep in the dawn hours.  So at 6am, after cleaning the last of the kids' messes, I flopped into bed and tagged my teammate to begin his shift and I slept until 10am.  

Today we are puke-free so far...the kids have been laying around on couches sleeping on and off and just generally feeling yucky.  But no puke.  I may be seeing the light.

Of course this got me thinking which translates into a blog topic.  I was thinking about selflessness and how I thought I was a pretty selfless person before I had kids.  And then I actually had kids and realized what being selfless truly means.  

I love my kids so much and they come first.  It didn't matter how tired I was, how sick I myself felt, or how grossed out I was- all that mattered to me and Jeff was taking care of them.  Making sure they were comforted.  Making sure they were clean.  Making sure they were tucked back into bed.  Making sure they felt loved.  The moment I became a mom my life changed and will forever be lived putting someone else's needs above my own.  It really is an amazing feeling to grasp the reality of sacrifice.

I realized the obvious correlation to my thoughts was being able to understand just how much God really loves us.  But that doesn't quite work for me, because even with the love I have for my kids I still can only really grasp a small amount of understanding to just how much God loves us.  No- what I was thinking has more to do with our purpose in life.

Everyone, everywhere has an innate need to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  Our spirits cry out for our Creator from the moment we breath our first breath until the moment we breath our last. But even once we are reconciled to the Lord we still have to come to an understanding of what our purpose is.  It is not enough to come to Christ and then live your life for yourself.

I feel meaning and purpose every day.  It is because I am sacrificing my life for something bigger than me.  I am not living for myself, but rather living for others.  We see all the time what happens when people live their lives for themselves- it is never enough.  Take Hollywood for example.  How many celebrities "have it all" and yet they still need to find something to do with themselves?  They create fragrance lines, clothes lines, become spokespeople, rally for a political party or a charity.  These people  who have everything they will ever need materialistically are bored, and they then create things to try and ease the void that is within.

Do you really understand what this means?  You do not have to have kids to understand sacrifice- but sometimes you need to take a hard look at your life and ask yourself if you are pouring it out as Christ poured His out for you.  Try and watch that you do not fall into the trap of waking up, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, and watching TV until bed...and that is your whole life.  

Don't just go to church- serve at church.  Don't just pray for others- extend your hand to them.  Don't just read your Bible- live it.  Be a part of something bigger than yourself.  We are only here for a short time- let's pour it out and make the most of it.

"Give me Father, a purpose deep, 
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last."  -C.T. Studd

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's Talk- Friends, Food, and Life Changes

So I had a wonderful day today...a very dear friend of mine from Canada came by for a visit.  We got to just sit and talk for hours and it was enjoyable and soul satisfying.  There are friends you make in your life that are there for a season, and then there are friends you connect with in your soul that are there for a lifetime...and I knew from the moment we became friends that she would be dear to me for the rest of my life.  I did warn her that being friends with me is like dating Taylor Swift- you may just find yourself getting written about. ;)

I know not all of you know her personally, but enough of you know her to where I know you will want to hear about how she is doing, so I will be talking about her along with a few other random topics!

1) is Tricia doing?
I met Tricia when we were both freshmen at Zion.  She was tall, beautiful, and carried herself with such maturity.  We became very close friends and I have always admired her and her life and walk with God.  She has spiritual strength and maturity, and the simple act of sitting in a room with her leaves you feeling like you were ministered to.  She is doing great...she looks wonderful and is wearing many hats at the church she works at.  She is involved with outreach, children, and youth ministry.  She is making a great impact on the lives of many young people could pretty much drop her anywhere and she would make a difference.  It was really great seeing her and I know many of you miss her as well.

2) What does your family eat?  What is in your fridge/pantry?
Ok, this is a mix of questions I have gotten asked several times- I get asked a lot about what we eat and how I shop/what things I buy.  With the exception of the time we lived at Jeff's parent's house (where I just did whatever was easiest), we eat a very "clean" diet.  For the most part I stay away from artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and generally over processed food.  My kids drink water all day, but at dinner they are allowed one cup of milk or juice.  I generally don't buy things that have ingredients I cannot pronounce.  We eat a lot of veggies, fruits, whole grains, dairy, and meat.  The cereal I buy are kinds with only a few ingredients that I can pronounce, and I try to stick to Utz potato chips because they only have about 3 ingredients. Of course, there are exceptions.  I do not have the budget to be stringent on everything- for example, we do not eat everything organic.  I get organic milk, some organic meat, and some organic produce.  There are some processed foods I will buy on occasion, and sometimes we do order pizza.  But generally, I buy clean food and I make a lot of things from scratch.  Something I do to help with this, especially with my physical limitations, is I will fill a bunch of mason jars with the dry ingredients to things I make often, and then just write on top what wet ingredients needed to be added.  So in the morning when I want to make pancakes, I just grab the pancake mason jar and mix in the eggs and milk and a few seconds later you have homemade pancakes with very little work.  But overall, the key to making it work on a limited budget is to really plan your meals and snacks- my house is not an all you can eat, 24-hour buffet.  You eat what you are served at meal times or designated snack times.  Also, drinking water helps too- it was an adjustment for the kids, but after a couple of days it just became their normal and now they are just used to it.
These are the mason jars- there are scones, pancakes, waffles, and muffins- all I have to do is read the top where I wrote down what wet ingredients to add.

