The Gift

April 21, 2011

Indulge me for a moment. Put yourself into this story and really think about it as you read it.

Your neighbor is very sick. Dying, actually. He needs a kidney. There's no way around it. The only problem is that you are the only match for him in the whole world. So, you agree to donate one of yours. It's the only way to save his life. So, the surgery is scheduled. The night before, you have your favorite dinner with your family, you know, just in case. At this point, you're probably starting to feel some fear and concern. You might even share a few tender words with those you cherish the most. You want to be sure to leave nothing left unsaid. You're thinking about what you are about to experience. There's the routine stuff- blood work, paperwork, you know the drill. You're probably starting to question your decision, at the same time, realizing that you really don't have a choice, being the person you are. You're just doing what needs to be done. You're probably not real excited about having to go under the knife. Especially because there's a catch. You've got to go through this surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or pain medication. They are going to strap you to the operating table and slice open your flesh and cut out one of your kidneys with you fully aware of everything that is happening and in so much pain that there are no words to adequately describe it. Imagine the drive to the hospital. What thoughts are going through your mind? Are you reconsidering your decision? You could easily turn around. Run. Hide. Why would you volunteer for this knowing fully what lies ahead of you? Are you nuts?!?

I have been thinking back to the week before THE crucifixion. I've been imagining how the human Jesus was feeling. Dread? Sadness? Fear? He knew the sacrifice He was about to make. He knew what He was facing. He knew that He was going to have to go through unfathomable, barbaric torture! Yet, He did it anyway. Have you ever tried to grasp what He really endured for us? Jesus not only died for us, he died in such a painful, humiliating way. Shouldn't we live for Him?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

That, my friend, is Easter. It's not only the moment of death of our Savior. It's the time that led up to it. It's the sacrifice. And it's the Resurrection! He lives! He defeated the grave. Far cry from chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens, huh?


Let's Eat: Week 8

April 20, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

Another week has come and gone, and I find myself very pleased. I am not the skinny 19 year old girl I was when I married my love, but, today, I am the smallest that I have been in well over 4 years! I cannot say enough about this diet that I am on. It really, really works.

Monday, I was in Wal-Mart (UGH) shopping for the week and wondering what I was going to make for dinner. I needed something quick, easy, and yummy. Oh, and low-carb! So, we're coupon shopping when my youngest son spies the "Sample Lady"! My kids live for samples in the grocery store! So, we mosey on over and they wipe out her stash of angel food cake with strawberries and cool-whip. In the ruins, I saw a little cup of something with chicken in it. "Oh, what's this?", I asked. "It's chicken salad," she replied. So, I tasted. It's not often they offer something that fits within my boundaries. Now listen, I appreciate a sample just like the next girl, but, I know that they're set up to sell their product that's usually out of my budget and I'm usually pretty good about just walking away without buying it. Oh, but, this was so good that I actually bought the stuff to make her Chicken Salad. Here's the recipe, Cajun style:

You'll need to combine a bag of Tyson Grilled & Ready oven roasted, diced chicken (heated), some chopped celery and green onions, a splash of lemon juice and about 1/2 - 3/4 cups of mayo. The lady added red, seedless grapes to hers, but I left them out of mine. Your choice. People, it was good! You can eat it alone or on bread. Obviously, I ate mine sans bread.

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


The Case of the Missing... well, you'll see!

April 19, 2011

I am so confused. I just don't know what to make of the following exchange. Maybe you can help me......

Drake: Mom! I've got armpit hair! And it's not just peach-fuzz. It's getting black. 
Karli: Drake. Stop looking at your armpit hair.
Drake: Karli, you're so lucky that you have armpit hair!

What?! I was driving at the time, so later on, I checked this alleged armpit hair. (Drake's, not Karli's) Yeah. The boy's got Nothing. Barely peach-fuzz, and only if you look at it a certain way with the light shining just so.  Do you think I might be in trouble? Aye-yi-yi! And now, I'm wondering WHY would I even check to see if he had armpit hair in the first place. I need a vacation!


