May 31, 2009

My Testimony

I have been wanting to share my testimony for some time now so here it is... It's kind of long so I hope you have your cup of coffee and a comfy chair ready and I hope that reading this will bless you! :0)

God has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, as far back as I can recall, I always prayed before bed and always knew that God was watching over me. I could feel His presence. My mom taught me to pray and I don't remember one night in my entire life that I didn't end the day talking to the Lord before falling asleep.

I was raised in a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school. God was part of my daily life. When I was in the 8th grade, just like most Catholic kids, I began to take classes at school so that I could be confirmed. What that means (in case you don't know) is taking a sort of "oath" which says you yourself choose to be a member of the Catholic church. It is like confirming your baptism which in the Catholic church happens as a baby.

When I began to take these classes my mind became full of questions. Some of the things I was learning and had learned over the years began to make me wonder if Catholicism was the way God wanted me to go in my life. I wondered where I could find the truth about these things. Since my church and school did not advocate reading the Bible I didn't realize that the answers I sought were right within my reach. I didn't think I wanted to be confirmed, but since my parents wanted me to I did. I was 12 years old and knew that I should obey my parents.

All throughout high school I often wished I would visit a different kind of church. I knew that there were other denominations out there but had no idea why they were different from Catholic or what their churches were like. I knew my parents would not approve of me going to any other kind of church so I gave up the idea. I continued to focus on what my goal at the time was. To graduate high school, get a college scholarship and get a "big bad job" making LOTS of money.

I got that scholarship and went on to college. But it was a whole different world from the small Catholic high school that I attended. It was so large and so many different kinds of people and it felt awfully cold and impersonal. Making friends was very difficult for me and I spent the majority of my time alone and lonely. I didn't feel that this was the place that I was supposed to be but I knew what my parents expected and what I had worked so hard for so I continued on my journey. And God continued to call me.

On day my sister and I were shopping at the mall and we met two girls who we found out went to the same college I was attending. After chatting a while we exchanged phone numbers. I thought it was so nice to meet some NICE people and was looking forward to getting to know them better and hopefully become friends.

I got in touch with one of the girls and she invited me to meet with them for a Bible study. I thought that sounded interesting and agreed. When we met they began to show me Bible passages that said that we need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. I really didn't understand how that was different from believing in God so I thanked them but didn't make any sort of commitment based on what they had told me. The continued to call me but my parents thought they were some sort of "religious freaks" and suggested I stay away from them. With all the stress and confusion in my life at the time, I decided to forget about these new girls and just kept on with my life as it was. But God kept on calling me...

After one year of college, I was completely stressed out but still determined to keep my scholarship. A lot was going on in my life aside from school, such as moving to a new home with my family twice and losing my grandfather. It was a tough year. My health was starting to suffer but I ignored it and pressed on towards my goal. Little did I know that God had other plans for me.

At the end of my first year of college I was beginning to prepare for final exams. It was a typical day. My parents were at work, my sister still in high school and I was at home preparing to study. I made my usual cup of coffee (after drinking a can of Pepsi) and was toasting some bread for breakfast. My hardest class was Economics and my grade on the final would mean the difference between me keeping the scholarship of losing it. If I lost it that would mean the end of college for me, at least for a while, until I could find a job and save up money to go back.

I remember that morning so vividly, walking to the toaster to get my toast and all of a sudden my head began to spin and my heart began to pound. It was the scariest thing that had ever happened to me. I felt faint and had no idea what was happening to me. I had a similar episode once before while at school but nothing like this and I was really scared. I called my dad at work and then called 911. I was convinced I was having a heart attack. I had no idea what was going on was a severe panic attack. I had never heard of such a thing and it would be at least 6 months before anyone realized what was going on with me.

No doctors, not the emergency room doctors not my own physician could find anything wrong with me. Yet these episodes kept coming on me daily until a friend of my parents suggest that this could be a psychological issue and that I was having panic attacks. In the meanwhile I became house bound. I was agoraphobic. I missed my exams, lost my scholarship, quit school, lost most all my friends and sunk into an agonizing fatigue and deep depression. I felt like my life was over and no one could help me. I went to a few different counselors and psychologists but the little relief I received would come and go. I was put on medications and tried many kinds of vitamins, amino acids, diet changes, etc. to no avail. I felt stuck and hopeless.

