Friday, September 28, 2012

Foto Friday ~ Hunting time...

It is hunting season and it is not just the boys that enjoy it at our house!  My 15 year old has a passion for it also!  I think it is so fun that she can enjoy this with her brother's and grandfather!

It's in her blood!
We are hoping for a big buck in her future!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How Blessed Am I...

God has blessed me so many times in my life with amazing friends!  For a few years after we moved, I really had not ONE!  I prayed for just one!  I had the phone to catch up with "old" friends but not one that I could see face to face or have coffee with.  I felt so lonely!  It was a time of leaning on God as a friend and my relationship with Him grew into something that was so amazing!  He was my friend...He showed me His heart and I desired to have His heart!   I am so thankful for that time!  How blessed am I!

Now, after years of praying for a "friend"  God has abundantly blessed me!  I have some people that he has placed in my life for this moment and this time that have been EXACTLY what I needed!  I have learned to continually run to God first but I also now have some ladies I can share my heart with and they love me just the way I am.  I feel so privileged and honored to be in their lives!  They have become my sister's and we have the same Heavenly Father and we share the same have the heart of our Father's!  How blessed am I!

Over the years, my mom became a friend to me.  I realized she knew WAY more than I thought she did!  I began to share my love for God and she shared her love for Him with me.  ALL the time by living it and I observed it knowing I wanted what she had!  She passed that longing for God down to me and it grew in my heart.  That is where it all began!  I could NEVER repay her for that!  It is why I live and breath!  How do you thank someone for that?  I can't even begin to show her, but mom...thank you!  Because of you, mom...I want so much to have the heart of Heavenly Father!  How blessed am I!

My daughters are also becoming my "friends"!  They are 17, 15, and 13 and growing up!  It is so fun to share the things of God!  We cry together, laugh together and yes, even have those little moments of 'ARGH..." with each other but it is so very precious!  I wonder can your daughter's be your sister's in Christ?  I think so!  What a joy to discover that and after all the years of raising them, you begin to see the rewards!  I have pointed them to God and now...they have the heart of their Heavenly Father!  How blessed am I!

My husband is my BEST friend and words cannot express the love we share!  I am overwhelmed at the way he loves and accepts me and how much he has sacrificed for me!  I can tell him my deepest longings and dreams!  He does not laugh at me when I talk about things that sound crazy.  He just sits and listens and nods his head in agreement.  He has seen my joy and my tears and loves me with a love I never thought I would find on this earth!  He is my friend and we share one have the heart of our Father!  How blessed am I!

My heart is overflowing with joy because He has given me the gift of friendship in so many ways!  Not because He had to but because He has choosen to and He knew it would bless my heart!  Friends who point me to Him and the cross!  I hope I can be the friend God has called me to be and when this life on earth for me is through, I will have blessed other's because I have had the heart of my Heavenly Father! 

To all of you I have considered my "friend" through all these years...thank you, I am honored to know you and so thankful God has given you to me!

How blessed am I!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What little girls do...

It's been about 10 years since I have had a chance to watch a little girl mother a baby doll. 
Oh how I have missed it! 
Our baby of the house is SO into dolls and caring for them and she is just shy of 18 months! 
 It is so very precious! 
 Sunday morning before church, she was in her room putting her baby "nigh nigh" then wiping her nose and putting a blanket over her. 
For some reason she thought the blankie was to go over the doll's face but gotta start somewhere! 
 I have come to find out through the years, this nurturing for little girls is inborn and such a joy to watch! 
 I just had to share our morning with you, I know you will be saying, "Awwww, how cute!" 
 It would be impossible to think any different!  Enjoy!

Mommy with the REAL baby!

She spy's HER baby

She is in love

 Putting on the final blankie
 "Mommy, are you sure that it goes on her tummy?"
 She thinks it goes over her face
Ending it with a final kiss!
It's just what little girl's do!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The WORST/BEST day ~ Part 2

Okay, so the best is yet to come!

It is now the same night that I left off in Part 1...

