Thursday, September 26, 2013

Good Will

Lot's of changes happening in my world lately.  As things have been happening I thought that I wasn't prepared for all of this, but I have started to realize that sometimes you just have to go through it to realize you are.

I have always been very honest in my writing, and I will tell you what is going on.  My health went on a sharp decline in the last few weeks.  My pain continually increases, as well as the weakness and fatigue.  I use my cane daily and we have had to move a bed onto the first floor so I am able to rest during the day yet still be able to be a part of the household.  Jeff has taken a leave of absence from his job to take care of me and the kids, and we recently found out that my liver is not functioning as it should.  Because of all of this, we are enrolling Joey, and possibly Anthony, into a Christian elementary school for now.  At this point, I am going to doctor appointment after doctor appointment and resting in bed in between.  Public school was never an option for me, but this great Christian Academy met with us and they offer discounted tuition for pastors and are helping us out even more because of my health.  I want to do what is best for my kids right now, and so I am doing something I did not foresee ever doing.

Ok that is a really long paragraph up there, lol.  I promise you I was not hiding anything from you.  I am one of the least dramatic people on the planet- I roll with life and hardly anything ever rattles me.  As I have gotten weaker and after the liver tests came back, I really have not though to mention it that much because I am not particularly concerned right now.  Yes my life has dramatically changed, but all in all there are still a lot of things that can be causing my liver to fail and also cause some of my other symptoms I haven't mentioned.  And until we find out what they are, I see no need to really take an issue with it.  I will admit, going to the Christian School today upset me a little bit, and I am struggling with making the best choice for my kids.

But all in all everything I have done in my life and all the years I spent serving God have all prepared me for this time whether I realize it or not.  The other night Jeff and I found an old edited copy of Good Will Hunting that I bought for him back in college.  There used to be this really cool website where you could order any movie and they would edit out all sex scenes and swear words...anyway, we were watching Good Will Hunting and there was a scene where Robin Williams sits down with Will and basically gives him a lecture.  He was lecturing Will- a smart mouthed, cocky young guy- about how he doesn't know as much as he thinks.  Robin Williams says "You're an orphan aren't you?  Well if I have read the book Oliver Twist, does that mean I know everything about you?  How you feel?  What you went through?  Who you are?"  It was a great scene and very, very true.

Reading about something does not make you truly understand something.  You can read about nerve pain but until you feel it yourself you cannot know what it's like.  You can read all about how financially difficult it is to take off work to care for a sick spouse, but if you've never done it you cannot truly grasp the stress.  You can learn about the emotional stages of illness but until your whole life shuts down and you watch someone else care for your kids, you cannot truly appreciate the sacrifice and emotional turmoil that goes with it.

Likewise, you can read the Bible.  You can sing worship songs.  You can recite prayers.  But until you actually live out the Word...until you actually sing from the depths of your pain...until you actually pray with every tear-filled breath you take, you cannot fully understand who God is in your life.  I have been prepared for such a time as this.

This is a season in my life.  This may take my life.  Either way, I am right where He has me...and I don't just know that intellectually.  I know it personally.  And that is because I know Him personally.

I am not saying I think I am going to die...honestly I don't give it too much thought either way because I am not dramatic and because it doesn't really matter.  I have lived my life not just knowing, but LIVING the truth.  I have served God wholeheartedly, taught my kids the goodness of the Lord, and walked every step in the way I feel He has guided me.  So when a time like this comes and tries to shake me- it fails.  It fails miserably.

Listen, I have my days.  I have my days where I get down and I get sad and I wish my family were not going through this.  But most of the time I know that no matter what the outcome, He not only has foreseen it, but allowed it.  And because I know the goodness of my God, I know it is a part of something that is bigger than me.

My plan?  Listen, my honest plan is to find the cause of the liver issue and fix it.  Then I plan on working on a few other symptoms I have and getting those in line.  After that I plan on working with my neurologist to get this nerve pain under wraps with the right medication.

Then I plan on living my life again.

So that's what has been going on.  This is the update.  This is the asking for prayer for me and my family.  This is the THANK YOU for everything so many of you have been doing for us.  This is also it on the subject for a while.