3) How do you get your kids to eat what they are served?
I don't.  What I mean is that I do not have a rule with my kids that they must eat everything on their plate.  I have come up with a set of rules that reinforce the behaviors I want for my kids.  I do not allow my kids to say "I don't like this" when they are served something...they do not have to eat what they are served, but they must say thank you and nothing negative or they get their plate taken away for 2 minutes, and then again for good if they complain again.  This is because I want them to be grateful for what they are given and I want them to have good manners if they are served something.  I do not make them eat what they do not like, however, if they want to have seconds of something then they must eat all of the food they are initially served.  So, if I serve chicken, carrots and rice, they do not have to eat the carrots but they must say thank you and then if they want more chicken, then they must first eat the carrots.  This is because I personally don't care to force them to eat what they don't like, but I will not have them filling up on one particular food group while ignoring the other.  I want them to experience well rounded eating choices.  I hope this doesn't seem harsh- I am not mean about it, but I just personally want to reinforce a sense of gratitude in my kids...making faces and complaining when you are served food is something I want to bring to their awareness as being rude.

4) How has your illness affected your daily life?
My illness has definitly affected and changed the way my daily life used to be.  I used to cook a lot more from scratch, and the meals used to be much more elaborate.  I still cook whenever I can, and I try to do nice meals, but I have had to lower the bar a bit on this one.  My meals are more simple and easier to make.  I also will use paper plates much more frequently to cut back on dishes.  I did not used to go out a lot, but now I do so even less...when the kids go to bed, I get in bed.  I don't necessarily go to sleep, but by that point in the day I need to be laying down.  I will spend more time sitting on the couch then on my feet, and everything has to be filtered through this new lens of my physical capabilities.  If we want to go somewhere or do something, we have to think about if it will be too much of a strain on me or not.  Some days I feel better than others and will try and take advantage of that, but for the most part I have had to simplify my life quite a bit.  I changed the homeschool program I was using to one that is a little less dependent on me to teach everything, and I have to stay strict about only teaching once a month at the church.  I have not figured this out yet...Jeff and I are still learning to manage life.  I do know that I am taking things a lot slower.

So great to touch base with you all again!  I am so humbled by all of your support- I am amazed at how many of you tune in each week to my ramblings, but I am glad that you do because it has been a great encouragement to me!  May you have a blessed week and I look forward to seeing you on Friday.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I'm going to dive right in today with a pretty deep thought.  I have something on my heart...actually, it is more of a realization I had during this season of my life.  There are many words I could use to describe the past 3 years of my life, but the one that stands out lately is this: humbling.

My whole life has been characterized by a drive- a drive to do better, to be better, to excel.  It is my blessing and my curse.  It keeps me pushing forward to be the best I can possibly be, but at the same time, there is this fear of falling short.  I have taken this element of myself and applied it to my relationship with God.  I have always pushed hard to follow Him the best I could, all the while struggling with the fear that I was letting Him down.

This lead me to be a very black and white person.  I always saw God and His principles as black or white, never really accepting any gray.  I struggle with being judgmental of myself and therefore others- not so much out of a bad heart, but more out of fear.  If I left room for another persons convictions, then maybe that meant I was accepting a lower standard and that somehow I was falling short of what God expected of me.  I set a bar so high that even I could not reach it, all the while believing that was the bar God expected of me.  And all I ever wanted was to please the Lord the best I could.

This season of my life has shattered everything I thought I knew.  It has brought me to my knees and caused me to question everything I ever thought about God.  With the exception of His existence, nothing was off limits to my questioning.  I was taken out of my own black and white prison and left in a sea of gray, all the while judging that gray to be wrong.  Slowly I have begun to open my eyes and see the liberating reality that I do not know as much as I thought I did- in fact, I am realizing that I really don't know anything.