A Lesson from one Parent to Another

April 18, 2011

I've been claiming that 2011 is the year of "Growth" for me. I'd been doing a pretty good job, reading my bible, going to church, implementing Christian principles in my life (ie taming my tongue, among other things). Then God decided to step it up a notch. Now, I've got a choice to make. I can wallow in the "challenge" or I can turn it completely over to God for Him to remove the hurt and expect a healing in my heart and mind.

I might have chosen the former. Then, I saw this posted on Facebook this morning: Anticipating a blessed day today! :) Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my Father's God and I will exalt Him. It made me realize that maybe I've just been sitting in my disappointment. The reason I can't seem to "shake" it, is because I'm doing nothing. I need to stand up and sing praises to my Father! I need to step out in faith knowing this is going to be healed abundantly! I need to go to Him and let Him wrap me in His arms and love this girl!

God wants me to praise Him in all things. He wants me to believe Him for all things. He wants me to trust Him in all things. He wants me to dig deep into my faith and continue to know that He is God and that I am not to be shaken or paralyzed by difficulties. He wants me to continue to grow and to trust Him for everything. He wants me to show Him that my roots run deep and that I am strong in my faith. He wants to know that He can trust me in the little things because He also wants to trust me with bigger things. My Father is growing me.

Recently, I had a conversation with my daughter about her trusting me. She's got a little problem with me reading her text messages. She thinks that if I trusted her, then I wouldn't read them. When I tell her that I need to know what's going on in her life to be sure my trust in her is well deserved and to observe and guide her decision making skills in different situations to protect her, she just does not get it! It's hard to explain to a twelve year old the concept of protecting & guiding them. They often don't believe that they need protecting or guiding. They're still invincible and they already know it all. It's not easy to get kids to believe that you really do want what's best for them and that you're not just trying to torture them for sport. I need to remember that my relationship with God is very similar in this aspect. He knows what's best for me. He is going to test me by "reading my text messages just to be sure that I can handle what's laid before me". He wants me to prove to Him that He can trust me. He wants me to come to Him with everything, just like I want my daughter to come to me and keep me involved in all that's going on in her life, no matter how trivial or monumental.

"But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8


Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

April 14, 2011

Sometimes we forget that even the seemingly mundane day-to-day life is part of God's plan for us. It's not always the BIG upsets that God uses in our lives to grow us. I'm really thankful for that. Sure, my life has it's share of "inconveniences", but, I am ever-thankful for each moment of the "small stuff" rather than a difficult, life-altering event. I am protected by God's undeserving Grace and there is not a day that goes by that I am not aware of it and humbled by it. I want God to continue to work in my life. I want Him to use me, to change me. I'm ready to receive what He has in store for me. My arms are open wide, ready for His showers of blessings. And if that means I must prove myself faithful to Him through the small trials in life, then so be it. I will continue to cling to Jeremiah 29:11.

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:2-4


Lets Eat: Week 7

April 13, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

I was talking about "dieting" with someone the other day. I hate that word. Don't you? It implies restriction and difficulty. The word DIE is in Diet for a reason! It automatically, instantly changes the expression on my face. Let's face it... it is not fun to DIET. We have become accustomed to satisfying our cravings and desires quite easily where food is concerned. When you diet, you have to say NO to those unhealthy desires. And the problem, sometimes, is that you are the only one saying no while everyone else around you is screaming YES! Now, that's tough! But, not impossible.

