Why It Isn’t Just Another #WorldSeries to Me

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Many years ago, I was born in Ohio. My dad was a die-hard Indians fan. No matter how bad they were losing, he never stopped rooting them on. He’d make me watch the games with him, and I grew up loving baseball.

When I was 11, we moved to Chicago. That’s where I really “grew up,” where I became a teenager, and where everything around me helped mold me into the woman I am today.

cubslogoWe went to Cubs games. A lot. Daddy loved Wrigley Field. When I think about all the Cubs games we went to, I think about the fun we had. We would go to watch Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg play. And we would laugh. Oh, how we would laugh. I remember sitting in pouring down rain having the absolute best time. Or the nights when we would freeze under our blankets, but we weren’t giving up on our Cubbies. I remember singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” under the sound of Harry Caray’s voice during the 7th Inning Stretch.

indianslogoBut, we didn’t just go to Cubs games growing up in Chicago. Whenever the Indians came to play the White Sox, we would be there. In the South Side of Chicago, dressed in full Indians garb, we would be there. Daddy probably knew that alone could have gotten us killed, but he persevered. We’d walk proudly into the stadium and be the only ones rooting for the Indians. Oh, the memories that were made. As I became a teenager, I thought my Daddy was crazy for going into White Sox territory in Indians gear, but I went with it, even when I protested.

In 1997, my Daddy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and that fall, the Indians made it to the World Series. We thought they were going to do it. We cheered and we hoped and we held our breath. But, they fell to the Florida Marlins in the 11th inning of Game 7. Our hopes we dashed, but we never gave up. There was always next season.

In 1998, my Daddy passed away halfway through the baseball season. My world was crushed. I had lost all my hope in the Indians and in everything else.

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As time went on, I continued to love baseball, and I would cheer for both the Indians and the Cubs. It was my way of holding onto my Daddy. I passed my love for baseball, the Indians, and the Cubs onto my kids, and baseball is the favorite sport in our house.

So, this year, when we found out the Cubs AND the Indians were going to the World Series, it became so much more to me than just another game. This was what Daddy and I talked about. This is what we dreamed of. All those years ago, we decided that Daddy would root for the Indians and I would root for the Cubs, but we’d really be happy no matter who won.

Y’all, for these few games, it’s not just baseball. I’ve got my Daddy here with me again. I can watch these games with my kids and relive my childhood. I can share my Daddy with my kids in a way that I never could before.

This isn’t just another World Series for me. This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of, wrapped in a best of 7 series of games. I can’t pick a favorite. I don’t care who wins. I just want to enjoy every game that comes on and make memories with my kids so that some day when my kids are grown and have families of their own, a baseball game will come on and they’ll know I’m still watching it, cheering right beside them.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a New Child

Many prospective parents know welcoming a child into their home will bring change, but they don’t realize their lives are going to do a total 180. It’s an amazingly wonderful change, but when you’re in the middle of it all the change can feel overwhelming. You have to start preparing yourself mentally, emotionally and physically before your family expands.

No matter how you expand your family, whether it be through natural birth, adoption, fostering or surrogacy, preparing your home ahead of time helps you ease into your new role as a parent. It’s so important organizations like SurrogateAlternatives.com provide their surrogate parents with guidance leading up to the delivery.

After having eight kids, we’ve learned a thing or two about getting our home ready for a new family member. Here are five pieces of advice I’d give any new parent.

Prioritize Based on Age
How you prepare depends on the age of the child. If you are having a baby there’s no need to baby-proof the house just yet since they won’t be crawling or walking for 9-12 months. However, if you’re adopting a two-year-old you’ll need to secure everything from top to bottom. Before fostering a tween or teen you’ll want to make sure they have some sort of private area they can make their own.

Divide and Conquer Your To-Do List
Now that you’ve prioritized the to-dos and come up with a list of chores that need to get done ASAP, it’s time to assign them. Taking a divide and conquer approach will help you get more done in less time. It also ensures no one will get burned out and exhausted.

Sit down with your significant other, and older kids if you have them, and go over the task list. Each person should pick chores they don’t mind doing. If there’s something no one wants to do you’ll need to find a fair way decide, like flipping a coin.

Organize Your Family
We have mastered the art of organizing a family. With a family as large as ours, you have to have tight organization or chaos will ensue. But even if it’s your first child, adding another person to the mix means there’s someone else to account for each and every day. There will be new responsibilities, commitments, appointments, etc.

How you stay organized will be unique to your family members and situation. However, the one essential is good communication. As long as you communicate frequently and clearly everyone will be on the same page and less stressed. Come up with a communication plan that highlights the various ways you’ll communicate information. For example:

  • ·  Designate cell phones as the primary contact method for emergencies.
  • ·  Put a daily calendar on the fridge with color-coded days that dictate which family member has something going on.
  • ·  Have a family touch-base once a week to keep everybody updated.

It’s also important to take time to communicate with each other leisurely. Family dinners are a great opportunity for everyone to talk with one another and simply discuss how their day was or what their plans are in the coming days.

Make Enough Space
Even a newborn needs space in your home – actually they need a lot of space. Newborns need to have a crib, a changing station or dresser with a changing table on top, hamper and toy chest among other things. You’ll need to really assess how much room will be needed to accommodate the new family member. It might mean rearranging a few of the rooms or converting a living space into a bedroom.

Let’s be honest – a family can always use a little extra space. That’s why you have to be really strategic with space when the family grows larger.

Stock Up on Supplies
The best time to stock up on supplies is before you have a child in tow (or another child). If you have the financial means and storage space buy everything you can in bulk. You’ll save money in most instances and avoid wasting more time than necessary shopping. Those precious hours can be used for sleep instead.

If you’re having a child you’ll want to overstock every essential baby supply. New parents of a newborn are some of the most fatigued people on the planet. Do what you can to avoid having to shop in the first few weeks.

