As many of you know, last week was tough for my family and me. We lost a loved one who was dear to our hearts. It was my great-uncle who left a great and lasting impression on me. You see, he loved me dearly, but most of all he showed me Jesus. During the better part of my childhood, he was also my pastor, and in my youth, he led me to Christ. My greatest comfort in his passing: he was "sold-out", committed to Christ and is resting safely in the arms of Jesus. The other joy in this sorrow is that he was SO funny; God doused him with a great sense of humor. It is so hard to talk about him without smiling, giggling or just flat-out belly laughing. I am blessed to have some great memories.

God sprinkled other bits of joy throughout our lives this week. . .
My kids prayed for snow and God said, "Yes."
My sweet husband shoveling and deicing.

The kids went outside to "help" Daddy. . . not so sure about that one!

Warming up with some hot chocolate.
This is so funny to me:
Baby J trying to escape from his crib!

One sock coming off, one foot caught in the blanket.


The best joy all week: My son, JR, made the decision to accept Christ as his Savior
and he declared his faith to the congregation at church on Sunday.
He was SO excited for the ENTIRE day. . .literally.
It just blessed my heart!

So, I am thanking God for all of the ways He lifted my burden, big and small. I still have joy.

Joy in Sorrow

by on Tuesday, January 28, 2014
As many of you know, last week was tough for my family and me . We lost a loved one who was dear to our hearts. It was my great-uncle who le...

 It's been a tough week for me and my family. . .
This says it all. . .
lead me to the Rock

Today we celebrate the life of a great man, a visionary, a gift from God!

To remember Dr. King, my children and I (and my mom, too!) talked about the principles for which Dr. King stood. We listened to one of his most famous speeches, "I Have a Dream," which is below.

While we listened to the speech, I wrote down different words or phrases to help spark discussion after the speech was over.

We talked about many of the words and phrases I wrote down, about the cruelty and injustices African Americans suffered. My mom shared a piece of her experience with us, as she was raised in the deep south, in the state of Arkansas, during the time of the Civil Rights Movement. She spoke about going to visit the doctor as a little girl. She said she and her mother had to enter through the "colored door" and spoke of the differences between the "colored waiting room" and the "white only waiting room." It made me sad; I could hear the emotion in her voice. . .

I told my children that this day reminds us that we are all human, prone to many failures and that we all make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes are horrific. The beauty is that God forgives, even the worst offenses, God forgives. I reminded my children that all people are created in the image of God Himself (Genesis 1:27) and that we are to uphold the command of Jesus to "love your neighbor as yourself." (Mark 12:31) This is the message that Dr. King wanted us all to understand.

We made these at the end of our discussion.
The heart says, "peace, hope, and love" over and over.
The idea for this craft (and many others for MLK day)
can be found HERE!

Gifting. . .the special talents God has graced us with, that we should use for His Glory.

Things I am learning about His gifts:

Not everyone is gifted in the same area.
I can't "do your gift" the way you do it; additionally, I shouldn't try to.
In the same vein, you can't "do mine" the way I do, and you shouldn't try to.
Rather than becoming jealous, spiteful, or bitter about each other's gifts, we should thank God for what he's given each of us.

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. -Romans 12:4-8
Often as wives and moms, we compare ourselves to others, trying to see how we measure up in various areas of our lives. We're reading blogs and chatting with friends. Maybe we're looking at women in church or on T.V. and, all the while we're comparing--Am I good enough? How does she do it all? Will I ever be like her? Am I doing enough? She can do everything! She must have an extra dose of patience! She must be superwoman!
What we must remember, Ladies, is that comparing ourselves to one another is a dangerous thing. God's gifts to that woman (whomever she may) are for her, at that particular time in her life, so that she is successful in being the woman God has called her to be. We must realize that because we are individuals, we don't come from the same set of circumstances---we have different husbands, different children, different households, different finances, different lives.
We must use our gifts from God, for His glory, within the lives He's given to us. If you know there's an area where the Holy Spirit is urging you to do better or to do something differently, then by all means, do that! (Ephesians 4:30) If your husband makes a request of you to make a change or incorporate a new idea, by all means, submit to him respectfully, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-33).
However, let us not place unnecessary stress on ourselves trying to be just like someone else. That thing you see in someone else's life could be that person's gift from God! And, trying to duplicate God's gift to another person in your own life will be difficult to do--at best it will be a cheapened version, unauthentic, and unrealistic for your life.
Instead, let our gifts inspire one another to be the best we can for Him. Let us use our gifts to serve God, our families and friends, our communities. May our gifts strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And, may we look at our sisters in Christ and genuinely support them in the way they use God's gifts to them, for His glory.
I'm still learning. . . blogspot/ssxG (Raising Arrows)

My Gift is Not Your Gift

by on Saturday, January 18, 2014
Gifting. . .the special talents God has graced us with, that we should use for His Glory. Things I am learning about His gifts: Not...
So, this was supposed to be our first week back to schooling after our Christmas break. Instead, it was full of doctor's appointments, home improvements, our homeschool portfolio review and an appliance delivery. I am completely exhausted. Of course my kids were secretly celebrating on the inside because this week was pretty much a wash by way of instruction. They did a bit of math and free reading. We also watched a couple of videos "on demand" about lions and cheetahs, as well as a show called "Brain Games." That was it for the entire week! Just horrible.