I've recently starting limiting my carb intake. I've said it before, here in Cajun Country, our diets are overflowing with carbs at EVERY single meal! Most Cajuns eat rice 5-6 times a week, at least! And we've come up with some really creative and delicious things to do to potatoes for those times that we don't have rice. So, how do I do it with four skinny little kids who can and do eat like it's their last meal all the time? Do I put everyone on a low-carb diet? Well, kind of, but not really.  I've shared a few recipes with you so far that I've incorporated into our lives. But, my kids are normal kids who love pizza, and rice and gravy, and pasta- oh my! Sometimes, I just make a carb-heavy normal meal for them and then modify it to suit my needs. Example: Monday night the kids wanted tacos. And for the record, so did I. They had tacos till their skinny little hearts were content. I, on the other hand, had Taco Salad until my pudgy little belly heart was content.

Taco Salad
(This is a stock photo. My salad was not nearly as pretty, but, it was delicious.)

I used one packet of taco seasoning per pound of ground turkey. I browned and seasoned the meat, spooned it over a nice lettuce salad, threw in a couple spoons of sour cream and I had a super fun party in my mouth! You can add a little shredded cheese, tomato, and olives if you'd like. I absolutely LOVE Mexican food. Yum. This was an excellent way to satisfy that craving with very few carbs! I even had left overs for lunch and couldn't have been happier!

You can "diet" and still satisfy the needs of your family who are not restricting their food intake at all. It's a matter of making the decision to do something good for yourself. My "friend" asked me how long I planned to stay on this diet and I told her that I was going to continue to be more strict until I lose another 5 pounds. After that, I will probably continue this lifestyle, occasionally making exceptions. It's really not that hard to do. It requires a little creativity and a few adjustments.... but isn't that half the fun?

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


Gimme an H, Gimme an O....

April 12, 2011

I had the luxury of visiting with a dear friend of mine this morning for "coffee talk". I love coffee talk. Some of my deepest connections happen over a warm cup of joe. It's liquid "me time".

Today, our conversation centered around her new decision to home school her children. That's my kind of discussion. I am so very passionate about our way of life. Not because I think it's "the right thing to do", but, because it affords so many wonderful benefits for our family.

I am feeling extremely humble and grateful to God today for His perfect provision and direction in this matter. When my older children were toddlers I would have never imagined that we'd be home schooling. I thought that I wasn't patient enough to spend ALL of my time with my children. I was looking forward to the break I would get while they were away at school. I had fantasies of several consecutive hours of peace and quiet, free from the demands of everyone else needing my time and energy, which was depleting quicker than I could replenish it.  Yet, today, I cringe when I think of ever sending them back to public school. (*Disclaimer:  It's not a terrible thing if you send your child to public school. It's a fine option for many families and I'm not against public school. There's just a better fit for my family in home schooling.)

I don't want to give up the freedom we have with our time. Strange how that works, right? Vacations and sick days happen when we need them. Field trips are as often or seldom as we choose. We operate at a slower pace, taking in more of the simple things in life. Spring afternoons can be spent outside digging in warm dirt. We have plenty of time to play in between the work.

I don't want to give up the relationships we've built as a family. Kids fight, especially siblings. And there is no shortage of opportunity for me to don my stripy shirt and whistle to referee a good altercation. But, there is also something else there. The four kids whom I birthed from my loin are FRIENDS. They know each other. They trust each other. They love each other. They spend time playing together. Time they would not otherwise have if they were in separate classrooms for seven hours a day, five day a week.

I don't want to deal with the stresses of a school system that is a difficult fit for my children for whatever reasons. My kids had major issues with the condition of the restrooms at school, despite the fact that I was heavily involved in working toward a resolve. We had other issues, as well, that applied to how well my kids did or did not thrive.

I love that we fit school into our lives and not the other way around. Trust me, education IS very important to me and my husband. But, who says it has to take up so much of any given day?  My kids are learning just as much, if not more, than they would in public school. But, the pace at which we proceed is very comfortable. School time takes up a small percentage of their days and they are not "burnt out" with school.  

I have discovered that a public school education is not free. I spent a lot of money sending my kids to public school and have noticed a significant savings by keeping them home. This may not seem like a very good argument for home schooling, but, especially in our current economy, when you are a one-income family of six, every penny needs to be spent and saved wisely.

