Monday, October 3, 2011

The tree of life

I had the opportunity today to have a chat with an old friend. Really makes the mind wander. In this case it was, what might have been? You know, where would you have ended up if you hadn't made the decisions at hand, at the moment they were presented?

Thus prompting this analogy. I look at our existence as a tree of life. In life we start out small and as we grow we are faced with many, sometimes daunting decisions. This much like a tree. If you were to look up a tree trunk eventually you would come to a split in the bark (or choice). At that split you have the option to continue on to the next branch or take the turn and opt for a new path in the bark. Then after a short while you are posed with another fork in the bark and yet another branch. All possibly leading back together somewhere. Or maybe never meeting again.

This is the way I see life. God allows us to be the finishers of our own fate. He has created a very intelligent being who is capable of thoughtful, yet also rash decisions. Thus getting us to where we are today.

Have you ever made a choice and wished you could take it back? Or maybe never made the choice and wish you could go back and give it a try?

Where would it have taken you? Where might you have ended up? In turn would you still be where you are today. Well I do believe, for some choices, No. Then others absolutely, YES!

You see. Even though God has allowed us to be finishers of our fate, I also believe he looks out for our best interest and will intervene when necessary.  He is the ultimate author and finisher of our fate. We may make decisions that ultimately steer us awry but he will gladly help us back onto the projected path. Right where we were supposed to be in the first place.

In my life there are choices I wish I didn't make, God kept me safe. Then, there were choices I wish I had made differently. These are the ones I look back on today which set me wondering. Making me ask, did I make the right decision to not take that path and would I still have ended up where I am now? Making me wish I would have gone back to just try it before my final choice was set in stone. Did I miss out on an important lesson or feeling. Would that still have led to where I am now.

Did I miss out on, what might have been?

Because IS this where I am supposed to be? Because this IS where I am supposed to be!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Extreme couponing: A.K.A Hoarding???

A few years ago I was introduced to 'the coupon game' but for many reasons I chose to continue on my own instead of jumping on the bandwagon. I was very hesitant since many of the products were not things which we used. I also was worried that I would be hoarding, which then would deem the effort un-biblical. Over the next few years I dabbled here and there into friends of mine and their efforts to save money. Finally I went for it. Saving about 4 weeks of Sunday paper ads I began my journey. 

I was excited, beginning to 'stock pile' my pantry and grow a fantastic stash in my toiletries. It was such a nice feeling to have things available when I needed them and to know that I didn't have to pay a ridiculous amount. Often times I felt like I was stealing these items (but not in a bad way..fairly). 

I would get them at such a great deal. I was only spending $75 a week for our family of 6 at the time. This included all of the extras which you cannot get using coupons. I also began to understand that 'brand loyalty' was not as important as saving the monies to be used elsewhere. But mainly I was making sure to be fair.

I would by no more than 4 of the discounted item at a time and ONLY if it was something I knew for sure that I would be using. I never purchased frivolously. 

This way of shopping is something that you can become involved in as little or as much as you would like.

 I do ok. 

I am sure I could do better but for now I am happy with my average of $100 a week for our family of 7. All groceries included!

You see, even though I am pleased with my savings, the 'game' as a whole has caused increasing frustration over time. The frustration occurs when I to get to the store and have to rain check items because the clerk says they are out. Not out because someone else couponed and bought 2 items but they have seen people come in and buy 10 at once!

 I have even personally seen this. I was at the store standing in front of the item my coupon called for when this lady came up next to me and literally swept ALL that was left off of the shelf and into her cart! In the process she made conversation with me. Asking if all of the children were mine (all 5 were with me) and responding that they only had one! 

My sentiments went as follows...then why in the world is this woman buying 16 of these??? I really only wanted 4! As I wandered through the store, with my brain now in left field I began to think,  I am couponing out of fun but also out of necessity! I am trying to be a good steward and use our money properly. Proverbs 31 defines that. I try to make sure that IF I buy something I don't actually need or don't plan on using I give it to our local church, food drive or couponing store. I personally think that it becomes hoarding when items which you won't use, can't use before it expires or don't need are purchased with intent to save money. Not to give these items to the needy.  Not that I knew whether she was doing that, but still. I guess all in all you are stealing, not from the store but from others.  

Not too long after this occurred I came across this article and couldn't believe my eyes or ears!
( Upon reading this I decided I needed to really set me off. So to end with what originally set me off.....(not that I use it but)formula is EXPENSIVE!!!  I sure hope she is giving to the needy, since that is part of the theory behind couponing. No 3 person household needs that much stuff!!!  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Be careful what you pray for!