Easy Steps For Organizing A Family

For most modern families, organization is key. With so many friends, hobbies, jobs and commitments, it can be easy to lose track. Staying organized is crucial for a smooth and harmonious daily life but it is not always easy to achieve. We may feel like we often don’t know what each family member is up to during the week or that appointments and commitments can sneak up on us. There are many advantages to being an organized family that go beyond simply making things run more smoothly. Being organized makes it easier to ensure that you spend quality time together. It makes holidays simpler to plan if everyone knows their commitments, and it keeps morale high. Disorganization can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. They commonly cause tension in relationships and so a disorganized family is often a stressed one. But with a bit of forward planning and communication, you can revolutionize the ways that you and your family get things done.

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Communicate
Communication is a common buzzword in relationship terms. Whether friends, family or partners, we are often encouraged to express ourselves. Communication shows respect and interest. If it is sincere and not accusatory, we should regularly ask our family members what their plans are and share our own. By knowing what is going on in each others lives, there is instantly more to talk about. You won’t feel shut out and neither will they. Communication facilitates more communication. The more openly you share the more likely you are to get the same back. Try to keep everyone involved and updated with your plans and they will soon learn to return the favor. Emails and even an online calendar can be a great way to keep teenagers involved. If they can add an activity to a calendar that is then visible to you they can feel independent whilst still keeping you updated.

Emphasize Quality Time
Organization makes quality time more of a possibility, because you can better organize your time to suit it. But interestingly, family time can also lead to better organization. If we regularly spend time together, we are more likely to share plans and activities for the coming week. We can then chop and change what is inconvenient. We can fit activities around others, and we can schedule in our family time. Quality time is important for family relationships but it also makes it easier to stay organized. It can act like a mini-meeting or weekly debrief each time to catch up on the week and plan the next.

Prep Work
Getting things done in the early mornings or evenings in preparation for the day can be a great way to stay ahead. Many parents swear by the routine of packing bags or lunches in the evening so that they can sleep in a little later and not compete with the morning rush. Prep work doesn’t have to feel like a chore either. If you take something on when the rest of the family are still asleep or preparing for bed it can be valuable time for yourself.

#Sponsored: Show Us Your Smile Contest for Children’s Dental Hygiene Month

sampleDisclaimer: This post is sponsored by Great Expressions Dental Centers. Any opinions expressed are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.

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As a mom of so many kids, lots of lost teeth, and many (many) trips to the dentist, I understand the importance of good dental hygiene! I stress it all the time with my kids.

To encourage children everywhere to participate in good oral hygiene practices, Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) is launching their “Show Us Your Smile” facebook contest this month.

To enter the contest, parents get the chance to submit a photo of their child’s smile for a chance to win a free bike and a movie bundle. Winners will be selected once a week throughout the month of February.

Visit the Great Expressions Dental Centers Facebook Page to submit your entry today!

Remember – the contest runs all month, but once February is gone, so is your chance to win! Head on over and submit your child’s entry today!

When You Tell God No

proverbs 3:5-6

Several years ago, my husband was on fire for the Lord. He had a fire burning within him that I had never seen before. He was always doing something with the church. Always at revivals. Always at meetings. I’ll admit, I was jealous. I wanted in on it. But, I was always stuck at home with 5 or 6 kids, needing so desperately to be fed, but not getting anything.

The next year, my husband started feeling like the Lord was calling him (us!) to the mission field. He approached a trusted man of God about it, and was told that God generally calls men to preach before he calls them as missionaries. My husband felt discouraged and figured, “Well, God must not be calling me to be a missionary.” I wanted to help. I wanted to be there for him. So, I went on a mission. I decided it was time for me to get my life on track. If God was calling my husband to be a missionary, I didn’t want to miss that call. I wanted to love him and support him right through it. I started focusing on my own relationship with Christ. I studied my Bible daily – for hours. I prayed every chance I got. I wanted to get as close as I possibly could so that I could be there for my husband as a missionary’s wife – or in whatever capacity Christ wanted.

But nothing ever came of it. We missed our chance to go off and serve the Lord because we didn’t know how. We didn’t know what steps we were required to take next. We knew what we were supposed to do, but we had no idea how to do it.

We both felt the Lord telling us to leave our church. Not because we were angry at the church, but because it wasn’t where He wanted us to be. We both knew it. We had even discussed it at length.

But, we told God no. We didn’t want to leave our church. We had been at that church since the Sunday after we moved down to Georgia. All of our friends were there. Our family was there. It was all that we knew. We made every excuse in the book to stay. “It will hurt so-and-so’s feelings if we leave.” “Our kids are doing so well in church, and they love going. We don’t want to risk them hating a new church.” “How will we ever find a church that can replace what we’ve found here?”

It was all true. We really did love our church. In the 8 years we were there, I got saved and baptized, and 4 of our children were saved and baptized as well. I would watch as Christ would move in the hearts of my children. Many tears were shed on the altar as we would all bring our burdens to the Lord and leave them there.

But, one thing was happening during this time that I couldn’t fix, no matter how many tears I cried, or how many times I went to the altar. For 3 years, I watched my husband slowly pull himself farther and farther away from God and our church. And the entire time, I knew it was because we weren’t where God wanted us to be. Yet, I stayed. I continued to tell God no.

My husband became discouraged. He has a job that requires him to work on Sunday mornings, so he is rarely at church during the morning worship service. Before, he would always make sure to get off on Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights to still be at church. But, more and more, through the years, he would stop doing that. Instead, he would find just “one more thing” that would keep him busy enough that he would be too late for church.

It tore my heart to pieces. All I wanted was to be in church with my husband sitting beside me, but church was the last place he wanted to be.

So, I approached him about it. The first few times I asked, he gave me excuses: things were really busy at work, he had too much to do, etc., etc.

But, recently, I approached him in a different way. I asked him what he needed to get back to the Lord. I was already praying, but I knew he needed more from me. I wanted to make sure I gave it to him. We talked, we cried, and we both realized we already had the answer: God was calling us to move on. To trust HIM to lead us to a new church, one that He had picked out just for us. All those months, Gene didn’t want to say anything to me, because He had seen how close I had drawn to the Lord, and He was afraid by asking me to leave the church, he would ruin that. If only he had known I was already feeling the same way. Why hadn’t we talked sooner?

The next night, we sat the kids down, and told them that we felt like the Lord was leading us to find a new church. Some of the kids were totally on board with it, but one of the kids was completely against it. He started crying and begged us to change our minds. He didn’t want to leave his friends. He told us he would hate any new church he tried, just so we would change our minds and go back to “our” church.