Another reason that I love home schooling my children is that I can incorporate the Word of God into their curriculum. It's an opportunity for them to learn about God the Creator of all things on a different level than is possible because of the separation of church and state.

I could go on and on about why I love home schooling our children. But, I want to be very careful not to offend those of you who choose not to. I am certainly not trying to be condescending or righteous. I am just extremely blessed and grateful for what God has given to our family. Home schooling works well for many, but, I am not implying that it is the best fit for all. I'm just offering some benefits for those who are taking a peek at the road to becoming a home schooling family. The first steps of the journey are often terrifying. There can be a lot of judgement and concern from well-intentioned friends and family. Many do not understand it. It is a different choice that we are faced with as parents. And it's not always easy.

Are there any cons to home schooling? Well, yes. But, it's little things, like having to bring the kids on every shopping trip I go on. They hate to shop. It's having to find a babysitter when I have to go to the gynecologist. There is a little more house work that I have to do having them home all day every day. But, they can all pitch in and do their part to help out. There are also the days when the kids don't feel like doing school work and I have to deal with that. But, all in all, the benefits FAR outweigh the deficits.

"I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve me. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don't be afraid, for I am with you. do no be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:9-10

"Tell them especially about the day when you stood before the Lord your God at Mount Sinai, where he told me, 'Summon the people before me, and I will instruct them. That way, they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will be able to teach my laws to their children.' " Deuteronomy 4:10

"Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it." Proverbs 22:6


The Thing About Kids

April 11, 2011

Friday night, Karli had her Birthday Sleepover! Those are always so much fun and I love to see her still interacting with her old "public school" friends. The girls are all getting so big and growing up WAY too fast! Yes, it's Cliche- but man is it ever true!

Anyway, considering my oldest just turned TWELVE a few days ago, I've been thinking lately about what advice I would give to new mothers knowing what I know now. I clearly remember feeling very confident when I had Karli. I was ready. Prepared. I'd read everything I could get my hands on. My kids were going to eat, drink, sleep, dress, and behave exactly the way I wanted them to. (Okay, those of you with kids can stop laughing at me! NOW I know better.) Very quickly, I realized that I actually contributed very little to my child's will in these areas. Karli did NOT nap- ever, unless she was in my arms. She also was the most finicky eater that has ever graced the planet in all of history. And my boys came complete with minds of their own as well. Drake could barely talk, but, if he said he did not like a certain shirt I just as soon not bother to bring it home because he would NOT wear it!

Back to the advice thing. So, what advice would I give to a new Mom? Well, here it is, once again, in bullets, because, well, you know, that's how I roll.

  • Never say never. You WILL be forced to eat those words one day. Take it from me, it doesn't taste good.
  • I promise, "This, too, shall pass." 
  • From birth, always tell your child how much you love her. Make it clear. Say it often. She will remember, even if you don't think she can understand what you're saying!
  • Teach him to pick up after himself from the beginning & give him chores that are age appropriate. This is important on so many levels. It's totally about growing your child into a responsible adult.
  • If you co-sleep, it's not the end of the world. One day, too soon, she will NOT want to be cuddled.
  • Discipline is harder than anything else, even labor. I've got nothing else on the subject. I'm still trying to figure it out.
  • Don't forget to spend time alone with your child's father. It's a really important gift that you give, not only to yourself and your husband, but, to your child as well.
  • Encourage his grandparent's to tell your child about when they were children. These gifts are priceless.
  • Feed your child's interest.
  • When you make a mistake, it's important to apologize to your child. They learn important lessons about forgiveness and that no one, not even Mommy, is perfect.
  • Some days are meant to be spent in bed with a gallon of ice cream and some HGTV!
  • Most importantly, teach your child about God.

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!" Psalm 127:3-5

What advice would you give to a new Mommy?