 I sit down at the computer really, no I mean REALLY ready for bed but thought I would check my e-mail.  I can hardly see because I had been crying so hard all day and my head is throbbing.  A sweet girl that I have come to love very much and have been praying for to be saved, wants to chat.  Now, I must admit I was so very tired and wanted to go to bed but I quickly said hello and we made some small talk and I tell her I had to get to bed.  We were going to talk on the phone but her cell phone was dead so we continued on our computers.  The rest of the converstion went like this...(This was all written and it is the REAL conversation so grammatical errors are many):

Me: God has always been my rock and always will be but it's a good thing I don't have to do this all alone because I would be done!

Taylor: i have just been having a really hard time knowing where my great grandma is. austin and i were talking and he said lots and it really made me think about my great grandma she was a cathloc and idk where she is and i want to go where she is. ik deep down she was amazing and should b in heaven but they say cathlics dont go there a lot

Me: That is not true at all! God has the best plan for you....your eternity is what He is concerned about so live for Him and the rest will fall into place

Taylor: i just want to know where she is and i pray and pray but never feel like i get an answer to where she is. i just want to end up where ever she is i would do anything to b with her when its my time

Me: Well, after I gave my heart to God, He layed it on my heart that my grandpa was in heaven

Taylor: may i ask how u did that? i want god to have my heart and i feel like he doesnt have it fully and i hate the feeling of knowing god doesnt have my full heart

Me: The only place you really want to be is in eternity WITH Jesus

Taylor: i want to be one that goes to heaven i fear everyday i dont do enough to get there

Me: Well, the only way you can really know is if you ask Him into your are saved by His grace. Nothing you can do but ask Him into your heart then you are forgiven and become His

Taylor: i want to let him know i need him

Me: You can't do enough! None of us can! It is only through His blood that was shed and through our faith...Jn 3 :16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.You have to believe He did for you on the cross and He does the rest! It is that easy!

Taylor: i pray at night but i dont always feel like its going to him idk its something i have always had trouble with and never talked with it to anyone bc i dont want to b judged

Me: He always hears His children but maybe He just wants to know He has your whole heart! He will do the rest! I would NEVER judge you!

Taylor: i just want to know where she is its been so hard for me everyday i get up and say where r u  god? and nothing comes. thats y i told u

Me: I just know you have to rest in God and He will take care of the rest!

Taylor: i will. i want god to have my heart and have time to listen to my prayers. i need him with me in my life
Me: He always has time! His wants that too! Taylor that is all it takes! He will come in and flood your soul! Ask Him and tell Him you have the faith to believe He died for you!

Taylor: i will

Me: Then, He comes in and you will never be the same! Some things you will have to seek Him more and wait on HIS answers but it will be worth it! If you call me, you can pray a prayer with me or you can do it on your own! It's up to you!

Taylor: i have tears in my eyes....

Me: That a good sign of the cleansing of the soul!

Taylor: i just prayed and when i said i believe you died for me i had tears and i saw something but i dont know what it was

