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Teaching our kids the gift of Giving this Christmas!

As we approach the Holiday Season, I really want to focus on JOY this year.  I want to make the most of Christmas.  One of our little traditions is riding around neighborhoods looking at lights.  Its fun, everyone points, pick their favorites, we laugh and just enjoy the time together.

Kids will be kids and get caught up in the wanting/wishing/hoping for all these cool toys and things they do not NEED but everywhere they look is trying to brainwash them into greedy little boogers.  This Christmas I want to focus on teaching them the REAL meaning of Christmas and giving back.

Below, are several ways that you can give back.

Meaning of Christmas:

We celebrate Christmas to remember that Jesus Christ came to this world, to fulfill a promise, and ultimately gave his life to save us.  We celebrate Jesus’s birth.  My kids can tell you this story inside and out.  A dear friend gave us a book that is great and I recommend to everyone.  You might look at the library or if not, it’s totally worth the buy.

Samaritans Christmas Child-Shoeboxes

Most people are well aware of this organization and what they do.  If you live in the South just about every church participates.  Basically, you pack shoe-boxes full of goodies for Children around the world that otherwise may not get anything.  The people delivering the boxes witness, share the gospel and help encourage those children.  It is an incredible operation.  This year the price is $9 for shipping per box.  For more information see below.

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

My kids always enjoy doing this.  We get a box for each child.  Then I go to the dollar store, get items to pack and let the kids divide them up and packing however they see fit.  We just did this and the kids had the best time.  We talked about who might get these, and how it could affect their lives by showing these kids that someone thousands of miles away was thinking about them and put love into making this box just for them.

Shoeboxes Samaritans Purse

Care Baskets for Hospice Patients/Family

My mother is a hospice nurse, so I have connections.  She works at a Hospice Home now instead of visiting individual homes.  The families that come in to a Hospice Home usually do not have much longer.  Their families are grieving, trying to enjoy what they know will be the last days or weeks with their loved ones.  What better thing to do, than to bring some cheer to these families even if for just a moment.

These Baskets will likely be more for the families.  I asked my mom and she said things to help keep the family busy are good options.  Here is a list of items you could do: Word Search books, Card Games such as Uno, Snacks, Baked goods, Blanket, Chocolate, Fruits, chapstick, lotion, anything to help make them more comfortable.

While I’m an advocate of creating these on your own if you are short on time or creativity you can purchase pre-made baskets for all occasions on Amazon.

Retirement Homes

Along the same lines as above.  The people here usually want your TIME more than gifts.  They get lonely and just enjoy the company.  Most especially love seeing your children.  I plan to take my girls this year.  We will go with baked goods in tote, 3 happy little girls each with their favorite books, and maybe some fingernail polish.  Old ladies really enjoy having their fingernails painted by kids.  Don’t ask me why, but it makes their days and it takes the nerves out of the kids.  You can even coordinate and have your kids go and help with Bingo Night.

Hospitals

Pediatric Wards, Cancer Centers etc are a good way to show your children that there are people in so much worse situations than anything they are dealing with.  Bringing a smile to their face by giving them a small goody bag/basket is a great way to teach kids and also encourage those sick.

Again, Amazon has premade care kits.

Food Banks

Pick up some extra items next time you are at the grocery store and take to a local food bank.  There is always an increased need in the winter when people are cold and hungry.  It shows that we are trying to help those less fortunate.

Teachers

One of the most underpaid, unappreciated professions.  Make goody bags/baskets to take to teachers at your kid’s school.  It doesn’t have to just be your individual child’s teacher.  The office staff, janitorial, and all the specials get forgotten about.  You could always find out what if anything the PTSA is putting together and offer to help if you do not have the means to do this on your own.  There are tons of cute ideas on Pinterest.

Preachers/Law Enforcement/Fireman

Any public service personnel would love you to stop by.  Bake some cookies and go by just to say hello and offer them a treat.  It will help your children interact with these people in non emergency situations and be a little more comfortable with them.

Spouse’s Work

My husband is military but even if yours is not, have the kids help prepare something and go pass out to your spouse’s colleagues.  It shows them support but also your kids would love going to daddies workplace.

Send Care Packages/ Cards to Soldiers Deployed

Okay, so this one hits close to my heart.  Holidays are some of the hardest times for Soldiers deployed.  They want to be home with their families and can’t be.  Often times they have seen and endured unimaginable things and are halfway around the world thinking no one is missing them or thinking about them.  If you do not do any of the above, PLEASE take the time to send some cards overseas.  Let them know they are NOT alone.

