Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is God In Control of All Things and Is Christ Reigning Now?

Just this morning, I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss's May podcast about Christ ruling over all creation and was so encouraged that I wanted to share it with you. She has been taking us on a journey through the book of Joshua and Joshua had just had many victories over cities in southern Canaan (Libnah, Lachish, Gezer, Eglon, Hebron, Debir, the hill country and the Negeb, from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and all the country of Goshen to Gibeon). He also placed 5 Amorite kings in a cave with a huge stone placed in front of the cave with a guard in front to guard the cave while he fought in battle. Later, he came back and had them lay down on the ground and had his men place their feet on their necks (indicating victory over their enemies) and then kill them. Christ is our conquering king! He is our Joshua. He is leading us in this battle of life and has conquered our enemies (sin and death). At the cross, He conquered sin and death. He is now sitting (indicating that He is not anxious) at the right hand of the Father and ruling over ALL things. His enemies are His footstool (indicating victory). When the Father says that it is time for Him to return, He will once and for all have all His enemies under His feet. From this I am reminded of Genesis 3:15, Colossians 1:15-23, and Hebrews 4:14-16 (although it is helpful to read Hebrews 3-5:10 in is entirety to get the entire context). I hope that as you pursue your relationship with Christ and put to death the sins for which you are battling you are encouraged that Christ is interceding in our behalf as our High Priest before the Father for us, the battle has been won, God is in control of all things, and Christ IS reigning on the throne NOW! Be encouraged, fight the battle, put to death those sins for which you struggle (without holiness no one will see the Lord), and put your confidence in Christ who has gone before us and fought this battle for us. Do not lose hope and grow weary in well-doing. Persevere in Christ and praise Him today.

I write all of this because recently we have had a lot of trials in our own lives and need to be reminded of this great news that Christ is reigning over all and God is in control of all things. Just this year our unborn baby died, I have to have weekly hcg tests and then monthly tests for a year (reminding me weekly of our loss and of the fear of cancer in my own life), we have some dear friends with terminal cancer, we have had financial difficulties, the Lord has made clear some sins in my own heart that I need to put to death, we have struggled with a lack contentment in our lives, and a list of many other things. Our goal in life is to glorify God in all things and to enjoy Him forever and He is just using these circumstances to conform us to the image of His Son. If this is what it takes to make us more like Christ then I pray that I will gladly accept what He brings our way. Blessed be the Lord, He gives and He takes away, Blessed be His name!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Putting to Death Certain Sins

As I have been reading Lou Priolo's book, The Heart of Anger, I have found it extremely valuable in not only helping my children deal with their own anger issues, but with mine as well! Being a Christian is not easy. The Bible does say to take up your cross and follow Me (Christ). I am also reminded of the scripture which speaks of plucking out your eye if it causes you to sin. Literally, he means to do what it takes to put an end to that particular sin that you are struggling with. So often we hear sermons on Sunday's and say, "oh, that was a nice sermon and very well presented" and then we walk away and do not apply it to our OWN lives. But do we really take it to heart. Do we practice what we hear. I mean it is a word from God through the pastor to us. We should be taking the Word of God seriously and that is why I am choosing to read and write about The Heart of Anger. I am sure that many people struggle with anger in some form or another. Pouting, withdrawing, and manipulating are also forms of anger in which many of us do not consider. We want to make ourselves look better than we really are to others. Scripture says that the heart is deceitfully wicked. The Word of God also teaches us that we should examine our hearts to see whether or not we are in the faith. We need to persevere to the end! We need to look to Christ who lived a perfect life, took upon himself our sins and suffered and died for our sins, rose again from the grave, and IS reigning on the throne and interceding on our behalf before the Father. We must not lose hope. We must press on even when the sin in which we are struggling with seems overwhelming and impossible to put to death. Plead with God about it and do everything we can to put it to death!

Lou Priolo writes that it is helpful to keep an anger journal. He lists 4 questions we should answer in our journals.

1. What happened that provoked me to anger?
2. What did I say and or do when I became angry?
3. What does the Bible say about what I said and or did when I became angry?
4. What should I have done/said when I became angry?

