Sunday, December 30, 2007

LET'S GO BLUE!!



This was taken at the basketball game Friday night. The women's basketball team defeated LSU, the #8 team in the country. It was so fun!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wanna make it snow?

If you want it to snow, do the following (in no particular order):

1. Put a spoon under your pillow.
2. Flush an ice cube down the toilet.
3. Wear your PJ's inside out.
4. Do the snow dance.

Well, Claire thinks so anyway.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What kind of kids are you growing?

Stephen and I will be co-teaching a class with two other couples at our church this January called Growing Kids God's Way. We have taken the class twice and were so blessed by what we learned. When the opportunity to teach came about, we jumped at the chance. We are so excited to be able to share our experiences and what we have learned about parenting with others. We, by no means, feel like we have it all together. But we have been blessed by this material, and we feel like we have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Anyway, the last time we took the class, my friend Bonnie shared this story with us and I was thinking about it today. It has new meaning to me, especially as I am getting ready to homeschool. Also, today, I have been dealing with the "uniqueness" of my children in a not so pleasant way ;) I wanted to share this story with you, and I hope it blesses you as you seek to raise your kids in the image of God.


Gifts from God
by Max Lucado

A gardener gave a seedling to his friend, the orange grower. "Consider this a gift."

An orchestra conductor presented a package to her favorite cellist. "Just because I appreciate your work," she told her.

An artist thanked a plumber for his neighborliness by giving him a present.

And so the orange grower, the cellist, and the plumber unwrapped their gifts.

The orange grower planted the seedling, anticipating oranges. After all, he grew oranges, so this must be an orange-tree-to-be. But the plant spread into bushy, clustered branches. The orange grower couldn't coax a single orange out of his grove. He sprinkled it with orange-tree fertilizer, sprayed it with orange tree bug spray. He even poured orange juice on the soil. But, alas, no oranges. Tomatoes, yes. But oranges, no. He felt like a failure.

The cellist empathized. She had expected a cello. She was somewhat correct. The package contained an accordion. She treated the accordion like a cello, setting the base on the floor and running her bow across the keys. Noise came forth, but no music. She was less than enthused.

As was the plumber. He expected a gift of wrenches and hammers, but he was given a brush and palette. Puzzled, he set out to repair a leaky pipe with his new tools. But brushes don't open valves, and a palette won't tighten joints. He painted the plumbing and grumbled.

The orange grower raised tomatoes, but he preferred oranges. The cellist made sounds, but not music. The plumber painted the pipe, but didn't fix it.

Each assumed the gift would be what they knew rather than what the giver gave.

Each year God gives millions of parents a gift, a brand new baby. They tend to expect oranges, cellos, and plumbing tools. Heaven tends to distribute tomatoes, accordions, and paint supplies. Moms and Dads face a decision. Make our children in our image? Or release our children to follow their God-given identities?

God prewired your infant. He scripted your toddlers strengths. He set your teen on a trajectory. God gave you an eighteen year research project. Ask yourself, your spouse, and your friends: what sets this child apart? Childhood tendencies forecast adult abilities. Attend carefully to the unique childhood of your child. Uncommon are the parents who attempt to learn--and blessed are their children.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Really, God? Homeschool?

That's right. I believe with all my heart that God is calling us to homeschool. We homeschooled Jordan for the beginning of Kindergarten, and I loved it. But we got some misinformation from the schoolboard and it freaked me out, so I put him in school the next day. Well, it has been in the back of my mind ever since. Things that have happened over the last two years have now become very clear to me. Is this crazy? Maybe. Could it possibly not be God that I am hearing, buy my own desire? Maybe. But, as Beth Moore says, if I'm going to err, let me err on the side of faith. I won't go into all the details here, because frankly, it would be a really long, boring story. But we are confident that this is what God is calling us to do. Would you pray for us as we begin to plan for this journey? We thought, at first, we would let them finish out the year where they are. But some things have happened over the last week or so that have changed our minds. So, after the holidays, I will be a homeschooler!!! I am very excited, but we have a lot to do to get ready.

On another note, my baby turned 8 today! Jordan Andrew Shirley was born eight years ago today and I simply cannot believe it. Those of you with babies at home who think this time will last forever, it doesn't. But it does get better and better.

Jordan, I love you so much. I am so incredibly proud of you and the young man you are becoming. You are bright, unbelievably smart, funny, sweet, a fantastic big brother. You love to read. You love to learn. You love sports and playing soccer. You love God and are beginning to understand what that means. I am praying for your journey to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. He loves you more than I could ever describe to you. I thank God for picking me to be your mommy!!! And yes, I will always call you my baby! Happy Birthday!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another sweet baby to pray for

Tonight, I went with my mother-in-law to the Farm Bureau Christmas dinner. One of the agents that was there has a baby girl named Larsen. I think she is four months old. The director asked that we pray for her because she needed a miracle. After the dinner, I went to the baby's father, Frank, and asked him how I could pray for his baby because no details were given. He said that all he could think of was that they need strength. Larsen has a rare genetic disorder that is causing her pulmonary arteries not to grow or function. The doctors have just recently told them that there really isn't anything more they can do for her. They have given her one, maybe two years (I tnink this is what he said) to live. Please pray for Frank, Tamara and baby Larsen. I can't imaging what they are going through. I don't know why God keeps leading me to these people, but I do know that I am responsible to pray for them. Maybe God knows I will not keep this prayer request to myself.

Blessed be your Name...

When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your Name.

You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be your name.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sweet Claire



First of all, Claire got bangs! She has been begging me for quite some time. I have always had bangs, and I have also always wanted to not have them. So, when I had Claire, I said that I would never let her have them. Then I realized how silly that was. She loves them! Today, after her telling me for the 1000th time she wanted bangs, I said, "Why do you want bangs so bad? Who has bangs that you like?" She looked at me with that classic Claire look and
said, "Duh. Y-O-U!" I melted.



Second, I don't know how well you can tell in this picture, but Claire has been going around the house and finding things to give as presents. She has wrapped them all in construction paper, and written "To (name) from Claire." Yesterday, as she was wrapping, she said, "Mom, know what my favorite part about Christmas is this year? Giving presents. Because giving is more important than getting." Took the words right out of my mouth, baby girl.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Blessed

I have been reminded again of how incredibly blessed my life is. Not from a financial standpoint, although I need nothing. I just have so many blessings that I can't even begin to list them all. I was thinking today about Christmas and how we aren't going to be able to provide everything our kids want. But then as I was putting all of our sheets back on our beds, I thought of all the children in the world who don't have beds. I thought of all the children who don't have toys as I was moving the kids toys off their beds to put their sheets back on. I started thinking about having food in my kitchen anytime I want something to eat. I have amazing friends, some of whom I have only met through this blog and others, who I count among my greatest blessings. I have an unbelievable family, on my side and Stephen's. My FOUR kids are all healthy, happy and beautiful. I could go on and on.