That next Sunday night, we tried a new church. We spoke with the pastor and found out just how missions-minded their church was. In a church with 95 members, their Faith Promise giving was $46,000 for the year. Did you catch that? On top of regular tithes and offerings, this church had promised $46,000 to missionaries. Amazing.

The first service went really well. It was different than what we had become used to for the past 8 years, but not different in a bad way. Just different. Plus, the people were kind and welcoming, and there were lots and lots of kids.

We went back that Wednesday night, and the kids all went off to their own classes. After the service that night, Jace, (the one who had been so against us even trying a new church), came up to Gene and I and said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t trust you or God. I really like it here. If this is where God wants us to be, I’m OK with it.”

Isn’t it nice to know that even the hardest hearts can be changed?

Before Gene and I committed to anything, we wanted to come to a few more services. I needed to try a Sunday morning without my husband there and make sure I could handle it.

The pastor and his wife came even came over one day to hear our testimonies and tell us more about what they believe as a church.

After every service, and almost every night since we had started attending the new church, Gene and I would talk, and it wasn’t long before we both felt that was exactly where God was leading us.

This past Sunday night, Gene and I, along with 7 of our kids, joined Shining Light Baptist Church.

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(Pictured left to right: Angie, Carly, Gage, Zander, Gene, Sawyer, Jace, Lucy, Parker, and Pastor Tim Mason.)

Yes, we have 8 kids. And, yes, only 7 of them are pictured with us here. Our oldest daughter is 18. Gene and I both feel she is old enough to make her own decisions in the Lord. We had to do something VERY hard, and let her decide where she would go to church. If the Lord is not moving her on, we don’t want to force her. We are praying every day that she will seek only HIS will, and that she will do whatever is right for her in HIS eyes.

I am praying that the Lord will really use us in this new church. We are excited about serving in whatever way possible. I’m praying the Lord will send Gene a man who will truly encourage him in the things of the Lord, who will become his friend and uplift him in prayer. I want nothing more than to see my husband have that fire burning within him again. I know he wants it to, and I’m praying with everything I have that he finds it here, not because of the people, but because of the Spirit. I’m also praying the Lord will send me ladies that I can draw close to, that I can minister to and to learn from. I’m praying that my kids will find Jesus here. That the ones who are saved will cultivate a real relationship with Him, and that the ones who are not saved will discover the love of our Savior and invite Him into their hearts. God can do mighty things, and I’m trusting Him to do just that.

psalm 91:1-4

Sometimes, the Lord calls us to do hard things. Sometimes, we tell him no, and we suffer because of it. Yes, our kind and loving Father still blesses us from time to time. But just imagine the blessings He will give us when we are willing to follow Him, no matter how hard it may be.

Step out on faith. Trust Him to guide your steps. He has your best interest at heart. You just have to let Him lead. And stop telling Him no.

Inspiring Ways To Give Back To Your Community

It has probably been on your mental to-do list for some time now to get more involved in your local community. However, life is busy, and there are often a lot of other challenges and time constraints that get in the way. Well, it is time to stop making excuses, and this guide is here to help.

One problem you may have had is trying to figure out where to begin. After all, a happy and functioning community consists of many parts. It has neighbors that care for each other and help with things they struggle to do themselves. It has those are active within the church, and make it the welcoming and inclusive place it should be. Of course, communities consist of children and therefore consist of schools too. But these sometimes need a little help to run, especially for special occasions. That’s not forgetting older children, who may need a special place to spend time in. Finally, there are the charity shops who may need voluntary assistance to keep running.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some inspiring ways that you can give back to your community. Pick one way, two ways, or go all out and try your hand at each. Get the whole family involved and you’ll make an even bigger impact!

Helping elderly neighbors with their garden maintenance
This first thing on the list is something you barely have to leave the house for. Do you have elderly or disabled people living on your street, or in your area? They might even live right next door! How about popping over one afternoon and asking if there is anything they need help with? They are likely to have some tasks that they struggle to do because of their age or disability. Often, these tasks are out in the garden. It could be a simple case of mowing their lawn whenever you mow theirs. What you are doing is kind and selfless. However, it has the added benefit of keeping your street and local area looking nice. You may even inspire others to do the same for the neighbors. Plus, you never know what they will do for you in return. You might return home one day to find a mean plum pie waiting for you on the doorstep!

Supporting your local church
If you are a churchgoer, how about devoting some of your time to helping and assisting there? You could do this in a number of ways. If they run a Sunday school, but their teacher has recently left, how about stepping forwards? Or, perhaps you could do some fundraising initiatives to raise some money! Bibles, cushions, church chairs and other common items sometimes need replacing, and all of these things cost money. By using your own time and resources to fundraise for these things, you are leaving the men and women in charge to focus on their own tasks.

Run a stall at the school fete
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Teachers work hard enough as it as, and good ones can have a positive impact on your children for life. So, take some of the pressure off them. Doing so gives them more energy to have a good effect on your kids, which is what they’re there for. Teachers and headteachers are often drafted into help and work extra hours at holiday times and celebrations. The school may use this time to run fairs, fetes or fundraisers. Offer to run a stall, or help out with one that is due to be set up. This might be a game to keep kids occupied, or a food stall. Or perhaps you have a special skill that you could put to good use. Maybe you could teach the children a spot of archery, or do face painting, for example!

Weekend work at a local charity shop
The vast majority of charity shops survive thanks to the help of volunteers. The charity shop will likely have limited funds, and therefore won’t be able to pay staff. While this will put some people off, as they won’t earn, that’s not the idea of volunteering! Your commitment doesn’t have to be huge to be inspirational. You don’t have to work there 5-days a week to make a difference.  Just doing a 5-hour shift one weekend morning, or weekday afternoon is enough! It’s also a great way to meet new people, do something worthwhile with your free time. The work is easy and mainly consists of sorting donations and serving customers. There might be a bit of cleaning and tidying involved. However, you can make yourself a cup of tea, put on your favorite radio station and the time will fly by!