I originally bought this book because I have a child who struggles with anger. Now, I see that I do too and need to work on my own problem first before helping my child to deal with their own sin. I am going to start keeping my own anger journal. Will you who struggle with this same sin join me in taking this sin seriously and putting it to death? One more helpful thing to do is to go to Amazon and purchase this book if you have this same struggle or you have a child who struggles with this same sin. The sad thing to say is that in life I have learned that many have had their own children struggle with this same sin and they never knew how to deal with it. Now, while they are still young is the time to take things seriously and teach them how to deal with the sins for which they are struggling so that when they are adults they will be fully equipped in how to put to death certain besetting sins. I only wish that I had known these things before I became a mom! By the grace of God, He has taught me and I am thankful for God's grace in my life!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Van Stuck In the Ditch on an Icy Road in 4 Feet of Snow

When was the last time you had to miss worship service because your van was stuck in the ditch and you had to wait for a tow company to come by the house to pick up the keys? Well, that is exactly what is happening to us the Lord's day. Last night, my husband drove 2 and a half hours to pick up his mom from the airport and was driving home late on curvy road that were slick with black ice. He knew how bad they were so he was driving about 15 miles per hour. He came upon an s-curve and hit a patch of black ice and the van went off the road into a 4 foot snow drift. There was also no cell phone reception where he went off the road! However, the Lord was watching over him and in control of all things. A man who had been drinking some came along with his dog 30 minutes later and stopped and asked him if he needed a ride. He took it and came home safely. Then he decided to call a friend and take a chain, 4 wheel drive pick-up, and shoves out to try and pull our van out of the ditch. In the mean time the NY state police called to inform me about our vehicle. I was relieved that they called because I always wondered if anything ever happened (since we have no cell reception where we live) if I would get a call from the state police and sure enough I did. They waited for him and he showed up and tried to pull the van out and the 4 wheel drive almost ended up on the other side of the ditch. So, they decided to just call a tow truck. He called and they said they were closed for the night (it was only 9pm) and to call back the next morning (at 9am). This is the only tow service in the area. So, here I am waiting for them to pick up our keys and then our van thankful that no one else slid into our van on that icy, snowy s-curve last night. I am also thankful that my husband and mother-in-law made it here safely. Even though the kids and I will not be making it to worship service today, the Lord is in control of all things and I can still worship the Lord here with the kids with a grateful heart for his provision.
Tomorrow, I will be away from the computer as it is my city shopping day and my weekly hcg check day. My mother-in-law volunteered to watch all 5 of our children so that my husband and I could have a nice day together tomorrow. This is another thing for which I am thankful. As I am concluding this post I am thinking that I need to be writing a post for the many things for which I am thankful for in my life.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and thought much about Jesus Christ. If you had an opportunity to share Christ with others, I would love to hear all about it. My husband was able to faithfully share the gospel very clearly last night as he led our church in a candle lighting service. What are some of the traditions that you as a family practice each year. I would love to hear from others.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Friends, Please Pray and Share This With Others, Too!!!

At this time when we think of Christ and are celebrating His birth during the next few days please keep Esther and her family in your prayers. They are facing a monumentous trial during this season of their lives. I also hope that as I copy and paste this letter from our friends that you too will help me to spread the word to pray for this precious little girl and most importantly that if she is not trusting in Christ as her Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of her sins and the hope of eternal life that she would do that even now and that she would have a great understanding.

Dear Friends,
We so much appreciate your prayers, thoughts, cards, concern… This past week has been very difficult for Lydia and I. On Monday, we met with the doctors and told them that we had decided not to do chemotherapy. It was a rough meeting with the doctors strongly pressing their case for chemotherapy. However, they have accepted our decision and Esther comes home today (12.23.09). We will do a small amount of traveling to visit relatives over the next month or so and then be in Springfield, MO until Esther goes home. The doctors have given 2 – 6 months, but no one really knows for sure. Once we are done with the traveling (we want to visit family in Mississippi, Kentucky, and Indiana), we will have pediatric hospice involved. Our doctor in Bolivar and hospice will oversea Esther’s care.
We appreciate your prayers as we go through this difficult time.

For Souls,
Daniel Elliott
Your Missionaries to Mongolia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Girls

Huggies Pure And Natural Diapers for $1.76 per pack

Usually I am good at noticing when a certain item is needed as we have been making it a habit to stock up and stay ahead of the game. However, yesterday when I laid my two youngest down for bed at night I noticed that I only had one diaper left for both of them this morning. So, I told my husband that I needed to run to Kenny Drug Store for some diapers this morning. In the process, I decided first to read a few blogs and ran across this one which I think all of you with children in diapers can appreciate She writes about an amazing deal on Huggies diapers that is definitely worth the read as it will save you some money if you have a Rite Aid near you. So, after reading this I ask my husband if the kids and I can drive to Rite Aid and get some diapers. You must know that nothing is close in driving distance for us as we live in the Adirondacks. Rite Aid is about 50 miles away and the weather was snowy, biter cold, and bad today. My husband said, "no, but if you must go then I will go with you". I was very thankful for this answer when we got out on the road and I saw just how bad it was today. Anyhow, we made it safely to Rite Aid and I purchased 12 packages of Huggies Pure and Natural diapers for $1.76 per pack! It was worth the trip!!!! While I was there I also snagged a great deal on Pepsi 12 pack cans 3/$7.99, Olay Quench Body wash and lotion Buy body wash and get lotion free, and Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit 50% off. I had coupons for Rite Aid $5/$25 purchase (I had more than one of these coupons and used them with separate purchases each totaling $25. Then I also had coupons for the Airwick and I submitted for the gift of saving program through Rite Aid and Caregivers and earned 75 cents for each pack of diapers (totaling $9).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hcg Numbers, More Recipes, and The Heart of Anger...