 So, I haven't taken the time to do much lately but spur of the moment has prompted me to tell you all about being 'Careful of what you pray for!' Because God really listens!

A number of years ago I when I first moved to GA I began to attend a local Pentecostal church. This church was of my choosing and not of the Catholic religion which I had been raised. (Not that this has anything to do with the story!) But the church did have many outreach programs and opportunities to serve.

After having been there a while and joining not only the church but the choir and drama productions, I decided to try out the womens' ministries. Being too old for the youth group and feeling too young for this group, I was just trying to find a place to learn. Well did I learn!

This unit study was over a book referring to a patchwork of prayer. The book taught several types of prayer such as intercessory, fervent and ummm, transitional?? -Oh I forget now! Either way I learned a lot at the time. We also took the time to make prayer squares for a quilt to be auctioned off as a fundraiser for  the ministry. This was something I was passionate about and decided to take it further on my own and make an actual quilt. I hand quilted it with each of the types of prayer. This I had decided to gift at the annual womens' ministry White elephant Christmas party.

Well in the mean time I had really begun to struggle with the kind of dates I had been attracting. I wanted a real guy who I might want to stick around. I had dreamed about that knight in shining armor and my wedding day since I was little and I figured it was time (heaven forbid we dated for years and like many girls I didn't want to be old and then get married.  I was feeling ready to marry. (Ummm, I was only 19!)

None-the-less the bible study had prompted some new types of prayer. God had renewed my thought process! So I began to pray. One night driving home from that study I prayed not for what I wanted in a husband but what God wanted for me! Here's where I stress for you to be careful what you pray for! Because when I began to pray that, it must have been exactly what God needed to hear from me. That my heart was no longer selfish for what I wanted but ready for what God had in store for me...what he KNEW I needed.

As I continued to pray this weekly, monthly and genuinely ...he prepared not only me but my soon to be husband-unknowingly! And little did I know exactly what I was in for! You see for so long I was praying and listing that tall, dark, handsome man with features that I thought I needed. Much to my surprise that was not it at all.

Some time later a friend of mine from church decided to set me up on a blind date. I reluctantly agreed, only after I got to see a picture! My prayer then was, Lord show me somehow if this is who I was praying for, having left all I thought I wanted behind and trusting him. (The funny thing about this situation is that my now husband and I had hung out with the same circle of friends yet had never met....Only in HIS time!)

We met at the local Chili's (separately - in such case that the date was awful!) He rode his chopper (his only mode of transportation....I turned up my snobby nose! Dressed in a black Harley T,blue jeans and boots (I didn't ever wear black at the time) we had a brief intro then went in and sat down. One of the very first things I said was.."I don't date guys with long hair". Hey at least he knew where I stood! Needless to say, he came over with a very short hair cut 3 weeks later! I knew I was in trouble then!

Long story short, I knew that God had sent me this man. It wasn't a butterflies or lust at first sight but I knew that I had gotten exactly what I had prayed for. Even today the butterflies are come and go. which I am glad for because I think that it helps us to know it is not always easy and a relationship is not handed to you. It requires work.

Finally,when I felt threatened by his overwhelming interest (remember the sudden haircut!) after only a few short months I tried to get rid of him (I tease and say that that was the only time he brought me flowers!) he wouldn't let me run and I knew he was sticking around. I was scared. I couldn't believe it! To this day I am thankful for what God has sent to me. It hasn't always been ice cream with sprinkles...matter of fact it hasn't always even been creamy! But it was exactly what God new would stand the test of time! We work well together. When I am down he balances me out. When I am ill and frustrated with the children....he is cool and level headed. And vice-versa! I am very thankful for this.

If I had to list everything at that time that I wanted in a man, he is nothing that I thought that I had wanted but everything that God knew I needed. I love him and he loves me. Marriage is work and we are making it work. It's not all bells and whistles. It's not always filled with conversation. It's not always movie-esque. BUT we make it work because we love each other and are willing to listen to what God has for us.

So, lesson learned. Be careful what you pray for. God really does listen and he will give you the deepest desires of your heart. Pray from your heart and pour out your soul. It will be fed if you are willing to receive (regardless of your situation)!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's just a vacation!

