Thursday, December 17, 2009


"In Advent spirituality we are also called on to meditate on the birthing of Christ in our hearts. In this matter we are dealing with the conversion of life, the movement away from the old life lived under the power of evil to the new life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. True conversion is a turning from one way of life to another. Christ calls us to be converted to him, to make him the pattern of our lives, to make our living and dying a living and dying in him." —Robert Weber

Friday, November 20, 2009

Remembering the Solas

The Five "Solas"

Something that really intrigues me is the state of the church universal. Spiritually, it varies anywhere from portraying Jesus cool and the pendulum swing of reverting back to ceremonial law, making faith the work of the person and not Christ.

I love studying about the great Reformers and the historical Church.....and remembering the solas is a great way in which to measure the state of the modern Church. In my time of study, I came across this article that I thought was worth sharing.

Remembering the Solas
by Ben Merkle

Christians who are concerned for the well being of the Church will readily agree that the modern Church has strayed and is in need of some sort of reformation (notice that this is a reformation with a small r). When this reformation, however, takes the shape of a Reformed movement (now a capital R), it will be characterized no longer by an ambiguous yearning for the good old days, but a defined debate over doctrinal issues. In the latter case, unanimous agreement becomes more difficult to get. Yet both the Reformed movement of today and its counterpart of the sixteenth century address what is needed to reform our Church. Now, if we claim to be reforming the Church, then we must constantly ask ourselves "What does it mean to be Reformed?"

The early Reformers gave us five points for evaluating our Church. These were the five solas. The first of these being sola scriptura, or Scripture alone. In the midst of an increasingly unchecked Papal authority and a Bible that was unavailable to the lower classes, it is easy to see how the sixteenth century was in need of a call to anchor itself again in the Word of God. Our modern church, however, does not see that we are in the same boat. We have created a culture that sees regular Bible study as a pain and not a blessing. We refuse to put effort into our Bible study, insisting on having our Bible studies livened up to entertain us. Instead of regularly reading our Bibles, we take a quick read of the uninspired, inspirational paragraph of our daily devotion book. Our Bibles are marketed by adding footnotes and short stories that are supposed to make the Bible relevant to today's youth, the working mother, or nicotine patch users. Our eschatologies are shaped more by tabloids and TV, than by the study of Scripture. We are bored of our Bibles and truly need to reform our view of Scripture. What a joy it should be to read the Word of our Lord.

The next sola is solus Christus, Christ alone. In recent years the good news of Christ's death has been significantly tampered with. Although the tampering is often well-meaning, it is a destruction of the gospel all the same. The new gospel is not that Christ died to pay the price for our sins, but that He died on the cross in order to give us more meaningful relationships. Life just isn't fulfilling as is, but with the help of Jesus things just seem a lot rosier. If we are preaching a gospel that doesn't teach Christ's death for our sins, we obviously aren't really preaching the gospel. And, if we aren't preaching the gospel, then how can we even feign surprise at the poor state that our Church is in? We need to reform our gospel message.

Next is sola gratia, grace alone. It is by God's grace alone that we are brought to a saving knowledge of Him. Yet, we are continually apologizing for what our God looks like to non-Christians. We try to dress our Lord up to make Him more appealing in the hopes that we might woo an unsuspecting pagan into the kingdom without him ever noticing where he is going. The Bible continually describes the nonbeliever as a God-hater, an enemy of the Lord's, and under His judgment. Why, then, are we distressed when they don't like the looks of our God? If a non-Christian is not frightened by the God we worship, then the God we worship is not the God of the Bible. It is by God's grace alone that anyone comes to a saving knowledge of Him. We are to preach His gospel as it is, not to give Him a make-over.

The fourth sola is sola fide, faith alone. Again, like sola scriptura, we can see the immense need for this sola in the sixteenth-century Church. A works-oriented salvation had become the norm and needed to be rooted out by the Reformation. Salvation by faith alone flew in the face of many in the sixteenth century. Yet, salvation truly by faith alone, and apart from any work or effort of its recipient, still flies in the face of the majority of Christians today. Faith is now redefined so that it becomes a work of the person, not the work of God. As long as we insist on finding the grounds of our salvation within ourselves, we have not submitted to salvation by faith alone and are in desperate need of Reformation.