My life had been so bound up in my achievements that I didn't know how to survive as me. Just myself, who I am as a person, not thinking about what I could achieve or who I could compete with. I felt horrible about myself and felt I had let everyone down but I was determined to overcome my situation and return to normal life.

I read all the books I could find on panic attacks, depression and nutrition and slowly I began to feel better, but the panic attacks still came, and usually at the most unexpected and worst moments like when I was driving or in a room full of people. It was frustrating and made me feel more depressed.

One day I picked up a book I had received when I graduated from high school. It was given to me by a family friend and it was a Bible promise book. I began to look up subjects like depression and faith and healing and found so many scriptures to show what God promises us related to those issues. My hope began to return and my faith began to increase. My mom one day told me to "give it all to God" and I began to realized what that meant and began to live it out as I healed.

After a year, I returned to a smaller community college to continue my studies. This is where I met my husband. The thing that really drew me to him was his outgoing personality and he talked about God all the time. My spirit was so hungry for the Lord but I didn't even realize it. I would sit and listen to him talk about God in awe, soaking up all I could of his knowledge of God's Word. I bought myself a Study Bible with lots of footnotes and maps and other things that helped me to study, learn and connect with the Word of God. I began to grow even more and to feel normal again and strong.

I began to realize that although the Catholic church has many people that love the Lord, there is also a lot there that has been added to the Bible. Lots of church doctrine, some of which I have learned was created to "keep church members in line". I didn't want any part of all of that because I knew that God said that nothing should be added unto His Word (Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6), I really began again to wish for a church to attend that focused on the Bible and nothing else.

After my husband and I started dating he invited me to visit his church. I was so excited and jumped at the chance. The church he went to was non-denominational and focused entirely on the Bible, the pure Word of God and nothing else. It was there that I learned the truth of Scripture and accepted Jesus sacrifice for me on the cross. I began not only to know the He died for me on the cross but to live for Him as my Lord and Savior. I completely turned my life over to the Lord and have never turned back.

I'm not going to lie and say I have not had any struggles since then. As anyone I have had my ups and downs in life, but I have a peace in my heart that in indescribable. No matter what happens I am content to allow God to lead my life and I no longer strive towards my goals as a human but strive for His goals as my Lord and Creator.

If you don't know Christ as your personal Savior, now is a great time to turn your life over to Him and ask Him into your heart and into your life. Often times life can throw us very hard struggles but the Lord wants us to turn to Him to heal us, to help us grow and to offer us a life with Him eternally if we only accept the sacrifice of His Son.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

May 23, 2009

Love this song

I just love this song... thought I'd share :0)

May 21, 2009

Listening, Waiting and Living For Him

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

It's amazing how clearly God speaks when He talks to us in our daily lives.

For the past three weeks or so the girls and I have been just chugging along around here, keeping up with chores, taking care of my husband as he healed for an injured knee and returned to work, and trying to keep up with school... all at the same time. The days have been very busy and often tiring but of course we continue on because things have to get done. Through all of this, I kept hearing God's voice in the back of my mind, that I needed to take a break. I don't mean a break, as in physical rest, I mean a break as in a chance to mentally regroup. I kept ignoring God's voice, thinking that as soon as the end of May arrived we could shelf the school books for a while and take a little time off. God continued to speak to me. And finally I listened. After discussing this with my husband, I announced to the girls last week that we were done with school until August. Unfinished books and all, I put everything aside.

Since then I have been taking time each morning to pray. Sometimes I read from the Bible, other times I just focus on the Lord in thanksgiving and praise, in prayer and just in awe of His awesome power and love. I take my time and listen for His voice.

These past days we have spent "taking care of home". Getting rid of clutter, making plans as a family, spending time with friends and just decompressing.

