Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions Giveaway! – WINNER, WINNER!

Wooohooo!  We have a winner!  After a very scientific approach, well ok, maybe not so scientific… but definitely fair approach we have a winner to this drawing!  I put all the names on a piece of paper, crumbled them all up and put them in a basket and had my hubby pick one.  🙂

And the winner is……..  Michelle!

Congratulations Michelle.  I will be contacting you soon to find out your mailing information.

For everyone else who participated…. A Huge THANK YOU!  Please check out my current giveaway at http://wp.me/s2WVaA-imagine, I would love for one of you to win those books as well!

God Bless each of you!

Motherhood…

serendipity fwf word

I was looking for motherhood.  I had been longing for it for years.  I wanted nothing more than to be a mom to some little girl or boy and I wanted to have this amazing family.  My husband and I had been doing all the things you do to try to get pregnant.  Seeing specialists, taking tests, having procedures done and taking lots of hormones.

It seemed to be a lost cause.  I had been taking hormones for more than 2 years and we were getting into dangerous territory.  Any more time on the medication could lead to complications for me and possibly cancer down the road.  We didn’t want to take that chance.  If God’s answer was no, then it was no and we didn’t want to risk my life trying to do what God didn’t want us to.

Well after failed IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and all the above mentioned trials we decided that this final month (March 2004) would be the last month we use hormones and if it didn’t work we would move forward with a life without kids or we would look into adoption.

I remember clearly that my heart was downcast and sad at the prospect of never having my own child and sad that I wouldn’t be giving my man a child of his own.  I was getting ready to call in my final prescription when I decided to take one more pregnancy test.  I knew Mark would be frustrated with me for taking one for no reason but I couldn’t help myself.  Why order new medication if I was pregnant right?  It was expensive stuff!

After taking the test all I could say was that I was in a state of shock.  I sat dumbfounded looking at the stick and remember clearly whispering these words, “There’s a line, there’s never been a line…”  I slowly walked out to the other room to show my man and his words were exactly the same.  Both of us in disbelief.  We had just had this serious conversation about not trying anymore and now there is this line.

Considering we were in such a state of shock and that the test couldn’t possibly be right, I took another test from another box and found the results to be the same.  I was amazed, excited and worried all at the same time.  What if the tests were wrong??? The only thing to do was buy another test and take another one.  Saturday night after church we went and bought another test from a different store and took it home.  And just like a big smile from God it showed the same results.

True serendipity through and through.  We longed for this little life, but after many years and trials had lost all belief, all hope it would happen, and had absolutely no expectation what-so-ever that God would honor us with such a gift.  God is so good.  He waits until it will mean the most and then gives the best presents we could ever want.  Our Muppin is such a perfect fit to our little family too.  We are truly The Three Amigos!

Don’t forget that when you least expect it, God will deliver to you a serendipitous moment you will never forget.

charis a

This was written from a prompt from Free Write Friday.  The topic was decided by the photo at the top of the page, Serendipity!  To join the writing prompt click the button below and it will take you to Free Write Friday’s page.

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Who did you bring with you?

God has really been talking to me lately.  As I shared in a previous post He has been talking to be about getting clean.  What I shared was about my eating and how God wants to clean that up.  Tonight though I am going to talk briefly about my faith… and how I am going to clean that up or make sure my priorities are right.

I don’t know if you know who Nick Vujicic is but he is an amazing man of God, he is a Serbian Australian evangelist and motivational speaker from Australia.  He happened to be born without arms or legs but you wouldn’t know it by his power in the Holy Spirit, his heart to please God and his love for Jesus Christ.  The true love and true faith and true power he holds because of his belief in Jesus Christ is awe inspiring and makes me long for more of what he has with the Lord.  It shows me that even though I have come so far in my life and my walk with God I have so far to go.  Thank goodness I have a patient and loving God right?!

I watched one of his sermons lately (he has many on Youtube) and I was struck by many things but in particular two different things he said really stood out to me.  First, we need to know the answers to three questions and if we don’t know those answers then we are literally disabled.  Disabled meaning that we are unable to do what we need to do.  Those three questions are this:

  1. Do you know who you are?
  2. Do you know why you are here?
  3. And do you know where you are going when you are not here?