Unless something truly major happens, I need to slow this train down and start talking to you about other things- because yes, there are other things.  Maybe I do not actually have a lot else going on right now, but the heart has no limits.  For example, I have a nice surprise coming your way in a few weeks and I am so excited to finally tell you!  You know my awesome friends Chris and Jennifer Niles...well, I am going to be taking a train out to PA to meet them in two weeks!  To say I am excited is an understatement.  In fact, with my health being so bad I have almost been forced to cancel...but Jeff and I are really praying that I stay strong enough to be able to go.  I am taking a train and only going for a couple of days, and as long as I am honest with Jeff about how I am feeling that day, he has agreed to let me go.

When I first "met" Chris I was sick, but still living my life.  Now six months later to the day, I will be meeting him in person- and it couldn't be happening at a time I need it more.  I want to meet them.  I want to laugh with them.  I want to watch Chris handle his wheelchair and live his life.  I have become such good friends with Chris and his wife, I feel as if we are family.  In fact, I may just ask for Jen to adopt me as a cousin- she has a lot, so nobody will notice an extra one!

I guess what I am saying is that life is going to go on.  No matter what happens, life moves forward.  And when you have been living your life for something greater than yourself, you find the strength you need in the times you need it.

**By the way, if you have messaged me lately and I have not written back I am sorry!  I have been very busy with doctor appointments and I sleep a lot.  I try and pop online in quick spurts, but do not spend a lot of time on.  Also, and I hope you understand this, sometimes when going through things you just kind of step back a little bit- I love you all very much and I am not meaning to ignore anyone.  I am simply navigating new waters and sometimes I need to take a break to work through it.  Thank you for understanding. **

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's Talk

Dear Friends,

I'm not really sure how to say this, so I guess I will just blurt it out like I do everything else- I am only going to be posting on Friday's for a while.

I have been very tired lately (sorry if you have messaged or wrote me and I haven't responded!!) and I am focusing on resting, being with my family, and going to doctors appointments.  Plus, I don't have a lot to talk about anyway since I started getting really sick- I mean hey, I would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the whole "being sick" thing, but truth be told the mood is getting a little somber around here for my taste, and I just want a break from it.

I will not lie to you, and if anything comes up you can be sure you will hear about it on my Friday blogs which I plan on continuing for a long time.  This is not a farewell blog, and nothing new is really going on.  Yes I have been a sicker these past few weeks and I am spending a lot of my time resting, but I am working really vigorously with my doctors to find the root cause of my deterioration so we can kick the crap out of it and I can get back to blogging on Tuesdays!

I will say this- I have something incredibly exciting to write about on the near horizon, and I want to be healthy so I can get to it and tell you all about it!  So stay tuned in on Fridays and we will continue to walk this life together, shall we?


Still Rollin'

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just To See You Smile

I had to take my daughter to the hospital to have a test done today.  It was just a precaution, and I am sure everything is just fine, but it was still hard as her mother to have to see it done.  I had to hold my 2 year old real tight while a doctor glued 20 little wires to her head.  It did not hurt one bit- but she was scared and I- whose job it is to protect and comfort her- had to help them do this.  There were tears, but I held her close and she did a great job.  On the way out of the hospital we were about to get on an elevator but when we realized it was full, decided to wait for the next one.  Before the door closed, a woman smiled at me- a kind of "sorry the elevator is so crowded!" smile.  The woman was standing with her young daughter who was bald.  Who had cancer.

The most horrific thing a parent can go through.  Something happening to your child with no ability to make it better.  And yet she smiled at me, almost like she was normal.  Almost like her soul wasn't dying.   Who knows- maybe her daughter was in remission.  Maybe her hair was starting to grow back and this was just one final follow-up appointment.  Who knows.

But it just goes to show how powerful a smile can be.  How powerful a steady heart and spirit can be.  How the waters may rage around, but cannot touch what is on the inside.

Think of how important smiles are.  Often times we fall in love with a smile.  We look at that certain man and have butterflies in our stomach, and then he looks and smiles right at you- and you know you're a goner.

It was not like that for me and my husband.