I think it's so easy to get into the "flow of the world". Just because the world does things a certain way I often feel that I have to as well. School is from August to May. Wake up time is at 6 am. Lunch is at noon. Too often I fall into this and in the haste of it all I miss God's voice. He has so much for us and often we need to obey. Time has been scheduled on man's clock, not God's. Often He wants us to stop everything jut because it is His will.

In just the span of almost two weeks not only do the girls and I feel more refreshed but I am starting to have a new vision for the next school year. We, as a family, also have new visions for our future, as far as how God is leading us to work for His kingdom. All of these wonderful happening all because I chose to listen to God. To cut MY plans short and to just sit back and listen to Him. So we are now taking our time about things and are not putting ourselves on a strict schedule.

My husband and I are just praising Him right now and waiting on Him to see where he is leading. We are making plans but waiting on Him to lead us where He will.

May 20, 2009

Praying for our Children

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I'm sure all Christian pray for the future. Most things we pray for have something to do with the future. Asking the Lord's blessings, for His provision or for healing all relate to our hope for the future and our faith in Him. Especially when it comes to our children.

One thing I always pray for is my girls future husbands. I believe in my heart, by faith, that the Lord has a husband for each of them to spend their lives with, to love, cherish and to enjoy their lives with and make a family with. But when I pray about this, I don't pray as I know a lot of people do. I don't just say Father, please bless my daughters with a "good husband". Not that there is anything wrong with a prayer like this. Let me explain...

When I say I believe that my girls each have a husband that awaits them, I don't just see their husbands as adults, at the age they will be when they get married. I can visualize them as they are right now... young boys, around the same age as my girls, facing similar challenges growing up. And I pray for those young boys. I pray for their safety, their health, their daily challenges of life. I think of their parents and I pray for them too. Pray that they will be given wisdom to raise their sons. That their family will be blessed.

I try to always remember that true faith isn't just hoping that something will happen but it is being certain of what is going to happen.

May 11, 2009

Going Green

My oldest daughter recently read me a quote from the back of a bottle of Vitamin Water. It said something like, "If 30 is the new 20 then green is the new black". LOL! I thought that was cute (although the girls were looking at me with funny faces because they didn't have a clue what that means). :0) I thought about it for a while, and I guess it's true. Green does seem to be "the new black" lately. All of a sudden it's become really trendy to "go green".

The funny thing is, I have always leaned towards green living. Don't get me wrong, we aren't totally "green" in all that we do. But I really do think twice about what we use and buy as far as how it will effect not only our health but the environment as well. I think it all started for me back in Jr. High when we learned in a science class about things we could do to help the plant, like recycling and reusing.

That being said, I really want to instill those values in my children. Here's a few things we do to try to care for the earth and the environment.

Buy in bulk - one of our favorite grocery stores is Sprouts. One of my favorite things about them is that they have these large bins where you can get things like flour, oats, nuts, raisins, rice, etc. I store these kinds of things in plastic storage bags or canisters or mason jars. I try to buy as many things as I can in bulk to avoid unnecessary waste as well as save money.

Use reusable grocery store bags - It seems like all the store now have those shopping bags that are reusable now. I LOVE them and we have quite a collection now. I find they hold more weight than paper or plastic bags and they are good for other uses too like taking a picnic to the park or taking along a few of the girls books or toys for a long waiting room session.

Recycle - our town recently started a recycling program. I am really grateful for this! I find that we average one kitchen bag of trash every day and a half kitchen bag of recyclables. Knowing that we are throwing out less has really made an impact on our girls and they always ask me if something can be recycled before they toss it out.

Reuse - there are so many thing we throw out every day that can be reused! I save a lot of the glass or plastic containers we buy food or drinks in to store leftovers or homemade things. Old newspapers are used to cover the table or floor for art projects then recycled. Clothing is passed down or re-made into a quilt or other useful item. There are so many ways you can reuse things! A great resource I found on how to reuse items in your home is The Complete Tightwad Gazette. I love that book!

Buy cleaning products that are earth friendly or use all-natural cleaning products - I like to use all natural things for cleaning. Some great things you can use that you probably already have are white vinegar and lemon juice and baking soda. A lot of companies are selling earth friendly products now as well.