Me: Expect Him to release you and enter your heart! Keep talking to Him and tell Him ALL your fears!
Taylor: i think hes closer than i think he is
Me: There is nothing you have to do and you can't be good enough or act perfect because it is only by His grace we are all saved! Not by works! He is always right by your side
Taylor: ok. i feel something. i feel wrapped up and now I feel something has been released. that was something i felt with my gradmas dream but i feel like this one wont leave me and i enjoy it i feel like i am being held
Me: That is how He shows us His love! He is your Heavenly Father! As much as your earthly father loves you, God loves you even more!
Taylor: this is the most amazing feeling ever
Me: Yep! Walk in that peace!
Taylor: thank u so much! i feel him around me i love it  
Me: That is it Taylor! You got it! He will NEVER let you down and He will NEVER let you go!
Taylor: i dont feel alone anymore like i have my whole life! thank you so much
Me: You will never be alone EVER again! Man can do nothing to you because you are a daughter of the King!
Taylor: im in shock! i feel like i have finally gotten to him through so many prayers i finally have reached him! this is AMAZING
Me: I am so happy for you Taylor! Don't let go of it! Walk in it and know that He would have died for just you! That is how much He loves you!
Taylor: i cant even explain what im feeling besides the thought that i am loved, accepted and wanted. i still feel it and i hope.  I didn't do anything but ask for help!
Me: He gives grace to the humble Taylor! That is His way! He can get through to us when we give it all to Him! Jesus made your life! Now, you never have to fear death because you will never die! You will spend eternity with Him!
Taylor: i cant thank u enough for this
Me: Please, thank HIM! I did nothing! It was Him and you! :)smile
Our conversation ended and I looked at my 13 year old who was in the room with me and said to her, "All of the terrible, BAD that happened today, I would do it all over again to lead someone to Christ!  It has allllll been worth it!  In the midst of all of my pain, God allowed me the privilege of leading somebody to the Him!  Boy does that take the focus off of yourself in a hurry!  I then got in the shower.  I was SO over blown with awe and joy!  My mourning had turned to gladness because I witnessed a new name added to the Lamb's Book of Life!  God then began to show me was SO intense that I could hardly take it! 
He began to so clearly reveal His heart to me from the happenings of my day.  The thought of losing my children to DHS, is what He goes through everyday because He is losing HIS children to the world and satan!  The pain that gripped my heart, is but a tiny example of the pain that He has because He is losing HIS children!  The pain that I had earlier told my daughter I would do all over again, is why HE endured the cross!  It was all worth it to Him because He loves us so very much!  I began to weep because it became so clear how much He cares and wants to have His children living with Him in eternity!  It gave me such a deep desire to go and seek the lost and tell them about Him!  There is an urgency!  Time is running out!  If we don't go, who will?  I can't use my excuses anymore!  It is a matter of obedience!  I can't bear the pain because I love my Heavenly Father so very much and I want to do what I can to be a witness to those He loves!  I want to stand before Him someday and hear Him say, "Well done my good and faithful servant!"
During the night, I had a dream.  Someone came to take my little 3 year old from me and all my other children were safe and sound in their beds.  I got up and ran out of my door chasing them and screaming for them to give me my child back!  I woke up and very relieved it was a dream...I began to pray.  God asked me a question to reveal MORE of His heart.  "If they took only one of your children, would you just let them take him knowing you have 11 other's who are safe in your keeping?" 
"Of course I would not, God!  I would fight to my death to get him back! "
God spoke again, "That is how it is with me!  I cannot just sit back and let the lost ones go!  I have to reach out to them and ask other's to help me reach them!  There is not one who is of greater importance to me than the other!  Just as your children are to you!" 
WOW!  I was once again in awe of His heart!  How amazing to have been given the chance to for a moment, feel His heart! 
People, we NEED to go and show other's His love!  He is crying out to us to share with other's His heart before it is to late!  My children were not taken from me and it seems that they let everything go because there was no grounds of anything for them to charge us with.  (I knew they had nothing to go on but it was scary just the same!)  God DID act on our behalf but there are GOD'S children who will make the choice to not spend eternity with HIM and He is not willing to let them go without a fight!!  He died for them and you!
Will you commit to God and ask how you can help and what you can do to be His servant and have His heart!  He is calling those who know Him, to go! 
Will you?

So the circumstances of our day can have a GREAT effect on us and we can even go through some really bad things and God does care!  But it really made me see that God is wanting to reach His lost children so badly that He will do what He can to get our attention to teach us how to draw near to His heart so we will have His heart!  The focus of His heart is His children and He wants ALL of them to choose Him! 

My worst day of pain in my heart became one of the most joyous days because God allowed me to take the focus off of myself and share in the joy He finds when one lost soul turns their heart to Him!  He can handle even the worst day of my life and turn it into joy and make it one of the best day's of my life!  I am hoping for MANY more "best day's" as I continue to share Christ's love with those around me! 


Monday, September 17, 2012

The WORST/BEST day ~ Part 1

The worst/best day of my entire life happened about 3 weeks ago.  We were all inside starting our day.  It was after bible time and I was helping all the "big" kids get their school assignments in order as I always do.  My husband was in the shower getting ready to go to work and things seemed to be going pretty well.  My 13 year old walks in and says, "Mom, there is a lady outside that is REALLY mad because A---- (our 3 year old) was out on the curb right by the street. She wants to talk to you."  About 3 minutes before that, my 3 yr old was sitting on my lap.  I assumed he got up to get a drink, I did not dream he went outside and I especially did not know he would go out of our fenced in yard!  However, he is 3 and I would think most people would know that it is not uncommon for a 3 year old to disappear within seconds! 
Yes, he is sweet but he is fast!