My homeschool portfolio went well, but it was a process! It was initially scheduled for Tues. but had to be rescheduled for Wed. I found out about that just an hour before we were scheduled to meet. I am blessed to be able to do my review via Google+ Chat, but when we met on Wed., technology was not on our side and it took about 45 minutes to get things going. Of course, the baby was crying, my toddler was screaming, and the contractor needed to ask me a question. . . .all at the same time! Stress levels were beginning to rise, to say the least.

But then I remembered my two-step approach and my word "surrender." I have to thank God for my family, the opportunity to homeschool, for flexibility, for a kind reviewer, for a house to repair, and a husband with a vision for our family. Although the week was physically and mentally draining, God's grace was seen: My children were so helpful with assisting me in moving things around the house to accommodate the changes going on; each of the older kids has "babysat" the little ones while I was on phone calls or speaking with the contractor, or just needed a few minutes to tend to something else. There was a lot of team work as a family this week, and although it was tough, I know it makes us stronger.

Here are a few pics from our week. . .

New tile being laid for our laundry/pantry room. . .

Our house is 50+ years old and some things need an upgrade at some point!

JR reading Encyclopedia Brown in Daddy's chair

JD "reading" on the couch ;)

TM reading in the kids' "activity" closet with
Baby J spying, with all of our juices on the floor.

SJ reading Anne of Avonlea (sequel to Ann of Green Gables)

Being in the walker was too boring, so playing
blocks near the freezing patio door was more interesting!
And, he kept taking his socks off. . .babies! LOL
Some of our pantry food items have taken over our dining table
since the laundry/pantry room is out of use. The rest of our
goods are on the floor and on the kitchen counters. Looks like
we went grocery shopping and didn't put anything away!

New refrigerator. . .with the handles on the wrong side! LOL
Hopefully we can get that switched, especially since I'm expanding more each day.
The pantry/laundry room are just inside that door. . .
Standing in that door way, here's a shot of the floors (and deep freezer), minus the baseboards
that are supposed to be installed in the coming week. Once that's done we can
move our pantry shelf units back into their places.
{{I use our laundry room walls as my kids' "art gallery"}}

A closer look at the floors. . .they need mopping!
The deep freezer is now to my right and when I step up,
our washer and dryer sit on the floor space there.

Truth be told, I'm not the best sport when it comes to home improvements. I tend to dwell on the inconvenience they are, rather than the blessing on the other side. Please pray for me, as more home improvements seem to be in our future since the new baby is on the way. . .

Well, hopefully the next week will be full of more school work!

A Whirlwind Week

by on Saturday, January 11, 2014
So, this was supposed to be our first week back to schooling after our Christmas break. Instead, it was full of doctor's appointments, h...
A bit of a No Idle Bread family update this new year. . .

I've known for a few months and I am pleased to say:

God has blessed my husband and I to conceive again, and for this we are thankful.

If God be pleased, we will welcome a baby girl into our home in May.

We are excited, busy, happy and full of wonder about our sweet little one and the way God is blessing our family. And, we are once again humbled by His grace.

"They shall build houses and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

They shall not build and another inhabit;
They shall not plant and another eat;
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,
And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
Nor bring forth children for trouble;
For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord,
And their offspring with them."
-Isaiah 65:21-23

New Year, New Baby

by on Monday, January 06, 2014
A bit of a No Idle Bread family update this new year. . . I've known for a few months and I am pleased to say: God has blessed my hu...
photo source
I am not a New Year's resolution person. I'm not against them; I just think that if God is urging me to change something or do something, then that something can begin here and now. I don't have to wait on a specific calendar date, unless He says so. With that being said, I've never chosen a word for the year, either. I'm not against that by any means and I enjoy reading the words other bloggers have chosen. But, I've never chosen one because it felt like I was jumping on the bandwagon.

This time, I intended it to be no different. I've visited many of my blogging friend's sites and have read over their word choices and I come away encouraged and blessed.

But today, during a bit of worship time, God gave me a word. I planned on listening to my You Tube play list of worship songs as I sat down to read over an article about praying over my homeschool. But instead of hitting the play button, the Holy Spirit gave me: SURRENDER. And I thought, "I love that song," so I typed in I Surrender All to listen to it instead. And during the song, I realized that has been what the Lord has been saying to me for the past 3 years, and really loudly for the past 6 months. . . ."Stacie, surrender to Me."

Don't worry about the cost.
Don't worry about what people say.
Don't worry about the time.
Don't worry about the sacrifice.
Don't worry about the pain, or tears.

Surrender all to the Lord because . . .

He can restore.
He is mine and I am His.
He can redeem.
He can make whole.
He is the Comforter.

There have been rapid changes in my life since 2011, the majority have been welcomed changes, but sometimes they've come so quickly that I feel out of sorts. . . okay, out of control, which my husband has always told me is nothing but an illusion.

And even now, the Lord is stretching me, challenging me even more: "Step out on faith. Surrender all to Me."

And so that is my word--surrender. And I'm realizing, it has been for quite some time.

photo source
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." -Jeremiah 29:11
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Surrender 2014

by on Wednesday, January 01, 2014
photo source I am not a New Year's resolution person. I'm not against them; I just think that if God is urging me to change som...
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