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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are we crazy?

As you can imagine we get asked lot's of questions. Actually I'm so used to my life that I forget that we look "different." I don't consider us having a large family when I look at some of my friends who have 6, 8, 10... But the reality is, we don't look like your average family. I'm going to try to answer some of the questions that I've been asked, or respond to the comments that I hear.

1. Do you want more? YES! We would welcome more either biologically or through adoption. When we say, "Children are a blessing from the Lord," we truly mean that. Just as you might say, "God has blessed me financially, or with my health, or with my family..." God has blessed us with children. I would never turn down or want to miss out on a blessing that God might have for me. God has trusted my husband and I with one of His greatest blessings, the responsibility to teach and train these little ones to follow Him.

2. How do you do it? The grace of God! I know that sounds very cliche', but it's true. Clinging to Him, His word, and prayer. God gives me everything I NEED. I would also say by the forgiveness of my husband and children. I make many mistakes, but hopefully they are witnessing God's grace and transforming power in my life.

3. You homeschool! Wow! Okay, that's not a question but it is the response I hear when people find out that we educate ALL our children at home. Truth is I could do a whole blog post on questions I get on this subject. In short though: yes I teach them all, no I don't have any "formal" training, yes I test them, yes it is hard teaching a 7th grader, 1st grader, Kindergartner, and Preschooler, while taking care of a nursing baby, yes I get tired, yes we keep a schedule, no we don't follow it exactly, yes I'm more concerned about their relationship and knowledge of Christ than I am with their formal education, yes I want my children to excel in there formal education, yes we will teach them all the way through high school.

So again, we feel that it is our responsibility to teach and train our children. One key verse for us is Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently..when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise up..."

4. How can each child get the attention they need/desire? This is a good question, but one that I believe people are misconceived by. Most of the time people that ask this question don't have that many children so they only have to focus on 1, 2, or 3 children. It's not that easy to understand unless you have more. God truly multiplies our time with all of our children. Martie and I have such a unique relationship with each one of our children. I would like to answer this question in 2 ways.

First, we want each one of our children to have that special time with us. We tell each one of them that they are, "Our favorite Taylor, Ethan, Andrew, Tabitha, or Carissa." We mean it! Taylor loves it when her and Martie randomly stop at Starbucks or go on a "date." She loves baking with me. Ethan loves to cuddle. He'll crawl up in our lap and just cuddle. He likes for us to read to him and play video games with him. Andrew always sneaks in the bed with us. He likes to give me "Andrew love," when I'm running low on it. He is our helper, don't sit him in front of a television. Give him something to do. He helps me in the kitchen with dishes, dinner, setting the table. He helps daddy fix things. Tabitha, oh Tabitha. She is our comedian. She loves to make all of us laugh. She probably has the BIGGEST personality of anyone. She loves to tag along with me, is very content just sitting with me. But in the next minute she could be rolling on the ground with Daddy and the boys. Carissa, my sweet baby girl. Her special time comes every time I nurse her, when she's in her baby carrier, when I'm changing her diaper. She gets lots of kisses, cuddles, and songs.

The second way that I would answer this question is probably hard for some to understand. I think having more children means they get more attention. They live with their best friends, they don't necessarily want "alone time." We live in a country where children have anything they could want, but is that always the best for them. What is that teaching them? I don't want them to grow up with a "it's all about me" perspective. I pray that having a large family with lots of brothers and sisters helps them to be selfless. I want them to give away their last piece of candy, share their favorite toy, comfort their hurting siblings. I want them to be willing to "sell all their possessions" and follow after Jesus.

Hopefully I've answered some of your questions. I pray that God would use our family's convictions to help some of you. There are lot's of other questions that we get, maybe I'll post more at a later time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ever want to press pause?

