In the days just before school started, we'd been through an earthquake, the passing of tropical storm due to hurricane Irene and were without electricity for a few days. Overall, we handled it pretty well, but my poor son. . .he had a harder time understanding everything. I mean, one day the earth is shaking and then a few days later, it seems the wind and the rain won't stop.

Every day since the earthquake, he tells me, "I don't love earthquakes!" and he asks if "our house is cracking" because of all the shaking it did. And every now and then, he asks me if our lights still work and reminds me that "rain came in our house." Never mind that any "cracks" are because our house is almost 50 yrs. old; and that "the rain came in" only because the patio door was open!

Praise God, all is well and the first day of school finally arrived!!! Bright and early Monday morning, we were still ready to learn and we did just that. Although we've only been homeschooling for a few days, it just feels right. While I don't have every single, little, detail worked out just yet, we are having a good time getting there. I am so thankful for this opportunity.

Here are some pics of our 1st day!!!

My precious babes outside the school room door.

TM, my very happy 1st grader!

SJ; I can't believe she's in 3 grade already.
(Insert Mommy tear here!)

JR trying to sign the letter "K"since he's in K-4
(pre-k, or whatever other fancy thing we want to call it!)

Kiddos ready to learn by candlelight. . .as you can see,
JR is not too happy about the candles! LOL

The sun is shining brighter, we blew the candle out, and it's snack time.
Smiles all around!

Girls doing a bit of free reading time. . .

. . . while JR and I work on math (with his blue "Diego" hat, of course!).

I'm keeping a nature journal along with the kids.
We'll see how it goes!

Sleepy Mama at the end of our school day. :)
I know, lots of pictures, right??? Actually there are more, but why so many?

You see, I realize that every day won't be "peaches and cream," every day will not go as I planned. So, when our 1st "less than perfect" day comes, I can look back on these pictures and remember the reasons why we chose this path. They are so worth it!!!!

So, I know this is such a random post. But, we've been without power for a couple of days (hurricane Irene!) and we are thrilled for it to be back on. I know that there are those who have gone without power for much longer than that, so I am not being insensitive or unrealistic. But every now and then, you have to celebrate the small victories. SO GLAD!

Post to come soon on our first day of school. . .with no lights!

Lights Are Back On

by on Monday, August 29, 2011
So, I know this is such a random post. But, we've been without power for a couple of days (hurricane Irene!) and we are thrilled for i...

A beautifully, gorgeous day outside. Bright pretty sunshine, a cool breeze, every thing is just lovely. My Husband and I were out in our school room, trying to prepare. . .sitting on the floor, putting a shelf together, nice conversation. My sweet children, working very hard today, were bringing schooling materials back and forth to be put away.

The LORD reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake. . .

Out of nowhere, the dog wakes up and begins to growl. We're like, what's bothering her? Then the ground begins to tremble, then shake, then rumble. My husband and I look at each other, and I'm like, do you feel that? Do you hear that? He says, it's an earthquake! The kids!! The kids were in the house, upstairs, the trees are swaying, the satellite dish begins to slam against the roof top. . .the kids!! I yell out, Sit down, guys! Sit down! But it's too late, there they came running into our arms. The girls a bit nervous, my boy just flat out scared and in tears.

Great is the LORD in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations. . . .

We calm down as the earth stops shaking. We count our blessings and are thankful that we are safe. Sure, a few things fell and broke, but we are safe. We talk to family members and friends, near and far, and praise God that we are safe.

Let them praise Your great and awesome Name—
   He is holy. -Psalm 99: 1-3


by on Tuesday, August 23, 2011
A beautifully, gorgeous day outside. Bright pretty sunshine, a cool breeze, every thing is just lovely. My Husband and I were out in our ...

 . . .when you wrote your first ever blog post?!

Well, Very Blessed Mama is holding a fun little link-up today. We're going back into time to share our very first blog posts!!

Have fun! :)

Training Children Up For Christ

Remember Way Back When. . .

by on Friday, August 19, 2011
 . . .when you wrote your first ever blog post?! Well, Very Blessed Mama is holding a fun little link-up today. We're going back ...
This week last week on the blog hop, we were supposed to talk about our schooling space. (I apologize for my tardiness!) As you may recall, we are (well, actually my Husband is) in the process of renovating a room for our school. You can click here for pictures and the last update on it.