I knew who he was before we actually dated.  Despite our age difference, we arrived as freshmen together. I had classes with him and we had mutual friends, but we never really talked all that much our first year.  It wasn't until our sophomore year that we began to talk and spend casual time together.  Even as we spent time together I never actually thought romantically about him- I'm not sure why.  He was the class president and very "cool", for lack of a better way to say it.  I however was always happily clueless and a bit dorky.  I respected him immensely just from watching him the past year though.  But I just did not consider any relationship with him...until he asked to talk to me.  He sat me down, and in a notoriously NOT smooth way, delivered some matter-of-fact, non romantic speech about how he would like to start a relationship with me and was not into casual dating and only was asking because he thought he could see marrying me.  Huh.

I was stunned for the rest of the day, but when I woke up the next morning- I knew.  I just knew.  We were engaged 6 months later and married 8 months after that.

Jeff had come out of a pretty heavy lifestyle before giving his life to Jesus and coming to college.  Because of his past with drugs, women, and alcohol, he was very serious and very intense, and had NO CLUE how to treat a woman.  When we first started dating, he would go right into the cafeteria with his friends without waiting for me.  He sat me down to make a weekly schedule of when I could spend time with him, because he didn't want to lose his nap times.  After not seeing each other for a week over break, he refused to come out of his room to say goodnight to me because he was tired- he leaned out the window and yelled goodnight.  When he proposed, he did not want to get his knee dirty so he didn't actually get down on one knee.  He proposed 10 minutes before curfew.

It's amazing that I ever said yes.  Things were not much better those first bunch of years we were married- but here's the thing: I did not marry a man for his smile.  I did not marry him for his looks, his ability to charm me (which wasn't there anyway, lol), his smooth talk, the way he dressed, or for his status on campus.  I married him because of his character.

All those other things are just the external- they mean nothing in the ways that truly matter.  A smooth talker with have no words in tough times, a handsome face may not be so handsome after a car accident, and a man of status will lose his position when no longer living the college life.  Character however, withstands it all.

Jeff is not the same man I married.  His character did not allow him to stay the same.  His character caused him to work hard and keep working hard until he changed all the things he did that hurt me.  I married a man who ten years later selflessly cares for his sick wife.  Who prays over his 6 children.  Who still puts Jesus first despite all he has been through.

You wonder why I talk and pray and harp so much on character- this is why.  Because it is the only thing that will remain when literally everything else falls apart.  I don't know that woman in the elevator- but there was more inside of her than a pretty face.  To smile in the midst of hell takes something.  To trust in the fire takes more.

Character.  It's the difference between a charming smile and a smile that knows in Whom it believes in.
Jeff smiles.  I still smile.  I smile despite my pain because I know.  Because he knows.  It's more than skin deep.

I can never express fully just how much I love and respect my husband.  What an honor it has been to watch character live itself out say in and day out for the past 11 years.  I hope I am learning from him.  I pray that no matter what happens to my health I would never forget that which my life is founded on.

Because character really is the essence of a person.  It makes all the difference.

Me and Jeffy on our wedding day 10 years ago
Like a week after we started dating

Us dating

Hubby when we first started dating

When we were dating I put his last name on my hoodie and go cheer for him at his basketball games, lol

And finally, this is us now :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let's Talk- Life Ambitions, Little Ones, and Syria

Good morning!  Great to see you all again!  I don't know what your week has been like weather wise, but after a weird couple of days of heat, we are back to crisp, cool fall weather and I couldn't be happier!!  Fall always lifts my spirits- something about blankets, sweaters, cinnamon candles, and being able to smell the air really make me happy.  Just a regular Tuesday today- gonna answer a few more questions that have come my way this past week.  Enjoy!
1) Why do you need a cane?

Ah yes, the cane.  I did post a picture of myself posing with my new cane on Facebook- I kind of felt like I wanted to have a little fun with it.  My new cane is pretty nice, as far as canes go I guess.  It is a champagne color with a marble ivory handle, and it breaks down so it fits into my purse and is also adjustable for when I wear heels.  And I have a black one on the way as well- goota have color options, lol.  As you are well aware by now, the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome severely damaged my central nervous system, and while it held steady for a few years, it has been progressing rapidly this last year.  Because of this progression, I have some motor issues- sometimes my arms or legs tremble or shake, and I cannot always control them very well.  I am often very, very weak and usually need assistance walking any real length.  Not always, but sometimes.  So instead of using people or furniture to support me, I figured it was time to get something practical.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't embarrassed, but then again I'm the chick who drives a red 12 passenger van, had 6 kids in 6 years, homeschools and doesn't have cable- I think the cool ship sailed a long time ago, lol.  So here it is- me and my cane.

