Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Just a warning: spending time in the Word and in prayer may result in conviction during the day. I've been weak on morning devos while sick, but I'm getting back into them...for better or worse.

We've been in a bind the last few weeks. Shane's brother needed the truck he graciously lets us use almost as our own. This is only a problem on Tuesday and Wednesday each week when I need a car during the day/evening for work, kids' practices, and church. We've spent 3 weeks begging, borrowing, and stealing rides on those two days. Sometimes at night I would wake up and worry about how I'd get the girls to and from the places they needed to be. God provided, but it sure can be hard to ask for help!

Shane's been looking around for a car that gets great gas mileage for him to drive to work, freeing up my van for us while he's gone. Well, the car that became available instead wasn't exactly my type.

Shane's aunt has a Lincoln Towncar for sale. Now, there's nothing wrong with Towncars, but I associate them with grandmas. I'm trying to make a clear distinction in my life that I'm not a grandma-not even close :) So, I had a little attitude about it.

Then I read this blog entry and fell under great conviction that I'd wronged my husband and the Lord. You see, I'd told him to go ahead and get the car (for an amazing price, by the way) if he wanted to, even though he knew I wanted to stay with the fuel efficient car search. When he told me today that he'd decided to do it, I got angry. Pride has a way of bringing on anger.

Shane found a car that will fit all of us right now and will work in a pinch for most of us when the baby is here. If his mom and grandmother want to take the four girls somewhere, they can drive this car. It gives us a nice, second car. It isn't beat up, it runs well, has a/c, and is more than adequate. Yet I had to balk at his (and God's) provision.

How many other ways do we (I) turn our noses up in the air when God is giving provision? I really don't think I want to know. I know he's given me a blessing I'm struggling to that about pride, too? Probably. I'm so thankful that He continues to work in us, aren't you?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coming out of the 1st trimester fog...

Okay, today is the last day of my 1st trimester! Although my nausea has held on for as long as a month longer during a previous pregnancy, I'm fully convinced that I won't have it tomorrow. Nausea, pack your suitcase! (If this doesn't work, I do still have a couple more of my wonder drug Zofran! Why didn't I know about this before? It doesn't make all the nausea go away, but at least I don't throw up when I use it).

I've been longing to get back to normal. Translation: to have a semi-clean house, cook real food, read to my kids, do weird things, and research more weird stuff to get into. Today, I accomplished some of that. I have a pretty clean kitchen, actually made non packaged dinner last night (hamburgers with peppered corn on the cob from the crock pot), and made butter today. I'm also researching more weird stuff. At least Matt Lauer is on board with this one (not that I like him, but he's pretty mainstream!). (That link is to the Today show report on bad plastics.)
Here's the butter making story:

First, I buy raw cow's milk for my dogs (since in Texas you can buy it for pet consumption, but not human consumption). Then I use my dog's food for butter. Hey, we're in a recession, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Actually, I read this blog post to learn how to use my Kitchenaid mixer to make butter. It has a good point about why store bought butter is so bad for us.
It's pretty easy. You start with the raw milk. See the cream on the top? I use a medicine dropper you get at the pharmacy to get it off the top and into the bowl. I started with 2 cups of cream.

I misread the instructions and set the mixer on low as I cleaned the kitchen. It was taking forever, so I set it on 4 and almost immediately it got creamy. Sorry, should have used the flash.

When it turns to butter, it's a very fast transition. I turned my back and I heard milk splashing out, ran to the mixer and found the butter stuck to the whisk and the buttermilk going everywhere.

I rinsed it like the instructions said, then drained the water. I thought it'd be great to just use my pasta strainer to strain the water, pushing the butter hard against the holes with a wooden spoon. Then I thought to look under the strainer! Remember the playdough sets that let you grow hair? Shane & I both lamented that we never had one growing up but always wanted to play with our friends'.

Oh well, no harm done. I scraped all the butter into my mason jar. I'm in the market for one of these cool butter keepers, though. Here's the finished product. I also ended up with a quart of "buttermilk" to use later or something...

