Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving=Peace

 
Our TURKEY!

I read a really great devotional this morning, that inspired my soul to Google the word thanksgiving in scripture which then let me to ask i phone Siri how many times thanks appeared in the bible ...73 times, thanksgiving 27 times and other versions of thankfulness 12 times... so a total of 112 times thankfulness is talked about in the bible... to me that means God takes thankfulness as a pretty important word!  
  
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

In the devotion it said a truly thankful person is a peaceful person. 
They have made it a habit no matter what to notice, pause, and choose. 
Can you imagine if you were able to stop and be thankful in any circumstance. It's a choice to acknowledge being thankful is a reminder of God's presence in us and focusing on allowing God's presence will unleash his powerful peace within you. 
Will you in the upcoming weeks ahead pause, notice, and choose to be thankful?? 
So many times thanksgiving is talked about in the bible with very difficult situations like Daniel and Jonah... their hearts turned to thanksgiving. The bible even says that when we are to feel anxious we should pray with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. 7 and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
With a perspective change of being thankful continuously throughout the day. .. 
God can transform our hearts to focus on the good things and in return we will have peace. 
Wow, not brain science will you join me in praying and giving thanks daily? 
here is a beautiful prayer given in my devotion
Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Also, I know I have mentioned it before but I just can't say enough of good things about the book 
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
 here's the blog, it so inspiring
    

Let's all make the choice of being thankful 
because our eyes will then fully see what cuteness beauty that is around us. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cleanse



The last few months, I've no self -control on eating ... it's been whatever I see I must eat mentality. It's taken a tool on my body...I ain't no spring chicken anymore able to stuff my face with anything I want.   With the help of a friends suggestion, I decided to do a 3 day detox cleanse ... I asked Scott if he wanted to join and he jumped right on board. It helped but not in the way I thought it would. The first day it was exciting experiencing the new smoothie taste! The cleanse is broken down into 3 to 4 daily smoothies, multivitamin, probiotic, omega 3, and a hot Epsom salt lavender bath.  The morning smoothie was refreshing strong flavors of bananas and raspberries with a hint of almond butter finish, Lunch, I thought was nice too, strong flavors of cucumber and pineapple, now the dinner "was not my favorite" an Armstrong saying we say when we don't like it! The dinner on was darker berry but spicy with cayenne pepper and It felt thicker to get down then the other two shakes but you were pretty hungry by then you had to eat something. One my favorite things about the cleanse was the nightly bath.. nothing like winding down the day with relaxing hot lavender smelling bath it helped you sleep like a  baby! The first day was a lot of sharing with Scott about the reviews, about how its helped others, and checking in one another to see how we're feeling!  We were excited thinking it might just give us the pep we need to boast our days. Second day was the hardest for me, I was starving! I wanted to eat everything I had my eyes on ... my stomach was constantly growling with hungry pains. But Scott as my big cheerleader said you can do it ..only one more day!  The third day I was waiting for a huge grand final ,,, feeling like I could run a 5k because I would be bursting with energy from all the healthy foods I had been pouring into my body. Unfortunately, only to report I felt drained and tired, my thought process was slow, and I actually didn't want the last day of smoothies I had lost my appetite for them.Scott and I felt the same forcing down the last smoothie last night ... thinking did this really help? We did pull through and finished  and most importantly as a team.. we did it together!   I feel I'm still waiting for the grand finale but reflecting back now I do think it helped feeding my body with so much yummy veggies and fruits...really how could it not?  I'm sure I lost a few pounds which is always a nice bonus. It also gave our family a huge jump start to eating more healthy, the kids are super excited about smoothies now. 
But more importantly than that it reconnected Scott and I we were sharing a couple times a day our progress, encouraging each other on and just overall feeling on the same team again. Marriage is hard and especially with four kids pulling your attention elsewhere...and finding ways to connect can be even harder when your just plain worn out. This helped put our main focus back to one another as it should be instead being constantly pulled into our own separate ways. Even though, I wasn't running to the bathroom every second of the day like I thought I was going to be and didn't get that HUGE burst of  energy. I did get to share in some great time with my loving husband which really in the scheme in life is much more important than anything to me!  This cleanse just didn't clean out our bodies but cleaned off the cobwebs of healthy communication with my marriage. Love is stirring... and has entered into the air again! 