The reason for this post is not to brag about how great my life is. Lately, I have found myself in a very negative place about where we are in our life, and I have just been reminded that I have absolutely NO reason to complain. I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn't be more grateful.

Please pray for the Luce family tonight, as they welcomed their precious baby girl, Poppy Joy, into the world yesterday, three hours before she went to be with Jesus. Their website is www.poppyjoy.blogspot.com. Also, another famliy with the same situation (Trisomy 18) is welcoming their baby boy, Tristan, tomorrow morning. Please pray for them as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boy, oh boy

Man. When something hits me, it hits me hard. I have realized today, tonight specifically, how little self-control I have. I can't really explain in detail, but I think God is shouting at me that I cannot live this life on my own. If I truly want to belong to Him and live the life He has called me to, I have to give up my own way. I have to surrender everything to Him, even if it hurts for a while. And the yucky stuff I want gone anyway, well, that will just be an added bonus. Why is this so hard? Maybe one day I can explain more. One thing I do know is that self-control is something I must have to please God. It is something I must have to be able to witness to others. It is something I must have in order to live the life He has called me to live.

So, tomorrow, this is my quest.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Question...

Do you draw a line between your physical health/fitness and being a Christian? I mean, not that anyone who is overweight and/or in poor health isn't a good Christian. I am just wondering if the two are related in some way. I have been searching today for some scripture that would help clear this question up, but I can't really find anything. Maybe that means they aren't really related. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Updates

First things first: Campbell is 6 months old! She had her checkup yesterday. She weighed 15 lbs 6 0z and was a little over 25 inches long. She is doing well. She has been running a little fever, so she couldn't get her shots. I have to take her back tomorrow for that. Overall, though, she is perfect. I couldn't ask for a sweeter baby.

As far as our neighborhood goes, there was another shooting Wednesday night at the same house. But, it is all drug/gang related. So if you aren't in a gang or involved in drugs, you are pretty safe. We are taking the necessary precautions like playing at other parks, not being outside too late, and making sure our kids know all the safety rules. But honestly, God has given me a sense of safety and security lately that I haven't felt here before, and we have lived here for almost 4 years.

Thanksgiving is going to be crazy. We have always gone to my paternal grandmother's for lunch and my maternal grandmother's for dinner. We are doing neither this year. Lunch will be at my dad's sister's house, and dinner just isn't happening. My grandmother lost her best friend this week and she just isn't feeling up to it. We have other family issues going on on the other side of the family, which is why we are going to my aunt's house. It will actually work better because she has more room. It will just be weird not being where we always are. I know, though, that the important thing is that we will all be together and it doesn't matter where we are. That is what I am focusing on.

Tomorrow, the kids and I are making goody bags for the boys at Cedar Grove Boys' Home. This is a place that my church works with. Every year at Thanksgiving, Stephen's family is in charge of their lunch and whoever is available goes and has T'giving with the boys at the home. Since we can't do the lunch, we are making the bags so the kids will feel a part of that tradition. The kids will make cards to attach to the bags to encourage the residents, so I hope my kids will understand who they are helping. I am going to talk to them about it tonight.

Well, that is about all that is going on with us. I will post some pictures later. Hope everyone has a good day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are we safe?

A shooting took place in our neighborhood yesterday. It was on the street that runs paralell to ours. We were outside and heard the whole thing. It happened at 3:30 in the afternoon. The getaway car was parked on the street that connects our street to the street it happened on. I heard the shots, I heard the sirens, and I heard the getaway car screech away. I also found out last week that the park on the same street where the shooting happened that we go to alot is gang territory. At what point do you decide the risk of staying somewhere it too dangerous? Are we safe? We know most of our neighbors right around us, but do we worry anyway? We really can't afford to move, but should we find a way to move anyway to keep our family safe? Or is our family safe where we are and we just need to trust God to keep us safe? These are the things that I am thinking today. This, and the thought that if I had been walking to the park, as we always do, I would have walked right past the getaway car and probably would have seen the shooters. Scary.

Friday, November 09, 2007

New insight

I usually use the New International Version of the Bible. My son, Jordan, has the New Living Translation. It was in the car so I read some of my favorite passages while I was waiting in the pick-up line at school. I have been looking for a verse to claim to help me with the changes I am trying to make in my life, breaking old habits, etc. I had read this verse in my Bible, but it spoke to me today. It is Rom. 8:11-12. "The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do." The part in italics is what jumped out at me. Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Suggestions, please...

I am trying to change the way I eat. I don't want to call it a diet, because I don't see it as something temporary. I see it as a life change, for me and my family. My question is this: does anyone have suggestions for eating healthy on a budget? Healthy foods are so much more expensive. We are on the tightest budget ever and I am having a hard time here. Also, my trainer wants me to eat 5 small meals a day. I don't know if I can afford to buy enough food to eat that much. Also, I don't want to eat if I'm not hungry just to fit the meals in, but that's another post. So, any suggestions you could offer would be great! Thanks.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

5 months and a thought...



Campbell is actually 5 1/2 months now, but anyway, I have been seeing blogs where people put a picture of their babies for each month on their first birthday. I don't think I have one for month three, but I have the rest. So, I hope to do this on her first birthday. Anyway, here are her pictures for month 5. (The ones for today at least ;)




The words from a song spoke to me today. They kind of described where my thoughts are today. I challenge all of us to look at how we are spending our time.



"Sometimes I feel disappointed, by the way I spend my time, How can I further your kingdom, when I'm so wrapped up in mine?" This is from "In the Blink of an Eye" by Casting Crowns I think. I have been thinking a lot about making my life what it is supposed to be. Making sure I am the mom God wants me to be to his babies, making sure I am the wife I am supposed to be, the friend, daughter, etc. So when I heard this, it was exactly what I needed to hear. My life is not about me. God put me here to serve and love Him and point others to Him. That's it. Nothing more. Just something I need to remember.

Monday, November 05, 2007

FYI: If you smell nail polish...

and have a two year old, go find him! Sorry some of the pictures are blurry, I couldn't get him to stand still. Shocking.






Saturday, November 03, 2007

Another song...

I don't know how many of you are touched by songs. I honestly don't know if I could live without music. Any kind. I heard a song today on the radio that I have heard several times before, and I have even sung along with it. But today I actually stopped and paid attention to the words. It is exactly what I have been trying to say about how I feel about Jesus right now. I don't know if I can adequately explain...I guess I can't because I can't even find words to finish this sentence. Anyway, here are the lyrics. Again, I don't know how to put a song on here, so if you can, go find it and listen to it. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Everything to Me by Avalon
I grew up in sunday school
I memorized the Golden rule
And how Jesus came to set the sinner free
I know the story inside out
I can tell you all about
The path that led Him up to Calvary
But ask me why He loves me
And I don't know what to say
But i'll never be the same
Because he changed my life when He became...