2) What do you do with your other kids when you homeschool?

I dodged this question a while back because I only had one kid I was homeschooling, and he works a lot independently so I really didn't have to deal with this just yet.  This year however, I have both my older boys homeschooling so now I am spread out a little more.  My oldest is in the middle of 3rd grade curriculum and he uses a computer based program.  After breakfast, he gets out his things and looks over his work for the day.  He knows what things he does on his own and what things he waits for me to do with him.  So while he gets started on his independent work, I do kindergarten with Joey.  Homeschooling literally takes a fraction of the time regular school takes, mainly because you are working one-on-one and therefore you only have to make sure one child understands what you are doing.  So while Anthony does independent work, I teach kindergarten.  After Joey finishes kindergarten, he joins the kids for playtime while Anthony and I do his lessons for the day.  The little kids are aware that this is school time, so they have play time in the living room.  There are 4 of them, so they do have each other to play with which helps.  However, 3 days a week two of the little kids are in preschool all morning, and that's really easy because the babies just play nicely or watch a video.  When all 4 kids are home and playing it does get louder- and you just roll with it.  Sometimes it goes off without a hitch, other times you get interrupted constantly, and other times I put cartoons on because it's what will work that day.  You have to remember that homeschooling is just as much about the home interaction as it is about learning (well maybe not just as much, but close!).  I wanted them all home so they could be with and around one another.  I do not see the distractions as a negative thing.  We are almost always done with school by lunch time but if not, then we just continue after lunch.

3) What kinds of chores do your kids do?  

I have small kids and big kids and the chores are assigned accordingly.  Every Monday the "Life Skills" chart shifts and they get their new assignments for the week.  My 7 and 5 1/2 year old are able to empty the dishwasher (after I take out the knives), clean the bathroom (basic wipe down of surfaces), vacuum, sweep, and serve breakfast.  My 7 year old has just started learning how to make grilled cheese using the panini maker, so some weeks he is in charge of lunch under my supervision.  The littler guys are assigned easier things like put pillows and cushions back, clean toys, and maybe vacuum.  As they grow, so do their chores.  The goal here in my house is to not just have them do chores but to learn SKILLS FOR LIFE.  I want them to know responsibility and how to take care of themselves and a home.  I want hard working, grateful children and I feel this is an important tool.  So by all means use chores but make them age appropriate and remember to choose things that really HELP you.  

4) Any thoughts on Syria?

Nope.  Well, ok I definitely have thoughts but I am not sure they are worth sharing because I am not as well informed as I should be.  I will say this- there is a definite line between taking care of your own country and standing up to tyranny and murder happening in another.  It is finding that line which is the tricky part.  As a governing body, the US has an obligation to its own citizens first and foremost.  However, as a leading nation on this globe, we bear some responsibility for coming to the aid of those who are being tyrannized without the means to fight back.  Like I said- fine line.  I do not believe there is one blanket answer, and this world is getting increasingly more complicated.  I realize this is a very diplomatic answer- I do not shy away from being straightforward, but the truth is I am not well enough informed about the specifics in this scenario.  And even if I were, I do not believe anymore that this is the main avenue for change.  I want to reach the hearts of mankind, not their minds.  I can argue all day and all I will do is irritate the mind but never pierce the heart.  Life is too short and the world to crazy a place.  I will fight these battles on my knees in prayer, and do my best to use my mouth as a tool to reach the heart.

5) Do you ever feel that you are missing out on things you want to do in life because you have kids?

No not really.  That is because I know that this is only a phase of life that doesn't last forever, and also because I never really had any grand ambitions.  Raising kids is a huge deal- you only get one go around at it and then they are off in the world.  It is not a permanent thing (hopefully)- they will get older and you will have time again in your life to do things.  So while I have them I cannot really think of anything else but to pour my heart and soul into these babies and pray that I can help them grow into confident, godly young people.  But even beyond that, for me I do not have anything I feel I am missing out on.  My whole life the only thing I ever, ever wanted to do was make a difference.  Some way, somehow, to some one.  I am trying to do that through my life just as it is.  So I do not have this career or ministry that I feel I am being torn away from by being in the home raising kids.  I would like to sing more at the church, but that more has to do with my health and Jeff schedule as it does with how many kids we have.  I have never been ambitious as far as career or ministry plans.  My only ambitions are matters of the heart and I can do that anywhere doing anything I think.