Yesterday, I had my hcg numbers checked again, did my weekly grocery shopping, and finished my Christmas shopping. Today, I called and my numbers are now down to 17. I like this:) My prayer is that it will be 0 and stay at 0 soon.

As for recipes tried in my crock pot, I tried an egg casserole with eggs, milk, cheese, onions, peppers, bacon, and potatoes. My family did not like it but still ate it to make me happy. It was not nearly as bad as the french toast. I threw that one away and only asked them all to take one bite. While I was away all day yesterday I made a turkey stew which was delicious. I used turkey broth, onions, red peppers, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cooked and diced turkey, black beans, and corn. Most of the children ate it happily and said that it was a make again. I made more cranberry sauce because Aldi's still has cranberries for 99 cents a bag. I canned this sauce. The final recipe that I have tried recently is granola. It is worth making in the crock pot. I used 5 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 honey, 1/4 dried fruit, 2 tablespoons flax seed, 1/4 cup coconut, 1/4 cup sunflower seed, and 1/4 cup pumpkin seed and cooked it (vented and stirred frequently) on high for 2 1/2 - 3 hours. I also have discovered that if you mix butternut squash, sweet potato, and pumpkin (you don't have to add this one if you don't have a fresh pie pumpkin) together with a little water and cover and cook on low till mushy it is great to add to muffins, soups, chilies, and to make a pumpkin pie (it is squash anyway and you can not tell a difference).

The final thing that I have been doing is reading The Heart of Anger and feeling very convicted. In fact, I called a friend and spoke to her about it and she encouraged me to confess my sins and to continue to work through the book and to work through a Bible study that is put out through Sovereign Grace Ministries and is free. The study talks about sanctification and is called How Can I Change. I plan on posting 25 reasons parents provoke their children to anger very soon.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Crock Pot Has Become My Friend

Recently in my surfing the web, I stumbled upon a very helpful blog . Since discovering this blog I have dusted off my crock pot and put it into major use. In fact, I have used it daily and sometimes up to 3 times in a day. One thing that I do have to remember is that if I need to use it again immediately then I must not place cold water in it as it will crack the pot. I wash it in the hottest water I can stand since it has already been cooking and it is super easy to clean. Just sitting here thinking about it I have made turkey soup, crock roasted root vegetables, roasted cabbage and sweet potatoes, butternut squash cooked whole (with the peeling still on makes it easier to cut when it is done), chicken with baked beans filling for burritos, cranberry sauce, creamy cranberry dip, southwestern beans with ham, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and french toast. Plus I looked up 12 new recipes I will be trying for breakfast. I am planning on putting this baby to use as much as I possibly can. After reading Stephanie's blog, she inspired me to try and use it every day. She was a dedicated woman because she not only used her crock pot every day in 2008, but she also took pictures and blogged about it daily due to a BlogHer challenge she was presented. Then she went so far as having a cook book published that detailed her entire year of crock potting. If this is what it takes for me to have meals on the table at decent hours and save money in the process, then I want to take this same challenge. I will not guarantee that my readers will see recipes posted each day by me, but I will occasionally try to remember to take pictures and reference where I found the recipe. Since Stephanie has already done this, why duplicate? All I want to do is help to make my life easier by using what I have and then sharing with others the things that have helped me and hopefully inspire others to pull out your crock pots and put them to use. During my last pregnancy (when I had no desire to cook), my friend recommended a cook book, Not My Mother's Slow Cooker Cook Book. It is a great cook book. I also plan on searching the web for recipes, asking every one I know, and purchasing more crock pot cook books. I love trying new recipes! When my son found out that I was making french toast and pancakes in the crock pot he asked, "can we make cookies in the crock pot?" I told him that I did not know, but we could certainly try. It might be a big mess or a big cookie. If you, too, know of favorite crock pot recipes that you would like to share I would love this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Heart of Anger

