• Blog Stats

    • 39,511 hits
  • Abraham Lincoln on Criticism

    "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."
  • Consider the Cost

    "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events." ~Winston Churchill
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 578 other followers

  • Charles Spurgeon

    "Our blessed Lord reveals himself to his people more in the valleys, in the shades, in the deeps, than he does anywhere else. He has a way and an art of showing himself to his children at midnight, making the darkness light by his presence."
  • Progress through Perseverance

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or whether the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; And who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. It is far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight of life, knowing neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Psalm 7:10-17

    God will uncase the hypocrites ere long, and make them know, to their sorrow, what is was to trifle with Him." - Richard Baxter
  • Prayer Requests

    Andrew, Jillian - in college
    Andrew, Nathaniel - Marine sons
    Jacob - Navy son

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • The Reformed Pastor – Richard Baxter

    “We must carry on our work with patience. We must bear with many abuses and injuries from those to whom we seek to do good. When we have studied for them, and prayed for them, and exhorted them, and beseeched them with all earnestness and condescension, and given them what we are able, and tended them as if they had been our children, we must look that many of them will requite us with scorn and hatred and contempt, and account us their enemies, because we ‘tell them the truth.’ Now, we must endure all this patiently, and we must unweariedly hold on in doing good, ‘in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.’ We have to deal with distracted men who will fly in the face of their physician, but we must not, therefore, neglect their cure. He is unworthy to be a physician, who will be driven away from a frenetic patient by foul words. Yet, alas, when sinners reproach and slander us for our love, and are more ready to spit in our faces, than to thank us for our advice, what heart-risings will there be, and how will the remnants of old Adam (pride and passion) struggle against the meekness and patience of the new man! And how sadly do many ministers come off under such trials!”
  • Pages

  • Meta

Oh, it’s been a long time..

Greetings, my peeps!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done much here on Mom of Many. But I have a good excuse – honestly!

I’ve been crazy busy with a ton of irons in my fire (had to start a fire, it’s been so cold out here in Wisconsin!) Last July I started Love My DIY Home because I want to work from home.

Love My DIY Home

I saw an opportunity to start a monetized blog (more on that later) and thought it would be a good fit for me. We’ve talked a lot about what we want for our future and working outside the home for me wasn’t an option since I wanted to be available for my church and family in a full time way. BUT, funny how things work out. There’s always a “but” isn’t there?…especially if you are open to whatever God has planned for us. Yep. Sometimes God turns the tables on you (if you’re willing) and throws things in your path you wouldn’t ordinarily choose.

I have been on Care.com for a while, looking for a nanny opportunity one or two days a week. I got a call from a very nice lady at a placement agency asking if I would consider a family of hers that had just moved to Wausau. I had already been contacted by this family through Care.com and turned them down when they told me how many days they needed. Since we had decided to keep my outside work down to one or two days at the most, I thanked her and told her I wasn’t available for that many hours. BUT…and here is the “BUT” God threw in…But, the offer was so sweet and the family was so sweet, and the little girl was so sweet…you get the picture.

I agreed to meet the family and interview at their house. Long story short, I took the job. Oh my goodness. It’s been a chore keeping up with everything – church, family, Love My DIY Home and our new business Adark Holsters, in which Mark and I partnered with Adam and April.

Adark Holsters

I figured I’m putting in at least 60 hours a week juggling all of my responsibilities, not to mention keeping up on our house and projects that go along with my LMDH website.

So here you have it. I told you I had a really good excuse for not keeping up with Mom of Many!

Fortunately my husband is patient and understanding when I drop the ball on keeping our home in order. Good thing he does his own laundry! He even cleans the kitchen at 5am before work when he sees I’m worn out! He’s such a good dooby. My family has been kind to me, knowing my tight schedule and only plans family events AFTER they look at my nanny schedule. My church people, oh my, talk about fab!, my church family has been filling in for me and my pastor has been so very patient with me when it comes to my responsibilities. Yes, I drop the ball constantly there and they ALWAYS pick it up and give it back to me KINDLY! Did I mention we moved into a new building?