The last of the five solas is Soli Deo Gloria, to the glory of God alone. Everything a Christian does should be done completely to God's glory. Yet, we have flipped this completely upside down, especially in our worship. Instead of going to worship to glorify God, we often go to glorify ourselves. We require as much fanfare and excitement as possible in order to keep our attention, making the entire service focused on ourselves. Then, when we get ourselves as worked up as possible, we hope that God might take notice of us and somehow feel vicariously glorified. Glorifying God is giving glory to God, not getting ourselves worked up and slipping Christian phrases in, hoping that God will feel the excitement that we've manufactured for our own benefit.

As we consider the issues that the Church has continually muddled, it is interesting to note that our doctrines have not undergone a random decay. The truths we have muddled are crucial to our faith, and are the same ones that have been muddled many times before. It is no accident that we continue to stumble at these points, but it is because they are so crucial that we continue to stumble there. Because of this, it is important to have an historical perspective to our faith. We should be standing on the shoulders of those who went before us, not running to catch up with them.

Photo Credit

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My First Half Marathon

On October 10th, my friend, Blair, and I ran a half marathon. We trained for six weeks, scheduling our runs between nursings (we had babies two weeks apart). ;-) Blair has been running for several years and has done the Half before. I, on the other hand, hadn't done any significant distance running since I was in junior high. I did some running in high school.....and then picked up running again after births three and four to help get back into shape; but even that wasn't any more than a mile or two at a time. So this was pretty much biting off more than I could chew. So, with losing baby weight as my motivation......I accepted the challenge.

Here we are before the run. Blair's hubby, Brandon, also ran. It was a chilly morning, which proved to be the perfect running weather.

Here, we're coming down the final stretch. We DID it! For me, it was quite miraculous. Honestly, I didn't think I would make the whole 13.1 miles without having to walk. Blair was such an encouragement....couldn't have done it without her.

With jello legs, aching feet, and very sore hips, we pose with our medals (and Jonathan). Our finish time was 2:38:32. We maintained a 5 mile per hour pace.

Our wonderful cheering was such a blessing to see them at the finish line.

I've enjoyed running so much that I plan to keep it up. Blair and I have already signed up for another run scheduled for this Saturday. It's an 8 mile Fall Fest run. Even my older girls have jumped on board and will be running with us this weekend, along with two other friends from church. We'll be sure and get more should be fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sophia's 7th Birthday

Happy Birthday, Beauty

Today, our spunky Sophia turned seven. She is an incredible young lady who brings much joy and laughter to our famliy. Here she is showing off one of her birthday gifts. She's a huge reader and I can always count on her to read the younger ones a story. She's also quite athletic and can run like the wind. She enjoys puzzles, coloring, and playing dress up.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl......we praise God for seven wonderful years with you. We love you!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ethan's Shiner

Ethan's First Shiner

It never fails.......whenever the kids are having a blast playing together.....someone ends up getting hurt. On this day, it was Ethan and Genevieve. All the kids were running around playing Follow the Leader when the two of them collided. Though they were both hurt, Ethan's the one who walked away with the visible proof. ;-)

He took it like a man and is quite proud of his black eye....which looks MUCH worse now than it does in this picture (I'll have to get another pic). Don't ask me about the bruise on his forehead.....who knows where that came from. He's a boy, after all!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sour Cream Bacon Chicken

For Bacon Lovers........

This is one of our favorite meals......definitely a fall/winter comfort food. I say fall/winter because this dish bakes for two hours....and who wants their ovens on for two hours during the summer?

We always serve this with chicken flavored rice (like Rice-a-Roni) and either green beans or a salad. And because of the rich, creamy sauce the dish creates......the rice really compliments the savory flavor, especially when they mix together. OH SO SCRUMPTIOUS! Give it a try.

Sour Cream Bacon Chicken

6-8 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
24 oz. container of sour cream (3 cups)
2 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 package of bacon

Cut each breast in half. Boil them for about 15 mins. You want them mostly cooked, but not all the way through. While chicken is boiling, mix together soup and sour cream in medium bowl.

Remove chicken from water. Add a little salt and pepper to chicken. Wrap a piece of uncooked bacon tightly around each breast half.

In a 9 X 13 dish (or larger), place a small amount of soup mixture on bottom. Place wrapped chicken halves in dish. Cover chicken with remaining soup mixture.

Cover with foil tightly. Bake @ 350* for 2 hours. Let cool about 15 minutes so sauce can thicken. When serving, be sure to spoon that sauce all over your chicken.....and even some over your rice. ;-)

BTW, this dish feeds our family of 10 and we always have leftovers. It can be easily halved if needed.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Chey's 17th Birthday

Happy 17th Cheyenne

Today we celebrate 17 wonderful years with our sweet Cheyenne. She has blessed our lives more than words can express. The oldest of eight children, she never ceases to amaze us with her sweet spirit, her hard work, and the love she has for her family and friends.


