Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The long road to Christmas

Every time my five other kids besides my youngest go to their other parents for the first leg of Christmas break, I flash back to the day in 2008 when I gave it all to Him. Jesus. 

I have always been a Christmas Junkie. When I was young, we used to go to a place called "The Original Christmas Store" where we collected SO many Christmas decorations our house was always filled with Christmas. Busting at the seams. I loved the thought of Christmas. The smells and the lights, everything. I was hooked. But I didn't know Him and what Jesus was really capable of until one Christmas Eve everything changed.

You see, I had been a carefree single girl since a very painful divorce in 2005. I had spent the last three years having "me time" every first third and fifth weekend like most parents with primary custody. I was a mom when I had my daughter and love her immensely still, but I also had my share of fun. I was happy and blissfully ignorant of how my life could change in an instant.

On the night of Halloween of 2008, everything changed in a blink. My boyfriend at the time and I were sitting at a red light on our way home after a fun night with friends when we were badly rear ended by a drunk driver. He was going 50mph when he slammed into the back passenger side of our vehicle. My back was badly hurt and I had whiplash. I went to the ER by ambulance but nothing was broken and even though I was very sore, I was all right. They asked if I could be pregnant and I didn't know what to say. I didn't think so, I was on the pill, but I had been so sick with flulike symptoms. They took a blood test and told me to go take a pee test. So, I got one and took it and though I was in a lot of pain, I was also pregnant. Scared out of my mind, I couldn't stop shaking. I thought that this guy was a good one and that he would stand up and be there, but we barely knew each other. He ended up rejecting me and the unborn baby when he called three days before he wedding, on December 14th and said he didn't want to marry me. So here I was... Alone and broken. My daughter was with her dad. The carefree single girl had disappeared, and I also had just been laid off from the company I worked for after telling them of my pregnancy. I was raw, beaten down, and in shock. My parents pleaded with me to come visit, but I couldn't fathom sitting there in the pews of the church I had attended right after my divorce where people were so supportive and reveal my news to them. I was just too raw. I needed to be alone.

So, as I sat there in the pew at the church near my apartment on Christmas Eve, Alone and afraid, I prayed to the One I knew might be able to help. What I needed was hope. I was empty. I laid my heart at the cross that night. Against my better judgement, I had gotten into a huge mess and time would reveal that the ripple effect was going to be bigger than I ever could have imagined. I asked God to draw me close and fix my broken heart. And you know what? He did. 

It's taken a long time but I am happier than I've ever been. The hope that was restored to me that night at the altar six years ago makes me want to remember Him and what he did for me that Christmas Eve. It far overshadows the humanness of my circumstances at the time. God is never ending and he can drag you out of the depths of brokenness and prepare you for whatever you have happen in your future.

This year I will walk the long road to Christmas with open arms and I will hug the baby Jesus with my heart when I pray. I will renew my promise that I will mirror Christ to others. I will not pretend to be perfect but I will share my imperfection with those who want to hear it. Because my flaws are what opened my heart to this savior. 

Bare your true and broken heart to Him this year. Let God In. He will equip you to handle whatever life throws at you!

Here we are, Christmas season 2014, God and a great system of support have brought us so far. There is more to the story that I will share eventually, but this is why Christmas means so much to me.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: White Suburban Mom Speaks Out

BREAKING NEWS: White Suburban Mom Speaks Out.

I usually do not speak up about matters concerning politics religion or racism, but this is gone on too long. How can we possibly sit by and let this go on? People are dying and the only power I have to stop it is to try and change the hearts of the people around me so here goes.

The most important news story is how racism has and is defining our country. It saddens me deeply after all this time we cannot seem to move past it. 

I am white. Unlike many white children raised in the 1970's and 1980's, I was raised in a home where my parents loved everyone: All races, all religions, all sexual orientations. Sure, if you were mean spirited, they wouldn't be all warm and fuzzy, but they did their best to mirror Christ to people they encountered and I love them for that.

Breaking news stories about black and brown children being killed hurt us ALL. We need justice and we need understanding, but most of all we need Christ. Our police are being killed, stores are being looted and all of this frightens me. As a white woman I am frightened and horrified because as a race we just have to do better. Love is the only answer. If we loved everyone and let them be proud of who they are while mutual respect reigned and we didn't judge each other, we would all be better off. 

