Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part of the problem????

I have not blogged in forever........ but maybe today will mark the beginning of my normal blogging again ;) 

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! 

For the last couple of weeks I have been watching different friends post about stores being open on Thanksgiving. Some are hugely against it, while some are excited about the deals.
I keep seeing a "badge" people keep posting that if you shop on Thanksgiving then you are part of the problem.......

What problem exactly? 

People post that it isn't fair that employees don't get to be home with their families because they have to work. People are not thankful for what they have because they want to go shopping for more stuff they don't really need...... ok I get it. But why is it only one sided? Really, there are 2 sides to everything. 

Walmart is never closed on Thanksgiving, so them having a sale that starts at 6pm doesn't mean anything. People were already going to be working because the store is usually open anyways! You know why? Because there are a bunch of people that in the middle of making their Thanksgiving dinner are going to remember something that they forgot to get and need to run out to get it. Those people are going to be very happy Walmart is open and won't be complaining.  No one last year was complaining about Walmart being open (without a sale) and all of the poor people who had to work in case Joe Schmo down the street forgot to buy butter.

Some people count it as a blessing to work on Thanksgiving.  Did you ever think of that? Most companies pay time and a half to work holidays. There are many people right now that the extra $50 on their paycheck and working Thanksgiving is a huge blessing, or even a huge need! I have seen quite a few people who have said they are glad to work, single moms, families who have had an unemployed husband for the last 4 months, people who have unexpected car expenses. They would rather work and have the extra money.

Also why doesn't anyone cry and complain that it isn't fair that cops get the day off? Or how about firefighters, hospital workers, ambulance workers, hotel personnel...... etc
Lots of people work on Thanksgiving. 

Which brings me to my next point. Why is it such a big deal?  Thanksgiving, I mean. 
People say that you need to spend the day with your family and be thankful for what you have...... blah, blah, blah.
Well, in my opinion if it takes Thanksgiving day for this to happen then you have a bigger problem than people working on Thanksgiving. 
Seriously, I am thankful for what I have every day, not just the fourth Thursday in November. I also spend time with my family and friends more than once a year. Just because the calendar says Thanksgiving day doesn't mean that is the only day to celebrate being thankful and loving your family. 

I mean really, most of you, your day consists of spending most of the day in the kitchen cooking (not actually spending time with your family), watching football games (again not quality time), stressing out because your family is stupid and you really wish you weren't around them in the first place (as your drunk relative is talking about who knows what).
You spent all of your day and way too much money being irritated,  not thankful. 

I understand that many of you love Thanksgiving with your family, but not everyone feels the same. 

All week people were asking me if I am ready for Thanksgiving. Yup, I sure am because I am honestly not treating it different from any other day. We have some wonderful friends coming over for dinner (We have friends over for dinner quite often). I am making stuffed shells for dinner, not turkey. You see, I want to actually be able to enjoy my company when they are over, not stress about a 10 course meal that cost me more than a weeks worth of groceries. 

Yes, I am going to be thankful for what I have and the people that I get to spend Thanksgiving with, but I am thankful for that every single day out of the year. 

I am not going to be shopping tomorrow. Not because I am boycotting stores being open, but because I don't have any

Which brings me to my last point. People say why not be thankful for what you already have instead of worrying about getting something else. But for some people some of these sales are how the can afford to buy things that they need. No, I'm not talking about a flat screen tv or iPad. No one NEEDS those things, but some sales are things people actually need. A lot of stores sell very cheap clothes, appliances, blankets, shoes, dishes, etc.
One of the things I had been looking at were washers and dryers, and had I have not found one last week I would still be searching the ads for. 

There are a lot of things that I need for my kitchen (obviously, need is being used loosely because I don't "need" it, but it makes my life a lot easier) The Kohl's ad caught my eye and honestly, had they have not started their sale early online I would have probably gone tomorrow night. The only time I can really afford to buy some of the stuff that I want is on black Friday/Thursday. Example, last week my hand kitchen mixer broke. To buy a new one like I had would cost me about $40. I was able to get the same mixer at Kohl's online this week on sale and with rebates for about $5. That is a huge difference and wikth a family as large as mine where every penny is needed that sale was a "need" for me. 

I am not trying to pick sides of who is right or who is wrong when it comes to this subject,  but I think it is important to know that there are 2 sides just like anything else. Some good points and some bad points and I felt the need to point out some of the good because all you ever hear about is the bad. The bad is obviously the ridiculous amount of people literally fighting over electronics and toys, but there is some good to certain people too. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My new "baby"

In my last blog I said that we had something HUGE going on that I wanted to share with you.
Here is it!!! My new "baby", Family First Farm
My business license

Family First Farm is a vision that God laid on my heart a few months ago. I was very nervous about doing something so big with everything else that I do in my everyday life. Plus, anyone who really knows me knows that I am not a real outgoing person. The thought of being in a position of talking to strangers really puts me out of my comfort zone, but where God leads, I follow!

In my last blog I stated that I believe God allows us to go through certain situations (good and bad) I truly believe that with all of my heart. I have been through so many different things/situations in my life that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Even though my life hasn't always been lollipops and roses, I wouldn't change any of it!