Set up a youth club and activity center
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While the last idea of charity shop volunteering required minimum commitment, this is quite a different story! Setting up a youth club, teens activity center or both is an incredible thing to do for your community. However, it is also a big task, so be aware of this. Before beginning, it might be wise to draft in the help of a friend or two! Doing so allows you to split up the many tasks involved, and split the responsibility too. However, the amount of work and effort you put in is sure to be able to how much the kids and teens get out of it. Community youth clubs are a fantastic way of keeping vulnerable young adults off the street and out of trouble. Use the time that they give you wisely. Get teachers, sports instructors and arts professionals to come in and do talks and workshops, for example.

Bag packing at the drugstore
One final idea for giving back to your community consists of bag packing. You could do this at the local drug or superstore. You might not feel like such a small act will make much of a difference. However, while small, it will put a smile on people’s faces for sure! After all, you’d enjoy the same special treat if someone did the same for you!

Stuff You’ll Have To Give Up If You Want To Adopt

Each year in the US, about 140,000 children find homes with new, adoptive families. And those families do the whole nation an incredible service. But, of course, there are some costs that come with adopting a child too. Here are just a few of the things you’ll have to give up if you want to adopt.

Expectations
If you’re looking to adopt a child, you probably have high hopes of what their life with you will be like. But having certain expectations can set you up for a fall. Adoptions are not straightforward processes. They involve people, and people are messy. It’s best to confront adoption with no expectations in mind. Instead, learn to love the way the process itself unfolds.

You’ll face some significant challenges along the way. You’ll have to deal with mountains of paperwork. You’ll have to nurture a child who might have social or behavioral problems. You may even have to take in a child far more quickly than you planned. Adopting successfully means giving up on your prior conceptions of what it should be like. Be mindful that you’re ultimately just going along for the ride.

Control
As an adoptive parent, you don’t have a lot of control over the adoption process. You can’t decide when the child arrives or what they’ll be like. And that means that you really have to change your mindset. Go in with the attitude that says you’re there to provide a safe space for the child to develop. Don’t go in with the idea that your job is to form the adopted child in your image. This never works and is damaging to the child. They are their own masters.

Money
Yes, unfortunately, adoption doesn’t come cheap. If you do end up adopting, expect it to cost a lot. There are, of course, the adoption fees themselves. And because the process is quite involved, these costs can be significant. Then there are the post-placement services, where you’ll receive support after a decision has been made. And then, of course, there are the costs of raising a child, estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Get ready to start spending the vast majority of your money on your adopted child, instead of yourself. You’ll find yourself paying for video games, school trips, and sports equipment. It’s enough to bankrupt most parents.

parenting
en.wikipedia.org

Privacy
It’s funny. Nobody asks any questions about your private life when you have your own child. But when you want an adoptive child, you have to let all your dirty laundry hang out. Social workers will want to know everything about you, from your criminal record to your past relationships. It’s all designed to protect the child of course, but it means that you’ll have to give up that most cherished American value. Privacy.

Not only that, but you can expect the neighbors to start asking questions too. They’ll want to know how you have a child without first being pregnant. They’ll want to know all the gossip about the birth mother. And they’ll want to find out what country the adopted child is from. Be prepared.

Why I Seem to Have Disappeared… Again

As a mom of seven, and a pregnant one at that, one can only begin to imagine the amount of chaos a “normal” day can contain. That being said, since we got home from our vacation, it has been one thing after another, and I have barely had the chance to sit down – let alone breathe.

Our vacation was wonderful, and I have 3 posts sitting in my drafts right now to tell you all about it. We survived a 5 night cruise to Haiti and Jamaica with all seven kids! And it was awesome! I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

However, shortly after we got home, my son Gage had another seizure. (I posted about his first seizure here: My Child Had A Seizure). The second one came on completely out of nowhere. There were absolutely no warning signs this time. It was my husband’s day off, and we had just come home from getting our taxes done. Gage was laughing and playing and running around the house, chasing my husband. All of a sudden, he hit the floor and went into a seizure. My husband stayed right beside him while I called 911, and we took another trip to the ER. Because he had fallen and hit his head, they ran a CT scan. The first scan came back with some abnormalities, and because those abnormalities were right in the area where they had removed the cyst, they did a more dedicated scan of that area. The second scan came back better, but we still need to discuss the results with a neurologist. He was already scheduled to have an EEG done, and that happened on Tuesday of this week. It required a 2 hour drive to TC Thompson Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga, TN. The test was over quickly, and Gage did GREAT. However, thanks to a wreck on the mountain coming home, a detour took us out of our way and caused it to take 4 hours for us to get home. By the time I finally did get home, I was beyond exhausted.

After dinner that evening, my two oldest sons started arguing over dessert. I told them to put the dessert away, get their pajamas on, and get ready for bed. Not two minutes later, one comes running out of the room yelling, “I didn’t do it!” and the other one comes out of the room bleeding from the nose. A trip to the ER and we discovered that my ten year old’s nose was broken in two places. The joy of raising boys! 🙂

brokennose

We had to meet with an ENT/Plastic Surgeon today, and they will need to put Zander’s nose back into place. Because this will be quite painful, he’ll need to be put under anesthesia. We’ll go back on March 12th to have it taken care of.

So, as you can see, things are quite chaotic around here, and I’m trying to find a moment to catch my breath. I’m doing my best to get things back to normal, but until I know more about what’s going on with Gage, I just can’t commit to anything right now.

Thanks for sticking with me… and if you have any prayers you can spare, I’d certainly appreciate them. I’m longing for things to calm down and life to return to normal chaos without all the doctors and hospitals.

I sure hope things are going well on your end! If you’ve got some good news you’d like to share, I’d LOVE to hear it! Just leave a comment below.

Well, That Wasn’t The Reaction I Expected!

Another One is On the Way!
Early in January, hubby and I found out that another blessing is on the way. We had been trying for several months, so it wasn’t that big of a shock. However, my husband is the type of guy that prefers we don’t tell anyone about the baby until I’ve been to the doctor and we know things are all right. While I am terrible at keeping secrets, I’ve kept this secret enough over the years that it doesn’t bother me to wait to share our news with the world.