If you do not know where to find this information you can go to a local USO and I’m sure they can help.

Blessing Bags

I started a year or two ago, putting together some blessing bags, and keeping in each vehicle.  When we come up to homeless people at intersections or what have you, we hand out these bags.  I know a lot of people have mixed emotions about giving to these people.  We hear so many stories of people standing at street corners than at the end of the day driving off in expensive cars and totally taking advantage of people.  That is why this is a good alternative.  Jesus says over and over in the Bible to LOVE.  We are not to judge, to question, to worry about whether we are being taken advantage of or not.  I’d rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge.

Items for Blessing Bags: Travel toothpaste./toothbrush, soap, tissue, hand warmers or gloves, snacks/food items, a gift card to McDonald’s or a food place so if they are truly hungry they can get something to eat.)  I also always a card or something with some scripture and encouragement in it.  I have recently added a sheet with local charities and places they can go for additional help.

I'd rather get to Heaven and Jesus have an account of all the people who took advantage of my kindness and generosity than to see me as a Scrooge. Click To Tweet

Let’s Change the Focus

Hopefully, this has given you some ideas of ways to teach your children about GIVING this Christmas instead of focusing nonstop of getting.  Not only will it help your children see that there is more to Christmas than presents, but it is a way we can spread Gods love during this Holiday season.  There are so many people who just want to know they are thought of and loved.

New Phase of Life-Kids will all be in school

I get asked a lot, what am I going to do when Isabelle starts preschool.  Meaning, all 3 kids are at school.  We have another year before that will become a reality, but non the less I’ve really been doing quite a bit of thinking about it.
First off, I work from home so it’s not like I will have nothing to do.  Most people know this fact yet because I am home with the kids, take and pick the big two up from school, and involved in every aspect of their lives, it’s simply forgotten by all.  However, I put in 25-30 hours per week.
This mostly consists of me working when Isabelle naps, and between 8 PM to midnight.  There are not many nights that I go to bed before 11 pm.  If everyone sits down to watch a movie I tend to jump on the computer and do some work.
My hubby is great and has re-arranged his schedule a bit to where he can stay home a little longer in the mornings and lets me sleep till 6:30.  I wake up and he has already woken the kids up, and put me a big fresh pot of coffee on.  He helps with the kid’s breakfast before heading out.  That leaves finishing up breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kid’s dressed and out the door to me.
So, here are some of my thoughts for when I get all the kid’s in school.
  1. I could actually set up a real office and work during the hours they are at school.
  2. Would love to volunteer more at the kids school.
  3. I could get involved in a charity.  I have always wanted to support the USO or other military organizations that do so much for our soldiers.
  4. I know I want to go back to college and finally finish my accounting degree.
Obviously, #1 is most appealing.  I would love to go back to being able to work during the day and actually spend my evenings and weekends hanging out with my family instead of committed to the computer and work.  I love my job, I’m good at it, I am blessed to be able to do it from home and be there for my family.  After 6 years and increased responsibilities/hours, it does take a toll.  It would be great to be able to go to bed at the same time as my husband.
I get sad thinking about all the kids being in school.  We will be entering a  NEW stage of life.  While it comes with many benefits, its also a reality that they are growing up.  No more babies!  I know that we are only given them a short time, in the grand scheme of things.  Eighteen years to raise, guide, and try to get them in the right direction before they go off on their own in this big scary world.
I pick with my kids and say they have to go to a local college so they can still stay with mommy.  Any that know me, know I have still not let my 10- year old go to a sleepover.  I like my kids under my roof, where I know they are safe.  Then we have our youngest, Miss Isabelle who says she is going to build a tree house in the backyard and live there forever.  😀
So I guess this is a little more of a rambling and whats on my heart and mind.  If you are reading this, pray for me.  Pray for the decisions ahead.  I would love to do the same for you.  Also, be sure to hug your kids a little tighter tonight.  To have a little more patience and remember that they are only yours a while.  Ultimately they belong to God and His will be done.  I pray each of my children will come to know and accept Jesus in their hearts.  I pray that He will use them mightily in His kingdom even if its outside mommies comfort zone.  I pray that he will guide and direct our path as we come to this new phase of Life.
Hug your kids a little tighter tonight and remember that they are only yours for a short time in the grand scheme of things. Click To Tweet

Teen Valley Ranch Weekend

For the first time in my life, I went away for the weekend without my parents or husband, and took the kids to Teen Valley Ranch.  To some that may sound lame.  However, I should also re-iterate that I got married at 19.  I went from living with my parents to living with my husband.