Do you know the answers to these three questions?  I do, even if I don’t want to admit it sometimes because those answers can be intimidating.  I am a daughter of the King and I have been bought for a price and my life is about the business of my Father!  For now the business of my Father is raising a Godly young woman so that she grows up loving the Lord even more than I do, following Him all the days of her life!  My business is loving my husband the way God intended for me to, and helping him in all he is asked to do by our Father.  My business is showing the people around me His love, helping them any way that He leads me to.  My business is helping my church when I feel so lead by the Spirit, though that is not my main priority right now, it is my family.  I also know that on the day that I die or am caught up in the clouds when Jesus returns I will be with HIM in heaven… I long for that day.

peopleThe answer to that third question is what brings me to the second thing that Nick said that dug deep into my soul and spirit… On the day you meet the Lord Nick believes He is going to ask two questions:

  1. Do you know me?
  2. And… Who’d you bring with you?

I don’t want to answer no to those questions.  Can you say yes for sure without a shadow of a doubt to the first one?  Because if you can’t there is something in your heart you need to take care of.  If you can, what is your answer for number two?  Who did you bring???

Very powerful food for thought.  So powerful in fact it could be something satan can use to make you feel even more useless, pathetic and powerless than you might already feel.  Don’t let him!!!   Let those questions be the Holy Spirit gently tugging at your heart, bringing you closer to HIM!  You were fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose.  God has YOU in HIS sights and has a beautiful plan for you and all your wounds.  I would love to talk to you about your answers to those questions.  I am placing Nick’s video below.  I encourage you to watch it, then I encourage you to ask yourself truthfully those questions again, but not with self condemnation but with hope in your future!

God bless you my friends!

What God has been speaking to me this past year.

I have certainly been on a journey with the Lord for a while now and as time goes by that journey gets more and more amazing and more and more accelerated!   Last year our families word for the year was Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Needless to say my faith grew greatly last year.

During my devotional times the Lord was definitely speaking to me about many things.  But one thing that continually came up was about being clean.  What does that mean?  That is what I was thinking and God has been faithful in clearing up that question.

Being clean means decluttering our belongings, we don’t need them all.  It means changing some of our hazardous leaning supplies to better ones.  It means getting rid of life choking debt.  It means removing time sucking activities that really have no real meaning and take away from God’s time and our families time.  And the last one is one that a lot of people really don’t like to talk about… it means changing the unhealthy eating and exercise habits and start fresh.

Now, I have some health issues I am trying to deal with.  I have been gaining weight for several years now despite changing our eating and cooking habits to eat more healthy and cutting out things like soda.  I used to be addicted to soda and my Father delivered me of that just over a year ago and I had expected to feel so differently when He did that for me.  But instead I am still exhausted, still in pain all over my body, still gaining weight.

So during my time of “believing” God and knowing He is the God who will do what He says He will do I went to Him asking, “what am I supposed to do?”  I have done all I know, now what?  Well he led me to a doctor who finally diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  Why couldn’t I have found that out sooner??? lol  It runs in my family and yet my normal doctors didn’t want to check for it.  Now I am dealing with it.  So far I have not found the right medication to help so I have more time to spend with God to figure it out right? 🙂

God is good because He led me to some shows on Netflix.  All of them about nutrition.  They were great too but the one that had the greatest impact on me was, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  You can watch it streaming on Netflix or you can watch it free on Youtube.  The thing it had in common with the other shows was how it endorsed how important juicing is.  See, most of us are nutrient deficient.  I know I am!  My body is no longer absorbing vitamins and nutrients from my food so I am highly malnourished, and it doesn’t matter how healthy I eat or how many supplements I take… I continue to have the same problem.  And that is why my body is in so much pain all the time.

What juicing does is take all your nutrients from your fruits and veggies and put them into your bloodstream within 15 minutes, giving you the boost you need to get healthy.  I will let you watch the videos and see for yourself. 😉

So after a long talk with God (many long talks) I know without a doubt that this is the path He has for me physically.  So I ordered my juicer (after saving for it and God providing unintended funds.. He is so amazing) and it just arrived yesterday!

I can’t explain to you how I feel.  I am terrified because eventually I will only be juicing and fasting all other foods for a while.  I know this is what God wants and I know it will be a time to get closer to Him and hear more of what He has to say.  But I am excited and exhilarated because I so badly want to be healthy and happy and without pain!  This is a new walk for me and I pray He leads the way and I continue to follow!

breville

Breville, The Juice Fountain Elite

I made my first juice this morning, not real exciting because I wasn’t expecting it so soon so all I had to juice was celery, apples and oranges.  But it was good none-the-less and I know it was the ultimate vitamin boost for my body!