Here are some of the "not so fun things" that happened while we were in New Mexico. A day before we left, we took Tabitha and Carissa to the doctor. Carissa's ear infection still did not clear up. (double ear infection again) Both of the girls were treated for conjunctivitis. That's right! Right before a 26-28 hour car ride. Ethan and Taylor were next to get it. So our pediatrician was nice enough to call in extra drops. So we left with 3 bottles of prescription eye drops.

I really thought it was under control. I thought Andrew, Martie, and I had escaped it. Half way through the trip my dad got it! A day after being in NM Andrew and Martie got it. Sometime in there, my brother, Melanie, Micheal, and my sister all got it!!!! I somehow escaped it all. I think it was because I was walking around with Clorox wipes and sanitizer.

We went to Melanie's dads house one night for dinner. (which was wonderful) Until Carissa screamed out and passed out in my arms! Yep, she went completely limp and passed out. She finally came to and then look very dazed. She kept trying to go back out, but we took her outside. She eventually was back to herself. We left his house right after that.

A few hours into the same 26-28 hour drive home Tabitha started throwing up! So unplanned pit stop number one. She rode with a trashcan the rest of the way. She only threw up once more. We did stop by a Walgreens. I bought something for nausea.

A couple of days after being home Andrew woke up from his sleep throwing up. He spent the following 24 hours sleeping or just laying around.

Somewhere in all this my wonderful friend Danielle experienced over 21 hours of labor. (which I was there for) I went home from that thinking I was getting sick. Only to realize I felt sick because I missed 3 "feedings" and all I ate was a bag of M&M's, a donut, and a slice of lemon pound cake. hahaha Not to mention the 2/3 cokes.

Yesterday I took the 4 little children to the library. As I was putting them all in their car seats Carissa started crying. Guess what? Yep, she passed out again! This is the scariest thing that I've experienced with one of my children. My body literally shakes all over after it has happened. I forgot to tell you that she almost passed out a second time in NM, her lips turned blue and everything. Martie took her outside and she got her breath again. She has an appointment in the morning for this. Poor baby has a doctor's appointment almost every week. Next week is the appt. with the ENT.

My hubby came home tonight from school with the chills, aching, and throwing up! I need to restock our anti-bacterial soap and hand sanitizer.

Sorry this wasn't a very encouraging blog, or maybe it was for you. You may be thanking Jesus right now that you don't have this many germs in your house. hahaha But it's times like this I wish I could say....Pause please! I need a moment. I need to get caught up on the kids school work, laundry is back out of hand, I need to reply to some emails, I need to make sure the library books are separate from the books we bought today, my floor really needs to be vacuumed, swept, and mopped, how can I make my hubby feel better, no one let Carissa cry (hahaha).... I could go on, but what I really need is Jesus! That's all I need! The other stuff will happen, I know this.

So in this moment I'm pressing pause on everything that needs me right now, only to cling to Jesus. He is my strength, my rock, my provider, my friend, and my daddy.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

social club or lifestyle?

I recently asked the question on fb, "How can you tell if a person is a Christian."

I got some of the expected answers, such as, "You will know them by their fruit." But what does that look like? What is this fruit that the Bible speaks of?

Another friend and I were talking about her mothers lifetime (around 50 years ago or so). She was explaining to me how committed families were then. They went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. They were intimately involved in each others lives. However this is the generation that raised children that are NOT dedicated to church. These are the same people that fill the pews today, but are not willing to change things for the sake of Christ.

Today we have people that come to the church building on Sundays, but it's too much to worship Sunday nights. Wednesday's are just too busy for prayer. We have work, the children, school.... Some can't make it on Sunday mornings because they've had a hard week, they need some "rest."

Okay, so I am on another one of my little rants. Bare with me. I hope to clear things up in the following paragraphs.

I think we have made "church" into a social club, or something else added into our already busy life. We get excited because we pull off "successful" events like Awana, VBS, carnivals. But the excitement soon wears off, and follow up is the church's main problem. Instead I think church is a lifestyle. Sure you can have events, sure you can have church socials, but if you are not living as the church everyday then your relationship with Christ can be questioned.