Okay, and here's the weird stuff I'm looking at now. With all the plastic talk, I finally sat down and looked it up. I've used glass to drink from at home for a long time. My family liked plastic, but recently when I had an opportunity to grab a bunch of free mason jars, I did so and replaced almost all our plastic junk. Mason jars deserve their own post. They are so timeless. They say, "I am not disposable" which flies in the face of modern America. They could have been made in 2008 or 1948. Think of all the jellies, jams, canned green beans and such they could have held. All the work that went into preserving that food is represented in that jar. I love them-I love them big with a wide mouth, full of iced water, iced tea, or iced coffee!

Stainless steel bottles-sleek, in demand, and expensive ($15-$20 a pop!)

We still have a drawer of plastic sippy cups and sports bottles for when we go out to the ballpark or for the little ones. Hope & I started looking at numbers and we probably want to get rid of some or ours (darn!). I'd love to replace the sports cups and sippies with something better, but boy the stainless steel and aluminum (lined with something safe) are not cheap! I'm looking at glass but want a cover to prevent breakage...then I found these: (If you poke around on this site, you'll find more baby bottles, kids' sports bottles, and adult sized sports bottles.)

Isn't this cool? It's an Evenflo glass bottle with a silicone cover. Kinda retro. My babies never liked these nipples though, they like the wide ones...

I wish we could have a "I've been married a long time shower" or a "my kids are older and very expensive now shower". I'd register for all kinds of weird things I can't afford!

Friday, April 18, 2008


A Harvard art student is creating quite a stir. Very, very sad. At least some people are opposing it, and there's a chance it was all fake. Let's hope so.

Random Thoughts

*I had to report a 14 year old pregnant client to CPS yesterday. I don't like that part of my job too much. I don't like it that we see 14 year olds either (on their second pregnancy).
*I'm thankful that it appears I'm heading out of my first trimester with much less nausea!
*I need a deep Spring cleaning at my house!
*I'm wanting to do a few things this Spring: Sew an apron, really learn our GPS for geocaching, figure out how to make Quick Books automatically update itself from my bank account, and do some major decluttering.
*The story about the guy in Ellis county who's body parts showed up floating in two different lakes freaks me out. Can you imagine swimming and a leg floats up beside you!? Reminds me of the guy they found in a barrel in our lake years ago-anyone remember that? We were kids....
*I'm reading Cheaper by the Dozen. Don't worry, it's not inspiring me!
*I'm pumped about a garage sale, fabric buying, pedicure trip I'm taking next week-whoo hoo!
*I'm really touched by my husband's new "job" as resident counselor at work. Several guys have come to him lately for advice/support and he has offered to pray with fellow officers and even an inmate who was struggling with religion recently. I love my Shane!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Bethy

I just gotta talk about my Bethany. She's the cutest 4 year old on the planet. She has the sweetest little voice and she makes every syllable count-even if she can't quite pronounce it. I can't explain it but for those of you who know her, you know exactly what I'm talking about. She's so loving and trusting...Last week I made her believe her freckles make her sneeze-and what cute freckles they are! Can you see them in the picture above? Her freckles are so cute they deserve a centerfold spread and an entire post dedicated to them!

Bethy is a petite little thing. She is just now wearing size 5-with pins in the waist, and she has a constant habit of holding her pants up, even when they fit. She has a great sense of style. She's often seen in her pink hand-me-down cowboy boots and whatever outfit that pleases her. Yesterday it was her blue and white night gown and the boots-while playing out in the backyard all day!
Daddy and Beth having an early morning consultation about the status of the puppies. She followed him around in the yard with her hands in her pockets-just like him! Oh, and don't miss the boots!

She's our family expert. She knows, intuitively, where everyone is, where the car keys are, where the missing flip flop is and what's for dinner. Today Hope was searching for her pink and white tennis shoe and Bethany quietly says, "I know where it is, follow me." She took her on a wild goose chase that finally brought them back to the living room where Bethany mysteriously showed Hope the show--on Beth's foot.