I woke up this morning at 3:30 because I heard someone else up. I got up and realized it was my daughter who had gotten up because she was cold and had come downstairs to warm up in the kitchen because she could not sleep. At this point, I am fully awake and not wanting to go back to sleep myself, so I decided to stay up and read my Bible and then The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo. I fully intend to read at the end of each day and then find myself tired and making excuses. Now, no more excuses! We have had a problem for sometime in our home and I keep justifying it and making the excuse, "well, we survived yet another day and I am too tired to deal with my own sin at the end of the day, so I will yet go to bed and wake up refreshed and start the day anew with still the same problems." I wonder how many other parents face this same issue that so few of us are willing to admit that we even struggle with for fear of how we will be perceived by others. I was talking over these outbursts of anger issues I see in my children with my sweet friend, Julie, and she recommended that I read Lou Priolo's book, The Heart of Anger. She said that it was a book that transformed her life and was very eye opening to her own sin. In the past she thought that it was just a problem that her children had. After reading the book, she came to a full conclusion that the problem was not just their sin, but hers also. She faced that sin head on and with the help of the Holy Spirit is a changed woman. Her responses are now different and she is joyful about being a mom. I want that same change in my household, so I decided to take her suggestion and read Mr. Priolo's book and not just "settle" in life. To begin with, I would like to quote some of the book to see if you, too, struggle with the same things I struggle with and hopefully "spark" your interest in getting a copy of the book yourself.
What happens to a person who continually yields the members of his body to a particular sin? He becomes a slave to the sin by which he chose to be mastered. (Rom. 6:16)
What does God call an individual who continually gives himself over to folly? God calls him a fool. (Proverbs 26:11)

Rebellion does not just happen in a child's heart overnight. It goes through a series of steps. First, the child has a wounded spirit or hurt feelings (possibly due to the way a parent disciplined the child or some other offense whether it is real or just perceived). Next, the child grows bitter. Then, angry. And Stubborn. Finally, Rebellion sets in and you see that you have a major problem and need to change.
A rebellious child is a child whose characteristics have gone beyond that of an angry man and assumed the characteristics of a proverbial fool.

25 Characteristics of a Fool:

Despises wisdom and instruction Proverbs 1:7
Hates knowledge Proverbs 1:22
Grieves His mother Proverbs 10:1
Enjoys devising mischief Proverbs 10:23
Right in his own eyes Proverbs 12:15
Quick to anger Proverbs 12:16
Hates to depart from evil Proverbs 13:19
Deceitful Proverbs 14:8
Arrogant and careless Proverbs 14:16
Rejects his father's instruction Proverbs 15:5
Despises his mother (and/or father) Proverbs 15:20
Does not respond well to discipline Proverbs 17:10
Does not understand wisdom Proverbs 17:16
Has a worldly focus Proverbs 17:24
Grieves his parents Proverbs 17:25
Hurts his parents Proverbs 17:25
Will not discuss any viewpoint but his own Proverbs 18:2
Provokes others to strife and anger by his words Proverbs 18:6
A smart mouth usually gets him into trouble Proverbs 18:7
Is quarrelsome Proverbs 20:3
Is a spendthrift Proverbs 21:20
Repeats his folly (foolishness) Proverbs 26:11
Trusts in his own heart Proverbs 28:26
Cannot resolve conflicts Proverbs 29:9
Gives full vent to his anger Proverbs 29:11

As hard as it is to admit, I started seeing this problem in one of my children very early on around the age of 18 months. Most parents would just dismiss it and say that it was just typical childish behavior and that this child would just outgrow it. No, the problem just gets worse with age. I dealt with it, but not always biblical, making it worse. I thought that because I was dealing with it that I was better than the mom who just gave in and gave their child whatever they wanted. In fact, I was addressing the issue and not ignoring it. My sinful behavior was never being dealt with. Then I tried to justify it by using scripture. Now, I am not saying that it is wrong to discipline your child! I firmly believe that the rod of correction used in love will fully drive out the heart of folly within a child. I am just saying that a parent should first examine his or her own heart before dealing with their child's heart and determine the motive for the discipline in the first place and see it as an offense against God and not an offense against him/herself. That is the issue anyway- we have sinned against our Almighty, Heavenly Father when we discipline in anger or provoke our children to wrath by our own sinful response and we need to seek His guidance and counsel first.

I know that this is a long post, but I found a lot of helpful advice in Lou Priolo's book that I was hoping would help others to examine their own hearts. I would like to talk next about whether your home is a child-centered home or a God-centered home. Since it is still very early in the morning I have time that I do not normally have to write this blog post. I hope that someone out there will find it helpful as I have.

The Child-Centered Home

Interrupt adults when they are talking
Use manipulation and rebellion to get their way
Dictate family schedule (including meal times, bed times, etc.)
Take precedence over the needs of the spouse
Have an equal or overriding vote in all decision making matters
Demand excessive time and attention from parents to the detriments of the other biblical responsibilities of the parents
Escape the consequences of their sinful and irresponsible behavior
Speak to parents as though they were peers
Be the dominate influence in the home
Be entertained and coddled (rather than disciplined) out of a bad mood.