My view may seem too open minded, but I ask you this: Why NOT? why can't I treat everyone with dignity in a world where people don't? Why can't I love more and judge less? Why can't we just let an individual's merit and heart be what we see?

"... The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paulkbunch Books!!!

The Paulkbunch books will be having its grand opening very soon!!! I look forward to seeing you all there!!! Here is a little teaser about some of the goings-on with Paulkbunch books brought to you by Usborne books and more! I was very impressed by the quality of the books as well as the different types of children that we cater to.

Why is reading important??

They even have young adult fiction for the teen reader in your life!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Things to do before I die....

Today I woke up with a lot on my mind. One of my cousins passed away tragically this week of pancreatic cancer and it has really hit me hard. 

These questions come to mind along with so many others... He led a full life and loved this around him. In contemplating my own life I had a few questions......
Why do we take so much of life for granted?
How can I be a more intentional wife and mother, making each day count?
How can I make what I do on earth leave a lasting Legacy for those I leave behind?

Why do we take so much of life for granted? A smile, a hug, an "I love you" a snapshot, they all mean so much. I want to drink in every drop like a sweet nectar. I want to stop in the middle of the mundane and routine tasks of everyday life and look deeply into my husbands eyes and remind him how incredible I think he is! 

I want to hold my sons' hands at dinner and ask for a hug and tell him he's 'my date'. I want to braid my daughters' hair and tell them I am so proud of them. All of that. And more!

This is Aiden as Captain America. Yup...

How can I be a more intentional wife and mother, and make each day count? I can plan, plan, plan ahead. And at the same time, I can be okay when the unexpected happens, because it most definitely will. I can make time for FUN, and lighten UP! I can take more time for ME, and more scheduled one-on-one alone time for each of my six children. They all matter. And this age will be gone in a blink! And most of all I can schedule time alone with my husband and be intentional about studying the Bible with him and enjoying our quiet moments together as a couple, because our marriage and our family are definitely worth the effort.

How can I make what I do on earth leave a lasting Legacy for those I leave behind?
I can do the aforementioned items and "suck the marrow out of life" a la Robert Herrick / Robin Williams. I can be a better friend. I can love more deeply. And, most importantly, I can mirror Christ to those around me. I believe in the Christ who hung out with sinners and spent time with the bad guys and prayed for His enemies.

 I hope that's the legacy I leave behind. Love. Because in the business of the every day, which is filled with juice boxes, carpool and soccer games, I just want people to know how loved they are. 

So sit there and ponder this friends: all that matters really, is love.

Goodnight friends,

Friday, August 29, 2014

A life without carpool...

As I pulled around the corner for the first afternoon pick up of my three small children after the first week of school had completed for the 2014 2015 school year, I couldn't help but have tears well up in my eyes as I contemplated the many many people who will go through this week without their children there close to them going through this experience of growing up as their parents dreamed of for their entire lives. You see when you've been touched by illness or tragedy there is nothing else that matters other than seeing tomorrow. 

Understanding full well that all six of my children for the moment are very healthy aside from the normal cold flu and ear infection that may come up throughout the year everyone has gotten a clean bill of health for the future. I still can't help but think of all the parents who have lost children and can't have these moments in the carpool lane waiting for their kids to come out complaining fighting pulling out each other's hair whining exhausted from the first week of school.

So it's important as we go through this back to school season and we all post pictures of our children in their cute little outfits with apples and chalkboard signs marking the passage from one grade to the next, that we are sympathetic and remember those who have lost children and those who can't have children for whatever reason. I'm so sorry. I truly am. for that empty place that you may feel for that void that you fill with prayer and anticipation waiting for that next pregnancy test to show positive or the bedroom you walk into that is now empty. My heart aches for you in the carpool lane.

It is really easy to get caught up in the every day. But I refuse to do that and forget the loneliness of the last seven years of my life that I felt prior to meeting my wonderful husband. My daughter was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis at the age of eight and was given a 12 month path to healing that included chemotherapy and steroids thankfully she just had to have a surgery and quarterly scans and is now miraculously doing fine. Then my son who was born premature and was very ill received the diagnosis that he had epilepsy and had a horrible grand mall seizures and I was a single parent I didn't know how I was going to get through that trial. 

