Deuteronomy 6:5-9

"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Agricultural fair

Last Friday I took the "fab 5" to the agricultural fair at the State fair grounds. Martie has been extremely busy with school, so we ventured out without him. It was free admission and free parking. My kind of field trip. We had a great time tasting some of our favorite NC foods. (hushpuppies, chicken dumplings, cornbread, biscuits, apple jelly, pancakes, pound cake, bbq....)

I then let the kids ride a few rides. The ride tickets were reasonable, and since we didn't spend any money. :D Ethan got hurt on the last ride. It was the one where he was inside a bubble. (see pictures below) I didn't want him to do it, but it was time to go home and we had just enough tickets. :( I should have gone with my gut feeling. Basically he fell forward and hit his face on the side of the pool. It was very scary. Your baby being inside a bubble with a bloody nose and mouth. But, we all survived. I cleaned him up so I could see where the blood was coming from and realized it was his nose. Thankfully it was our last thing to do, so we left.

Overall it was a super fun day. I was also able to get some brochures from some farms. We've been looking into buying our beef in bulk. (you know like 1/2 cow) Anyone want to join us? They have deals if you have friends that join in and you split portions of the cow. hahaha I know this sounds funny but we are serious. We have the freezer space and it's so much healthier. Imagine that field trip. Come on kids we're going to pick up our cow.They were even patient when I had to feed Carissa.

The three middle children got to shuck the corn with this old ummm machine. I don't know what you call it. hahaha

You can see from this picture how Ethan got hurt.

Enjoying Chicken and Dumplings. Yummo!

Tabitha showing us her hushpuppy. hehehe

Friday, May 21, 2010

2 years ago today

Two years ago today, our precious Tabitha Ruth was born!!! We are so thankful for you Tabitha. I remember being so excited to have another girl. If you were to peek in my windows, most likely you would see Tabitha in a pretty dress, her brother's hat (on backward), socks on her hands, and her brother's shoes on. She is a pretty special little girl. :) She loves to follow her brothers everywhere they go. However, she also loves to cuddle and follow mommy around. I like to say she's a "mommy's girl," but I'm sure daddy would argue she's a "daddy's girl." She is so lovable, she loves to play with her baby, she is always cleaning up behind her brothers, and loves to help mommy with everything.

Tabitha, we love you so much! Your brothers and sisters love you so much! You are a blessing to our family.

6 weeks old (on vacation)

Around 6 weeks (laying on daddy)

At the beach (1 year old)

2 years old (with new sister Carissa)

2 years old!!!
Happy Birthday baby girl!!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Answered prayers about labor

We never gave any details about the surgery, so I wanted to update you all and thank you for praying for us. We checked in the hospital Monday, May 3 at 6:30 am. For the next two hours they prepared me for surgery. (iv, listening to baby, doctor checking on me...) We were not very 'fond' of my nurse. I tried very hard to make small talk with her to get her to lighten up. Funny thing is Martie and I talked on the way to the hospital about being a "light" to the nurses and doctor. We discussed how we were the center of attention, and it was a great opportunity to show Jesus to those watching.

We went back for surgery at exactly 8:30. Surgery went great, and seemed to go faster than I remembered. I told the doctor about my concern with sickness after the surgery. I usually get VERY sick immediately following. They tried something different with me this time. (as they do every time) I was a little skeptical, but I knew many were praying. Praise God, I did not get sick! This was a blessing in so many ways. One because throwing up after your stomach has been cut open is NOT fun. Two because my nurse was not so friendly and would not let me nurse Carissa until I was "stable." In times past I've held my babies, nursed, given them to someone, thrown up, and then take them back. :) I just want my babies after I deliver. Lastly I'm thankful that I didn't get sick because we really had a weird circumstance in surgery with two of the nurses. I'm hoping Martie will blog the details. But in short it was about us taking Carissa to our room and not the nursery. I'm thankful for my husband standing his ground, but it was very awkward.

We stayed in the recovery room for a hour, and were then moved to the after care hall. We had many of the same nurses and hospital pediatricians. (whom we loved) It was nice getting to that room. That's when all the children were able to come in. Martie wrote down Carissa's name, weight, height on a piece of paper and folded it up VERY small. He handed it to one of our family members in the waiting room and called the children back. They walked in the room where Carissa and I were staring into each others eyes, and waited. Because she was wearing a yellow hat they still didn't know... boy or girl. I said come meet your sister Carissa Nicole. They all smiled and showered her with kisses. So below are some pictures from that moment.

The reason for her name. Carissa-beloved/grace; Nicole-victorious people Yes, we did have her name chosen before we got to the hospital. But we did decide the night before. :)

Thank you all for praying for us. I know that God honored your requests. I hope that we were that "light" that Jesus called us to be that day. I know that he gave us plenty of opportunities. :D
I am one blessed mama!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carissa- one week

Well its been a full week! I have to admit there's not much adjusting to do from four to five. I might think differently as Carissa gets older and school gets into full swing. I did teach them today. My mom has been here helping out so things went a lot easier. I am very tired, and I've probably done too much today but I really want things to return to normal.