Northside Baptist

I am surrounded by the best people in the world. If you can’t say that – then make a change!

I’ve given much thought to my responsibilites – the big ones – and can’t believe I’ve roped myself into being so busy again!

  • Church secretarial/publications/nursery/choir/discipleship
  • Family – plus keeping my home up/decorating (only been here a year)/putting up a garden/canning
  • Adark Holsters – I’m mapping out the marketing plan and website
  • Love My DIY Home – two posts a week/DIY projects plus all the marketing hoopala that goes along with it
  • Photography – events/family/photo restoration/manipulation/correction
  • Mom of Many (this is the one thing I’ve so terribly neglected!)
  • Writing my ebook (on Creative Discipline)
  • Writing my book (This went on the back burner)

Plus, crazy me, I’m signing up for a 14 week online marketing course.

I am eventually going to change Mom of Many to a self-hosted website. So stay tuned as the changes are coming! Thanks for being loyal even when I’ve DROPPED THE BALL! You are the blessings in my life that keep me going!

VAL signature

 

Our Bank Used Our Kids in Their Commercial – Check it Out!

2013 Family Update – Crazy Busy Days!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
There has been so much going on in our family these days – I simply have to update you! Sorry for not manning the “Mom of Many” ship lately, but like I said, so much going on!

How about I give you a quick run-down? We’ve been crazy busy…

  1. We’ve moved to a new home where my mom has her own third level MIL apartment.
  2. We have a guest room in our new home that has frequent visitors – love this!
  3. I’ve started a new blog: Love My DIY Home.
  4. I’m constantly doing DIY projects, not only for my blog, but for my home and family.
  5. I am always in the process of editing pictures from photo shoots.
  6. Our church has a new building where I work in the office one day a week.
  7. I am a part-time nanny.
  8. April and I share tables at craft shows.
  9. We have started a new business with the Jones family: Adark Holsters.
  10. I help home school April and Adam’s boys a once a week.
  11. We have a new baby in the family – Emeryk Markus

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Let’s start with #1 – the new home.

Oh my. God has blessed us there! We looked for 2.5 years for just the right house. It had to have a place for my mom, one that was big enough for family to come visit and stay, and a good sized kitchen/dining room for our ministry of hospitality. Since empty nesting, we’ve wanted to do what we could never do before – have people over, lots of people! We didn’t want a lot of stairs since Mark’s knees aren’t so great, so we spent a lot of time looking at ranch style homes. We needed a nice sized garage for Mark to be able to get back into his wood working and other such endeavors, and a good yard for the grandkids. It didn’t have to be big, just safe and big enough for them to play. We had a really decent size yard when we lived in town, and we surely didn’t want to give that up. It was so great to see the grandkids playing out in the yard. This new house has a dirt road that the boys can ride their bikes down without fear of traffic.

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

It also had to be within 20 minutes of church and the Joneses. That was a tough one, but I stuck to it! I think we may have looked at 70+ houses. Our realtor was so very good about being patient and looking for just the right house within our price range – under $150,000. Even that was a bit high for us. One day Mark was looking in the Homes and Land magazine, you know, the one where you can never find a house? Well, he found one that was a foreclosure in our price range in Wausau, about 9 miles from the Joneses and about the same to church. When we called our realtor to follow up on it, he couldn’t find it in the multiple listing. It had been on the market, but wasn’t listed on the  multiple. Huh? That doesn’t happen, unless you are us – the ones who prayed God would find us just the right house that would fit every criteria of our “forever house.”

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Here is Mom’s side of the house where her walk-out opens out onto her own driveway.

Up to the left you can see the door leading to nowhere from our guest master.

Some day there will be a deck up there, but for now it’s bolted shut.

We made the offer.

We made our offer – which was the second offer that week and waited for the outcome. Fortunately our offer was the best one (we offered $500 over asking price) and we took possession a month later. Our mortgage company required a long list of things to be done in 30 days time and our family along with our church family came to our aid and helped us get it done in time.

