Friday, July 25, 2014

I'm Alive and Kicking

(Tap, tap, tap...)  Is this thing on?

Well, hello there.....

It's hard to believe it's been six months since I have published anything here.  A lot has happened since January.  And as such is life, there have been joys and there have been sorrows along the way.  If you follow me on my Facebook page, you've caught some of these events since I've tried to stay somewhat active over there.  But it's time to catch up here.

Let's begin with the birth of my first grandchild waaay back in March.  I've lost any hopes of winning "Grandmother of the Year" by taking this long to show off my grandson.  Cheyenne and Nathan had a beautiful baby boy, who is now (gulp!) four months old.

Allow me to introduce you to Gregory John...."Grey" for short.  Just look at him donning all of his sweet freshness!

March 4, 2014 
 
Fast forward four months, and here is my precious sunshine now!  Isn't he the most handsome baby boy ever? 
 
 
We are enjoying life as grandparents.  We are especially thankful to live close enough to get to snuggle Grey often.  Our younger kids are tickled to be aunts and uncles, so they tend to want to smother him constantly.  There are no shortage of arms willing to hold him around here.

Shortly after my daughter had Grey, we found out we were expecting another baby.  But rejoicing turned to sorrow when I miscarried not long after finding out.  God's peace was abundant and we rejoiced that He had created another soul for His purpose.

By mid March, sorrow came again when we left our church of seven years.  I won't go into detail here as to why, but it was a very difficult time for us, as well as for the church family.  Just recently, the church closed its doors permanently.  Our hearts hurt for the people, but we trust God will lead and guide them as they search for a new church home.  We have since found a new church home, and we're slowly trying to find our place there. 

Joy came again when we learned in late April that we were once again expecting.  I felt really good about the pregnancy and looked forward to meeting our sweet new bundle in January 2015.  But as the weeks went on, I felt "too good" and wondered if things were okay.  My suspicions were confirmed at our first ultrasound.  Our precious baby had no heartbeat.  We were devastated, and the time waiting to miscarry was difficult.  My body just wanted to hang onto this tiny soul.  And my heart did too.  I miscarried at 9 1/2 weeks.  My heart goes out to those women who suffer losses much later.  This one was hard for me, so I can only imagine the pain of a later loss.  But in God's goodness and faithfulness, His grace was sufficient, and he carried me through my second miscarriage in a row. 

Before the miscarriage, our daughter, Celeste, came home from college for the summer.  It was so good having her home, and a comfort to be able to share our loss with both of our big girls here.  Our time with Celeste was short but sweet.  She came home mid June, and in mid July she headed to Uganda for the third time.  She loves Uganda and the work she's able to do there.  She's exploring the possibility of going back long term next summer.  It will be interesting to see where God leads her in the future concerning Uganda.

Here, she is working with a ministry called Sole Hope.  They wash children's feet and provide shoes for them.


Celeste returned home from Uganda, and then five days later, returned to Tennessee to start a job before school begins in August.  We miss her already and look forward to seeing her at Christmas.  As quickly as the days fly by, Christmas will be here before we know it!

In these six months, we have also celebrated six birthdays.  Amelia tuned 3 in March, I turned 41 in May, Ethan turned 8 in May, Celeste turned 19 in June, Seth turned 13 in June, and my hubby turned 43 this month.  In between all the joys and sorrows and birthdays, we've been busy living life as usual.  Homeschooling, cooking large, cleaning, piano lessons, piano recitals, state competitions, swimming, meeting needs, trips to Sea World, and raising 8 kiddos, 13 and under (with no big girls at home anymore) have pretty much worn me out! 

I have managed to write a few things over these months that I hope to post in the coming weeks.  If you're still with me, thank you!  I hope you have been doing well, and look forward to hearing from you.  Blessings!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

My Recap of the Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit (and why you MUST come next year)


I can't even begin to tell you what this weekend has meant to me.  I had really needed some time to refresh, be encouraged, and just rest (I even ordered room service one night...aahhhh).

And that's exactly what I got this weekend at the Summit.

