Saturday, April 12, 2014

Princess Anna Visits the Library

"Princess Anna" from the movie "Frozen"
visited the Wartburg Public Library today. 
We had a fabulous turn out today...21 kids present!
That's our best number yet. It was really fun
and the kids LOVED Anna! ;)









"Anna" was also invited earlier this week to participate
in a Literacy night at a public elementary school
in our area. There were many excited little children
(girls mostly but a few little boys) who came
out to meet "Anna" and listen to her read
stories in the school library.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Random

There's not much new to tell, that's the main reason I haven't posted.
There's no news yet on the weight loss front. Our weather has just been
so cold and wet and yucky, I haven't gotten back into the whole walking
thing fully. So, while that is getting off to a slow start, I will get back into
it when I get the energy. ;)

This time of year is just so full of busy days. We're coming off of the winter
months when things tend to be a little slower (for our family anyway)  Since
January, we've been cutting and splitting firewood (for the next two seasons)
We have one of those new-fangled wood stoves that is EPA approved...and
let's just say it's a little bit more picky about the wood it will be burn. We have
discovered that oak (which is our preferred wood) really does need two complete
years to be seasoned enough to burn properly. Sheeshh...that makes for a TON
of trouble with cutting our own wood--because we have to keep the wood
cut ahead two years. But, with all the savings from heating costs, it is definitely
worth any trouble we have to go to. I heard folks this year talking about three
and four hundred dollar heating bills. Our highest electric and natural gas bills
for any one month during the winter was about $120.00. So, we'll just cut
wood, :)

We are in preparation stages planning our second home school formal. The
formal is a lot of fun. It's just a little something special that we like to do
for them. An opportunity to get all dressed up and do something extra special.That
will be on April 18 (also Emily's 15th birthday)  Yikes! How did she get to be
so grown up? And she's studying for her driver's permit. I can't bear the
thoughts of all this. Makes me sad.

Our ladies meeting is coming up in May. I am so excited about it. The Lord
always amazes us with the special work that He does. There is still much to
do to prepare for it. But, it's coming together. I can hardly wait.

After that (in June) is VBS. That is always a big deal for us. It is our biggest
opportunity to reach out to our community. There are many children who
live in just a short distance from our church. We try to canvass the area,
with invites to come. We pray we make a small difference in the lives of
these precious little ones.

And, of course, with summer comes gardening, mowing, and catching up
with stuff around the house that gets neglected during winter months.
It makes me tired thinking of it all, but after the long cold winter I am ready
for it.

Well, this has probably all been boring, but that's the way it's been around
here. lol..

***Soon, I hope to post a video of Emily playing the song, "Let it Go" from
Frozen. She has done a fabulous job learning it, and has just gotten it
memorized (it is eight pages long)  But so far, she won't let me record... :(
***she's a BIT of a perfectionist! ;)

That's all for now!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Notice My Ticker?

Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I have gained a few pounds. :(
We (and husband and I) managed to get all the way through the summer
without a weight gain. ***We had started watching our diets more closely
and walking together daily the summer before...so we had managed to lose
some weight and keep it off for a whole year. But, this fall and into the early
part of the new year has been tough. It's been really cold here~which meant
many mornings it was simply too cold to walk outside. At first, I was good
about the treadmill but in all honesty, I don't enjoy that as much, so soon that
kind of played out too. And the more I put it off, the more I dreaded it and got
out of the habit, I guess. I began to notice some of my clothes getting a bit
snug, but I've been procrastinating about ACTUALLY get on the scale.
But, I finally did, and I don't know whether I am glad or mad. Needless, to
say, I gotta get back to paying attention to my daily calorie intake and back
to consistent exercise (and if it's too cold--then it's on the treadmill or
treadclimber)  So, this post is just for me...and as a way of helping me get
back to better eating. I have to REALLY watch it as far as food goes.
Some people can just cut back on soda and that makes a huge difference for
them. But, I don't drink soda (very little) as in probably less than one per month.
I drink water...all day long...except for my two cups of coffee in the morning.
I rarely eat dessert, I don't really crave sweets, never have. And I do eat
very healthy...lots of fruits and veggies, and very little fried foods. So, it's just
a matter of keeping the calories down to 1200 and exercising daily.I want
to use the little ticker on my sidebar to help me...to be encouraged to see
the numbers go down. Not fun, but I do want to be at a healthy weight.
I want to take care of the temple God gave me. So here we go again...