She's just so dadgum funny. With all the morning sickness, school has taken a backseat to heaving into the toilet. I was showering and the girls were doing workbooks at the table. Shane came in and told them, "I think it's time to consider public school." Ash & Hope immediately expressed their disdain for the idea while Bethany (who really doesn't know what public school is) raised her fists in victory and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" Her big sisters quickly looked at her with astonishment and disbelief. Beth usually can't even be convinced to go to her Awana class, there's no way she'd go to school all day! By the way, Shane was just teasing them :)
She's so dramatic and makes the funniest faces-we especially love when she makes her eye brows jump up and down as if to punctuate her point (she's not doing it here, sorry!).

Bethany has so many funny stories. Her most consistent one is that she doesn't want to grow up. We had to convince her to turn 4. Cake was a good incentive. We aren't allowed to talk about "when she grows up..." because she adamantly refused to do so. I think her fear is of leaving home. She recently decided she'd get as big as Ash, but that's it. She's so cute and funny and (usually) easy, I don't want her to grow up either!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scarborough Fair

We took a spontanious trip yesterday to this fun festival. We've wanted to go for years now but have just not done it. My brothers, cousin, and all their pals make the trek at least once a season, so we had some good tips from die hard "renners" (Rennaissance fair addicts). We knew to look for Noobler the Gnome and be prepared to sing our introduction to him-which we did!

The girls had such a good time. We brought them all and even added a daughter (Ash's best buddy). More than once we were asked, "Are all these yours?" It was funny, since no, they all weren't but I am pregnant with one more, so it all comes out the same ;)

Here are our observations after spending the entire day there:

Renners are very friendly people. They don't mind us regularly dressed people gawking at them-okay, we didn't gawk, but we did check out their costumes (I was gawking on the inside a few times!). Really, though, no one was ever rude and many people struck up conversation with us as if we were old friends.

Fairs have lots of great smells-I especially loved the smell of the Fish & Chips booth! We smelled a little pot, too...

I still like Scarborough Fair much more than Medieval Times. MT seems so touristy and fake. The tickets are more than twice the cost, too. Scarborough was much more real, with authentic craftsmen like potters and glass blowers. It did cost about the same as MT in the end though, because you have to pay to do many of the attractions. Granted, it's only a few dollars per ride or maze, but when you bring four kids with you, that adds up!

Since this is a G rated blog, I'll just say women can do amazing, unnatural things with their bossoms. I appreciate the fair goers who were modest and in costume.

I love my Ergo (and my friend's Ergo, too-Beth rode in it a little) and I love my New Balance tennies. They make a great combination, but not even NB shoes can help when you carry a 20 lb child on your back all day!

We all had different activities that we named as our favorites, which shows there's something for everyone. One thing was for sure-all the girls want to come in costume next time-they're already planning for next year!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Help me out

I found this fun site today where I was playing with making a onesie. Shane said to go ahead and buy one, but I need your help designing it. We have several ideas but none seem to be "the one".

How about:
I'm number 5
The End

...or some combo of those?

What say you?

Sunday, April 6, 2008 of my favorite shops

Okay, I haven't actually been to Feather Your Nest (but Ash has and she highly recommends it!) but I do often get Christmas and birthday gifts from there. I just spent about 20 minutes browsing her very cute--and affordable--stuff online. I found the cutest aprons while reading her blog-here's a pic:

My friend Jennifer (who's getting MARRIED!) is good pals with the shop owner. I feel like I know Gina, but I guess we won't officially meet until August. ( you "know" a person if their picture was on your fridge for 6 months???) I'll report back after setting foot in her store while I'm there for the if she needs my analysis of the shop, she's already been in a string of magazines, including In Style. Very cool. Go check it out...and my birthday's coming up, remember, so anything from her shop would be great :)

My favorite card company

These are such simple, beautiful, high quality cards, you gotta check 'em out. I enjoyed poking around this website this morning and seeing some of Rick's work, both some familiar pieces that make me smile when I'm in their home and new pieces, too. I love the mural in the laundry mat-priceless!