The things that I have gone through over the years is what has made me who I am today. I am able to stand up a strong and confident woman that is not afraid or embarrassed to talk about my life and hopefully help other women in the process. I want my pain and joy to encourage others to keep moving forward and not to give up. I have had person after person tell me how encouraging that I have been to them. Women have sent me messages saying that because of reading my stories that they have been able to push through some of the same struggles in their own marriages. THAT IS WHAT MATTERS!
Not what people think of me or my husband. We are real people who make lots of mistakes and it is by God's grace that we get through all of the bumps along the road.

What is Family First Farm??

Well, right now it is just a name on a piece of paper, but I have huge dreams for it to become something amazing :)

The sole purpose of Family First Farm is to help bring families together,
husbands and wives, and parents and children. I want to help strengthen the bonds that I feel are most important!

Some of the things that will be offered at Family First Farm are,
-Support groups
-Addiction groups
-A Moms group
-Marriage events
-Father/son events
-Mother/daughter events
-Single mom ministry
-Bible studies
-Community events

For more in depth detail about all of our groups and what they offer please visit our website

My ultimate goal with Family First Farm is that it will be a non-profit organization. I already filled out the 30 page application (that was fun). Now, I need to mail it in with the application fee and wait for approval, which can take anywhere from 2-12 months!

With that being said this is where I need help from all of you :) My goal is for this to be a non-profit organization, but until that happens Family First Farm is going to be considered a charitable organization. Meaning that it is run off of donations, and donations alone. I can't do anything with out help. Our first goal is to raise money for the non-profit application process ($850) and some start up money for different materials and expenses that are needed to get this going.

I want for this to be a place where anyone can come regardless of income. I would like for everything to be free or very low cost, if I do have to charge.

I believe that when the bonds in families are strong then kids are less likely to fall into drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, and juvenile mischief. When marriages work on the strengths in their marriages it will help them get through the things that may try to pull them apart. I never want finances to be a reason for families to be unable to attend our programs or events.

My short term goals are to get up and running (meaning getting my groups and events started) and you can help by donating HERE or visit

Long term goals are to eventually have our own property where all of this will take place on site. Right now most of this will need to be done in different places throughout the area willing to let us use their facilities. I want a lot of land so that I can accommodate doing different events on the property. I don't know how that will happen just yet, by money being donated or land being donated..... not sure, but I trust that this is God's plan and that everything will fall into place when the time is right. I would also like to be able to accommodate people to stay for retreats over the weekend/summer weeks. Again, I don't know how all of this is going to play out, but I am excited to be the hands and feet of Jesus and reach out to those needs in my community! I am very excited to start this adventure and it is going to be awesome to see how it all comes together.

Another thing that I need is volunteers! There are many ways that you can help out :) I will need people who are able and willing to help out in our single moms ministry (people who will mow yards, do small household or vehicle repairs) I also need women who are wiling to step up and be table leaders in the moms group. Honestly, there are a ton of opportunities available! A more detailed list can be found on our website. If you are interested in volunteering your time please get in touch with me! You can get in touch with me through my website, email or phone.

I really am excited and I pray that God will use this for His glory and that it will help strengthen relationships and bonds in our community :)

If you would like to read more information, you can visit our website at

Also "like" us on facebook

Again, none of this can happen without your support and donations. Please consider donating to our organization! The sooner the money is raised, the sooner these programs will get started. Every little bit helps and no amount is too small. Please share our fundraising link, on you facebook wall and help us spread the word and get funding :)

Thank you!!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

This is MY blog

I was told the other day by someone that they were shocked that I would choose to make my husband's sins public knowledge.  Apparently, by speaking the truth in this blog about problems that my husband and OUR marriage have faced, that I am hurting my husband (and his family). I am choosing not to protect him from other people judging him.

I am not 100% sure what this person was referring to exactly.  I have written a blog about his past porn addiction and my most recent blog stated a couple of other things like drugs/alcohol. 

I would like to state VERY CLEARLY that anything I write in this blog my wonderful husband
is perfectly fine with me posting.  He is not ashamed of his past and neither am I. It is called a TESTIMONY! Michael has come so far in his life. He has overcome things that people in his life before me wanted nothing to do with him because of it. 

I am not embarrassed by his actions. I only have control over myself and my actions.  Why should I or anyone else in his life be embarrassed over his past actions?  I nor they had any control over what he chose to do with his time and his life. 

When I blogged about his porn addiction I was shocked at how many people messaged me and thanked me for not being afraid to speak out about it. Again, statistics show that out of every 10 of my friends 6-7 of them have a husband who has dealt with porn issues. That is why I chose to write about it, because I want other women to know that they are not alone and that there are other women suffering through the same pain.  It is ok to talk about.  It is ok to support each other and offer help! Our husbands are not bad people, they just need strength to get though an addiction. Pretending like it isn't going on, isn't going to make it go away!

In my last blog I chose to state things about all of the hell that Michael put me through in the first couple of years of our marriage. Why? Not to hurt him and not to make him out be a horrible husband. I put it in there to give other marriages hope. To help people out there know that even though they may feel like their marriage is over, that they are going through things that they think they can never get past, it is possible. 