She made us parents........

She always makes us laugh........

She was the first to balance on Daddy's hand........

Cheyenne, we love you and wish you a Happy Birthday. We look forward to seeing where God leads you this year as you experience new adventures. Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Monday, September 28, 2009

18th Anniversary

Happy Anniversary To Us

Eighteen years ago today, Greg and I made a covenant to spend the rest of our lives together; how time flies! We met in high school my junior year, his senior year. We were married three months after I graduated. I was eighteen, he was twenty. It's been a wonderful adventure ever since! Here are some photos from the early years:

Married just two short months, I flew to San Antonio, TX from Modesto, CA to visit my soldier who was just finishing up basic training. This picture was taken at the River Center Mall on his "free day".

High School.......
Greg and I were all about sports. One of the sports we enjoyed doing together was Track and Field. Yes, that was my track uniform! Are you diggin' the Oakleys and the acid-wash shorts?

This one was during a track meet. We're resting between events.

Oh my!!! Winter Formal. Yikes!

My basketball star! Just to give a little perspective on this photo, the tall guy on the far right was 7' 2". White boys CAN jump! ;-)

Our engagement picture.

The wedding party. Unfortunately, our eight rolls of wedding photos were lost.....never to be found. What little photos we have were sent to us from sweet relatives.

Our first duty assignment was Jolly Ole England; RAF Alconbury. We were obviously bored this day and had nothing better to do than to play dress up. I am seven months pregnant with Cheyenne in this picture. Ahhh....the fun.....

And here we are.......eighteen years older and eight children later. We are blessed beyond measure, eternally thankful for each day we've spent together. Here's to eighteen more years.....and then some!

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chloe Turns Five

Happy 5th Birthday Chloe

Today my sweet Chloe turns five. It's hard to believe that five years ago, on a Sunday, I went into labor with her; my water breaking at church is not an easy detail to forget. ;-)

Chloe is our shy girl, but is coming out of that shell and has become quite a spunky little character. She keeps us laughing with her silly expressions, and she melts us with those big blue eyes and amazingly long eyelashes. She loves to play dolls and dress up like a princess. She loves taking walks and LOVES to color! But most of all, she still loves to snuggle with Mommy and Daddy!

Chloe, we love you Bunny, and can't believe our fifth child born is already five! You are so special and we are so thankful for you! God was so good to have entrusted us with you! Happy Birthday, sweet girl, for you were fearfully and wonderfully made!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Jonathan 12 Weeks

12 Weeks

I'm supposed to be posting vacation pictures. There are so many to sort through, it will take a while to get them organized. So, in the meantime, here are some recent pics of Jonathan. All photos taken by Celeste.

Okay, so this isn't Jonathan, but I just had to throw this one in. I think it's so cute!

I'm not sure what Genevieve is unhappy about.....maybe the bandana?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Seth

Happy Birthday Seth

Today our oldest son, Seth, turns 8 years old. He is such a joy to be around and is the sweetest big brother to his younger siblings. Although he loves all things "boy", he's pretty laid back and very easy going. And quite a gentleman!

We love you, Sethman! You are such a blessing to our family and we are thankful for you! Happy Birthday, big guy!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Revamping the Chore Chart

As our family continues to grow, it's been necessary to revamp the chore chart every so often. Whether due to a new home or kids getting older and more capable, it seems like I am revisiting this subject often.

This is a chart I made about three years ago. At the time, the youngest child on the chart was Sophia, who was three. As you can see, she only had the job of Toy Pick Up. I'm sure there were odd jobs we would ask her to do here and there, but this was the only official job she had. As our younger ones have gotten older, we've added them to the chart, but usually still beginning with one or two jobs at the age of three.

Our goal is to teach our children team work, service, and responsibility. Little ones love to be given jobs and their little faces just light up when you've encouraged them in their job. And I think the earlier we instill these attributes into our children, working together as a family becomes "the norm".

Here are their current ages: Chey 16, Celeste 14, Seth 7 (almost 8), Sophia 6, Chloe 4, Ethan 3. (Genevieve is 17 mos, so not officially on the chart yet. And of course, baby Jonathan is a newborn.) The most recent Chore Chart:

As you can see, due to number of "helpers" in the house, we all have very little to do day to day. I also have a separate Saturday chart with jobs like mowing, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, etc.