Here is the link if your interested in doing this cleanse 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Hand

This last weekend I had the privilege of going to Beth Moore and hearing God speak through her! It was  just so empowering and rejuvenated my soul with the words I needed to hear! So much I couldn't wait to share it with ya'll! 
How are such mighty works done by his hands? Isn't he the carpenter? 
Our God has done mighty things with his hands

Here are 10 things that God has done with his powerful HAND
1.There is nothing like the HAND of the Lord upon us
2. Jesus gave flesh and bones to the outstretched HAND of God
3. We are not only in God's HANDS we are in his arms!
4. We stretch out our HANDS to his outstretched HAND
I have a clear vision of when worshiping and you see people raise their hands it's a symbol showing you reaching for God.
5. Jesus knew firsthand what it was like to be a man
6 We need Christ's fingers in our ears sometimes to hear
we are all easily distracted from what God might be trying to tell us.. we are all called to speak but we need to listen to him first! Then we are able to speak plainly and explain it clearly!
 7 When God's HAND is heavy he wants something handed over
     REPENT- which makes you clean!
8. We have one sure way to get back beneath his HAND
Through his word ... we need to fill our souls with scripture!
9 Oftentimes his hand rises us up after the thing nearly kills us
10 Christ is seated at God's right HAND until we see him split the sky

There is so much HOPE given in every situation .. no matter what the difficulty you are facing it is reassuring that God is with us every step of the way! It's our responsibility to turn to him and seek his hand to lead us when we fall he will catch us to help us again and again. Allow the spirit to fill you up leading you every hour  and every minute of everyday. When we follow God's schedule we can't go wrong we are moving along in life with a peace that will be contagious to those around us. I encourage you to stop outreach your HAND as strong as you can to the KING that created you and who has the HOPE of this world in the scriptures that he has written to speak to each one of us!

A few weeks ago, I allowed Kate to sleep in a big bed while we were at the beach. She was so excited and proud.. I knew I might regret this brilliant idea but all the kids were so excited for her to sleep with them. She did pretty good except that she woke up at 5am ready to go ... loudly waking up everyone in the condo. We were all trying to go back to sleep but just couldn't then I realized the sun would be coming out soon. Lets layer up and go out to watch the sun rise. The girls were excited! It was one of those precious moments I want to hold on to we ran outside to see this ... 
 KATE took a huge gasp enjoying the view saying "mommy sun mommy".. It brought me to tears telling the girls our GOD is bigger than this ocean, our God is the beautiful writer of our story and he's with us EVERY step of the way! He has big plans for me and my family and I have to trust him every step of the way even when it gets so hard....  this beautiful sunrise is a reminder of his HAND in my life! 

We all stood there in awe struck wonder and watched as the sun appeared brighter and brighter
I have all my hope in the one who created me JESUS 
This is one of my favorite songs that I just can't get enough of lately 


Whatever storm or waters you are walking through our God's hand is pointing us in the right direction ahead It's just our job to turn to him and follow him! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween 2013

I never knew Halloween was one of my favorite holidays until I had children. I loved to dress up as a child but it's even more fun to relive it through my kids. I remember when I was little my mom and I had matching clown outfits we found from a garage sale... I swear I was a clown for MANY years after that just because my mom didn't want to spend the money on new costumes each year. Well, I guess you can say I didn't want that for my kids... I wanted them to have the enjoyment of dressing up each year.  Since the twins were born we have fully embraced this holiday, not the scary ghost and goblins but the dressing up, pumpkins and good time with friends. 
I did some digging and found the last few years of costumes ... 
pretty funny looking back through them.

2006
Our first Halloween as a family of 4
Only 3 weeks old the twins were peas and carrots 
Scott and I looking rough with lack of sleep 
We also went to a Halloween party that year ...
right next door as DEAL OR NO DEAL 
Remember the game show? ( actually on in the background) 
 My brother in law dressed up as a women...was definately hilarious!



  2007
Howdy from Cowboy and Cowgirl twins
They were just a year old.

2008
It was one of my favorite costume the twins were the cutest chicks. 
This also marks the first year of our Halloween Party with the same 4 families...
the only year missing the group shot

2009
The Royal Family 
We were King, Queen, Princess Ahora and a Knight 
Poor Parker got sick with the flu and couldn't trick or treat.
The group missing Parker 

2010
This cutie came into the picture, Jonas' first Halloween 
Isn't he the cutest lion ever?! 
 Brooke -Cinderella, Parker-Incredible, Jonas-Lion Scott and I -Doctors 

2011
Scott -Pumpkin, Parker-Dark Vador, Jonas-spider, Kate- Ballerina Me-Witch
This year marked the fun tradition that my family started of sending a package of costumes to surprise the kids on what they will be for Halloween. It's such a fun idea as the kids get so excited and they are much better costumes than I would buy. Plus it takes away the changing of the kids minds over and over.
 Our group of 5 families total has multiply in size.  