God has great things for me and my family this year.  He does for yours as well!  I will write more about my experience as time goes on.  The good, bad and ugly of it all 🙂

What does God have in store for you this year?  Where is He leading you?

A great way to connect with your kids!

In today’s day and age it is very easy to lose connection with our kids.  Alarmingly, it happening at younger and younger ages.  God has put this on my heart and I have thought about it a lot.  I have a 8 year old daughter and the thought that we may someday be separated by silence is heart wrenching and quite frankly it scares me.

So, with that thought and much prayer I set out to come up with a way to keep us connected in some small way.  Something that would strengthen the bond we already have and I think it is a fun one at that.  Can you see me smiling?!

Journaling!  Now, to some this may originally sound boring.  I know some people do not like to journal for many different reasons but hear me out.  This is not just any journal it is something that will be fun for both you and your kids.  It will also give your kids a way to say the things they would never say out loud!

If you do this set out to make something special.  You could choose to go and buy a journal.  If you did make it fun by making it a date and pick something out together that really speaks to the heart of your child.  My daughter is super crafty and creative.  UNLIKE ME!  I am not.  So I decided that I would create her journal even though it would be a challenge for me.  I made it for a couple reasons.  First I needed cheep, we are on a budget like many families and sometimes you have to do with what you have.   A novel concept anymore I know but a good one none-the-less.  And second because I knew it would mean a lot to her and that is what mattered most.

mommy charis 6

So here is what I did, first I took a small notebook I had and since I didn’t want that white paper on the front that looks so boring I decided to add a cardboard front too it using rubber cement.  I forgot how stinky that stuff was!

After bonding the cover over the original I decided to put a name on it so Muppin would know what it was to be used for.  It was a journal for us so I put our names on it.  She helped me decide where the flowers and hearts went and decided when we were done drawing.  She had an incredible time doing this but still didn’t know what it was going to be used for, it was a surprise!

Before I put the cover on and before she knew what I was up to I wrote a note inside the journal.  The note started out, “My dearest Muppin! I love you so much…” and went on to explain what this journal was for and why I was doing it and then finally how to use it (we will get to that in a moment).

I can’t explain to you the excitement in my daughters eyes when she read the words on those pages.  You could see that she was feeling really loved and cherished.  She was feeling like she was super important and that she was going to be heard and really listened to.  Now she is only  8 but being heard and understood is still important to her.

My heart soared with excitement knowing that she was going to be sharing with me and I with her all the things that are important too us.  We were on our way to strengthening our bond we already have, making it unbreakable.

As for the practical use of the journal here is how you use it.  You give it to your child and after you read to them, do their devotionals, cuddle or talk… you know, all those bedtime things we do together?!!  When those are done and you have kissed them good night it is their time to write.  See, a lot has happened in their little day and this helps them get it off their chest.  They can write about what happened with friends, what happened with you, the family or the dog.  They can also write about what has upset them, made them happy or things that confuse them.  They can ask questions about God, boys, friends, or your family relationships.

Most importantly when there is something that is too difficult to say out loud, they can write it here and not fear what will happen.  It gives them a sense of release and the sense of an open door.  They know they will be listened too.  Now when they go to sleep they put it on their side table, dresser or book shelf and go off to slumber land.  The next morning it is up to you to go get it, take it to a private place and read it.

The most important thing you will need to remember I believe was something the Holy Spirit really wanted me to convey and it is this… never act shocked, shaken, angry or freaked out over what you read!!!  I repeat, remain calm no matter what!  Or you have lost them.  This must always be and remain a safe place remember?!

Once you are done reading what they have written you then write back to them, answering all their questions, giving them advice kindly, and most of all telling them how much you love them no matter what they let you know.

I have told my daughter that I might come talk to her about some things once in a while, but that it will always be out of love.  And if it doesn’t sound like I am being loving she has my permission to tell me so.

Her heart was so filled with excitement.  She is ready to communicate and to connect.  This will be a lot of fluff for a while I am sure.  She is only 8 you know.   But as she gets older, and this tradition continues… How much more valuable will this be?

I would love to see your thoughts on this… and pictures of yours.  Share your blog links and pictures and how things are working out for you.  Most of all… may your relationships with your kids always be blessed!

mommy charis 5

Gratitude

https://i2.wp.com/graceunveiled.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/fwf-gratitude.jpgMany things have happened in my life that would not necessarily warrant the word Gratitude.  I have spent many days working, healing, praying and changing from the woman I once was to the woman I now am, yet not yet the woman I hope to be.  As with anyone I have seen my fair share of trials, puzzles and literal nightmares.