I was encourage.  I was challenged.  I was loved and pampered.  And I laughed harder than I have in a long time.  The speakers were phenomenal and had so much wisdom to pour into us.  There were skits that had us in tears from laughing so hard, and worship music that pierced our hearts and prepared our minds.  There was an unspoken support among strangers, who quickly became friends. There was good food, and myriad door prizes.  But most of all, there was a room full of incredible woman, all with the same goals to be better wives, better moms....and with humility and grace....to be the kind of women who run into the arms of our Creator, trusting that He has equipped us for this mighty task of homeschooling.  I am still soaking in all I have heard and learned!

Here are a few nuggets of wisdom I left with......


"Require...don't Remind." Cheryl Lange
When you've trained your children in an area, there's no need to keep reminding them.  Let the consequences do the talking!

"Don't seek the answers...seek the Knower." Roxanne Parks
We often spend a lot of time seeking answers on our own rather than just going straight to the Knower!

"Righteous over right!"  Cheryl Lange
As I'm reminded in Judges 21:25, we are prone to do what is right in our own eyes. Choose righteousness (and humility) over right!

"We impress people with our strengths, but connect through our weaknesses."  (Can't remember who said this)
Isn't this the truth!?!  We connect with other moms SO much more, and on a deeper level when we can be real and honest about our weaknesses.  The honesty of these speakers was absolutely beautiful!

"A negative attitude will become a filter through which we see our own family."  Brandy Ferguson
Whew......enough said!

(Paraphrased) "We all have the same amount of time in a day....I have the same amount of hours in a day as Donald Trump.  It's how we choose to use those hours that make the difference.  What is stealing your time?"  Lisa Pennington
Such an important question to ask ourselves.  It's easy to be pulled into those things that keep us from using our time productively.  We must pay attention to those time stealers (electronics, social media, phone, etc.).  Even though those things may be good at times, they're often the biggest culprits for stealing valuable time in our already busy day.

"Motherhood is a marathon.  Embrace your race, stay the course, run with purpose, and finish strong."  Brandy Ferguson
Don't compare your race to other moms'.  Embrace YOURS, which God has uniquely created for His purpose, and has equipped you to run!

Some fun photos, now sweet memories


My name tag was ready for me.



We were greeted with a beautiful table, topped with pampering gifts and snacks.



LOVED getting to know my roomie, Heather from Spritti Bee.





This is what a homeschool mom looks like when she wakes up.  ; )



The Imperfect Homeschool Mom skit.....the FUNNIEST skit I've ever seen in my life! I laughed so hard, I cried!  I really hope it's made into a YouTube video soon!





After two years of cyber friendship, and writing for The Marathon Mom, I finally got to meet and hug my dear friend, Brandy!



 
I am already thinking about next year and making plans to budget my expenses.  And you can do the same.  If you put away just $25 per month, you will be able to cover:
  • Early registration
  • Hotel for two nights (even less if you share with 1-3 friends or stay one night)
  • Food (Saturday lunch is provided)
  • Buy a couple of books
Did I mention the Embassy Suites serves a FULL hot breakfast for FREE?  And not this "continental breakfast" stuff!  I'm talking omelets made to order, bacon, sausage, potatoes, biscuits, pastries, juice, coffee, and a whole lot more!  It's a beautiful thing, y'all!
 
You will be so blessed, encouraged, and refreshed.  Please don't miss it! 

To keep up with the unfolding plans for next year, "like" the Summit FB page.  Or you can go directly to the website......Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit.

You can read what other moms had to say about the summit too.

Are you with me?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Treasury of Christmas Quotes



 
 
Joys of the Incarnation
 
“Most sensible people say that adults cannot be expected to appreciate Christmas as much as children appreciate it. But I am not sure that even sensible people are always right; and this has been my principle reason for deciding to be silly — a decision that is now irrevocable. It may be because I am silly, but I rather think that, relatively to the rest of the year, I enjoy Christmas more than I did when I was a child. My faith demands that such be the case. The more mature I become the more I need to embrace the joys of the incarnation. The more mature I become, the more I need to be but a child”.

~ G.K. Chesterton
 
 
For the full treasury, head on over to The Marathon Mom.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Creating an Advent Tradition

Advent candles 2008
Photo Source

One of our favorite things to do this time of year is to celebrate the Advent season.


What is Advent?


The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.  (The Voice)
 
For the past decade or so, our family has been reading three wonderful Advent books that have become our family tradition, and have been permanently imprinted on our children’s heart.

