Tuesday, April 28, 2009

God knows

As of late, it seems that everywhere I turn there is another story of a newborn or a fetus in a desperate situation. Babies with heart conditions, birth defects, and genetic conditions glare at me from my computer screen with every click of my mouse. Most of the time I wouldn't concern myself with, well, myself, but being pregnant makes me stop and think. Am I seeing all this now for a reason?? Is God preparing me for something that is about to happen in my own life?? I have experienced God's wisdom and hand enough in my life to know that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. There is a reason I'm seeing all this now, why all this is happening now. The mother in me began to panic. Don't be alarmed, the panic has faded and has been replaced by something far better...trust.
You see, I have realized that God put all of this in front of me, not to prepare me or to make me panic, but to learn to really trust Him. Along with sick babies, there has been a recurrent theme with their stories...mothers who trust Him. And I don't mean mothers who trust that God will fix their broken babies, because they don't. They don't trust that God will fix the babies, but instead they trust that God's plan is at work. They trust that God's will is at work. They trust that even though they don't understand, even though they hurt, that, ultimately, God has a bigger miracle in the works. One mom even went as far to say that she was honored to suffer on God's behalf.
Now, I don't say this to say that I think something bad is going to happen or that we have been chosen to suffer for Him. I don't know. And, frankly, people, I don't care. That's right, I don't care. Please don't take this the wrong way. I certainly care for my unborn child. I care that he is healthy and happy, but that is my earthly selfishness. When I say I don't care, I simply mean that I am ok with God's plan, whatever it is. I am learning to trust God and know that whatever His plan includes, that it will be okay. No matter what happens, it will be okay.
Why, you ask, would I be okay with anything happening. Simple. God knows. God, right now, already, weeks before my precious package is set to arrive, knows everything about his little life. EVERYTHING. God knows the exact moment my little guy will arrive. He knows the exact length, in milliseconds no less, of my precious one's life. Every move, every scratch, every hiccup, God knows it all. God knew all that before my parents knew me! God has known all along our exact paths. He knows my future as well as that of my children. Wow! God knows everything that will happen and He uses it to further His kingdom. You ask how a self-proclaimed control freak can let go and be okay with anything? I know God is in control, that's how.
All these sick babies with faithful moms have taught me that. They were and are able to handle anything that comes their way with peace because they understand that even when they're not in control, ultimately, God is. Who better to control a situation that is out of my control than God?!? Really.
So, rambling completed, I will finish with this last thought: I don't know if God is preparing me to deal with something major or not (and even though the control freak in me would like to know, I'm okay with that), but what I do know is that God has used these experiences and exposure to other faithful moms to make me a more faithful mom. I am learning to let go and trust Him more everyday simply because He knows.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

God is full of joy and surprises for His children this week. It is God's holy week of answered prayers. For those of you who link to other blogs through mine, I hope you have had the opportunity to link to Little April Rose and read this amazing story of forgiveness, faith, love and trust in God's big plan. This unwed Christian woman made a mistake, found herself pregnant, dealt with that, only to find out that her unborn baby girl would probably not live. The doctors have encouraged her to induce early and just get it overwith. They feel the baby has no chance of survival. The baby is still alive, but over the last few weeks her heart rate had begun to slow down. At last check it was somewhere in the 80s. Normal for a fetus is a min. of 120. Her heart was getting weaker. God's children prayed for this unborn baby and this mommy they didn't know personally. Check out the u-tube video she posted on her blog yesterday. If this doesn't remind you that God answers prayers, then nothing will. The doctor has no explination.

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.
-Psalm 6:9

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The power of Corporate Prayer

I have an amazing "God story" to share today. It reminds us that God hears us when we pray and where two are gathered in His name, there He is also...

I would like to introduce to you Jenny. Jenny is a British citizen, living here at Ft Leonard Wood with her husband while they take care of their grandkids. The parent(s) is(are) deployed overseas right now. Jenny's husband is (as I understand) a US citizen (perhaps dual citizenship, I'm not sure) with the lovely accent. Jenny recently found out that her application for her visa extension had been denied. No one really knows why, other than our government has the power to do that. Apparently, according to the US government, she had over-extended her welcome here in America. She was going to have to leave her husband behind to take care of two elementary aged children to go back to England for 6 months before she could reapply to come back. She was understandably upset. The entire family was. There were phone calls made and paperwork rushed and everyone that could possibly try to help was helping. Her deadline to be out of the country was Thursday, as in day after tomorrow. She still had not heard anything. She had begun mentally preparing herself to go. Knowing that God hears His children when we cry out His name, the ladies at PWOC (my army ladies Bible study) gathered together to pray for Jenny and her situation. Ladies and gentlemen....always, always, always, remember that God hears us when we pray. Jenny got a phone call this afternoon informing her that she had been approved to STAY. The formal letter is in the mail. She will not have to leave those sweet children behind without a mother-figure after all.
We must all remember that, not only does God hear us when we pray, but He ultimately answers our prayers in HIS time. Even if that means we must wait until the last possible minute.