Here is what it looks like now. . .
New flooring

Painted walls, still need a few more touch ups. . .

Husband wants to go back over the walls and make it a bit more tidy. And we need some furniture and shelves in there, too. Soooooo, since I have scheduled school to begin soon, we will begin here. . .

. . . the lovely kitchen table.

It is where we do work now, and it was where we did work before we knew we'd be a homeschooling family. So I'm pretty sure it will do. I have a few ideas about transporting/storing books and supplies in the mean time. . .hopefully it will work out okay.

I just ordered the rest of the curriculum that we'll be using this year. I'll be off to the stores this week for a few supplies (i.e. paper, crayons, markers, binders, etc.). We're gearing up and are pretty excited!!!
Not Back to School Blog Hop

Still Working On It

by on Monday, August 15, 2011
This week last week on the blog hop, we were supposed to talk about our schooling space. (I apologize for my tardiness!) As you may recall,...

Love You More is a truly heart-warming, heart-felt detailing of a mother's story of adopting her daughter. I chose to read this book because my father adopted me as his own daughter. My adoption came by way of a simultaneous love story between the love my dad had for my mother and the compassion he had for me as his child. It wasn't through the more common process of adoption, with an agency, mounds of paperwork, in home visits and the like. That was the part I was curious about, along with the love and the bond that develops between the adoptive parents and the child.

In her book, Mrs. Grant details all the specifics, the highs and the lows. She talks about the importance of her faith in God during the process and how He placed in her heart the desire to adopt a child. She vividly recounts her mistakes, her victories, her insecurities, her passion, her fears, her hopes. . .quite simply, the love she has for her adopted daughter.

If there is any criticism at all for this book, it would be that the author's writing style is a bit jumpy. Although her story-telling generally starts from the beginning and goes to the end, she jumps around a lot in place and in time. She will abruptly flash back to her childhood to explain a thought, idea, or situation and then may flash forward to after the adoption has taken place. I believe it is just her way of telling her story, however it can be difficult to follow all of the tangents.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who is adopted, has adopted, or is considering adoption. What I learned from the book is that there is so much more to adoption than the notion that you want to help "make a difference" and "save at least one child" from heartache or poverty. It is so much more than that.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review blogger's program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

****If you haven't yet, please click here to read Part 1 to get the full story****

In January of 2011, my husband and I made some decisions. Some new, some uncomfortable, some unpopular, but all exciting because they were the same--we decided to let go. . . let go of control, which my dear Husband has always said is nothing but an illusion. As one song says, "leave things up to Him Who is capable of knowing that victory is in His name!" Victory is in His Name, His will, His plan, His ways, His timing, not mine.

We forged ahead, without plans. It was difficult, it was uncertain, it was hard--what is this strange land of leaving things up to Him Who is certainly more than capable? We decided that we would praise God and be all the more thankful for the children God has given us. If He said 3 children was it, then thank You Lord that we have 3 children. If He said we would conceive again, then thank You Lord that You are allowing us the opportunity.We even thanked God (as crazy as it sounds) for the baby we lost, along with all of the struggles and for the pain. Thank You, Lord. We asked forgiveness for our inconsideration and ignorance, our thoughts when couples had no children yet, being so consumed with our own growing family while others grieved over the loss of a baby, or were unable to conceive. We couldn't see because we were self-focused--too much me, not enough Him. 

What if I had never changed my perspective? I am certainly not saying that God allowed the miscarriage simply to punish me--that's not it at all. However, He used the situation to cultivate, to grow, to heal, to make me more sensitive in this area. It was all Him. In my despair, I could turn to no one but Him--He heard my cry and showed me my heart. Thank You Lord.

One day in April 2011, about 2 weeks before Easter, we found out that we had been blessed to conceive again. Tears, joy, amazement, shock--because we hadn't planned it, we weren't consumed with it, we weren't scheming. . .God did it. Because of our last experience, my husband and I literally took it one. day. at. a. time. Before, we had bragged, joked, told any and everyone. . . hey, look what we did! This time, lips sealed, and hearts bursting with gratitude. We wanted to remain humble, we wanted to remain in His will, we wanted to be cautious.