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! God has been so good to us in 2013!
Looking forward to 2014. I want to love, serve, and honor Him
more than I ever have before. He's been too good to me for me 
not to give Him my best.

Love to All!
Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2013 FBC Secret Prayer Sister Banquet

We had our Secret Prayer Sister Banquet last week.
I thought I'd just share a few pics. 
Some of them didn't turn out well (the lighting in the
fellowship hall messes with my camera and since I am
so totally an amateur, I don't know how to fix it--please excuse) lol

I can never resist taking one of the lovely fireplace. 
 Miss Barbara did a very nice job with the tables this year.
I would describe them as "simply elegant".
She did a great job mixing the burlap and decorations to
bring out a "Country Christmas" look.


Next are just a few randoms shots as our ladies came in. 
I love to see them all standing around fellowshipping together.
It really blesses this pastor's wife to see our ladies all loving
each other...no cliches...just precious relationships. :)

Mrs. Tonia and Lindsay~ A sweet mother and daughter

Mrs. Peggy and her daughter-in-law Becky...you can see Becky's mother
in the background...I don't know what she was doing back there. ;)

Some of the earlier ladies grabbed the table closest to the fire. lol

Mrs. Teresa and her daughter-in-law Misty. 

Emily with some of her friends.

 One of the group.
It was hard to get a good picture-this was the best I could do. 
I could have used my Iphone and got a panaoramic...didn't think of it at the time. lol

Mrs. Tonia did our devotion and did such a wonderful job.
It was very timely...as it dealt with where several of our ladies ARE right now
and the situations they are currently dealing with. 
The Lord is so precious...He always knows EXACTLY what we need.

 Now, for the good part...the eating! :)

Miss Barbara

 Miss Barbara and Miss Faye~ they do so much
I could never begin to tell how much they mean to me
and to all of our church family. It makes this pastor's wife
life so much easier because I know that I can count on them. 



I appreciate Mrs. Robin too! She had some really fun
games prepared for us (I count on her a lot for this too) and
she always comes through. ***She was not having the best day either
but she came right on and I am so glad she did. 

 Games are always so much fun...we have a great time
laughing at one another. 
 In this game, we were drawing pictures while the plates were on our heads.
I thought mine was good, but I only got one point. :) lol


The next few pics are of a game we played where we had
to "act out" the names of different Christmas songs.
It was hilarious. 







And for some reason, I didn't think to take pictures during
the "revealing" and the gift exchange.
Our ladies have really enjoyed doing the Secret Prayer Sisters.
It has given us all an opportunity to focus on another lady in our church, 
to pray specifically for things that are important in their lives, to
watch for times when they've been sick or just might
need some special encouragement. I think that's it's helped us
to become more empathetic toward others. At least, I hope it has.
I can't wait to see who I get to pray for next year. :)

Next Sunday, we have our Christmas dinner. I am sure there will be a few pic
of it too. And our Christmas play and program are scheduled for Sunday night, Dec. 22nd.
Please pray...we always have a lot of visitors for that service and usually some sinners in attendance.
It is a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with some
who only ever come to church one service during the year.

