Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stand Up On Top of Your Struggles: My 2011 Journey

As 2011 comes to a close, it's a time for reflection. It's always a time for prayer and finding a more deeper intimacy with Christ; but with a new year comes even more a time to find God, isn't it so?

This year, I won't paint a pretty picture of happy-go-lucky Faithful Mama. This year was the most difficult so far for me. I think this is why I decided to start back up with writing. I needed an outlet; and swimming laps twice a week was not enough. I know I have a good life. I know things could be much worse. This is just a reflection of the hardships I overcame since December 2010. I write not only to you, so that you may, in turn, reflect on your past year, but also for myself. I need to do this for me. It may sound selfish, but sometimes we need to find something that helps us overcome obstacles. Finding your faith is the best way for that by far. For me, writing is the second best.

It all started on December 16, 2010. I was 10 weeks pregnant with Faithful Baby 3. It was 7:30am and we were on our way to drop the boys off at their Grandma's house so that we could get to the hospital for Mr. Faithful's first of five endoscopies to check for cancer and to stretch his esophagus. *He has a condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). If left untreated, it can lead to Barrett's Syndrome and esophageal cancer. We turned out of our subdivision and not two minutes down the street we were t-boned by a car that never saw us. His car pushed our van across on coming traffic and into a store parking lot. He hit us going (we think) at about 35-40 mph. We were doing 35 mph and had the right of way. He must not have looked on our side and just never saw us. It was horrific. As soon as it happened our engine shut off, both front air bags deployed. It smelled of smoke (now in retrospect it was the air bags that smell of sulfur). Our oldest Faithful Boy was screaming and crying. Our middle Faithful Boy didn't make a sound *scariest thing ever to go through that and not hear your baby cry*. It was my door the car hit. The car came within an inch of my legs. I struggled to open my door, but at that point I had super human strength so that I could get to my Faithful Babies. I got my door open, grabbed Faithful Boy 1 and we ran as far as we could as Mr. Faithful grabbed Faithful Boy 2. I called 9-1-1 and they showed within a few minutes. A Good Samaritan stopped and offered for my sons and me to stay in his truck to keep warm as Mr. Faithful checked on the other driver. Thank God for that man in the white truck. It was a cold winter morning and my kids (and myself) were traumatized. We were all taken to the hospital via the ambulance and were diagnosed with moderate whiplash. Thanks be to God no one was hurt worse! However, I was so scared I might lose my Faithful Baby 3 with a miscarriage, or that the baby would have problems after birth. Thank our Heavenly Father he was just fine and is now a healthy six month old baby boy!!

Shortly after that accident, Mr. Faithful went through many endoscopies. This is where they take a scope down your throat and look with a tiny video camera to see if there are abnormalities in your esophagus and stomach. He has a very weak esophagus and has had very bad acid reflux his whole life. Over the years the acid has made his esophagus wear down, which can lead to cancer. In February, we had the longest two week waiting period to discover he was cancer free. It was the longest two weeks of my life to find out if my husband had it or not. It made me appreciate him more, and helped me with my faith as well. I realized that I must leave all things in God's hands and offer my worries to Him. He knows what is best for everyone. If Mr. Faithful had cancer, we would be able to find peace through Jesus Christ. We were united once again in a way I cannot describe to people of no faith. We were very relieved to find out he was cancer free, but he is not in the clear. His GERD is a lifelong disease, and we try to manage it through diet. He will never be in the clear and will always have to be aware of his health.

With the accident and Mr. Faithful's health, he became depressed. He had a very hard time (and still does) offering his stress to our Lord. With his depression came a lack of desire for anything, including being the man he usually is for his wife and children. It was a very hard time as I was pregnant and I've been a stay at home mom since my first was born. He is our sole income, and come April, his stress wreaked havoc on his body...mainly his digestive tract. He was hospitalized twice. He had extra endoscopies and a colonoscopy to see if he had Crohn's Disease, Celiac Disease or again to check for cancer. He was off of work for two weeks during this month due to his digestive system basically making us think it was shutting down. He couldn't eat, could barely drink without having a terrible reaction. It was any food, even the most healthy we could think of.

