Thankfully ever after

It has not been easy… but nothing in life that’s valuable and precious is easy, our family has endured trials and challenges along the way, facing some of the biggest ones just this past year.

It has been the most incredible and amazing five years I could have ever dreamed or hoped for.

Five years ago we dove into this marriage and family as prepared as we could be. We dated for 11 months and during that time we read book after book about blending Christian families. Read about remarrying after divorce. We tried to be as prepared for anything that we would face as we combined two homes into one.

We did the real life Brady bunch thing. Actually I do believe I recall my father saying he felt like he was watching a TV show when he was here visiting us and a live spectator to the chaos of our daily life!

Looking back not nothing could have really prepared us for the reality of it all. Even though we didn’t know what we were doing we had our trust in the Lord and He was with us each step of the way. Our strength is of the Lord.

Along the way we have learned and grown so much!

We started with five kids, a brother in law, two dogs and two cats.—-> we now have seven kids a mother in law and brother in law living with us. We have three cats, two dogs(almost3), a lizard and a bunny. In the mix of our children, four are now teenagers! Y’all we have four teens in one home!

Oh what an adventure these last five years have been. Looking back and reflecting on all we have done been through and experienced it is so amazing to see how we have grown.

In our love, in our family and most importantly in our spiritual walk with the Lord. We have a long way to go but we have come a long way too.

I am so thankful God has blessed us with this family, even on the hard days.

The next five years of adventure begins. God has big plans and will be with us as we take on the next chapter of our lives. Most of all I am excited to see us continue to glorify God and grow in our relationship with Christ.

‘Be devoted to one another in love, honor one another above yourselves’ Romans 12:10

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Mercies new everyday

So in this season that my husband and I find ourselves in I am so incredibly thankful for God’s mercies to be new everyday.  We are in a season of difficult assignments, many trials and challenges.

‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end’ Lamentations 3:22

Now while I have not been walking through these trials as Christlike as I could or should there have been moments when I have handled things much better than I would of in the past which is an indicator of how my heart and mind have been transforming with my spiritual growth.

‘The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.’ Psalm 145:9

Oh PRAISE GOD I am not the person I once was!  My heart is so thankful that God saved me from myself and even though I have had moments of weakness, I can repent and turn from those sins and have His mercy everyday!

‘I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.’ Psalms 116:1

I am so thankful to have peace and know that God is sovereign in all this, that through these difficult assignments we find ourselves in God will be glorified in it all.

‘Have mercy on me O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.’ Psalms 51:1

I am confident and can know that I am loved, a child of God, daughter of a King, who loves me so much He sent His only son to take the punishment for my sins.

‘But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us.’ Ephesians 2:4

Mercy is defined as a compassion or forbearance (refraining from the enforcement of something) shown especially to an offender, a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.  Basically not getting what it is you deserve.

I am so thankful to the Lord for His divine compassion in my life, that the Holy Spirit is with me to guide me and convict me and has opened my eyes.

‘Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.’ 2Corinthians 4:1

 

So during this season, where there are some days I need to take each hour as it comes to survive the day I can have comfort and peace in God’s mercies being new everyday.

This is not a test…..or is it?

This year 2019 has certainly come in like whirl wind as our family and home endured trials and challenges from about every direction possible. With everything we are facing time is just flying by…And just like that March is almost over….

One of verses I have been studying for this month has been James 1:3.

testing= challenging, requiring considerable effort

Steadfastness=form in brief, adherence, not subject to change, constant

So I can have comfort and peace in knowing that all of these trials we are being challenged and tested by are perfecting me and will help me to be firm and constant in my faith.

So in our whirl wind of tests, trials and challenges that 2019 is bringing to us we will count it all joy.

Staying strong in our faith, staying in God’s word, fervent in prayer.  Blessed in our trials as we are perfected into steadfastness in our faith.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-12‬ ‭

Goodbye January

Finding the magical peaceful moment in my day when I can sit down clear headed in a quiet peaceful environment……yep that’s not happening! I may as well go searching for unicorns and leprechauns! Working full time with seven children at home I’m lucky if I can make it in the bathroom for 5 uninterrupted minutes.