The Lord has been good...He deserves our love, praise, and adoration during
this season. After all, HE IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Giving God All the Glory Conclusion


 After much prayer, we decided that we would try the IVF. (and I guess I should go ahead and own up to something) Bret was very positive and hopeful about doing the IVF. He said that he had more peace about this than anything that we had done up to this point. And it’s not to say that I didn’t have peace about it. I think I was just looking at it like this was the final thing. That if we did the IVF we would know that we had done everything that we could do, and maybe, we could finally close that chapter in our lives. Maybe this would be the Lord’s way of just giving us “closure”. I don’t know. I guess, after everything that we had gone through, I just couldn’t put all that much trust that it would work.  Anyway, whatever happened, we were going to be it a try.  So, we began all the fertility medicine and all that goes with the IVF. It took several weeks to do. I had to have shots every day for six weeks leading up to the procedure. One of the shots I could do myself, but the other one had to be given in the hip twice daily. My husband is a big ole tough guy, but he was too squeamish to be able to do it. So, my sister, Holly, came to my house EVERY DAY for weeks TWICE daily to administer the shots. We couldn’t have done it without her. The weeks went on, and once we got close to the actual procedure, I had to start making the daily trips to Knoxville for blood work. When we were just a few days away from the procedure, our doctor told us that our numbers were just not turning out as good as he’d hoped. He even offered to let us “back out” of the procedure, our chances were so slim. But, we asked him, if we tried it all again and started over, would our chances ever be any better? Or were our chances now as good as they would ever be? He said that our chances would not improve if we did it all again, that our hopes were as good as they were going to get. We decided that we had come this far, we may as well see it through to the end. So, we did NOT back out. We just went on as planned. A few days later, we had the procedure done. I had to take it easy for a few days so I didn’t get out much. The daughter of a family that we were very close to was being “courted” at that time by a young man who lived out of state. We were close to his family as well. Many times when he came to visit her, he stayed in our home. Well, it so happened that he had came to visit just a few days after our procedure. They had planned to go to a local park but it rained so the whole clan came over to our house. I remember that they had brought these little tiny kosher pickles and I ate a bunch of those little things while lazing around. In the next day or two, I started to get really, REALLY sick. This was less than a week after our procedure. Our doctor had told us that if I got short of breath or had a sudden weight gain to call him. I don’t really know why I thought to weight that morning, but for some reason I did. It was Sunday morning. I wasn’t feeling well enough to go to church, but Bret went on. I began to notice that I was short of breath, that when I laid down, that it was getting kind of hard to breathe. I remembered what the doctor had said so out of curiosity, I weighed myself. I was shocked!  I had gained ten pounds since morning. When Bret got home from church, I told him, and he called the doctor. I don’t think the doctor quite believed him but he told him to bring me in first thing in the morning. By morning, I had gained a total of 20 lbs. I was filling up with fluid. It turns out that I had a weird reaction to the fertility medicine and “hyper-stimulated” . I was terribly sick, throwing up fiercely. They finally felt they had no choice but to admit me to the hospital. I was in UT Hospital five days. I guess I’ve never been so sick. I really don’t remember much of anything about that week…with the exception of one thing. That week, we got the wonderful news that we were expecting!  ***so no, I still didn’t get to actually see a pregnancy test stick*** but who cares? And my friends, --the ones who were at my house that day that had brought the pickles—they were so cute. They brought me a jar of pickles to the hospital. But, I was so sick that just the thought of a pickle was unbearable. AND ON A FUNNY NOTE , TO THIS DAY I CANNOT EAT A KOSHER PICKLE…I CANNOT EVEN STAND THE SMELL! lol  Our doctor did tell us, though, to  not to get our hopes up. That many, many people miscarry before they ever know that they are expecting. And after all, I was only about three weeks pregnant. He told us to just take it easy, to be patient, and to not rush out and tell everyone. So we took his advice the best we could. Everyone knew about it, though, because many of our church people had come to visit me in the hospital. But, we asked folks to keep it toned down. I didn’t think that I could take having to tell everyone that after all this, we had miscarried. But, the Lord was kind and gracious. He kept me and the baby safe. A few weeks later, we were able to go back to his office to have our first ultrasound. We got to see our baby’s heartbeat at eight weeks. After a few more weeks, he released us to go to a doctor closer to home. After fourteen years, (we had our fifteenth anniversary just after Emily was born) we were finally waiting….the best wait we’d ever had…waiting for our own precious, sweet miracle to be born.
My pregnancy, after I got over the sickness in the beginning, which took several weeks, was pretty uneventful. I felt good, and everything seemed to be going along fine. Until the end, my labor started early and they put me on bed rest and medication to stop the labor. I had a fabulous doctor who told me just what to do. She gave me a steroid shot in the event of an early birth but the medicine did help and we were able to keep her safe in Mommy a little longer. We did discover that she was inverted, feet first. My doctor tried turning her but she seemed to be stuck. So it was determined that for the sake of the baby, we’d do a C-section. Two weeks later, my Emily was born via C-section, four weeks early. She weighed in at 6 lbs and 9 oz. and was 18 ½ inches long. Not bad for being early, huh? And thanks to the wisdom of my doctor, her lungs were fine. She got to leave the hospital the same day I did. And it was discovered that my uterus was heart-shaped and that was why she had gotten stuck. She got in that position and could not move. But, all was well and my sweet baby was healthy.
After a few weeks after our miracle baby arrived, we prayed about it, and we decided that we should contact the adoption agency to tell them that they could give our spot on the list to some other deserving family. We’d love to have another but didn’t want to be selfish. We felt God had blessed us abundantly and we just wanted some other couple to have their chance. When I called them, I was in for a shock! They said they had been trying to contact us. That they had decided to close their doors. Imagine how heartbroken we would have been if this had happened before we had our baby. And we didn’t get the money back that we had already spent. We would have been devastated had this happened. The Lord knew all this and took care of it all. One thing that I’ve always said. We kept wondering why the Lord kept closing the doors when we tried to adopt. Emily is the reason. Had we adopted, we never would have considered going to this new doctor and having the IVF. He knew what He had for us, in HIS time, and in HIS way! HIS WAY was best. The way that brought HIM ALL THE GLORY! For there was nothing that we could do to bring it all out the way that it happened. Only a God as great as we serve could do such wondrous things.