If you look at some of my past posts or if you have been around Michael and I in person for more than 10 min then you know how much I love and adore him! He is an extraordinary man and I thank God everyday for bringing him into my life! I think that God allowed us to go through some things because He has a purpose for our lives. Michael and I have something huge in the works that I will share with all of you in my next blog. 

I write this blog to share about my life and the things that go on in it. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am a real person who lives a real life with other imperfect people.  If you don't like it, then don't read it. I am not going to stop helping others know that they are not alone. I am not going to pretend like I live a perfect life that nothing bad happens in. The fact is that I don't.

 I don't think that I am hurting my husband or family by stating the truth. I ALWAYS put my family first and I ALWAYS protect them. I may briefly touch on struggles that we have, but I do not go into all out detail, nor do I bash my family and belittle them on here. 
No one on this planet loves and protects my husband and children more than I do!  No one!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How we met

Five years ago today, Michael and I were married! 
Some of you know the whole story of how we met and ended up where we are today, and some of you don't. Today I will share with all of you our whole story :)

On May 18th, 2008 I signed up for a free weekend on eHarmony. I knew a couple of people from church who had met through them and seemed very happy together so I figured I would see what it was. Now, online dating was not something I ever thought that I would do! Yet, there I was creating a profile for strangers to look at....... I lived in a very small town and being a single mom of 3, I didn't get out much.

One of the guys that I was paired up with after I filled out a long questionnaire was Michael.  On the 19th he and I started chatting and emailing each other. Michael and I were both talking to one another as well as other people.  After talking and chatting for a while we both decided that we were not interested in the other. 

You see, Michael had a past that involved drugs and alcohol. I grew up with a brother who had a substance abuse problem and I had ZERO interest in being with someone with that kind of past! As for me, Michael told me that he didn't find me attractive.  We decided that we would still keep talking,  but strictly as friends.  I had 3 other people that I was also talking to quite often through chat and email (I have no idea about Michael). 

As time went on we grew pretty close. We started talking on the phone for hours at a time. But honestly, I never thought of him as more than a friend. Then one Sunday as I was getting ready for church I clearly felt the Lord tell me that I needed to start looking at him differently. No way! I was not going to get involved with someone who once had a drug and alcohol problem!  Then, the Lord convicted me (hate it when that happens) and clearly asked me "How is his sin any worse than yours?" That day at church during worship I was in tears and I knew that He was right.

From that day on, I looked at Michael differently and our relationship started to change. We talked all of the time, day and night.  Getting to know someone over the phone is so much better than in person!  There was no uncomfortable weirdness because we were afraid of embarrassing ourselves. We didn't have to worry about how we looked, if we had food in our teeth....blah, blah. We just talked and talked and talked, about anything and everything. 

Then it happened.  One night as we were talking and about to get off of the phone he told me that he loved me! Yup, that's right, he said it first! I didn't say it back, but I thought it :)

In the middle of June we started talking about me moving from NC up to him in IL. We decided that I would move up some time in July, but God had different plans! On June 17th I heard the Lord speak to me louder than He ever had. He told me that He wanted me to leave the next day for IL! What?!? I couldn't leave tomorrow,  I didn't have a truck..... I wasn't packed...... I didn't have anywhere to move to..... 

Even though I had all of these things saying I couldn't leave, I still listened to what He was telling me He wanted me to do. I went down to the uhaul place to see if there was anyway that I could get a truck. Sure enough,  I was able to.... plus it was cheaper than the days that I had originally planned on getting it in July! I was able to get my house all packed up over the next 24 hrs (we didn't have a ton of stuff like we do now!) I picked up my truck around noon on the 18th and my next door neighbor who hated me, loaded up my whole uhaul for

The girls and I were all loaded up and on the road around 5:30 that evening.  I drove for 17 hrs straight,  only stopping for gas and arrived at Michael's parents house around 10 the next morning. 
I was there for about 30 min and he told me that he needed to leave, but he would be right back. When he returned, he walked in the house and got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. (He left to go pick up the ring) 

After a couple hours of being at his house I received a phone call from my ex-boyfriend. I answered and he asked where I was? He said that he was standing on my porch and my neighbor told him that I moved yesterday.  (He had flown from FL to NC to ask me to marry him.) Right then it was 100% clear why God told me to leave! 

You see, my ex and I had been together for awhile before I moved from FL and we still talked every now and then after I moved to NC. I was deeply in love with him, but he said he didn't want to get married.  Well, I did, so we broke up. If he didn't want to marry me then our relationship was pointless in my mind. 

A couple of weeks before all of this he called me and I told him that I was talking to someone and that he needed to leave me alone.  I guess jealousy set in and he realized that I wasn't joking when I said I didn't want to be with him if he didn't want to get married.  So he bought a plane ticket, rented a car, bought a ring and was standing at my door waiting to ask me to marry him, and I wasn't there. 

If I had not listened to God, my whole life would be different. If I would have been there and he purposed to me, I would have said yes. (Yes, Michael knows this) Even though I loved Michael, my ex was everything I knew.  We had a past, I knew what to expect from him, I  knew what my life would be like with him. Michael was an uncertainty,  I had never even seen him in person! 