Sonflower Camp (you can find info on the site) is just months away and my kids are already talking about it. (Shirley this is the woman I was telling you about, she'd love to hear from you).

Random Thoughts

I love getting flowers. There's a story to this...I hang with a practical crowd who generously gives real help or food when needed (which is precious & I love). When I had Ash, Shane didn't know he could order flowers over the phone and he wasn't about to leave his new baby to go across town and order any! Between Shane and my friends, I suffer from low flower syndrome. So, to the friend who met my flower getting needs this week-thanks :)

Shane says this has to be a boy because he's tired of stepping on hair clips, Polly Pocket dolls and Barbie shoes. He wants to step on Hot Wheels for a change.
Softball is staring, we have two girls playing (and another one who wants to, but I refuse to keep up with 3 practices/games/all that right now, lol). We can't walk through the house without stumbling across a bat or glove. Why do we have to play sports with such big equipment? Why can't they do volleyball where there's just ONE ball to keep up with, or swimming where there's no equipment?

I'm loving looking around at new sling/carrier ideas. I can't wait to try some new carriers, like one of these (the pic from above is from that site). I noticed in the magazine from my OB's office, they are actually trendy now, so once again, I've set the standard for must-have-baby equipment. You all know I'm a fashion diva. Oh, and cloth diapers are in again, too with the slogans saying, "This isn't your mother's cloth diaper." How true that is! I remember swishing my baby brother's cloth diapers in the potty-yuck! This is a no-swish house!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lighter post

With the heavy posts below, I thought it might be nice to throw in a little humor. Today, while running errands, Bethany was with me and we were having a jolly time visiting. We were talking about baby names and I think we may just have a winner. It'll work with either a boy or a girl, is unique and about "French Fry"?

Well, it's what Bethany said before she quickly changed her mind to Ally. Poor baby, if she's a girl she might just get a name like French Fry, we're kind of low on girl names...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Life's Start

When does life begin? Like I said before, there are several schools of thought on this subject, but I find it quite easy to see which makes the most sense, scientifically.

Life begins at conception-this is when the DNA from the father and the mother mesh into one new set of DNA, one that is totally unique to the new life. Moments after conception, this DNA is fully intact. From this point on, growth occurs, but no other changes happen on the DNA level. Just after conception the following criteria to establish biological life are present:

reaction to stimuli and
reproduction." 1

Related to life beginning at conception, here is a link discussing the fact that the baby is autonomous of the mother from the very beginning.

Life begins at implantation-this misunderstanding, I feel, is perpetrated by our current medical system. Since the 1960s, In order to continue to market products like abortifacient birth control methods, pregnancyhas been redefined as starting at implantation. This means that any method used to keep a baby from attaching to the womb/nourishment (like the IUD and any hormonal birth control methods) can be allowed (with the new definition). It's a definition of convenience, but it's not based in truth.

In truth, the zygote's cells have been multiplying away while it travels down the fallopian tube. Once it reaches its destination, the uterus, it plugs in for nourishment. The act of implantation doesn't jolt it alive or make any other changes, its just allows for nourishment to be given to the growing, fertilized egg and it sends signals to the woman's body to stop menstruation. In my limited search today of informative links, I can't even find this point, so I'm wondering if it's been left behind as our technology has progressed...

Life begins when the embryo looks human-does this even justify an answer? Looks human? How scientific is that? A charred tree doesn't look like wood, yet in science class we all learned that fire brings a chemical change to the wood. It was still wood and is still wood, it's just burned wood. Looks mean nothing-what does the DNA say?

Life begins at viability-this is a subjective argument. Viability depends on our technology, which is always changing. We can't base something as important as when life begins on our ability to maintain that life outside the womb. Viability continues to inch up earlier and earlier, so does that mean that 20 years ago life began at a later stage than it does now, just because we couldn't sustain that life outside of the womb in 1988? No. Life has always begun at the same time, it doesn't depend on us.