So what are some of the jobs your little ones are doing? And at what age do you begin actively training your little ones to do specific chores?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Funny Conversation

A Funny Conversation with the Sonic Lady

So I hit Sonic for my much needed large Diet Coke. I pull up to the window where I'm greeted by a woman who "knows" me well. She knew I had been expecting a baby and always asked "how much longer" every time I pulled up. So, today she kindly asks how much longer I have until baby. I reply, "Oh, I had a boy three weeks ago!" Without hesitation, she then exclaims, "And you're driving ALREADY?"

Ummm......okay......perhaps she thought I said three DAYS. Though I'm sure I've probably driven three days after a baby!

So I say a bit louder, "I had him three WEEKS ago", expecting her to say "OHHHH". But no....she continues to be in utter disbelief that I was out driving a mere three weeks after a baby. Confused, I asked her what the big deal was, and she said she did NOTHING for forty days after having a baby. FORTY DAYS? No driving, no sweeping, no HOLDING THE BABY (SAY WHAT???), no nothing! She then proceeds to tell me that they (whomever "they" is) wrapped up her abdomen and chest tightly for two weeks to help the belly go back down. Interesting! Of course, now I'm dying to know how one nurses if the chest is wrapped up. So I ask! She said she didn't nurse!

So by now lots of questions are running through my mind such as.........if you don't hold the baby, how do you care for the baby and BOND? Part of the joy of a new baby is the time spent holding and cuddling this sweet creation. Not to mention.......who's doing all the work when she's on this forty day rest bit? But I refrained from asking.

The funny thing about this conversation, aside from taking place in the drive-thru, was.......I'm thinking how very strange all of this sounded.....but from her reaction, I'm sure she was thinking *I* was the strange one, especially upon hearing that I have eight children. I mean, as much as I'd love to relax for a time after having a baby, there is just too much to be done for me to sit around for too long. Plus, I usually feel great within a few days of giving birth and am ready to get back to my routine.

It was clear this was probably a cultural practice. She was a very nice lady and it was quite interesting to hear a polar opposite mentality than mine. It was just funny how we each reacted surprised over the differences, but especially over the "driving already?" comment.

To each his own, right? ;-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Celeste

We're so grateful for fourteen wonderful years with our sweet Celeste! It's been a privilege to watch her blossom into a mature young woman. She's bright, funny, caring, responsible, beautiful, and most importantly, she loves the Lord. She can cook up a storm in the kitchen, and makes the BEST brownies in the world. She can care for all of her younger siblings and manage the household, on her own. Did I mention she's amazing?

She's an incredible big sister......always willing to help. She's witnessed the births of her last six siblings, and is always ready for more babies.

We love you, sweet girl! You are special and a blessing to our lives! Happy birthday, Celeste, for you were fearfully and wonderfully made, indeed!

Ethan and His Sword

Always Prepared for Battle

Do you think he's dreaming of warding off fierce, fire breathing dragons?

Boys are so much fun! :-)

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's a Boy!


Jonathan Charles arrived June 3, 2009 at 4:16pm. He weighed in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and was 20 inches long. We are so happy to welcome our third son to our family.

What a handsome little guy!

It's time to go home!

Welcome home, sweet Jonathan. You are such a gift and we love you!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Ethan

Happy Birthday Ethan

Today our little boy turns three. He is the child that keeps us on our toes and keeps us humble as far as parenting goes! LOL! We have learned a lot through raising him and he has blessed our lives more than we can say! His smile and his eyes melt our hearts. And his sweet kisses are glimpses beyond that mischievous boy exterior.

This particular day, as I was walking past the pantry, I heard little noises coming from inside. I opened the door to find Ethan happily sitting on the floor enjoying a bag of cookies. CAUGHT!

Happy Birthday Ethan. We love you and thank our Heavenly Father for creating you, for you were fearfully and wonderfully made! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Sweet Poem

I've come across lots of poems like these pertaining to the child you're about to have. This one is called, Seventh, but I changed it to Eighth to fit our family. Thought it was cute and can be changed to any number.

Eighth by: Jennifer Wilson

I know I'm number eight,
but the fact you can't deny
is that God, Almighty Giver,
is the Author of my life.

My soul is no less special,
and my spirit no less great
than those that came before me--
be they one, or six, or eight!

So many eyes are blinded
by the whispers of this world--
to them, there is no miracle
in a human life unfurled.

A baby's just a plaything,
a burden, or a chore,
and we must proceed with caution
to prevent too many more!

Only a fool would trust the Lord
to give as He desires
and live a life of trust in Him...
whatever that requires.

A new car may be exciting;
a new house may be a prize,
but my new life is better
than any thing that money buys.