Friday, April 17, 2009


As another week has flown by, and I am one week closer to completing this whole look-like-I-swallowed-a-beach-ball thing, I am amazed at how quickly this weekend has approached. This weekend is to be a time of rest for mommy. A time of reflection and peace and quiet (I just hope I can stand it). I am scheduled to go on a ladies retreat this weekend to Branson. I was looking forward to it until yesterday. I opened my email containing the details of the weekend (which were FEW) and got a bad taste in my mouth. I am a little concerned that this weekend may not turn out quite like I was expecting. I am still going with the thought that I am being negative and need to get over it and the hope that my gut instinct to bail at last minute was not right. Pray that I get the most out of this weekend, that I allow God to use whatever comes my way to draw me closer to Him and give me the much needed rest I am looking forward to. In an effort to turn my attitude around, I tried counting my blessings. It seems I have been doing that a lot lately and it didn't seem to help the negative blah feeling go away, so I decided to look around me and be encouraged by the positive things I see. So here it goes....I AM ENCOURAGED...

I am encouraged by my best friend's effort to take care of herself for all the RIGHT reasons.

I am encouraged that my friend in Texas is using this opportunity to take care of herself too.

I am encouraged that although my husband is very sad to see me leave for the weekend, he is ENCOURAGING me to go because he knows how badly I need the break.

I am encouraged that I have a friend willing to step up and take my kids for a large majority of the weekend so I can do this even though my husband has to work.

I am encouraged to see the outpouring of prayers for total strangers all over the country.

I am encouraged to be a part of a women's ministry (although small) that wants to grow, love God, and love each other.

I am encouraged that I feel as well as I do, considering the size of this baby.

I am encouraged that now my attitude is improving.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

And the winner is.....

Okay, after waiting several days to see if anyone else would put in their two cents (good thing I didn't really need two cents...you people would have left me broke) I had only two suggestions....but...in reality one of the suggestions was spot on. Lesli, of Keeping up with the Kovics, reminded me that my son has a nickname that has consistently been in use for years. She was right...how could I forget...so.....Lesli, look for your prize in the mail in about six months...lol.

The kid's nickname will be...


thats right, Noodle...no big story behind it. Lesli has always called him Noodle. She'll have to do a guest post to explain because I have no idea.

Thanks Debra for the other suggestions...they were great!

Thursday's Treasures

Seeing as how I missed the weekly post on Tuesday, I will post something for your entertainment today instead. The reason for missing the post is simple...they really didn't make much mess. Shocking, I know.

Those of you who have been to my house and have been referred to as "family" instead of "guest" have seen the piles of laundry. I am notorious for letting my laundry get backed up...I HATE laundry. I've gotten better about it since my laundry pile and my machines are in my kitchen...you can't ignore the elephant in the room when it stands between you and your precious Dr. Pepper. Occasionally it still gets backed up. I have a busy week and laundry sometimes takes a backseat. As is the case this week. (I have big plans today to get caught up on that) Sometimes, my family gets really irritated that they are having to turn their underwear inside out and take matters into their own hands (nobody gross out...I'm kidding about the underwear)....

....this is when Tuesday's Tornadoes turn into Thursday's Treasures...

...into the dryer....

...out of the washer...

...into the dryer...

Everyone should have a set of these...the machines, not the toddlers...well, maybe the toddlers if they do laundry...

Itchy actually loves to help with the laundry...and I'm not THAT far behind this week. She was buttering me up for some pink milk...kids will do anything for pink milk.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Munchies

Okay, so here we go...another episode of Monday Munchies. I pondered all weekend about what I could share with you today as I tried nothing new this week and we ate out a lot...way more than normal. But then it hit me...duh....I made the most "Haley" meal last night for dinner. Amy's quick and easy Alfredo. And let me tell you folks...it is easy...scary easy...so here you go...try this one...the kids love it and you can make it as fattening or as healthy as you choose. I will give instructions for the healthy version and you can substitute fatty ingredients if you choose. It is good either way.