We found out we were pregnant on a Monday. That Saturday, I was at our church with my 9 year old son, Jace, setting up for a baby shower. My preacher walked in and said, “I heard the good news!” Not having a clue what he was talking about, (because, again, we had told NO ONE the news), I asked, “What good news?” He responded, “That you’re having another baby.” At this point, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. And so did Jace. We hadn’t even told the kids! Jace turns to me and asks, “Are you really, Mama?!” Oh my gosh. I wanted to die. I smiled and told Jace, “Yes, honey.” Then, I quickly turned to Preacher and asked him who had told him. He wouldn’t tell  me. All he would say was that several people had told him over the past few weeks. Few weeks? We just found out 5 days before!

Terrified that word would spread like wildfire, I called Gene in a panic. I told him he needed to sit the other kids down and tell them, and then he needed to call his parents before someone else said something to them. So much for a surprise. I had had big plans of doing a cute pregnancy announcement, but that went right out the window. I was heartbroken and frankly, I was angry. That was OUR news to tell in OUR time. It wasn’t anyone else’s business.

Once word started to spread through the church, our friends, and our family, we got the usual responses, although this time they had a twist. “Eight is enough, right?” “You always wanted 8, so you can stop now, right?” “Another one? Are you crazy?” “Better you than me!” And so on. It hurts so badly when your own family and those you count as your dearest friends can’t just smile and celebrate your joyous news with you.

So, for that very reason, I held off saying anything on Facebook. I just didn’t want to deal with more snarky comments or “Don’t you know what causes that” comments. (Well, that, and hubby still hadn’t been able to get a hold of his dad. We didn’t want to post anything online until we had told him personally.)

I had an ultrasound yesterday, and after seeing that sweet little heartbeat fluttering away, I couldn’t contain my excitement – or keep my secret – any longer. I called Gene and made sure he was all right with my sharing the news on Facebook. After all, he’d have to read the snarky comments too.

I posted a picture from the ultrasound on my personal Facebook page and said, “September is always our busiest month with our anniversary and Jace and Lucy’s birthdays. But this September, things will get even busier. This little peanut is due to arrive sometime around September 16th. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted 8 children. God has seen fit to bless me thus far, and we couldn’t be more excited. God is good!”

I prayed as I clicked the “Post” button, “Please, Lord, give me the strength to handle the comments with grace and dignity.”

I expected the worst. What I got sent me into shock. Instead of snarky, unkind, or just plain rude comments, I received nothing but love, support, and lots and lots of congratulations. I couldn’t believe it. When Gene got home from work last night, we talked about the reaction the post had gotten, and I cried… only they were tears of relief, not tears of hurt this time.

When it felt like everyone else had nothing kind to say, my Facebook friends – a mesh of the most amazing people I’ve known both offline and online for years – made me smile and made me feel loved. It feels great!

I know lots of moms of many that put off telling people they are pregnant again, simply because they’re afraid of the reaction. There is something wrong with that! What is our society coming to when we can celebrate the birth of baby #1 or #2, but let’s not even talk about #5 or #6? Every baby deserves to be loved and celebrated, whether they are an only child or come from a family of 14.

The Bible is very clear on how God sees children:

Psalm 127: 3 -5 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 139: 13-14 “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Mark 10:14 – “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Moms (and Dads!) of many, it’s time for us to do as Psalm 127:5 says and not be ashamed. God has blessed us, abundantly, and every new life that is born into HIS army should be celebrated. And if you are not a mom or dad of many, but encounter one in your daily business, please be kind. They don’t need to hear your thoughts or opinions, unless they are kind. Keep the rude comments to yourself. It’ll just be better for everyone.

And with that being said, I can’t wait for September to get here. 🙂

Have a Bad Mother’s Day? Read This.

Something has rubbed me the wrong way today, and I just can’t keep quiet about it any longer.

My facebook newsfeed today has been full of moms complaining about their Mother’s Day. I’ve read quotes like the following:

  • My husband didn’t bother to get me the $600 bracelet I wanted.
  • All I wanted was a day to myself. So much for that.
  • What a crappy Mothers Day. I’m so tired of this. I just want to be done.
  • All I got for Mother’s Day were stupid handmade gifts from the kids. (This was a direct quote. Someone really said these exact words.) 🙁
  • Can you believe I still had to do laundry and dishes on Mothers Day?

Or my absolute favorite…

  • My kids wouldn’t leave me alone all day!

My heart hurts. When did motherhood become such a bad thing? And why, the one day of the year when we celebrate Moms, do we expect to get a day off from motherhood?

I’m going to remind you all of something you already know: Children are a gift from God.

Psalm 127: 3 – 5
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed.

I’m not just talking about having a large number of children. Whether you have one child or twenty, you have been blessed by God. Our children should be treated as treasures and not as trials.

Mothers Day 2013

I cannot help but think of the fact that we are God’s children. I am certain that not a day goes by where we don’t disappoint Him. Aren’t you thankful that instead of lashing out at us, or being annoyed by us, He loves us anyway? He never takes “time off” from us, either. He is always there, listening, holding out His hand, wanting to be a part of our lives. He spends every moment wanting more from us, and the closer we are to Him, the better all of our other relationships will be. If we spend more time nurturing our relationship with Christ, we will be kind, gentle, loving, and slow to anger with our husbands and our children. Really.

Am I saying that as a mom I never get tired and want to give up? Absolutely not. But my kids don’t know when I’m feeling that way, and I can promise that my Facebook friends don’t know it either.

When I get overwhelmed, I turn to Jesus and change my attitude. I turn on the gospel music station and sing songs of praise, or I take a deep breath and whisper a prayer to pull me through. There are some days when I whisper LOTS of prayers. And at the close of every day, I can still say that I am truly thankful for all that God has given me.

Your children won’t be little forever. Your sink won’t always be overflowing with dishes. You won’t always feel as stressed out as you do right now.

One day, your children will grow up and move out. You’ll be left alone with nothing but your thoughts. If you took the time to love and cherish your children, one day they will love, honor, and respect you. If you spend your time every day letting them know how much they annoy you or what a bother they are, I’d be willing to bet they won’t come around to bother you once they have the choice. You’ll be stuck at home, all alone, just wishing for something as little as a phone call.

