Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat Pics......


A little Halloween Pre-Election Fun!

Money Matters

Imagine walk into a room with hundreds of people sitting there all eyes on you.  As you look to the big screen on stage there it is.  Your financial history.  Your bank drill down for the month, your debt, your credit....Now the question is would they applaud as you humbly take a bow or would you run away as fast as you came in.

This is an exercise that will definitely make you think or shudder.  It is not to beat you up or put you on a pedestal.  I'm here to tell you I write this honestly and would run if they did this to me.  If anyone ask me what my major downfall is it is Money Management. Over the years and from birth I was taught that money didn't matter compared to the real things of this world. In fact, my parents live so modestly it is inspiring.  The problem is I never was taught the importance of money in the eyes of God.

Did you know money is one if not the most used subjects in the bible. Over 2,000 verses in fact. God cared so much about what we did and how we handled his blessing that he constantly reminds us of the responsibility and consequences of our actions.  The 5 verses you should know and live by are as follows:

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Malachi 3:10
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

There are many more than this, but these few verses can show you greatly what the Lord intended and the law of money.  Give to the less fortunate, Tithe to the church, Don't make money your idol, Never owe or be in debt to any "thing" or "person" and God always will provide us what we need.

I guarantee if we all start living by these commandments we ourselves would find us far more blessed than we sit today.

Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Our Ricky Bobby

Our little Race Car Driver, aka "Ricky Bobby" trying on his outfit for Trick or Treat tomorrow night.We tried to teach him the 8 pound baby jesus prayer.....but we'll have to stick with Shake and Bake!  Happy Halloween Eve Everyone!

Quote of the Day

The Aftermath.....

II Timothy 3:1-5,7 "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of god; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
This above is my focus right now.  What not to be, yet to see where we are in society was predicted.  Not by any man, yet our Lord.  He told us in the good book the signs to look for.  He hinted what the world would look like right before he came to save the godly.  He gave those who believe in him and his mercy and grace hope that they would be aware and ready. 
Yesterday I sat and I thought to myself things just aren't right.  We see so much division especially now with politics.  So much is brought up regarding faith.  How lost some are when it comes to morality.  Divorces at a high, everyone wants instant gratification, looking to always make them happy no sacrifice. Abortions, knocking traditional marriage, and taking God out of our daily lives. 
Not long ago I was asked how I could like Mitt Romney. I respected the question.  At least we had a discussion about our differences in politics.  The person couldn't believe I could like someone so mean.  I reinforced that this wasn't about liking "someone" running for a office.  It had to do with the platform that the party was running for this election. Things dear to me such as banning abortion, keeping traditional marriage and its reverence the way God wanted it. To keep God in our lives.
I also read a comment about Christians always being Republican.  I would have to answer to that is the only choice we are given to keep the doctrine of the Bible is through the platform that the Republican party stands for plain and simple.  If it were Democrats standing for those things I would vote that way. It's that easy.
I want to show you a picture that CBS news took of the aftermath of this "unprecidented storm".  I want you to think about it, maybe print it out as a reminder.  It has many meanings to me.  When I saw it today I haven't stopped crying.  I will let you take away with it what you will.  For me it means God is always firm and standing in our worst times, he never strays.  The only constant over material things that can be gone in minutes.  Also it is a sign to me that this is what is the new norm. It's here, it's a clear warning.  We can't hide, yet we have a chance to get it right.  Start with your bible.  I am today. I fear him.  I love him. I want to make him proud.
The Lord is sad at the way we are living, he will discipline the evil--he does make a point.  These storms hitting aren't by accident. Please make it a point in your life to really think about this today. I may seem dramatic, but I feel led to encourage.  I am a sinner, that is doing the same thing today. I fear what is to come.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I have nothing else to respond about except to get the prayer chain going for all those in the path of this historic storm. This is one of the worst storms we will see in history. Living in Alabama and seeing the destruction of historic storms, I know the aftermath. I pray specifically for my friend Jamie Chesson and her family! Also the Szczerbiak family.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Presley is 4 months

Quote of the Week

“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.”
— Harriet Goldhor Lerner

Parenting Experience, from a Starter Mom.....

My niece, who is a sophomore at University of Cincinnati, gave me some homework to do.  In her child psychology class she was asked to interview a new Mother about her recent experience. Who better to ask then this over passionate Mother to say the least.

Reading and answering her questions was very enlightening about where I am and how I think two years in to this new experience for me.  To see the truth of my feelings that I sometimes don't say enough of or that I try to hide.  Also where I would like to be.