So much to do!

I had never painted before, but that job fell to me since the roof had to be done and Mark and all the guys focused on that while April, Mom, a couple of church friends and I painted every room in the house. It had to be done before moving in since every room was sponge painted – let’s just say not to my liking and leave it at that. Little by little I’m showing before and after pictures on my other blog. Kitchen before and after here. Kitchen half bath before and after here. Every ceiling was popcorn – ugh! Mark was kind enough to make it a priority to scrape the ceilings so I wouldn’t be in hate with our ceilings! Once he got busy on the roof, I finished up and scraped the last two ceilings before I could paint.

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

All the rooms were sponge painted so we painted every room a neutral color.

  www.momofmany.wordpress.com

My mom’s apartment had ugly wallpaper that had to be scraped and then painted. We did this room first.

It’s a good thing because it was the hardest.

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Isaac wanted to join in on the “fun”.

It was in pretty nasty shape. Oh it was sound and built well. But it smelled so bad from the animals that used to reside in the house and the cosmetics of the inside were atrocious. I’ll just show you some of the before pictures so as not to steal any thunder from future posts on Love My DIY Home. Suffice it to say we had our work cut out for us!

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Somebody apparently liked the “under the sea” theme. This was going to be our master bath.

We did the work.

We got it all done (painting, fixing, replacing) in time thanks to all the help and moved in. Mark was still working on the roof when we needed to move our stuff, so I spent many a day toting boxes from our little rental to our new house. I got to the point I could lift a TV by myself! God was good to me and sustained me through it all, even temporarily giving me exceptional strength for the job. The big stuff came last and fortunately we had a few guys and girls to help with all that. I NEVER WANT TO MOVE AGAIN!  I love our new home and God was so good to give us so many needs AND wants in this house.

God gave us a home tailor made.

It already had a complete mother-in-law apartment with its own walk out and a kitchen bigger than mine upstairs! Where we first thought was a closet turned out to be a huge storage room, the fourth level! The house is a quad-level. The listing agent thought it was a tri-level and was as surprised as we were when we found the fourth level. Top level is our master suite (more on that in a sec), main level is our kitchen, half-bath and living room. Third level is mom’s apartment, laundry room and my photo studio (Yes!) and the fourth is the basement that has three little rooms off shoot from the main very large room. She has her own driveway and we share the laundry room.

The upper level has 4 bedrooms, one being a master. April had the idea to make the master a guest/library/craft room and for Mark and I to take the other three smaller rooms that had a full bath near all three as our “master suite” that would eventually have a door in the hallway separating it from the other master. In the three rooms we have our office, bedroom and walk-in closet. We also have plans to give the full-bath a walk-in shower.

God supplied more than just our needs.

The kitchen has very nice cabinets with an island. It was pretty icky to start with, but turned out to be one of my fave rooms. Mark bought me a nice Kitchen Aid french door fridge with the freezer in a bottom drawer and a vegi drawer – it’s a dream! We found a microwave/stove fan and dishwasher on clearance, so we have nearly all new appliances in the kitchen. Off the dining room is a nice size deck. Friends helped shape the walkway there down to the garage and another helped Mark build a nice little deck by the front door. We sit on an acre and have discovered a nice big fenced in garden that we took advantage of this summer. Who’d a thunk it? I actually enjoyed gardening and our yield wasn’t too shabby either for it being our first year. April and I canned tomatoes and grape jam for the first time. Click here for a couple of garden pics and here for our canning story.

This home has great potential.

I don’t have my photo studio up and running yet, but hopefully that will be our 2014 project. The house has tons of wall plug-ins – a great perk! The garage is huge and has built in for heating (once we buy a boiler). There are 3 out buildings, one is big enough for us to set up a little shop. We are set on one acre in a dead end dirt road. There are only two of us on our road and we are out in the country with deer, turkeys and bears! There is a lot to be done to bring the outside up to speed, but we have forever to do it!

www.momofmany.wordpress.com

Over the next year I will be showing our before and after pictures of the inside of our home on Love My DIY Home. It’s amazing what a little elbow grease and paint will do for a room! I hope to see you there!