Thank God for the Elizabeth Ministry! My fellow ministers provided us with food and fellowship during this extremely difficult time. We had no money for food. Our church family as well as my parents helped immensely! I realized at this time, I had to be the stronghold for my family. I am grateful for the hardships God provides us with; through hard times we gain wisdom, love and humility.

After his recovery, Mr. Faithful at this point finally admitted it being severe depression he was suffering from. He decided to heal himself spiritually first. So he began to attend private RCIA to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. He never went through this sacrament as a child and felt he needed to make his Catholic faith concrete. I was so proud of him! He still has yet to receive the sacrament, but he is making strides in completing the class! It's been a long hard road for him to be the sole provider for a family of five. As his wife, I understand how difficult it is...working 12 sometimes more hours a day, 7 days a week with no time off, to come home an hour before the kids go to bed. He misses us. We miss him. But we are grateful he has a job in this economy. We are grateful I can stay home to be the mother I am for our children. To be able to be their primary teacher instead of leaving that work to a babysitter. We are grateful. Only through the grace of God do we get by; and God provides who and what we need at the exact moment in time we need it.

Another hardship I had was the birth of my third Faithful Baby Boy. I was healthy. I swam laps clear up until about 38 weeks (until I started getting contractions lol!). I went into labor at my nephew's baptism! I did not trust my own body and listened to Mr. Faithful and we went to the hospital way too early. That was one big mistake. I feel like I was raped during this childbirth. The nurse I had was terrible. She was rude, mean and made me uncomfortable to the point where I think she wanted me to be in pain. I wrote a letter to the hospital about my terrible experience. I am not going to go into details here. I don't want to scare anyone. But what I will say is this...I am going to become a doula and lactation specialist so that I can help other laboring women to avoid this in hospitals. No woman should ever have to endure what I did with the birth of my baby. Despite how hard my labor and delivery was, I went through my third natural childbirth and had a very healthy and happy 8 pound 5 ounce baby boy. He was my saving grace during a very hard year. I love him to pieces and am so blessed to have three healthy and happy children!

The week we were home after Faithful Boy 3 entered our lives, Mr. Faithful *again, not going to lie* was a beast. Mr. Faithful, I love you, but it's true. He was mean, he was callous to my needs as I healed from a traumatic childbirth, he was short tempered and selfish. This was totally opposite from the man I married! What happened was a mystery to me. Instead of doing the cooking, cleaning and taking care of the other children like he did when our middle child was born, he became his doppelganger! I was so happy to have my newborn. And I was also happy that I hadn't experienced the "Baby Blues" like I did after Faithful Boy 2 was born. But Mr. Faithful made it so difficult to be truly happy and celebrate the life we created. It was a bittersweet week for me. I will never be able to get that week back and will always try to remember the happiness I had in my heart despite the hardship.

While Mr. Faithful's attitude changed, so did our older Faithful Boys. Kids sense stress. They are very much tuned into their parents' matter how hard you try to hide your feelings from them. Our boys are very well behaved for the most part. With Mr. Faithful's attitude, quick temper and always telling them 'No' it made them act out negatively. When I am home with the kids they are great! We have fun; they are polite; they respect each other and me. As soon as their Dad gets home, total opposite. Mean to each other; screaming for attention; disrespectful to their parents. He soon realized what was happening and he told me he had an inkling that he needed to have a blood test. He scheduled himself to see our family doctor...

He had his hormone levels checked and Mr. Faithful was right. He suffers from low testosterone levels. Some of the symptoms over the past year made it clear this was what he was suffering from this whole year. Lack of drive for anything (sexual and non-sexual activities), hair loss, muscle mass decrease, mood swings, fatigue & insomnia, even sleep apnea. In retrospect, I noticed something was wrong when two people he knew died within a few weeks of each other. Both of them he hadn't spoken to in almost two decades. I found it odd that he was so upset about their deaths. At this point it made sense why he was so affected by them...his hormone levels were going crazy!! He is now on medicine to get the levels back to where they should be. Boy I tell you, with this man it's always some medical issue!! But I love him dearly and am glad he is willing to do whatever it takes to get back on track. He is my rock...and even though this year he wasn't a very sturdy one, he's my rock. I know he'll be back sometime soon, and he's worth waiting for.