The God-Centered Home

To joyfully serve others
To cheerfully obey parents the first time
To not interrupt parents who are speaking to each other
To understand that they will not always get their own way
To work their schedule around their parents' schedule
To have input into family decisions but not necessarily an equal vote
To understand that God has given their parents other responsibilities in addition to meeting their needs
To suffer the natural consequences of their sinful and irresponsible behavior
To not speak to parents as though they were peers but honor them as spiritual authorities
To esteem others as more important than themselves
To fulfill various household responsibilities (chores)
To protect themselves from certain bad influences
To not divide parents over disciplinary issues
To not be more intimate with either parent than the parents are with each other.

Which model best fits your family? Child-centered or God-centered. In the child-centered the child perceives that the entire family exists essentially to please and make him or her happy. Mother and Father and siblings exist only to serve and meet the child's needs and desires. In the God-centered family the child perceives that the husband is the head of the family and the wife is submissive to her husband. Theirs is the primary relationship. It is permanent and exists to glorify God. Children have a secondary and temporary relationship.

As I sat and read Lou Priolo's book this morning I was brought to my knees in repentance. You would think that a pastor's family who places God as first in our lives and faithfully seeks to teach our children about God by having family worship twice a day because we realize the importance of teaching our children about God would be a family that is God-centered and have it all together. We are sinners just like everyone else on this journey called life. In fact, we do not have it all together. We have a long way to go. Many days our life we have a very child-centered, chaotic, and not peaceful home. I began this morning by confessing my sins to God and asking His forgiveness and help to obey His Word. I want to live a life that is pleasing to my heavenly Father.

This book will offer helpful advice on how to have a God-centered home and will address the heart of anger by giving practical help. As I continue to read more, I will write more. For now, God has created us to glorify and honor Him by loving Him and doing what He commands.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Mom, Call 911! Kara Has Her Tongue Stuck To a Pole"

My son comes running in the house this afternoon crying and begging me to call 911. I immediately put on my coat and follow him outside asking why. He explained that he and his sister thought that it would be a great idea to sled down the cliff in our back yard and she got her glove stuck to a pole (it was 3 degrees outside) so they decided to try and cut it (the glove) off with some scissors. That did not work so she then proceeded to use her mouth to pry the glove off and got her tongue and mouth stuck on the pole. Is this story resembling A Christmas Story just a little? Honestly, I never in a million years thought my children would be so silly as to do such a thing. I mean didn't they also watch and laugh as the boy got his tongue stuck and the ambulance was called. I sure did! Anyway, I quickly went outside as Matthew was showing me where she was and she came running to me with her mouth covered in blood and crying profusely. I gave her a hug and comforted her as she rinsed her mouth with warm water and held on to a wet rag. Later, like any mommy, I laughed and took a picture. She said that if I went down the cliff I could see the top layer of her tongue stuck to the pole. So, with her permission, I took pictures. The first two pictures are of the top layer of her tongue and her glove. She is doing 100% better now and even talks just fine now. She has learned a very important lesson at the beginning of our sledding season. She will now stay away from the cliff (which was off limits anyway). As soon as her daddy and brother walked in the door we told them and he just laughed hard. I will just be careful as to what I feed her for the next few days.

Update on Esther

Dear Friends,

Late last night, the doctors told us that the pathology was back on both the biopsy on the lungs and the original tumor. First, the lung biopsy was positive. That is to say that the nodes on the lungs (both lungs) are cancerous. As we suspected, they have staged the cancer as stage 4 with metastasis. The type of cancer is a cancer called medulloepithelioma. It is an EXTREMELY rare cancer and is considered a cancer of the central nervous system. This type of cancer, when it is found, is normally found in the eyes or brain. There are extremely few instances of this cancer being in the abdominal cavity. As a result of the rareness of this cancer, the doctors cannot give us a prognosis, nor is there an established treatment protocol. There have been a few cases (10 or less) of this cancer. The doctors here will be talking with the doctors that have treated this cancer before to see what they faced
and how they treated it. The doctors here will be running a series of tests (MRI, Spinal tap, bone scan, echocardio exam, ekg and bone marrow) to see if we can determine if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. We appreciate your prayers as we will need to make some hard decisions regarding treatment, chemotherapy, etc within the next few days. We appreciate your prayers as we go through this difficult time.

For Souls, Daniel Elliott Your Missionaries to Mongolia

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Things For Which I Am Thankful For Today

