Saturday, January 4, 2014


A new year always makes us reflect on things that we would like to change in the upcoming year. We sit down and examine those things that we did not enjoy about ourselves in the previous year and what things we would like to see happen in the new year. We should reevaluate our lives often but the new year seems like such an awesome opportunity to do this. I have once again had a year where I started out gung-ho and spent three months sticking to my goals. For some reason March came and I just lost focus on everything. I was never quite able to get myself back on track. Insert a sigh. Isn't it awesome that we have a God who gives us new mercies each and every day? What is in the past is forgotten and we can move on to the future. I so need to be reminded of this every day and sometimes more than once a day. Sometimes life is a moment to moment excercise in grace and mercy. This year I have really struggled with deep depression. The kind that does not allow you to even want to get out of bed in the morning. I have been doing research in that a lot of this has to do with diet and the way that we Americans live now. This year I am trying to improve my health from the roots starting with my spiritual walk and then on to the underlying health problems I have been experiencing this year. I spend most of the time in pain. Sometimes I cannot wait until bedtime when I can take a pain pill and go to sleep. I ran out of pain pills a few months ago and have been realizing that I can do natural things to reduce the pain and inflammation and become healthier. I have begun to use high quality essential oils from Young Living. It has made a lot of improvement. I know that no matter what improvements I make, if I do not get my walk with Christ back on track, it will all be for naught. That is my main focus this year. Again, I am going to be asking the same questions I did at the beginning of last year. One a day.
So today I am seeking answers to the question, "What is one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?"
Wow. Can I just copy what I wrote this time last year? I have had so many ups and downs this year. From three months of a close walk with my Lord to deep despair of Carl losing his job and not seeing a way out. I have also seen The Lord fling open the doors of blessing in answers to prayers. From my deep miseries God heard just a melody and rejoiced over my brokenness and brought me so many times to a place of joy.  I know how to have a walk with Christ. I have heard it so many times. I know the right words to say to make it look like I have it all together. That is all a lie sometimes. In trying to figure out why I am failing I discovered that no has ever taught me how to STUDY my Bible. Yeah, I have read it countless times since I became a Christian. But study it. I have no clue. No one ever taught me how to dig into the depths that are contained in the pages that God ordained to teach us everything we need  on our Christian walk. So this year I have decided to learn to STUDY the Bible and not just read it. I have started reading Kay Arthur's How To Study You Bible. It is very enlightening. I plan on doing a short inductive Bible study and see how her program works. I am excited. So this year I plan on enjoying God more by STUDYING his word.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Home Sweet Home - December 3, 2013

Oh what a sweet visit we had in Baltimore. We got to spend time with family and friends. We attended a wonderful thnaksgiving service. We also got to spend time showing some our children the places we got to go when we were their age. All in all we had a good time of fellowship with our family. We even got to stay a few extra days. Due to Carl losing his job we did not have to get home in a hurry. He does have to leave on Friday to spend a few days in California. I am going to miss him tremendously. I always miss him when he goes away. I am going to my mother's for a few days when he leaves. It is just easier to have a few extra hands. My mom does not need much of an excuse to spend timie with her grandchildren. They enjoy the time we spend there. Carl and I looked at the next few weeks on the calendar. They are busy with Carl doing a lot of military duty. That is good because it is money that we can save. It has been a huge blessing to get all the extra military duty. I am so glad becasue it has shown me that The Lord is going to provide for us. He has opened doors for Carl to actually make more money than he did when he was at McKim and Creed. What an unexpected blessing!!!  In the midst of all the military duty, Carl and I are going to try to get a few days away together. We are celebrating 16 years together this year. What an amazing thing! If you looked at all that Carl and I have gone through in these 16 years, we should not be together. We have survived moving 6 times, a move out of state, a deployment, bankrupcy, the birth of 8 children, a separation, and many other little stresses that have ruined many marriages. If not for the grace of God we would be divorced by now. WHat a testimony to the power, redemption, forgiveness, and grace of God. What a mighty thing he has done in our family.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Down Memory Lane - November 30, 2013

