My husband got several cute shots at his parent's house this past Monday. Here's 2 of the little ones looking in the pond. More than one of our children have taken a "swim" in Mamaw's pond before. I'll never forget Nathan falling in either last summer or the summer before -- he just kept screaming, completely in a panic, and we just kept yelling "Stand up!". The pond only came up to his waist at that time and being 6 or 7, it wasn't like we were able to get him out until he stopped thrashing around!
Please continue to pray -- pray the this cyst on the brain will go away and/or not be a sign of Trisomy 18, if it be God's will, and pray that we can keep my appointments spread out of as far as is safely possible to reduce the stress on our gas budget and our sitter(s).
Praising God for the good report today and for continuing to take care of this pregnancy and our unborn son. We still haven't decided for sure on a name -- the 3 favs right now are Timothy Paul, Silas Paul, or Paul Timothy.
This review was originally going to be about a fiction piece I just finished call "A Voice In The Wind". But, after what I've read today, I think it'll be enough to comment on this one:
I started and finished this book today. Not because it was good, however. In fact, I was mortified. I'm just getting into blogging and reading other folks' blogs. One blog I read lately mentioned a book called "Supernatural Childbirth". (Note -- this blog belongs to a good friend of ours and I have NOT had the opportunity to talk to this family about this book. What follows is my opinion and I in no way want to offend anyone with my comments!) In the introduction, the author talks about a conversation she had with her husband. She does not say for what reason(s) but she mentions to him that she can't have children. Her husband asks her who told her she couldn't have kids. She said the doctor's did. His response -- "Oh, I see. Well, God said you can have babies. Even though I thank God for doctors and hospitals, and medical science is always advancing, they are not our source, our final authority; God is, and God said you can have children....The Bible is full of Scriptures about children. He said He makes the barren woman to keep house and be a joyful mother of children. He said your children will be as olive plants and your wife as a fruitful vine. The Bible says there will be neither male nor female barren among God's people. We will have all the children we want." (No scripture reference given; this quote found on pages 13-14) Whoa -- I hadn't even gotten to the part of giving birth yet and I was speechless! The book goes on -- and I hope I'm not giving it a misrepresentation here -- and the author says this: "You see, once we made up our minds and determined in our hearts that we were going to have a baby, that we could pray, that God would hear and answer that prayer because it was His will, that's what God did. God will meet you at your level of faith -- whatever that level is -- and that's where our faith was." (page 19). I came away with the notion that this author believes that you can have whatever you want if you believe it. In fact, she says that all physical pain is under "the law" (of the Old Testament) and that "Jesus bore that sorrow, that grief so we don't have to....I dont' have to bear sorow and grief! We believe He redeemd us from sin, sickness and poverty. "By His stripes we are healed." If that healing delivers us from pain, then that's what it does. It doesn't matter if the pain comes in the form of cancer, migraine, headaches, stomache aches, or childbearing." (page 26) Now, I have CHRISTIAN friends who, for reasons known and unknown, are unable to have children. My best friend has 1 daughter who's 8 and hasn't been able to get pregnant again. She has a disease called PCOS and she's currently in treatment for that and prayerful that they will be able to conceive again. Listen -- I FIRMLY believe that God hears and answers prayer and I admit that my faith seems weak compared to my best friend's faith. Her faith is not weak! She has prayed fervantly for YEARS for more children, to be healed from her disease, but it isn't happening. Is that because her faith is weak? This book is saying that because she doesn't believe it or claim it, in Jesus' name, then she doesn't have it. I don't believe that -- but I do admit to chew on this for a few days and I fully intend to talk to my Dad about it (he's a pastor). GOD is in control -- He does answer prayer but he does not ALWAYS give us what we ask for. Is that because our faith is weak? Perhaps, at times. Is our unanswered prayers ALWAYS because our faith is weak? Absolutely not -- sometimes, our prayers are unanswered because what we were asking for was not part of God's plan for our lives!! [As far as the "childbirth" part is concerned, this couple claims that they conceived when they "believed God" for it, that they had the labor they wanted and the delivery even before the certain time they "claimed", and with 3 of her pregnancies, had painless deliveries all because they "believed God for it".]
My heart is heavy...time for bed. I'd like to comment further on why I believe what I believe but I need to chew on this a little while longer first.
Lessons learned -- first of all, in this particular situation, if you are being investigated for anything related to your children, the police officer assured me that it would come as a knock on the door, not a phone call, and that the person there will have a badge and tell you they are with your county's Child Protective Services. In general, however, if anyone calls you and it doesn't sound legitimate, do NOT give out any information. Do NOT even verify the information they may or may not give you ("Can you verify your address, please" for instance). This person asked how many kids I had and their ages -- while I'm glad I didn't give him that info, there really is nothing they can do with that info but we belive he was hoping that if I gave out that little bit of info, I'd give out more. Check your emails and mail closely -- you never know when you may fall prey to something like this, too. Be careful!!