1 Corinthians 4:1, "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy." That is in all areas of our life. When we go to a place of vocation, it is for Christ. (not for us or our financial gain) When we teach our children, it is for Christ, not for our popularity. When we serve our brothers and sisters, it is for Christ, not for our recognition. Our every breath, every moment here on earth is for Christ. We don't get to take a break, go on vacation, or rest from being a Christian.

This is one reason our family chooses to still go worship with the church when we are out of town. Worshiping corporately is important, sitting under the preaching and teaching of the Word of God is essential to our growth as believers. Paul states in Colossians 1:18 (in speaking of Christ) "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." Vs. 28-29 Paul says, "We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."

I fail, I know I do. I am not diligently seeking the Lord in all things. I do not take advantage of each moment to tell someone about the grace of God that has so freed me. I am not patient. I get anxious. However, I have convictions. My heart aches just thinking about the times that I have failed in my walk with Christ. How much more could he have used me? So it is today that I press on. I am reminding myself, "Only one life will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last."

I leave you with 2 Corinthians 13:5-11

5Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? 6But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. 8For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. 9For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. 10For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. 11Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thanks and good bye

Cam, Melanie, and Micheal,
Thank you so much for inviting us to "invade" your space for over a week. You all sacrificed a lot! We had so much fun with you guys. All of our children loved playing with Micheal. (and Blue) hahaha From mountain climbing, video game playing, movie watching, shopping for sling shots, I think they're all worn out. Many memories were made and that makes me so grateful. I love you all!

Thank you for letting me "play" with my new camera at your expense. hahaha I know you got tired of me, but I hope you enjoy your pictures! :)

I am so thankful that we were able to share in this moment. I am so proud of you Cam. I can't wait for the special day. Let me know if there is anything that I can do. I promise to be available when/if you need me, and to back off when you need space. :-) I am so excited to gain a sis-in-law, and nephew.

Dad and Alley,
Thank you for this gift. Alley you thought that it would be difficult to top the Carolina Basketball tickets, well I think you topped yourself. ;) We had an amazing time. This was a trip that would normally be impossible for our family to take. I love you both so much. Thank you for your patience with me and the children. ;) Thank you for the memories.

We can't wait to see you Cam, Melanie, and Micheal this summer! For now we love you, thanks, and good bye!
Martie, Heather, Taylor, Ethan, Andrew, Tabitha, and Carissa

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday- day in the desert

We drove about 15 minutes out of the city today, to the desert. This was confusing to Andrew because he knew that we were already in the "desert." But where we drove today is a place my brother goes to ride his 4 wheeler. You can see for miles, the clouds look as though they never end, there are very few houses, lots of cacti, and random cows. The few houses we saw were very strange. They were the size of those portable storage things. They didn't have windows or electricity. We saw one adobe home, and it had a huge hole dug beside it with a van backed down into the hole. I don't know if the person lived under ground or what. It was very interesting.

Here are the pictures from our day.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Yesterday was a very FULL day. We woke up around 3 am and left the house by 4am. We arrived in Alamosa, CO around 8:00. We stopped and got some breakfast and then headed to the train station. We boarded around 9:45, and left at 10:00 am.

Everyone was excited but already tired from a long morning. We had not been on the train long when my sister called us all to the back of the train. This is where my brother was waiting. I started "practicing" with my camera. Then my brother got on one knee and asked his girlfriend Melanie to marry him. It was very sweet and we are so excited for them.

We had a 3 hour ride and then we stopped in La Vita, CO. It is a very cute town. The population is less than 1000 in the winter. We played in the snow, Martie bought books (of course), the kids had homemade ice cream ($1.50 for a huge scoop), and we had a little free tour of a fort. There were 2 deer inside the fort area that were obviously not scared of people. We could almost walk up to them.

We boarded the train for the second time and headed back. On the way home the adults worked hard to listen to the Carolina/Duke game on Alley's computer. It was a long but great day.