Everything to me
He's more than a story
more than words on a page of history
He's the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
He's everything, everything to me

We're living in uncertain times
And more and more I find that i'm aware
Of just how fragile life can be
I want to tell the world I found
A love that turned my life around
They need to know that they can taste and see
Now everyday I'm praying
Just to give my heart away
I want live for Jesus
So that someone else might see that he is...

Everything to me
He's more than a story
more than words on a page of history
He's the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
He's everything
And looking back over my life at the end
I'll go to meet you saying you've been...

You're everything to me
You're more than a story
More than words on a page of history
You're everything to me
You're more than a story
More than words on a page of history
You're the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
You're everything to meLord, you're everything to me

Friday, November 02, 2007

What am I doing here?

OK. I know a lot of people from my church are going to read this, so let me start out by saying that I love my church. I love the people there, and I especially love the dear friends I have made there. That having been said...

I am really struggling with my church right now. Let me explain just one example. I feel like we are focusing on the wrong things. I feel like we are focusing too much on being "perfect" and too little on reaching out to the lost. We are focusing too much on how our church building looks, making sure it is beautiful, but not enough on bringing people to our building who couldn't care less what it looks like. To me, Halloween is a perfect opportunity to reach out to our community. Why not throw a huge party and open your doors and offer the community a safe, positive place to spend Halloween? I am just not sure I understand. We couldn't even have Trunk-or-Treat in the parking lot. I just think it is ridiculous. My friend Brandon had a great post on this and there were some great comments made. (His blog is http://www.brandonscottthomas.blogspot.com/.) One of the commenters said that he didn't want to be that guy in the neighborhood with the porch light off who doesn't hand out candy to the neighbors. He was saying that he didn't understand how we are supposed to be the light of Jesus to the world if we seclude ourselves from it.

I get that we are supposed to be what Jesus wants. We are supposed to strive to be like Him in everything we do. But I don't think Jesus thought parking lots were sacred. And I don't think He would have shut himself in his house and turned the porch light off on Halloween night. I think He would have had the little dressed up children on his knees telling them how great their costumes looked. I think he would have reached out with a smile on his face and love would have radiated from him. Why can't we do this? I just don't understand. I know that I am at this church for a reason; I am just not sure what that reason is, yet.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My little spooks






Here are some pictures from today. You would think by now I would know how to do this better, but I don't. Anyway, enjoy!


Friday, October 26, 2007

My clowns


Jordan and Claire got these glasses at school today. Right before I snapped the picture, Claire went, "HONK!" I could hardly take the picture from laughing so hard. Hope everyone has a great weekend!


Verse from the shower

God gave me a verse in the shower today. I know, weird. We are in the middle of a financial crunch. If most people saw our budget, the would say, "And why aren't you working?" But I feel like God has called me to be at home. I have look at working on paper, but the numbers don't work. After paying a babysitter/daycare for two kids, one being an infant, I wouldn't be bringing any money home. So for now, home is where God has me. Anyway, I have been thinking a lot the last couple of days about excess. Even in our struggle, we still have more than most of the world. I have a three bedroom house, with a bathroom, with clean water, with a computer, with two TVs, we have clothes, and food...I could go on and on and on. So with all of this, why do I feel like I should have more? Is it because most of my friends have more? Is it because our culture tells me I shouldn't be content with what we have? Is it because I love cokes from Sonic, so I feel like I should have one at least every other day? Seriously, it adds up.



OK. I am rambling. I guess what I want to say is that my heart's desire today is to be content. The verse God gave me is 1 Tim. 6:8. "But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." This is what I want. Contentment. God is enough. He is all I need.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bragging rights

I just wanted to take a minute to brag on my kiddos. It is raining here, like it has been for two days now, and I desperately needed to go to the grocery store. I had put it off as long as I could. I was going to go before Jordan and Claire got out of school, so I would just have the younger two, but Luke fell asleep on the way there. O well. So I went after I picked them up. I was dreading it since it was raining. Taking 4 kids to the store by yourself is hard enough without it raining. But they were soooo good. I told them before we went in not to ask for anything. And I really wanted to get them a treat for being so good, but I had been talking the whole time about not spending extra money and buying the cheaper items. So I didn't. Anyway, then when we got home, they helped me put all the groceries away and they actually enjoyed it! I guess I have great kids after all!! I love being a mom.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sacred

I actually copied this from a blog I read today. The song is by Caedmon's Call. I have actually never heard the song, but I love the group, so I bet the song is pretty good. The words really spoke to me today, especially since this has been a really tiring one. Campbell isn't feeling well, teething I think, and Luke has been, well, Luke. So anyway, I have always known, since I have been a mom, that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I love that God chose me to be the mom of my kids, and I would never dream of being anywhere else. Thank you, Stephen, for working so hard to let me stay at home with our babies. You have made my dreams come true and I love you.

Sacred
this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime
I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again
could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes
the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind
my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing
when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden
wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine
rise and shine cause
everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bring the Rain

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of
the clouds that may loom above
because you are much greater than my pain
you who made a way for me
suffering your destiny
so tell me whats a little rain

I can't tell you how much this song has spoken to me over the last couple of days. I wish I knew how to download it on here so I could share it with you. This really describes my walk with the Lord. I have gone through stuff in my life and people have actually said, "I just don't know how you can go through this with a smile on your face." And I just don't get it. Could my circumstances really change my dependence on the Lord? Could they really change who I am in Christ? No. Nothing can change who He has made me. Nothing in my past makes me that person anymore. I am changed, forgiven. So why in the world would I want to turn my back on Him when I go through rainy times? The fact that people atcually do this is unfathomable to me. It really has never crossed my mind to turn my back on Him. He is what gets me through rainy times. Yes, I have doubted before. But I have taken those doubts to God and He has reaffirmed my faith everytime.

I don't know why God wants to have a relationship with me. I am flawed, broken, imperfect. But that is what makes me useable. God doesn't use perfect people, THANK THE LORD!! Because none of us is perfect. I am humbled beyond words that God loves me and wants to use me to further His kingdom. I don't understand it, but I wouldn't want to serve a God that I could understand. I am thankful He is bigger than my pain. I am thankful He is big enough to handle my problems, my questions, my doubts, and love me anyway. I am thankful that He has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. Like I said, I don't understand it, but I am thankful. Grateful. Humbled. Blessed. When you are going through something you have a choice to make: to run to Him or away from Him. Please run to Him.

So, if my problems are what it takes to praise Him and bring Him glory, bring the rain.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thoughts...

