Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Past Christmas Postings

I thought I would post my articles from Christmas past.  Most are my own, a few may be from others that I just had to share with you.

O Come Let Us Adore Him (12/08)

How Does the Messianic Community Celebrate Christmas (12/09)

Understanding His Birth (12/09)

12 Days of Christmas, Bailey Style (12/09)

A Letter From Jesus about Christmas  (11/09)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook ~ 12.20.10

Outside my  It is absolutley beautiful today, temps are in the 70's.  Really weird for December, but I'm not complaining.  I'm sure it will be frigid in a few days.

I am thinking...about who we need to finish shopping for today.  Scott is already home from work  & resting before we hit the stores again.

I am thankful for...those unnamed saints who gave us money so we could buy our kids Christmas gifts & pay bills.  Amazing!

From the Learning Room... we are on break until after the year, but the learning continues.  Gracie is writing notes, Ben is learning new songs on the piano, Zach is reading everything he can get his hands on.  Learning never stops.

From the kitchen... sarah is making icing so the little ones can decorate the gingerbread village I bought last night.
I am wearing... complete comfy clothes.  blue sweat pants & Scott's grey tee.
I am creating... nothing. I'm not very creative.
I am going... Christmas shopping in a little while with my man.  We have fun together.

I am currently reading...Sacred Rhythms (Ruth Haley Barton) & How to Live what You Believe (Ray Stedman)
I am get finished with the shopping tonight.
I am hearing...Scott snore. :o)  he works so hard, I'm glad he can get a little bit of rest.
On my mind...Preparing to spend 4 days at my parents house.  In their little house will be we 12, brother, sister, brother-in-law plus my parents.  2000 sq feet, 2 bathrooms.  ((sigh))
Noticing...that NCIS has been playing on my TV all day!  What is this a NCIS marathon?
Around the house...a mess!  Really need to do something about that, but am just not motivated today.
Favorite things...homemade hot cocoa...I'll make it as soon as the temps go back down.
Plans for the rest of the week...since this is Christmas week it is a busy one. Finishing up shopping, laundry, wrap gifts, clean up house before leaving town. Christmas Eve with Scott's parents, Christmas Day with my family.

Sarah, Ashey & Morgan with their friend Malory (who is getting married soon) at the Sweet Celebration. 
An evening of special fellowship with friends & lot's of chocolate.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Celebrating & Mourning...all at the same time

Tonight, my Pop went to be with Jesus.  We knew it was coming, but are never completely ready.  Today is also Ben's birthday.  Ben & Pop had many great talks & a special bond.  Ben was always one of the first kids to hug Pop when we visited him.
We will miss Pop greatly!  We are celebrating that finally he has a complete mind & body now.  He struggled so long.  But while we celebrate that he is with Jesus, we are so sad to not have him in our lives anymore.  But our God is so good in that he allowed us several years recently to make many memories with Pop.  We will hold on to those tightly.

The Story of Ben

Today is my 7th child’s birthday.  He is the 2nd of the lower five.  Somehow our kids gained the nicknames “upper five” & “lower five” and Ben is in the “lower five” meaning the 5 youngest children.

I have a lot of memories & life milestones that I associate with Ben.  It truly is a miracle that he is here today.  We knew before Ben was born God had a specific purpose for him.  He didn’t get the easiest start on life.

God told Scott Ben was coming before I was even pregnant with him.  Scott walked in the kitchen one night & said, “God told me that our next child will be named Benjamin.”  Honestly, I was a little disappointed because my last baby was a boy & I wanted a girl.  And of course a few months later we find out we are pregnant.

When I was 10 weeks pregnant with Ben, the kids & I were in a very serious car accident.  I rolled our Suburban, landing upside down in a wheat field after I lost control on a slick rock road. In the ER, they prepared me for the upcoming miscarriage of my baby.  They told me there was no way I wouldn’t lose the baby, the accident was too bad. My little girl was in the next ER room screaming as the nurses dug glass out of her broken leg.  We would soon go to a bigger hospital where she would have surgery on her leg. Amazingly, she was the only child seriously injured.

They did a sonogram to confirm the baby was gone, but what it confirmed is that the baby was not only alive, but had a very strong heart beat.  The placenta did have a small tear, but healed quickly.  My pregnancy was physically fine.  I never had any problems, but emotionally I was a mess.  As a result of Post Traumatic Stress I was very depressed.

When Ben was born he was the biggest baby I had ever had, weighing in at 9lb 11oz.  He was my second baby to be born at home.  We were all so excited he was finally there.

Benjamin Aaron Bailey would be his name.