As time progressed, we slowly began to share the news here and there with family and friends. It felt so strange when someone asked me, when are you due? what are you having? will you have more? Before, I had an answer to all of those questions because I knew what I had planned. This time I felt like, I can't believe they're asking me this! What does it matter when I'm due, or if it's a boy or girl, or if the Lord will give me more or not? What does that matter when He had blessed me to be pregnant 5 times, when he's let 3 children be born so far, when He has blessed me to make it this time to 7 weeks, 10 weeks, 3 months, 5 months? One. day. at. a. time. I am thankful for every day, for every moment.

The random Oh! Congrats, honey! from women in the grocery store feels so weird! How did she know I was pregnant? (Quite possibly from the rounded tummy and the semi-waddling around!?!?) What I'm trying to say is, I'm not seeking that attention--before I just basked in it. I don't want the here, let me get that for you or how are you feeling or let's talk all about me being pregnant. I don't want that, I don't want the praise--it all belongs to Him! So, that my friends, is why it has taken me quite some time to share this with all of you.

Even in the midst of the joy and relief we feel of letting the Lord have His way, satan has tried to whisper lies, doubt, uncertainty--we saw "this" on the ultrasound and couldn't see "that," wow! you're going to have 4 kids--that's a lot to handle, did you just always want a big family, you know you're getting closer to 35 . . .but to God be the glory. As my Husband says over and over again, thank You God for whatever You give me, because I know it is from You. . .it's up to Him, Stacie.

We are well aware that "any thing" can happen; pain knows no strangers. But, we are so thankful that we've made it this far. One. day. at. a. time. I rejoice in the God of my salvation, how He has allowed my womb to cradle a life once again, Thank You, Lord. I don't take one moment for granted. I can't explain it, I don't know all of the whys, but what I do know is that God is amazing and that I have to trust in Him and Him alone.

If God be willing, we will welcome a son into our home sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas--I know that's a pretty general time frame. Although my doctor has given me a "due date" you have to understand, that for me, continuing to put a "date" on things is a reminder--remnants--of wanting to control things that are not in my hands. I have to take it one. day. at. a. time.

That was a lot to share, but God is so faithful. I am thankful for the ways in which He matures me, my husband, my family. I am not perfect; I will fail. However, it feels good to let go, let God, and enjoy the ride. . .the gift. . .the testimony I can share with my children about the ways the Lord changed my heart for them.

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So much has transpired. . .spiritually, emotionally, physically. . .Where do I begin? I want to share this. . .it may be broken, fragmented, too long, no pictures, but I need to let it out...may God bless someone else who knows this road I've traveled--may He be glorified.

In the Spring of 2010, the Lord allowed my husband and I to conceive. We were excited in many ways, but for many of the wrong reasons. Let me be clear that we wanted each and every child we were blessed to conceive, however, my heart wasn't altogether right. You see, I thought I had something to do with it. Yes, I know, of course I did, but to a very limited extent. Besides my Husband and I joining intimately as one, the rest is up to God.

However, I always thought I could control things. . .control when and where we'd be intimate so I could conceive when I thought I was most fertile. Plan and date and look at calendars on the best times to try, you know, when we were ready. I received and accepted the advice that my children must be "x" number of years apart, so I planned for that. "Eat a special diet, stay away from certain things, stand on your head after intimacy. . .you're sure to conceive." Without going into all the details (at least for now) of the many ways I tried to control things (because there were many ways), I think you get the picture.

So, again, back to the Spring of 2010, my 4th pregnancy was underway and there I was. Thankful to God for my baby, but so sure and so smug that it had something to do with me. And so I began to plan and day dream of all the wonderful benefits I would receive because I had become pregnant. You know, extra back rubs, the random trips for ice cream, the attention from strangers:--Oh, congratulations, dear!--the shopping for baby clothes, the baby showers (where even more attention is thrown my way!), what I thought others would think of me, etc. {Don't get me wrong, new life should be celebrated, however, as I stated before, my heart wasn't altogether right--there was too much me, not enough Him.}

But then on Easter night, it happened--pain, muscle spasms so bad, I could barely stand. I was dizzy, light-headed and in pain. We went to urgent care, inside I was panicking. . .never once did I plan for this to happen to me. How could it? I'd been so careful and so sure! The doctors said I was too early to examine via ultrasound to check on my baby. I asked, but they wouldn't. Instead, they ordered blood tests and after hours of waiting, the pain and spasms began to subside. Since I had no bleeding and my pregnancy hormone levels were normal, the doctors sent me home with well wishes, it was probably just gas, they said. You know, gas can be pretty impressive, they told me.