Don't get me wrong, there is plenty that we do know.  I know Jesus and His love, I know the Word, and I know God's faithfulness.  I am talking about the mysteries of Yahweh that even the authors of the Bible could not comprehend.  I am talking about the way the God of the universe comes down and meets with His people personally and individually.  That I am not to be judge or jury to another person's walk with God.  That I am not to be judge and jury to my own walk with God.

I think convictions are good and Biblical.  I think standards are a great way to keep your feet steady and your life honorable.  But I think we need to be very careful to know the difference between law and bondage.  There are things that are Biblical and absolute, and there are things that the Lord leads us to personally...and those things are there for our freedom, not our bondage.  I allowed myself to be held captive to standards that God never intended for me to chain myself to.  They were there for a season, but I wanted to hold them for a lifetime.  It is easier to hold onto something tangible then to walk in faith, believing in the evidence of things not seen.

I needed to be humbled.  I needed to have my beliefs shattered so they would no longer be an idol for me to serve instead of trusting in the Lord.  There is so much I do not know.  I am very slowly learning to be merciful with myself rather than judgmental, and I know that that will spill over into how I view others as well.  I am starting to see the loving, merciful, and patient side of God.  I am starting to see that Jesus died to reconcile me with God- he tore the bar down, knowing that I could never live up to it.

It is a slow process.  I am grateful that He is humbling me, no matter how painful and humiliating.  It only means I am drawing closer to Him.  And as always, I a so grateful that He is continuing His work in me.

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens--what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave--what can you know?  Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea."  Job 11:7-9

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Let's Talk Pictures!!

Hello!!  I have officially been living at my house for 5 days now, and it is AMAZING!  I love everything about this house.  My pictures took a million years to upload, so by the time I got them on to this blog I just didn't have the energy to tweak that means they are kind of random looking and not organized!  I'm so excited to show you my new house.  Thank you for all the support!

Looking into the living room from dining room
Standing in the corner on the fireplace looking in living room
Another view of living room/fireplace
Living room..sliding door to deck/backyard

Boys room
Boys room

Hallway at top of stairs

Girls room
Girl's room
Girl's room

My glorious kitchen

Me and Jeffy's bedroom
What you can't see, is that to my back there is a whole wall of closets- we have 3 huge closets on our bedroom...yay!

School room
School room

Mud room- this is as soon as you walk in the first door to our house
Laundry room and pantry, right in the kitchen

Dining room
Dining room
View from dining room
2 Garages
The House

The back deck and backyard (the yard goes out to the side and in front of the deck)..there is also a creek running behind our house.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.  The only picture I did not upload was the one of the bathroom, which is a shame because I love the bathroom!!  haha  It really is very pretty.  I am so excited and so blessed with this house- it is everything I wanted in a house and more.  Hope you all have a wonderful week, and thank you for sharing in my journey with me.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Welcome Home

I woke up this morning and knew exactly where I was...I was home.

Our move into the new house yesterday went wonderfully.  We had a lot of help from friends and family, and everything went smoothly and in fact, I am almost all unpacked.  This house is even more amazing than I realized.  The space is abundant and our furniture fits perfectly.  The kids are in awe.  And so are Jeff and I.

My heart it just so full right now.  A lot of my walk with the Lord has not been easy, but then there are the times like this when patience meets is reward.  The times where you do not have rely on faith in His goodness, because it is tangible.  The times where there is no lesson to be learned, no hidden meaning to be found, and no petition need be made- He simply blesses you.  This house was made for us.  And God did not let us settle along the way out of desperation...He withheld His peace until His timing brought us to our home.

I also saw yet again just how blessed I am in family and friends.  While this difficult time in our lives has left us lonely, we are most definitly not alone.  Friends and family gave us gifts, sacrificed their entire day to move us into our house, and Jen watched ALL SIX of my kids for almost 8 hours yesterday so I could just focus on moving.  Yea, I'm most definitly not alone.  I have people in my life that through actions, love, and prayer are holding me and Jeff's hands up as we fight through this season in our life.  God does not bring you to a battle without providing the means to see victory.

Today is a victory.

As I said before, I know that things may not just suddenly all get better.  I am still in poor health and things are still challenging...but this is one of those rare moments in life where I feel nothing but gratitude.  Maybe my health will not return, maybe this house will be a money pit, maybe the car will break down...but today none of it matters.  I am going to sit back and bathe in this incredible moment in time when nothing can stand between me and the contentment I feel as God wraps His arms around my family.