I thought I would share my responses to those questions on my blog, maybe some parents can relate.  Or others can ask themselves and find clarity on their thoughts.  Thank you Loren for allowing me to do this project and vent a bit.  Great self reflection:)

1.       What was the biggest life adjustment after becoming a parent?
Finding Balance in all areas.  When you become a parent you immediately lose a large part of yourself. Some necessary, some unfortunate.  You find yourself over consumed with your child, and always putting yourself, your marriage, and your dreams on the side. What happens is that you begin to realize how unhealthy it is, but you really don’t have a solution.  You have something that you always want to protect and give your 100% to. Then there is you, yelling for some time. Finding the balance to that has been extremely hard, especially now with 2 young children under 3.

2.       Are your parenting skills similar to that of your parents?

I find myself realizing at times I am placing what I have been brainwashed with respectively into my parenting style.  How my kids should act, how I should raise them, etc… In some ways I deeply respected the ways my parents raised me.  Instilling faith first, family time of importance, even things such as a sit down family meal every night are expectations I carry from how I was raised.  The one thing I differ from is I allow my child his/her own freedom to be unique.  I always find myself even on the toughest days telling myself not to stifle who he/she will want to be. I want them to have their own special place and I never want to feel that I’m passing to them that they are not enough or that I want to control who they are to become. I want them to be able to just be kids.  To have time to think.  The most important difference is I always want to validate their feelings.  I never want to tell them how to feel or it is wrong to express any thoughts or emotions. No matter we always can thank our parents for showing us what we want to do and what we don’t when it comes to parenting.

3.       How did you decide your parenting methods, such as discipline?

 You think becoming a parent it will be simple such as discipline.  What you fail to realize is every child is different and you must work hard to find a way to relate in a way that works for all involved-it doesn’t happen overnight.  This has been a huge challenge for me.  What works for most may not work for your own.  You have to find and be consistent with whatever you want to instill in your children.  Time is key.  Also I am a huge parent of routine.  Being a stay at home Mom we are very scheduled.  I knew I wanted that security and structure for my kids well-being.  We are also very affectionate parents.  Where there is discipline we always relay love. 

4.       What made you decide to have a child?

 I have always wanted to be a stay at home Mom. Having a stay at home Mom myself I realized this was something I wanted to be. I have always taught kids, babysat, etc…They say you are born with it, I was.  The one thing I’m glad I did was know and accept only when I was fully ready.  I waited to get married until later and was able to do a lot of things personally I wanted to do before my life settled down.  I knew after 3 years of marriage it was time and God showed me it was—I am proof positive it was his perfect timing. I think every woman has a maternal instinct it’s whether they want to embrace it or not. Some dive in head first, some has no desire.  Either way it is only fair to yourself and your future children to make sure you are with no uncertainty.

5.       How has having a child affected your marriage or relationship?

  For most they will tell you it really had a negative effect for them.  Not enough time, struggling to co-parent and feel appreciated, etc.. For us it has had the exact opposite effect.  The one thing my husband and I share the most today is the love for our kids and our appreciation for our family.  The things we do as the four of us are the greatest times of our lives.  Our greatest agreements have come in parenting styles and we have amazing communication about our children. We have been a team since day one and I appreciate my husband and affirm him always about the Father he has become.  I think you must realize up front when you decide to have kids your marital relationship will change.  Not for the worse just a different type of love and basis will become.  A much more respected and deep relationship.  There is no time for selfish struggles, it’s amazing what can become when you do watch each other grow as a Mother and Father and affirm it to each other. It’s amazing.

6. What were your biggest concerns about becoming a parent?
Raising them to find the Lord.  I think what I realized through the whole child bearing experience was what a miracle and blessing each child is from conception. Nothing other than the Lord could even describe the perfection one could create.  I always dreamed of raising my children to be upstanding citizens and loving God.  Being different in the fact they could be unique and successful all while praising God and inspiring others in such a different society.  My fear is how I do that.  When do I start? How do I begin? If I do too much too early will they burn out?  Should I let them find them through their experiences?  I want them to always be appreciative of the one who gives them everything.  I know I am their teacher designated to do this, a lofty expectation to fill. 

7. How did having a child change the way you handle your finances?
You are much more conscience.  I never have a day I don’t look at our debt, our savings, our bills etc… I find myself thinking in terms of 10 years, private school, and college. Even when they are 2. I rarely put me first anymore and I find myself buying for them before I ever do for me.  I realize the best way I can teach them about being responsible is living it.  I’m their greatest example and I know that is a struggle for me.  I have started researching ways to become better and the best ways to lead this part of my life. It’s a great priority in my life where it never had been before. You realize you want to provide for your kids what you never had.



So I'm excited to say I have started a new journey.  Oprah's Lifeclass began in April, but I've joined today and am so excited to be learning so much about who I am and who I want to be.  I can't stress enough how wonderful these classes are.  You can do them from the convenience of your home and I think as long as we all live we should want to be better.  Utilize the resources that can help us be our best, healthy for our souls and live life to the fullest.  Please join me on this journey. No matter how much we smile on our Facebook pictures or describe our lives on the outside, we all have a lot to work on within.  Start today.....I've made a list of  six things I'm working towards in these classes and I'm well on my way.