Next I will tell you about our ministry of hospitality…

Please stop over to Love My DIY Home where you will find lots of DIY home projects.

~Val, Mom of Many, Wife to One, and Grammie to 10

Virginia Trip Travel Log #4

The last two days we focused on getting Jillian’s front room finished. We’d painted the deacons bench, nightstand, shelf, and corner bookshelf. We bought all the little do-dads that she needed to complete the look. We hung everything that needed hanging.

She went with the Old World Style, a look that I am rather fond of myself. Here are pictures of my last day when we pulled it all together. I have to say, I think I enjoyed the process as much as she did. Maybe some day we will go into interior decorating together. We have many similar interests, so it wouldn’t surprise me.

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
Don Williams, Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

I definitely enjoyed the journey as much as the destination in this case. So often we will see “before and afters” published but not the “in-betweens” – the grunt work, so to speak. Yet, I just can’t show the in-betweens – check out the “before and afters” on Love My DIY Home. We finished Jillian’s front room the night before I left for home.

It was with a happy heart I drove home. I spent nearly three weeks away from home visiting family – many people helped me on my trip. My peeps not only gave me gas money, shelter, and fed me, but they cared for me in a way I never ever expected. I will never get used to being loved. It’s a malady I will always carry with me, I suppose, because of the difficult times I have experienced in the past. But that can’t be such a bad thing, can it – to feel so blessed each time love is shown, to be in awe of the moment, to choose to look back over and over to relive it because it is such a treasured memory? I think not. I hope it never changes for me. I love being loved. I love knowing that a handful of people in my life will love me no matter what. Wow.

Here are some more pics of my trip. Such a blessed person I am!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I stayed with family in Ohio on the way home – such a fun family they are!  Though I traveled alone, I had the support of family, church family, and friends. God showed me His faithfulness by protecting me and giving me people in my life who care. Thank you everyone for giving me such a memorable 3 weeks!

Virginia Trip Travel Log #3

Jillian and Taylor moved from an old house in a bad part of town to a beautiful tri-level duplex near their church, in Madison Heights. I helped them finish moving out and have made a few trips in to town buying things they need for their new house. I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed spending their money! I tend to have that affect on people. We go shopping and I find things that would look great or fit just right, is a great price, fits their planned decor, etc. What can I say? It’s a gift.

Here are a few pictures of the past few days. We’ve already enjoyed the new table top grill, patio set, dining room table, and even their new vacuum cleaner. It’s like Christmas in August!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We went to a peach farm that had the most amazingly flavorful fruit I’ve ever eaten. My mouth curls up every time I even think about taking a taste of the apples that I brought home from that place. Isaac, and Hudson, I will try to save you both an apple. I bet you have never tasted anything like it. They sold some pretty unusual jams and sauces. Ever had TOE Jam?

We finished making our laundry and dishwasher soaps today too. It was pretty easy, but I’m glad we’re done with that. The house smells like Dial and Zote soap. If you’ve never tried it, put a bar of soap in the microwave – it reacts just like that Great Stuff men use to insulate around doors and windows.