     My husband comes to me just 2 days ago and tells me that he has the last week of July off, Great!! You see I have been trying to get him to take some time off and do a family vacation for quite some time now to no avail. I tend to consider my self his second wife, as his first wifes' name is, Job!! So for him to say that he has scheduled it and officially taken it off is nothing short of amazing! He wants to FINALLY go to the beach (I have also been trying to get him to do this for the last 5 years!) I am ecstatic!!
    Thus begins my part. I get to plan!! Sounds easy enough, except for the fact that I have never officially planned a family vacation. So I jump in head first, this can't be that hard! Huh, let me rephrase that first part. I G E T to plan! Man, who knew that it could be this difficult. I have so many choices. Rather, maybe I have given myself too many. 

Should we go to the Gulf or the Atlantic?
Florida or stay in Georgia?
What destination? St. Augustine, Fort Walton, Destin, Panama City, Fernandina beach/Amelia Island, St. Simons, Tybee.......The options are endless!
What to rent? Condo/Hotel/Suite

    I have been searching for about 3 days. One of which I spent the greater part of the day on the computer, searching. To my displeasure I have also found that every one thinks that because you are traveling with 7 bodies you need 7 beds. On the contrary... that is not so.  Our 3 girls could easily share one bed, they do at home even though they each have their own bed!  I also found that a hotel wants to split you up between two rooms. It's a FAMILY vacation. That kind of defeats the purpose of taking a family vacation. Don't you think??? I have begun to feel that they hear bigger family and then instantly see dollar signs! So at this point, I figure that my only option is to lie and tell them I have 2 kids and smuggle the rest in upon arrival. Hoping they give us a room around back! Honesty seems to be biting me in the butt! Geez!

    So I finally decided, to take some of the stress off, I would start by choosing two Gulf side destinations and two Atlantic side destinations and begin looking there. Not a bad start. Until I found out that to go right now it will be a house payment or more to stay somewhere for a little less than a week. WOW!! Seriously! So frustrated and I really haven't even started. Well, at this point I am a bit glazed over. So for now I will keep searching and praying that something will come our way. I have 2 weeks....wish me luck! HA!
AND I think after all this I need a vacation!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


      So, I went shopping to actually buy something for myself today...and my oldest Maesyn came along. As I tried things on she kept telling me, "Ya Mom,  I like that looks... mom-like!" Uh!! What does that mean???? Am I really getting that old? You see I am a very classic dresser. I stay away from the trends and just wear the 'classic' styles...mostly things that don't make me stand out too much. Yet still allow me to look presentable!
      Maesyn, on the other hand is very flashy. Ailey likes to say 'Why do you always have to look so fancy??'. No, really, Maesyn is always dressed to the hilt complete with earrings, jewelry, shoes (lately out of my closet!) and perfume. We could be going to the gym and she would do this! She also likes to keep up with the trends, which is so very not me....matter of fact, it drives me crazy! We are so opposite in this area! I just can't stand the new trends. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that I spent most of my formative years in the 80's or what, but high tops, leggings and loud colors MAKE ME SICK!! She always wants to know if I like something on her. I leave it with this 'I don't have to wear it, if you like it then that's fine'.  Ewww, some of the stuff looks hideous, good on her though I must admit!! Just not my thing and of course it always has to be within reason for me to o.k it for purchase! Even then we will get it home and she has to mix and match it and make it her own! Stylin' girl I tell you! You should see her when she makes up a new outfit, she'll come prancing...yes, prancing into my room for approval. "Mom, how does this look, you like it?" (with a spin and a fluff of the hair) I just smile and shake my head...what a diva! Good thing I have Ailey, she is a classic dresser like her Mama! Might keep me sane! I suppose I really know I am getting old when a young guy at the grocery store (old enough to buy beer) called me Ma'am!! <smirk/smile>LOL! Hmmm, old??

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where has the time gone??

Wow, just to think that my little guy will be 7 months in just a couple days amazes me. It seems like just yesterday we put our 'Windsor Way' house on the market , Shaun lost his job and then we found out we were expecting him. All in just a couple weeks of each other, left us wondering what to do. Life has surely passed us by. Just 7 months ago today we purchased a new home, moved in and then gave birth to Ryersen, after just one night in the new house. None of the other kids even stayed in the house until after we came home from the hospital. Ryersen is now almost crawling, laughing and babbling like crazy. He is so rotten! He is held or attended to all of the time. Which is not a hard thing to do in our house. You figure when there are 6 other people to hold or attend to you in some way and each one does it for a mere hour (intermittently) during our day. That is 6 hours of his day completely paid attention to. Then the other few hours he is sleeping! Never a dull moment for him!
 Lately I have been really considering whether or not another one will be in our future. Up until this point when I was asked 'are you done yet?' I said confidently, ' No'. I have really felt as though we have depended on God to manage that for us. I have never even considered any contraception. I wasn't sure if it was even the right path for us. Until now. One more would be fantastic. Everyone in the house is all for it, except for my body. I am so tired this go 'round, not just a regular tired an exhaustive tired. After Ryersen was born, I was really concerned that my body just couldn't survive another pregnancy. It is so aggravating to not be able to be there for my children..I feel sick. As time wears on I hope that things will become clear. I hope this exhaustiveness will resolve itself and we can make and honest decision on whether to move onto a new chapter of our life. When there will be no more little ones in our future...kind of a sad thought for me. But happy in that we will be beginning what will be our forever family.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sweet love

