Love, Laughter, and Laundry

Welcome to an inside peek into the life of our family. I hope that as you get to know me through this blog, you will get to know the Reason for the hope and the joy that I have in me:
Jesus Christ

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Humor

My older kids took my younger kids Trick or Treating around the neighborhood Saturday night. My 6 year old was dressed up as "Shaggy" from Scooby Doo. He wore a shaggy red wig, a green shirt, and even had a stuffed Scooby doll on a leash to complete the ensemble. The older kids were laughing when they returned. They said that at one of the houses, the person handing out the candy commented on his costume.
"You sure are dressed up cute! Who are you?" To which he responded, "Pete!"

Pete entertained us last Halloween as well. We had just recovered from a stomach virus right before the big night. Whenever the kids feel sick to their stomach, I give them a silver bowl to sleep with, just in case they can't make it to the bathroom in time. Well at one particular house the lady handed out the candy from a silver bowl that looked just like ours. Imagine my horror when Pete kept proclaiming loudly, "MOMMY, WHY IS THAT LADY HANDING OUT CANDY FROM A THROW UP BOWL??"

Perhaps our funniest Halloween moment came several years ago. For many years, the churches in our area held carnivals on Halloween night, so we'd go there rather than Trick or Treating from house to house. One particular church had clowns walking around with bags of candy. The kids would run up to the clowns and say "Trick or Treat!" and each clown would hold his bag open for the kids to get a handful of candy. Well one night, we had just gotten home when the doorbell rang. There on the porch was one little Trick or Treat straggler holding his bag of candy open for a deposit. Imagine his surprise when my child, not knowing any better, dipped his hand in the bag, retrieved a fistful of candy, and with a hearty "Thanks!" shut the door in his face.

In all of the fun that fall brings...I hope you enjoy fun times and make great memories with your family. Most importantly, I hope you take time to Hallow Him.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Turtle Life

My 5 year old son loves to memorize Bible verses. Yesterday, he climbed in my lap and asked if we could start a new one. I decided on John 3:16. He has really been talking a lot about Jesus dying on the cross lately. My husband and I have felt that his heart is becoming sensitive to hearing the plan of salvation. "This," I thought, "may be the opportunity I've been looking for!"

We began diligently working on it...

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

After each phrase, I would try to explain the meaning of what he was memorizing. We had a wonderful conversation, and I was amazed at how much a 5 year old could understand. I was beginning to think we had this thing all wrapped up!

Then we got to the final part of the verse:

Me: "Now, 'P', do you know what it means to have eternal life?"

"P": "Well, (long pause) I know what a turtle is....but I've never heard of 'a turtle life!'"

....Hmmmm, maybe he didn't understand as much I thought! Oh well, we'll keep trying!

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up..." Deut. 6:6-7

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Veggie Tales

Well, my husband and I are embarking on a new adventure. As a result of some scary medical reports about my husband's cholesterol/blood pressure and an even scarier lecture from his doctor...we are attempting a new "change of lifestyle" in our eating habits. (I'm trying to get totally on the bandwagon and quit calling it a "diet!") We heard about a friend who had amazing results by switching to a no meat, no nuts, no oil, no dairy, no fun type of diet (oops...way of eating!)
Because I love my husband even more than chocolate (and that's a lot!), I promised him I would do this with him to support him. We are basically eating like "vegans" now ( least until we can get the health issues under control!) My hubby and I have cracked up at the websites and grocery stores that we have had to go to for recipes/food, because it is becoming increasingly clear that we are WAY out of our element. Saturday we made our first trip to a natural health food store in the city. I felt like a Beverly Hillbilly. Let me try to explain... the places I usually frequent have white haired ladies in aprons handing out samples of frozen dinners to eat. Well, in this store it was a black guy with dredlocks, playing Bob Marley tunes on his guitar, handing out veggie pizza. (I'm not kidding!) This place has organic dog food...even organic toilet paper! (Who knew?) Everyone else was walking out to their hybrid/ alternative fuel cars...while you could clearly spot our 15 passenger gas guzzler towering over all the other vehicles.
One other thing I haven't mentioned is that since I barely have time to fix one supper for my family, much less two different things every night(not to mention the fact that my self control is not strong enough yet to grill hamburgers for them and veggies for us), my poor kids are finally having to eat their vegetables. I have to admit, the meals so far have not been bad at all. In fact, they've been quite good. We've had meatless meat in our spaghetti; we've found ways to make burritos, tostadas, red beans and rice on our new plan...and the list goes on and on. Now, even though they eat what we eat at night, they do get to have "regular" food as well. They haven't been completely banned from Pop Tarts, ice cream, and the like (just so you won't think they're being deprived.) But, I guess the new "lifestyle" is beginning to take hold. This morning when my 7 year old was telling me all the things she wanted for her upcoming birthday she looked at me solemnly and said, "You know, I was really wanting chocolate cake for my birthday...but I guess I'll eat vegetable cake if I have to." Now, that's a kid who really loves her mom and dad! :)
(Don't worry, grandmas, your baby will get chocolate for her birthday!)