So I got up and went outside and she was gone!  I continued our day of schooling and thought nothing else about it.  About 2 hours later, a policeman shows up at our door stating that a lady called and said there was a little boy at this residence wandering around by the street.  My husband told him that everything was ok, and we were aware of it and will keep him inside.  I once again went on with my daily activies and my husband went to work.  After I put the little ones down for nap, I left my 17, 15, and 13 year old daughters to babysit while I took the 5 older boys bowling.  I recieved a call from my 15 year old about a half an hour into bowling, that DHS had showed up asking all kinds of questions.  The BIGGEST nightmare a mother, and especially a homeschooling mother can have!  WAY to many horror stories have been read and heard of things happening with court cases and children taken from the home because of neglect.  I called my husband and told the boys to get their shoes on because we needed to leave right away!  I was shaking and wondering what to do. 

There was a garage sale about 3 houses down from us and there were children's items in the yard and I KNOW my little guy had his eye on them and decided to check them out which lead to him wandering out of our yard.  A lady who happened to be leaving the sale, decided to call the police unstead of just walking him up to the house and letting me know.  Gone are the days when people want to help others.  It seems everyone is out to get someone.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do not EVER think it is okay for people to mistreat children and if they are playing in the street, it is life and death matter so it needs to be taken seriously but to call the police and then leave before you even can talk to the mother!  That seemed a touch extreme to me! 

Well, my husband informed me that he talked to our lawyer and he told us what to do and that they would be coming Saturday to talk to us (my husband and I) and see our little boy.  I was mortified!  I could not believe this was happening!  Of course the worst ran through my mind!  What if they took our kids away?!  What kinds of questions would they ask?  Would they question our homeschooling and then another can of worms would be opened?  I had never felt so alone!  I really felt like I was living someone else's life!  I cried out to God asking Him to take this all away!  Why was this happening?  I knew God would act on our behalf but how bad were things going to get?!  What was He trying to show me in this?  I felt violated, intruded on and it hurt!  I love my children as most mother's do...until it hurts!  I needed something to cling to!  Oh am I soooo thankful I have my heavenly Father!  I turned to Him first and foremost and then I called a dear sweet friend of mine.  I cleaned the house better than I had ever cleaned before just in case they would come in.  My house is usually clean.  As clean as it can be with 14 people living under one roof anyway!  But this was an intense, deep cleaning experience!  We had until 9 AM the next morning to get it all done.  The thought of losing my children overtook me and I could hardly breathe!  I felt as if someone was sitting on my chest all day long.  I could hardly breathe or function...was my life changing forever because of this lady? 

Part 2 coming/ the BEST is yet to come!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Foto Friday ~ annual "Turning Hearts" picnic

Over Labor Day, we went to the annual "Turning Hearts" picnic at the Bontrager's home. It is to remind us the purpose God has for have our hearts towards our homes. Father's leading, loving and sharing the love of Christ with thier children so they can go out and spread the Word of Christ with others. A Godly heritage to pass on to the next generation. Mother's learning how to encourage, support and share also in the responsibility. It is FILLED with big families and kids EVERYWHERE!

The Bates family from "United Bates of America" show on TLC, were the guest speakers. They were also there last year and once again, Gil Bates did an amazing job reminding us that our job at home cultivating our children's hearts is more important than ANY other job we will ever do.

Besides the Bates, who have 19 children, we won a prize for having the largest family there! (However, there was a family there who had 11 and we gave them our CD because we are nice like that!) :) My HUGE complaint and ONLY complaint was the heat! It was pushing 100 degrees and humid! I made it hour by hour and after my kids kept telling me I could make it, I made it 7 whole hours! :) I don't regret it a bit! Here are a few pictures to share our day! If you are ever in good ol' Iowa next year, I HIGHLY suggest you come to the picnic!