Read the full article at The Marathon Mom.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Balancing Hormones Naturally {for Moms}

Women’s Hormonal Detoxification and Balancing Program
Photo Source

When I was a youngin', pregnant with our first child, I remember teasing my husband one day, quipping that 'wasn't he glad that I didn't cry at the drop of a hat like those other pregnant women?'

I didn't experience hormonal issues back then. In fact, I didn't until my sixth pregnancy.  Near the end of that pregnancy, I began feeling angry for no apparent reason.  I realized then that I was experiencing the dreaded hormonal shifts that I had only heard other women talk about.  Even still, it wasn't too bad, and it was usually short lived.

Each pregnancy following, I would experience those irritable and angry feelings a little sooner in the pregnancy than the one before.  It was getting worse.  Those shifts were so unpredictable in my third trimesters that I knew I needed to do something about them or else my poor family would suffer.  Or tie me up and throw me in the closet.

Read the full article at The Marathon Mom.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

How to Make Sourdough Starter

sourdough starter: blogged
Photo Source

Have you ever wanted to make Sourdough bread, only to realize that you need a starter?  The starter is what gives your bread that classic sourdough taste.  Mmm!

It's easy, but does requires a little patience.  It's worth the wait!

Sourdough Starter


In a large bowl, dissolve 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 pkg) active dry yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.

Then stir in:

2 cups warm water
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar or honey

Whisk until smooth and cover with a cloth, napkin, or coffee filter.  Let sit at room temperature for 7-10 days.  I told you it required patience. ; )  I usually go for the whole 10 days.  Be sure to stir your mixture 2-3 times a day.  Oh, did I forget to mention you have to babysit your starter?

After the 10 days, transfer your starter to a jar and cover with cheesecloth, napkin, or coffee filter and secure with a rubber band around the jar.  Do not cover tightly with a metal lid.

Up Close Side Shot of Sourdough Starter
Photo Source

To use your starter

Bring desired amount to room temperature.  Use in favorite recipe.


Replenish your starter each time you use it by adding:

3/4 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar or honey

Stir well.  Let stand at room temp for just one day, and then store in refrigerator until next use.  It's a good idea to "feed" your starter once a week by adding equal parts flour and water.  If you're not using the starter often enough, you may need to discard some of it each time you feed it just so you don't end up with an enormous amount of starter.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it's really not.  And the yummy taste of homemade sourdough is well worth it.  If you really want to be adventurous, and improve the health benefits of your sourdough (by pulling yeast from the air), find out more here.

*Troubleshooting:  If after 5-7 days your starter is no longer bubbly, or it has a layer of water on top (hooch), don't worry...you haven't killed your starter yet.  Simply feed it by transferring about a cup and a half of your starter to a clean bowl, and add to it a cup and a half of flour, and 2/3 to 3/4 cup of water.  Mix and let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours.  You'll have a revived starter!

Do you make your own starter?  What is your favorite sourdough recipe?  Please share a link in the comments.


Friday, October 04, 2013

The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit



I am so excited about the upcoming Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit.  Last year, I won a ticket to the conference in Oklahoma and was looking forward to attending.  I even had a ride lined up with my friend Lisa from The Pennington Point, but I wasn't able to attend.  It turned out, my daughter had a very important piano competition that happened to be the same weekend.  I had to give up my ticket, that I pray blessed another mom.  Oklahoma is a long way from San Antonio, TX.  But I'm SO excited to announce.......

The Summit is expanding to Texas! 

The Texas Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit will be in San Marcos, Texas at the beautiful Embassy Suites on January 24-25, 2014.  Woot!

And to kick off The Summit's maiden voyage in Texas, we are having a giveaway for fellow bloggers to help spread the word!

We would like to give away a Summit pass PLUS your hotel stay.

Here's how you can enter to win a trip to The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit:
  • Write an awesome blog post about The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit by Friday, Oct. 11th. Be sure to mention the date and place of the Texas Summit!
  • Include the button above.
  • Include links to The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit website and registration page, and the Facebook page.
  • Encourage comments BECAUSE ONE COMMENTER WILL WIN A SUMMIT PASS, TOO!
  • Link back to this post so others can enter too!
When you have published your post, come back here and submit your link. The Summit team will choose one blogger to win a room and a Summit pass based on the following criteria:
  • Creativity of post
  • Number of comments

See you on January 24-25 at The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit in San Marcos, Texas!

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