But with that said I wouldn't change a thing. That journey brought me to the gratefulness and the humility that I feel now for the husband and the family to which I been blessed. The sacrifices that we all make for our children are nothing short of a miracle. For those of you who pray for us and spite of your loss or the absence of children in your lives for whatever reason I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am truly thankful for every moment every breath every laugh every whining moment of my children's lives. 

I hope you are too. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Yep... Thats MY kid...

Last night was meet the teacher at my children's elementary school. This year we have three in elementary and three in middle school. What happened is straight up the most amazing moment in back to school history. Ever. Stay tuned...

So here's how it all went down. We walked toward the school and even though I have had four other children go through the doors of that school before, it occurred to me that this will be the last meet the teacher of kindergarten for any of my kids. Ever. Snif...

I have been blessed to be a part of my four bonus kids' lives for over three years now and the bonds have sunk in. We have them all the time except a few weekends a month so it's been awesome to get to know my kids better this summer. They're amazing, and hilarious, and mischievous and insane, and it's just fun. Especially when, after Aiden was born they told me I couldn't have more children and now I am privileged to get to be bonus mom to FOUR more. That's six! I sometimes feel like the old woman in the shoe, but mostly it's just fun. Never a dull moment.

This has been an amazing journey for me, but for my littlest ones M & A it's just beginning. For A, it was a blessing for us that he was placed in a class with other kids he knew already through activities at church and he even knows his teacher! Yay! His reaction was awesome.

It says so much... "I don't want to take this picture. I didn't initiate this picture. Haven't you gotten enough pictures, mom? Why is everyone staring at me?"

But in the end it's "pure awesomeness..."

Here's the normal pic of li'l man so you know what is non-goofball face looks like.

Happy Back to School, Friends!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

How I failed my kids this summer!!!!

This isn't just another back to school blog with lists of how to keep the homework center organized. That's another post for another time. 

This fall our children are ages 14,14, 12, 7, 5 1/2, and 5. This year they will all be in school for the first time. I have spent the last 10 months caring for my children after a layoff that turned out to be an enormous blessing to our family. I can say I haven't regretted a thing. Have we struggled financially? Sure. But, I can say this: I have given my children the one thing that isn't on any school supply list anywhere - my time.

My kids live in a fast paced world. They love horses, video games, superheroes, princesses and transformers yet they all know one thing for certain. They are truly loved.

So this back to school season I can confess that I am sure I have failed my children horribly the last few months. I have been too tired, too worried about my job search, too anxious, too everything.... But I do know this: I have been HERE. And being HERE is what so many kids are missing. They know they are loved, provided for and despite my shortcomings we have had a summer to remember because I was here.

As a weepy kinder / second grade / 7th grade / 8th grade momma, I will cry on the first day of school. Yep... I will weep because they're growing too fast (where does the time go?) and I will weep because I am grieving the loss of companionship and buzz of activity and the roller coaster ride that has been this summer. 

So amid the "Boquets of Freshly Sharpened Pencils" (Meg Ryan, You've Got Mail) and the backpacks and soccer gear which now line the halls, the only thing that is missing is me. And, I know I can look at the backpacks and say, "We're Good." Because they know I'm there with them in the memories that we shared this summer and will continue to make for years to come and for that I am truly and deeply blessed.

Have a great day friends. Meet the teacher is tonight. Sigh....

Have a great day friends,

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cousins Camp

Last week we went to my parents house and had cousins camp. Everyone had a wonderful time here is a simple highlight of what happened. Each day was filled with activities and opportunities to give back. Toward the end of the week the eight kids all planned a special talent show. That was a highlight of the time there. One of my favorite memories from the week ends of my little boy Aiden (5) doing a lip-synch to the final countdown.

Hope you enjoyed the laugh! 

More soon,

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Simplicity of Organizing Crayons

Okay, so this is silliness but it has really helped my boys. We have taken the time to go through our crayons and sort them by color. Then, we bagged up the extras and gave them to our church for their "kids packs". Another idea is to take them to the local children's cancer center to allow them to use them in their lobby.

We sorted them by color and then put them in little cups by color inside of a $1 bin from Walmart.

Here is the finished product!

Getting punched in the face at Easter!

So this happened..... as we were walking into church this morning, saying hello to some of our friends, some of our new friends, whom I absolutely love, came over to say hi to my smallest child, the mostly mild mannered one, the four almost five year old... 

