Tuesday, February 18, 2014

God is so gracious!

Last week, we had the stomach flu.

If that was not enough of a challenge, the dryer went out about the same time.

We were washing the clothes, but then waiting until they dried (and they were all over the house!), which o meant about 3 loads per day were able to be done...

Laundry trying to dry in front of the pellet stove - our laundry station is such a blessing!

My awesome husband and dad worked for a couple days to figure out the issue, find the part and get it installed.

Meanwhile, laundry was backing up!

But my mom spent all day on Saturday helping us to get laundry all caught up!

What an incredible blessing it is to be apart of such an incredible family!

God is so very good!

Needing a change

I need to make some serious changes in my life...if I want to keep it.

I just watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  It has inspired me to start a whole juice fast.  I am not sure how long this is going to last, but I will update as I have the time to sit at the computer.  My goals are to 'reset' my taste buds.  This will help me get past my sugar craving and addiction to processed foods.  I hope to really nourish my body on the cellular level.  I hope to have increased energy and I would like for it to also jump start my weight loss, but really do not have any goal or expectation for how many pounds that might be!

So far, it is going really well!  Today is day 3.  We have tried a variety of juices so far. Some of them have been better that others...but overall, nothing has needed to be thrown out just yet!

I am also giving whole juice to all of the children each day with their probiotics.  (Though the children are NOT doing a juice fast, just adding this in as part of their regular diet.)

I am already feeling better!  I feel like I already have more energy, and am more excited about what the next days and weeks will hold!

I praise God for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

I praise and thank God for all of the things we have learned about how God designed our bodies to function, to heal themselves, and the integrated intricacies of the human body!  The more I learn, the more I am in awe of this amazing God!

Please join me in prayer that the stronghold in my life of idolatry of food would be broken, and that I would continue to seek and look to the One True God.

(I am not saying that this is the issue for everyone, but for me, overeating, is a 'coping mechanism,' a way to reward myself, to forget about something I would rather not think about, or to not have to really talk - after all, I do not need to say anything if my mouth is full.  It is a self control issue, it hurts my witness, and takes a place in my thoughts, mind, and heart that should only be for God alone, hurting me spiritually, as well as mentally, physically and emotionally.  It is an area of sin that I need to get rid of.)

"It snowed in the living room!"

Uh-oh, I knew there was TROUBLE when I heard that from Serenity.

And these pictures really do not do the scope of this mess justice, lol!

Someone had left the bathroom door open.  And the puppies grabbed the 6 pack of toilet paper off the bottom shelf!

And proceeded to redecorate!

At least the upstairs got cleaned today, lol!

Another new piano teacher

The blog has been going longer than piano lessons, but just for a re-cap, the older 3 girls started with Mrs. Dirks, who was a wonderful piano teacher - but a bit too pricy to add a 4th child to lessons the following year.  So we only had her for 1 year.

Then we were with Mrs. Basset, mostly because of the cost - we ended up spending about the same amount per month, but she came to the house and did lessons for 4 of them!  She was super sweet, and very kind and patient with the girls as well.  After she had her 4th baby, she decided that she was not going to travel to give lessons anymore, so we understandably said good-bye to her.

After that I was looking on Craigslist, and happened across an ad for lessons from a young lady from our church!  She really made the girls work, and their piano playing benefited from the short time she was our teacher.  But as a young lady at home, she made the choice to attend a college program to be a vet assistant...and wouldn't be able to give lessons to our girls, either.  We only had Ms. Benito for a short 6 months!

This brought us to needing to find a new piano teacher...but we were in the midst of Christmas and New Year's and then several illnesses in a row, and then we ended up to February - which means the girls have had a pretty long break, lol!  I asked Ms. Benito for recommendations for piano lessons, and got a few promising leads.  The one we went with is also a young lady at home from our church.  She also happens to have been the first helper the twins and Ashley had in choir!  They already know her, and have always loved Ms. Clements!

Now we pray that we can keep her for awhile as our piano teacher!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Will Fight!

This is the essence of why I do what I do each and every day.  Because God has called me to raise up a generation of people who truly serve and love Him.  It is for His glory and His honor that I seek to teach the children He has blessed me with about Him!

And God is so faithful!  He has taken my feeble attempts, my collosial failures, my constant sin, and used them to teach my children (who are truly God's children, entrusted to me), IN SPITE of me.

I am so looking forward to hearing Ken Ham in person in just 2 1/2 more months!

To God be the glory for now and forever more.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Movie Monday

Playing in yesterday's snow!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snow Day!

It is currently 10:30.  Already this morning, we got up, knowing that the pot luck breakfast was canceled at church due to snow.  So we got up, and got ready, after sleeping in an extra hour.  (the extra sleep felt really good!)

Then we read our daily Bible reading.

While we were reading, we got a call that they were canceling church itself...so, after we finished (a longer than originally planned) Bible reading, we did the only sensible thing we could think of...

We played in the snow!