If you didn’t get the Mother’s Day present that you wanted, or you didn’t get to sleep in because the baby needed to eat, find a reason to rejoice and praise Him anyway. Be thankful that your child wants to be with you. Be grateful that your child isn’t lying in a hospital bed fighting for life. Be glad that your child loved you enough to make you 15 cards for Mothers Day.

Let your children know how much you love them. Let them know that you value them and WANT to spend time with them. Then, get out there and actually do it! Have picnics, make mudpies, and hug them until they pull away. You’ll both be happier.

Edited to add: Ask a mom that has been trying to conceive about her Mother’s Day. Or ask the mom that has lost a child. Ask them how much your comments about “quitting motherhood” make them feel. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like their answer, because I’m pretty sure that they would give just about anything to experience those moments that we often take for granted. Stop thinking only about yourself and what you don’t have, or you’ll miss the whole world around you and all the blessings you already have.

Becoming a Titus 2 Woman in Today’s World

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Becoming a Titus 2 Woman

For the past few months, I have been doing the Bible Study, “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” (Kindle Edition) with a dear friend.

One set of verses that is referenced over and over in that book is found in Titus 2:3-5.

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

I know that the very first sentence states that it pertains to the “aged” women, and while I don’t like thinking about getting older, I do realize that there are several groups of women who are looking up to me (besides just my children) —

  • My teenage daughter and her peers
  • The young college-aged ladies at church
  • Newly married women
  • Women just starting their families

And when they look to me, I want to be pointing them to Jesus. I would so much rather they look to HIM, but I pray that nothing I say or do could ever be used as a stumbling block if they do look to me.

As a mom of 7, and one that has been married for 10+ years, it’s pretty evident that I fall into the “aged” category now. And the more I read, re-read, and study these verses, the more I want to be this type of woman.

Let’s break it down, bit by bit:

The aged women likewise – We’ve already said who this pertains to: any woman that has someone who looks up to her. (In reality, every one of us can think of someone that looks up to us, no matter what our age or situation.)

that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness  – What exactly does this mean? According to the Strong’s Concordance, behaviour means “a position or condition” and holiness means “reverent.” To me, this section of the verse says that we are to be respectful in all that we do. In fact, according to dictionary.com, reverent means “deeply respectful.” So, we aren’t just to be respectful in any situation, but we are to be deeply respectful. (Boy, is that tough – especially when someone cuts you off in traffic!)

not false accusers – This is easy to interpret: don’t lie, and don’t make up stories to make yourself look better. It is never ok.

not given to much wine – The word given here means, “to be brought under bondage, made a servant.” In other words, don’t let wine (or alcohol) control your life. I do not drink – at all – because of my own convictions from I Corinthians 6:19-20 – “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (For another really good article on why Christians shouldn’t drink, read this one: Seven Good Reasons Why Christians Should Not Drink)

teachers of good things – This is literally translated from the Greek as “a teacher of the right.” Wow. Tugs at the heart strings, doesn’t it? We should know what is right and what is wrong, and we should teach others what is right. Not condemning, not judging, but teaching by our actions.

That they may teach the young women – Why are we doing this? Because of all the women that have been placed under us.

to be sober – This literally means “to make of sound mind.” We should not let anything have control over our minds or bodies (I Cor. 6:12) except for the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18).

to love their husbands – Notice who is mentioned first: our husbands, not our children. Many times, when we become mothers, we make our children our top priority. They should be a priority, yes. It is our duty to teach them right from wrong, and love them. But, we must remember that God expects so much more in our life. We are to first love our husbands. Respect them. Honor them. If we put our relationship with our husband first, it will cause our relationship with our children – and everyone else around us – to be even better. It took me a long time to learn this lesson, especially after being a single mom for quite a few years, but once I “got it,” my marriage has become so much sweeter and better than I ever could have imagined.

to love their children – Yes, we are to love our children. We are not to belittle them or be annoyed by them. We are simply to cherish them. I can’t tell you how much it hurts my heart to see moms on TV or even on Facebook talking about how terrible their children are, or how they wish they could just get away from them. Our children are a precious gift, and they should be treated as such.

To be discreet – This word “discreet” has caused quite a commotion on my blog as of late. While the literal translation of this word is “self-controlled,” I believe there are many ways it could be interpreted. We are to be modest, private, and careful with the words we choose to speak. I know this is easier said than done, especially when it pertains to our words. The world does not need to know how angry you are at your husband in your Facebook status update. There are some matters that are better kept to yourself or brought only before your Savior.

chaste – Literally translated, this means, “morally blameless, innocent, modest, or perfect.” None of us are perfect. We are human, and we fail daily. But, we should be striving for perfection. We do that by keeping our standards high in every area of life. In today’s world, there are no morals. We should stand out from the world so they might see the difference in us. (And they won’t always like it. You will be called things like a “prude” – or worse. Don’t let it discourage you. As long as you are doing what you believe will please your Jesus, that is all that matters.)

keepers at home – This means we are to run our household smoothly, efficiently, and to the best of our ability. I will tell you that this is one area that I have to work to do. Laundry piles up, dishes pile up, and I can’t remember the last time I dusted the mantle. I have given this area over to Christ, and with His help, I’m getting better.

good – This means “valuable or virtuous.” Am I a woman of virtue? One that my husband is proud to show off? One who keeps her standards high? There is nothing I desire more in this world. I made mistakes in the past, but God is using those mistakes to help me teach my teenage daughter the importance of guarding her heart and keeping her mind, heart, and body pure.

obedient to their own husbands – The world today jumps all over the idea that women are to “obey” or “be brought under” anyone. We are taught the exact opposite: you are your own person, no one can tell you what to do. But, God’s word is clear: we are to be under our husbands. To love them and respect the authority they have been given.

that the word of God be not blasphemed – The world will use the Bible against you. I hear it all the time. They justify their actions by interpreting the Bible to mean what they want it to say or by using verses out of context. (We Christians are guilty of this too.) However, if we are living the life of a true Titus 2 woman, and a woman who desires only to please her Lord and Savior, the word of God cannot be truly used against us – or against God. If someone tries, we should have enough knowledge of Scripture to back our choices up.