Thanks for the chat!  Hope you all have a great week. I pray you would find peace and happiness today as you go out and live your lives.  Looking forward to seeing you again on Friday!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

One Thing I Ask

I do not pray for healing a lot.

I mean, I have prayed to be healed and I certainly do welcome prayers for healing- but I would be lying if I said it was my main prayer.  This illness has been hell, and has brought me to my knees in more ways than one.  It has rocked my life and my husband's life and has taken away so much from me.  But I do not feel that healing is what I am most desiring.

In case you do not know, I have a Bachelors degree in Biblical Studies.  I am saying that simply to let you know that aside from serving Jesus for many years, I also spent 4 years studying hebrew, greek, church history, counseling, teaching, theology, etc.  I am well versed in the theological opinions on Jesus and healing.  And yet...

I am still not willing to say I have the edge on God.  God is so vast and so indescribable, and what I do know about Him from His Word is but a small unveiling of all that He is.  A lot of people have opinions about me and about my illness and what I should or shouldn't be doing.  But despite that, healing is not my main prayer.

My main prayer is that I would be a woman of character and integrity through my illness.  That I wouldn't stop following Him or stop serving Him or stop being a vessel to be used by Him just because I'm sick.  Because bad things happen.  Bad things happen to those who serve God and to those who do not.  People get sick, they die, we get let down, we get hurt and that doesn't mean God is not there and it doesn't mean you don't have faith.  Sometimes there are reasons and other times we just don't know.

But it's not about that.  It's not about my illness or the pain that I'm in right now. It's about following God and making your life count for Him.  It's about giving from what you have and understanding that God is good.  I cannot say this enough- He is so good and so faithful.  I have no reason to be angry with God.

I am not saying I believe God wants us to live in sickness...but I am sick.  For whatever reason, I am still sick- and because I am, it is making me pray harder than ever for my character and my integrity.  That I would live out everything I believe in a way that honors the God that I love now MORE THAN EVER.

And I encourage you to view it the same way.  To look at your circumstances and your hardships not in light of "where is God  and why is He allowing this", but rather asking yourself "how can I come through this with my character and me devotion to God still in tact".

God has already healed me in all the ways that matter.  The greek word for salvation is SOZO, which actually combines the english words saving AND healing.  Not only did Jesus save me, He healed me as well.  There is nothing more sick and in need of healing that the soul that is separated from Jesus.  And when that 10 year old girl gave her heart and life to Jesus, He saved me from my separation from Him- He healed my broken soul.

I am already healed.  You can be healed.  You just have to remember what it is that you really need healing from.

"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."  Psalm 27:4

Monday, September 9, 2013

Let's Talk- Incontinence??

So my cane was supposed to come this past weekend and it hasn't yet.  At first I was kind of struggling with the whole "Im only 29 and I need a cane thing", but I have quickly realized what a help it is going to be so I was upset that it didn't come.  And then I got depressed again when I realized that I am actually upset that my granny cane didn't arrive.  So basically I am all over the map emotionally, lol.  One minute I feel like I've accepted this, and the next minute I'm thinking what the heck happened to me?!?  What does that mean for you?  Well it means a Tuesday blog with a bunch of funny pictures to make me laugh of course!  I already have something on my heart that I am looking forward to sharing with you on Friday, so for today let's do my favorite thing together- laugh till we pee! (Yea that's right, I threw an incontinence joke in there.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

My List

Hello again!  I know I usually reserve Friday's for talking about some things that are in my heart, but if you don't mind I need break from that this week.  The truth, as you know, is that I have not been doing very well physically and I just need a small break from talking or even thinking about it.  I do have a few people in my life that are there when things get hard and I need to talk, and I have recently opened up a bit...but it is still so overwhelming.  For this past year Jeff and I have been living under the hope that this is only temporary, and so we just have kind of been doing what we need to do in order to get by until things get better.  But these past couple of weeks, some doctors' reports and other situations have forced us to finally face facts, and we are starting to have real discussions based on the probability that unless God heals me, this is our new life.  Decisions are being discussed and I am having to work through all the feelings and emotions of someone whose entire life- and the validity that goes with it- is being changed.  Lessened.  