Amy's Quick and Easy Alfredo

2 packages of low fat cream cheese (don't use fat free, you need a little bad for you or it will turn out weird)
2 tbsp butter (or whatever butter substitute you use)
Italian seasoning
garlic salt
cooked pasta of your choice

melt the butter in a large skillet. add cream cheese. Melt the cream cheese, stirring OFTEN. once cream cheese is melted, add garlic salt and italian seasoning to taste (this is usually 2 tsp of garlic salt and 2 tbsp of seasoning, give or take. you can always add more later). once this is stirred in add milk. The amount of milk depends on how thick you like your sauce and how long you want to mess with cooking it down. It is usually a couple of cups. Let this simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Check the taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Poor over pasta, toss and serve.

This is super fast and easy. Need to add some protein? Add shrimp, chicken, whatever you have. It's yummy. We had chicken in ours last night. The kids all cleaned their plates.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Everyone needs a nickname

Okay, seeing as how I'm approaching 100 hits since I started counting on this blog that I was sure no one would read, I have decided to follow in the footsteps of so many bloggers gone before me and give my family nicknames to protect the innocent (or in my opinion, not so innocent). So this is the beginning of the nicknames and you, all my fabulous followers, will not only know the nicknames but why I chose them and the story behind my choices. Let's start with my sweet, darling hubby....

Now, there are a million and one things I could think of to call him depending on my mood, but I'll save you all from that and pick a name that describes him ALL the time...regardless of my mood. In my previous post I referred to him as Mr. Smartypants...and I believe I will stick to that. Oh, I could give him some sweet, loving name similar to MckMama's prince charming, or follow in BigMama's footsteps and just call him D. But that's not me...or him for that matter. Don't get me wrong, he's most definitely my prince charming. He rode up like the knight in shining armor (or dusty camo, if you will) and whisked me away on his silver stallion (which we traded in on the minivan pictured in the previous post....what a husband...gave up his man ride for a bus big enough for our brood). But romantic comparisions aside, he is by all accounts a smartypants, from his quick-whitted barbs back at me (notice I say BACK at me...I usually start it) to his knowledge of all things manly. He looks like a guy's guy...all muscle and beer, but in reality...he's a closet NERD. Yes, a nerd. A history nerd. Ask him what George Washington's favorite color was...he knows that crap. How many blades of grass were trampled at Gettysburg...yup, knows that too. Freaky, freaky smart. Our bookshelves are lined with non-fiction HISTORY books *gasp*. Could our house look any nerdier?? Makes my collections of Shakespeare, modern American fiction and Victorian poetry look puny in comparison. He's currently enrolled in college and is taking basic American History (the first half) this session. He complains weekly that his teacher has his facts wrong...seriously??? Would I have known if my teachers were feeding me incorrect information...not a chance. So Mr. Smartypants it will be.

The twins are easy. I have been calling them Itchy and Scratchy for the longest time. The oldest, with the short hair will be Itchy and the younger with the long hair will be Scratchy. Have to be fair about it and do it alphabetically. It's the only way to make it work. If you're wondering why Itchy and Scratchy, it has to do with Mr. Smartypants. He had roommates that he sometimes referred to as itchy and scratchy...and it sounds better than Frick and Frack. I started calling the girls Itchy and Scratchy and it just stuck for me.

The new baby will just be "the new baby" for a while. We'll have to see what he looks like and what his personality is when he gets here. If current conditions are any indication...he may just be called "the spaz". He's always movin' and shakin'.

The oldest boy will be next. I'm not sure about his. He is an animal of a different nature. We called him Chunky Monkey as a baby...certainly doesn't fit now...he's a pencil these days. Mr. Smartypants often calls him "the boy". Not unlike Johnboy. You, my faithful readers, might know the boy...here's your chance to put your stamp on my blog...send me your suggestions. If I use one of your suggestions, you will win a prize. Nothing glamorous, but a prize. So start thinking....send me a nick name for the boy. This is the next best thing to being able to name my baby.

Hmmmm....that gives me an idea if we ever decide to have more....

Just kidding....the baby factory will be closing soon....there will be unfertilized eggs in the unemployment line.

Tears from Heaven

Why, oh why, does it always rain on the saddest days of our lives. Could it be that the rain drops are the tears of angels sharing in our grief. Today was a sad, sad day...

The angels cried....

The new leaves on the trees even drooped sadly....

The dog is sad....

Even the boy is really sad today....

(okay, so the dog always looks like that and the boy was faking it for the camera, but it helps the point)

But for a Texas girl who has been removed from "the homeland", days like today are extremely sad ones.....

The reason for all the tears you ask.....
Can you see it...can you tell....its hard to see.