The Lord convicts different people of different things. I believe He has called me to keep my standards incredibly high on many things:

  • My dress. I have never seen anything wrong with wearing pants, but as I’ve drawn closer to the Lord, I have felt Him convicting me about what I wear. I don’t wear low cut tops (unless they have something under them), and I don’t wear shorts or short skirts. However, now, I have an overwhelming desire to only wear skirts (or dresses) when I leave the house. It’s funny, because I grew up going to a Christian school that only allowed us to wear skirts – and they had to be below the knee. I hated every minute of it and swore I would only wear skirts to church once I graduated and you’d never catch me in a skirt anywhere else. Look how far God has brought me… 🙂
  • Television and movies. My television is not on very often, but when it is, my husband and I are both very careful about what is showing on the screen. Foul language, sex, gore, and extreme violence are just some of the things that cause us to turn off a tv show. Before we rent a movie or see on in the theater, we use Focus on the Family’s website Plugged In to see exactly what we can expect from a movie. This site has saved us from wasting a large amount of money. Otherwise, we would have had to leave the theater or turned off the movie. The same goes for my kids: they don’t watch a movie unless my husband and I have watched it first, or we watch it with them and can turn it off if need be.
  • My words. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt…”  Always. I want to be known as someone who goes out of her way to encourage someone else, not bring them down or hurt them with my words. And this applies to all areas of my life: with my husband, with my children, with friends and family, and even with strangers. A smile and a kind word goes a long way, and I know that my speech can either please or displease my Lord.
  • My disposition. I have always been a “Here I am” type of person. By that, I mean, “I’m right here. If you need me, come find me.” I want to help, and I want to be asked to help, but at the same time, I am very much an introvert and don’t make friends easily. This gives off the attitude that I am a snob or stuck up or, gasp, “holier than thou.” (Man, I hate that term.) I’ve heard it all. And it’s not true – at least it’s not what I’m intending to portray. I just have a very hard time of getting out of my “bubble” and getting to know someone. However, I have fallen under real conviction about this lately. I’m trying so hard to become a “there you are” person instead of a “here I am” one. I want people to know that I care about what they need, and I am striving to reach out and let them know… no matter how hard it is. (And it is hard!)

Having high standards in today’s world can set you apart, and the world will often let you know how much they disagree with you. I have even had Christians tell me that I’m too strict, and if I don’t back off a little, I will regret it. I’ve had people condemn me (good people) because I took a stand against a movie, a book, or a decision they decided was all right for them. I won’t lie, it hurts. But, I’m not living my life to please them or make them happy. I must live my life to please Jesus. He is all that matters.

If it were easy to stand against the world, Ephesians 6:11 – 18 would have been left out of the Bible. We are in a battle, and we must arm ourselves with the proper equipment.

I am so blessed to have several examples of Titus 2 women – Joan White, Deena Stalnaker, Elaine Stephens, Pat Lucido, Glenda Seay, Bonnie Michel, Carol Renshaw, and my mom. These women live their lives daily for the Lord, and through the years, they have all helped mold and shape me into the woman I am today, and the woman I am becoming. I am still far from perfect, and I still seek out these women for Biblical counsel, advice, or to watch how they react to certain situations. I am so thankful for each of these women, the testimonies they have, and their desire to live for Jesus.

I don’t know if this post has helped you, or even just caused you to think. It is simply what the Lord has placed on my heart, and I felt the need to share it with you. It is my desire that we all get a little closer to Jesus and hear His words for us.

If this post has helped, would you let me know? And if there’s something I’ve forgotten, please let me know that as well.

How is the Lord working in your heart? Have you felt His touch lately? Are there changes you need to make in your life, your home, your heart? Are you striving to be a Titus 2 woman? Do you have an example of a Titus 2 woman in your life? I would love to hear from you.

Gage is 2!

It’s so hard for me to believe that Gage is 2 years old today. It seems like just yesterday, it was him that we were bringing home from the hospital. Now, he’s a big brother and constantly helping Mommy out with the new baby.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Here’s Gage just a few days after he was born:

Gage 5 days old

 

Here he is at his birthday party last year:

Gage 1 year

 

And here he is now:

IMG_5525_2

He is such a sweet boy. He loves to snuggle with anyone that will sit with him. He love Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, His Mommy and Daddy, his Aunt Stephy, and junk food. Yes, he has my sweet tooth. And my stubbornness. And my temper. But he gets all his sweetness from his Daddy.

His birthday party is tonight, so you can bet there will be lots and lots of pictures to share soon!

Happy birthday, Gage! Mommy loves you so much!

Family Pictures, Baby Pictures, and More

While I may not be very “on the ball” when it comes to blogging, I AM getting so much done around the house. In fact, last week I even took some family photographs.

Of all of us.

With a self-timer.

And the best part? I actually ended up with a frame-worthy portrait of the 9 of us.

Take a look:

My Family

 

And here’s the one I got of just the kids:

All my kids

 

Aren’t they great?! I love them so much that I took advantage of the special Artsy Couture is having on canvas prints and I ordered each picture as a 16×20 canvas. Can’t wait to get them!

And, since I’m sharing pictures, I HAVE to share my two new favorite portraits that I took of Carly last week.

Carly Grace

Carly Grace

That top one of Carly was my “Must Have” shot. Now, I love it so much that I’m thinking I may need to redesign the blog around it. 🙂

Carly is such a good baby. She sleeps well, eats well, and hardly ever fusses. The kids all still love her, and we have fallen into a nice routine around here. I couldn’t ask for anything more. (Well, maybe a few more non-sleeping hours to get some blogging done!)

I hope life is treating you well. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pictures above.

Day 29: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 29: Today, I am giving thanks for my camera.

30 Days of Giving ThanksWhile I am horrible about actually getting pictures printed, (ask my family – our last printed family portrait only contains kids 1 – 4), I do love that I can use my camera to capture moments like this:

And many, many, MANY more…

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 27: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 27: Today, I am giving thanks for family time.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI love spending time together as a family. Six months ago, family time was pretty rare. Family time as a whole family, that is. The kids and I were always together. My husband, however, worked incredibly long hours, and it seemed like he was always gone. The kids hardly ever saw him, and when we did get family time, hubby was so exhausted that it was difficult for him.

