Thursday, June 30, 2011

GUEST: Jim P. - Encouragement for Uncertain Times

Its been a really busy Summer so far and I feel like we’ve been going non-stop. But, I do have a few minutes to share a little something from a friend....


Jim P. is one of the church members from a special congregation my husband pastored in Northern Illinois.  Jim recently sent me this encouragement to share, for anyone who may be feeling some uncertainty about their future...



When a company bought out the place where I had been working for 17 years and let all the old-timers go, I was devastated. Being 65 at the time, there were not many job options and I really didn't have enough to retire set aside. The Lord directed me to Jeremiah 29:11, and it helped me so very much to realize I would be safe and secure in His hands.”

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

Thankyou for sharing, Jim! This is a good reminder for us all.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

REVIEW & GIVE-A-WAY: Attitude Adjustments

With a cat on my lap, a glass of lemon water by my side, and a bag of M-n-M’s in my hand, I settled in at the computer to listen to an hour long MP3 download from Lorrie Flem of Eternal Encouragement Magazine. She had arranged for us Gabby Moms to receive 2 downloads - one about ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS, and one about the KEYS TO A QUEENLY CASTLE. I knew, without a doubt, that the one on attitudes would be the best one for me to start with. Not so much because I have a bad attitude. In fact, I always try to think positively, no matter what the situation is. But, I have noticed my “bad-attitude button” has been pushed more often lately, due to the negativity received from my 8-year-old son. As Lorrie puts it in her talk, “attitude germs are contagious.” So, I have been praying for ways to remedy this problem with “Little Mr. Negative,” and was hopeful to hear some great ideas from Lorrie.

The beginning of the talk DID briefly touch upon teaching proper attitudes to our children, but that was not the main focus of this talk. It was geared more towards us moms. How can we “attain and maintain” a good attitude in OURSELVES? Here are some things to think about regarding that:
  • You have a “bad-attitude button” that no one can touch, unless you allow them to.
  • You control your attitude, or it controls you. It sets the tone in your entire home.
  • Wake up and CHOOSE to have a positive attitude through-out your day.
  • We don’t have to FEEL good about everything that happens, but we should ACT good.
This was all good and well for me to hear, as it was a little refresher course to help keep me pushing towards instilling good attitudes in my children, by using my OWN example. I would surely recommend this download for any mom who needs this kind of encouragement.

However, this download left me wanting to know more about how to CHANGE negative attitudes in my children. So, I took a look at Lorrie’s other downloads on this topic and decided to purchase ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

This particular download had phone discussions between Lorrie and her audience. To be entirely honest, I did not like the fact that the people asking the questions could not be heard. BUT.... I WAS able to glean some helpful suggestions from Lorrie as she spoke. At the beginning, it had a lot of the same information in it that ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS has, but then it went more into the topic of OBEDIENCE. Lorrie said you can’t really begin teaching about bad attitudes until you first work on obedience. This is an entirely different subject, so I won’t elaborate on it now. But if you are interested in knowing more about how your childrens’ obedience coincides with their attitudes, then this might be a good session for you to consider listening to. Lorrie gave some helpful ideas on how to teach obedience in this session and, let’s just say, I think we will be making some changes around here very soon!  

That brings me to an exciting opportunity for YOU! Anyone who is interested can receive a chance at a FREE download from Lorrie by following these simple steps...

TO ENTER THE GIVE-A-WAY

1. Click HERE to choose the MP3 file you would like to win.
2. Go to THE GABBY MOMS blog, where June's review links are posted and leave a comment
there with:
  • The name of the blog where you read about the giveaway (He Holds My Right Hand)
  • The name of the MP3 file you would like to receive, if chosen as the winner
  • Your email address
The winner will be chosen on Saturday, June 18th via random.org, and will be notified by the e-mail left in the comments. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner is chosen.

Good luck, and don't let anyone push that "bad-attitude button" today! Okay?

Disclaimer:  I received 2 downloads at no charge for a Gabby Moms review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

GUEST BLOGGER: Carie Shinn

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which finally gave me the answers to so many questions I had about myself, including why it was so difficult for me to have children. So, the following article is something I can relate to in many ways. It is from my friend, Carie Shinn, a homeschooling mother of 4 beautiful children. She wanted to share her story of secondary infertility related to having PCOS, and to be a support for anyone out there who has questions realated to these issues.  Please feel free to contact her directly through the e-mail address at the end of the article. Thankyou for sharing, Carie!  

BE FRUITFUL & MULTIPLY - THE FLIPSIDE
By:  Carie Shinn

In October 2006 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - or PCOS for short. This diagnosis was the culmination of over 5 years of hoping, praying and wondering what was wrong with me.

PCOS is one of those things that nobody knows you have. I have no outward deficiencies or problems. I can do anything that you can do.....except get pregnant.

Many people wonder about the age gap in our children. I have no doubt that many believe we are some kind of blended family. All 4 are "ours" and the gap was definately not planned....but I digress....