And it's been really hard.  So today I just want to stop and think about who I am beyond my illness- some of the things I like as a person whether or not I am sick.  I am going to make a list today of things that make me who I am.  Things I like and enjoy, and maybe just some random stuff that I think of.  I encourage you to take a time out every once and a while and do the same.  It is kind of like taking a time out and getting your footing back a little bit.  Maybe you've been busy, or tired, or just a little confused with your life right now, and maybe you occasionally forget the things that make you smile.  I encourage you to jot down a few things that make you who you are, whether or not they fit into your life right now.  Because these little things help make you, and sometimes you need to remember them.  

1. I love candy.  Like, really love it.  The taste, the colors..everything.
2. I love being in a very social environment and then sitting back and watching everybody have fun.
3. Being curled up under blankets is amazing.
4. I have sensory issues.  I use chapstick and lotion religiously and consider it a crisis if I don't have them.
5. Fall is one of the best things God ever created.
6. All the scents that go with Fall (apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, etc.) make me smile just smelling them.
7. I love to cook and bake things but I usually do not eat what I make
8. There are only 3 people I like talking to on the phone.  Other than them, I avoid it like the plague.
9. I can literally watch movies all day and night
10. My husband is my best friend.  I am so glad he married me.
11. I love reading and being engrossed in a really good book
12. I need just a few minutes to wake up in the morning and then I'm rearing to go and can run the whole day
13. I have a running dialogue with myself in my head.  Often times I narrate my life.
14. I love sitting outside wrapped in a blanket on a nice fall day- and then after a half hour I get bored and want to go inside and watch a movie.
15. I find the ocean mesmerizing yet terrifying and I love to watch it at night.
16. Astronomy fascinates me and I love pictures of outer space.
17. I am scared when I am alone at night
18. I love people.    
19. I am an extremely private loner when it comes to anything personal I have inside
20. I love to laugh.  I don't even care if it's not that funny
21. The only thing in this entire world that I want is to make a difference.  I want to matter.
22. Jesus is my everything.

I purposely did not end this list on a "neat" number, like 10 or 20...because it's not done.  My goal was not to try and encompass everything about myself into a nice tidy list.  I just sat down and typed until the words stopped flowing.  Maybe tomorrow I will think of more.  Maybe next week I will smile at something and add it my ever growing, always running list.  It's nice to be able to look at something tangible and remember the good things that are still inside me.  So take some time this week and dig around for some things that make you who you are.

Have a great weekend.  I will see you Tuesday  :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Let's Talk- Clothes, Make-Up, and Romance

Hey guys!  I am kind of tired coming into today- it has been a rough week for me.  I hit a new level of low as far as dorkiness goes- I had to finally order my cane today.  Actually I was talking recently with a old friend from college and she told me about her health challenges and how she had to use a cane for a few months, and that actually gave me the courage to finally go ahead and do it.  There are times when I cannot properly control my movements or when I am too weak to walk unassisted, so we think that this will help me be a little more mobile and help me be a little more safe when I am not doing well.  On the upside, I found a really cute cane that I think is really pretty and dainty looking (for a cane anyway, lol) and so I will be sure and post some pics when I get it.

So I figure since I am a little worn out, today is a good time to take it easy and talk about some casual topics that get thrown my way.  So let's just relax and have a little fun this morning!

1) As a stay at home mom with 6 kids, how to you shower?

Ha!!  This is a great question and I am the perfect one to answer it because I have no qualms answering honestly, and telling you that I am lucky if I get 3 or 4 showers a week.  I either have to do it when Jeff is home or when the kids are in bed...and in all honesty when the kids are asleep and the choice is to either lay down myself or go shower- well, let's just say that laying down always wins, lol.  So I shower a few times a week, but sometimes I will do partial showers, lol.  Like if I don't have the time for a whole shower but I know Jeff will be home that night, I will stand in the shower and just shave my legs.  Or I may just wash my hair in the sink another time.  If I am going out- like on a date with Jeff or to church, I will do a full shower.  And FYI, I have never yet gotten a complaint from anyone saying I look like Pigpen from the Charlie Brown comics, so I think I'm ok.

2) Do you get dressed/put on make-up every day?