I have also seen joy, relief, happiness, freedom, love, miracles and success.

As Thanksgiving slowly moves into the background and Christmas pounces forward I do not want to forget what it is I have to be thankful for, I want to continue with a heart of Gratitude.

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am married to an amazing man who loves me!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because my husband is my best friend!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am a mother to the most precious little girl in the world!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I am allowed to homeschool my daughter and see how she flourishes because of it, not in spite of it!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to sleep on the streets or eat from garbage cans!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to lay in bed suffering from a cancer that cannot be cured!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have never had to suffer a loss so deep that I couldn’t not recover from!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I have friends and a church who truly cares!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because I live in a country where I am free to worship the God of my choice without the penalty of death!

I will have a heart of Gratitude because the Son of God came down to earth and died for my sins giving me a way to still dwell with the Father for all of eternity!

Without Gratitude…  there would be no life…  all would be lost…  It is because of Gratitude I am free no matter what trials, puzzles or nightmares come my way.

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe…”  Hebrews 12:28

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool! (part 2)

Yesterday I wrote about how we came to the point where we felt we needed to do something different than school.  During the time of wondering how I could possibly help my daughter I was pouring my heart out to someone and they mentioned homeschooling.  I must admit when I first heard her speak of homeschooling fear overcame me.  “I am not qualified to teach daughter… I don’t even know how to start… My daughter would drive me crazy or I would drive her crazy… What in the world will happen to my daughter if I choose to do it?.. Won’t my daughter be scarred for life?..”  On and on the fear-filled questions went.  And I must also admit that those questions still come from time to time.

But as I researched the subject, literally spending hundreds of hours going to dozens of blogs, dozens of websites that were for and against homeschooling, and dozens of curriculum websites, not to mention speaking to people in person, I have found that everyone who makes this decision goes through the same kind of stress and worries when trying to come up with the right decision for their child and family.  That was a comfort.  What has been more comfort are the statistics I have found while doing my research.

Homeschooling with a View!

Homeschooling with a View!

If you look at the education aspect alone, homeschoolers test much higher on average than traditional school kids.  They transition into the non-school world much better and high ranked colleges are now recruiting homeschoolers because they work better on their own, have more original ideas and are more self-motivated.  They know how to learn and love it.  That was enough to get me to thinking more earnestly.

Then the next thing that I researched was how it would affect my family and its dynamics.  Would we get closer or would it drive a wedge between us.  That was exciting to read about as well because blog after blog, story after story, book after book all I found was that the bond between children and parents and siblings was strengthened and sealed on a deeper level than ever before.  It was a lifestyle, not just school.   I wanted that too!

Then there was the social aspect.  I have been asked many times, “How do you socialize your kids?”  Asking as if I have my daughter locked in the closet until it is time for school then shove her back in there after it is over.  Most homeschoolers are very social and very active, quite a bit more than the normal family.  And their activities revolve around kids of all ages as well as adults and people of all different lifestyle backgrounds.  In regular school, kids are stuck in a class of kids all the same age from the same area of town… homeschooling seemed to be better at teaching your child how to communicate and have fun in all kinds of situations (unless you of course locked them in the closet all day except when homeschooling).  😉

My daughter has learned how to play nice not only with kids her own age but older kids and younger ones.  She has learned how to have fun with seniors and adults of all ages.  She has helped feed the poor and do other kind things for people.  Not saying that kids in school don’t learn these things as well, just that homeschoolers do too and it can often be the focus.

When I started to see all the opportunities and possibilities, far more than I could share here, I started to get excited… very excited!  It wasn’t how I ever expected to feel when the word homeschooling was ever mentioned.

During this whole time we asked the Lord to weigh in on the subject.  Because without His leading where would we be? We knew that if we listen to God, researched wisely, made no rash decisions that we would be able to come to the right decision for our family.  God knows what is best for us, and He will guide our every path during this decision.  God has also given us very strong command to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6.  It is our responsibility to make sure our kids learn, even and especially if they go to public school.  Homeschooling puts that responsibility square in your lap, and that can be a very good thing for our kids.

We have been homeschooling for just over a year now.  It was the best decision we ever made.  Our daughter is flourishing in school, she loves it!  She has friends, family and faith to fill her life.  And she can play in the snow all she wants, because I am the teacher and when I say schools over, it is!  Even if it is only 10:00am  😉

If you are thinking of homeschooling, remember that other people’s experiences are vital.  Research is a must.