This was a HUGE deal to me.  Silly as it may sound.  I tried everything to convince someone, anyone, into going with no success.  When we booked the weekend, I made sure it was one that Jeremy wouldn’t have drill.  However, when he got his new position and transferred units, his new drill schedule of course had him working this weekend.  So, while our circumstances were less than ideal, when I commit to something I follow through.

Now, that brings us to our weekend.  I completely stressed over this trip for a month leading up to it.  The thought of driving 4 hours, just the 3 kids and me absolutely petrified me.  I woke up Friday morning, broken out in a rash, horrible stress headache, and my nerves torn to pieces.

I took the big 2 kids to school, then Isabelle and I came home to finish loading the car, taking care of the animals, and doing all the last-minute items.  About 11:15 we headed out, stopped and grabbed some lunch and went to pick the girls up from school at noon.  From there, we headed to my husband work on the way out, to tell him bye.  Of course, it started raining just to make my stress level higher.

He could tell I was nervous, and he told me I didn’t have to do this and I could still head home.  I told him, NO, I wasn’t turning back now.  I knew once I made it there we would be okay.  I was just nervous about driving there, stopping with 3 girls, and terrified I would get lost.  Two GPS’s running and a print out, and I can still get turned around.  There is really no help for me.  😀

We said a prayer together, he wiped my tears, and we headed out.  Of course, I got turned around leaving his work, it was raining, I needed gas, and my head was killing me.  I finally made it to the major highway and was rolling good.  However, when we got about 45 minutes down the interstate, they had a HUGE area of road construction.  Took us about an hour to go maybe 5 miles.  I pulled off and got gas, and once we got past that area we were fine.

The girls did great.  Isabelle finally fell asleep after the construction area and slept most the rest of the way.  I decided to stop at a rest area when we go up into the mountains.  It was beautiful, cool, and much-needed pit stop to stretch and get out for a few minutes.  From there it was easy travel because I remembered where I was and we made it to the camp with no trouble.

Finally There…..

Once we got to the camp we got signed in, and settled into our camp room.  This camp is largely used for summer kids camp so rooms include 6 bunk bed, with prison mattresses, a bathroom and sink.  If you are going, I’d recommend doubling up the mattress pads.  Worked like a charm and I slept fine doing that.  They do have some cabins but the other group had reserved them all this time around.

Dinner was at 6:30.  The kids were starving and they had burritos, chips, cheese dip etc.  It was really great.  Then we had our first session.  How the session works is you come in, do some icebreaker games, then they sent the kids to various places.  Toddlers went upstairs to play, elementary went to the gym for games, songs, and a lesson.  Middle and High schoolers went to Walt Bobs Cafe.  This allowed the adults to be able to have time to calm down and focus on what we came for.

They start out with prayer, music as a time of worship, and then Mr. Greg comes in and does the speaking time.  Mr. Greg is funny, down to earth, well spoken, and really easy to listen to.  He ties stories into the lesson and really drills home the point with scripture.  I should inform you, if you have never been and about to go take a sweater or blanket.  Right before he comes in, he cuts the air down, and its freezing in there.  We went back in March also, and it actually snowed overnight, he still cut the air on.  Not joking!

Our session finished up around 9:15.  They have several things you can do in the evenings, however with it already past the kids bedtime, I let them do the hayride and then we went back to the room.  Luckily, everyone was tired and I didn’t have too much trouble getting them to go to bed.  In case you are interested they have hayride, campfire with smores, the cafe is open, the gym is open, putt putt, etc.

Leave it to my kids to wake up around 6:15 on Saturday morning.  I tried to keep them quiet and laying in bed.  You can image how well that worked.  Finally we got up, I got everyone dressed, and we went ahead and walked down to the cafeteria area.  They really do have the best breakfast.  You can choose from Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Grits, Eggs, Cereal, Yogart, and milk or juice.