This one also gets me laughing!  Look, I am a total stay at home, homeschooling mother of 6-- there are entire days that go by without me seeing another adult, my husband included.  Many days I do not officially get dressed. I mainly live in yoga pants (i.e., some kind of sweat pants or comfy pants) and a tank top.  When going out, that is when I get dressed and do hair and make-up, but definitely not for my normal, in the house days (and trips to the grocery store do not count as going out).  Now before you go feeling bad for Jeff and thinking that he lives with a schlep, let me just say this- I have asked Jeff many times over the years if he is satisfied with my appearance.  I have asked him if he prefers me to have make-up on in the house, or nicer outfits when he comes home.  He has expressed many, many times over the years that he is happy when he comes home and he wouldn't want me to have make-up on every day or to be dressed or whatever.  If he ever expressed otherwise I would be very careful to honor that, because I believe it is very important to maintain my marriage and keep Jeff happy.  But since he is happy as it is, I only get dressed and do make-up a couple times a week when going out.

3) How do you keep your marriage alive amidst the busyness of kids?

I have an amazing marriage.  I am thankful every day for the man I am married to and the relationship we have.  I could talk about communication and all that but the truth is, we are so stinkin tired from work and all these kids that I'm gonna have to say the biggest marriage saver is having a good sense of humor and being very forgiving with one another.  Jeff and I laugh all the time- because sometimes its either laugh or cry, so we choose to laugh!  You also have to be strong in give-and-take...sometimes I look at Jeff and I see he is about to explode so I will send him out for the night.  Other times he can see I am melting down so he will send me out shopping for the afternoon.  You have to really be giving with your spouse- there is not enough time to harp on what he is NOT doing for you- that's negative and will snuff out your marriage real fast. Instead just take a look at things on your end and ask yourself  what you can be doing to help your spouse.  Also, keep the sparks flying.  Listen, I of all people understand how crazy life can be- we have 6 kids and hubby works 2 jobs, one of them has him working over night three nights a week.  You have to get creative and you have to get fun.  It's not usually candles, wine, and a lot of romance...many times it's wearing something cute under the stained sweatpants and sneaking upstairs together while the kids are watching tv.  Other times it's a lot of laughing and a lot of affection throughout the day so that you still actually like each other by nighttime.  All I am saying is that yes, it's going to be a little different in this crazy stage, but don't let it disappear!  You have to fight for your right to paaaaaarty all night.  Well, maybe not all night, but at least for a little bit when the kids go to sleep.  Don't put your marriage on the back burner or one day when the kids are older you will wake up and realize you have nothing there.  When my kids are older and don't need us that much, I want to have a relationship still going strong with Jeff, because the kids WILL eventually leave and he will be the one I spend my days with, and I want to make sure he still wants me and that I haven't pushed him away all these years.

It won't always be like this.  I promise.

Steal moments whenever you can ;)

4) When do you have time to read your Bible and pray?
This has always been tough for me even before I had kids, because I think it is kind of boring to sit and read and pray, so I always have to really discipline myself to do it.  Don't get me wrong, I love Jesus and I want to learn more about Him and I want to know Him through prayer, but it is very hard for me to sit still.  But anyway, I have learned simply that it is something you just have to do.  If you wait for the perfect conditions, it will never happen.  Some days I spend time with God after the kids go to bed, other times I pray and read during the day and yes I do get interrupted, but that's ok.  I like for my kids to see me pray.  Once upon a time praying and reading happened in peace and solitude- but in this phase of life, you cannot expect things to be exactly the way you want them.  Don't keep looking for tomorrow- take today and make the most of it, doing what you can when you can.

5) Are you going to start Vlogging?
I appreciate all the feedback I got on the bagel video I did last week!  Several of you asked me if I planned on doing more videos, and I have been thinking about it.  I do not really want to branch off and get big into vlogging, mainly because I love to write.  Whether it gets read or not, writing is something I will always do.  But I have toyed around with the idea continuing to write on Fridays, but maybe turning Tuesday posts- the Q&A segments- into video interviews that I post.  Still not sure if this is where you all want me to go, so please go ahead and hit me up with your thoughts about it!  For those of you who do not know, I can be reached with questions for the blog, comments, or just anything at my e-mail, which is  So let me know what you think!

I hope you have a great week and I look forward to talking with you Friday.  Blessings!