The last 5 years have been far from perfect.  I have been lied to, dealt with some alcohol and drug problems. I have had to deal with porn issues and cheating,  and I have had my heart broken by the man who holds my whole heart in his hands. Even with all of that, I wouldn't trade marrying him for anything in the world. We are stronger now than we have ever been. Because of him, I have grown closer to God in these moments. I have learned what true forgiveness and grace really means. 

No, it hasn't always been easy and truth be told, it is nothing but the grace of God that we are still together. There are so many times that I wanted to leave, so many times I wanted to tell him to leave. Now, 5 years later I am so glad that I stayed. Every marriage has its problems and our is no exception, but we have had more good times than bad! He has brought me more joy and laughter than he has pain and hurt, and that is what matters. I know that through and through we can get through anything that life throws at us and we will come out stronger. I know that there will be days that he will break my heart, but I also know that there will be days that he will make me feel like the luckiest woman alive! I know that he loves me more than anything in this world and he shows me often!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our Pocono Palace Vacation

After a couple of long months of hectic chaos I am finally back!!! Lets see if I can continue strong or slack off :)

On with the blog......

This year Michael and I will celebrate our 5 year anniversary! (June 27th)  Back in February we started looking for places that we would like to go for vacation.  We had never been on vacation just the two of us and we were beyond ecstatic that Michael's parents were willing to watch our kids  for a couple of days while we went away!

Now, if you know anything about me, then you know that I hate paying full price for anything!  Vacations included! I started looking on Groupon at the different vacation packages they had (If you don't know what Groupon is, google it!) Anyways, I came across a package deal for an all-inclusive deal at Pocono Palace Resort.  After extensive research, we decided that is where we wanted to go!! The Groupon that we had was about 50% cheaper than the normal price!

Let me tell you what........ best money ever spent!! Michael and I had the best time :) 

We stayed in the Champagne Towers, 

        a three level, very romantic room.

Bedroom area

In room heart shaped pool

 massage table and sauna

 Fireplace and a Jacuzzi tub shaped like a champagne 

There were so many fun amenities on the property (for those of us who wanted things to do outside of our

 We went fishing

Michael caught 5......
I only caught one, but I was proud of my one :)
Went out on the paddle boats

Went for a walk on the beach/trail areas
Played darts
Went on a bike ride

I shot a bow and arrow for the first time ever!
I didn't do bad either :)
They also had different couples events from 1-5pm everyday. We competed against other couples in lots of different games.

We played Bocce Ball

Mini golf

They also had nightly entertainment. 

Michael won a game like "Singing Bee"
The couple to come in first in any of the games won a medal. 
Michael and I ended up winning 7 different medals.  

I loved the evening events! One night we played the Newlywed not so Newlywed game  against 3 other couples.  Some of it was very embarrassing,  but hilarious!  We tied for first place with another couple and won one of our medals. 

One night there was a magician and he was AWESOME.  
The last night we stayed to see the comedians.  They had 3 comedians,  two of them were very good, the other..... not so much.

We also ended up meeting a wonderful couple that we spent the last 2 evenings with. It was funny because the first night that we were there we saw a few tables at dinner with 4 or 6 people at them. We were saying how strange it was to go to a couples resort with another couple........ then we had dinner with them our last night

I don't know what it was about them, but we all really clicked! There has only been one other couple that Michael and I have ever clicked with like we did with them. 

I really hope in time our paths cross again!

We had such a wonderful and relaxing time!!!! I am blessed to have in-laws that are willing to watch 6 kids so that we could get away :) Without them this vacation would not have been possible, so a huge thank you to them!!!

If you ever have a chance to go there.... DO IT :)

We have a forever souvenir from our wonderful vacation!!!

 Baby #7 is on its way :)
I told Michael that I am going to get him/her a onsie that says,
 "Made in the Poconos"

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Girls and high heels

A few days ago I got to have a talk with my girls about my feelings on high heels. 

This all started one Sunday because Gabriella asked me if she could wear a pair of high heels to church.The heels are not over the top, but they are not something that I want her wearing out of the house.

Out of all of my girls, Gabby is definitely my girly girl! She LOVES to dress up and look nice! I don't think that there is anything wrong with that, but I also have to set some boundaries to help protect her.

When she asked me if she could wear them, my first thought was NO WAY! But..... I choose to teach why I think the way that I do instead of just saying no. So onward with the teaching......

I told Gabby that I would let her decide if she should wear them. I told her that the reason I didn't want her to wear them was because high heels bring attention that I don't think that she needs. I explained that when she dresses in certain clothing/shoes that there are men who might look at her the wrong way. When she wears high heels she looks older than she really is and that opens up the door for sexual predators. (This ended up turning into a long conversation about rape and abductions and stuff like that.)

In the end she decided that she did not want to wear the heels :) yay!!!! I told her that I would take her to the store and buy her a pair of pretty shoes that I feel are appropriate for someone her age. She was happy with that plan and so was I!

You see, I don't have a problem with high heels per say. If you wear high heels this is not an attack against you so please don't take it that way. I think as an adult you have the right to dress however you want.

The problem that I do have is that some heels in my opinion are a "sexy" accessory.  Not all heels, but a good amount of them are. I own 2 or 3 pairs of high heels, so again I am not totally against high heels.