I have many thoughts running through my head tonight. But the main one is this:

I am craving simplicity. Right now, with money tight, I still find myself with too much. Too much stuff. I am overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I have in my house. And I am overwhelmed with the fact that I have a house at all. I think about Dowensky, a little boy in Haiti, waiting to come home to his family. I think about how little he has. I think about sweet Ashley Adams who is in the hospital fighting for her life at age 2. I think about the things I complain about and it makes me sick to my stomach. Why can't I get it together!?! I think about my kids and their constant begging for more, and I wonder, "What am I teaching them?" Right now, I see that I have taught them the importance of things. The importance of toys. The importance of restaurants. The importance of going places. I want so badly to just be still. I want so badly to clean out my house so that I can keep it straight and clean, peaceful, for my family. But I find myself struggling to know where to begin. What do I do with my stuff once I clean it out? Why would anyone else want to deal with my junk when I don't even want to deal with it?

I don't know where all this is going, but I know God is teaching me something. I feel him working in me. This morning in class, Bobby shared this thought with us and it really hit me. He was talking about how we go through things. Like our financial situation, for instance. He was saying that sometimes, if we don't give our situation over to God, he will take it to get our attention. He will take it to teach us. Sometimes I feel like God is saying to me, "I really wanted to bless you with this, but you wouldn't just give it over to me. I had so much more in store for you." He used the illustration of disciplining our kids. "I really would have rather spent the day at the zoo with you, but because you wouldn't obey me, now you have to spend the day in your room." I don't know if this makes any sense to you, but it really did with me. I don't think I conveyed it very well, though. Sorry.

I will write more on this later, but for now, Campbell calls...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bedtime Battles

OK. Here it is. When Campbell was born, she was in a crib in our room. We didn't want too much to change for Luke when she came home, and we didn't feel like he was ready for his "big-boy bed" just yet. So we left his nursery just like it had always been. Then, about two months ago, we moved Jordan and Luke into the same room with bunk beds and Claire and Campbell in the same room. We also decided it was time to get rid of Luke's pacifier. Huge mistake. Doing it all at once was not a good idea. So, we gave the paci back. We told him that if he stayed in his bed, he could have it. He is able to climb in and out of his bed; obviously he sleeps on the bottom bunk. Anyway, he gets up and comes out all the time. So, we have just been letting him fall asleep in the living room because Jordan has to get to bed for school.

My point is this: now the paci trick doesn't work. He still won't stay in his bed. I have stood beside the door and watched for his feet to hit the floor so I can stop him then. I have tried the paci trick. I just don't know what to do anymore. But it is really bothering me because bedtime for the kids means date time for Stephen and me. That time we had to talk, watch TV and just be together by ourselves is gone and I really miss it. Should we put a crib back up until he is more ready? Should we just keep working with him to sleep in his big bed? I know in the whole scheme of things, this isn't that big of a problem. But for right now, to me, it feels like a huge problem. Help!!!

Addictions...

I will be dealing with my two addictions today: Carbonated beverages and the internet.

I love coke/diet coke. I tried to quit drinking coke and switched to diet coke, but I really just like "fizzy drinks." I know they are bad for me. I haven't had one in two days. I am going to my friend's house this morning and she always offers me one, but today I will have to say no. It will be hard.

The other thing I have to be careful of is my time surfing the web. Or I guess I should say surfing blogs. I love to read about other people's lives. Especially other moms. But I lose track of the time when I am on here. I could spend hours, literally. So, today, once I go to my friend's house, I am going to try not to turn it back on. My kids only have three more days out of school, and I really need to play with them. I want to play with them. They are showing signs of craving family time/attention. So, that is my plan. I will probably check e-mail because I am waiting on confirmation for my plans for tomorrow, but other than that...

I hope everyone has a great day. The forecast is "Sunny with a high of 75". If you don't know the song, that didn't make sense. See ya!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Starting a new book...

I am getting ready to start Shepherding a Child's Heart. A friend gave it to me and I started reading it, and then I had Campbell ;) Not much reading has happened since then. Anyway, in light of these changes I need to make that keep coming back to me, I thought I would read this book now.

My kids are great. And for the most part, they are really well-behaved. But I have talked before about only teaching them the outward behaviors and not getting to their hearts. Well, I feel like they aren't getting it because I have to keep teaching the same things over and over again. I don't feel like I am getting to the heart. I want them to do the right things because they want to, not because they are afraid of being punished.

So, tonight, I will begin this journey yet again. Maybe this time, I won't just talk about it but actually do something about it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

It really is magic!

My friend Tamara gave me a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser last night. I have been seeing them forever on TV but just never thought they would work because most things on TV don't. Anyway, I tried it in two places that have been driving me crazy because I couldn't get anything to work on them. One of them was my front door. It is white and metal, and I had tried everything to get scuffs and fingerprints off of it. Yes, the magic eraser took the marks right off without any scrubbing. The other place was beside my dishwasher on the wall. I used to have one of those dry erase boards with the magnet on the back on my dishwasher so Luke could draw there. Well, he drew on the red wall with a black dry erase marker. I couldn't get it off with anything, and the eraser worked there, too! It took a little more scrubbing than the front door, but hey, it worked!! At first I was worried because when I looked at the eraser, it had red on it and I thought, "Great. It is taking the paint off!!!" But it didn't. Not that you can see anyway. I am thrilled!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New pics

Stephen and Jordan playing a racing game at MTSU tailgating

Jordan, Claire, Luke
My sweet little thumb-sucker
I don't even have any words for this one-sweet Campbell Anne
First year playing soccer
More tailgating
Luke at the fire station for a playgroup field trip

This is the only picture I had of me and, honestly, I am only posting it because I thought I looked skinny;)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Before and After




Floor before













another view














After

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Changes

Obviously, I have changed the template for my blog. I was bored with the other one. And since I am not computer savvy, this is the only thing I knew how to do to update my look ;)

Changes are happening in my life. Most of them are too small for anyone but me to notice. But that is a good thing. They are personal and honestly, they are about me becoming more like Him. I feel like if I said what I was working on, it would be about me and what I can do, instead of being about Him and what He is doing through me. I want it to be just about Him. I don't know if that even makes any sense. O well.

We are having a good fall break. Today Jordan got to spend the whole day with our nephew, Tristan. They have had a ball. Tristan is spending the night with us tonight. Claire is feeling a little left out, being the only girl. Well, at least until Campbell can play. Right now, to Claire, Campbell is not a very fun sister. Right now, Claire is standing beside me telling me that she doesn't want to sleep in her room because in the mornings, Campbell makes noises and doesn't let her sleep. Sorry, girlie! I guess she better get used to it because we aren't moving any time soon. And for Luke, well Luke is two. All of two. He is so cute, I could just eat him up. But every once in a while, he gets a mean streak in him. Tonight, I heard Jordan saying, "Stop Luke! STOP LUKE!" I went upstairs and Jordan was lying in the floor and Luke was standing behind him kicking him in the head. Why? Who knows.