Happy Birthday, Karli!

April 7, 2011

Twelve years ago today, my life long dream became a reality. In a room, crazy with people running in and out, a bunch of anxious nurses, one screaming pregnant banshee, a boy, on the cusp of becoming a man, who walked into the craziness and wasn't sure if he was awake or dreaming- half afraid that his wife was dying, and a doctor barely making the three minute trip from his office to my hospital room  to hand me the one thing I wanted more than anything else, something magical and miraculous happened.  I became a mother as my first born took her first breath of air.

She was absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I'm not kidding! My new Mommy-eyes saw the most perfectly round, pink, smooth, delicious face ever! (Later, when I saw the pictures of her brand new, wet, dirty, slippery, red, swollen self, I realized that the camera lied! She looked nothing like that the first time I held her in my arms.) Today, she still is the most beautiful, perfect, sweet, responsible, loving, intelligent, giving, level-headed girl ever! I've even got pictures to prove it!

I honestly feel so blessed to have a front row seat to watch how her life unfolds. There is so much potential in her. She is so special- and I'm not just saying that because I'm her Momma. I really believe it with every cell in my body. It has been nothing but a pleasure and a high honor to love this girl! She is a natural born care taker. She has been our "little momma" since the day her first brother was born. She is always looking out for her siblings, making sure to warn them of potential dangers. It amazes me that she has as much insight and intuition  as she does at such a young age. Such maturity in a young soul. She is humble, yet, confident. She is tender and tough. Words will never do justice to the way I feel about this young lady. And she is a LADY~ no matter if she's dressed in her cutest sandals with her nails freshly painted, or sporting the latest in camouflage apparel.

Happy Birthday, Karli Blayne! I pray that your life is filled with more happiness and love than you can ever imagine for yourself. I pray that you remember that as you walk life's path, you seek the guidance of our Heavenly Father. I pray that one day you will find someone who adores you as much as your Daddy and I do, who will love you well every day of your life. I pray that you will never sell yourself short and that you always believe in yourself as much  as I believe in you. You will always have a place in my heart and my home. I will ALWAYS love you MORE. I will never love you less. There is nothing you could ever do that will make me stop loving you. 

"My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart, for they will give you a long and satisfying life. Never let loyalty and kindness get away from you! Wear them like a necklace; write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will gain a good reputation." Proverbs 3:1-4


Let's Eat: Week 6

April 6, 2011

Watching My Weight Wednesday

It's that time again to share some "low-carb" food options with you. My son had a birthday party this weekend and I saw people that I hadn't seen in several months. It felt REALLY good to hear things like- "Your diet is working, I see." and "You've lost some weight, Dana!" Even though the scale is moving slowly, it IS moving in the direction I want to go. But, even more importantly, I am seeing results in the way my clothes fit me. I can actually try on shirts and walk out with some that don't look too bad. Before, I looked either pregnant or like a marshmallow in almost everything! (I only wish I were joking.)

This diet is actually not too hard to stick to, as far as diets go. In the beginning, I really thought that I was going to struggle! As a cajun, our diet consists basically of all carbs- rice and potatoes with every meal. And if we aren't eating rice, we're eating pasta! And don't get me started on bread. My family hasn't suffered by my diet either. I have four little children who are just as drunk on carbs as they ever were. It comes down to me making a choice to either keep the carbs or keep the weight. I make it a challenge to find options that are low in carbs that will satisfy my latest "craving".

What exactly do I feed my family you ask? Well, pretty much what we've always eaten with a few modifications.  Here's an example of supper at our house....
Now this may not look like much, but, let me assure you... it was "Fi-Ya", as my lovely husband would say! (That means it was really, really delicious.) 