We worshipped at Mars Hill Albuquerque today. I was so happy to spend the Lord's day with my brother and his family, my sister, and my dad. Stay tuned for pictures, it's taking too long to upload them right now. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011


Today we were planning to go to the mountains, but decided to stay around town instead. We are going to Colorado tomorrow morning. It will be a long day and we wanted to go to bed early tonight. Instead we went to "Old Town." This is a block in Albuquerque right off Route 66. It was the old downtown. Then we drove down Route 66.

We plan on attending Mars Hill Albuquerque on Sunday. This is the church where Mark Driscoll preaches out of Seattle, Washington. The church here is one of their satellite churches. We drove by the theater where they meet. I am excited about worshiping with my family Sunday.

We came home and ate Spaghetti, salad, and bread. Gave all the children baths and put them to bed. As I type this everyone is asleep except Martie, Taylor, and I. I just finished some laundry and packed our lunch for tomorrow.

Tomorrow we have to leave here by 4:00 am. We are going on a scenic train ride in Colorado. It is about a 4 hour drive to get there. I am excited about this. I will have lots more to blog about tomorrow.


Yesterday was a relaxing day, I would call it our "adjusting" day. After a 28 hour car ride we needed a down day. Dad and I put together a meal list for the week. Then Melanie, Dad, and I went to the grocery store and Walmart. (where I showed them my mad couponing skills) hahaha Just kidding, I actually didn't have that many coupons for the things we needed.

I was happy to get out (even to the grocery store). It was late when we got here the night before, so I couldn't see anything. It is so beautiful here. Very different. I love the huge rocky mountains. We plan to go see them today. We stopped by Micheal's school to drop something off. It's really great to see where my brother and his family are living. I am so excited to be here.

Later that afternoon I needed to go back to Walmart for some foil trays. So I asked my brother to take me. It's only a couple of blocks away. I asked him jokingly at first to ride me on his motorcycle. Minutes later I was talked into hopping on. Thankfully he went very slow to keep me comfortable. It was fun spending that special time with him. I miss him.Did I mention my brother has 2 dogs. One is actually a horse. He comes up to my waist. I was nervous about this at first, but I have to say these are the most well behaved dogs I've EVER met. Very sweet. We have laughed at "Blue" the big dog so much. He is huge!!!That evening I made enchilada casserole and rice for dinner. I also made a banana pudding for dessert. Micheal fell asleep before dinner and Andrew fell asleep at the dinner table. They were wiped out. We had a great day just hanging out together, I am looking forward to the rest of the week. I need to read up on this new camera so I can get some great pictures.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The one who sits at my feet....

I'm interrupting our series of posts of the vacation. This is a blog that has been on my mind. I just haven't had the time to sit and type. Vacation is that perfect time.

Carissa is officially 10 months. She has been my rather, ummm 'needy' child. She has had several sicknesses, she took forever to sleep through the night, I really had to train her on her nap schedule...So when I say needy, I really mean just different from the other children. However, they're all very different. She has required a little more of me.

She has always been a "mommy's girl." She loves her daddy, brothers, and sisters. But if mommy is in the room, she wants me. I have to confess there have been times of frustration with this. I have at times walked out of the room so that she doesn't see me, I have tiptoed by a room that she was in, I have shut doors so she can't see me... She is very content unless she see's me.

One of Carissa's favorite places is in my arms. She's also very content sitting on my lap or at my feet. She has sat at my feet while I washed dishes, got ready for church, read to the boys... It doesn't bother me now. I see it as a blessing.

God has shown me something amazing. Carissa knows who provides for her, she feels safe with me, she trusts me. Sure she can be 'content' with others or in other rooms of the house. But she is most content just sitting at my feet.