After breakfast they do quiet time.  They give you a print out to use as a general idea.  This was probably one of the most frustrating times of the weekend for me.  You are supposed to break off into different areas, and have this serious, quiet time.  Isabelle just turned 4 and has NO attention just like her older sister.  Trying to keep the kids focused, engaged, and getting anything out of it was near impossible.  Great idea, and was an awesome time when we went in the spring and I had Jeremy there to help, just didn’t work out so well this time.  It is supposed to encourage you to have family quiet time daily in everyday life which is a great concept.

Here are a few photos following our quiet time.

After that you go back and have another session.  They do the morning session different.  They have a thing called “Word of God, Speak.”  This is a time where the adults come together and worship through music and scripture reading.  It is really cool and an awesome experience.  I would love to implement that occasionally in our church setting.

Then there was an hour of down time before lunch.  The kids played a little putt putt, ran around, and we just hung out for a few minutes.  After lunch you have all afternoon to do things around the camp.  They have amazing activities more than you can possibly do.  We however, took the opportunity to my kids disapproval, to take a nap.  My head was still hurting and Isabelle really needed a nap.  Turns out, Kaylee, Isabelle and I all took a nap.  Allyssa read her book for her upcoming book report during this time.

We got up about 3pm which worked out perfectly because that is what time they open certain activities.  We went and did horseback riding first.  The rock-wall was also a BIG hit.  It was too cold last time we went to much of anything outdoors so this time we took full advantage.  Allyssa climbed to the top of the rock wall twice.  Kaylee got not quite half way up and they even helped Isabelle do it.  Really great time.

The two big kids then went and changed into bathing suits and did the zip line into the pond.  Mommy and Isabelle sat back and watched.  They were not so impressed with this.  Apparently it hurt landing in the water. They needed baths after this so I headed back to the room to get them cleaned up and thankfully Mr. Randy played with Isabelle for a few minutes.

By the time we had done all that it was time for the kickball tournament.  Isabelle and I kinda walked around and did our own thing while the other two played kickball.  Then it was dinner and another session.  We did another hayride and headed to bed.  The great thing is on Saturday Night they do live music in the cafe and its a really great time to relax, listen to music, and just fellowship.  I didn’t get to do that this time but our rooms were above the cafe so I was able to enjoy the music from our room.  That was probably Jeremy’s favorite thing about last time we went.

Sunday we woke up, had breakfast, packed our things and loaded the van, had quiet time, another session, lunch and headed out.

The kids really had a nice time and besides Isabelle running off and keeping me busy, it was fun.  Not very relaxing without Jeremy there but fun.  I was the only one without a spouse I believe, and I was sure missing Jeremy.  BUT….We did it!  I made it work and tried to make the most of it.  Not really much time to sit around and talk and relax like last time.  I look forward to going again next year, with my husband, and having a great family time.  Don’t think I’d do it again without him.

So….if you have been debating going…I say DO IT.  IF, I can go and take 3 kids 10 and under by myself you can do it.  It really is a good time for the whole family.  There are a ton of activities you can do in free time.  WiFi and cellphones don’t work well there so its time to unplug and focus on family and God.  It’s not super preachy or overly dramatized which I appreciate.  Everyone there is very kind, helpful, and relaxed.  Kids can be let free to a certain degree.  It really is family centered.

I’m sure I’m missing some but from what I can recall the various activities are: Putt Putt, Volleyball, Ping Pong, Basketball, Rock Wall, Hiking, Horseback Riding, River Rafting, Zipline, Board/Card Games, Coffee Shop, Kickball, Hay Rides, Campfire with Smores, Cornhole, Horseshoes, Tether Ball and the list goes on and on.

Enjoy the sideshows of photos.  It was so beautiful.  Weather was gorgeous, leaves were beautiful.

 

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Promotions Come from the Lord-Warrant Officer

“For not from the east nor from the west nor from the south come promotion and lifting up. But God is the Judge! He puts down one and lifts up another.”  (Psalm 75:6–7, AMP)

Back in July, we asked for prayers, for Jeremy, as he went in for a big interview. We found out right after he got to JROTC, that he did get the job. However, I have not wanted to say much until now, waiting on the official orders, and him to get into his new position.  He is full time with the Guard (AGR).

Anyone who knows my husband knows he has always wanted to be an officer of some sort. With some persuasion from fellow co-workers, and friends, he finally applied, and was accepted to become a warrant officer over a year ago.