Nothing like ending my year with another hardship right?! Tomorrow is my birthday (yay for 31 years young!!!). I get to spend it talking to my doctor about possibly having a condition of my own. I noticed I have lost hair on both sides of my head near the temples. My Mama Faithful and I did some research and this could possibly be Hypothyroidism, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. And we also thought that since Mr. Faithful is putting a testosterone gel on, that I could be getting the male hormone into my body and have an overabundance. Oh my goodness this worries me!! I'm a breastfeeding Mom as well...what does any of this mean for Faithful Boy 3??? Please pray for my visit tomorrow that it's just stress...I can handle that lol!

Another year, a new age, a new me. A new intimacy with Christ. A new year for intimacy with my husband. A new outlook on life. Be blessed Faithful ones, reflect on your own 2011. Was it all you hoped for? Could it have been better? We all go through trials and have crosses to bear. God never gives us more than we can handle, and He always will provide a way out from under the stress.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." ~1 Corinthians 10:13~

Have a very safe, happy and blessed new year. Make 2012 God's year to reign no matter what your struggles are.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Favorite Sister

I have one sister. She is my favorite sister! I am so blessed to have her in my life! The other day, she got free tickets to the local zoo, so she took the Faithful Boys and me and we had a blast! It was all decorated for Christmas, the animals were still out, and as we walked we were serenaded with Christmas music! It was a great time and it gave Faithful Sister and me time to just talk and be with each other. We needed that!

I am very grateful that my family is open with communication. My sister and I are pretty different in areas of our lives. Even still, I feel that she is one of my best friends. What a blessing to have a sister who is a best friend! We love each other, we respect each other, and we have the benefit of being family! No greater friendship than that of sisterhood.

My parents raised us to be respectful, have sympathy and empathy, and to walk in the way of God. I think they did a pretty good job, considering my brother and I are 19 months apart, and I was not even 3 when my sister was born! Great job Faithful Parents!! :)

I found this poem that I wrote a while ago...and not even sure if Faithful Sister has ever read it, but I share with you all now.

My sister's my hero
She is so, you see,
For she is the person
I strive so to be!
Empathy, understanding,
And her caring way;
I wish I could walk
In her shoes for a day!

Do you have siblings? Do you keep in close contact with them? Look past your differences and see your family, find love, shelter and God. I am blessed to be able to call her and if I have a problem I can talk to her about it, and I know she won't judge me. She is an awesome woman, and she is my sister! Xoxo

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Act of Apology and Art of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a hard thing to really, and I mean really, accomplish. It takes time, effort, reflection, and most importantly, prayer.

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. 
Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; 
for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as 
your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; 
do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you 
will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, 
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into 
your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
(Luke 6:35-38)

With forgiveness, we must look within ourselves even if we are working at forgiving someone for doing something to us. We are all born with sin. We are human; and not one of us is an exception aside from our Holy Mother and Jesus himself. As I get older, I know there are things that I have done in my past that were hurtful, mean, and sinful. I realize that I am sometimes ashamed of my past behavior. I always pointed my finger outward and placed blame on others. As I age, I gain wisdom, as do you. With wisdom comes internal acceptance. Accepting our own behavior as well as others. Wisdom takes part in becoming humble and gaining humility through Jesus Christ (Zep 2:3). If we can forgive ourselves for things we have done, we can move on to forgive others for what they have done to us. One way to do this is through the act of Confession.

Now, I'm no martyr. I have not been to confess my sins to our pastor in many (and I mean many) years. I planned to go last weekend but being a mom of three young ones does make it hard to get places on time...I know, I know, no excuses! I do plan, and will, to go to Confession this weekend! To be forgiven of things that weigh my heart down will feel so wonderful! For those who are not Catholic, or any other form of Christianity that does not practice this sacrament, we confess our sins to a priest, and the priest has the ability to absolve these sins. It tells us this is made so by God himself to His Apostles, who were the first priests...