I am getting a new kitchen and bathroom floor tomorrow!!! I am so excited. We rent our house from my mother-in-law, and she graciously agreed to get us new floors since ours were in such bad shape. Not to mention u-g-l-y! Anyway, I love the one we picked out. It reminds me of the floor that used to be in my grandmother's kitchen.

Well, I think that is enough rambling for tonight. I am trying to get my thougts more organized and purposeful for this blog, but for now this will have to do. I hope everyone has a blessed night!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More fun...

I jumped on the trampoline at my in-laws with the kids today. TWICE!

How true!

I copied this from another blog. This so accurately explains why I don't take my four to the grocery store! It is kind of long, but worth the read in my opinion. Enjoy.

Hilarious e-Bay Listing by Busy Mom
Not sure how long e-Bay will leave this out there, but here is the listing of Pokemon cards we were laughing about last night! :)
Her is her item description:
I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.
You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, ‘Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,’ that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture“.
“The Lecture“ goes like this…
MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.”
OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.
Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.
At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours?” I answer good naturedly, “Yep!
“Oh my, you have your hands full.”
“Yes, I do, but it‘s fun!” I say smiling. I’ve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.
We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”
I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”
“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.”
With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.
A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”
Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”
OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.
“Can we get donuts?”
“No.”
“Can we get cupcakes?”
“No.”
“Can we get muffins?”
“No.”
“Can we get pie?”
“No.”
You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.
In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) Of course, there’s no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.
In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six yours?”
I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.”
(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)
Ok, after the meat department, my kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh “child”, also known as my husband. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.
As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I’m amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say “influenza”?
The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.
Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy?” What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.
As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because it’s so much more fun that way.”
So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't there's anything special about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.
Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment. I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

I did it! Part 2

My friend Tamara said I should share this. After I went down the slide with Jordan, he said, "Wow Mom! That was like a thrill ride with you going down!!" So sweet.

I did it!

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a "fun" person. I hate taking risks; I am not adventurous at all. I am a sit around and just hang out kind of person. I don't know how to play. And I hate that about myself. I am terrible at playing with my kids. I don't get down in the floor and play dolls with Claire. I don't know how to pretend. We watched a lot of TV when I was growing up. And that is what my kids do now. I don't like it, that's just what has become. Anyway, in light of what God has been teaching me the last few weeks about enjoying my kids and this life He has given me, last night I did something that surprised me.

We were at small group and the family that was hosting had rented on of those huge inflatable slides for their son's birthday. Everyone, including all the adults, had gone down the slide. My kids were having a blast, and they really didn't notice that I hadn't done it. Or so I thought. Well, I took off my tennis shoes, and I headed for the slide. I wish you could have seen the look on my kids' faces when they saw me getting in. They were THRILLED!!! I went down with Jordan on one side and Claire on the other. Twice! It was so much fun. I have to admit, it was extremely hard "letting my hair down," but it was worth every minute of it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Making do

WARNING: VENTING AHEAD

Well, I am struggling. There is a line between being thankful for every little thing I have and still struggling for the situation I find myself in. In light of my last few postings about Copeland Farley, this post will seem trivial. But eventhough I am trying to be grateful, and I have changed, my life is still my life. This is where the struggle comes in.

Because of our current financial situation, Stephen has to ref soccer to make extra money. This isn't something he has a choice about, but something he is doing to keep me from having to work, which I am so thankful for. But this means that he isn't home a lot. He was gone before we got up this morning, on a Saturday. And he won't be able to go to church with us tomorrow. Do you know how hard it is to take four kids to church by yourself? I do it, because I know it is important. But by the time we get home, I am so tired and that just makes me grouchy towards the kids, kind of like I am this morning. I am glad Jordan and Claire are playing soccer; I really am. But most of their games this season are at the same time, so I spend my time running back in forth between fields. Doesn't sound so hard, right? Try doing it with a 2 yr old who doesn't like to walk, or stay off the fields, and a baby and a stroller and a camp chair. Tired yet?

I love my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Satan is using this time, though, to make me complain. To make me wish I was somewhere else. He is making me mad at Stephen because, eventhough the reffing is work, he enjoys it. So he is getting to do stuff he likes to do and I'm not. Do you see why I am so frustrated? Not that Stephen is getting to do things he enjoys, but that Satan has me mad at him for it. I know Stephen would rather be home playing with the kids. He HATES having to be gone so much. But he is doing all of this for me and our family.

Well, my venting is over for now. At least until I have to get all the kids ready and in the car to get to the fields an hour early for pictures. Life goes on, and eventhough I struggle, I do know how blessed I am.

Remember the Farley's today at 1:00; they are having a memorial service for their baby girl.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm so proud.



Just in cast you were wondering what it was like to work at State Farm...


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Copeland Fair Farley

The Farleys lost their precious baby girl tonight. I can't imagine what they are going through. Please lift them in prayer tonight and for the next few days. I don't think I will ever stop praying for them. Thank you.

www.conorbootheandgirls.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My cup runneth over...*update on Bennett below*

First of all, let me update you on a couple of sweet babies. Please pray for Bennett tomorrow; the plan is to extubate him sometime tomorrow. It is so amazing to think that he is over a month old and his parents, Travis and Kelly, haven't heard that first cry yet. Pray for him to have a restful night so that they may hear that sweet cry they have been waiting for. Also, Copeland Farley is still here and doing well. I continue to be amazed at that family. Everytime I go to check their blog, I think that it couldn't get anymore amazing, but God is working in that family. Tonight we are praying that she stays pink and has a restful night. Simply amazing.

As for me, I feel God working in my life like never before. I can't believe that he is using a tiny, 4 pound baby named Copeland, whom I have never met, to change me. But then again, I can believe it because my kids are everything to me. And I know God wanted me to see how blessed that family is with Copeland; why shouldn't I act blessed with my kids? Why shouldn't I treat them like the greatest blessings in the world? Thank you, Boothe and Conor Farley, for sharing your sweet family with me. I will be forever changed and grateful. I know that whatever comes my way, I am blessed. God is good. So very good.

UPDATE: Bennett had other thoughts in mind when he wanted to be extubated. Last night during the shift change, Bennett yanked his tube out and the nurses found it on the floor. He is now on CPAP, the next step towards coming off assistance all together and doing great! Apparently, CPAP is annoying to the babies, so he is agitated, but they are thrilled to be here at this point. It was kind of like God letting Bennett do the honors of removing his own tube!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I hear you, God.