Knowing your family is imperative.  But if you do not consult the Lord through it all, then you are flying by the seat of your pants.  You may end up doing the right thing, but not without a lot of stress, heartache and bumps that could have been avoided along the way.  I pray you are able to make the right decision for your family with God’s help.  If I can ever answer any questions I am more than happy to do my best.

Thank you for listening to our story.  God bless and have a wonderful New Year!!!

What kind of faith do you have?

Jesus and child 2

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Luke 18:17

Do you base your faith on what God does, or who He is?  Do you even know?  It is something we should all be aware of because depending on the answer we can have a totally different take on life.

For the longest time I based my faith in God on what He did “for” me.  Did He keep me safe?  Did He provide this for me?  Did He answer this prayer?  Did He, Did He, DID HE?!!!  When we have a faith like this it is easy to get discouraged and to feel as if the Lord has forgotten us, or believe that He thinks we are not worth His blessings or His time.

When we live a life of, did I or didn’t I get what I want and how does that make me feel, we are basically saying, “I have faith as long as He does what I ask and I feel good.”  That can be a very dangerous slope because God does know best!  He knows your future, and even though we may want what we want right now, He knows if it will be detrimental to us or not because He can see way down the road.  What feels good now may feel horrible later.  Basing faith on the ups and downs of what God did for me is a terrible roller coaster ride that will only end badly.

But if we live our lives with faith in WHO God is instead of what He does; what a freeing thing that can be.  True faith walks with the Lord for who He is, what He has already done, not what He is going to give me right now.  God wants you to grow and He wants you to have a relationship with Him.  He loves you and will take care of your every need, and sometimes your wants (if they are not harmful or detrimental to you).  He gives us things that we desire because He loves to bless us, but only if they will be beneficial for us.  When we focus on who God really is and know without a doubt that He will take care of all our needs, we are then using real faith.  A faith that brings peace in a supernatural way… A faith based on love instead of works.

A Conversation with Jesus

jesus-and-the-woman-at-the-well

Woman at the Well by Simon Dewey

Not long ago a conversation I had with Jesus went something like this.

Jesus: Sweet Carri, I have missed spending time with you recently.  Do you miss spending time with me?
Carri: I have been really busy with my daughter’s school, our businesses, house-work and family life in general.  Of course I miss you.  Things are just so demanding.

Jesus: I understand. But you know the Shepherd knows when his sheep wander off for awhile.  I have seen you wandering. 
Carri:  I am not wandering Jesus, I am just very busy, you know how it is.  I love you.

Jesus:  I know you love me, but all the business is just an excuse my love, you know you are truly wandering deep down inside of you.
Carri:  Sigh… I know, I’m sorry.

Jesus: I was glad you came to me with your fear about being ill and all the changes you wish to make.  I am here guiding you and repairing inside of you what needs repaired.  I am your healer.
Carri: I don’t know how I could have handled that without you.

Jesus: I am there for you. But you know I am also there when things are going well.  I want to rejoice with you as much as I want to heal you.  I want to dance with you, love you, break bread with you.
Carri: I know. I forget that sometimes and I get so busy with stupid things that I forget to pray and spend time with you.  I forget to even invite you in.

Jesus: I was just wondering something.
Carri: What?

Jesus: Did you find time to spend with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, through email and other places today?
Carri: Do you need a refill of your drink or something to eat?

Jesus: Nice try. You make time for what is important to you. I want to be as important to you as your computer, friends, writing, chores and family. I want to be important to you, like you are to me.
Carri: Why do you put up with me?

Jesus: Because I love you. And I always will.  You are the reason I came.  You are my beloved.

If you are like me some of your days are very similar to mine.  What is your relationship like with Jesus?  All or nothing?  Mine often is.  When things are great, I have no time for Him, when they are bad, I run to Him.  I often wonder if he allows us to reside in our trials longer only because that is the only way we will seek Him.  Would those trials lessen or be over quicker if we learned the truth?  He wants us to remember that no matter what is going on in our daily lives whether it be burnt toast or birthday’s that He is there waiting for us to run to Him and tell Him all about it. Yes, He already knows, but He still wants to hear it from you.

Think about our own kids, nothing gives us more pleasure then seeing our children run to us with good news, joy filled excitement over what wonderful thing just happened. Jesus wants that with us too. His heart breaks when ours does, and His heart overwhelms with joy when He see’s our happiness and excitement. Don’t keep Him locked out, invite Him in. He is waiting, ever patiently with His love that never fades.