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human 
point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human 
point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if 
anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has 
passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from 
God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us 
the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was 
reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses 
against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 
So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his 
appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 
(2 Cor 5:16-20)

It's a great feeling when another person says, "I forgive you." How much more awesome is it that God says it through a human being?! I tell my kids all the time that Jesus is in all of us, which is true! What a miracle, right?! So not only to forgive someone fully, but to really truly be sorry for something we've done is so important in this life. To acknowledge and repent our sins is a must. To fully forgive someone for even the most grave sins against us is also necessary. 

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, 
that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my 
words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do; 
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, 
and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. Amen.

Is there anyone you have hurt in the past, even accidentally? Think about truly apologizing to them and seeking Christ for ultimate forgiveness as well. Xoxo.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All the Social Weirdos Put Your Hands Up!

Homeschooling. Un-Schooling. Curriculum. No curriculum. Co-Op.

"But what about socialization?",
"Aren't you afraid your kids will be social weirdos??",
"I could never homeschool my children. It's just not for me."

I hear those questions now, even though just last year I was probably saying it to someone who started to homeschool! This post is all about informing others, based on the decision Mr. Faithful and I made to start homeschooling our boys next year.

As I said in previous posts, I am an Elizabeth Minister. This was another case in following the Holy Spirit. It took me two years to follow the ministry calling. I was attending mass at a new church by our house and questioned if I should start the ministry myself there. I was also, on some weeks, attending mass at the church I had belonged to for almost 30 years, but now it's 20 minutes from my home. I discovered the Elizabeth Ministry was up and coming at the latter church, which I was both relieved and happy as this church feels like home to me.

The leader of the ministry, let's call her Faithful Minister, homeschools some of her five children. I kept asking her questions (at that point I was still in denial that God would ever want ME to be a teacher for my kids). She decided to hold a meeting to inform me as well as another woman who was curious. All the while, Mr. Faithful kept hearing homeschool stories and was being driven by the Holy Spirit to go in this direction also. When I told him I was curious and wanted to attend the meeting, which I thought he'd tell me I was crazy, he said he wanted to go too! We hadn't yet discussed our resisted interest (I say resisted because we were both so adamant on not ever homeschooling!).

We met another homeschool family that night. We learned so much just by talking to these wonderful people! They are just as normal as us, their kids are well behaved AND social?!?! I think we were already set on homeschooling by the time that meeting happened, but one comment made us realize we had to at least try it for a year...

"You hear of public school (or any school outside the home) being the best way to get your kids to socialize. But think about it, there are 30 or so kids all of the same age, all going through whatever stage at that age, locked in one room for 6-8 hours a day, with little fresh air, being told to listen and pay attention for long stretches. They must look and listen to one teacher. When they turn to talk to a peer, that one teacher usually says something like, 'Stop talking, we are NOT here to socialize!"

I laughed when I heard this, because it's so true! Also, if in public school, our children would be taught things we may not agree with. The Big Bang Theory for one. We will teach our children this, but with a Catholic approach. We want to teach them with a Godly view. And in this society, God has been taken out of schools. We feel it's so important to teach them all areas and views, but not in the politically correct and Godless views our government has imposed in the United States. Some may disagree with this, and that is ok with me. This is my opinion only and I am entitled as are you!

Another reason we are going to try homeschool is because of the grading curve. The grading scale is lowered if most children score low on tests (no child left behind). Even in "challenged" classes, they are no longer challenged due to this grading curve. This is not fair to the children who apply themselves and do well. We do not want our children to ever be held back to do their best ability because of someone else.

Violence. I have a friend who said her 4th grader (that's what, 10 years old??) ended up in a fist fight. I find this unnerving. At 10 years old they should be playing together, happy, never thinking of physical violence to the point where they actually do it. It's one thing to have a 5 year old hit. Reprimand them, have them apologize and they are moving on. A 10 year old is bigger and I'd think at that point uncontrollable. At 10 years old they fully understand what they are doing when they hit. This is unacceptable to me and I would never want my child to witness (or be a part of) physical violence at school. Nowadays you hear of kids coming in with guns and knives and really hurting (or killing) their peers in elementary school even. Again, a Godless society has a part to play in that.