"I am so thankful that God's grace is stronger than my faith." This is a quote from Amy Wilhoite, a woman who was my age when she died last week from a long bout with leukemia. I continue to find blogs/websites of people who are going through extreme crises, only to be incredibly strong. And joyful! It just blows me away. I did remark to Stephen yesterday that if anyone questions whether or not God is real, they need to read the blogs I have been reading lately. There is no way these people could endure such hardships if their faith wasn't being reassured by God himself.

I feel God pursuing me. I am listening because I desperately want to know what He is saying to me. But on my bad days, on the days where I am just tired, on the days where I struggle, I am so thankful that God's grace is stronger than my faith. I am thankful that I don't have to be perfect for Him to want a relationship with me. I am thankful that He wants me just where I am. I love Him so much.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hate money.

Although I wish I had more of it. We are in the midst of a financial struggle right now. Some of our own doing, some not. Please pray that we get it together and use some self-discipline. Pray that we let the Holy Spirit guide us as we look to get out of this mess. Also, please pray that we can do it without me going to work. I can't imagine leaving my babies everyday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I just wanted to take a minute and ask you to pray for the Farley family today. They are one of the sites I listed in my last post, and they live in Franklin, TN. They are having their baby girl, Copeland, today. She has trisomy18. They have been on my mind all day. I don't know them, but the life of this precious baby, and her parents, has changed me forever.

www.conorbootheandgirls.blogspot.com

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blown away...(added another site to pray for)

For some reason, I have found all of these blogs of people who are grieving. Some in different ways, but still grieving all the same. Mostly from losing their babies/children. My heart has been so heavy for these families, and I have been praying for them. But my heart is also been filled. I have realized that everyday is a gift. I don't know why God chose me to be Jordan, Claire, Luke and Campbell's mom. I don't know why I never had trouble getting pregnant or have never had any miscarriages. Several of my friends have and it just kills me. I don't know why all of my kids, eventhough they were ALL born at least 4 weeks early, had no problems. Claire had to stay in the NICU for a few weeks, but she was healthy just the same.

I have been humbled beyond words by the things God is allowing me to see. I am so grateful to Him for the gift of my family. But now, more importantly, I am grateful that He is teaching me to enjoy each minute. He is teaching me to discipline with His heart and guidance. He is teaching me about the special gifts that each of my children has. So, for those of you who are getting ready to experience great pain and grief, and those of you who have in the past, know that I pray for you and know that your strength amazes me everyday. I know I am blessed and I don't take it for granted.

Please pray for these (and the others I couldn't find again). These families have touched me and changed me.
http://www.conorbootheandgirls.blogspot.com/
http://www.poppyjoy.blogspot.com/
http://www.logansrace.com/
www.totsites.com/tot/bennettmitchell
www.caringbridge.org/visit/millergracecassetty

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hey Stephen, ha ha.


Looks like I had camera batteries after all!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My, oh my

I was sitting here trying to read blogs, and I have a million things going through my head. So, I thought I would get them down. This will probably be incoherent to anyone but me, but read on anyway if you wish.

1. Bennett Speck is doing so good! He got his chest tubes out today, so they are one step closer to holding him. You can go to his site for the latest. www.totsites.com/tot/bennettmitchell. Please keep them in your prayers.

2. Campbell is done nursing and it has made me sadder than I thought it would. But I just wasn't being a good mom to the rest of the kids because I was so tired. So, this is the decision I have made. I am feeling guilty and depressed, but I know a lot of that is the hormones talking. I am proud of myself for sticking it out for almost four months.

3. My stress level is having a very negative effect on my oldest, Jordan. His behavior is really trying my patience. The thing is, he is perfect at school. His teacher wrote on his homework the other day, "You are my shining star!" But when he gets home, I feel like all I do is discipline him. It is very tiring. He has so many great gifts, but I am having trouble focusing on those at the moment.

4. I love my family so much it hurts. When I look at my kids and my husband and realize how unbelievably blessed I am, I just ache. My heart couldn't be more full.

5. I miss God. I feel Him right now, but I miss the Bible study time I am used to. I want to lead another one, but I don't know where I would find the time. I don't have a very good prayer life. But, I have found that I can pray a lot during the day without even knowing it. And I have been doing that a lot lately, which is why I have been feeling God walking me through each day.

I have a lot more that I could share, but I need to go and hold Luke before he goes to sleep. He is watching Dora and Campbell is asleep on Stephen, who is also asleep. If my camera batteries weren't dead, I'd take a picture. It is pretty sweet. It reminds me of that quote, "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Couple of updates

First of all, Baby Bennett experienced a miracle today! Go to his website to read the journal entries from today; www.totsites.com/tot/bennettmitchell. Keep praying for this sweet baby and his parents; I have been amazed and forever touched by their strength and faith.

Also, our family friend Bobby Coss, only had 7 bypasses, not 12. Sounds funny to say only 7, but it turns out I just misunderstood my mom on the phone. Continue to pray for him as well.

I have about a million thoughts running through my head about my life. Hopefully one of these days I will have time to blog about them.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Praise the Lord!

The latest journal entry on Baby Bennett was good. For those of you wondering if prayer really makes a difference, go to www.totsites.com/tot/bennettmitchell and read the latest journal entry. Keep praying for his heart and lungs. This morning as I was nursing Campbell, I just couldn't get Bennett off my mind. Everytime I hear of a baby, child, or anyone really who is so sick and having so many problems, it makes me want to fall on my face in gratitude for the blessing of my healthy children. They were all born early and could've potentially had so many problems. I don't know why I, of all people, have been so blessed. It is certainly nothing I deserve. Remember Bennett today, and also our family friend Robert Coss.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Continued prayers

I am posting the latest journal entry for Bennett Speck below. Please pray for him tonight. Also, a close family friend, Robert Coss, had bypass surgery today after suffering a heart attack. He had 12 arteries that were blocked 95%. The surgery was successful, but he has a long road of recovery ahead of him.

