Monday, June 25, 2012

Family photos

My husband pointed out last night that it had been over 2 weeks since I updated my blog.


The thing is, I've got a bunch of blog posts rolling around in my head... none of which I am ready to write down. They aren't exactly pulled straight from a page in "how to blog to make friends".

I'll share the family photos we had taken late last week!
I think they turned out super cute!
Thanks to Treasures of Faith Photography for her super awesome skills!

I like the casual feel of this one... and the cross in the lower support.

This one is my favorite!

I wanted a picture of everyone jumping... this was the very last pic we took that day!
This was super hard to get... turned out cute though!

Me and my super sweet hubby!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


People always say "how on EARTH do you afford 12 kids!"
I usually say "Kids aren't expensive. Lifestyles are.

While that's certainly true in our family... 
we live within our means for sure...
there's also what we believe is God's provision for our family.

You see...
ME - I could never do this on my own. The whole dozen-kids thing, the husband-who-travels-for-work thing, the mass-exodus-just-to-run-an-errand thing... it's not in my nature.
I'm selfish.
I want time to myself.
Sure, I'd love new cars, vacations twice a year, unlimited wardrobe choices, let's-go-out-to-dinner-tonight on a whim...
but in my heart... 
I want my family MORE.

So... we live on a budget. 
It's tight... but do-able.
We tithe and we donate to a couple of ministries we love because those things are important.
We eat at home.
I don't buy watermelon in January.
We wear hand-me-downs and I frequent "the NICE Goodwill".
We splurge sometimes and take the kids out to lunch after church like once a month (okay...once in two months right now).
I love it when my mom's neighbor redecorates her kids' rooms or bathrooms because it means we're getting new stuff! 

There's also our van... who we call Moby. 
We paid cash for him around a year ago and he's served us well ... until this week.
It started doing this thing where it's bouncing at stop lights and such...
so I mentioned it to someone at church. "Hey, is anyone a mechanic? Maybe I could just call and explain it and they could tell me how big of a deal this is?" turned into taking the van to a specific auto shop where someone was waiting for 'the lady in the big 15 passenger with a bunch of kids'. So I went, they listened, diagnosed and sent us away for "exhaust work". Now... I'm still thinking, "oh Moby... what's wrong? Do you need a little tune up? Maybe some new bottle of stuff poured in the gas tank?"
Well... that quickly turned into leaving Moby overnight at the repair shop to replace a long list of stuff.

Fast forward to writing a big check...
and wondering (worrying) 
what stuff can I possibly cut out of the budget this pay period to make this work out.

I don't know why I worry. I've seen this before.
I've seen the red turn to black in an instant.
I have seen 8 children adopted without debt.
But, somehow, on a Friday... I forgot all of that and just worried.

And if you know me... you know I don't just "oh no, now what?" kind of worry...
I had us 3 months down the road riding bikes to the grocery store and eating beans and rice 3 meals a day. 
Then I had a dream that we were so destitute that the only cake I could make for a birthday was chocolate... and we have one son who swears he will "voh-meet" if he eats chocolate... and I was so upset that I couldn't just make the yellow cake instead...and he was going to be SO upset that there was ONLY chocolate cake. 
(it's a dream. It's not supposed to be rational.)
All of this...over a car repair.
Seriously. Don't even think you can out-drama me. I've cornered the market. 

Then today...I began to see the provision that's always right under my nose.

I took the kids to a one-day VBS and someone had left a giant garbage bag full of boys clothes... size 10. Did I mention I have 3 boys in an 8-10 right now? No? Well I do.

About 30 minutes later I got my paycheck from filling in at my p job for just two days and it was more than double what I expected - and enough to more than cover the hole in our pay period budget from the van repairs!

I had to buy shoes for one of the boys... and ran across a super pair that was already a good price... then was 60% off on top of that!

Friends who say "keep the keys, you can use our van whenever you need it!".

I had an extra 30 minutes and ran into a grocery store I never visit and found mangoes on sale for .35 each... and I know 8 small Ethiopians who ADORE mangoes... so I bought a whole bunch!

A hidden punch card in my wallet and I was able to take 3 of the kids to a fancy frozen yogurt place after lunch (while the others were at VBS)... a major treat in our books... for $9 including mine! 

I got home and had a message from a neighbor... do we want some surplus from her garden? Well, of course! 

It brings me to tears. Every. Single. Time.

Don't worry about tomorrow, He says. 

Turns out He means what He says.

This family thing...He called us to this, He provided to bring our kids home- knocking our socks off at every turn. He continues to show us favor, grow our faith, flaunt His provision, and smother me with Grace I don't deserve.
I mess up all the time. 
I yell, I freak out, I throw a big whiney baby fit with the best of them. I cry over my "mom hair".
I critique with great disdain the driving of those around me.
I resent dirty clothes when they JUST got dressed for the day and I would rather not have to scrub bathrooms EVER again. Ever. I don't do everything with a happy heart (though I tell my children they have to). 
I just mess stuff up. 

Which makes it ironic that someone said to me today "I saw your halo shining..!" 

Nope...that's no halo.
It's the giant bucket of grace Jesus holds over my head every day just ready to dump it on me when I mess up, lose my faith and forget where I laid my trust. 

I don't deserve what I've got, but I've got enough to spare anyway.

So blessed.