The type of heels that I do have a problem with are ones that have a 4+ inch heel, or a 2 inch platform plus 4 inch heel..... you get the point.

I call these type of heels, hooker heels. When I see these on someone the first thing that comes to my mind is street corner or adult movie. (If you own some of these...... Sorry, my opinion,  you don't have to like it.)

I feel that when you wear heels like these you are wearing them to attract attention. You look very sexy in them and whether you realize it or not, people are looking at you.
Mainly men.

Now, if you are married then I feel this is highly inappropriate. Why? Because you are dressing in a way that draws attention to your body by someone who is not your husband.  That is problem #1. Another reason is because dressing that way might possibly cause another man to sin.  A married man might look at you and have lustful thoughts about you or look at other parts of your body because you are dressed that way. That is problem #2.
Your body is meant for your husband to look at and think about, not Joe Bob walking around the mall.

My biggest problem right now is that women my children are supposed to look up to dress like this. I think this contributes to why Gabby wants to dress that way and thinks it is ok. My kids know my feeling about modesty and what they are or are not allowed to wear. BUT it is very hard to tell my kids one thing and then go somewhere and have a "role model" dressed in a way that I really don't think is appropriate.

I have talked to my kids about it and we discussed that different people have different convictions, but still it is hard and something that I am really having a hard time getting past :( 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birth control

I have a LOT of very strong opinions about certain subjects. One of those subjects is birth control.  I have had people tell me that we are irresponsible for having so many kids. People are quick to open their mouths on what they think I should be doing with my life and my body. That we are not financially stable enough to have more kids. That if we cant have kids without needing state assistance then we shouldn't be able to have them. 

I am going to tell you why we choose not to use birth control. 

First and foremost,  we prayed about it. When Michael and I first got married I had an IUD in place. When we got married we clearly heard God say that He did not want me on birth control.  He wanted us to trust Him fully in the decision of how many kids that we will have. 

That is exactly what we are doing! You don't have to like it, I'm ok with that. It is not your life, it is ours. We trust. We trust God with every aspect of our lives.

I don't think it is very Christian of me to say, I trust that God will provide a good job for my husband, a cure from sickness, our finances.....etc. Then turn around and say, I'm sorry God, but I am going to get on birth control because I don't think that you can handle this part of my life. I know better than You do on this matter. 

No, I trust God with everything in my life. 

God created the whole universe!!! Nothing was left to chance. Everything that He created is perfect! I think that if He is able to do all that then He is able to decide how many kids I should have. If He feels I have enough kids, then guess what?? I won't have any more kids. If He thinks that I should have more, then guess what??? I will have more. 

Not a hard thing to understand. It is not irresponsible.

Plenty of people chose to say that it is irresponsible though because we get state assistance. Ok, great. Guess what?!? It is ALL his anyways! Everything! Everything that I have, everything that you have, everything!  When we die we are not taking anything with us. In the book of Acts (the beginning church) They shared everything! They sold off their stuff to give money to the poor. Others sold off all of their stuff and lived in communities together where everyone took care of one another, they shared each others burdens and no one was in need. 

It is not about how much money we do or do not have. I know that God is going to always provide for us. The bible says that He will provide for our every need. I know that is true! (Even if that comes from state assistance.... that money is His also) I said in another one of my posts that we are better off now than we have ever been! It is 100% true! Guess what? We have more kids now than we ever have too!! AND we receive less assistance now than we ever have! Hmmmmm..... I guess that saying,  "Where God guides,  He provides" is true.

"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them" (Psalm 127:3-4).

The Bible doesn't specifically speak of birth control and whether is is right or wrong. The only reference to "birth control" is Gen 38.

"Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother."  But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother.  What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also." Genesis 38:8-10

Birth control was not around then. If you didn't want to get someone pregnant then you used what we call the pull out technique. Then sperm is never entered into the woman and pregnancy is avoided.  Sounds a lot like birth control to me.... a person decides that they don't want a kid so they do something to stop it.

Look carefully at the verse..... what he did was WICKED in the eyes of the Lord! And God killed him!!

Now, I'm not saying that God is going to kill you for being on birth control! I'm saying these are SOME of the reasons that we choose not to be on it.

We choose to trust God with everything we have and I know that He blesses us for that. Again, I'm not telling you that you can't be on birth control. That is your decision, not mine. I personally don't feel it is right. If you ever come up to me and asked me if you should get on it, I will say no. I feel that when you are on birth control you are playing God in your life and that you think you know better than the person that created you!! No one knows you better than He does! No one!

I feel that when you choose to play God in your own life then you are also choosing to withhold some of God's blessings from your life. Maybe you are trying to get a job promotion at work and it isn't happening...... Maybe you are trying to sell your house and it's not selling....... Maybe you are trying to plan something and it keeps falling apart.... I don't know, but I think that when you choose to play God in your life then things don't go as smoothly as you want. Why? Because you want your will to be done, not God's, so God's blessings don't come as easily as they do when you are walking in His will.

I'm not posting this because I want your approval or disapproval.  I am simply telling you why we choose to not be on birth control and our reasons.  We are happy with the decision that we have made and nothing that you say to us is going to change the fact that we are letting God decide our future for us.

You may never understand our decision and that is fine.