Lord, help us to be successful in this endeavor, that we may have the energy and good health to serve You better!
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." I Cor. 10:31

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Letter to my Daughter

The yearbook staff has informed us that it is time to write a letter to our senior. How do you condense a lifetime of memories into a paragraph? How do you put into words the love that you feel for your child? Here is my best shot:

My Precious Daughter,

I have to admit that I am approaching your graduation with all kinds of conflicting emotions...grief that our time with you at home is coming to a close, yet anticipation for what God has in store for your future. I am so proud of you! Being your mom has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. You are so much fun and so full of life. You are smart, talented, and beautiful. You are loving, and so easy to love. You have joyfully embraced the "craziness" of our big family. What a blessing to watch the relationship you have with your brothers and sisters! There is no doubt you will leave a hole in our hearts and our home when you go away to college. (Yes, even though there will still be 10 people living in this will be lonely without you!)

Above all, I am so thankful for your walk with the Lord. You have attained many great honors and achievements through the years, however, as proud as I am of those successes,
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (III John 1:4)

Despite the tears, please know that I really am excited to see what God has planned for your future, and I can't wait to be a part of it! (...because you know as well as I do, I won't know what to do with a quiet, clean house once all of my kids are grown! ha ha)

As you embark on this new journey before you, my challenge to you is this:
"So, then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Col. 2:6-7)

Congratulations on your impending graduation. I wish you the best of all God has for you!

In the words of one of my favorite books...
"I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be!"

Love Always,

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

He's still speaking...

This morning I was reading in Exodus 3 & 4 about Moses' encounter with God in the burning bush. In this passage, God tells Moses that He has a special task for him. He wants Moses to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the Israelites. Moses responds that he could never do that! Speaking was not his "gift" fact, he was downright terrible at it! God's reply was this: "...Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now, go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say." (Exodus 4:11)

Now, I have read this passage many times and chuckled at Moses' lack of confidence. Surely, if God called me to do something, I would respond the right way...right? WRONG! In fact, God has called me to be a wife to my husband and the mother of 9 children. To be honest, I am not very good at it. Organization does not come naturally to me...neither does cooking...or fact, like Moses, I often tell God that "I can't do this job!"

God gently reminded me this morning through this story that He is the One who made me. He knows my weaknesses. He will help me accomplish what He has called me to do.

"...If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ..." (I Pet. 4:11)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Break(down)

This week my kids started back to school. My fourth grader brought home a note asking that the kids bring something to share with the class that represented how they had spent their summer. We looked at each other and laughed because this has commonly been referred to at our house as our "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer." We have comforted each other with the fact that someday we will look back on this summer and have a good laugh. The truth is, we have had some real struggles; but we know that "... in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

We knew the summer was getting off on the wrong foot when our air conditioner died. When I say "died," I mean beyond repair; cannot be fixed; i.e. bring out the check book/credit cards. Then, 2 of our 3 vehicles' air conditioning went out. Air conditioning the house was priority over the cars, so we took care of the house...but our 2 cars have been riding through the summer with their windows down...which in Mississippi doesn't really cool you off as much as just mess up your hair and let the mosquitoes in. Then, our riding lawn mower died. Now, we have approx. 1 1/2-2 acres to mow, and while a riding lawn mower is not exactly a does help! But, since we had just shelled out for a new air conditioner, the squeeze on our finances called for creative cutting: 2 push lawn mowers. Not fun...but do-able.