In the National Guard, those positions are limited. Unlike regular Officers who they place anywhere, a Warrant Officer is a more specialist field, so it has to be an opening in the same MOS(Job type). An opening finally become available, that he qualified for.  He did the interview, and thank the Lord, he was offered the job. This means he will NOT have to deploy in April, as he has now transferred to a new unit. I could not be more happy about that little fact. I know with the beef up in the military, and him still having 8 years left before retirement, that its still could be in our future. I’m just glad we have a little longer.

Jeremy works extremely hard at what he does, he has more than earned this position. I am so incredibly proud of him, and I thankful that this dream will become a reality for someone so deserving. He is a great example of a true hero, and will also be a hero to all his girls.

Last Christmas so Old but good.

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The Second side of the story…more of a testament

 Jeremy switched units back in January from the headquarters unit to a field unit. This year has had a ton of challenges, with the fast-paced, and overwhelming job responsibilities of a unit about to deploy. I have been as supportive as possible, however, Satan has done his fair share of attacking me. You see, Satan knows that he can get in my heart, put doubt, fear, and worry. The last time Jeremy deployed was right after we got married. It has been a long time, and we did not have kids then.

Back in December when we started talking about Jeremy switching units, knowing this unit would probably be deployed, it was to Iraq.  Jeremy and I prayed about the decision, talked about it, and prayed more. We consulted faithful friends, asked for their prayers, and ultimately, felt God was leading him to change units. I had peace with that decision, and really felt God was telling me, he would take care of us.

Then in March, a position we thought would be opened to new warrant officers, turned out to not be open to him. I really had in my heart he would get promoted to a warrant officer, and that made me doubt. I continued praying, but at the same time, the reality was setting in, that a deployment was in our future. How would we tell the kids, how would they react, what would I do with him being gone, and handling a home with 3 kids for a year. I know people do it all the time, but worry set in. However, when I prayed, I still felt God giving me a peace in my heart.

While everything was set in stone for a deployment to now Afghanistan, with dates, training leading up to, and everything in motion, when I prayed, I still felt a peace come over me. Then Satan would get in my head, I’d start doubting, and getting anxious. However, God is faithful and true. He had it all planned out a year ago before we ever knew anything about his current job or the new one. I don’t begin to understand His timing, but I do trust Him and know that everything happens for a reason.

8 He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace. 9 What do we gain from all our work? 10 I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. (Ecclesiastes 3: 8-12)

 

Now he will get set up in his new role, go off to officer candidacy school, then hopefully by early spring he can get enrolled in W02 where he will be for a few years.  I can not begin to tell you how proud I am of this man, his accomplishments, and reaching for his goals/dreams.

You will see more post from me going through the above mentioned things.  He is enrolling in the Warrant Officer Candidacy School now.  I was not with Jeremy when he went through Basic so I have no idea what to expect.  We know there will be a formal the day prior to his graduation ceremony.  However for the graduation itself, what am I supposed to wear?  Silly question, but one that has me truly concerned.  😀

PS. This is the big thing I was talking about a few weeks ago.

A little clearing….

Jeremy is off for a 3 day drill weekend.  The girls and I were down cleaning up the goat pen this morning, and I have been bugging my dad to come do a little clearing for me.  Ever since we got our goats I have wanted the back wooded area cleared out some so I could see them from my back porch.  I really enjoy our back porch.  I go out and sit with my coffee a lot of mornings, read my devotional, or just watch the kids play. 

Here is the before, with him getting started.  As you can tell its very overgrown and barely any sight line to the goats.

With some work…

He also cleared out a trail for the kids to ride the golf cart.

Here is a view from the goat pen, looking up to the house.  The After…

And of course, with all the clearing out the goats get a special treat.

Last but not least…

What a great way to spend out Saturday.  The kids are covered in dirt from head to toe.  They have had so much fun playing in the new clearing.  Allyssa likes playing Tarzan and swinging on vines.  Kaylee has been climbing trees, and Isabelle took her bike down there to ride.

I can’t thank my daddy enough for taking time out of his Saturday to come and do this.  He also cleared the kids trails for the golf cart as I mentioned above.  They are having a blast with that, and much safer than going up and down the driveway.

Play away babies!  I would much rather them be outside having a blast in the dirt, than inside making a mess or watching tv.  Some of my best memories are playing in dirt.  What are yours?

Hope you have a nice weekend!!!! 

Hope you’ve had a good weekend…

Happy Friday

Zoe decided she really wanted my coffee yesterday morning.  I thought it was too cute!