Even the dogs enjoyed playing in the snow!

Most of the children are still our playing.  Bailey, who decided she didn't need to wear a COAT, and Judah came inside with me.  We all played out there for about an hour though before the three of us came in.  And the others have been out there for another half hour so far, with no one having yet even come to the door!

This has been such a wonderful weekend!  I am almost caught up on laundry, we have had a lot of time to just play, hang out, and focus on our Creator, and now, we will bring everyone inside for hot cocoa, snow ice cream, and a sermon.  After that, the plan is to get out some board games!

Praising God!

The illness that swept through so quickly seemed to be very short lived.  It hit hard, and brought down 6 of the children within 24 hours, and left even faster.  Now we pray that no one else has to get it, and that we can be healthy for a long while!

With everyone feeling better, we decided to enjoy some much needed family time!  We started with a trip to the library, then came home for a family night, and ended the evening with a movie.

The family night was on worry.

We talked about what worry is and what the Bible says about worry.

Then Christopher gave us something to worry about!

He instructed each person to touch the two wires together...after I did it and tried (unconvincingly) to show them that it hurt!

Then they wrote and drew things that worry them.

And we discussed those things.  Why they were concerns, and how to pray and ask God to guide our every step.

Then we watched a movie called "The Mysterious Islands" which is about the Galapagos Islands, also known as Darwin's Eden.  We learned about what he saw, and why he concluded that evolution was happening.  Then we marveled at the amazing variety that God put into each kind that we looked at!

We praise Him for the amazing places that He has created.  What an awesome God we serve!

My Polka-Dot Princess

Callie got herself dressed...

Then declared herself to be a polka-dot princess with a missing tooth!

Isn't she just so so cute?!

Friday, February 7, 2014

A hard year health wise...

2014 has started with a really bad cold, that has lasted for WEEKS, and now, just when I was starting to say that I *think* everyone is well...well, they are not.  (and there will be no pictures in this post!)

Now we have the dreaded stomach flu.  The stomach flu is something that has given me chills down my spine since before having children.  But now?  Now?  Now that we have 8 children, and a total of 12 people living here?  Dread has a whole new meaning!

Yesterday, everyone was fine.  We went to band.  We went to choir.  We stopped at the bank.

Over the course of the night, both twins and Justice got sick.

The morning brought the addition of Ashley and Callie to this list.

The trouble is that for the healthy ones, life needs to continue on.  For the animals, it is the same.  I went out to do the chicken chores this morning to find that they HAD no food...and I knew that we were needed to pick up pellets for the pellet stove today as well.

Fortunately, my father in law is awesome, and agreed to stay with the children while I went out to get the few essentials.

The rest of my day has been spent trying to keep up on general household pick up, while going back and forth to the sick children making sure they are drinking and asking if they need anything else...or to have their bowls dumped.

There are meals to make - but what?  And how much?  And how much should I limit if at all, those who think they feel fine?

And then there is the laundry...oh, the laundry.  It is piling up faster than the machines can get it clean...

Even so, I praise God for all that He has blessed us with.  I praise Him for the warm house, and the pellet stove that I am able to turn up to help sick children feel better.  I praise Him for the sunshine coming in through the window.  I praise Him for the blankets that are helping my children feel better.  I thank Him that He is the great Physician, and pray that He would heal them.  I praise Him for the physical strength and ability to take care of my children and to clean up after them.  I praise and thank God for the audio book we picked up at the library yesterday...

And with that, Brianna is down!  Time for me to go.  God is good, all the time!  Here's praying that we can get and stay healthy very soon!

"Monkey see, Monkey do!"

Judah is such a mimic these days!  From watching us put things into the dishwasher (he then went to the cupboard, got CLEAN dishes out to copy this, lol!), to chasing Serenity to the bathroom telling her, "Go, Go, Go!"  

From blowing on every bite of food (even something like cheese that is cold already!), to putting shoes on (does it *really* matter if they are the right size?).

From brushing his teeth and hair before bed (though he uses the same brush :-/ ) to copying noises (animal sounds, car noises, etc. - though he is not in a big hurry to actually SPEAK, he DOES use a lot of NOISES, just like his big brother did at this age!)

When I saw him grab his own chair, and a controller so that he could play the Wii with the twins, I had to laugh!

And even though he doesn't want to talk much, he is most certainly communicating.  He is signing more, please, and all done.  And he is doing a lot of grunting and pointing to get our attention.  He will tap on someone, then point to what he wants, then say please, and if we do not respond to him with that, he pulls us over there to ask more directly.  I know that the words will come.  It is just a matter of time.

Judah loves to be chased...in the last few days, he has looked at every opportunity that he has been called as a potential time for someone to chase him...there is definitely room for training in this area, lol!