Just wanted to take the moment to remember....
I was sitting here in the bed having just 'rescued' the baby from his dismay, when I received the best love ever. You see we have been fighting the plague here at the house. Starting with Rhyner, then Ryersen, moving to myself, then Daddy...wait it's Lylah's turn and the last man standing is Ailey! Pray for her, it'll be a God send if she doesn't get it! That said, poor Ryersen has been a bit neglected and pushed off on his schedule. This due to all the CLEAN UP which has had to done. Between catch up from the day I was down, to scoop up from what ends up down...on the floor!! Not that I wanted to remember that but what I did want to remember is this. As I rescued the baby, calmed him and readied him to nurse...he gazed at me. His gaze was waiting for my eye contact and when I did he just stared looking back and forth between my eyes. But not just looking, loving. It was wonderful, amazing that with no words he told me 'I love you mom, I just needed to be with you'. As his gaze moved from my eyes and to my mouth I smiled at him and he smiled back the sweetest smile. It was almost as if he was assuring that he was ok and had what he needed. It was just the sweetest love amidst all the turmoil in the house....oh dear Lylah just, eh em', yah she's still sick!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We're allright

   We had the honor tonight of being guests at a new friends home for dinner. Might I say a lovely dinner it was too! We have only met and spoken to this family once but have seen them once prior to that. You see for us it isn't often we run into a family who has more than 3 kids; let alone 4 or more. This family stood out to us from the beginning, it was only after they spotted us and decided to introduce themselves did I realize that they may have wanted to meet us just as much as we wanted to meet them.
   After talking to them and finding that we had quite a bit in common we proceeded to exchange numbers. Only to be invited to dinner the very next weekend; excitedly we accepted. Not knowing what to expect, we showed up with dessert in hand, anticipating a great time. Who knew that it would be much more than that.
   Arriving a bit late (as is our staple) we were wisked into the midst of excited children welcoming us at the door as the wonderful aroma of dinner passed. Upon entering we found a beautiful home, a bit cluttered with the things left un-done from the days activities.(Only a bit too much like us)  As dinner commenced there was plenty of conversation. Seemingly everything was discussed from housework to hunting thus often interrupted by a little one....needing something (as is common in our home). The children all ran about enjoying the company, my husband seemed to feel rather at home as well.
    As the night proceeded it was time to nurse the baby. I was invited to the office for some privacy, this after much apology for the untidy piles of clothes I was to ignore on the floor. And more apology for embarrassment of the un-tidyness. Smiling I said 'No,no it's ok, really' (little did she know I was really serious) If she only knew what our house went thorough on a daily basis...and I have an older helper to get things done!!
   The rest of the night was filled with some very heart felt discussions between the wife and I. Nothing deep, just honest, sincere and humble. This is also the way that I would describe her as well. This is the most grateful person I have met in a long time and I am so proud to be forming a friendship. There is so much to be learned from one another here. The things that I am failing at she is succeeding and likewise the things she feels a failure at I am accomplishing. This could be a very healthy connection for the both of us. You see, there are friends that are so much like you that it is uncanny and they are just a joy to have around, you just 'get' one another. Then there are friends who aren't like you. But these are the ones that inherently help you to figure out you...and this is one of those!!
    I really left her home feeling peaceful, maybe even a bit re-charged. On the flip side, I also felt that I left this dinner date feeling as though I may have made her feel a bit inadequate. Maybe a bit dis-organized...I hope that is not so because that was not the intention. I am just at a different point in my life because my kiddos are a bit older. I know for sure she will be there one day too. She has all the right makings! But as for me, to say it best, I was so glad to have met her and her wonderfully normal family. I have finally met a family that makes me feel that it is really ok to just be us. <sniff, sigh>
  In the end we discovered that they have kids that act like kids (just like us), they are human and there is only so much time in a day (just like us), they have flaws they are not afraid to acknowledge (just like us), they are just trying to figure life out and do what is best for their family, using what may work for another family and trying it on for themselves (just like us). I remember so well when I felt so inadequate, when I felt as every other Mom/large family had it together and I was just fighting to keep my head above water. It was good to use what worked for others to advance my own family but I felt so inferior. By meeting this wonderful family I have discovered a lot about my self and maybe I was wrong earlier when I said that we are very different, I think we are all too much the same. I see myself in her (albeit we are almost the same age). I see when I wanted to be 'that' family. I see the compassion, love and gratefulness I posses. Wow, who knew that one night with one family could have been so good to me. God knows what he is doing!  We are not odd, we do not have to conform and we have been there.... Yep, we're allright!! (Just like them, LOL!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is your bed made?