Goats

It’s hard to get them all looking together.  My sweet babies.

Today, has been one of those rare occasions, we had no plans, and didn’t leave the house all day.  It turned out to be just what we needed.  We literally spent ALL day outside.  It was gorgeous weather here, and Jeremy ended up not being called in for the storm since its missing most of NC now.

 

New Necklace

This morning, the girls opened the pearls and put together their new necklaces from Nana and Pop Pop.  They LOVED them, needless to say.

After breakfast, we cleaned up some, and then my brother, and sister-in-law came and started cutting up some trees that had fallen behind the goat pen.   The kids had a  blast playing in the woods, and were actually very helpful.  They worked very hard, putting small pieces of wood in the back of the ATV.

After lunch the kids played on the playground.  One of my favorite places to be is sitting on the back porch, watching the kids laugh, swing, and play together.  It’s so peaceful and just brings joy to my heart.

Because, we helped cut up wood this morning, my brother made sure we had some good pieces for a nice campfire.  The girls looked forward to this all day.  They absolutely love campfires.  I made potato hash-browns, and sausage for Jeremy and I.  Then we roasted hotdogs over the campfire for the kids.  It was such a beautiful night to sit out by the campfire, have dinner, roast marshmallows, and just enjoy singing and hanging out.

Besides the above things, Jeremy mowed the yard, we cleaned up the outside some, and of course played with the goats a lot.  We are usually so busy running from place to place, and always seem to have plans.  I am so glad for this time to enjoy together.

While we are having gorgeous weather, I have been monitoring the weather situation with Hurricane Irma supposed to make landfall in Florida.  My heart goes out to everyone in the path.  I can’t imagine the destruction that will take place, and can’t believe all the people riding it out.  My prayers go out to them all.

So from our home to yours, I pray you stay safe.

Projects, Projects, and Hubby to the Rescue….

Am I the only one who starts projects, with good intention, and then hubby has to step in and rescue me? My poor husband has had to do this a lot. See, I start things, thinking it will be easy and I can do it. Shortly into, find its a much larger project and nothing ever goes according to plan. At least not for me.

Some of these can be small, like wanting to redecorate and needing him to hang a picture. Yes, I “could” hang a picture, but I’m OCD and making it straight and even, and center is too important for me to mess it up. 😀

 

Then there are projects, that come along that just need to be done.

Isabelle’s Artwork, on my LIVING ROOM wall.

This is one, I could do myself except couldn’t even get the 5-gallon paint bucket OPEN. Seems dried paint around the seal, also caused hubby a few minutes time to pry it open. Good thing, I enlisted his help, as he had to stir it for a good while as the paint had separated. Of course, you can’t go through all that time and effort getting the paint right, just to cover one tiny spot. We ended up going around the entire living room, hallway, up the steps, and upstairs hallway cleaning walls and doing paint touch-ups.

There are also times when I get something in my head, like goats. I have awesome convincing powers, did all my research, and put a plan in place. He agreed to the goats. The biggest obstacle was putting up a fence. Then when he was away training, and I built a goat shack. That was simply, unacceptable, and more importantly, unsightly, so he came home and had to rescue me again and build my goats a lovely raised shelter.

According to my mother, my husband, doesn’t know how to tell me no. There are occasions that he does. Rare as they may be. One of my projects I started back at the beginning of summer was to stain the deck, and playground. This may not sound like much to you. However, we have a rather large back deck, and the fenced area around the playground has never been stained. Then there is lattice under our deck which happens to be about 10 ft off the ground. I have pictures below to try and better show you what I mean. This was a HUGE undertaking and one my husband refused to rescue me from. He swore last time we stained the porch, that he would NEVER do it again. He HATES painting/staining with a passion! I knew it would be a big project, but thought I could do it no problem. I don’t even know how many times I’ve had to go back to Lowes for MORE…. stain.

Ignore the dead rose bush and kids toys everywhere.

Today was Isabelle’s first day in preschool which gave me a few hours to work on it. I was so determined to finally finish. What do you think happened? Yep, I ran out of stain again! With only like 4 posts left to go. So, I guess I will be spending Thursday morning, finishing it up.

I really do have a wonderful hubby who spoils me and the kids greatly! In my defense, I do A LOT around the house. If I see something needs to be done, I try to do it myself. I have mowed the grass, weed eated, pulled weeds, washed clothes, washed dishes, taken off trash (one of my least favorite things, that I usually leave for the husband) etc etc. Team work, right?