Since the beginning of November I have not been feeling well or doing well emotionally due to my partial molar pregnancy. However, today I am rejoicing that I seem to be feeling better and doing better emotionally. My hcg numbers are going down. I take it one day at a time not knowing what the next day will bring and try to rejoice because this IS the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. In fact, scripture teaches that no matter what my contentment should be in Christ alone. So many times I try to place my contentment in my circumstances or in things and I get sad or frustrated. Circumstances always change and things quickly fade away. God is UNCHANGING and is FOREVER!!! This is where I should always be placing my eyes. .
Just as I sit at my computer and type this blog post this evening, I look out my window and see movement. I get up and see 5 deer wandering across my lawn and try to take a picture so you, too, can see how beautiful they are. As I look at these animals, I think of what an amazing God we have. He is more beautiful than these 5 deer and worthy of our worship and praise!
There are many things for which I can thank God for today: I got up at 6:15 and had a nice breakfast pizza on the table for our family this morning. Everyone was downstairs by 7:45 and chores were completed very early with no complaint. Family worship was over before 8:30 and Don was able to get out the door and over to the office to study the scriptures for sermon preparation early this morning. We finished home school by noon. I did not lose my temper today. While I was teaching school, I was listening to music and I looked up to see my sweet 2 (almost 3)year old having fun dancing to a song another blogger had on her play list. Later, he and his sister danced nicely. I got a short nap while my children watched Signing Time. I had an enjoyable day with 2 of our boys and our baby girl hanging out and following me around (tomato staking) all day. After lunch, we enjoyed cooking and baking together (4 children while baby slept). We all enjoyed delicious macaroon kiss cookies with our dinner. My crock pot has been most helpful as it has been used daily lately. My wonderful husband persevered through prayer meeting (even though we (7) were the only ones present tonight). He is a faithful teacher and leader in our family! He loves God and His word and has a passion for teaching it to his family. I have a warm house in the midst of this frigid cold weather.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Recent Snow Storm

I do have to admit that even though we live in a snow belt and receive an average of 200 + inches of snow a year, I was amazed to hear how much snow we received over a 3 day period last week. We received 24 inches of snow!!! It was definitely a workout to shovel, as it was a heavy snow. It was lake effect. I thought someone might like to see a few pictures.

Cranberry Sauce and Creamy Cranberry Dip

I love this time of year when my favorite fruits and vegetables are on sale (pumpkin, winter squashes, root vegetables, and cranberries). I have been able to stock-up on cranberries lately. Aldi's has been selling them for $0.99 a bag. So, I am sharing 2 recipes that my family has loved.

In a crock pot, add 1-1/2 bags of cranberries, 1/2 cup of orange juice (I squeezed a fresh orange and processed the pulp), 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours (stirring hourly and popping the berries). Finally remove the lid and continue to cook 35-45 more minutes. The delicious fragrance will fill your home.

After you have had your share of cranberry sauce, use the leftovers to make a delectable creamy cranberry dip. Pour the remaining sauce in the crock pot with 1 8oz package of cream cheese and 1-2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook on low until fully melted (about 1 hour). Cool and enjoy with crackers or fresh fruit (such as apples).

HCG Numbers

My HCG numbers when I first found out I had a partial molar pregnancy were 375,000. Since then I have had to go in for weekly HCG tests. My numbers are coming down each week. Two weeks after my d&c my numbers were 3,900. Week 3 they were 1,200. Week 4 they were 369. Week 5 they were 115. Now they are 46!!! I will continue to go in for weekly blood draws until my numbers hit 0 and then monthly till January 2011. After that we will be free to try for another pregnancy. My genetics also came in yesterday and revealed that genetically everything was fine and that it was indeed a partial molar pregnancy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Please Pray For Esther

Please pray for Esther. She is a 6 year old girl who is the daughter of some friends we went to college with 10 years ago, Daniel and Lydia, and the niece of a friend, Jennifer, we have. Her parents are missionaries to Mongolia, through BBF, and have 3 other young children. They had to quickly come back to the states because Esther became very sick and needed surgery right away. She had tumors in her kidneys removed and they were found to be cancerous. The type of cancer is still to be determined. So, they moved her to the cancer floor to a regular room as her recovery has been going smoothly. Since then, she has had a C/T scan that has revealed cancer nodes in both of her lungs. She will have a needle biopsy on Monday and hopefully the results will be in by next Friday. One of the top pathologists in the nations is looking over her case. Please pray for Esther. Currently, she is laughing and playing with her siblings as her recovery from surgery is going smoothly. One year ago she was a happy, healthy little girl and now she is sick with cancer. Her parents and siblings look forward to running, hugging, and playing with her again.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Birthday Pictures

Kara had a great day. Upon waking up Aaron graced her with the birthday song. Everyone else joined in. It was our Utica day, so we decided that we would all go and have pizza at Venice Pizzaria. The children all loved it. Since we were going to be home late, I decided not to make a cake and instead purchase one. After arriving home, Kara opened her gifts and ate cake and ice cream. Then she opened her gifts from her aunt Jessica, Grandma, and Nanny and Papa.

Kara's 7th Birthday Pictures

This top picture is a beautiful pillow that her great-grandma embroidered. Kara loves purses and dolls. Plus we are greatly enjoying The Little House books. She received the last 2.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Language of Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

This is another book I have been reading for a book review for Thomas Nelson Publishing. Over the next few days I will be writing about it. I highly recommend it!!!