After he was born, as the midwife was checking him over, she felt a clicking in his hips.  We had 2 babies prior who had done this, but their hips grew & formed o’k without treatment.  Hip Dysplasia is what it is called, common with my babies for some reason.  But when I took him in for his 2 month check up, the doctor knew there was something terribly wrong when he went to check his hips & the left one totally dislocated.  We were quickly sent to Scottish Rite Hospital for Children where they specialize in birth defects.  The treatment was totally free!  They confirmed what the pediatrician suspected, Bens’ hip socket had not formed correctly & would not hold the ball joint in the socket.  The first treatment was a special brace, but it didn’t work.  So the next option was surgery & body cast.

First they had to loosen up his leg muscles & to do that, he would need to spend 4 weeks in traction. I had never heard of this before, but knew more than I wanted to know really soon.

Here is Ben in his traction device.  He had to spend at least 8 hours a day in traction.

Believe it or not, he was really good for this.  He laid there playing with toys or watching TV.  Rarely cried or fussed.  We would soon find out just how good of a baby he was.

At the end of the 4 weeks, we went back to the hospital for the surgery, praying all the while that God had miraculously healed his hip & no surgery or cast would be needed.

His hips had not healed, but he didn’t need surgery, but he still needed the cast.  This is the blue cast.  It went from his ankles up to a few inches below his arm pits.  There was a nice cut out in the crotch so that we could still change diapers.  I won’t go into that here, but it was quite an ordeal to change a diaper.  Only me & my sitter ever did it.

Ben was such a good baby!  He rarely cried or fussed, in spite of not being move his legs around or sit up.  He sat in a bouncy seat when I wasn’t holding him.

Ben wore the cast for over 4 months.  When he was about 7 months old we finally got to take off the cast & not get another one.  He had 2 casts that he wore. 

Today, Ben is an extremely active 11 year old.  He has never been slowed down, his development was not hindered at all.

He still goes back for check ups on his hips, but finally after 8 years out of the cast, the doctor said the hip is completely normal & Ben should never have any trouble.

Ben is my reminder of God’s amazing protection & grace.  He reminds me to slow down & look you in the eye & listen.

  Ben reminds me how important hugs are, he gives me several everyday.

Ben reminds me how important it is to stop & remember the amazing things that God has taught me since the accident and how far he has brought me.

I can’t wait to see what Ben becomes when he grows up!  God is at work in his life now & as a mom, it is so exciting to watch.

I love you Ben!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ungraceful Home School Community

This is an article that I wrote for another site 2 years ago. I also posted it on an old blog that I don't write anymore.  As I reread what I wrote, I felt even more strongly about it than I did 2 years ago.

I've been at the home school thing for a long time now (12 years) so I tend to forget what it is like for new homeschool moms coming into an established support group or co-op. We veterans are grounded in our method of homeschooling(at least we hope). We know what works for our kids and what doesn't. New moms come in and ask how we do things. They want to know how we do it.

I am yet to meet a veteran homeschool mom who is not willing to tell a new HS mom how she should HS her kids. I enjoyed doing it so much that I help write a curriculum for new Hs moms and then taught it for 3 years. I still get to speak every now & then. It is fun! But you know what? How I HS my kids is not the way that works for everyone. There is no exact formula to homeschooling your kids successfully! what works for me, may not work for you. That is the evidence of a great and mighty God in our lives. He created each of us so unique and our children are a perfect fit for us and our schooling methods.

I had an interesting conversation with a new homeschool mom this afternoon. She had joined a group that was a product of the larger homeschool group. She joined this group because it brought together moms with children the same age. She wanted her son to get to know other kids who were homeschooled and she wanted to get to know more moms. Sounds good huh? She quit the group.

She told me that there was so much judgement in that group because she didn't do things just like the rest of the moms. She didn't use "the curriculum" they thought she should use and the worst part is that she let her boys watch TV. Not just any TV, she let them watch shows that have been branded inappropriate by many homeschool moms. Her boys loved running around pretending to be super heroes. She felt no freedom to let her boys be themselves at these play dates. She spent her drive to the events lecturing her boys. "Don't say "batman", "superman", and please do not tell anyone that we eat froot loops for breakfast!"

Finally she had enough & they quit the group. Soon she was contacted by 3 other moms who also quit because of the same reasons.

How many times has the Unit Study Mom secretly cast judgement on the Text Book Mom, because we all know that the text book kids don't have near as much fun? How many times have we decided that a mom is just not raising her daughters right because her girls are allowed to wear makeup at 13 years old? What about the mom who BUYS her bread? Oh my gosh! Doesn't she know that making it is way more healthy? And did she just give her kid a suger soaked drink box? Surely this mom is not serious about homeschooling. Afterall, she uses the NIV Bible, not the KJV! I have been there so many times it is embarrassing to admit to. I just wrote out actual things I have either said to thought about other moms.