Proud Momma Moment-Raising Jesus Girls

My friends and family know, but some reading will not.  Kaylee, our middle daughter, was held back and did Kindergarten twice.  This was a really hard thing for Jeremy and I to come to grips with.  However, it was by far the best decision for Kaylee.  She did fantastic with Kindergarten last year.  She built confidence with her reading, developed better math skills, and most importantly did not come home crying and struggling. 

The one area, that bothered me was that she did not make good friends.  She had a love/hate relationship with one girl in her class but no strong bond, with anyone.  As petty as it may sound here are the things I prayed non-stop about this summer for Kaylee.

  1. That she was be excited about school, and eager to learn.
  2. That she would make a good friend/friends this year, who would help her grow, encourage her, and be the kind of friend we want her to have.
  3. I prayed for her teacher, and God to put her in the right class for her.
  4. That no one would pick on her about her glasses.
  5. That she would show love/kindness to all in her class.

So, today it made my day, when she jumped in the car telling me about wearing her glasses, without being asked to.  Then went on to tell me she told ____________(a certain child, I wish not to name, that has mental/learning disability), good job, and encouraged him today. 

Later this evening, we went to a birthday dinner for my niece, and ran into her teacher.  Her teacher was telling me how great Kaylee was doing, and how proud she was of Kaylee, for encouraging this same child.  There is nothing, that makes this momma more happy, than to know my child is showing empathy, love, compassion, and putting the fruits of the spirit to work.

We all mess up, fall short, make mistakes daily.  However, my biggest job at this stage of life, is my children.  Raising them right, to love others and follow Christ.  That is a HARD job!  I fail them daily.  I do the best I can to make sure we are praying morning, noon, night, when someone gets hurt, when we hear a need, etc.  We take the kids to church, and our church is more an extended family to us. 

They are raised in church, around fellow believers, and we are active.  I head the fellowship team, my husband is on the worship team, a deacon, and we step in when needed to fill in for Sunday school, or anywhere else we see the need.  I go and decorate the church, and take the kids with me.  Jeremy goes and practices on the drums, and we take the kids.  I am usually cleaning or organizing around the church while he plays around, and the kids are there.  They don’t have a choice but to be saturated in the church.  The church is not the building, its the people.

Our church family is amazing.  When I had Isabelle, we had meals delivered almost daily for 3 weeks.  That was the absolute best blessing anyone has ever given me.  When Jeremy’s mom died, our church stepped up again, brought meals, helped with the funeral in any way we needed, and several came to the service 2 hours away.  When our water pump died on a weekend, we had 2 men from the church come and help pull the 300FT deep pump, and replace it.  The same two men, came and repaired a roof leak.  I could go on, and on.  We are a church of service.  We help each other out.  When there is a need you step in, and take care of people.  I believe whole-heartily, that is what Jesus wants. 

Circling back around, that is what we are trying to teach our children.  Show them how to live for Christ.  It’s not just on Sunday mornings.  We lived our lives that way for a long time.  I am so thankful we have come as far as we have.  I pray we continue to grow closer to Christ, and lead our children in the right direction.  We have a long ways to go, but each day is a step closer. 

I understand, some people do not understand this.  How we can put so much hope, and faith into the unknown.  Something so hard to understand.  I can tell you story after story, about how God is real, and how we have seen and experienced personal situations that can only be explained as God.  I do NOT throw the Bible upside everyone I come in contact with.  However, I do try to show love and respect to everyone.  I try to be a witness by the way I live my life. I try to make sure to instill in our children, that HATE is not acceptable.  We will not condone it, and they will get in big trouble if we find out they are behaving in that manner.  I want to raise Jesus Girls.

I love the quote:

Albert Camus

 

Family Fun Weekend

This weekend has been amazing.  A much needed, family focused, relaxing weekend.  With school and dance starting back, I know things are about to get crazy. 

Started our weekend out by going out to dinner on Friday.  As you can tell I had one very excited little girl, that we let her to take her baby doll in.  The littlest one, enjoyed stealing her daddies broccoli.  Major win for mommy, if I do say so myself.  😀  The fact I have her dad and her both eating it, that is. 

Came home, and played with our goat babies for a while.  Here is a short video.  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel as I will start posting more videos of the goats there.