So all the world may roll their eyes
when eight now they see--
But I can't wait until I meet
the "fools" who welcome me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Poll: Boy or Girl

Since guessing is so much fun, I thought I'd post a little poll so that you can place your bets....I mean to whether I'm having a boy or girl. I'll give you some facts/wives tales that may or may not be good clues, but will make a potentially boring poll more fun. Oh, and throw in your guesses for weight, height, and date of birth too.

See? It's already more fun now, isn't it?

By the way, we do not know the sex of the baby, nor have we ever found out in the past. Here we go:

*We have 5 girls and 2 boys
*Our pattern has been 2 girls, boy, 2 girls, boy, girl
*I get bigger in the belly with boys
*I am shaped more like a bullet (pointy) with boys
*I'm shaped more rounded with girls
*I've been pregnant sick longer with the boys (20 weeks)
*With the girls, I'm usually feeling better about 16 weeks
*With the exception of my first girl.....deathly sick until 28-30 weeks
*If I don't take my remedy, I am still sick at 34 weeks of this pregnancy
*Amazingly, I've had all but one baby on or very close to my due date
*My "wheel" due date is June 7th
*My personal EDD is June 16th
*My girls have been in the 6 to 7 pound range
*My boys have been high 8 to 9 pounds
*Photo above taken at 32 weeks

Wives' Tales:
*At my last appt., heart rate was fast
*I'm carrying low
*I crave more salty/savory things over sweet
*My husband hasn't gained an ounce, let alone a pound
*Upon doing the pendant trick, it swung back and forth

Time to guess!  Gender, Due Date, Weight, Height! Have fun!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An UNinvited Guest

So there I was, relaxing on the couch reading, minding my own business, when I suddenly heard tapping on the sliding glass door. I looked up and was shocked to see this peeping Tom-snake staring at me!

So what did I do next?

Why......I jumped up and grabbed the camera, of course.

A little homestead background for those who haven't been to our house. Although we live in a traditional neighborhood, we are backed up to nature trails and fields, so it is quite country-ish, too. Logically, we knew there were probably snakes around, but after nearly a year of living here, we had yet to see one....let alone on our back porch. The back of our house is about 8-9 feet up from the yard because we're situated on a this guy slithered his way up the concrete onto the porch.

Fortunately, I grew up with snakes as pets, so I can't say I was afraid...mostly just surprised. And not remembering what the body of a Rattle snake looked like, my first priority was to take a gander at its tail. So I stepped out onto the porch...broom in hand...and finally caught a glimpse of the probably harmless.

After playing with (okay slightly antagonizing) the snake a little, it finally slithered back down the porch and went on its merry way.....very quickly! I didn't even see where it went.

Upon hearing the news of our snake and seeing the pictures, seven year old Seth wasted no time getting outside to try to find it! No such luck though. Maybe next time!

By the way.....we're hosting a backyard BBQ......want to come?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good Story

Too Good NOT to Pass On.....

"Fellow members of the congregation where we attend were told that their unborn grandchild had no brain. The parents were urged to abort. They were assured there was no brain, and this child would die once born anyway.They decided that since their doctors' best advice ended with the same heartbreaking scenario no matter what they chose- they were going to be the parents of a dead child- they would prefer to at least have the chance to hold her gently before she left them rather than dismember her, and they continued the pregnancy.Their baby was born on Sunday. She has a clean bill of health, including a full neurological exam and battery of tests which revealed a healthy, normal baby."

God is good!

ht: Kim C.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cool Puzzle

Last Cool Gift Idea

Okay...last gift to share with you.....I promise! ;-) This was yet another awesome Christmas present we received from my mom. I'm sure it's not new to most of you, but it was to me. I'd never seen this before......not that I didn't think it could be done......just hadn't seen it before.

My mom gathered tons of family pics and made them into a collage using a particular computer program.....probably photo shop or something. I'm sure this wasn't easy; lots of scanning, looking, finding, placing, sorting, and any other "ing" you can think of! Then she uploaded them to this company, and the result? This super cool, memory-filled puzzle. Isn't this the best? How fun is this idea? Mom took years of memories and put them into a fun, family activity! We had a great time talking and reminiscing about all the photos as we put the puzzle together. Do you see me as a little girl? In my red and blue summer outfit? Wasn't I cute? (Say "yes"!)

Once again, Mom, thank you SO much for putting so much time and effort into this gift.....we LOVE it and will treasure it for years to come!

Now, go and make your own family puzzle and send it to someone you love! (You can click on the image for a larger view.)
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