I always seem to have the greatest intentions. Over the years I have made several attempts to follow a personal bible reading plan and scripture studies on my own. Some attempts and plans have been more successful than others along the way. But none the less, life, excuses, the busyness, the to do lists, and the exhaustion take over and the struggle to find that magic peaceful moment seems like a lost cause. In past years and attempts I have found myself discouraged and frustrated.

But not this year!!!

These photos show what my 2019 scripture study is looking like this year, it is not pretty but it is wonderful and I am so thankful to have pushed through all the discouragement and barriers and making my scripture study this year grow so much already! Praise God!

 

 

Scripture study in the chaos of our kitchen….

My office space

Some study time in car with our daughter

Studying in hallway/office/sewing&craft area

 

 

 “that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalms‬ ‭30:12‬

 

 

I have been following devotional I found online and my scripture study and prayer time is taking a priority over the to do list.

It has not been perfect, there have been a few days along the way when my weary exhausted mom brain just had nothing left but to hit the pillow…. when that happens I just pick up the slack and the next day when I sit down I spend some extra time in my scripture study to catch up.  I am giving myself grace and moving on where I have left off.  It is quite impressive how just adjusting my expectations and planning for failure has helped me to be more successful.

Planning for failure has made this more successful!

I am enjoying my scripture study immensely.

I am learning.

I am growing.

This is the plan I have been following.

https://asymphonyofpraise.com/blog/inscribe-the-word-february-scripture-writing-plan-2

It has verses selected for each day. The verses are written out and studied. I am finding how effective writing them out is for me. I am incorporating tools I have been learning in Sunday school as I write out my verses to study scripture. When? Who? What? Why? Where? How?

This year I have taken a new approach and attitude. I’ve stopped waiting for the peace and quiet. I am building moments in my busy day for my study.  So I am putting my intentions and desires into action in between the noise and the chaos. I have prepared my mind and heart to be able to study regardless of what the day is like.  Not having my heart set on the same time, same location and expecting perfect quiet is just not realistic at this season in our lives, I am no longer letting this be a barrier and the results are AWESOME!  So while my study locations are not picture perfect or ideal, they are real life and its working!  I have successfully done every day of January for my scripture study this year!!!

Bring on February 2019!!!

 

 

No resolutions for me….

I have not decided if I am happy to see 2018 or sad…. bittersweet really. Ready or not 2019 is here. 2018 was challenging and exciting full of blessings and growth, but where did it go? How did it slip by so quickly?

Looking back at everything that has happened this past year is a bit overwhelming to say the least. A lot of changes were made in our home. We welcomed a baby boy in June 💙, my husband changed careers, we officially have 3 teenagers, including a fifteen year old behind the wheel, our family changed churches, championship events, trials big and small, blessings big and small, all on top of our day to day running a home with 7 children and a grandmother!

By God’s strength and grace we have survived it all!

So as I reflect on this past year and wonder what this coming year will bring I will be making no resolutions. I’ve never been big on them anyway.

Here’s what I’m thinking…if I am striving in my walk with the Lord to be closer to Him, to be more Christlike, less of me more of Him, closer to holiness then everything that I would be resolving to do will fall into place. Becoming more Christlike will push me to have more discipline spiritually, mentally and physically. Which means taking better care of myself, which means being healthier overall, and in turns means taking better care of my family and pushing them to be healthier as well.

So as 2019 is rolling right in I am ready. I am excited to see what God has planned for me and my husband and our family. Most of all I am praying that God would be made center of our home and that we continue to walk closer with Him each day we are blessed with. During the blessings and the trials that we would have peace and rejoice in it all.

In all things bring glory to the Lord, that above all else that we do this year our family would be to serve our King!

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭

Link

Heavy duty stuff

Lessons from Sunday school the few past couple of weeks keeps jumping through my mind. Over and over and over….the words and lessons speaking to my heart mind and soul. Words that are hard to hear but must be absorbed. Things that need to be heard again. And again. And again…..  Reminders to push and direct me. To keep me going forward on the narrow path and not sliding backwards downhill in spiritual cruise control as so well said by our pastor during the sermon this past weekend!