Socialization. I used to think that homeschool children aren't socialized. Now I know that is just an ignorant point of view. I am no longer ignorant to the fact that homeschooled children are some of the most socialized people, if schooled properly. There are some parents that homeschool to shelter their children...those people are not socialized correctly. If you join a co-op group (A collective group of homeschoolers working together for a common purpose. All members of the co-op must contribute in some way toward the end goal; usually this contribution is in the form of effort, not money.) Each family has different ages and stages. In the same sense as the old "little red schoolhouse", the older kids are tutors and mentors for the younger kids. The younger kids look up to the older ones as they set the example of how to act when they are older. Instead of being locked in a room with 30 seven year olds, there may be a co-op group that has a 3 year old, a 9 year old, two 10 year olds, and two 15 year olds. I hope I am explaining this well. Remember, I'm learning as I go too.

We can monitor how they learn. All people learn differently. Hands on. Reading. Being told. There are all walks of life. Schools outside the home have one straight line. If you stray from that line, they tell parents the child is hyperactive and needs to be on medicine so they act like the other little lambs (Stepford Wives anybody?!). Maybe that child is bored? Maybe with that learning curve I mentioned earlier, that child is not being challenged? But if they seem like they can't pay attention, most times that is not thought of. Most times ADD or ADHD is mentioned, and another innocent child is forced to swallow a poisonous pill that makes them someone they are not.

With homeschool, we can have class ANYWHERE!! I can walk them to the park and have class while we're swinging. We can have a picnic lunch and learn arithmetic. We can start at 8am on a Monday and Tuesday start at 1pm. We can take a break if Faithful Boy 1 gets frustrated because he doesn't understand, and come back to it after he's calmed down. With school outside the home this is not possible.

Being their parents, we are their primary teachers. Anyone with toddlers are actually homeschooling their children. If you read to your child, teach them about what they ask (Mommy why is the sky blue?), sing the ABC's, help them to read the letters of the alphabet, this is homeschooling your child believe it or not! Right now, we are "un-schooling" our boys. I ask them what they want to learn about and we go from there. I also teach as we clean (How many towels are there in this laundry basket? Can you find the matching sock? What color is this plate?).

Why not try to learn with them and formally homeschool? Faithful Boy 1 will be 5 in March, so we decided to try out kindergarten with him. I am SCARED TO DEATH I will mess up!!! But, I've learned that kindergarten is not required in formal schooling, so what could it hurt trying, right?! We plan to take it one year at a time. We are not planning even 1st grade. If we all enjoy kindergarten and we can handle it, we'll order 1st grade curriculum when the time comes. If it doesn't work out, we'll try something else. Only God knows where we should be in the future.

I leave you with this Bible passage from Deuteronomy 6:6-9...

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 
Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home 
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and 
when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands 
and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door 
frames of your houses and on your gates.

Homeschool is not about sheltering. Homeschool is not about purposely being different. Homeschool is not about being a supermom or dad. It's about giving your child the very best. To us, it's what our children deserve from us to become well rounded adults. I pray strongly we are making the right decision, but feel it is right. After all, we were led here by God Himself. Xoxo.

Friday, December 9, 2011

There are Signs Everywhere...Are Your Eyes Open?

So, I may start to sound crazy with this one. I am not. Well, maybe I am a little crazy lol! As a Mommy of three toddlers, I have to be a little crazy ha ha! Anyway, back to the signs. There really are signs everywhere. In the least expected places. A stranger, while driving, reading, watching tv, the get my point. If we are willing to see and hear, we can understand what we are meant to do as individuals more clearly. Here's a perfect example of my own willingness to listen...