When we did the IVF, we had some frozen embryos. When Emily was eight months old, we tried again a second time and this time, it didn’t work. Then, when Emily was ten months old, I had a hysterectomy. This was what my doctor recommended due to the condition that they found (and almost mistook for cancer)  It was a very rare condition that they didn’t know much about. Since they didn’t  have very many studies about it, they recommended that we have the children we wanted, and then have a hysterectomy to prevent something happening later on. So, that is exactly what we did. But isn’t the Lord wonderful? He made sure no one ever saw the xray that would have meant a hysterectomy BEFORE we had our miracle. He made sure that the right doctor saw it at the right time. So many years later, so many years after we thought we should have had a baby, but at just the right time. God’s timing is always best!  And He sure outdone Himself in our case… ;)

And I still remember the first time that I “shared” our story. My mom and sisters had us a baby shower and we had lots of old friends and family there, and there were many there who were not Christians and didn’t understand the mercies and blessings of God. After all the fun and games, the Lord nudged me about sharing how we wouldn’t have been sitting there enjoying all this if it weren’t for His miraculous blessing upon our lives. I can remember that it was a very emotional story to tell, and how that I cried through most of it. But, I promised the Lord that day, that I would share it, with anyone who wanted or needed to hear. Our family learned that no matter what we face in this life, there is NOTHING too hard for God. And because of the years that we spent leaning on Him for strength and comfort, our faith grew so much. Maybe in way that it might never have otherwise. We learned that when life takes a turn unexpected, that He has a reason, and He will take care of us. Your “impossible” situation may be totally different from ours. Every person has different trials that they face. But no matter what it is, if you keep your eyes on Jesus, He will be your strength.

I hope I haven’t left anything out. It’s a long story for sure. I might have wondered at times why He would have let us experience these things. I wouldn’t want to go through them again, but I wouldn’t change one thing. I learned, through all that we faced, that I can TRUST Him in all things. He does know best and I don’t have to worry about the future. Our lives have been changed for the good because of what He allowed us to face.