Then, the thing that just about pushed us right over the of my younger kids came home from day camp with lice. Now, let me just say that this is my absolute worst nightmare. Well, when you have nine kids...even if one kid has lice, you have to treat the whole family. So we had to strip all beds and bedding, wash anything that anybody had come in contact with, vacuum EVERYTHING (oh, did I mention that my vacuum cleaner broke, too? Oh, not the whole thing, just the part that allows you to stand up and comfortably walk around while you're yes, I have been vacuuming on my hands and knees with the little round hose all summer, too!), treat everyone with lice shampoo, and then pick microscopic nits out of their hair. Well, just to give you an idea of how long this process of the lice shampoo bottles said that it takes 1-2 hours to go through one person's hair properly. Okay, just imagine...I have 10 people to go through, and then I have to find some willing soul to go through my hair. Are you feeling a little of my stress yet?

Well, the instructions on the bottle of shampoo say that all you have to do is shampoo once, pick out any remaining nits, then shampoo 7-10 days later and more lice. Well, it wasn't quite that easy. Our new pets evidently liked their new home, and they were determined to stay. We began to shampoo every 7-10 days with the pesticide (all the while cleaning, laundering, vacuuming, and nit-picking) to no avail. Finally, I researched the internet, and found that you can break the cycle of persistent nits by smothering them in olive oil. So all of us, from my 6'1" husband down to my 1 mo. old newborn baby had to have olive oil slathered in their hair every 3 days and sleep in it. Well, if you have never before been "anointed with oil," it does not just "stay put" on your head. It rolls down your face, your neck, everywhere. The first time we did it, I asked my hubby to bring home shower caps for everyone to sleep in. Well, the only ones he could find were pink shower caps. Shower caps themselves are not very cool to wear when you are a teenage boy (or a grown man) anyway...but a pink shower cap is the bottom of the barrel! So, to try to be nice to our boys for having to do this...he tried to find a more "manly" alternative. He brought home the black knit caps that you basically see on your stereotypical gang member/hoodlum (yes, they sell these at the local Walmart). Well, unfortunately for the boys (and him), if you have never before tried to be a gang member or hoodlum, you wouldn't know until you tried it on that it is basically like putting black pantyhose on your head. It does nothing for keeping oil from sliding down your face. So, we did get our first real laugh of the summer looking around at each other with 11 pink shower caps on our heads. We were glad we weren't on a reality series that showed what we looked like to the whole world. (Kudos, Jon & Kate!)

So, this continued pretty much all summer long. I cried. I prayed. I cried and prayed. I tried thanking God for the lice. Hey, at least we weren't praying for God to kill cancer cells...just annoying microscopic critters that made your head itch. But, they still wouldn't go away. My husband asked (at the risk of getting smacked) if I had "rejoiced" in the lice yet. He pointed out as nicely as possible that the Bible tells us to "...consider it pure joy when you go through all kinds of trials...". I had thanked God, but I definitely had not rejoiced.

The turning point in my summer break(down) came when I came across the following verse:

"...we were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." (II Cor. 1:8b-11)

Now, I know that broken air conditioners and lawnmowers and lice are not life-threatening, but I had to admit that I was absolutely overwhelmed. I began to devour God's word this summer more than I have in a very long time. I forgot to mention that another item that broke this summer was our cable...which meant no computer...which was probably a good thing in my life. Time that I normally spent on the computer, was now spent in God's Word. My kids began spending time in God's Word. It became our priority...not an afterthought. So now when I look back on my summer, I have come full circle... I realize that:

" It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees."
( Psalm 119:71)

And, yes, I rejoice in the fact that God got my attention....even if He had to use little critters to do it.