September 6th - Day Eighteen, 6:30pmposted on 09/06/2007
Family and friends, I know we've said this before, but now is the most crucial "hour" for our precious boy. The next several hours and throughout the night will determine many things.
We just met with the wonderful team of doctors again. His lungs have responded better than they thought they would to being temporarily taken off ECMO. The lungs haven't responded anywhere near perfect of course, for they are still too weak. But the lungs did respond, so the decision has just been made to remove Bennett permanently from ECMO. There were a few other reasons why they wanted to take him off ECMO, including the fact that the machine had a major clot in it, but the main ones are because his lungs are functioning a little better now and to reduce his bleeding. Once he is off ECMO, he cannot return. This will significantly reduce and/or eliminate his bleeding, but it will also significantly reduce the assistance he was receiving. It's now entirely up to his lungs and heart.
So, can you see where we need prayers right now? Two main organs: his lungs and his heart. They now have to carry the burden of sustaining him, so please pray for the strength of his lungs and his heart. His heart is also of major concern because it now has to start acting like, well, a heart. But his heart has been hibernating over two weeks, so there is significant concern about how his heart will respond to the "shock" of having to work again. They will be giving his heart several drugs and steroids soon to try to kick it in gear.
The surgery option right now is still just an option. If his lungs continue to expand and strengthen, then surgery may not be needed. This would be ideal. But even if surgery is performed, the risks are much lower now because the heparin and excessive bleeding should no longer be issues. As you can imagine, so much is happening right now, and it's happening very quickly. Essentially what it boils down to is the healthy functioning of the lungs and the heart.
Before the doctors re-entered the NICU to head over to Bennett, we told them that we and several hundred people around the country are praying for them and for Bennett. They thanked us for that, and reminded us that faith is essential during times like this because their expertise can only go so far. Your prayers are sustaining us, the incredible medical staff here, and our precious son, and we ask that you once again join us in prayers for the doctors and for Bennett's lungs and heart. His has fought like a warrior, but his strength will be tested now more than ever.
We will most likely be here for the majority of the night, and as more updates become available we will let you know. As always, thank you for all your love and support.
Love,
Travis, Kelly, and Bennett

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bennett Mitchell Speck

Some friends of ours we used to go to church with have a new nephew that is in the hospital. The journal entry for today listed some new problems he is having and I want as many people as possible lifting him in prayer. The NICU is a scary place sometimes. And Claire wasn't even really sick when she was there. I just can't imagine what they are going through right now. Please pray for Travis, Kelly, and Bennett. Thank you.
www.totsites.com/tot/bennettmitchell

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day 07




Here are a few pics from our weekend. I was way busier than I thought I'd be so I didn't get many pictures. We had a great time, though. The kids had a blast! We went to the aquarium in Chattanooga on Saturday. Luke made it through the first half and slept through the second. We played at the campground the rest of the time. We rode paddle boats, fed horses, played in the dance hall, ate a lot, just had a great time. Thanks Grandma and Papa!




Friday, August 31, 2007

Has it really been that long?

Today is our 11 year anniversary. 11 YEARS!!!! I can't believe it. Time flies when you are having fun, I guess. Stephen and I are going out of town in separate directions this weekend. I'm not excited about that, but that's what happens sometimes. He is doing a soccer tournament outside Atlanta and I am going with my dad and that side of the family to Rossville, GA. My grandparents rented a big cabin for all of us to stay in. It should be really fun! The kids are so excited to get to play with their cousins that live in Alabama. I can't wait.

Anyway, Stephen I love you so much. I can't believe I've been so lucky to have found you. I am getting to do what I have always wanted because of you. We have an amazing family that I get to spend every day with. You support me in every way, encourage me in every way, and love me in every way and there are no words for me to thank you for the last 11 years. I love you more than words can describe ;). Happy Anniversary!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Please pray...

I have some friends who are suffering a miscarriage today. Please pray for them. Thank you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Keep on keepin' on

Well, I had a carbonated beverage last night. My first since last Tuesday. I have to say it was sooooo good. It was raspberry flavored diet rite, so it had no caffeine or sugar. I am not going to let that stop me, though. My sister-in-law and I said we weren't going to have carbonation anymore. She is better to sticking to things than I am. But I am going to cut WAY back. Maybe one a week. I really don't see any difference in the way I feel, but I know they are bad for me. So I am just going to significantly limit how many I have. Well, I feel better getting that off my chest. I know you all care ;)

Luke and I (and Campbell) are going to a friend's house to play this morning. I hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I've been tagged again.

8 things you might not know about me.

1. I thrive on relationships. I love talking/sharing with just about anybody.
2. I LOVE being a mom. I feel like God created me to do exactly what I am doing right now.
3. I have a tendency to yell. I hate that about myself. No one deserves to be yelled at. It is so unproductive. I'm working on it.
4. I love Sonic cokes. But I haven't had one today since I am giving them up. Now I love Sonic sweet tea. HA!
5. I secretly wish I was an athlete. I have to make myself exercise. I enjoy the way I feel afterwards, but I hate actually doing it.
6. I love college football. Go Blue Raiders! (and go Vols!!. Good thing my in-laws don't read my blog. I still have a little orange blood left in me!)
7. I now know the meaning of "You'll definitely know when you are done having kids!" I am DONE!!
8. When I was little, I would stand on my grandparents hearth and pretend I was a song leader like my dad. Now, I am on the praise team for ConnectMTSU (our college worship service) at church. Weird.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I can do this.

No more coke/diet coke. Walk on the treadmill everyday. I can do this. Focus. I have to do this.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

HELP!!!

When Stephen and I first got married, I worked at a credit union as a teller. I loved it. I was always good in math and I love working with numbers. People would come in from time to time for us to help balance their checkbook. I have always prided myself on being able to balance a checkbook to the penny. I can usually find errors with no problems. It thrills me when I am able to find something and see the balances match up. Weird, I know.

I went to Sonic the other day and went to use the check card. It was declined. WHAT?!? I went home and got on the online banking program. I couldn't tell what was coming out the next day, so I had to wait until today when everything cleared. I have gone back through two checkbook registers and found a couple of errors. I now have our checkbook balanced within $3.91 and it is driving me CRAZY that I can't find any other errors.

I think I may need therapy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New pics-3 mos

My cousin Stephanie made this dress. It is so beautiful!












Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fever's gone!

Well, Luke hasn't run a fever since Thursday night, so it looks like we are out of the woods. At least we are out of the contagious stage. His mouth still looks pretty bad, but the sores are going away. You can certainly tell he feels better. Thanks to everyone for checking on him.

In other news, we had family night last night. We went to rent a movie for the kids and then Jordan wanted to treat us to ice cream. So, we went to Sonic after the video store, but we decided that it was too hot to eat ice cream outside. The kids eat pretty slow, especially Luke, so we knew it would melt and be a huge mess. Then we thought about getting cones at McDonald's. So we drove to the one closest to our house. We unloaded the kids and got everyone inside only to find out their ice cream machine was broken. We loaded everyone back up and went to the next closest McD's and finally got our cones. It actually ended up being pretty fun.

Next Friday night we are having another family night because High School Musical 2 premiers! Claire is soooo excited. I am sure we will see lots of singing and dancing from her. She LOVES that movie! Sometimes she will put on the soundtrack and sing and do the dances to the whole thing. It is quite funny. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I give up.

Well, Luke was okay all day yesterday. He had a low-grade fever so I assumed we were coming out of the woods. But last night, it went back up to 102. So far today, he doesn't have a fever at all, but I still don't want to get him around other kids. So, my friend Malia is coming to get Jordan and Claire and take them to playgroup with her kids since they are out of school today. I am really bummed because I was looking forward to going. When will this end?!? I know my problems could be a lot worse, but I am so tired. Anyway, please pray that this goes completely away. Luke is getting major cabin fever.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I can see it!