When my husband and I married in January 1996 I couldn't wait to start a family. I stayed on birth control until September of 1996 when we decided we were ready to start our family. I fully expected to get pregnant immediately. I had always been told if you weren't using birth control you would get pregnant!!!! I did, in November of 1996 and delivered Leland David in August of 1997 without a hitch. A good little patient I am, I went back on birth control immediately and life continued on for us. We moved, I went to college, Lee grew. I greatly desired another child, but Norman wasn't ready.....however in March 1999 I found out I was pregnant. My heart broke 3 days later when an ultrasound tech confirmed that I was miscarrying. Our lives seemed to be in a major upheaval for the next few months as we both did a lot of growing. God is good and our marriage was sustained. During those few months we bought a computer and connected to the internet. A search late one night led me to the homeschooling movement and I was hooked. I learned about the quiverfull movement and began to wonder if my miscarriage wasn't related to the birth control I had been using at the time. In July 1999, I also discovered I was pregnant again.....while still on birth control. This pregnancy was burdened by worries of problems (compounded when an ultrasound tech told me that he thought the baby had Down's Syndrome)......but in March of 2000 I delivered another strong baby boy, Gregory Robert, healthy as a horse and not the girl the ultrasound tech expected :)

I quit working when my maternity leave was up and officially embarked on a homeschooling lifestyle for our family. In the summer of 2001 I went off hormonal birth control completely and we agreed that we would love to "try" for another baby. Although I knew that my hormones were a mess, I fully expected to become pregnant again immediately. That, however, was not to be.

Weeks turned into months, months turned into years. I learned how to chart my cycles. I tried different "herbal" fertility aids. I prayed daily as my desire for another child became so strong that it hurt. I finally had to accept that just because we were willing to accept more blessings into our family, that didn't mean that they were going to come. God and I had a lot of arguements over the clothes line. Well meaning friends and family couldn't understand why we felt the need to add to our family when we already had the perfect 2. "Stop trying and it will happen". "Lose 20 lbs and it will happen". Those well-meaning quips dug deep as I tried to lose weight and I tried not to fuss.

In September 2006, after a tearful discussion with our family doctor (who didn't realize the hurt I had been suffering from), I got a referal to a fertility specialist. My doctor was and is wonderful. He did the blood work. He knew what he was looking for and diagnosed me right away. What a relief I felt when he told me that I had probably been manifesting the symptoms of PCOS in high school when I started gaining weight and that the birth control regulating my cycles was probably the only thing that helped me conceive my 1st 2 sons (and God of course - we believe it was a God thing). Regardless of diet or exercise I was not going to lose weight. Left to themselves my hormones swing in such a messy circle that I am at risk for all sorts of nasty conditions, ranging from heart disease, depression, diabetes and others. God provided medication. A specific diet/exercise plan that works well WITH the medication. A plan. We finally had a plan. Our doctor was fairly certain that the medication for the symptoms of PCOS would result in pregnancy eventually, but time isn't always on a woman's side, and I wasn't getting any younger. So we agreed to a few rounds of fertility treatments and Norman Matthew (Bear) was conceived on the 3rd round.

I remember the flood of emotions I felt when I discovered I was pregnant....ironically during a cycle the doctor didn't think would take. Thanks were given to God almost hourly at our household as we prepared for our new arrival. We felt blessed beyond belief. When you have waited for something so long, there is a period of disbelief......you almost wait for the "other shoe to drop". God is generous and gracious and kind......Bear was born (in Oct. 2007) after only 6 hours of labor and the doctor almost didn't make it to catch him :)

Our story wasn't done though. I like to say that God has a sense of humor :) After Bear's birth I again refused birth control, we were willing to accept another blessing if God chose that path for us. In September of 2009 however, my husband felt that God was telling him we were done. With my blessing (I also felt that God was done expanding our family), my husband had a vasectomy. The side effects were horrific. My husband endured all forms of horrible things and in the end refused to go back for his "checkup". He declared that we would accept more children if that was God's will, but he would never go through that procedure again. I found out 2 weeks later that I was 7 weeks pregnant :)

Little Abigail Caroline was born in May 2010 after an emergency c-section (she presented arm first and had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck restricting oxygen). God was merciful in sparing her life and mine (I had some blood pressure issues during the surgery).

We won't ever be the Duggar family. There are moments when I wonder about God's plan, specifically when dealing with the attitudes of a teenager and toddler on the same day. I can't begin to explain what God taught me about trust, faith and contentment during our time of waiting. With the "unplanned" arrival of Abigail, I learned that God has a sense of humor and always knows what is best for a family.

Sometimes I sit and wonder what God has in store for us. So far the experience has been interesting :)

If you are experiencing secondary infertility or have been diagnosed with PCOS, I would love to pray with you! You can contact me at carie_shinn@hotmail.com or catch me at my blog http://www.misscarie.blogspot.com/

Blessings,
Carie
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Hero to the World (GUEST: My Nephew, James)

My nephew, James, graduated from High School this weekend. He is a Christian teen who enjoys humor (it runs in the family), being creative, playing video games, reading books, and cuddling with his dog, Tigger.

This Summer, he plans on working at Youth Haven Bible Camp, hanging out with his family, and volunteering as a worker for Vacation Bible School. After his fun-filled Summer, he plans to attend Gulf Coast State College, majoring in Digital Media.

I recently asked James what his favorite song is, and he replied:
My favorite song is “Hero” by the band Abandon. It is a song that not only sounds good, but has awesome lyrics as well. It presents Jesus as “The Hero/Savior to the world” for what he did.
I had never heard of this song before, or this artist, so I looked them up on You Tube and found the song James was referring to. Although I hate to admit it, I'm not as young as I used to be, and not all that "into" the music of today's youth. So, I wasn't too sure what to expect at first. I'm glad to report that I was pleasantly surprised.

Thankyou for sharing this song, James. It definitely DOES have good lyrics - and they are very important ones for us all to hear and believe.

"With love He gave His life, so we could be free.
The Savior of the world."



Is Jesus YOUR Hero?
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