I have lost friends over this subject before, and it probably won't be the last. At least I know that I am doing what the Lord has told me to do. I am not going to worry about other people's opinions of what they think I should do.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I can't hear you

As we go throughout our day we experience different luxuries that I bet most of you rarely think about. Now, I'm not talking about power windows, the microwave or even having a roof over your head. I'm talking about your senses. 

Do you take time everyday to think about how lucky you are to be able to see and hear? These are luxuries that many people don't have. 

I know it wasn't something that I thought about often. That is until about 2 weeks ago.

I went to the ER about 2 weeks ago with a nasty ear infection.  About an hour after I left the ER, my right eardrum ruptured.  Then, about a week after that my left eardrum ruptured!!! Needless to say, it was a long couple of weeks. 

The good news is that my ear infection is finally gone. The bad news is, it left me VERY hard of hearing.  Anyone who really knows me knows that my hearing wasn't all that good before this happened :( 

If I had to guess, I would say that I don't hear 75% of what goes on around me now. Honestly, it sucks. Monday night I was crying because I was so frustrated!  
It is hard to go from hearing to not hearing.

My new "normal" is not enjoyable.  

If I want to sit down and watch a movie with my family we have to turn the closed caption on so I can follow along. We tried turning the volume on the tv up as loud as it would go, but I could only hear bits and pieces of the movie. Not enough for me to understand what was going on.

Sunday at church during Sunday school I had to keep opening my eyes to see if we were done praying because I couldn't hear one word he was saying.  During service I lost interest because I couldn't hear half of what he was preaching about. Which makes it hard to follow along. 

Last week we went to a friend's house and their daughter kept talking to me and I honestly could not hear one word that she said to me. 

I have people keep asking me if I'm feeling ok, because I seem distant.  
It is not that I am distant,  I just cant hear what anyone is saying so I usually give up and zone off. 

The part that is the most frustrating for me is not hearing my kids :( 
I feel horrible because I can't hear Blake if he is in his room crying. 
I can't hear what Carson and Vanessa are saying to me. I have to keep asking the older girls to repeat themselves. I hate it! I feel like a bad mother.

What I miss the most though, is hearing them laugh. That is what upset me so much Monday night. Michael was playing with Blake and he asked me if I could hear Blake laughing, and I couldn't. It had been a long day and it seemed like Vanessa and Carson spent the whole day whining and crying (which I heard just fine because that they do nice and! 
But it is the little things, like their laughing or the I love you, mommy that make all of the crying and whining worth it in the end. Now, I don't get to hear that very often :( 
And it broke my heart.

I am doing a little better now. Not hearing wise, but emotionally. I really hope that this is only temporary and that my hearing will return within the next 2 months. I was told that it can take anywhere from 1 1/2 months - 2 months for it to return. There is a slight possibility that my hearing loss may be permanent! I REALLY hope not!

Hearing problems run in my family so I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't. About 2 years before my mom died she had to have her right eardrum rebuilt because she was almost completely deaf in it. The same thing happened to her when she was 5 months old and again as an adult. 

I never thought of being able to hear as a luxury, but it definitely is! You don't realize it until it is taken away from you. I will never again take for granted the fact that I am able to see with my eyes the beauty around me every day. I will also cherish every moment that I do get to hear my kids laughing or saying that they love me. 

This is my new normal and I know that I will adapt. It is just not enjoyable at all! I am not sure why this happened, but just like everything else I know that God has a plan and that He will be my strength through all of this! 

Thank God everyday for the little things in life that you don't think about as being a gift! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

People and their opinions

I used to be the type of person who cared what others thought of me. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself because of what others might say. I was quiet and shy. I didn't speak up and defend myself or my thinking because I didn't want to hear others tell me what I thought was wrong or stupid.

Oh how times have changed!!!

We have 6 children now, and people are ALWAYS looking at us and talking about us. People know us even though I have no clue who they are! We will be at the store and someone will come up and ask me, "How does your husband like working at the sawmill? " I stand there and have a conversation with these people who know so much about us, yet, I don't have a clue who they are!!

It is a lot easier to notice and remember a family of 8 than a family of 4. 
We tend to stick out :)

Since used to be such a reserved person, at first it bothered me. A lot! I didn't like the attention. I didn't like the fact that people had an opinion about everything that we did! 

They had an opinion about if we should have more kids. Seriously,  people of whom I have never met in my life say to me, "You're done now right?" People say, you know they make birth control now. 

They have opinions and something to say about what type of job my husband has, about us homeschooling, about me staying home......and the list just goes on and on and on....

The stupid questions and unwanted opinions have not stopped or changed, but I have.

After a lot of prayer, I am at a place now where I am ok with the attention. Actually, I embrace it. You see, I feel that God has us exactly where we should be. It is amazing to me that even though I get a lot of negative comments thrown my way, I also know that I have positively impacted a lot of people as well.  

I have also learned not to care what anyone else has to say. I meant it. I really don't.  I don't care if you think we shouldn't have more kids.  I don't care if you think we cant afford our kids. I don't care if you think homeschooling is a bad idea. I don't care if you don't like that I love God with all of my heart. I don't care if you think I am fat. I don't care if you think my kids are ugly. I don't care if you think that I am a bad wife. I don't even care if you think that I am irresponsible or a bad mother. Seriously,  I don't. 