Dr. Eggerichs says that couples fall into one of three cycles in a relationship: the crazy cycle, the energizing cycle, or the rewarded cycle. The crazy cycle is summed up like this: without love she reacts without respect. Without respect, he reacts without love. Therefore love and respect is based on our reactions. The crazy cycle happens when spouses focus on their own needs and overlook the needs of the other. Each spouse needs to commit to unconditional love for each other no matter what. The energizing cycle is summed up like this: His love motivates her respect. Her respect motivates his love. This can be accomplished when couples are on following the love and respect principles which are laid out in this book and summed up in the acronym c-o-u-p-l-e for the wife and c-h-a-i-r-s for the man.

C- closeness. O- openness. U- understanding. P- peacemaking. L- loyalty. E- esteem.
C- conquest. H- hierarchy. A- authority. I- insight. R- sexuality.

A check-up questionnaire that each couple can use to keep themselves in check is as follows.

For the husband:
C- closeness. Have I been moving toward my wife or away from her? Realizing her deep need to share with me, have I set aside time to talk to her face to face? Do I tell her on a regular basis that I love her, admire her, and appreciate her- or do I save those remarks for when I want sex?
O- openness. Do I share my thoughts and problems with her, or do I keep things to myself to prove I am strong and capable? Do I come across as irritated or angry when she tries to draw herself out, or am I open and transparent when she shows concern or curiosity? Do I turn my spirit more toward TV and the newspaper than toward the heart of my wife?
U- understanding. When she shares her concerns and problems, do I tend to listen and let her talk, or do I try to "fix" her or what is wrong? Do I see my wife as made of porcelain or other fine china, or do I treat her like she is made of cast iron? Do I increasingly see that "just talking" is key to making her feel understood? Do I understand that talking is as important to my wife as sex is to me?
P- peacemaking. Do I tend to talk things through and resolve issues, or do I tend to say, "Let's just drop it and move on"? When my wife expresses hurt or anger, do I easily say, "I'm sorry. I was wrong."- or do I tend to get defensive, and express hurt and anger myself? Do I really understand how saying "I'm sorry" touches her deeply and makes her feel connected like few things do?
L- loyalty. Do I look for ways to express my loyalty to her alone, or do I tend to think, "She knows I love her. I don't have to remind her constantly"? In this "swimsuit issue" world, do I openly admire pretty women because I know my wife is secure and can handle it, or do I save my admiration for her alone? My wife is a one-man woman, but is she absolutely sure I am a one-woman man? Do I understand that assurance of my loyalty calms her soul like few things can?
E- esteem. Does my wife feel treasured, like most loved women on earth, or is there work for me to do in this area? Do I take my wife's efforts with the family for granted, or do I often let her know "Thanks for everything you do for me and the kids. I could never, ever do your job!" Do I always remember how important birthdays and anniversaries are to my wife, or do I sometimes get busy and forget? Do I remind myself how energizing it is to her to be referred to as my equal?

A wife can ask herself the following questions on a regular basis:

C- conquest. Does my husband know I am behind his desire to work? Do I support him in his endeavor? Do I really understand how important his job is to him- that is the very warp and woof of his being? Do I realize that my recognition of the significance of my husband's work energizes him and how fond feelings of affection for me arise in him in response to this recognition?
H- hierarchy. Do I express my respect and appreciation for his sense of responsibility for me, or do I either openly or subtly resent the biblical concept of the husband's headship, feeling that my husband views headship as a right over me, not a responsibility for me? Am I willing to send my husband a card or note to tell him how much I respect him? What would I say to thank him for his desire to take care of me? Do I fully understand how such a statement of respect for his commitment to protect me can touch him deeply?
A- authority. Do I let my husband know that, because he has the responsibility to protect and provide for me, I recognize he also has primary authority in our family, or do I insist on an "egalitarian" marriage where we both have equal authority, yet I contradict "egalitarianism" by expecting him to be primarily responsible? Do I recognize my husband's desire to be the leader in relationship to me? Do I allow my husband to be the leader, or do I take the lead because, frankly, I am better at a lot of things than he is? Am I on record with my husband that, because he has 51 percent of the responsibility, he has 51 percent of the authority?
I- insight. Do I tend to turn to him for his opinion and analysis, or do I tend to depend more on my intuition? Do I realize that we are a team-that our marriage needs my intuition and his insight? Do I regularly ask for my husband's advice? Do I follow it? If my husband offers ideas or opinions that are contrary to mine, am I open to changing, or do I reject out of hand his wish to offer insight? Do I often see my husband as wrong, sinful, and in need of correction and myself as right, good, and correct? Do I sometimes try to be my husband's Holy Spirit?
R- relationship. How much shoulder-to-shoulder time do I spend with my husband? Do we do things together as friends and companions? Do I ever just sit with him-to watch a ball game or a TV program- because I understand his desire for me to be with him? Do I ever just sit and watch him work on something without having to talk?
S- sexuality. Do I understand that my husband's need for sex is really and indication of his deeper need for respect? Do I sometimes deprive my husband of sex because I don't feel he meets my need for intimacy and love? Do I think we need to be close before we can share sexually, or do I see having sex with him as a way to feel close? Am I willing to give my husband the sexual release he needs even when I am not in the mood?