And now, just before concluding, I wanted to share a verse that the Lord gave me many, many years ago…from almost the very beginning of our “infertility journey”.  One day during my devotions, the Lord let me “accidentally” read this verse.
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 113:9 KJV
I wrote that verse in the flyleaf of my Bible the first time I read it. I must have read that verse thousands of times during the years of our wait. I knew that I believed the Bible with all my heart, that my God loved me, and that if He willed it, he would bless our home with a family. He was the only one who could turn this barren woman into a joyful mother of children. ***back then, my focus was on the “barren woman” part, but today, I still love that verse. Today, my prayer is that I will ALWAYS be a joyful mother, to the beautiful, sweet, daughter He blessed us with. If you are in your waiting time, I encourage you to love this verse as I did. His Word is the best that we have in this life to trust in and cling to. When the walking by faith part gets tough, His Word can be your comfort…if you let it. J

This has been our story. Our miracle is now fourteen years old. She has been the greatest joy and blessing of our lives, outside of salvation. She fills my heart with joy every day of her life.
So, that’s it. Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time (and lots of it) lol, to read our story. I don’t know the reason that I felt the need to share it but I do believe the Lord wanted me to.


***Since starting our story, I received a sweet msg on FB from a young lady who is going through some of these same things right at this very moment. She and her husband have been married five years and they are still waiting. I know of another young couple in KY that are facing this. And there is a wonderful young couple in our church who are in the middle of all this right now. I would love it very much if you would help me to pray for these young families. I KNOW the Lord laid this on my heart to share it. And there might be others who read it that maybe wouldn’t feel comfortable in commenting. But, believe me, they desperately need prayer. This kind of hurt is not the kind that you can just pray once, the Lord gives you victory over, and you never deal with it again. This kind is ongoing. The Lord may give you victory today, but tomorrow the devil jumps on your shoulder and starts all over again. They have to face this hurt and discouragement EVERY single day. And you might not have ever gone through something like this and could not relate at all, but maybe, my post will give you a glimpse into what some people are going through, and help you to have more compassion. Whichever way, I hope it’s been a help and blessing.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Giving God All the Glory Part 4


 Thus began the many weeks and months that it took to complete our home study. We had to pay half of the cost of the adoption at the completion of the home study. We had saved and saved and yet we still didn’t quite have enough. So, we financed the rest. We hoped to be able to save the rest by the time that we were able to get our baby. The balance would be due in full when we got our baby. The agency that we got on with was a very reputable one. It had been in business for several years. So, we felt very comfortable and safe with them. They were very kind to us. They made us feel at ease and were so helpful in all the things that we didn’t understand.  They did their home studies in two parts. First, we had to do a group study, where we, along with five or six others couples would come. We’d learn about adoption, while learning how to help our hearts heal from the hurt of having to go through all this. We all had to learn to “share” our feelings. Now anyone who knows my husband knows the kind of person he is. He is a very no nonsensical person. He doesn’t go for a lot of “psycho-babble”. (his word)  So, this was for him, something that he REALLY did not enjoy. And he didn’t feel the need to share the way the way they expected and required us to do. But, as much as he didn’t like that part of it, he was willing to do whatever it took if it was in our power to make it happen. After the group sessions, they made individual trips to our home. It was very interesting the way that they had it worked out. When a birthmother would come to them, they would find out what she was looking for in parents for her child, choose three profiles for her to choose from, and from those three she would select the parents. We were told that no one had ever waited more than two years once their home study was completed.  It was such a relief and blessing to us when we finally finished everything and we were finally waiting for a BABY! All the previous waits had been for something leading up to this, but now all that was left was the wait for the baby. How exciting!
So, again we wait…and wait and wait and wait. Where they told us that no one had ever waited more than two years…we DOUBLED that! We were just NEVER chosen by a birthparent. Again, we couldn’t help but question, why? We had waited, we had prayed, we had tried so hard to serve the Lord and honor Him with our lives. Why did it seem as if everything we tried, the door always seemed to be closed?
AND ALL DURING THOSE YEARS, WHILE WE WERE PRAYING, WE WERE PRAYING FOR HIS WILL AND NOT OURS. WE WANTED A BABY, A FAMILY, MORE THAN ANYTHING, BUT ABOVE ALL ELSE, WE WANTED THE LORD’S WILL. AND IF IT WASN’T HIS WILL, WE ASKED HIM TO CLOSE THE DOOR! (sometimes we know the right words to say...we even really mean it with all our hearts, but in our humanness, we still question why things happen the way they do)
But, when the doors remained closed, it sure was hard to understand. When all around us, it seemed as if everyone we knew were just having babies. Even at the agency- couple after couple were being selected and then adopting their babies. But, we never were. If we could only understand why, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. Still yet, we left it in the Lord’s hands. And continued to wait…