I also don't care who you are that may think like this, family, friend, acquaintance, or total stranger! 

We choose to live our lives the way that God is leading us to go. Sometimes (actually most of the time) that means that we do things that most people wouldn't do. Why? Because we trust God. We trust that where He guides He provides.  We trust that He will never leave us or forsake us! TRUST - we trust that His plans are better than our plans. 

If we waited until we could "afford" kids to have kids, then we wouldn't have any. No one can every really afford kids. We are currently better off now finacially than any other time in our lives. That didn't happen because we waited to have kids. That happened because God provided for us like He says He will. 

No, trusting the unknown isn't always easy. I trust that God has a purpose for our lives. I want to be able to stand before Him when I die and have Him say thank you for trusting me even though you couldn't see what was going to happen. I don't want to stand there and have Him ask, why did you think that your ways were better than my ways? Why did you choose to play God in your own life instead of following my path?

We pray about where God wants to lead our family and then that is what we do. You don't have to like it. That is your choice. It is also my choice to not care what you have to say or think about me. 

No matter who you are or where you come from, someone will always find something negative to say about you or the way that you live your life. 

People are constantly thinking that they are better than someone else. They have a better job, a better car, more money, or better behaved kids. They have never had money problems or  an addiction.  Or there are people who have had money trouble or an addiction that no Ionger have those problems, and now they think that they are better than those people who not too long ago they were just like.  

Honestly, it's sad. People are so quick to judge others and offer their opinion of how they should live.  Maybe instead of judging others so quickly,  we should worry about the problems that we have in our own families,  because no family is perfect!

I think the world would be a better place if people would stop worrying about what everyone thinks of them. I know my life is a lot less stressful now :) I am 100% happy with my life and I wouldn't change anything about it! Even the hard times. It is because of the hard times that I have learned how to be strong and I have learned what is really important in my life. My life isn't always easy, but it is always worth it!

So just know, that if you have an opinion about me or my family.... keep it to yourself,  I dont care :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Time to loose it!

In the last 13 years I have gained a LOT of weight.  Some of it due to 6 different pregnancies and some of it due to stress and depression.  

This was me in high school. I played varsity softball and I was extremely athletic :)

Guess what?!?
My senior year of high school I weighed 195 lbs. It really doesn't look like I am that heavy does it?!? I guess I carry my weight well! I was not known for being the fat girl (At least I don't think I was....LOL) and most people had no clue that I weighed almost 200 lbs.

My body is a bigger build, and I don't think that I am ever meant to be 150 pounds. (Even though the Wii fit seems to think that my ideal weight is 148 lbs...... yeah, when I was 12) 

Anyways, a month after I graduated high school my mom died and a month after that I went away to college.  I ended up seeing a psychologist while away at school to help me deal with my mom's death and I was also on some antidepressant drugs. The first year after graduation I gain 15 pounds. 

Fact- When Leslie is depressed,  Leslie eats......

This was me on my wedding day to my first husband at age 19. I weighed 210 lbs. 

Then, I got pregnant with Mariela.  I gained a whopping 66 lbs while I was pregnant with her!!! Thank God, that I didn't gain that much every pregnancy or I would be as big as a baby elephant right now!!!

I got pregnant with Gabby when Mariela was only six months old and gained 40 lbs that pregnancy. I don't really remember how much I gained with Makayla, but it was probably about the same.

(Sorry, I don't really have any pictures of myself from Mariela to Makayla.... I avoided the camera like the plague!!)

By the time I met Michael I weighed about 250 lbs. Here is a picture of our wedding day. 

This picture (our second, more formal wedding) I was about 8 weeks pregnant with Vanessa. 

This is me pregnant with Vanessa at 34 weeks. I think I gained 40 lbs with her too.
After having Vanessa I went though a lot of depression because of Michael and his porn addiction.  

Remember..... When Leslie is depressed,  Leslie eats!

By the time I got pregnant with Carson I weighed 280 lbs. I gained 20 lbs while I was pregnant with him, but that was all baby. When I had him the 20 lbs was gone!

In this picture I am 36 weeks pregnant with Carson.

After I had Carson, Michael lost his job and we started having financial problems.
Leslie worries =  Leslie eats. 

Carson was 9 months old when I got pregnant with Blake. I weighed in at 290 lbs when I went to my first ob apt for him. 

This is me right before I went to the hospital to have Blake.  I weighed 310 pounds by the end of my pregnancy.  Again, all 20 lbs came right off when I had him! (Having a 12 lbs 5 oz baby really helps...LOL)

Well, 2 weeks ago I decided that I was done!

Done being unhealthy and done being over weight.  

 Honestly,  it doesn't have much to do with how I look. I think that I am beautiful and I know that my husband does too :)

The fact is that I am starting to be borderline diabetic.  I had diabetes with my last 2 pregnancies and I do NOT want that for the rest of my life!

I also am tired all of the time and I hate it! I want to be able to chase my kids around and play with them without being exhausted!  Most importantly,  I want to be here in 10 years to see them grow up!