I went home still thinking that I was pregnant. I had all the same symptoms--nausea, fatigue, a funny taste in my mouth. No cramping, no bleeding, no pain. Two weeks later, I went to see my doctor for a routine appointment. It was horrible. I saw my little tiny baby on the ultrasound screen, and before my doctor said a word, I knew. I'd had 3 other children and I knew to look for that cursor-sized heart beat on the black and white image of my baby. There wasn't one. I looked at my doctor's face and could see the concern brewing in her eyes and she finally uttered--I can't find a heart beat; there's no heart beat.

I was devastated and in complete disbelief. This had never happened before, so what did I do wrong? How could I have prevented this? How could it happen to me? What ensued for the next 9 months was a lot of pain, a lot of tears, a lot of questions. I grieved, hard, oh, did I grieve. Even now there are moments, seemingly from nowhere, where the thought of having lost a baby will leave me doubled over in tears. My husband was sad, my children were sad, my parents were sad. It was so sad. The only way I could make it, to climb out of my pool of sadness, was to be honest with myself and turn to the Lord.

I kept asking, praying, wondering, questioning, pleading--Lord, why? What did I miss? What are my issues? What are my true feelings? What do You say about it--all of it? What could I have done differently? During those hard 9 months, the Lord began to birth something new in me. I certainly looked at my 3 children with brand new eyes, now knowing first hand just how delicate a matter it is to actually hold a baby in my womb. I also realized how haughty, how selfish, how inconsiderate I had been. I realized anew just how blessed I am to be called "Mommy," it's priceless and is such a gift. And with humility and prayer, I approached my Husband about my heart's condition and issues with control. And come to find out, the Lord was mending our hearts in this area.

We talked and he got it; he understood where I was and where I'd been. He shared his thoughts, times when "his hand was in the pot" as he would say--times when he hadn't asked God first. We laughed, cried, prayed, talked. I couldn't believe how foolish I had been. Here I was headed into our 10th year of marriage with all this, this stuff. How many blessings had I missed over the years because of my attitude? My Husband replied, "Stacie, some times the Lord waits until we mature in an area before He reveals things to us. Where we were 10 years ago--we probably wouldn't have been able to handle it all." He is right.

****Click here to read Part 2****

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"You're homeschooling?!"

"Oh my gosh, you're taking your kids out of school?
I can't believe that!"

"Homeschooled children just don't do well in society.
I'm just telling you this because I'm concerned."

"What about socialization?  
Their social skills will be lacking!"

"How do you know that you can teach your own children?"

"Oh wow! That's great,
but let me tell you about such-and-such  
and the horrible experience she had and
why she just couldn't homeschool any more."

"So you mean you'll be with your kids all day long?"

"I mean, if that's what you want to choose,
 I'll support you."

"As an educator, I seriously would not
 recommend homeschooling.
Your kids attend a great school."

I am well aware that what I've shared is certainly nothing new among homeschooling families. It happens all the time, right? All of you "veteran" homeschoolers out there told me that this would happen, so I was well-prepared!! Even so, I find it interesting and quite amazing that those who are unfamiliar with homeschooling have the same types of responses.

Now, I must say, that I have received great support and encouragement along the way. Not everyone responds in utter shock and disbelief and I am glad about that!

Welcome to homeschooling, huh? :)
No Idle Bread

All praise, honor and glory be to God!!!!!!!

This upbeat worship song reminds me just how mighty the Lord our God is! He is worthy!!!

I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but I am so thankful for what the Lord has done for my mother! She had another "break-through" today and I am so grateful.

So, to my mom: I know you can't praise Him like you want to, so I'll do it for you!! Glory to God!!!!!

Glory to, glory to, glory to, glory to, glory to, glory to God!

To the only God, our Saviour, be majesty, dominion, and power.
Forever, and ever, and ever, be glorified!

Let the people praise Him, rejoice in all His goodness, and be thankful for all He has done.
Tell the generations, from the mountains to the valley, by His Spirit the victory is won!

For the Lord is worthy to be praised. His hand of salvation redeems us this hour.
Oh, Lord, beyond the balance of our days, be glory and honor, dominion and power!

Glory to God!! (Music Mondays)

by on Monday, August 01, 2011
All praise, honor and glory be to God!!!!!!! This upbeat worship song reminds me just how mighty the Lord our God is! He is worthy!!! ...
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