Life begins at birth-this again is subjective because birth can occur at so many different gestational ages. Just because someone wants to justify abortion doesn't mean they can decide to stamp personhood on only those who are born. Tell a mother the child in her womb, whom she can already see has a personality, isn't yet a person. No scientific changes occur at birth that would make a child suddenly become a person.

Life begins after birth-Peter Singer believes personhood arrives sometime after birth-weeks afterwards. This is also philosophical argument, not scientific and therefore can not be taken seriously. If science backed it up, yes, it'd be worth discussion, but science clearly points to the other end of the spectrum (conception).

I've tried to not spiritualize this discussion, because while I fully believe in the truths of the Bible, not everyone does. However, science and scripture will not contradict each other, so we can depend on true science. Here is an excellent site that explains succinctly when life begins without using any religious reasoning. If you don't check out any other links on this post, check out this one.

And for the visual learners, here's a beautiful youtube video of fetal development. It's been said that if wombs were made of glass, there'd be no abortion. Consider this the glass womb.


The wise folks at Stand to Reason have a great website with a ton insight on faith in the public square. They focus on topics like bioethics and philosophy. They came up with the SLED test, which Shane loves to share every chance he gets. I'll see if I can do a decent job summarizing it-but you can always go to the original source.

This argument shows why abortion can't be justified, simply using logic, not scripture (many people don't care what scripture says):

S-Size: My husband is larger than me, that doesn't make him more of a person. Ash weighs about 60 lbs more than her 20 month old sister, but they both have value, neither has more than the other. An unborn child is much smaller than a toddler, but as illustrated above, value isn't assigned to people according to size.

L-Level of Development-Having a crop of kids give me great examples for this. Obviously, my oldest child has a higher skill levels than our toddler. That doesn't make the toddler less of a person, it just means the toddler must still mature and grow. A baby in the womb is less developed than a 6 month old, but level of development doesn't change personhood.

E-Environment-I am the same person if I am at work or at home. The same person if I'm on a plane or stepping off a plane. Environment does not change personhood. A baby's environment-either in the womb or just arrived from it, doesn't change its value.

D-Degree of Dependency. Many people try to say that because a baby is dependent on its mother, that's reason enough allow abortion. Are we not dependent on anything? I'm dependent on the electric company to bring me power, to Wal-Mart to offer the food I don't grow myself, I depend on my employer for a paycheck. Dependency doesn't make us not human or without value. Dependency is not a valid reason to allow abortion.

So, even though the mother may not have planned this pregnancy, we can't offer abortion as an option because the unborn does have value, worth, and deserves the same protection as all other humans.

The SLED test assumes that life begins at conception, but there are several other schools of thought out there, one even states that life/personhood begins when a child is much older, I believe 9 months old. I'll blog about this soon.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy Birthday PRC!

The Pregnancy Resource Center Shane & I helped start opened its doors 7 years ago today. What a story!

In 1999, 27 year old Shane felt called to ministry, but he only knew it was NOT preaching. As the year went on, the Lord refined the calling to show Shane the ministry related to children. I was 23 years old and a few weeks from college graduation when I went on a Walk to Emmaus retreat in August of that year. At that retreat, God allowed me to meet Marianne, who was grieving the loss of her miscarried child. God touched her on that retreat and showed her he was holding that little baby. I was so moved and touched by that, but also so heartbroken for the women who had lost children through miscarriage or early infant death that I knew God wanted us to minister to those women.

I came home so excited that God had shown me more, then as the weeks went on and we prayed about it, God showed us the ministry was to be a PRC. Y'all, my Grandma volunteered for a PRC. I told God I didn't want to do my Grandma's ministry. Surprisingly, he really didn't care and we carried on.

God lovingly nurtured us and confirmed the calling right and left. We had planned to contact Andrea about the ministry, since we'd talked for some time with her about the need for a PRC in the area (and she was already doing the ministry out of her car, essentially). But before we could call her, she called us and told us the Lord showed her we were supposed to start the ministry. Our church offered a spiritual gifts class and we found out my gift was encouragement and on the list of good ministry fits for me was....a crisis center!