A few months ago, major changes were made at his job, and while not all good, it has given us a lot more family time. And for that, I am very thankful. For the first time in almost 5 years, hubby didn’t have to go into work on Thanksgiving. We got to spend the entire day together as a family. What a blessing that was.

So, while it means we struggle a little harder to make ends meet, I am thankful for the family time we get to enjoy now.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 21: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 21: Today, I am giving thanks for my extended family.

30 Days of Giving ThanksI am so blessed to have such a wonderful extended family. Gene’s mother is absolutely wonderful. She’s someone I can talk to at anytime and about anything. She adores my kids, and she’s always there for all of us. Her husband is also an amazing person. He has graciously welcomed into his family with open arms. The kids just love going to MawMaw’s and PapPaw’s every chance they get. Then, there are both sets of my grandparents, Gene’s grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins. I really have so many people in my life that I’m related to in some way that are such a blessing.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 4: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 4: Today, I am giving thanks for my children.

30 Days of Giving ThanksSometimes I still find it so hard to believe that God has chosen to bless me with 6 precious children, and that we are awaiting the arrival of our 7th blessing. What an awesome responsibility that has been put before me, and every day, my heart is full of thankfulness for each of these children.

Each child has something special to offer… from their sweet spirits, to their contagious laughter. I cannot imagine a moment without each one of them in my life.

My children are healthy, happy, and always have someone there for them. There’s no hope of feeling alone in this family. 🙂

Thank you, Lord, for these amazing blessings. I know they are a gift from you, and I pray that I will always treat them as such. Help me to be the mom that prays, teaches, and loves my children in the way that you would have me to. Help those that are still too little to come to a saving knowledge of you, and those that already have to always heed your words and cultivate a true relationship with you. Thank you for their health, their smiles, and their sweet spirits.

I am feeling abundantly blessed today. God is so good.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Day 3: 30 Days of Giving Thanks

Day 3: Today, I am giving thanks for my husband.

30 Days of Giving ThanksGod blessed me with an amazing husband. Truly, the best in the world. When I met my husband, Ashley was 3 years old. I was very active in the College and Career’s class at my church, and I started dating a guy. Things didn’t work out with that guy, but because of him, I met his brother, who just so happened to be {unhappily} engaged to another girl. (How’s that for a story?!) Long story short, it wasn’t long before hubby ended the engagement, and we started dating shortly after that. I know, I know, it sounds like a rebound situation on both parts, but it really wasn’t. 6 months later, we were engaged, and another 4 months after that, we were married.

Gene is kind, loving, generous, PATIENT, (he has to be – just look who he is married to!), dedicated, hard-working, protective, and he loves the Lord with all his heart. What else could a girl ask for?

I am so blessed to have the man I call my husband. He is my whole world. I love you, honey, and I thank the Lord every day for bringing us together.

What are you thankful for today?

If you are participating in 30 Days of Giving Thanks, please leave your link below. I hope you’ll also grab a button from the sidebar and share it on your blog as well. I’d love to stop by and read your posts on Giving Thanks.

Wordless Wednesday: We Survived Birthday Season

This really won’t be very wordless… I haven’t quite figured out how to keep my mouth shut. 😉

Our first 5 monkeys have their birthdays in July, August, September, and October. Those 4 crazy months are called “Birthday Season” in the Vinez house. But, we just recently celebrated Parker’s birthday… officially ending Birthday Season. Well, until February when Carly arrives and March when Gage turns two and April when hubby has his birthday. Whew. We really are trying to fill up an entire calendar. At least we get the holiday season off and a couple of months after hubby’s birthday.

Since all the kids turned another year older, I thought I’d share a picture from each of their birthdays this Birthday Season.

July Birthday, Zander:


August Birthday, Ashley:

 

September Birthdays, Jace & Lucy:

 

 

October Birthday, Parker:

 

And since Gage’s birthday isn’t until March, I thought I’d share a recent picture of him. This is what happens when Gage gets Doritos and Chip Dip. (Yes, together. If someone else has chip dip, he has to have it too, no matter what he’s eating.)

If you’re participating in Wordless Wednesday (or not-so-wordless, whatever), leave your link in the comments below so I can stop by and leave a comment for you!

Mommy Brag: Kids Singing at Church

I’m going to take a few minutes and brag on my kids for a little while. I’m allowed to do that, right? 🙂

Before I share a video with you, I need to give you a little back story.

If we go waaaaaaaay back, when I was little, my parents had a gospel singing group. They would travel and sing in different churches, and my brother and I went right along with them. Often, we were pulled up on the stage to sing with them. I grew up with a love for singing, and it has never gone away… I just don’t get the opportunity to sing much anymore.

A few months ago, I decided that since I am “mom” to about half of the youth in our church, that we were going to join the Youth Choir. For months, Jace would fight me about this. He refused to sing, and he would stand up on stage, lips tightly closed, and you could just tell that he had no desire to be up there. Drove me crazy. But, I prayed about it (constantly!), and I’d remind him over and over that he was supposed to be singing to the Lord. By not doing his best, he wasn’t making God proud of him.

Something must have sunk in, because just a couple of weeks ago, after Youth Choir practice at church one night, Jace asked me if I thought if anyone would mind if he and I sang a song… just me and him. (My heart soared!)

We started practicing, and soon all the other kids were getting jealous. They wanted to sing too! So, I decided the church would much rather see 4 little ones at the front of the church instead of me, and I bowed out.

Last night, the kids got to stand in front of the church and sing their song. This is just one of the songs I remember singing with my parents all those years ago. Here’s the video so you can see:

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After church last night, Jace told me that he loved singing and that he wanted to do it all the time… and that from the kid that just weeks ago stood on the stage and pouted when it was time for the choir to sing.

God really does answer prayer… even the ones that don’t seem that significant.

I am SO proud of all the kids and how well they did last night. I just need to teach Lucy how to share the microphone so that Parker doesn’t have to lecture her during the song. 😉

Thanks for watching!