Saturday morning, we started the morning out by sitting on the back deck for breakfast, and coffee.  The kids let the goats out and enjoyed having the goats chase them around. 

Then, we went to a birthday party.  Had a great time.  The kids had a blast on a 100ft slip and slide.  Followed by biking riding, snacks, and cake. 

So nice to have quality family time with friends.  All the kids enjoyed playing and got along nicely, and the adults were able to actually chat, and enjoy company. 

We came and headed straight out to a family reunion.  It was a beautiful evening, sitting under the carport, eating, talking, and watching the kids chase the dog around and ride on the ATV’s.  I know this is very likely, one of the last we will have with that side of the family.  As life goes on, and everyone ages, things happen.  I’m glad we were able to go and enjoy the company of family.  I can’t post those photos or my grandma and dad would both shoot me.  😀

Today was church, running errands, and home for down time. 

Advantages of having little girls.

I am so thankful and blessed for this little family God has given me.  I so, do not deserve it, but appreciate every day I have with them.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday to the best mom a girl could wish for.  She has been my rock, through some of the hardest times in my life.  She had always encouraged me, and done her best to point me in the right direction.  I truly believe, that you don’t really understand/appreciate your mother, until you have your first child. Throughout my pregnancy, labor, and especially the first year after having Allyssa, I could not have done it without her.  I am so incredibly thankful to have her by my side, and sharing in such a special time.

She is an incredible women.  My dad owns a successful cabinet shop, and she did all the books, and office work while raising us.  She would come home, cook dinner every night, do all the cleaning, and making sure we were taken care of, along with helping with homework.  Then when we were raised, and all out of the house, she and dad built a log cabin and downsized.  She started nursing school, and graduated at 40 something.  She has since worked as an RN in two hospitals, and now is at a local hospice home as the charge nurse.  Fulfilling her lifetime dream.

My mom has always encouraged me.  In school, I struggled so much.  I hated school, hated test, and had to work so much harder than most kids to keep up.  I would cry myself to sleep so many nights, and dreaded having school the next day.  For the first year, after they switched us to the christian school I ended up graduating from (in 4th grade mind you), I cried all the way to school.  She did everything possible for me.  They had me tested, and enrolled me in the NILD program through the school.  If it were not for my saving angel, Mrs. Baylor, and my mom, I would never have made it through school.  She would sit down with me, open the Bible, read scripture and pray with me.  She encouraged me to seek God, when we didn’t have the answers, or know the why’s.  She instilled in me prayer, and how important it is.  Something, that has got me through everything in my life.

I have two older brothers, who as boys, didn’t want their sister around all the time.  Mom always took me everywhere with her, and made sure I was loved, and not left out.  We built a special bond and friendship, that I can not put into words. 

When I met Jeremy, it was a whirlwind relationship.  We started dated, got engaged, and then married all within about 9 months.  Unlike, so many people around us, she was incredibly supportive.  Both our moms were, actually.  We were young, in love, and didn’t want to wait.  My incredible mother, helped me plan a wedding in 3 months flat.  Her and dad paid for most everything, and made sure it was a beautiful, remember day.  Luckily, I don’t have expensive taste, and at 19 had barely been to any weddings, so didn’t know what I was doing.  She made sure we had everything we needed.  I had a beautiful country wedding.  One of my biggest regrets from the wedding was not getting  a picture with my mom.  I do have the video of the wedding that I will forever treasure, along with many other awesome photos. Two weeks before the wedding, she started packing my room.  I did NOT take kindly to that!  Mother, I still don’t forgive you for it.  😀

A short 3 months after the wedding, Jeremy got deployed.  I didn’t know how to handle it, and in a lot of ways pushed my mom away. Another time in my life, I am not proud of.  I went from living with my parents in my safety net, to living with my husband, to being a wife but all alone.   Another time in my life, I am not proud of.  However, she was always there for me, through the tears, the laughs, and the needs that came up while he was gone.

Then came all the miscarriages, building a house, and finally getting pregnant.  My mom has always been my best friend.  My husband and my mom are both my best friends.  I love them on totally different levels, but they are the two people I confide in the most.

So, on this birthday, mom I want you to know how much you mean to me.  I know, I take you for granted, and I hope you know how much I love you.  I may not always show it in the best way, but I do try to make you and dad proud.  I am so thankful for such awesome parents, who are always there for me if I need you, and so supportive.  I hope I can be half the women you are.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Happy Birthday!

Love, Tannah

 

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