1. I choose to Trust
2. I choose to be held accountable
3. I choose to give up control
4. I choose to Love
5. I choose to change.
6. I choose to Live

God Bless the new You!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Personalize your Thank You's.....Shutterfly!

Brightly Thankful Thank You Card
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Halloween is it a do?

Halloween should or shouldn't we.  Man I have debated this topic over and over, and not to sound like a bible beater, but more and more I understand what others mean by not celebrating it.  Is it mean to your kids that they can't dress up, eat rotten candy for days and be allowed to junk up their parents house with tacky decor. I don't know if it is that or if it is just the message and undertone of this holiday.

On all the cartoon channels it is Halloween bonanza.  Shows on Disney today about vampires.  I purposely watched it, as my son gazed on.  I'm glad at 2 he may not remember that Mom let him at a young age watch shows about vampires.  Sucking blood, jumping out of windows-- at that point I turned the clicker fast.  Knowing Cash, he will be trying to fly later today.  Yet it just didn't give me any positive vibes about this ever celebrated day.

Our neighborhood is Halloween Obsessed.  When we first moved in my husband, who detests the holiday, said he refused a blow up in the yard. It took a kid and four years later until I suprised him with the biggest archway blow up I could find last year.  Of course as I plugged it in for the first time, it blew all the fuses in our house the night of trick or treat.  A mere $50 blowup on sale now cost us $300 he reminded me,  yet we laugh to this day about my attempts to play got ya---joke was certaintly on me.

I happened to listen to the radio the other day and my favorite dj's Rick and Bubba had nothing nice to say about it.  As all know they preach all around the south, and feel as a Christian it is not the right thing to celebrate.  In fact many home schooled kids I know aren't allowed.  Evil seems to surround the holiday: witches, black cats, bats, demons, monsters and vampires.  It's amazing kids want anything to do with it.  I have concluded it is a personal decision and though my attempts to look down on it or actually detest it---will have little impact on the nation of those who live for the next year.  I will give you something to just think about.  Halloween should you or shouldn't be the judge.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mom’s Idea of Vacation Rental Charm: Empty Space

I ran across this article today and had to laugh! We just returned from our beach vaca to Gulf Shores. As I was walking through our house today I had the exact thoughts of simplicity! The beach house was just perfect, simple and nothing needed. Sometimes I wish I could always live like this.... So peaceful!

Mom’s Idea of Vacation Rental Charm: Empty Space


Halloween Time! Cash and I had a ball doing our pumpkins yesterday! His was the pirate and Presley the prissy bat! These are the fun times I once dreamed of:)

Join me on my 15 month Journey.....

I realized the other day in a bible study, a verse stuck out to me so loud I had no other choice than to take heed.  It was about discipline, and it takes this to be the person that we want to be.  To make God proud, to make the right choices, to be everything that God set out for us to be.

I used to be one with unmatched discipline.  Up at 5 to work out, work hard/play hard, disciplined on my health regiment and the one thing I've always struggled with was financial discipline.  Sure wasn't born with that.   Yet over the time, it was gone. Marriage, home, babies life took control of me, my faith and who I was meant to be.  Most of all I lost balance.  It felt I was on a teeter totter and plummeted to the ground on one side.

I ran into a friend who encouraged me to follow her path.  Pick a number and let it be your guide.  I thought it was odd but kept listening.  Pick out 4 goals and set a time frame within that number. Years, days, weeks and months.  I was beginning to like this.  So I sat down and wrote down the things I wanted to get under control.  It was very easy.

1. My spending/savings
2. My overuse of Facebook, yes this can be a problem don't act naive anyone
3. My overindulgene of crap food and lack of physical excercise
4. Get my spiriual life on track.

My number is 15 and I will let you all guess why.  So in 15 months I will set out to Fast from Facebook, follow a strict routine of good eating and excercise, 15 months to read the bible and 15 months of set savings.

I would love all of you to join me on this journey. Pick your number, find your goals and get started. Let me know if you decide to join me.  Accountability is key.  Good Luck!

Nothing Comes Easy

I don't know what I thought.  I'm smarter than that.  I guess I just hoped my thoughts would materialize.  It seemed to have worked earlier on, sure not in the perfect fast timing I hoped for, but with patience it turned out.  Seems this was what my experience was to be around Cash the entire story unfolding.  Patience to have him, and patience to watch him develop.

Cash was born at 35 weeks.  5 weeks early, I blew off. He will be fine, yet he wasn't exactly fine. He spent a good week and a half in the nicu struggling with his breathing.  As well as he did I thought this was normal and would be the only thing he struggled with.  No other lasting effects.