Virginia Trip Travel Log #2

My excursion to Virginia from Fort Wayne went without a hitch as I traveled alone from 8:30am to 7:00pm. I did miss an exit, but it only cost me 4 minutes according to my Garmin and then a few minutes later he (Mr. Garmin) recalculated my route and took a half hour off. So, I don’t know, maybe missing the exit was a good thing. Since I’m not traveling with a map in front of me, I honestly don’t know. I arrived to Jillian and Taylor’s church exactly at 7:00, right when church started. They are teen sponsors, so I just sat and watched them as they put on an ice cream social and ran games. I also was able to watch Jillian and Taylor teach their Sunday School class.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have jam packed a lot in the past four days…shopped for mattresses for their friends, watched After Earth at the dollar cinema, shopped for blog diy projects, shopped for the grandkids at Ollies (can’t forget the grandkids!), blogged, freezer cooked, church 2x, finished their move from their Lynchburg house to their new one in Madison Heights, bought a diningroom and patio set for their new house, visited Sonic, had dinner out to Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and LaCaretta, finished graphic design and photography projects for both our churches and a local business, started my Smash Book project, and today we’re going to make our own laundry soap after evening church. Oh, and I can’t forget the 8 episodes we have watched of that show everyone is talking about – Duck Dynasty. I will post the recipe we used for homemade laundry soap soon on my Love My DIY Home.

Trip to Virginia Travel Log #1

The Mark and I trip turned into a “just I” trip. We’d planned it for months and when it came right down to it, we couldn’t afford for him to take work off and Jillian couldn’t come back with us and fly back either. So, off I went, by myself for an 18 hour trip by car. Fortunately my mom let me use her car and we were able to dig up the needed gas money from saving change, extra surprise $80 in Mark’s check, and a generous gift of $50. Then at church someone gave me another $20 anonymously. I had what I needed to get to Fort Wayne for two days to see some of my kids and then on to Virginia to see Jillian and Taylor, and hopefully a couple of my other kids on the way home.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A couple of things went south and I lost my first stop that would allow me to have a half way stop off point – I certainly wouldn’t be able to drive the whole 18 hours in one sitting. But Lauren came to my rescue and she reserved two nights at the Super 8 motel she worked at for her and me. We had a great time in Fort Wayne! I got to see Devin as well, and Carol, and old friend, came down for the evening and bought us dinner at a fab Chinese restaurant. Good times! I left Lauren early Wednesday morning and drove all the way to Madison Heights, Virginia that day. I arrived at Jillian and Taylor’s church right on the dot for the Wednesday night service. It was an enjoyable trip and my trusty GPS didn’t let me down. It was the first time I’d driven so far alone – and without a map or written directions. Since this is my year to focus on proving God – not only are we making a major effort to trust our finances to God, we are also trusting God to see me through in my travels to see my kids. Like I told Isaac, my 7 year old grandson, “If you trust God 100%, then you will never fear.”

Hudson Turns Five

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Myles Turns 18 Months

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Grand baby #10

20130610-091007.jpg

Older is Better

While I can’t say what beautiful people we are, or even how adorable like I did with the other family pictures I recently posted, I can say how I enjoy the fact that my daughter, Jillian, has taken ahold of some of my passions – graphic design, portraiture, even the way she approaches her church service. These pictures are a constant reminder that she and I share a love of art and that we both tend to spend hours working on producing our own creative piece of art – we definitely share a desire to best ourselves with our next, newest project. Whether that be a poster with unusual font activity, or seeing in our photograph that we captured an emotion or essence of our subject’s personality – either way, we get satisfaction that we did something no one else has done. We work for the admiration of others – I admit it. It’s not a pride – it’s a passion. There is satisfaction when we see we have pleased our clients – that we have made someone’s life better through art. Sometimes we are our own client. We strive for original work. Original is good. It’s very good. It’s worth all the hours. It pays off in the end – or is it the beginning? I suppose that since she’s stepped into my world of creativity I won’t have an end. So since she’s in her beginning, I won’t really have an end. Maybe she’ll be fortunate enough to avoid her end by having a daughter who shares her passion too.