I was hungry for a pork roast. So, I bought what I thought was a whole Boston Butt, but when I got it home, I realized it was a sliced Boston Butt. No problem I'll make it work. I whipped out my handy, dandy electric roasting pan thingy (that's the technical term) that my awesome MIL bought me for CHRISTmas and set about the business of cooking supper. I coated the pan with a little bit of oil and flour (yes, I know, but it was only a trace amount~ this Cajun wanted some gravy!). I threw in my seasoned meat and let the magic happen. (Stirring occasionally.) As a side dish, we had egg salad (potato salad minus the potato) and broccoli and cheese.

I hope you'll try this. You won't be disappointed!

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3


Happy Birthday, Drake!

April 5, 2011

We had a very busy weekend at my house. You see, I know this guy, a really handsome guy, and he just so happened to have had a birthday Saturday!  How does one celebrate moving from single digits to double digits? With a CAMP OUT, of course! THIRTEEN BOYS. Never Again. (Just kidding. Sort of.) They had such a great time.

I was just worried that these rowdy boys, all on a sugar induced high, would get hurt and I'd have to call their Momma's to come get them to rush them to the hospital with a broken arm. (I've recently discovered how quickly, easily, and almost innocently this kind of thing can happen.) I am very pleased to report that no one died or was seriously injured on my watch! They all ate entirely too much junk food. But, hey, what are friends for?

When I met my husband and things began to get serious, we started talking about things like how many kids we wanted. He made it very clear from the beginning that it was not an option for him to NOT have a son. You see, my husband's family name will die with him without a son (or two) to carry it on. He always warned that we would probably have twelve girls before we had a son, but, if that's what it took then that's what would have to happen. I always hoped that we'd have a boy by the time we got to my magic number of FIVE.

When we were pregnant with our first child, I absolutely KNEW that she was a girl. There was no ultrasound in the world that would have convinced me otherwise. And, I was right. And my husband thought, one down, eleven to go. When I became pregnant with our second child, things felt very different in subtle ways. These clues led me to believe that I was pregnant with a testosterone-filled BOY!  Yep. I was right. We were very excited. My husband's family name will live on in this  7lb 2oz bundle of promise ( and eventually, his brother, as well)!  

Suddenly, I was terrified! I didn't know the first thing about raising a boy. I'd had no brothers, only one sister. I remember crying to my husband, (pregnancy hormones) worried that I was going to fail miserably and turn him into a girl. My husband just laughed as he tried to comfort me. He said, "You don't have to teach him how to be a boy. He's already going to know. You've done a great job with our daughter. Do the same with him and it'll all be fine." Huh. I had my doubts, but guess what? It turns out that the boy in my new family knew what he was talking about. Our son came into this world fully knowing that he was supposed to love all things gross and dirty, smelly and rough. Who woulda thunk it?

Raising boys is SO much different than raising girls. I quickly came to the realization that I'm not raising a child, I am growing a man. Someone's future husband. It is such a high honor to be called in this way. The relationship I have with my sons is very different from what I have with my daughters. It can't really be explained, you just have to experience it. It's not more or less, it's just, well, different.

My oldest son is one of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to meet. Honestly. He is so complex, yet simple. He is very smart and learns very easily~ which makes home schooling him a dream. His sense of humor always surprises me. He loves to laugh and to make others laugh. One of my favorite memories of him was soon after he turned a year old. He was watching a movie and one of Wallace and Grommit's shorts came on before the movie. It was about an old man who was playing chess against himself. In one chair, the old man would make a move and then he'd get up, remove his false teeth, sit across the table and make another move. Drake thought this was VERY funny and to hear him in a deep belly laugh over something he saw on TV at such a young age made a lasting impression in my mind. He is also super emotional. He has always been very cognizant about how to make me feel loved, with a kiss, or a smile, or a kind word. From a very young boy, out of the blue, he would utter words to melt my heart~ "You're beautiful, Mom!" He also visits the other side of the spectrum. When he's disappointed he goes into full melt down mode. The most effective way to end it is with my arms around him in a tight hug. That's just how he rolls. He loves the Lord with all of his heart. I think out of all of my kids, he really GETS it. He's the one to most often lead the family in a prayer over our meals. He's the one that reads his Bible on his own. He is just so eager to live life. On his own terms. As his own person. And I love him. I cannot think of being able to love someone more. He is my boy. I am proud of him beyond words. And though I am enjoying this time of being his mother, one day, I will be excited to see him in another role~ a man, a husband, a Dad.