Judah is such a sweet, cuddly little guy.  He loves to look at books, especially if they have animals that make noises!  He enjoys playing with the dogs, and being apart of all the activity in the house.
It is such a blessing that he is feeling better again!  I love to listen to the pitter patter of his little feet as he runs throughout the house.  I love to listen to his sounds and words, and the'stories' that he tells us in his very dynamic baby talk kind of way.  I love to see his older brother and sisters interact with him, too!

I can hardly believe that he is already 19 months old!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

She did it!

After months and months of trying to get this tooth out, here she is - toothless!  (Ok, it is only ONE tooth missing, but seriously, it was like torture for her!)

Good job, Callie!  2 down, 18 more to go!
(This comment made the older girls grown and they told me that I was not being helpful - let's just say it has been a group effort to get the tooth out, lol!)

From Costumes to a Family Night

Saturday was also a busy day.  We started out with our Bible reading, then did a basic cleaning of the house.  From there, Christopher took the children to a costume birthday party, and I went to get tires for the Honda, and was planning on visiting my grandpa (which didn't happen, see the previous post!)

I met up with them at the end of the costume party.

Then we all headed home and had a family night!

We learned about fairness and contentment in a lesson that we had previously done before.

Even though we had already done this lesson, it was a lot of fun.  We enjoyed getting to play fun games together, while learning about God's truth.  God's fairness does not always seem fair to us, but it is always for our greater good.  And the greatest good we can ever have is that we come to know Him more, and more, and to be transformed more and more into the image of His son!

Only God

Last week, my grandpa fell.  It was a bad fall, resulting in a broken back.  He was stabilized in a hospital on the peninsula, and then brought by ambulance to Harborview for surgery.

After surgery, it was touch a go for a few days, while his system tried to re-balance itself, his blood counts and sugar counts went back to normal, etc.

All the while, we prayed, and so did our church and some close friends.

I had felt for the last 2 weeks before this, that I was to go and give them a basic, gospel message.  I was just getting the details of that trip pulled together when this happened.  Neither of my grandparents are saved.  That means that neither of them, if they were to die, would make it to Heaven, regardless of 'how good' they might seem.  They would spend eternity condemned to Hell because they do not stand up to God's standard, nor do they have the forgiveness of sins that only Jesus' blood can bring.

In light of all of this, I knew that if my grandpa made it through, that I needed to tell him about God's love in a very real, very direct, very down to earth kind of way.  I have been searching for just 'how' I was supposed to do this...and I wondered just what kind of mental clarity he might have should he wake up...

I tried to go to the hospital on Saturday to see him.  God even provided a time when my grandma was not here - she went back to Sequim, so I could talk with him one on one!  But things didn't work out so well...it took me over 2 hours to get the 2 needed tires on the Honda to make another trip to Seattle.  By the time that was done, I didn't feel like I could manage to do it, and take the time away from the evening activities we had planned...so I decided to wait until after church on Sunday - something just seemed OFF for Saturday!

On Sunday, we drove to church separately, and after much prayer, I headed down right after service.  He was sitting up, but seemed both boldly indecisive and confused.  In one minutes' time, he said that he wanted to go back to bed, that he didn't know why people were pulling on him, because he wanted to stay in the chair, that he was getting up to go home, and that he wanted to go into bed.  Once we got him settled back into his bed, he seemed to calm down a bit, but also seemed like he was too tired for me to try to do much witnessing.

I decided to keep it very simple, and very basic.  I asked him if he thought there was a Heaven.  He said that he absolutely does.  I asked him how he thought we get there.  He said he didn't know.  I gave him a very quick overview of the gospel.  I explained that God required perfection according to God's law to get into Heaven, which means no lying, cheating, stealing, or even looking at a woman with lust, ever.  And that no one can live up to that.  But that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, who lived that perfect, sinless life that we cannot, and then paid the price for our sin with His very life.  He died in our place, so that when we ask Him into our lives, and live for Him, turn from our sin, we get to go to Heaven when we die.  (I did not get into the Roman Road, he just didn't have enough strength to listen to me say  much, let alone reading things to him and trying to get him to understand.

He then said, "Michelle...do you really believe all that?"

(This was the only time that he really seemed to know exactly who I was!)  I told him that I absolutely do.  He then asked if I had any information that he could read about it.  I told him that I did, and left him with Ultimate Questions (It is a small book my church has to give out, great salvation message, easy to read and understand, etc.).

By this time, he was too tired for company, so I said good-bye, that I would be praying for him, and so would lots of other people.

All in all, I thought that it went really well.  So well that it could only have been a God thing!  He has always been hostile to the gospel in the past, so this was a huge softening of his heart...not sure if it was just God's timing, or if it was possibly because of the near death experience that he had, but  I pray that he reads and understands the Ultimate Questions book.   

My sister, Kaitie, went to the hospital yesterday and read part of the book to him, but he was too loopy from the pain meds to really understand what she was reading.

It is also a praise and a blessing that God has worked it out so that Grandpa was not moved back to Sequim on Monday as my grandmother was pushing for.

I pray that God would take hold of his life and that his soul would be redeemed from the gates of Hell.