It was summertime of 2010. Our Second Faithful Boy was just diagnosed with allergies to cats. We were saddened to learn we had to find a new home for my first baby, Ashley, a gray and beige house cat who was with me through some of my darkest times before meeting Mr. Faithful. She was 11 years old and only knew me as her Mommy. I knew we had to find someone willing to help her get adjusted to a new home. We knew she needed to be in a house free of small children, preferably an elderly single woman. She came to me from an abusive home at six months old. But that first six months made her the most skiddish cat you'd ever meet. I made sure to be so selective in whom we'd choose to adopt her. I was getting things together to donate to a women's shelter for later on that week. I was preoccupied in my mind and searching for a certain book when all of a sudden I heard a voice clear as day in my head. It said, "Call Cary and ask her about taking Ashley." I know I heard something extraordinary. I know it was either an angel sent by God, or God himself! It was so evident, I stopped dead in my tracks and called her. Cary was the woman I was having to come pick up my donations. When I called, I asked her first if any of the women in the shelter would adopt...seeing as they are in a rough place, have most likely been abused and would need companionship. Cary proceeded to let me know she would be interested in adopting. She was in school to become a veterinarian and also was a foster house for animals! Wow, I was so happy I listened!! She came and as I held Ashley, who was scared to death at first, we chatted about our pasts. She had a similar story to mine. We seemed like we were the same in different universes! It was my "Bizarro World Self" ha ha! I finally handed Ashley to Cary. As she took her, Ashley cuddled into her arms the same as she did mine...and she would have never done that to anyone but me. I knew at that point Cary was the right one to take Ashley from us. It was a very sad time. I cried, My Faithful Boys were sad also. We kept in touch to make sure Ashley did ok. She was a rock star. Time went on and months later I learned that Ashley was given to Cary's Grandmother...a single elderly woman! How amazing that everything turned out wonderfully for my cat because I listened to that voice!! 

Now, sometimes the signs are not that loud. I was fortunate to have heard an actual voice that time! My husband was driven by signs that led us to the home we live in now. We are both open to hear and see. Sometimes it's more difficult. Like homeschool. Yikes, I'm still nervous for this one! If you'd have asked me last year, I'd have said never in a million years would I homeschool!! Now, we've followed what we feel is the Holy Spirit guiding us in that direction. Sometimes when we follow where the Holy Spirit takes us, to others we look or sound crazy. But we weren't meant for this world, right?! 

I have been feeling like I'm seeing another sign. When I look at the Illinois sky, I am not sure what just yet, but I am feeling called again. I've repeated this to Mr. Faithful and now I say it to you, the sky looks fake somehow to me. It looks as if we are living under a painted sky. And not in the poetic sense, but a real, freshly painted sky! It always looks beautiful to me, but always looks fake. I don't know how else to explain this! But, it does say in the Bible,

Signs of Christ’s Return
      1Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

      3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
      4And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8“But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
      9“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13“But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Matthew 24:1-14)

And furthermore;
     29“But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENEDAND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHTAND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. 31“And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. 

Scary stuff if you ask me. And now, I've been seeing the sky in a different way lately. I don't know if it's related to God and the beginning of the end. You see all these new movies depicting the end of the world. Documentaries that take apart each word of the Bible to try to decipher it. Mayan prophecies; Nastradomus. No one knows when the end will come. But I know no matter when it happens, I will be ready and make sure my children are too. Are you faithfully prepared?

I took this picture in summer of 2010 in Iowa at a beautiful place called The Grottos. I did not notice the clouds until I looked at the photo. To me, I see just to the right of cross, Jesus holding a cross! Do you see it? Look for the signs. They are everywhere. Xoxo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Down with the Sickness

I had to chuckle when I thought of this title. If you knew me in my high school years, you'd know that this is a rock song title of a band I saw twice in concert...but that's beside the point. What I mean is to learn about illness. Learn about the sickness and what it's doing and what your body does as the amazing machine that it is.

All three Faithful Children are sick with Croup. If you've never experienced it, you are lucky. It's not as bad as some viruses, but it's not the average cold or flu.