So, in the late fall, we started speaking in churches to get the word out about our plans. We spoke first in a little group that was meeting in a feed store, we were so new at this and nervous. A train went through and we couldn't even be heard, but the Lord worked; we gathered our first board member there.

Throughout 2000, Shane, Andrea, Brian and myself met 2-3 times a month to discuss the details and tasks to opening a non-profit. I still vividly remember sitting on our second hand couch (it was UGLY!) nervously dialing the IRS asking questions about the mile high non-profit status paperwork. Oh, and I was pregnant with Hope this year and Marianne was pregnant with Katie-a miracle.

We found a building, it actually belonged to the church that was meeting in the feed store. They allowed us to rent-to-own it for $500 a month. They also gave us $500 a month as a donation. We raised the money and by Thanksgiving and paid cash for the $100,000 building. Who but the Lord could do that?

We remodeled just a little, painted-Mr. T painted 150 miles of trim! We were given most of our furniture. Its really nice when rich people decide their 4 year old furniture is "worn out".

On April 2, 2001 just a few weeks shy of my 25th birthday, I went to work as the Director of the PRC on it's first day to be open. I wore khaki pants and a green and khaki button down short sleeved shirt--green for life, I told myself.

Before we opened, we had a Yellow Page ad and a phone in our pastor's office. Through this arrangement, Tina had contacted us. She was pregnant and the father of the baby was in jail. We helped her find a maternity home, which she agreed was better than her mother's idea to abort. Bobby got out of jail and Tina left the maternity home--where she'd found out she was having twins. She delivered on our opening day. We felt that was the Lord saying he was going to doubly bless our center.

And he has! When someone important has toured our building, like a consultant for PRCs or a national trainer, they always told us we had the space, funding, and ideas of a center 20 years old. We added sonography services two years ago, we bought a property across the street for expansion, we have 6 or 7 paid staff, and God has provided much financially. So much that this PRC has been able to help support another center in Bolivia.

I've not been involved in the day to day running of that center in several years (that's why it's going so well!), but Shane and I will always be involved with PRCs, on way or another. It's one of the most rewarding ministries out there!

Oh, and just for fun-the church that met in the feed store is now our church. And yesterday I officially met Jan, who's training to be a new sonographer with us. She said she remembered when we came to the feed store and shared our vision; she was there, but had never imagined she'd be at the center over 8 years later. God is good and can do big things! (Especially when he uses people too young to know better!).

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Prolife 101

I have been discussing feminism with some ladies on a parenting forum. Specifically a woman wanted to know why anyone would be against feminism. I responded that when I think of feminism, I think of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood. This led to a few posts debating the value (there is none) of PP (that's a whole different post), which of course led to a few posts about abortion.

A girl who says she's a Christian responded and said, "I don't believe in abortion, but I think it's important that we protect a woman's right to choose, since it is a free country."

This is such a problem statement. I think its common for some Christians to feel this way, but its dead wrong. It shows that our society has taken PP's rhetoric for truth: hook, line, and sinker.

Let's think about why this is wrong. Let's finish the sentence. "I think it's important to protect a woman's right to choose what?" Are we protecting her right to choose a Big Mac over a Cheeseburger? No, we're protecting her right to choose to abort, to end the life of a child.

Let's say we have a nice little clinic that specializes in "taking care of" our toddlers once they reach the terrible two stage. They're so much work at that age, no mother should be forced to take care of curtain climbing ankle biters. Of course, I wouldn't take my child there, but I don't want to impose on your right to do so.

Of course no one would put up with that, but it's the same thing!

If your child comes up behind you while you're washing dishes and says, "Mom, can I kill this?" Your question is, "What is it?" Well, even Dr. Seuss knows that a person's a person no matter how small. There is much at stake-we must know what we are aborting.

We'll look at this using the SLED test in the next few posts. SLED stands for Size, Level of Development, Environment and Dependency. I'll show you that life begins at conception and that the newly conceived life, the babe that's been in gestation for seven months, a five month old, and a three year old all have just as much value as my 31 year old life. I think you'll then see that it's not acceptable to look the other way in the name of freedom.