The Lord really grabbed my heart and made me to realize that he loves me even when I don't do what he wants me to, so I need to love and accept that homeschool mom who not only uses text books, but let's her kids watch Pokemon on TV. Do I agree with watching Pokemon? No, but that is o'k, I can still learn from this mom and be her friend. And our kids can even play together. I have learned since moving back into a neighborhood that my kids will encounter difficult circumstances, but it only opens up more opportunities for us to talk about how the Lord expects us to act. I have learned that there are a lot of really awesome families out there who have made really great friends for my kids and ...get ready... you won't believe this...but the kids go to public school. Yes, that is right I let my kids play with public school kids. I know that is a big huge "no no" in the homeschool community, but if I had continued to judge these families because they do things differently than we do I would have missed out on some extremely great friendships with really fabulous christian women who are raising great christian kids. Is that hard to believe?

We have got to show grace as homeschool moms to other moms, whether they homeschool or not. We have got to stop judging each other and accept each other the way we are. We should encourage each other with the love of Christ. We already get plenty of discouragement and persecution from society who don't think we should homeschool. Why do we create more tension by judging each other? We have become a very ungraceful homeschool community and we now have a reputation for being snobs and judgemental. I may be a bit contraversial here and maybe I even stepped on some toes. Maybe you don't agree with me at all. That is just fine! I don't have my act totally together, I'm still learning how to put grace into action myself. But I can tell you that it is a lot more fun when I can accept a mom the way she is instead of trying to change her.

Colossians 4:5, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity."

Romans 12:10, "Honor one another above yourselves."

Romans 14:13,14, "Therefore let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. Qs one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something unclean then for him it is unclean."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook 12-07-10

This is something I have wanted to do on my blog for a while, but just never started it.  It is very easy to do & let's you have a little glimpse into my day.

Outside my window...our backyard.  Still a few leaves hanging on to the tree limbs & occassionally the squirrels are running on the fence with a mouthful of nuts.

I am thinking...about how long it will take Scott to get home from work.  The drive from Dallas was a long one today.

I am thankful husband, Scott.  He works so hard to provide for our family! So proud of him!

From the Learning Room... not much today.  I took the little kids to our church today to help get ready for a special Christmas event tomorrow night. So our learning was how to serve without complaining.

From the kitchen... Dinner is over.  Made Stovetop Meatballs & buttered corn for dinner.

I am wearing... my favorite black comfy sweat pants & jacket with a purple shirt & my hot pink crocs!

I am creating... nothing.  I'm not very creative.

I am going... to bed some time tonight...hopefully!

I am currently reading...Sacred Rhythms (Ruth Haley Barton) & How to Live what You Believe (Ray Stedman)

I am get the Christmas tree & rest of decorations up by tomorrow at least.

I am hearing...Sam & Gracie play on my bed.  I think Sam is pretending to be a puppy.

On my mind...Ben's birthday,Christmas, bills, groceries...God knows it all.

Noticing...that my chocolate stash is empty!

Around the house...Christmas decoration tubs, waiting for me to open & unload.

Favorite things...making Christmas ornaments with the kids this week.

Plans for the rest of the week...we are kinda planless this week & it feels good.  Reading some Christmas books to the little kids & making ornaments for our little bitty tree.  Really need to start cleaning out the game room.  Maybe next week. :o)

Picture to share...Here is Gracie, helping us place pencils in the Worship Center this morning.  We thought we had to do all 3,000 seats, but realized a blessed soul had already come in  & done most of the room.  Gracie was a great help though!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Answered Prayer

Do you have a prayer request that you have been praying for a long time?

I have many.  When a requests goes unanswered for a long time it is so easy to begin to fall into a crisis of belief.  I begin to think, "Well, obviously I'm praying for the wrong thing." or "God must not want that for us"

I prayed for a long time that God would provide Scott with work & he did that.  Now that work has the potential of becoming a full time job.  Hopefully soon we will know for sure.

For at least a year now I have prayed that God would somehow provide us with another vehicle.  For a year all we had was our 15 passenger van. Our little car had died & wasn't worth resurrecting.  There never was enough money to put away to save to buy another car.  What money we did have was stretched beyond reason to pay rent, bills, gas & groceries.

But, I still kept praying.  I prayed, but I didn't always believe it would happen.  I was just airing my woe's.

This morning, God answered.  I had prayed earlier this week for a glimpse of hope to help me endure this difficult season. 

A friend gathered other friends together.  They put their money together & bought us a car & delivered it to our house this morning.  Words cannot appropriately express how we feel.  We are blown away by their generosity, by their thoughtfulness & desire to help us.  We don't know who all of the "friends" are.  And we don't need to know.  We are adding them to our blessing prayer list. We take great honor in praying for those who the Lord has used to answer our prayers.

1 John 5:13-15 13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

Do you have prayer requests that you doubt will ever be answered?  Believe!  If you are asking according to His will, he hears, but God has his own timing.  He just asks us to be patient & trust in His timing.

So I guess we haven't needed another car until now.