Today I took a walk down memory lane. I grew up in Edgewater, Maryland. I always tell people I grew up in Annapolis because it is a town most people are familar with and the towns are close. I spent a lot of time in Annapolis growing up. We went to Navy games and the fireworks when they were held at the stadium. We walked the grounds of the Naval Academy when you did not need id's to get on. We went to the Christmas boat parade every year and froze. We watched the firewoks at the Naval Academy when they were moved there. We walked past the state house many times and every year we took a field trip there in school. We ate at the Market House and Storm Brothers and our favorite, Chick and Ruth's. We watched them dig up the bricks on Main Street and saw the archeologic dig that went on due to the abundance of colonial items they found undernearth. As we got older, us girls would watch the midshipmen with girlish delight and wonder what it be like to date one.  Each of us girls ended up dating a midshipman at some point. Two of us got our hearts broken and one found the love of her life. We danced at the Academy and watched so many sporting events that I cannot count them. Anyone remember rolling down the hill at the Navy games? We also watched hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and track. So many memories. This trip up to Maryland I decided I wanted to take a trip back. We went to today and some things have changed but others have not. We went to the place I used to work and although bigger, it is much the same. The manager that was there when us girls worked is still there and remembered us. We had a great time catching up and the boys spent about and hour looking at all the souveners and picking out the ones they wanted. It was awesome to see Kathy again and catch up. We took the boys to Chick and Ruth's delly for lunch. Yes, that is the way it is spelled. They were skeptical at first. When we got in though it was exactly the same. The paint color, the pictures and articles on the wall, the layout, the wall of sandwiches, the names of the sandwiches, and Uncle Teddy. He actually remembered us girls. Isn' t that amazing? He was still talking to the customers at every table and making the patrons smile by doing magic tricks. Yes, it was more crowded but the food and atmosphere were the same. I shook Uncle Teddy's hand on the way out and told him to never change. I want to bring my grandkids back some day. From there we walked up to the state house and around state circle and then on to the academy. This is where I saw the most change. Fences and securtiy and special entracnes and metal detectors. It was dreary and run down. There were weeds everywhere and peeling paint and holes in the road. It just was not the same. The whole place just had a depressed feeling. It might have been because it was just a dreary day and the midshipmen are all at home. It just was not the same. I don't know why. I told the boys that it was a lot different than when I grew up. I think they had fun anyway. They were shocked at the amount of effort it takes to go to one of the military academys. I think it was good for them to see how important a good education is. All in all, I had a fabulous day and so did they. The day ended as we sat in the Starbucks and looked out at the lights coming on all over town. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane and I built some new memories with my older boys. I hope to go back soon with the other kids before the town changes too much. I hope it never does. Annapolis will always hold a special place in my heart.

Friday, November 29, 2013

On Our Way - November 27, 2013

We are offically on our way to our annual trip up to Maryland to celebrate Thanksgiving with Carl's family. The kids are very excited to see their cousi. Alex tried to smuggle some swords and guns in the van. I had to remove them because there was not enough room for much. Who would ever think that a 15 passenger van would be too small. When you have ten people and car seats and stuff for a several day vacation, space gets taken up very fast. But we are on our way. Yeah. 
Today was Carl's last day at work. I was dreading this day. I wished and prayed that somethings would happen to make to not come. i prayed that his bosses would reconsider and change their minds. I thought that I would be crying and upset all day. I really was not loking forward to it. Today dawned and I had such an overwhleming peace about it. Honestly, it was mid mornign before I even realized that this was th day. I was busy and peaceful. I actually laughed more today and was calmer with the kids. The Lord just opened His arms up and held me there today. I was enveloped in such amazing peace and grace. Yes, I did get frustrated with several situations today. They mostly had to do with dowloading movies that I had purchased. I did not handle it well. I did ask forgiveness and moved on and again the peace moved in and enveloped me. I am so thankful that God in His infinite wisdom gave me peace today on a day where I expected sorrow. I know The Lord has wonderful things in store for our family.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rain, Rain, Go Away - November 26, 2013

