Monthly Archives: September 2011

Christmas Gift-giving Made Simple.


A few years ago I kept up with the blog of a lady who had 7 children.  She was an inspiration to anyone with a large family and when I found out her family’s gift-giving strategy at Christmas time, I quickly copied and pasted it into a document on my computer! It’s a wonderful idea for keeping gift-giving in the more conservative realm, as opposed to going bonkers with the presents. And it works great for any amount of children in a family, whether you have 1 or 5!

Here’s what her children receive:

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read (or watch!)

LOVE,LOVE,LOVE! This year Jeremy and I have decided that we would try this out. It is a great way to streamline what they get, and keep our sanity intact at the same time.

Maybe this will help someone out or you can pass it along to another family who might need a simple way to streamline their gift-giving this year.

Another thing that a lot of people may not know is that every July, towards the last few days of the month, Target Stores do a massive toy clearance. I found out about it last year and decided to try it out. I was able to get several things for Christmas for over 30% off the original price. Many times if you hit the store just right, you are able to get the items for 70% off. That’s a great way to save money on toys.

Also, be on the lookout in your local newspapers because you can find several useful coupons for toys made by Playskool, Hasbro, and other companies that make action figures, games, and dolls. Couple that with a toy clearance and you have yourself a deal!

Sure hope this helps someone out there. We are excited to see how this gift-giving strategy works. Since we have been trying to simplify things in our family, I can’t imagine this not being a good thing.


Broken Boy.


So it’s been awhile. I know. Life has been crazy over the past 6 months. Crazy’s probably an understatement.

I have written so many posts but when I go back and read them, they just seem like fluff. They don’t matter, they don’t sound right, they are just not…..something. I try to write what’s on my heart, but many times what’s on my heart is not fit for public viewing-sad to say. But those are the posts that I turn into prayers-the things that I long to shout from the mountain tops, scream until my voice is heard; the angry “what if’s and how comes, and whys?” to the One who need not reply.

I’ll do the best I can here to describe life over the past few months and pray that God would get the glory in this post.

We took in my nephew back in March of this year, and when we got him, he was a broken little boy. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc. The pictures would break your heart ;(

My family has gone through a gamut of emotions. Heartbreak, anger, guilt, pain, sadness, exhaustion, fear;  you get the picture. For whatever reason, it is possible for a mother to not love or take care of her child. I will never understand this if I am being honest with you. It is difficult to accept that a woman can carry a child for 9 months, and not fall head over heels in love with that little person after he or she is born, if not before.

To say that my children have not been affected would be a total lie. More than once one of my kids has come to us upset and crying because of how difficult their cousin can be. To have someone move into your room and break your stuff, annoy you to no end, call you names, etc, is tough. It calls for them to be patient, show grace, compassion, and when you are only 9 or 10 yourself-you really don’t have a whole lot of that to give!

When a child that has been neglected and abused suddenly comes into a home where there is a lot more order, structure, and discipline-it’s kind of like that cartoon character, The Tasmanian Devil, coming to live with you. I cannot tell you how many times in trying to discipline him that I was kicked, hit, spit on, slapped, called names, pushed, etc. Never before had I experienced anything like that and I am glad to say that those episodes are a lot less frequent now. But they are disheartening and discouraging.

It’s been hard, obviously. But God has been so good throughout this whole ordeal. He has challenged me in my own parenting abilities and he has put me to the test. I think of the Refiner’s fire-seriously, it’s been hot! Jeremy has been woken up by me in the wee hours of the morning more than once to pray for my nephew, his mom, the entire situation. And God was always right there, ever listening, never sleeping-always ready to pour out Peace.  Jeremy has been so good with my nephew-who has never really had a father in his life. I am so proud of him-it is the sweetest thing to watch them sit together and Jeremy just take time to talk to him, read him stories at bedtime, and pray with him. What a beautiful, foreign concept to this little boy.

We have no idea what God has in store or what the outcome will be. It’s not looking good that my nephew will ever go back to his mom. For a long time I had some ideas of my own about how to “fix” this situation. Then finally I had to lay it at the Master’s feet and say, “Take it. I can’t do this, I am not able to fix this situation, but I know You can.” What a wonderful peace that has been present ever since I gave up. When we are weak, HE is strong-that’s Truth!

My prayer is that no matter how long my nephew lives with us, that we will be the best examples of God’s love to him. This little broken boy is not a mistake. God has a plan for him-plans to prosper him and not to harm him, plans to give him hope and a FUTURE. God takes the messy, the broken, the shattered, the unthinkable, the unwelcome, the unexplainable-and makes them beautiful in His time. God’s the glue that fills in all the cracks.

I am striving to  intentionally seek what God would teach and show me as we plod through this valley together. If we had not taken my nephew in, what would I have missed out on? The opportunity to love another child who needs to know that he is loved, to show Christ to him and all of the people involved in his life (medical professionals, mostly, due to health issues he has), to cherish my own children and make sure they know they are loved and cared for. The blessing of sharing Christ when those around you ask “How on earth are you making it?”

I am holding on tight, with white knuckles, to this verse, and knowing that God has a big plan for not only my nephew, but each and every one of us:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11