We are so thankful for our friends and family who have been providing meals. It has been so helpful to not have to worry about dinner. I'm also grateful for my mom, sister, and inlaws who have all taken turns coming and helping me out. Martie went back to school today. I was very nervous, but it helped knowing my mom was here. I'm still very limited in what I can do or lift. That is probably the hardest thing to me. I want to scoop up the other children and love on them, and I physically can't. I know I need to heal, so I need to be patient.

Now here's the "good" stuff, the things you all really wanted to see... pictures!

Friday, May 7, 2010


This is Heather. I wanted to write a short blog to let you know how thankful I am. God has blessed me so much.

First, I have the best husband a wife could ever want. A servant, a true servant. Since going to the hospital to have Carissa until now he has been consistantly "laying down his life" for me. I know he has a lot going on with work and school. However, you would not know his stress. It's the little things that I appreciate so much. He forced me to lay down and rest when I didn't want to. He knows that I need to sleep. Before bed he had my medicine with orange juice sitting beside our bed waiting for me. He offered to sleep on the side closer to Carissa so that I wouldn't hurt myself picking her up out of the bassinet. Those are just a few of the many constant ways he has practically been "laying down his life" for me. He his a man who loves and fears the Lord and I am so thankful for Him.

Second, I am so thankful for my children. Tuesday, my sister brought them to see me in the hospital. Ethan had insisted they bring our family bible. His reason was no one can read to us but daddy. When we came home from the hospital he made sure we didn't forget to bring it home. They all love Carissa so much and show it in their own little ways. I loved looking at Andrew's eyes light this morning as he looked over the bassinet at Carissa. He was trying to get her to say, "Andrew." Tabitha still refuses to say her name, but kindly refers to to Carissa as "baby." Taylor wants to hold Carissa all the time. She amazes me with her natural mothering ways. She spent Monday at the hospital with us. While there she cuddled me in the bed, gave me my food, and just took care of me. I love my children and am so thankful for them.

Third, I am thankful for my sister. While all of my family has been over the top caring for me and our other children, my sister has really amazed me. She has shown sacrificial love. Unlike most girls in their twenties she wants to be here helping me out. She slept here with our children a couple of nights while we were away, she fed them, prayed with them, and made sure they were taken care of. Martie and I didn't have a bed frame, well when we got home yesterday we had one. My sister lovingly gave us hers. I love her so much and am so thankful for her.

Lastly, I am thankful for my family and friends. God continues to bless us with amazing people in our life. Weeks before I had Carissa, some friends of ours brought us dinner and "treats" for the other children. The church and other friends of ours are bringing us meals. My mom has been here assisting Alley at times, running errands for us, washing dishes, and she cleaned our bathroom. My dad and in-laws have helped take care of the other children while we were at the hospital. My dad wants to get them sometime this weekend also. My mother in-law is coming today to help out. Martie is officiating a wedding Saturday, so he has the rehearsal tonight.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Please Pray

Will you pray for Heather this morning? She has been very dizzy and nauseous. They are attributing this to the blood loss and low iron. There was some talks of maybe doing a blood transfusion, but they have decided against that for now. They have decided when she goes home to put her on a lot of Iron, with the hopes she will recover within a month. The nurse told Heather to rest for a while and see if she feels better in a couple of hours.

If she doesn't get to feeling better they will not let us go home. I am o.k. with this if she still needs recovery time, but Heather is anxious to get home and see the rest of the Fab 5. Pray that Heather will get some needed rest and for her complete recovery.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Heather and Carissa Update

Carissa is doing really well. She had her hearing checked and other tests ran yesterday and all is well. She has continued to lose weight, which is something you can be praying for. When she was born she was 7lbs 11oz. After the first day she was down to 7lbs 4oz and now she is down to 7lbs even. She seems to be eating really well and Heather's milk seems to have come it this morning. We believe the reason for the weight loss is her multiple bowel movements. (I'm not going to say who she gets that from)

Heather is doing really well. She has had several things going. Her incision continued to bleed initially and they had to put a pressure bandage over it. I should have known, when a crew came in to put the bandage on, that it would be painful. Painful was an understatement. Heather yelled and cried quite a bit, even after they finished. Since then they have removed the pressure bandage and the first couple layers of skin as well. These places are beginning to scab up and are not hurting nearly as bad.

Heather was able to get a shower for the first time last night, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Sleep, who needs sleep? Heather and I actually did get some sleep last night. Heather got less than I, because she tried to take less pain medication, thanking she could do without as much in the middle of the night. Well, she was wrong and had a hard time sleeping until she was given more pain medication. Heather's incision has not healed liked they had hoped and she will have to have the staples in longer than they expected.

Carissa has done her best crying this morning. For the most part she has been amazingly quiet, but she had a rough time early this morning. She continues to eat well and is very alert.

Thanks for all your prayers. We have continued to try to honor our Lord while here in the hospital. We have faced many challenges which I'll blog about when time allows.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Why Five?

This evening I have had only a few moments of silence. Between serving Heather , monitors going off, Carissa needing changing, etc I have had only a few moments of serious thought and reflection. In those brief moments I have turned to the Scriptures for wisdom, strength and hope. I have to be honest and confess that I need the encouragement that only God and His Word can provide.