Take these pictures for instance. Mark and I are getting older, of course. But that doesn’t mean we need to look at ourselves and be depressed over how we are no longer young and as attractive as we once were. Attractive is relative. There’s more to life than looking back and wishing. Nope. Not us. Life is an adventure and we want take it all in stride. Older is better. We feel like we are newlyweds. Life has begun again for us. These pictures remind me that we have each other, we enjoy our life and we are still good together. That’s what art is. Life is better with art and it’s even better when you are the art. When you can give someone a picture that says all that – well, then you have “done good!” Jillian did that for us. I can walk down my hallway and look at our picture and enjoy seeing ourselves enjoy being married to one another. That is why I enjoy taking family pictures. It’s my way of celebrating the bond families have. Life can be a slippery slope – and it’s better if you have someone’s hand to hold while you slide down together. A picture is worth a thousand words and I want to be the one to write that book for whomever wants a copy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Brad & Carol Come for a Visit

My brother, Brad, and SIL Carol came for a visit in June. It was so good to see them again! They live in Cody, Wyoming, so we only get to see them every few years. They brought along their dog, Cody. We walked the mountain (which they thought was funny that we called Granite Peak a mountain), went to dinner, had a family cookout and talked for hours! I love my family!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Family Christmas 2011

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christmas in Virginia

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Update 2011

With Christmas quickly approaching, I often find myself in reflection of the past months since the turn of 2011 – much like I often re-run the day’s events in my mind just before falling asleep each night. It’s been happening much more often than usual because of the changes we’ve incurred this past year. With selling our house, moving to another state and leaving off the old and thoroughly enjoying the new, it’s a chapter in our life’s book that I find to be an easy read.

They say money doesn’t buy happiness, but I have found that the lack of it can bring an awful lot of pain and suffering. Being tied financially to that house back in Michigan brought with it not only financial distress, but also a long period of being in a very uncomfortable state of limbo – I hate being in limbo! Our ministries as assistant pastor and full-time teacher as well as a dozen other jobs and titles had ended 3 years prior at the church that had originally moved us to their little church in Scotts, two hours away from our hometown of Flushing. We joined a loving congregation nearby and waited for nearly 3 years for our house to sell so we could move to Wausau. Why Wausau, you ask? Let me spell it out for you…G.R.A.N.D.K.I.D.S.

And of course, in contrast to that sadness, the selling of that house brought with it great joy. We can be at the mercy of our circumstances if we let them control us. And sometimes, let’s face it, they do control us – in our decisions, peace of mind and how we live on a daily basis. Settling up with Bank of America (hallelujah!) and walking away with enough money to move was a major turning point in our life (amen!). Not much before that we experienced the Empty Nest syndrome. Ok, I have to pause here and say, “Double amen!”. I do love my kids, surely I do, but just think, after 30 years of parenting, it was time to lose all the stress and gain the freedom.

Jillian had moved back home from college in December so she moved with us to Wausau in April, lock, stock and barrel. We moved into a cute little rental just 3.5 miles from April’s house.  It sure was different! Moving from over 4,000 feet of living space with acreage out in the country to a 900 sq. ft. house in town was definitely a change, but it has been a good one.  Though moving was difficult (especially since our big strong teenage boys no longer lived with us), it was an end of a long period of limbo and sadness. Jillian and I quickly acclimated to Wausau (as did Mark and my mom) and found it to be a fun and cordial little town. I truly enjoyed having those months with Jillian as we set out to discover Wausau. We were home!

The happiness of the much desired end of a 3 year prayer (Ok, more like begging) can be tempered a bit with the adverse affects of leaving family and friends behind. I’m a people person – those of you who know me well know that I tend to collect people. My peeps are a large part of my happiness. I feel fortunate that distance doesn’t have to separate friends.

We spent the next few months finishing up on Jillian’s wedding plans and then we were off to Battle Creek for her wedding in June.  Since Taylor’s job plans at Liberty U hadn’t been finalized, Jillian and Taylor spent their first month with us in Wausau before moving to LU where Jillian planned to finish out her college degree. I considered that month to be my wedding present from them to me. They are a great blessing to their mother (I now claim Taylor as a son). During that time we worked on making our house a home, met many new and interesting people, added to our grandchild collection, and settled into our new church. It’s been a fun ride and for the first time in years I am looking forward with anticipation to what the future has for us. My next post will be about my kids, the real reason I began this long preface to the real story I’ve had rolling around in my head all day today. This was a very long rabbit trail…