I know we need the rain. I know that we are very blessed to get rain today as it has not rained in a  while. As a mother to 8 children, I dislike rainy days. My energetic boys spend a lot of time outside. When ever they get loud and rambunctious I normally send them outside to jump on the trampoline or play in the backyard. They love it and they come inside calmer and able to focus and listen more. Today it rained all day long. A steady rain with no let up. I had to pack for our trip to Maryland so I was busy putting together socks, and sorting laundry, and folding laundry, and packing bags, and getting together snacks and medicine. Stuck right in the middle of all of this was a doctor's appontiment for Alex. He had his final wound check for his infection. It went well and I was so proud of him. The kids were good but there are 8 of them and only one of me. Today was one of those days where my older ones just wanted to play. It was like pulling teeth to get them to do anything. They did not want to clean out the van or help with laundry or really do anything. The little boys were just being little boys. It is not that they were bad. They were just being energetic in a house where there is not a lot of room to play. I finally got all the packing done despite four older children with pouty bad attitudes. I had reached my limit of noise and whining and fighting and wrestling and play by play of the video game and the interesting facts about Lord of the Rings that my older boys kept telling me. I am a Lord of the Rings fan but I really do not need to know that the actors greeted each other with head buts while they were filming. I had really had it and to be honest the last half of the day was not a good one for me as a mother. I yelled more than I should have and got very frustrated with my children. I am sorry to say that dinner was not pretty. I was upset of plans being changed due to weather and the fact that I now have to keep the kids occupied for one more full day while it is raining outside. Can you here me sigh? At least all the packing is done. TOmorrrow I plan to do more playing with them and things to keep them occupied. They were just bored today and a bored child, as any mother knows, can get into a heap of trouble.  Tomorrow sounds like a good day for some snuggle time and stories and building some relationships with my chidlren. I am so glad that I have a God that forgives us when we fall. I am so glad that I have chidlren who forgive their mother when she goes off the deep end for a little while. Our God is amazing and His mercies are new every morning. For that, this day, I am so thankful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Coming out of the Pit - November 25, 2013

Oh my. What a roller coaster our family has been on the past few months.
To be honest, I have walked away from The Lord these past few months. It was not intentional and not all at once. I just simply found myself in a stiuation where it was easier to make excuses than to work on my relationship with The Lord. It was easier to sleep in in the morning. It was easier to watch things on my IPad at night. It was just easier to think that everything was fine. I knew it wasn't. Carl knew it wasn't. The kids knew it wasn't. I really don't think I was fooling anyone. Is that not how it normaly is? We think that we are hiding our inmost fears and failures but in reality those who are closest to us and love us the most know. No matter how hard we try to hide our struggles we cannot. And trying to hide them from God is impossible. We may think we are but we are not. No matter how far we run from God, He pursues us and pricks our hearts. We wind up feeling empty and lost and depressed and angry and foolish and guilty and tired and just ... broken. And in that place when we are so broken that it seems like we cannot take another breath. That place when it seems like we do not have another tear to cry. That place when we are shattered beyond any recognition of our former self. That is the place where God steps in and takes back control. That is when he shows us that he holds every tear in the palm of his hands. That is when he shows us that he is bigger than anything that we are going through.  That is when he takes us in his arms and allows us to breathe again. That is the place that I discovered last night. I have been there before at other times in my life but this time it was sweeter for some reason. It was joyful and awesome and ... there are almost no words to describe it. It was just ... a magnificent place of grace and mercy. All day today I have just been singing and praising God. It has been a long time coming and it felt so good. Will i struggle again? You betcha. Will I need to remind myself of how this feels every day? Absolutely. Will the hard times end? Probably not. But I know that God is bigger than anything I am going through. He was the one who ordained it and He is the one who can give me the strength to come out the other side stronger and more like Him. Because if I do become more like Him through the struggles, then, it will be worth every tear and heartache. More later on these past few months. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stone July 15, 2013

Three Gifts in Stone

The diamonds and sapphires in my wedding ring. They are beautiful gemstones. My ring has a story to it and it is such a blessing. My sweet man designed the ring himself and had his jeweler uncle make it for me. Even though it does not fit anymore I still cherish it.

Arches National Monument in Utah. We went there last year to visit my sister. There really are no words to describe God's glorious creation there. It was awesome and magnificent. It was one of my favorite places that we visited that trip. I even hiked it with a broken foot, although I did not realize that it was broken at the time. It was beautiful.

Grand Canyon. Really, again. There are no words to properly describe it. The magnificence of it is truly something that one must experience in person. There really is no other way.  What an awesome testimony to God's wonderful creation. Everyone should try and see it at least once in their lives. I am so glad we had a chance to see it and to allow our children to see an example of His creativity and awesomeness.