We just put (oh i can hardly bring myself to say it...) MISSOURI PLATES ON MY CAR!!!!!!! SOB SOB SOB SOB

(my husband, Mr. Smarty pants, asked me to black out the actual plate number. I'm impressed I was able to figure out how to do it...I'm not the most computer literate person I know)

So very very sad that I can no longer say I live in Texas. Now I know I haven't lived in Texas for a very long time (anything over 2 weeks out of state is a very very long time) but having to admit that I'm "from" somewhere other than Texas is heartbreaking. Luckily for me, I can always claim to be a Texan, as I was born and raised there. For the last 30.5 years of my life, I have called Texas, and only Texas, home. To be uprooted at this stage has traumatic side effects. I have coped well. I have missed blue bonnets, sea food and Tex-Mex, but I have learned to love from afar. My truly Texas friends have tried "therapy". Sending me pictures of fields of bluebonnets, making sure I ate real Tex-Mex when I came home for a visit, etc etc. And I have coped. I have griped about the driving here, citing Texas drivers as the only ones who know, truly know, how to navigate the highways. I have complained about the "hillbillies", stating that in Texas, we may be rednecks, but we are high class rednecks. And now...I must finally give up the fight, roll over and admit to the world....that I too am from hillbilly land. I can no longer drive down the highway and have the world know that I am from the best place on Earth. Texas, my Texas....oh how I miss you....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday's Tornadoes

Here's a regular Tuesday post for you. I've noticed that Tuesdays are the emptiest days in blog land. We all need something to read about or look at, soooo...Tuesday will be the weekly update of whatever mess the twins have managed to create...have fun laughing at me and thinking to yourself, "so glad that's not me".

This is Marin...she decided that the kleenex box needed to be emptied...on the floor.

So, being the mean mommy that I am, I made her clean it up....

She even put them in the trash. Way to go, Mar!!!!
(nice pic of my trash...sorry about that)

A few days later, we had our friend Audrey over for play time while her mommy went to the doctor for a check up. Being the genius that I am, I let them finger paint. Enjoy the artwork that was a product of great creativity. No VanGogh's in this bunch, but they might grow up to be killer tatoo artists.
This is our friend Audrey. She was the cleanest of the bunch...

Marin, slightly more mess here...
notice the back of the chair she's sitting in.

Sweet little Megan....walking art.

The week was so exciting with all the mess that the girls turned out sick on Monday. This is what twin tornadoes look like when they're under the weather....pardon the pun.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Munchies

Here we go, another fabulous meal to feed the masses. I'm no Paula Dean, but this crap is gooooood.

Awesome Potato Soup

courtesy of Gwen Dowell

2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2inch cubes
1 chopped onion
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup (can use chicken...heard its fabulous this way too)
garlic powder (be brave and gormet...try real garlic chopped and let me know how it works for you)
ground red pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar

Put potatoes, onion, soup, garlic (to taste), and red pepper (also to taste) in a crock pot and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.
Add milk, sour cream and cheese and cook on high 10 minutes.

In the words of Rachel Ray...yummo.

This is a great meal to feed the clan when you're busy. Or to take for potluck at church. Have leftover Ham from Easter dinner? Chop it up and throw it in too. Bacon? sure. Good with turkey too. Dig through the fridge and find your leftovers (chicken anyone?) and throw it in there. It's awesome. We eat this regularly when I'm gonna be busy in the afternoon and won't have time to start dinner when I normally would. My hubby gets excited when he walks in the kitchen and sees the crockpot with white creamy stuff in it. Loves it! The kids eat it up too.

And as an added bonus this week....

another fabulous recipe

My kids think these "biscuits" are the greatest thing ever.

You know the scone you bought the last time you went to Starbucks? The one you payed $3 for? Here's the recipe...and they are sooooo EASY. Love these things!! And they aren't too sweet. Just sweet enough. The traditional directions are in regular black font...the "Haley" version are in red directly under the traditional in each step.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 beaten eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream (aka heavy cream)

1. In a medium bowl combine flour, 2 tbsp sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.
1. Instead of using a pastry blender, I use my stand mixer and the regular paddle.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, cream and cranberries. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
2. Mix on low speed until moistened.

3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10-12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth.
3. Switch the regular paddle on the mixer for the dough hook. Run on medium speed until dough is smooth and balls up.

4. Divide dough into 2 chunks and pat each chunk into 5-6 inch circles. Cut each circle into 8 wedges
4. Now bust out the lightly floured surface and do as instructed in traditional step 4.

5. Place wedges 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Brush wedges with extra cream and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake in 400 degree oven for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from baking sheet and serve warm or store in airtight container for several days.
5. Place wedges on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Follow remaining directions.