Surrendering all of your life to the Lord is not always easy in a world that is opposed to the things of God. One area of surrender that seems to be at odds with what the world thinks and all to often what the church thinks is the desire to have multiple children. Why have we chosen to have multiple children? The answer is really simple, I believe the Bible is sufficient to guide all of life's decisions. Here are just a few Scriptures that I believe God was serious about when He chose to record them for us.

Genesis 1:27-28 states that God made man in His image and commanded them to be "fruitful and multiply" and "fill the earth." If you have heard me speak to this text, I believe implied in this command is to "fill the earth" with worshipers. God is passionate about His creation worshiping Him as He created them to do. If God is passionate for future generations to be raised up to worship Him, then I want to make that my passion also.

In reading Genesis30 you will discover in verse 2 that God is the one who withholds children from some and in verse 22 God opens the womb of others. When God opens the womb and blesses it to bear a child, what He has done is "endowed me with a good gift." This good gift is a child.

Probably the most notable of all of Scripture is Psalm 127. There children are described as a gift or blessing from the Lord. If that was not clear enough Solomon uses the very language of God stating that children are"fruit" of the womb and a reward.

I am often asked "are you crazy", "are you going to have more", "how many children do you want" or people state that "you are better (or more brave) than I am." One thing I want to make clear is that I do not see myself more spiritual or better than anyone else, nor do I judge people for not having larger families. Remember I also believe the Lord can close the womb just as easily as He opens it. When asked the questions above, I typically find that they are being asked out of ignorance of the Scripture. I usually respond "we want to have as many children as the Lord will give us." If the Lord wants to give us five, then I want five. If twelve children our God's plan for our family, who am I to say to God's plans are wrong?

Last night I met a mother who had just delivered her second child. I congratulated her on the birth of her baby girl. This lady shared with me that her oldest was a 5yr old boy and that she had finally gotten her girl. "Now I am finished" she exclaimed. The inevitable question was asked, what did you have. I responded that we had a baby girl and she was our fifth child. Her response was "GOOOOOOOOOD LOOOOOOOOOORD!" To this I responded, Yes He is a "good Lord." In that moment of awkwardness I wanted to rush to a mirror and see if I really looked like a four-headed creature from another planet that I was perceived to be. Instead I went on to share with the lady how God had been good to us and blessed us with this precious little one. I shared how God will supply all of our needs and will take care of us and our children. By this time my coffee was ready and she finished gathering some late night snacks.

This lady's response is for the most part normal. Why is this the norm? Why is the norm with followers of Jesus? One of the conclusions that I have come to is the "Father of Lies" is seeking to distort the God's passion and plan for generations to be raised up to worship Him. Our family is open to the Lord's guidance in planning our family. We seek to honor the Lord by being intentional in training the children the Lord gives us to be passionate for God and passionate to see all nations worship Him. Please pray for us that God would enable us to teach and train the little ones He has entrusted to us. Pray that we would continue to put the Lord first in all things and ask our Father to protect us from the enemy who's plan is to steal, kill, and destroy. Pray that we would be honor our Lord by being a light in this dark world.

Four no More!

Welcome Carissa Nicole Mangum
born: 9:12am
weight: 7lbs 11oz
length: 19.5 in

Both Heather and Carissa are doing well. Thanks for all of your prayers and support.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.a
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

Psalm 139

Coming Soon!

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things to pray for....

In about 24 hours from now, we'll be meeting our newest blessing! We are very excited. I thought I would give those of you who are praying for us, things to specifically pray.
  • My anxiety. My trust is in the Lord, I know that He is sovereign. But I get scared just like anyone. I hate surgery, I would rather push out 10 babies, than go through this. But, this is the path God has chosen for us to have our children.
  • I get very sick immediately following surgery. They always put some kind of morphine mixture in my iv after they get the baby out. This medicine makes me VERY sick. Hours of vomiting. It makes it difficult to nurse and cuddle my baby.
  • Pray that I can hold and nurse the baby immediately. We don't let the baby go to the nursery, Martie gives our babies their first bath. They are with us constantly. This can be difficult with me getting sick and trying to nurse.
  • Pray for Martie. His back went out last Wednesday. Plus he has his own fears I'm sure. (although he doesn't voice those to me) :)
  • Taylor gets very nervous. She understands what goes into the surgery and it scares her. She also sees me very sick afterward.
  • Pray for all the children while we are at the hospital. Pray that they will glorify God with their words and actions. (especially since we won't be around to remind them) :)
  • Rejoice with us! Praise God for His sovereign will!
  • Lastly, pray for us to choose this babies name!!! That's right we STILL DON'T have a name. Trusting the Lord will give it to us at the right moment.
Thank you all, we will keep you updated over the next week. If you leave a comment, make sure you type your name at the end of the comment if you don't have a google account.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I need one more day of energy...

I'm not feeling very good today. I actually woke up some last night from contractions. I really would like one more day with energy.... but I don't know if that's happening right now. My hubby is exhausted. I kept him up last night tossing and turning and then he had the flea market this morning.

So, I'm praying God would be gracious to me and give me one more day with energy.