About 2 weeks ago I cut back on soda and I stopped snacking throughout my day if I wasn't hungry. I was still eating whatever I made my family to eat, but I watched my portions. In about 2 weeks I had lost 7 lbs!  

This past Sunday I got really serious with this loosing weight business. I have an online personal trainer who puts together my meals and my exercise routines for every day of the week. 

When I weighed myself this morning I weighed 279!, that is over 10 lbs that I have lost :)  I am so excited! ! I have never been more determined to loose weight than I am right now!

This is me today :)



Yes, I know that it is my fault that I am over weight and only I am to blame. 
BUT, telling everyone about my weight problem is not an easy thing to do. I am putting myself out there for everyone to judge me and talk about me,  but oh well. I WILL beat this and then you will only be able to talk about how much weight I lost and how good I look :)

Michael and I are going away for our anniversary this year and that is my incentive to keep pushing myself as hard as I can. I bought something cute to wear and I bought it too small so I have something to keep me going! LOL,  whatever works, right? I have 10 weeks from today! 

I will keep you all updated with my progress!  Failure is NOT an option! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Homemade laundry soap

A little over a year ago a good friend of mine really turned me on to a lot of DIY (Do it yourself) cleaning and beauty products.
To be completely honest, at first I thought she was nuts. (Sorry, Lea)
I used to think that people who made there own laundry soap and cleaners were people who were over sensitive about the environment and over the top crazy.
I have never been the type of person who worries about chemicals in my house or making sure I buy organic, BUT I am a freak about not spending money!! (I will say that over the past few months I have changed a bit in my thinking and I am glad we are a chemical free house :) Mostly!)
Saving money was honestly my main reason for looking into making my own laundry soap. At the time I was about to have baby number 6 and we did anywhere from 2-4 loads of laundry a day!! That is a LOT of laundry soap!!
I do coupon and I always stocked up on laundry soap when it was on sale. I probably never paid more that $1 a bottle for laundry soap, but when I found out that I could make 10 GALLONS of soap for less than a dollar I decided I would give it a try.
The first time that I ever did the laundry after using the homemade stuff I literally smelled EVERY SINGLE piece of laundry that I pulled out of the washing machine before I put it in the dryer. I was sure that it wasn't going to smell clean, but I was wrong!!
It cleans just as good as any commercial cleaner does!!
I have been making my own laundry soap ever since! This laundry soap success started my DIY obsession with making everything else that I possibly could at home :)
It is very easy to make and takes me probably about 5 minutes to do!
Here is what you will need-
4 cups HOT water
1 bar of Ivory soap
 A cheese grater (have one that you will only use on soap, not cheese)
1 cup of washing soda (found in chemical/laundry section of store)
1/2 cup of borax (Also found in chemical/laundry section)
5 gallon bucket (preferably with lid)
Boil 4 cups of hot water on the stove.
While the water is boiling I grate my soap.
When water is boiling take it off of the stove. Add the Ivory soap, washing soda and Borax and mix until dissolved.
Then pour mixture into the 5 gallon bucket and fill the rest of the bucket with water.
Let the soap sit over night to thicken up. (It will not be really thick, but you will see some thick clumps throughout it in the morning.)
Mix equal parts soap and water into your own container.
**Remember to mix up the mixture before you use it because it settles on the bottom.
My bottle holds 3 cups of soap and 3 cups of water.
Now it is ready to use!!!!
I use about 1/2 capful per load and each batch lasts us about 3-4 months!!
** This soap does not suds up like regular laundry soap making it safe to use in HE washers as well. 



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Our first snow storm

All week we were hearing people talk about the snow storm that we were supposed to get Tues & Wed. (We don't watch tv, so we don't always know what is going on around here) My best friend and our landlord both texted me on Monday to make sure that I knew about the storm :) 

I went to the store on Monday and stocked up on lots of food! For those of you who don't remember, the first snow that we had this winter kept us stuck in the house for 5 days. That snow was not even a storm like they were predicting for this week. This time I made sure I stocked up!!! 5 gallons of milk, plenty of cereal, lunch meat...... we will not run out of food this time!!

I was really hoping that it wasn't going to be as bad as they predicted.  No luck there though :(


We went to bed last night around 9 and there was about 1/4 inch of snow. When we woke up at 5:30 to get Michael off to work we had no power and about 7 inches of snow on the ground.  

Needless to say, Michael didn't go to work today and it is starting to get cold in our house without power. We also don't have running water when we are without power and that is no good :(


 BUT we are still having fun and making the most out of our situation :)

Michael and the 5 oldest kids all went sledding in our backyard. 
Climbing back up the hill was the hard part!

Carson decided that he didn't need a sled :)

Vanessa doesn't look like she is having fun....

Everyone else is though :)

We now have about 11 inches of snow and it is still coming down pretty hard.

We have had a couple of tree branches fall. One fell as I was measuring the snow.


Hopefully,  our power will be back on soon, but for now we are all safe and just spending time together as a family. Sometimes it us nice to not have anything to do :) 

No power = no cleaning ;)

****update- Mariela just went outside and we are now at 13 inches!!! 

This is the first snow storm that we have ever been in! Well, Michael has been around snow storms growing up in Illinois,  but it is a first for this Florida native and her kids :)