These are super yummy. You can substitute blueberries, dried cherries or any other dried fruit for the cranberries...I happened to like the cranberries. Need a breakfast treat for a holiday party? Use decorators' sugar instead...you know, the colored stuff that comes in shakers that you see on the end of the aisle at Wal-Mart next to the themed cupcake paper holder thingies.

Have a yummy week!!!

Yet another reason to pray.

I just got off the phone with my mother, who had a grand ol' time giggling at me hollerin' at my "sick" kids who don't seem so sick right now. In the course of the conversation, she shared a story of a family in her Sunday school class (yes, another one). They just had their third child recently and he was born with Down Syndrome. As if that isn't enough to deal with, he came out oxygen deprived and very very very blue. After more than a week, he is beginning to look less like a smurf and more like a human. The baby's mom is in Dallas at the hospital with little Jacob, Dad (out of sick days, etc as a teacher) is at home with their other children and struggles with not being there with his sick baby. On top of being seperated and stressed, Dad has bronchitis. They need all the prayers they can get. Please pray for this family. They have a long, long road ahead of them. Follow their story, the link is on the right. This is truly Jacob's battle, but it will be God's victory.

Copy, paste, copy paste

I know, I know, I should come up with my own material for this blog. But, darn it!, Kevin is just sometimes too profound to not share. For those of you reading this that haven't followed my blog since its inception, Kevin is the author of the "Carwash" blog I quoted several weeks ago. He is also my parents' Sunday school teacher who is suffering from Cancer. Amazingly, God continues to bless others through him, even in his time of need. Say a prayer for Kevin, then read the following entry from his blog Kevin's Marathon. May you head back into the world today.

If you have read my blogs at all, I am sure you realize that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. You might not know, that I am not only the son of a Southern Baptist minister, but my grandfather was a minister, and now my oldest son, Ryan, is an ordained minister. It breaks my heart to tell you some troubling news. The church, as I know the church, is suffering and quite possibly dying. I do not want to bore you with the statistics, I want to ask you, if you attended a church growing up, to describe that church now. How many people between the ages of 21 and 35 attended this church? Use one word to describe the church of your childhood.

I love Jesus. I love the church. Change must happen if we want to connect to culture around us. I am reading an informative book, They Like Jesus, But Not The Church, by Dan Kimball. This man is a pastor, and one of the things he did was to get out of the church office. Now you must understand that his church allowed him to do this, but would you? He began to get his hair cut in a different area of town, prepare his sermons at the local coffee shop, and began to get out of the Christian bubble. As he talked to people, he found out that they respect and like Jesus, but they don't like the church.

So why am I calling this Shorty's sermon? We have an aerobic septic system and have a maintenance agreement. This last summer Shorty came out to work on our system. Chris and I visited with him and he shared how he was attending a cowboy church. We had a great conversation. Little did we know what the next few months would hold for either of us.

This past fall, I was diagnosed with cancer. During the same season, God called Shorty to start a church outside of Sulphur Springs. He started this church with 2 families. They now have 70-80 in attendance each Sunday. They have purchased an abandoned Methodist church building and he said that each Sunday he waits to see who will attend and what they will be wearing. He said he's even attended dressed in overalls to let the people know it's not what's on the outside that's important. His last sermon series was on refusing to judge the world around us, just to LOVE. I truly believe his heart matches Jesus' heart. People are drawn to Jesus.

As Shorty shared his story, Chris and I were captivated. I can't share everything he told us, but this part tells enough. According to Shorty, one Saturday night he was invited to a cookout and country singing. Of course, he said that most of the group was getting drunk, but he said he stayed anyway. He realized that some of the group didn't have tables at which to eat, so he said if someone would help him, he would get tables from his church. One of the men volunteered to go with him. Shorty said the man asked how he had keys to a church, to which Shorty replied, "I am the pastor." The man remarked, "If I ever went to a church, the ceiling would cave in!" When Shorty and his new friend arrived at the church, and the man got out with beer in hand. Shorty said that he turned around because the man had paused outside the door. He asked Shorty, "Aren't you going to tell me to leave this longneck outside?" Pastor Shorty replied, "That's between you and God." Needless to say, the man left his drink on the steps. This man and his family are the most recent new members at Cross Timber Cowboy Church. Shorty finished this account by adding, "His wife and kids are believers and strong, but God's Spirit will fix the man soon."

We must learn the lesson of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict. Our job is simply to love. We must reach out to the world around us, not hiding behind a tract or telling them to meet our pastor. Get to know people, connect to them and love them! Be to others what Jesus has been to you. On Sunday, we should gather and worship Jesus together as His body of believers. On Monday, we should head back to the world ready to love without judgement.

And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." John 8:11 (NKJV)

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' Matt 9:11-13