2012
Go Gators! 
This is one costume Scott enjoyed being as he's the big gator fan... 
pretty nice of my family to send a package of gator gear even though they are Tennessee fans. 
The traditional group picture 

2013
This year it was a Toy Story Halloween! 
I think is was a winner ... everyone opened up the package and screamed a loud "YES" 
Everyone fit the personality of the characters too except Kate as Bo Peep was grumpy about her hat and kept throwing it off ... so funny as you can see it right next to the planter on the steps. We had to call her princess Bo Peep as she wanted to be a princess... gotta love 2 year olds. But this year she fully had the trick or treating down except wanting to eat every piece of candy right when she got it. 
 This marked our 6th year of celebrating with our friends and family. 
 
Can you tell Scott LOVES being Mr. Potato head ... such a good sport! 
Mimi as fork in the road costume and  Princess Bo Peep  
Indian Aunt Allee and Princess Bo Peep Kate
It's a group shot as the kids have gotten so big... the years are in fast forward and need to hang on to these fun times while I can because before you know it they will be going trick or treating on their own.. Yikes
I'm just thankful I have little ones to slow down the older kids.
I think we are known for our love of Halloween ... we embrace it and enjoy the dressing up, eating chili with friends and trying to get a decent group shot of the kids without too many meltdowns.  

 Now what to do with four HUGE bags of candy!? 
To infinity and beyond ... until next year! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

WHEW!

"I don't even know where to begin?" is the normal beginning when I haven't posted in a long time. It's true... the avalanche of the busy life has consumed me once again. All those busy things of greater importance take time away from reflection and sharing. I have so much to share... about once a week I think " that was so awesome, I wish I had time to share on my blog" or God gives me such a great little story I want to share so more people can have a taste of him, or I think WOW this is so hard and difficult and just feel defeated and need to let people know you're not alone in your walk on this earth. So many highs and lows these past few months... it's been yet another roller coaster ride. Yes I feel the phrase "I don't even know where to begin?" pretty much sums it up. It's time to come out from the covers of busyness and face the stuck feeling I have dealing with. We all moms and wives struggle with it ... in some kind of form. But I know for FACT God didn't put me on this earth to be quiet and not share! He has given me a passion to communicate and to share what he is doing whether it be good or bad. I love to CONNECT with people ... I love loving them right where they are, I love understanding people on why they operate the way they do, I love stopping anything and listening, I love the HIGH I get from the people and relationships I have around me. With that passion I love sharing what it is that God is teaching me while connecting to the relationships he has around me.  That love of connection is what always brings me back. So, I'm trying again to shift the priorities... for some reason a blog seems to keep me accountable ... focusing on 1. God 2. Husband 3. Children 4. Extended family....the four main things I like to talk about more than anything! So, here we go again... help me to get on the bandwagon of blogging again. Let my words be glorifying to God and may he use me wherever he sees fit.  A place of reflection and sharing the events in our life plus a fun stamp left here on earth for my sweet little ones to read... which is fun when I do catch my sweet Brooke going to our blog to watch our adoption video over and over. 

You know I can't leave you without a fun picture
This is one of my new favorites! 
Seriously, a miracle all 4 kids smiling and looking at the camera... a little blurry but really nothing is perfect!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Easter 2013

What's a holiday without a little drama?
 Well, it always seems to happen from broken ribs at Christmas, to broken down cars, sick children projectile vomiting in the car. Now we can add a hospital visit and missing grandmother to the crazy events.  
We had a nice time at the pool relaxing and kids trying to swim in freezing waters... when we thought it would be fun for us adults (my sister and brother in law) to go on a double date to dinner.  
We feed our children, watched the movie HOP and put them down snuggled in their beds, when sweet 92 year old grandmother GIGI came over to watch the kids for us. One of my nieces is really almost old even to watch the kids, she stayed up to spend some qt with Gigi. The night was fun and had a great dinner at a new restaurant... catching up on our lives, it was nice to have some nice quiet time together! When we got home my sister in law went to check on her 2 year old because she hadn't been feeling well and she had throw up all over and was on fire!! We did a cool bath, gave her Motrin, and my SIL laid down next to her to make sure she didn't get sick again. About 5am my niece had a horrible rash, a very high fever and was difficult for her to breath so my sister in law rushed her to the hospital...  a few hours later finding out she has just a really horrible virus. 
In the meantime my mother and father in law were worried... they called GiGi multiple times to tell her the Easter morning plans and she wasn't answering her phone. So, worried they got in the car and drove over to her house to find her car missing and no sign of Gigi ... they reached out to a neighbor but didn't know anything. They were about to call the police but decided to give it some time ... when at 5am my sister n law called them to tell them she was heading to the hospital.  When they heard the phone ring it scared them thinking something had happened to GiGi...when my sister n law explained she was at our house watching the kids the night before. Funny now, but what is holiday without a little drama :) For most of the day it went pretty smooth with tired kids and my niece so sick. Only other thing was my sister helping me load and start the dishwasher... she put DISH soap instead of dishwasher detergent so we had over flowing bubbles every where!! Very funny! And to top it all off... the next day after school I took my Parker to the Dr. who has had a rough cough for too long and found out he has walking pneumonia.