This woman is a true friend. I haven't met someone like her in years. Like, someone-I-know-has-my-back kind of friend.... I had friends like her in my home town where I would see them and they would somehow instinctively know I didn't feel well, or delight with me when things went well. And, we sort of rode this roller coaster of life together. Like good girlfriends do. I have only met a few of these ladies since landing in my new town and I hold each of them in high regard.

Well, anywho... I was distracted by another friend for a brief second and the next thing I know my sweet son had punched her in the face!!! I, of course, was MORTIFIED, and my husband took him aside and discussed how that was an inappropriate way to greet someone. But, wow.... That happened.... On Easter Sunday. At Church. 

What do you say, sorry my kid punched you in the face, on Easter Sunday??? At Church.... " I can't wait to see you at bible study!?" I wanted to bury my head!

But this is was what was so awesome....  She came up to me after the sermon and I loved her neck and again apologized, and She had the most grace-filled response. She said you know, he's a boy. He's four. And, it doesn't bother me, I don't have little ones in the house anymore so I don't even worry about it, y'all are way more worried about it than me. 

This was just the lesson that I needed this Easter. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Spruce Ups

So this week has been a great time to clean and spruce up the inside of the house for Valentine's Day. 

So I rearranged the living room. Here is the after shot. Very happy to have a spot for everyone to sit and we can still push the couch back to the wall and move the coffee table back for game night. 

Then, I decided I needed to spruce up and make / find some Valentines Day decor. We have some special guests coming for a Valentine's Day dinner so we wanted it to be special.

So... At Target, I got these few items.

Hearts for the back door... $1 each, they're felt and look super cute. And yes I need to clean off the porch, but it's been too cold for that this week so far...

Then... I got a table runner for $3!

Then, I found this awesome little banner that was also $3! The boys and I had fun putting it together.

And I also made the black and white box behind the banner, I'll be posting on that soon.

So then we went to the Dollar Tree. Everything was $1. 

Pink plant stakes - 7/$1

Zebra placemats! If it's wrong to LOVE these, then I don't wanna be right!

And then... 

Some orchid looking flowers to go on the display on the pass through to the living room...

Each sprig... $1.00! Yippee!!!

So, then we took some old scrapbook paper, some card stock and cut hearts. Then I put everyone's name on one and hung them up. Turned out too cute.

Hope you felt inspired to decorate your little corner of the world for Valentine's Day. Love is in the air!

Have a great day friends!!!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

When bad stuff happens!!!!

So here is my rant for the day... People sometimes ask me how I hold it together... Just remember we need to be thankful for all the blessings we have, and try not to worry too much because God's GOT THIS! 

I know it's infuriating sometimes when life throws bad stuff your way, but all we can control is ALWAYS doing right by the kids and taking care of OUR future.

And please understand, I am upset about what we have to face sometimes too! However, if we let OUR lives continually get wrapped in the negativity and/or make bad choices, the enemy WINS. And I REFUSE to let that happen!!!

We are victors and we (us and God) win when everyone grows up healthy and happy and we forgive the past and move on with OUR  FUTURE!

We HAVE to rise above it all...

With God, we CAN!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Staying on track

This new year I want to stay on track. Be consistent and deliberate in everything I do and make time to be creative because that is my outlet! 

Lately, I've been going through things that I had at my old office. You see, I was laid off back in November and went through a very hectic time during the holidays and these boxes had been cluttering up my life since then. I have created a home office space in our bedroom for now. It's not much but it will do.  

I have established a cleaning schedule that I can work around the home school time with the boys. It's not fool proof, but it will allow me to get everything done and still have some downtime for blogging and creating things.

Here is what I did yesterday. My grandmother had these two plaques in her bathroom when we were little so I painted the wood trim black, the hangers silver and hung them in the girls' bathroom. I hope they like them as much as I do!

So there it is, the bathrooms are complete. So thrilled with our teamwork!

My husband bought stained, poly'd and installed the cabinets and I did the organizing, cleaning and decorating.

And here is the girls' bath...

Combined, the bathrooms cost us about $200 in stain, poly and cabinetry purchased. The shower curtain was ours. The girls white memory foam bath mat was at SAMs for about $15, and the boys shower curtain was a gift and the monkey bath mat was bought at Target, both we've had forever. The toothbrush holder cups were $1 each and I bought 6, one for each kid. They were in the office supply section at Dollar Tree.

More to come!!!

Have a great day!