Buy products from sustainable sources - items like buying bamboo flooring for your home, bamboo cutting boards for your kitchen, using rain water for your gardening, using solar energy and the like are all great ways to use sustainable products which take less of a drain on the earth's natural resources.

Buy organic - not only are organic food better for your body, they are also better for the earth. Growing food without harmful chemicals keeps the soil cleaner and insures healthier food which insures healthier people.

Go paperless - If you're like me, you don't like to see a pile of bills laying around on your counter or desk. That is just one of the reasons to go to a paperless billing system. Most companies offer email billing for your monthly expenses and you can pay via debit card, check or even set up an automatic bill pay. This saves your time and saves lots and lots of trees!

These are just a few ways to introduce green living into your household. For lots more great ideas here are a few websites that I really enjoy.

Earth Easy
The Green Guide

May 10, 2009

Awesome Mom

I received this from a good friend today and instead of passing it on via email I thought I'd post it here instead. This is touching and if you're reading this and you're a mom, I think you are awesome too! :0)

Awesome Mom

Before I was a Mom,

I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,

I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,

I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,

I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby..
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,

I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

Send this to someone who you think is an awesome Mom.

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life

Praying you have a blessed Mother's Day!

May 9, 2009

New Homeschool Daily Schedule

Here are my revised schedules and charts...


Morning List

Rise and shine!
Make your bed
Put on glasses (9 year old)
Brush teeth
Get washed up and dressed
Put away your PJ’s
Put your Pull-Ups in the trash (7 and 4 year old)
Put any dirty clothes in the laundry room
Take your water cups to the kitchen
Straighten your room
Straighten your bathroom
Turn off your nightlight

Bedtime List

Brush your teeth
Turn on your night light
Put on PJ’s and Pull-Ups
Put dirty laundry in the laundry room
Get 2 dolls or stuffed animals and a book
Get a cup of water
Use the potty
Kiss everyone good night
Say your prayers
Get in bed, under your covers
8 pm is time for lights out and go to sleep!


Morning Block (6 am - 10 am)


Wash Up/Brush Teeth/Dress/etc.
Prayer/Bible/Devotion Time
Clean Up 2 year old/Dress her
Wake Kids
Make Bed
Start a load of laundry
Start a load of dishes
Make breakfast
Eat Breakfast/oral Bible Lesson or read-aloud while we eat
Table Clean Up
Dinner/Food prep
Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)

--9 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion)
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)
if done with chores early then start school work

--7 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion)
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)
if done with chores early then start school work

--4 year old--

Morning List (see morning list)
Quiet Reading Time (Bible Devotion) - with an elder sister
Table Chores
Daily Chores (varies by day, see chore chart)

--2 year old--

Wake up/get washed up/dressed
Baby Bible (look at or read to by a sister)
play time
"Quiet sitting training" during Bible Study or read-aloud

Morning School Block 10 am - noon

--Me --

Help kids with lessons

9 year old - Bible, Math, Language Arts, quiet reading
7 year old - Bible, Math, Language Arts, quiet reading
4 year old - play with 2 year old, color, blocks, Sunshine Market, books, play kitchen, baby dolls, doll house, etc.
2 year old - play with 4 year old, color, blocks, Sunshine Market, books, play kitchen, baby dolls, doll house, etc.

Lunch - noon- 2pm

me - make lunch, eat lunch/read-aloud during lunch
kids - free time while I make lunch, eat, listen to read aloud during lunch

Afternoon Block - 2 pm - 5 pm


Help kids with lessons
Change laundry load
Blog/email/make grocery list/sort a box/rest/phone calls/sew/etc.
Make dinner if needed or warm up leftovers, make side dish for crock pot meal

---9, 7 and 4 year old---
History, Science, Art, Etc.
finish up any un-done chores
play time

---2 year old---

Evening Block - 5 pm - 7 pm


Make dinner
Wash a load of dishes
Change laundry load
Eat dinner
Table/kitchen chores
Bathe little ones
Talk time with husband when he arrives home from work
family time

---9 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---7 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---4 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
table chores
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