Whew, honestly it's really not just holidays we have drama we come across it all the time.
Every day we are going to fall short... our days on this earth can be a struggle. But through the resurrection it trumps everything...every other religion out there! One of the only things our religion is set apart from all the rest is the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection has over come all our troubles, doubts, fears, disappointment and drama. It overcomes every challenge we face with the simple fact HE has RISEN! 
He has over come it all and someday we will too when our time reaches to go to Heaven. 
On this beautiful Easter morning we celebrated the good news with our dear cousins! 
Where you see precious moments like these..... just a small taste of heaven and God's beauty around us
 Kate with her Great Grandmother! 
The twins special bond loving one another 
Kate enjoying hunting Easter eggs for the 1st time. 
Cousins only few months apart ... going in for a hug. 
Moments of pure joy from Jonas... soaking in the love around him. 
Even precious moments of laughter ... A son getting his father cracking a confetti egg over his head. 
which Jonas thought was hilarious! 



Brothers building their relationship!
 I caught a special moment of Parker teaching Jonas the TRUE  meaning of Easter that's just not just about the eggs and candy. It's about Jesus how he rose again to over come death to give us eternal life.


With all the suffering and struggles around us we can still see glimpses of the beauty of Jesus right in front of us because he has Risen over sin and death! It should give us the confidence and focus to carry on living out our days on this earth! Romans 8:18 I consider that our present suffering are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
The end result will make it all seem worthwhile all because...
 HE HAS RISEN
HE HAS RISEN INDEED! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lucky the Super-dog

It's weird, erie quiet, lonely and I keep wanting to do the same routines of putting food in a dish and opening the back door in the mornings...I go to bed at night and he's not following me up to my room to be on guard.  It's been over two weeks since we lost our sweet Lucky dog!
I don't think you can ever really prepare enough of how hard it is to lose your first dog!
 
Our first Christmas together
Lucky snuggled in bed on a cold night 

You think to yourself "why" really because honestly he was second fiddle to our other 4 children that demands 99% of your time and a measly 1% of your time was giving  attention to our dog...poor guy. But then you think about the past...  When we first got married Lucky was our baby sleeping in between us, he would hang his head out the window ... I swear smiling while the wind blows into his doggy face with flapping ears. He would howl at the trains at night for fun, he had a doggy door he loved to run out anytime to say hey to all the neighborhood dogs, he would have endless amount of treats and trips to the dog park that I paid admission ..it was fancy! Any furniture he could lay on .. his life was good and spoiled... we poured into him as if he was our first child.
Until the twins came he took a big step down the totem pole... he had new rules sleeping in a dog bed, barking for when he wanted to go out or in for outside because of a new house and no doggy door. His role changed, he was on guard and very protective of the babies... he let them do anything... pull his ears and climb all over him he was such a good dog!  He would open the doors to lay in front of their cribs during nap time, any crumbs in the house he was in charge of clean up. He had new responsibilities and was proud. I remember when we brought the next two children home and how he sniffed and studying them but welcoming them even though he moved two more notches down the totum pole. When Scott was traveling he would lay by my side giving me such security and  someone to talk too. His puppy dog big brown eyes would look at me with such UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.... he didn't care that he didn't get as much attention, he still loved me the same no matter what! He had been there through every trial and challenge, celebration, and new beginnings!  It's even  hard to write this thinking he's not laying right by my feet right now.  I miss him deeply every day he crosses my mind..just because of r outine for 10 years caring for him  and  I see other dogs and think oh how I miss him ...he was just SO GOOD!! 
Our last family photo with our Luck dog 

Oh our sweet Lucky was such a big part of this family but especially close to my heart as all I ever wanted when I was a child was to have my own dog! I never thought we would have one the first year of marriage but he entered into our lives in such a big way and he left it with my heart still so devoted to him. I don't know if ever another dog could compare to our Lucky boy, he was just so GOOD I mean 4 kids and the chaos that was around him would stress anyone out but he stayed steadfast loving and protecting us!
If you haven't heard the story of how Lucky got his name and entered into our family it's a special one ... Please read below...



Even though his days here on earth have ended I do believe in Doggie Heaven...(why not) as it was the biggest comfort we could give our children when telling them the news. Our children are sad and miss him... it comes up often that's he's not around but it's great that he will always be remembered as the BEST dog anyone could ask for and a piece of my heart is with him until I see him again!