Today, my heart and mind have room only for thankfulness.

Today, I am home.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Let's Talk- Are they all yours?

So last week was a mish-mash of topics, and today is going to be the same.  I just don't have the brain power to categorize my questions right now, haha.  But instead of seeing it as a short coming, let's look at the positives- variety can be fun!

1) So- how was closing?
Easy peasy.  Seriously, it was nothing.  I mean, I was a bundle of nerves because I was certain that SOMETHING would go wrong...missing papers, missing signatures, a meteorite hitting the building, etc.  I had that same feeling the night before my wedding- I was certain that there was no way I was going to wake up and get married.  I thought there was going to be some worldwide catastrophe that would cause the wedding to be called off.  I'm quite the optimist, lol.  I guess I just get scared when something I really want is on the line.  But it really was easy, we sat for about 45 minutes while the lawyers made sure they had all the papers in order.  They gave us papers, we signed papers, we talked about the seems a whole forest had to be lost for us to buy a house!

In all honesty, this was a very quick, very easy process (although I know that is not always the case).  In fact, it would have been perfect if the lawyer never even mentioned to us that the sellers were in bankruptcy (that was the glitch that came up that could have stopped us from buying the house).  It also was a little different for us, because we really needed to move fast since our current living situation has us bursting at the seems.  So when the lawyer said he would call back about something, I would be on pins and needles waiting for the call, anxious to get the whole process done so we can move and be comfortable.  All in all, it took about 6 or 7 weeks from when we first saw the house to when we closed on it.  We are moving in thursday and I can't wait!  Pictures will soon follow.

2) Have you been homeschooling during this time?
No.  There were several reasons I have not been doing school this last month.  First, it has been very hectic and crazy, and the house is in complete chaos and disarray with getting ready to move.  Second, Anthony finished 1st grade about a month and a half ago.  We do not take off 3 months in the summer, but instead we stagger school throughout the year, taking breaks as needed.  That is not to say that I do nothing- I give Anthony worksheets several times a week when he is on break so that he does not forget what he learned.  I just ordered his new curriculum we will hopefully be starting soon.  I am still going to teach him math using Abeka, but the other subjects we are going to give Switched On Schoolhouse (SOS) a try.  It is computer based and more independent.  I am able to regulate his lesson plans through the computer, and then he sits at his desk and goes through his daily lessons, tests, quizzes and assignments on the computer.  It keeps track of his assignments and grades, creates report cards, and sends me messages and updates on how he is doing.  I still want to be an active educator in his schooling, but with my health I am just not able to teach every subject.  Abeka is a very strong curriculum, and that is why I am going to keep using it for math...and because I don't like the idea of him learning math on a computer.  So I will let you know in the upcoming months what I think about SOS.  (It's also the curriculum that the Duggar Family uses...that was a plus for me!)

3) How have you been feeling?
So many of you ask me this and I know you truly care and have been praying for me- and I want you to know I truly, truly appreciate it.  I wish I could say I was doing well, but I am not.  New medication is being called in for me to start soon.  I know that stress and overworking definitly make things worse, so I am looking forward to just being settled in the house.  It will also give me a chance to have control over my diet and try yoga, so I can see if that will help.  The pain is very real and it is a constant battle to not let it overtake me.  There are times where I can feel myself becoming very irritable and I am short tempered...and that I really don't like.  It's a daily fight to keep my temperament up- pain is the first thing to greet me every morning, and unless I take something, it is the thing that keeps me up all night.  It is my new constant companion, and it is taking me quite a bit of time to learn how to bear it with grace and a Christ-pleasing attitude.  Some days I really try to- others, not so much.  I don't really know what else to say, other than I covet your prayers and I really do believe the Lord is good and faithful.

4) Are they all yours?
Ok, so this isn't really a great blog question, but I did get asked it quite a few times this week!  I took all the kids grocery shopping this past week.  It has been a little while since I have done that, and I forgot all the comments I get when I do!  I didn't even have my quad stroller with me, but it still worked.  I put 4 kids in one cart that I pushed, and my 2 older boys walked and pushed the food cart.  We shop with the "3 warning" rule- if you accumulate 3 warnings on our trip, you do not get a treat.  It is very hard to stick to this, and I think I have only had to actually do that one or two times- it's a hard lesson, but one that they tend to remember if you follow through with it. 

The next time we chat I will be living in my new home.  I am exhausted, stressed, excited and more than ready.  Not sure if this is just a part of the current path, or if this begins a new chapter- but wherever it leads I look forward to sharing the experience with you.