The Lord reminded me of the time that He was visiting His good friends Mary and Martha. (John 12:1-11; Luke 10:38-42) Martha was busy serving. She built up resentment to Mary, her sister, because she was sitting at Jesus' feet. Jesus quickly corrected Martha and said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

See the connection I made was this. Carissa really wants and needs me. She knows that I feed her and that makes her very content. She knows that I protect her, and that makes her very comfortable. God is my Abba (Father), I need Him. He is my source of nutrition, both physically and spiritually. I get all I need from Him. So only one thing is "necessary," sitting at His feet.

What does that look like? Remember when I walk out of the room, Carissa cries. She wants to see me. I should desire to be that close to Christ my Savior. I should cry out to Him, when I don't feel His nearness or when I've turned my own way. Carissa crawls beside me, looks for me, and is completely content with just me! Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing if we desired our Abba in that way.

However we don't always see our 'need' for God. We think that we actually can do things on our own. Our attitude at times can almost be so prideful that we think God needs us! Think about it. He needs me to raise these children to follow Him, He needs me to help my friends, He needs me to serve, to tell people about Him... Truth is He doesn't! I love Numbers 22:23-30. In these verses God uses a DONKEY to get the attention of Balaam. I am quickly reminded that the God that created everything and who can destroy everything my His very words, doesn't need me.

God loves me and He desires all of me. That's why He tells Martha, only one thing is necessary and that is "sitting" at His feet. Like Carissa with me, I need to look for Him, desire to be with Him, cry out when I don't 'see' Him. It's so easy to get distracted with other things, like Carissa is when she doesn't see me, or like Martha was with serving Him. I pray that the Lord will help me today to be more like Mary or like Carissa is with me, because only one thing is necessary.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

almost there!

Well it's 8:30 North Carolina time. We just crossed the Texas border. (so it's 7:30 here) It's been a long but great day! The kids have been amazing. They have colored some, played some, played eye spy, and watched one movie. (they didn't even finish that movie) I am so surprised they haven't used any of the other electronics that I came prepared with. I packed plenty of movies and the Nin. DS w/ games. They have been completely content just sitting, talking, and playing quietly. AMAZING!

We've had perfect weather. Traffic has been pretty good, except the expected times and a little construction. We expect to be at my brothers around 11:00 New Mexico time (1:00 NC time). I imagine the kids will fall asleep shortly since it is their bedtime. It will be interesting to see how they adjust to the time difference, especially Carissa.

I can't wait to update pictures, Martie took lots on the way here. Maybe tomorrow I'll get those uploaded.

... and we're off!

Headed to New Mexico that is!

It has been a rough week. On Saturday night Carissa and Tabitha developed an eye infection. Carissa had been showing signs of sickness and by Saturday she was just not feeling good. Fortunately Sunday morning our doctor fit us in. Carissa had another double ear infection. The good thing is we got the antibiotics and eye drops before we left for our trip.

So Monday and Tuesday were spent washing hands, light switches, door knobs, blankets... and anything else ANYONE touched! Even though I tried very hard to keep the eye infection from the others, Taylor and Ethan caught it. Somehow Andrew, Martie, and I have stayed clear. (thank God) I was not able to get through my lists as quickly or as organized as I would have liked.

We left around 10:45 Tuesday night. I'm realizing all that I forgot. My boys new water bottles that I bought especially for this trip, a cup for Tabitha and Carissa, to leave the key for my Aunt, and most importantly the pack and play for Carissa to sleep in!!!! AAAAGGGGHHH!!! I get so frustrated when I forget things. It usually doesn't happen because I go over my list about 100 times. However this time, I have been dealing with other things and trying get everyone well before we leave.

I did remember to call the doctor and get extra eye drops for anyone else who might get this infection, kids blankets, and their favorite stuffed animal, their school lessons (and some fun stuff), and of course SNACKS! Two baskets of snacks! :)

Well, I will hopefully be updating the blog on our adventure. I'm very excited about our trip and some things we have planned. We are in Tennessee now, it's 8:00 am and the kids are awake. They just finished muffins for breakfast. We should be stopping in a little bit to refuel, get the kids out to go to the bathroom, and stretch. So far all is good. Praise the Lord!