As the months went on I noticed Cash was almost 5 weeks to the mark of doing all the normal growing things.  Smiling, Cooing, Sitting up, rolling over. In fact it was evidence as he wore a helmet for some time do to a flat side of his head from not being able to roll or sit up fast enough. I remember waiting for him to walk was eternity. While other 12 monthers were easily taking steps mine wasn't having anything to do with it on his own. It wasn't until around 15-16 months he was trying.  Although it took time, he caught up fast.  As all who know Cash, knows he now runs no stopping him.

These things were delayed but looking back now I never worried about any of them.  I never focused to hard b/c I knew one day kids just get it.  It's natural instinct and it was.  Yet now I'm facing a much different battle, the speech hurdle in which by the day gets more and more behind.  Progress yes, at a snails pace.  He is up to 25 words and some 3 word phrases but still the doctors/therapists/teachers say he is well behind.

I entered Cash in school to help him hear other kids communicate. Blaming it on being away from our friends and family he didn't have the stimuli most have. Although I still think that is the case, visiting school as a volunteer I realized with my own eyes how behind my son is.  Not just in speech, but his maturity. As I left school that day, I sobbed.  My heart broke in that moment and I knew this time it wasn't instinct we had a very big problem.

I now know having a full term little girl how evident above the curve she is.  She babbles constantly, she rolls both ways at 3 months, holds bottles and is well on her way to crawling.  Looking back none of this was taking place for Cash well above 6 months.  Being a Mom to a second, you pick up on these things.  Especially the connection b/n full term and preemie.  I beat myself up some days because with Presley I wanted her to come out.  I was miserable with contractions and honestly thought she would be fine.  Now knowing the difference, we would have been fighting the same battle.

As you all saw I'm taking a step back.  I realize how important and blessed I am to be able to stay home with my children.  I no longer want to assume they will just get it or I can throw them off to a 2 day program to learn it.  This is my job to raise them and in order to do that it will take discipline.  I told my husband my desires and he supports me.  I told him I would die trying, I feel so passionate.

I know to do this I must set goals for myself, to find strength and discipline it is going to take to hold onto my worth and to have the confidence to tackle this mother thing 100% and get my little boy going.  We have had the best week, I see progress. His sitter yesterday said his recognition has increased so much and he is saying a lot more.  Thanks to word books, cards, DVDs and anything I can find.  Although it is hard it is my calling.  I used to look for purpose and if I was making God proud.  I really feel today he is smiling and will continue smiling down on my son.......

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This was love at first sight:) get yours at Kentucky Fanatics just in time for tip off!

The Dirty Side of Parenting.....

They never tell you the other side to the story.  You know the down and out dirty side of parenting.  When they are showering you with onesies, homemade blankets and one likes to discuss the parts of parenthood that are best left unsaid.  You know the up all nights at the most inconvenient times, the tantrums, the potty training horror or this crippling fear that you develop overnight about your children.  Will they be OK, am I messing them up or how can I protect them from never getting hurt.

You see parenting is not for the meek and mild.  It comes with a lot of sacrifice, tears, and sweat. Unless you are the parent that has birthed 5 docile children, you all know what I'm talking about.  How our sweet laid back infants, get their legs and become hell on wheels.  How our happy to see you toddler, wants nothing more than to defy you at every turn.  It takes getting tough skin to a whole new level.

I'm new on the scene to parenting.  Although I've learned a lot already, I have so much more to learn.  I realize now how much I value other mothers, the ones who have been there and survived.  Much more than google could ever provide.  I'm raising two under three and yes even in the toughest days, I talk about wanting more.  Maybe I'm gluten for punishment, but this is the only thing I know.  Which brings me to the other topic that haunts all mothers.  The guilt complex.

When you stay at home you feel immense guilt you aren't contributing enough to the world. You begin to lose yourself at times--suddenly you feel the only confidence you know is how to change diapers and sing lullabies.  If you work you are guilty that you aren't raising your child, that someone else is doing it for you.  Maybe you are selfish and are missing out on important milestones with your kids each and everyday. The thoughts are anguishing.

The one thing I have learned already is parenting is tough.  I also know that it is the one thing that can give you more joy, even through the tears.  Those smiles even for a minute last a lifetime in your heart.  As you look back on pictures someday, you won't remember the hard things.  Maybe that is why no one speaks of them.  They are too busy with the million other reasons to brag about how incredibly cool it is.  How nothing in the world could match up to the first time they say Ma Ma and Da Da, first steps, first smiles and first potty party celebrations.  It's the most real thing you will ever experience and the one thing God gave us to understand the love he intended for all.

So as you look in the mirror this morning and whether you are the haggard Mother I sit today or have been there done that, wrap those worn out arms around yourself.  Squeeze tight, pat hard and know you are doing the hardest job any of us can do in our lifetime. You will survive, this too shall pass and one day just think the tables will turn and they will be the ones taking care of you:)