First view of a cow

Stare down

sitting by the rural "sky scraper"
(my 4 year old said it was a "weally talllll sky squayper)

Yes, the cows were the hit of the day for our boys
Farmer wanna be's!

I myself, prefer the Bates Family over cows

enjoyin the show

new friends

great friends
using a leaf blower to inflate the bounce house
(quite a creative idea in my opinion!)

We did locate some of our "old" friends also
ice cream was a HUGE hit of the day

yep...watching the cows still!
more friends and ice cream
boys playing football
And just plain FUN!
Malachai 4:6
And He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How do you know....

I have been taking note lately just how amazingly awestruck I am with my life with MANY boys!  Day after day, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the things I hear, say and do with all the "activity" from testosterone floating, jumping, and hitting me in the face!  (Pun intended!) 

I really have discovered that I must learn to laugh at it all because if I did not, I might go find a hole and just lay there for a few years in panic!

How do you know when you have many boys in your home?
Here are some clues:
  • there are baggies of bullet casings all over your home, car, and possibly your bed
  • you find yourself on the phone with the plumber asking him what will happen when a stick of butter is lodged in your toilet and if it's ok to flush
  • all broken electronics end up being taken apart and then pounded with a hammer after all the screws and pieces are dissected
  • you look out your front door and someone is flinging an earthworm around like a lasso because it stretches when you do that...and then you might be asked if that is funny
  • you hear giggling from the shower and RUN to get there knowing something is not right if something is THAT funny and then find out they have discovered that if toilet paper is wet and you throw it, it will stick to the ceiling, walls, and!
  • a closet shelf becomes a new climbing adventure and the contents of the shelf remain on the floor
  •  you have a variety of boys underwear to pick from and no longer know which ones are truly yours and you really don't care if they are yours or your brothers you are just thankful there are clean ones to put on
  • actually, you really don't care much about the clean part either
  • your brother will be first to speak up on all your your failures and mistakes but you can't remember a thing that you did wrong!
  • food is used to eat but also LOTS of fun to throw!
  • when you break any 10 of your fingers, mom no longer takes you to the doctor...she just buddy tapes it and tells you to go run and play
  • the oldest brother was potty-trained at the age of 2, your youngest one is 3 and mom is just not worried how and when it will happen
  • when you are the baby sister, all you have to do is stand and scream and everyone either runs from you or runs TO you depending on the situation
  • you find yourself ducking and flinching because there are things flying through the air many times a day
  • you begin to think NFL players are part of the family because their names are brought up as much as cousins are
  • neighbors look in your yard and just assume that any extra boys in the yard are yours too
  • you find yourself wondering why you even have a toilet in your home...they never use it and if they do...their aim is so bad that you have to clean the floor  multiple times a day
  • you start wishing they would just go outside and go relieve themselves because it would save on cleaner
  • by the end of the day, mom has an entire dandelion bouquet on the kitchen window sill
  • mom walks into church after all the boys with the fire alarm going off and while everyone is frantically running around trying to figure out what has happened, mom begins to quickly put the pieces together that one of her innocent little ones has set it off and must admit and apologize to one of the elders!
  • The next week, 2 of the boys are standing at the alarm with their hands on it looking at you with a smile on their faces pretending they are going to pull run towards them lunging in fear and they run
  • you spend MANY more hours than you normally would on your knees knowing it is the only way you can survive the next day!
I would not trade my life for ANYTHING and although my many boys have increased my grey hairs immensely, it is worth it all!  The other day we were at our local bowling alley and I could not figure out why 4 of the boys were digging in their pockets and intently staring at a certain game.  Eventually the 10 year old came running over to inform me that they put their quarters together to try and win mom a necklace!  My heart skipped a beat knowing they wanted to use their hard earned (or stolen money from their sister's billfolds), to get mom a gift!  I smiled and told all of them thank you but please next time, save their money and make me a card!  It blessed my heart and I realized that someday, this will all be a memory and I will look back and laugh and then cry because I will miss it!

Boys are somethin' and they do keep me on my knees but I think that is where God wants me anyway and what a joy to be given such a gift as He has given me in my boys to get me to that place of surrender! 

I'm so thankful for my boys!  (And my girls too!) 



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