On a regular basis I ask the question, Is your bed made?? You see every morning the children are supposed to follow a morning routine within their responsibility packs (affectionately called 'R' packs). In which they have an ordered routine to make their bed, get dressed, brush hair/teeth and tidy anything out of place before coming to breakfast. Well it seems lately that the 'R' packs have a new card. It reads; go play with your toys and make the biggest mess possible before starting your routine, that way it takes all morning to clean up and complete the tasks which are supposed to be accomplished. Therefore totally omitting the time allotted for school. Insert here...Is your bed made??
I have had some serious sleep issues since our fifth child has come along thus making it difficult for me to crawl out of bed at a reasonable time in the morning. I usually prefer to get up before the kids, so I can be ready to supervise and keep the littler ones on task. You see our last has reflux and in the process of getting that under control it has really messed with any sort of sleep/wake thing he should have for a 6 month old. Let's just say he wants to eat every makes him feel better. We are getting better at a schedule now that he isn't erping everything up, every time he eats!
That said, I wake up but my body keeps telling me 'NOOOOO please don't make me get up!' So by the time I finally crawl out of bed, my crew is up in full force. As usual I make my bed and head off into their rooms. Lately to find them, UH! Where else but the playroom! So I ask "Are your beds made?" NEVER-they are NEVER made! So in starts the morning to which we are cleaning instead of schooling once again!
 Today was sheet day. Ya know, take off the dirty ones and put new ones on. This is always a fiasco. All the sheets come off but no-one seems to be able to get them back on (no blame here. They do have bunks and a 4 yr old is on the bottom) They throw everything into this huge heap in the middle of their room. The heap includes...pillows,toys, stuffed animals,sheets,books-you name it! Well, this time I had to wash my eldests comforter. Courtesy of her brother who got liquid foundation all over it the day prior..that is a whole other story! All over him, the bed, the shams, his clothes...I have pictures!
Sheet exchange- well, it turned into an all day affair. The little girls comforters got mixed up. One apparently had a pee spot from where her brothers' diaper had leaked. So no-one knew which one it was (they all have matching comforters) SO, I had to wash them all! Yea! More work for me! Then while I was trying to get the sheets changed on the boys beds, my little girls (left un-supervised, are jumping off the top bunk into their 'heap' of sheets...having a grand ole' time mind you!!) So between trying to change the sheets and picking up the treasure trove of crap they had stashed in their beds, NOTHING else productive got accomplished today! Sigh....One day we will get everything back on track and I will hear "Yes Mommy, our beds are made!"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting started

     Well, I suppose it is time to make my first post.... Although, things are not just as they should be.What I am trying to say is that I am a bit OCD! I really think that this whole blog thing needed to be just in such an order that all I would need to do is, write and keep things organized. Well it's not there yet. I am a bit computer illiterate. I am really having difficulties getting things to look exactly as I have them imagined. Mainly because I lack the understanding and the time. My well meaning father equipped me with a book on HTML and CSS, sounds great if I could also find the time to dig into it. It is supposed to be an idiots guide BUT I guess I will never find out. So back to the fact that I have no time, it will just have to be a point and click - figure out by error kind of work! Although that being said it really saves me no more time, uh! (smirk!)

     As I begin this adventure on an offset point. I am really here to give a shot at recording life, as I share the triumphs and trials of our own situations. Somewhere along the line I am sure that this will be helpful to many others. You see, as I was looking for a blog to share in, I was wanting someone who was knee deep in the similar situations that I am. I just needed someone to relate to. I really needed to know that there were others out there Just Like Me. So as I begin this adventure feet first,  I hope this is a blog that we can all share in. Something to enjoy the tender moments and precious God given wisdom, that will soon be forgotten about our precious family.