Croup is a condition that causes an inflammation of the upper 
airways — the voice box (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). 
It often leads to a barking cough or hoarseness
especially when a child cries.
Most cases of croup are caused by viruses. 
Those involved are usually parainfluenza virus 
(which accounts for most cases), 
Croup is most common — and symptoms are most severe — 
in children 6 months to 3 years old, 
but can affect older kids, too.
Most cases of viral croup are mild and can be treated at home, 
though rarely it can be severe and even life-threatening. 
Some children are more prone to developing croup when
they get a viral upper respiratory infection.
(for more info go to:

I learn as I go. I never paid attention much in science class, but now wish I had. Did you know our bodies are capable of working a battle to keep us feeling good if we treat it nicely? Our bodies are always working, always moving. When a virus or bacteria comes along and interferes with our zen, our wonderfully made body pulls out defenses. When it's the flu, or croup, or any other illness, our body pulls into its memory and says 'oh ya, we know this icky thing...we have to do this (or that) to get it gone!' Amazing! Did you know that fevers are sometimes a good thing? I know, sounds crazy right?! If a fever is not out of control, it should be left alone. No medicine to get rid of the fever...yep you heard me right. A fever means that your body is working to fight off either a bacteria or virus. If you mess with it by taking a fever reducer, you are prohibiting your body from doing its job to remember what the problem is. Am I starting to make sense? Here is an explanation I found...

Fever refers to an elevation in body temperature. 
Technically, any body temperature above the normal
oral measurement of 98.6 F (37 C) or the normal rectal 
temperature of 99 F (37.2 C) is considered to be elevated. 
However, these are averages, and one's normal body 
temperature may actually be 1 F (0.6 C) or more above or 
below the average of 98.6 F. Body temperature can also 
vary up to 1 F (0.6 C) throughout the day.
Fever is not considered medically significant until body temperature 
is above 100.4 F (38 C). Anything above normal but 
below 100.4 F (38 C) is considered a low-grade fever. 
Fever serves as one of the body's natural defenses against 
bacteria and viruses which cannot live at a higher temperature. 
For that reason, low fevers should normally go untreated, 
unless accompanied by troubling symptoms.
Also, the body's defense mechanisms seem to work 
more efficiently at a higher temperature. 
(taken from:

Amazing right?! If someone would have told me not to give Faithful Boy 1 Motrin if he had a 99 degree temperature at 12 months old I'd have told them that's neglect!! Boy was I wrong!! Like I said, I learn as I go. I am now a Mom of three boys, usually healthy. They have the croup now and we're working with their bodies to get it out. We experienced the scariest fever in our parenting thus far. Our oldest Faithful Boy woke in the middle of the night with a 103.7 temp. That was scary. And he was wheezing like he couldn't catch his breath (started the croup), which made him scared and start to hyperventilate. We went with gut instinct. We took him into the bathroom. I sat with him and put his hot head on my chest and calmed him by talking gently and letting him know to breathe with me. We turned on the shower to hot for the steam to help also. I soothed his breath as Mr. Faithful ran cold water on washcloths that we proceeded to put on his burning head, neck and shoulders. His fever reduced naturally within 20 minutes and continued to drop down to about 101. We never once gave him a fever reducing medicine the first two days. We did end up giving him some motrin on day three, but only because his throat was so swollen, and you can't find an anti inflammatory without fever reducer unfortunately. Middle Faithful Boy was doing ok, just coughed a lot for the past week. Our Youngest Faithful Boy, at 20 weeks old, sounds terrible when he coughs. We called the doctor this morning to make sure it wasn't something worse, like whooping cough or RSV. He told us we are doing everything right and to just keep going. It gets worse before it gets better. It's scary to see your babies get sick and be uncomfortable. I've taken them to get adjusted at our chiropractor, which helps build up their immune system....
Children who have regular Chiropractic adjustments 
have fewer colds, ear infections and flu. "People who receive regular 
chiropractic adjustments have immune system competency 
that is 200% greater than those who don't." (Dr. Ron Pero. New York 
Preventative Medicine Institute and Environmental Health at NYU)
Even though you are not sick, your body may be acquiring 
misalignments of the spine (subluxations) that are interfering with 
your nervous system and thus your immune system. Regular chiropractic 
check-ups can help you to maintain a healthy immune system 
and stave off illnesses or allergies. A chiropractic adjustment will restore 
the balance of your nervous system and restore the flow of energy
and information throughout the body, thus validating one of the great benefits of chiropractic care!
 (taken from:

So at the on site of illness, we get them adjusted. They love it, and it's so cool the see them lay down wanting to get it done. We've also given the older boys a homemade remedy of raw honey, onions and garlic syrup. It sounds and smells pretty strong but it works!! I think what we are doing with all three has helped them immensely. And we are not giving them as much strong man made chemicals that hinder their tiny bodies.
Sounds crazy, I know...I used to be Miss Mainstream. I am not that scared Mommy anymore. I learn as I go and get down with the sickness.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Velvet Skin

Precious baby
On my chest.
This is a moment
I love best.
A warm soft body
Against my own.
My God, what a blessing
You have shown!
One day I hope
The world will see
Babies are blessings
From God's creativity!

Friday, December 2, 2011


A woman in waiting
So idly sits.
Eyes filled with sadness,
Internal fits.
Through her window
She gazes,
Though does not even see,
What a beautiful woman
She so happens to be.
So selfless.
So loving.
What a wonder is she!
Inside and out,
I admire her beauty.
No one can know
What she has endured,
Except for Christ Jesus.
Our Savior, Our Lord.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mother Mary Come To Me, Speaking Words of Wisdom, Let It Be...

Wow I'm having a rough couple days here! My two older Faithful Boys are sick with croup. I am usually just fine taking care of them while sick, but my older son is quite the drama king and loves to act like he's incapable of doing anything on his own while he doesn't feel good. I've felt stressed, tired and over used by all three of my Faithful Sons. What Mommy doesn't, right?!

When I get this way I love to turn inward for help and guidance. I try so hard, and sometimes it is super difficult to do, to give my stress and bad feelings to God. As I've told you previously, I always try wake up and thank our Heavenly Father for a beautiful day (even if it's storming!). Sometimes it's hard to remember that when you've had to wake up multiple times a night for fear of your child not breathing properly or wetting the bed a few times. Sometimes the first thing on my mind while waking is, 'I need to make some coffee!' I try to remember that they do not feel good. I try to remember they will not stay like this forever. I just can't do it on my own, and Mr. Faithful can't either. Even together as the great team we are, we cannot do this without God. When I am down, when I am stressed (like today), I take a deep breath. Instead of counting to ten like others do, I say a Hail Mary.....

 Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. 
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. 
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners. Now and at the hour of our death. 

When I pray this, I am asking the Virgin Mary to offer up a prayer for me. Much like you probably tell a friend, "I'll pray for you." This is what I ask of Mary by saying this prayer. When I pray my rosary and say so many of these Hail Mary's I feel her enveloping me and comforting me during times of trouble! I noticed this on one particular day. My Grandmother's funeral.

Her funeral just so happened to be on the feast day of the Visitation...this is where Mary visited Elizabeth (John the Baptist's mother). When Mary spoke, John leaped in Elizabeth's womb and Elizabeth knew that Mary was carrying our Lord and Savior. Being a part of the Elizabeth Ministry, this is the basis of our ministry. On that particular day, we were asked to make a sacrifice or do something out of the ordinary to offer as a "bundle of roses" so to speak. So as my offering, I said ten Hail Mary's and our own Elizabeth Ministry prayer every hour on the hour. I stopped what I was doing and did that every hour. How wonderful that I could do this on the day that I so badly wanted to be at my Faithful Grandma's funeral?!?!? Mother Mary and Jesus comforted me while I said each Hail Mary. I knew that is what I had to do to ease my stresses and sadness. And how grateful I am that I learned this on the celebration on my Grandmother's life?!?! God at work right there, and it was amazing!!

Think of what you do to ease your stress. When you feel tense, angry, sad, anything negative. Try saying a prayer. It doesn't have to be a formal prayer like a Hail Mary. That works for me...may not work for you. Offer your negative feelings to Christ. He died for all of us...He will graciously take our stresses from us if we let Him!! Xoxo