Meanwhile,my husband’s job was a pretty good one. He made a good salary for the type of work that he did and he had pretty good insurance. But, one of the greatest perks of his job, I guess, was his retirement. For every dollar an employee put it, they matched it 100%. So early on, he started having $20 each week put in retirement which of course, the company matched. Later, as it built up some, Bret shifted it around some so that it could earn more and more interest until soon, we had a pretty nice little nest egg built up. We had also learned that we could get some of that money out to help pay for medical bills. We couldn’t get it out first, but once the bills existed, we could take it to help pay them. It was about this time that I heard about a fertility doctor in Knoxville (just a little over an hour from our home) that was doing IVF. We made an appointment to go see him. We could do the IVF if we wanted to, and then take some of our retirement out to help pay for it. He took a look at some of our past medical records and he felt that he might could be a help to us. He needed to run a few  preliminary tests to be sure. One of the tests that he mentioned that we needed was the one that we had done several years before. The one that lay hiding in a drawer at home. So he asked that we bring the xray with us next time and he would look it over. We did that, and when he looked at it, he said that it looked to him that maybe the xray had become corrupted. There were cloudy and hazy. So, he determined that we should redo that test. He scheduled the test, and then they routinely sent it off to the labs. A few days later, he called us and asked us to come in. As it turns out, our original xray had not been corrupted. There was really was something there that should not have been. When we walked in, we knew that something was wrong. He just had that “look”. He proceeded to tell us that he wasn’t used to having to give this kind of news. He was a fertility doctor. But, when they sent the results of my test to the lab, they found what 5 out of 7 pathologists at UT Hospital said was uterine cancer. And they said that they thought it was a VERY aggressive cancer. But, our doctor didn’t agree with them. He said he wanted to send it away to Stanford University to the best doctors in the country in this field. It took two weeks to get the results. Two long weeks…not knowing what to think or feel.  We were so scared, not knowing what the future held for us. An aggressive cancer was definitely not something that we had ever thought we ‘d be facing. Not when we were still just hoping to get a baby and have a family. But, during this time, as hard and fearful as it was, still, we trusted the Lord. Whatever He sent us to face, He knew best. Once again, we were left with nothing that we could do to change our situation. Once again, we just had to wait. And two weeks later, our doctor called with the most wondrous news. It wasn’t cancer! And, listen to what he told us! He said the experts in the field said that even though it wasn’t cancer that it LOOKED just like it. And anyone who wasn’t a specialist in that particular condition, would have diagnosed it as cancer. So, think of this. The xray that was hidden in the drawer. It wasn’t corrupted. It wasn’t ruined at all. It really had something on it that shouldn't have been. The Lord had just made sure that no one, NO DOCTOR WHO WOULD WRONGLY DIAGNOSE IT, would ever see it. He kept it hidden until just the right doctor would see it. If one our local doctors back when we had first had the test done had seen it, they would have diagnosed it as cancer, and done a hysterectomy right off. Instead, the Lord took care of us and our situation when we didn’t even know we were in a situation. The Lord is so good! So, now instead of facing cancer, we could proceed with the IVF if we felt that we could. We prayed and this time, we felt that we should try.