The light at the end of the tunnel, that is. So far, Luke doesn't have a fever today. It also looks like the blisters on his mouth are going away. Please, oh please let this be the end of this illness. Yesterday, I thought Campbell was getting a fever and I started praying right then that God would spare her of this; it looks like He has. She is fine today. This one has knocked me off my feet.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Day 6

I think his fever may have broken in the night. He is still asleep, so we'll see. I do know that I am exhausted between him not sleeping and Campbell not sleeping. Well, she has actually been doing better, but with Luke not sleeping I am up anyway, so it still feels like we are up all night. Anyway, hopefully today will be better. Stephen went back to work today, so pray for me that I will have patience to handle Luke; he has been acting out since he has been sick whenever I have to hold/feed Campbell. He tries to pull her out of my arms, or he just screams the whole time I have her. So frustrating. I know it is just because he feels bad; he is usually great with her.

I watched a video in YouTube this morning that was linked on another blog. I don't know to put a link to something on here, but the title was Lifehouse's Everything Skit. Definitely worth watching if you find it. Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Day 5



This is the fifth day Luke has been sick. He is miserable. I wish there was something I could do to make him better. They say the fever should break today, we'll see.


On a lighter note, I found this picture on my camera today. I guess I should hide it from the kids. What is it with boogers and poop that is so fascinating, anyway?



Monday, August 06, 2007

Poor Lukey

My little Lukey is sick. He has a virus, maybe hand-foot-mouth. He has been running a high fever since Friday. They said it should be gone by tomorrow at lunch time. He is miserable. His voice is scratchy, he has little blisters all around his mouth and his fever has been around 103-104. He is such a happy kid that he still tries to laugh and have fun, but you can tell he just feels awful. It is really hard for me because I can't just sit and hold him like I want to. Campbell is still refusing to take a bottle, so when I have to nurse her, Luke gets so upset because he wants me to hold him. It is hard. At least Jordan and Claire are in school now, so they are occupied. Stephen is coming home from work early today to help me. Pray that Campbell doesn't get sick. Pray that Luke gets well. Pray for rest. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Park day

Campbell Anne

Luke and Cooper






Luke with my diet coke.




















My friend Malia and I took our boys to the park yesterday. It was so hot. The boys wanted to take their shirts off. We were the only ones at the park, so we let them. They looked pretty silly since they also weren't wearing any shoes, but they felt good. I also included a pic of Campbell Anne. She slept through the whole park experience. O well. She will be 11 weeks tomorrow! I can't believe it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Arguing

I don't get it. What is the point of arguing? Jordan insists on arguing with everything we say. He always has to have the last word, even if it means he will get in trouble. For those of you that know my husband, you know exactly where he gets it :) Anyway, I asked him why he continues to argue when he knows it won't work and he knows he will get in trouble for it. His answer was "I don't know. I just don't know how to stop. I try not to argue but I can't help it." He also cries about whatever he is arguing about. He is a very emotional child, so I get that part, but it is really trying my patience right now. The point of this post is really just to vent. Luke copies everything Jordan does, and this is something he is starting to pick up and I can't stand it. We have let a lot of things slide over the summer with Campbell being here and everything, but it has gotten totally out of hand. We are definitely "parenting outside the funnel" for all you Growing Kids God's Way graduates. O well. This, too, shall pass. I hope.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Zachary!



Luke, Zach, Cooper and Knox (This picture was taken last September.)


One of Luke's best friends, if you have best friends at age 2, turns 2 today. We have been in a Bible study group together for going on 4 years now. These 4 boys were born all within 5 weeks of each other. They are all 2 now and it is so fun to be around them. I actually meant to do a birthday post for each of them, but I have been kind of busy ;) Sorry boys! What a blessing it is to have this group!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Please pray...

A couple that we used to go to church with, Paul and Erika Maple, lost their baby girl, Eden Elizabeth, about a week and a half ago. She was born on July 9. I don't know all the details, but I do know she was supposed to have heart surgery as soon as she was born. Anyway, she died on July 14. My heart is so heavy for them. I can't imagine what they are feeling right now. Please lift them in prayer. They also have a toddler-age son and I believe his name is Riley. Thanks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I've been tagged...

Thanks Tam! 8 habits/facts about myself:
1. I got married when I was 19 to my first love! Almost 11 years and 4 kids later, we are still in love.
2. I talk all the time about wanting to be more organized, but it's just talk. I just don't have it in me.
3. I don't play enough. In fact, once in some counseling, one of my assignments was to play. How sad is that!?!
4. Singing is my favorite thing to do. I would love to be on a professional praise team, like the one that travels with Beth Moore.
5. Martina McBride is my favorite singer.
6. I love my grandparents.
7. I would love it if I loved to cook, but I just don't.
8. I have the best friends in the world!
9. I wish I had a better relationship with God. I had a discussion with Him about this last night.

OK. I know I said 8, but I had to add one more.
I typed the last two with one hand. Campbell just wouldn't wait any longer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wow...

First of all, let me say that I love connecting to long lost friends through the blog world! I have connected with a couple of high school friends in the last couple of days. So fun!

Now, back to the "wow" part. For some reason, having four kids has knocked me off my feet unexpectedly. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing else I'd rather be doing. I guess I just didn't realize how hard it was going to be. When I had Jordan, I knew I had found my calling. I loved everything about being a mom, and still do. When he was 15 months old, Claire was born. I don't remember the first six months of her life. It was CRAZY. Funny thing is, I didn't realize how crazy it was until about a year later. Needless to say, we waited a while before having more. When Luke was born, Jordan was 5 and Claire was 4. They weren't in that "needy" phase anymore, so I could focus on Luke and they were actually a big help. Well, Luke turned 2 a month after Campbell was born and, honestly, I didn't expect it to be this hard. She is a good baby, but there were several weeks where all she wanted to do was nurse. Luke didn't understand that, so he would just stand there in front of me and cry because I couldn't help him. There is no schedule, I forget to eat, I have NO time to myself. It has just been harder than I pictured.

That having been said, there is NOTHING in the world that I would rather be doing right now. I know that God put me on this earth to be a mom. With all the hardships, frustrations, and everything that goes with parenting, I am content. Content with my role, content to do without some material things to stay home, content in my marriage, just content with life in general. I mean, yes there are things that I would love to have, things that I would love to be different (like having time to go to the gym!), but I love my life. I am continually overwhelmed at the life God allowed me to have despite my shortcomings. He is awesome and I love Him so much. Thank you God for giving me the life of my dreams.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

8 weeks!






I can't believe my baby girl is eight weeks old today! I have to admit, the last two months have been harder than I thought it would be. But looking at this sweet face everyday sure makes things easier! I am so incredibly blessed, definitely beyond my wildest dreams. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!