Still cleaning off the camera. These are from our niece's birthday party. She's in there, trust me! I guess I just snapped the camera at the right (or wrong) time and caught her new dress-up costume right in front of her face. The other one is Jonathan's Dad, Fred -- I can't believe he let me take a picture of him in is lovely tiara!!! This was a crazy weekend. Kaylie's party was a Sunday after church so it was already a crazy day. But -- the Friday and Saturday before, we had our big family garage sale AND on Saturday night, we actually managed to pull off a surprise 40th anniversary party for Jonathan's parents. I was going to post some pictures from then but all I got was "background" pictures of the cake and decorations, none of people really. There's a good one of Jonathan & his grandmother I might post later.
It's been a very rough couple of days. It's been one financial crisis after another.... My faith being weak as it is, I felt we NEEDED to use the a credit card this week and my husband was dead set against it (as he should be -- I have a very wise husband)...well, let's just say that's how it started on Tuesday. Then, last night, I came home to an email from the bank....well, the bank doesn't email with good news, let's put it that way. Bad news last night turned into even worse news this morning. Someone once said to me "If you have a problem(s) that money can solve, then you really don't know what it's like to have a problem". At that time, I was hurt by that comment. But, I thought about that comment last night as I lay crying in bed in the realization that I had screwed up yet again. Confession -- I have a HUGE problem with spending money wisely. Translation, as I came to see it last night -- I have a CONTENTMENT problem. I can't seem to let myself be content in what I have. Mind you, we're not rolling in the dough -- but that's not an excuse. We use Microsoft Money software -- all our bills and my husband's deposits are there and I can see the cash flow forecast. I KNOW if we were to stick to the budget as it appears on that screen, we'd be just fine. Sticking to said budget is a problem and it has been for years. Please don't misunderstand -- this isn't a situaiton where I handle the money completely by myself and my hubby is oblivious to what's going on. What I am saying is it's not his ATM card that's making the transactions that run us out of money -- I'm admitting my fault here but I don't want people to think that he doesn't "manage his household well". He has faults, yes, but we're trying. BOTH of us are trying and it's not been an easy 2 years since I stopped working. BUT, incidents like we're in the middle of now are becoming less and less frequent.
So, in my original question, I asked who was there during your darkest hours? For us this time, I'm thankful to admit that it was my parents. My Mom flew in last week and my Dad arrived Monday and they just left. Other than these last 48 hours or so, it was a great 10 days and I'll definately post more on their time with us later. What they left here has touched me more than I can say. I stink at emotional issues and saying what's on my heart and I'm not sure why that's so. But, not only did they put gas in our van, not only did they pay for my oldest 2 to sign up for their homeschool co-op today, not only did they give monetarily to help clear up things at the bank -- they also just left a huge pile on my table. While I was out registering N & C for co-op, they were at Sam's Club. Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, toilet paper, fruit sancks and animal crackers for the kids, macaroni & cheese, mayo, peanut butter, corn, green beans, pizza kits, crackers, bisquick mix, trash bags, dish detergent, dishwasher tablets, and spaghetti, and you know Sam's Club's sizes!
Someone may stumble across this blog and wonder why I would post something so personal. Let me explain -- first, I know my Mom reads the blog every now and then and I hope she sees this so she knows how truly grateful we are even if I can't seem to say it. Secondly, I'm hoping putting all this into writing will give me something to look back on and remember so we don't end up here again. This hurts -- very, very badly. Third, maybe there's someone who can read this and learn from the lessons I'm learning -- 1) not being content with what you have is a sin, 2) not using the blessings you have been given as God would have you use them is a sin, and 3) I have to be more careful about what I'm teaching my kids about what money is (a blessing given to us by God) and how it should be spent. We are entrusted our money to steward the way God leads and spending every last dime you have is NOT a good plan -- eventually, you will overspend and not realize it and then you'll be where we are. Again, my apologies for a long post. If you've read this far, please pray for us as we're talking about going to a cash-only system for groceries and those type things (we already pay 99% of our bills through automatic debits). Please pray that we'll come out of this different people -- ready to manage our money in the will of God, not our own. Thank you.
Lots going on this summer in the Stevens' household. Right now, my parents are visiting. My Mom flew in last Tuesday and my Dad got here yesterday. They're leaving on Thursday. My Mom go to be here when we found out that we're expecting our 4th son (we've got 1 daughter). That was the first ultrasound she's been to since I was pregnant with our oldest who just turned 8. I know she enjoyed it. We still haven't picked out a name yet. We're just beginning soccer season for our 2 oldest...we're getting ready to start school in 2 weeks...we're putting on a Medieval Feast to kick off the school year on 9/1...pretty much, we're just busy, busy, busy but we're enjoying it (most days)!
If you're out there or are finding us from our old blog, please drop a comment and let us know! It's really nice to know there's someone out there "listening"!