As I type this entire set of questions for women I am convicted that I have been guilty of not giving my husband the respect he deserves and I need to ask the Holy Spirit to faithfully obey the Word of God concerning this issue in my life. I hope that as I read and post more about this book that it will be as big of a help to you as it is to me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Identity Crisis

How many of you out there have found yourselves in some kind of identity crisis at some point in your life? I have and my husband and I are both struggling right now. The Lord has placed us outside of our comfort zone in a community that hates everything about Christ and would rather our little church not even be here. I grew up in Texas and my husband in Indiana. We never believed that the Lord would place us in upstate New York where we are persecuted for the gospels sake. In fact this being a tourist community, many people visit our little church, and have said that this is by far a mission field that is even harder than a place like Africa. I home school our children and there are no other home schoolers in our area. We are far away from family and it a very cold and lonely place. When the church called us they told us that we were the only gospel witness for at least 60 miles and I did not understand. They told us how hard it would be and we still did not understand. Recently, we went through the loss of our 6th child through a partial molar pregnancy. I have a link on the side that explains what a partial molar pregnancy is and how rare it is. For the past 10 years I have either been pregnant or nursing. We have 5 children. I always had problem free pregnancies and had finally adjusted to the fact that I would continue to have many children and great pregnancies. My identity was in motherhood and in bearing children for the glory of God. Now I cannot conceive for at least a year and don't know what to do with myself. That may seem strange to some, but to me there was only about a one month gap sometimes after nursing before conceiving again. My children have no other friends or activities that we can participate in. I teach school, clean house, read my Bible, and cook. That is what motherhood is all about, but I am sad and lonely. My husband has grown so much theologically that he is also having an identity crisis. Those who have husbands who are pastors will understand. He is also lonely for fellowship with other pastors and just wants to fit in somewhere. My comfort is found in Christ alone and my husband and I really need to meditate on that fact. He gives and He takes away and I mean it when I say, "Praise His name". He does all things for His glory and He is now drawing us to Himself to find our identity in Him alone. One of my favorite songs is by Keith and Kristin Getty, In Christ Alone. I need to add that to my blog.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Book Review: The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

Recently I have been engrossed in The Silent Gift. From the beginning, I have been captivated. The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns. It never continues the way I expect it to go which is why it is hard to put down. The book is about a young lady and her son who is a deaf-mute. Without giving away much of the plot, the lady and her child find themselves in places in which they never anticipated or wanted to be. Along the journey they discover a very special gift that Jack, the boy has that helps others. They also meet many people providentially through the circumstances they are forced to endure and through the gift that Jack has. Mary, the young lady, discovers much about herself and realizes that even though she has a deaf-mute child that he is a special gift from God. He not only is a special gift from God to Mary, but to many others, as he helps them through his unusual gift from God.
I would recommend this book to others because it is captivating and well written. Many novels are just about romance and this one is not and that is why I was drawn to select it from Bethany House Publishers for a book review.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Do you ever find yourself at a stand still with your children concerning anger in either yourself or your children? I admit that I do. It is far easier to be unfair or to yell because I don't want to take the time necessary to find out what the heart of the issue is. However, the Bible teaches us something different, "he who loves his children will discipline them", "a soft answer turns away wrath", "do not provoke your children to wrath", "the heart of the wise ponders how to answer", and "the heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips". I recently purchased a book that came highly recommended by many friends that will address these issues that I struggle with and am sure that many other mothers struggle with as well. The name of the book is The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo. As I read this book I will enlighten other moms as to the wisdom that I will be learning. Motherhood is a journey that I am currently on and am excited to share the wisdom and struggles that I face on a daily basis to hopefully help other moms on this same journey.

Friday, December 4, 2009


The Many Faces of Emily

You Know You're A Large Family If...

1. You return from a shopping trip with 7 loaves of bread, 5 gallons of milk, 7 boxes of cereal, 4 bags of apples, 4 bunches of bananas, and many other things and you are asked if you are stocking up for the month and you reply, "no, this is just for 1 week."

2. Couponing becomes a Monday family event.

3. You have to make many trips to the doctor and dentist just for all of your children to get in their yearly check-ups.

4. You don't get many invites for dinner because people are overwhelmed at the size of your family and the cost it will take to feed them all.

5. 4 loads of laundry is a daily chore.

6. Sweeping and mopping the floor occurs 3 times a day.

This list can and will continue as I think of more to write.