Myles Haddon Jones

Our baby Myles arrived and is precious!  Myles was born at 1:50am October 22, 2011. Praise God for His gift!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Isaac’s B’day Party

We had a birthday party for Isaac’s 6th birthday Friday and April was having contractions through it all. It was so funny. We sat down to eat dinner and all we could think was, “We need to hurry!” I was timing the contractions and they were pretty consistently 4-5 minutes apart. She called her midwife and was told to get to the hospital as soon as possible, which of course meant, AFTER Isaac’s party! We moved right on to the gifts, encouraging Isaac to rip into them quickly, which of course he LOVED! Then we did the traditional picture with the cake and then decided, “Leave the cake, let’s go!” Isaac was very sweet about it and was as anxious for his brother Myles to make an appearance as we were. So we left and Papa Mark and Meemaw Pepper took the boys home while Auntie Katie and Uncle Aaron cleaned up after the party. Below are the pictures of Isaac’s 6th b’day party.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Isaac Turns 6!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Jillian and Taylor’s Wedding

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christian Liberty – Permission to be Free

I made reference a few days ago on my Facebook status that our Pastor, Weng Liew, had “hit one out of the park.” He sent me his notes tonight and I have his points listed below. Make sure you slooowwwlyy read through them. At first glance they appear to be the typical sermon on Christian liberty, ie: do right, do your best, don’t use your liberty to sin, etc. But take the time to read what he has to say. Read each word carefully. If you do, you’ll see why our whole family celebrated last Sunday night by recapping what he said and how he said it. It was surreal. We’ve known pastors who see Christian liberty the same way we do – it’s between us and God, no right to judge, keep your walk with the Spirit and your life will please God, etc. but we’ve never heard a sermon, a pastor, actually give us permission right from the pulpit to live according to our own personal convictions. Wow. WOW.

The sermon was executed with a heart of love from a humble servant who desired to see his people live in freedom – freedom to choose their own path, directed by their own personal relationship with God. There was no condemning judgement, pressure to conform, or self-righteous spirit. Though I agreed 100% and already held the exact same thought process regarding Christian liberty, I experienced a deep peace after that night. It’s a peace I wish for all my friends and family who name the name of Christ and try to serve and please Him with their lives.

Here are the specifics on Pastor Weng’s sermon.  As you read it, pretend it’s being told to you by one who loves you as Christ loves His own. Better yet, pretend as you read that Christ Himself is telling you about the freedom you can enjoy in Him. Jump up into His lap and let Him set you free.  Pay particular attention to the last 5 words – they are key. “God recognizes each as such.

(Romans 14:1-23)

1. We need to remember what we are saved from – the bondage and chains of sin. We are free INDEED (completely, absolutely, forever) through Christ.

2. All things are lawful to the child of God, although not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, while a Christian cannot “break” the law as he is no longer under the law, does not give the right to sin. While we are at liberty to act as the Spirit gives liberty, not all actions are expedient, i.e. prudent. Out of all the things one can do in a given situation, one course of action is best. This is what edifies another brother or sister in Christ, not that which becomes a stumbling block to them.

3. The pinnacle of Christian liberty is to willingly do more (not less) than required by the law to love one another.

4. We must remember we are all servants of Christ. Just as in the secular world we do not judge another man’s servant, we are not to judge each other. We are all accountable ultimately to Christ alone. One who abstains from certain meats does it to glorify God. One who eats all meats in thanksgiving to God does so to glorify God. So both believers glorify God by being true to their own conscience (must be done in faith to please God) and God recognizes each as such.

5. My Christian liberty is not to be flaunted so it becomes an hindrance to another believer. Whenever at a disagreement with another, we need to yield (even if we’re “right”).

6. Charity covers the multitude of sins. When we truly have charity one to another, we don’t even see their faults.

7. Believers need to remember we are on the same team. We have the same indwelling Holy Spirit. A brother or sister in Christ is NEVER the enemy. Satan is ALWAYS the enemy.