—> ARE YOU TRUSTING THE LORD THE WAY HE CALLS US TO???        I’m not, I am guilty of anxiety and worry….

—> WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT? Is it focused on the Lord?…     mine isn’t its normal grumbling about being tired and not wanting to get up and start another busy day

Beware!

‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning’ Luke 12:35. ‘And he said to them “take care and be in your guard against all covetousness for ones life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions’. Luke 12:15

I need to remain in prayer and study of God’s word to be able to beware and prepared for the trials of this world.  The days/weeks I am more obedient with this there is a noticeable difference.  There are so many idols in our lives that it is easy to slip into not making this a habit and a priority in my routine.

Have no fear!

“”I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke‬ 12:4-5

To truly trust the Lord and live fearlessly in Him, I need to be with Him, I cannot do this if I am not studying His word, meditating and learning His word and alive in my prayer life with Him.

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:22-26‬

Who am I to question God and His plan with my worry and anxious heart???  But yet I do.  This is truly my greatest struggle and something I am actively working towards.  In the heat of the moment when fear hits the ceiling and physically overpowered by anxiety is when it is most challenging, again I need to continue to improve in my bible study and prayers to move closer to the Lord and farther from living with constant anxiety.

Be ready!

“”Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”” Luke‬ ‭12:35-36, 40‬

I need to be ready with God’s words constantly in my mind and heart.  I need to be on constant and frequent fellowship with Christ to stay ready, if His word is in my heart and mind then that is what will come out.  If sinful and evil is allowed to be entertained in my mind and heart then that is what will come out.  We must stay in God’s word and know it so intimately that we can distinguish false teaching.    Application of scripture in life may change but the truth of it will remain the same.

Christ must come first!

“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke‬ ‭12:8-10‬

I need to rest in the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all else, first in and above all things in this world and the Holy spirit will be there leading me, convicting me when needed, and preparing me for His return one day.

I am so very thankful for God’s truth, for God’s mercy and grace upon me and my life.  I am so thankful to be in this Sunday school class where I am being challenged, spiritually fed and convicted.  I am so thankful for my salvation in Christ. My heart is so happy to be moving forward in my walk, learning and growing along side sisters and brothers in Christ.  I am so VERY THANKFUL for HEAVY DUTY STUFF to be laid on my mind and heart on Sunday mornings ❤

Table for 10

I am frequently asked how we manage a home with 7 kids, their sports all while staying involved and active at church and working a full time job and exercising. Sometimes I step back and see all we do and ask myself that same question?!?  How do we do it?

Truly it is by the strength and help of the Lord that we survive each day and busy week. Constant prayer 🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻 and endless coffee ☕️☕️☕️

However here are a few things the past few weeks since school and sports swing back into action that have been a huge blessing making it all come together for our family.

My amazing and wonderful husband who works so hard and endlessly for our family 💜

My mother being here and helping drive the kids home from school and to and from their activities. As hard of a transition as it was when she moved to Virginia and in with us.  For all the complaining and bad days that we have had,  we wouldn’t be making this busy season in our lives work without her here. Obviously God knew what He had planned when He led my mom to live with us.

God has blessed me with the gift of being organized. Keeping our calendars and meal plans up to date and flowing each week has been instrumental in keeping track of everything.  I have essentially 4 calendars I keep updated.  One online with our google calendars, a personal paper planner I keep with me, a family monthly calendar in our kitchen and a weekly calendar that sometimes is updated or changing daily!

We have been using a successful meal plan system for several years now.  This meal plan system has worked so well I think the world may end as we know it if we didn’t meal plan for a week.  All the mouths around our table have become very used to looking at the menu each day to see what is being made.

This past week I found some new casserole recipes that were a hit! I made them the night before and put them in the fridge so all I had to do at dinner time was put them in the oven.  At the beginning of each week I make one large salad and chop fresh veggies so that we have vegetables prepared and ready to go.  I use our slow cooker a lot too!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/taco-bake-casserole-63779.aspx

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/mac-cheese-lasagna-94496.aspx

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