Happy Birthday, Drake! I pray that you live a LONG life, filled with an overflowing abundance of happiness, success, and LOVE! I pray that you can easily discern who your true friends are and that you learn to remain loyal and honorable throughout your life. I pray that you remember to always keep your feet firmly on The Rock. Never forget that you always have a place in my heart and my home. And that I will ALWAYS love you MORE. I will never love you less. There is nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you!

"True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life."  Proverbs 22:4

"Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:3


Let's Party!

April 3, 2011

I am joining the "Ultimate Blog Party 2011" and you're invited! If you're a fellow blogger, this is an excellent way to meet some new friends. Just click on the link above and join the party.

If you're visiting here from THE party, WELCOME, I'm so glad you stopped by! I'll quickly tell you a little bit about myself... in bullets.. cause that's how I roll.

  • My name is Dana and I am a Stay-At-Home-Schooling-Mom of four kiddos- Karli (she's about to turn 12 in a matter of minutes, lol), Drake (just turned 10 a few minutes ago), Brant (7), and Aubree (3). 
  • I chronicle our lives here~ my journey as I focus on personal growth as a parent, a wife, a daughter, a friend, as a child of God who is hungry to be better, be more, give more, and live more! 
  • I struggle with the ups and downs of parenting like so many others. It is my goal to raise well-adjusted, self-sufficient adults who have no need to lie on some strangers couch at 25 years old, complaining about how their Momma messed them up! 
  • I try my best to focus on the things I love, besides my husband and kids, like, God, and Bargain Shopping. 
  • I live my life inspired by a Church that I am in love with! (Finally. It only took me 37 years to find it.) 
  • I am constantly watching my weight. It seems after four kids, your body wants to hang on to a few of those pregnancy pounds. I'm not that attached to them and I wouldn't mind if they found a happy home on some other needy body.  
Feel free to have a look around. You'll find some really cool things hidden here and there. I've read some really cool books, and I think I have pretty good taste in music. I hope you'll be inspired by my "GoodWill" finds and our "Homeschooling" journey. Thanks for dropping in. Please, leave me a comment~ I'd love to visit you, as well!

"Ears to hear and eyes to see- both are gifts from the Lord." Proverbs 20:12


Let's Eat: Week 5

April 1, 2011

Watching My Weight "Wednesday" "Friday"

Okay. So I'm late! I have a perfectly legitimate reason- my internet was down on Wednesday and I couldn't post. But, this week's indulgence is just too good not to share! I want you all to be "in" on my little secret! And, here it is....

Confused? That's okay. Immabout to clear things up! We girls get chocolate cravings from time to time, right? It can get so bad for me that'd I'd eat my own foot dipped in chocolate! I'm not kidding! Well, I've discovered this little gem in all her 2 grams of Carbs beauty! I just add a little bit to my regular brewed coffee with a little Splenda and shazaam! I've got myself a cup o'heaven.  Know what else I do? I make myself a bowl of this 

and I add a little of "The Secret Ingredient" to it and OMGoodness... I don't think I've ever tasted diet food so divine! It's super good. 

So, if you're watching those carbs like me and you need a little sweet, chocolate something something, you know what to do! It's filling and satisfying. And it just might be enough to keep you on track so ya' don't fall off the (diet) train! Oh, and if you're NOT on a diet, try it anyway. It's that good people!

"You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them."1Corinthians 6:13

"Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won't. And those who won't eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them." Romans 14:3