---2 year old---
dress for bed
eat dinner
play time/story time/Daddy time/family time
bedtime list (see bedtime list)

Night Time Block 7 pm - 9 pm


change laundry load
put two year old to bed
shower/prepare for bed
prep for next school day/check papers
make husband's lunch for work for next day
time with husband
in bed by 9 pm

---all children---
go to bed


9 year old

(Daily) - help fold and put away laundry (30 minutes)
- help clear table
- if needed - help with dishes or with 2 year old

(Weekly or as needed) - Clean girls bathroom

7 year old

(Daily) - help fold and put away laundry (30 minutes)
- help clear table
- if needed - help with emptying trash or with 2 year old

(Weekly or as needed) - Vacuum front room and hallway

4 year old

(Daily) - get Daddy's clothes for work and lay them out for him with a fresh towel

(Weekly or as needed) - Vacuum dining area

I'm still working on a daily list for each child. I am going to combine all the applicable portions of each of the above into a separate sheet for 9, 7 and 4 year old and print them out for them to have... probably tape them up in the girls bedroom or our hallway.

I found some great scripture verses to print here.

I might have to tweak this a little more but we will see how it works this week.

May 8, 2009

Revamping Our Homeschool Daily Schedule

I think for me the hardest thing to do is to get back on schedule after an interruption.

My husband is back at work as of yesterday (praise God he was allowed to return to his full duties). I realized right away that not only had we gotten way off track with school, chores, etc., but our schedule needs an overhaul! The way we were doing things is not working well any more.

So, today my goal is to revise the schedule so that things flow a little better around here and we get more done each day and I spend less time delegating activities and more time on the necessities.

My first goal is to get new copies of my girls Morning and Bedtime lists printed out. I had these hanging in their room and 2 year old was able to reach them so they are now lost. Those needed to be re-done anyhow. I am also going to make each child a daily plan and print that out so they can view it at a glance so there's no question as to what they need to be doing at any given time. 7 and 9 year old can read theirs on their own but I will probably add some cute icons or something for 4 year old. 2 year old is along for the ride with me so she doesn't need a chart :0)

After I get those charts done, I am going to revise our block schedule.

Finally, I found this neat list of "House Rules" on the Duggar Family website and I am going to print that out and hang that up too. We recently put up a neat little wall of pictures the kids drew for a lesson on The Fruits of The Spirit and that project really seemed to help them remember the scripture as well and instilling in them the meaning of it so I think this will be a good visual for them as well which I am hoping will help out some with all the little arguments that pop up during the day. I'm also hoping to find some more scriptures with pictures on-line that I can hang up around the house. My girls are very visual learners so I know this will help them to remember and apply the scriptures to their daily lives.

I'll be posting the new schedule, etc. tomorrow. Praying your day is blessed!

May 5, 2009

Practicing Patience and Realizing Blessings

It's been a long week for us. The last time I posted was when my husband hurt his leg last week. Since then it has lots of errands, several doctors appointments and lots of waiting and wondering. We still don't know when he is going to be able to return to work or if surgery will be necessary. Tomorrow is his final follow up with an orthopedist before deciding which route will be the best to take so that he can be able to return to work. In the meantime, his allotment of off time is slowly dwindling and we are having to really practice our patience.

Even though things have been busy and a little stressful, God really has been showing us how to have more patience. Patience with waiting on the doctors... patience with waiting for healing... patience with each other (as we have been very tired because of long days) and most of all patience with waiting on God's answer to our prayers for healing.

Romans 8:25 says "But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."

Really, our faith is what causes us to be able to have the type of patience that allows us to rest and be peaceful no matter how long we have to wait on God's reply to our prayers.

Today was also a reminder to us of God's tremendous blessings in our lives. We were just talking about how much we take for granted every day. Our family, friends, health, jobs and the like seem as if they have always been there and always will be. But, really, those things are so fragile and are precious blessings, not to be taken for granted. We know that no matter what happens, the Lord will see us through but often times it takes a time like this to remind us of those blessings as well God's great grace and mercy and love and especially His provision for His children.