Training for Motherhood & Better Mom Monday’s Link-up!!

Mamas we have a BIG job to do at home! I will be writing more about our J-O-B later this week (and why we all need training), but for now I want to share with you a fantastic training tool for all of us moms! A 97 eBook homemaking library for only $29.97! There are tons of great books on everything from decorating, cleaning, and finances to marriage, personal spiritual growth, and children’s educational tools!  To see all the books included, read all about the bundle, and how to purchase click HERE.

The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle! 97 eBooks for only $29.97! ~www.thebettermom.com

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So now it is time to LINK-UP and join the party!!!!

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Better Mom Mondays Link-up is every Monday!!! Every week we have hundreds of posts linked up here from so many beautiful women with beautiful things to share!  I encourage you to visit their sites by clicking on the links and reading all of the fantastic ideas and insights! Also don’t forget to join the fun by adding your blog!!   We request that if you join below -please add the Better Mom Mondays Link Up button to your post so your readers can find us here! (Posts can include the topics of mothering, marriage, homemaking, discipleship, recipes, organization and more!) You can find the html code in the sidebar, or “save as” copy, and paste the button below.



He’ll Meet You In The Storm

November 21, 2001, is a day I will never forget.

It was the day before Thanksgiving. It was also the day my husband of seventeen years pulled into our driveway after having been to a doctor’s appointment to receive a report on a biopsy taken a week earlier. We had not been nervous about the appointment; we had been told the lump he’d found on his neck was most likely just a cyst that would need surgery to remove. But the news was not good. Michael was told he had stage 4 cancer and was given only 30% chance of survival. As a stay-at-home mother of 4 children ranging from five to thirteen years of age, a sense of panic washed over me.

I vividly remember sitting on our bed that evening holding each other. As we did, my husband said, “You know, we’ve been given a sacred trust. Our lives have been so easy up to now.” I wanted to respond by reminding him of other  difficulties we’d encountered (hoping to convince the eavesdropping Almighty that we’d already suffered enough), but I knew Michael was right. And now, before us was a golden opportunity to teach our children how to suffer as Christians.

The next six months dragged our family through some dark places. We journeyed through the world of hospitals, radical surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and feeding tubes and watched Michael lose his ability to speak and eat, causing him to lose almost a third of his body weight. Frankly, it was terrifying.

We speak often in the Church of God’s sufficient grace, but it’s hard to wrap our minds around what that is. I can tell you firsthand, I have witnessed God’s grace. God gave us everything we needed and more. He provided financially beyond anything we could have ever imagined. I cannot recall one day during that time when we did not receive cards to encourage us, frequently from people we didn’t even know. Many times these included financial help. Our church provided a means for people to support us financially during that time. Folks were so generous, we eventually asked our pastor to send a letter asking folks to stop giving! Special friends provided for our children’s needs, too, taking them out to do fun activities and having them over. Even as I write this, I’m overcome to the point of tears at the incredible way God provided.

Not only did God provide for our physical needs, He also provided for our emotional needs. Before cancer invaded our lives, I’d look at people going through difficult situations and think, “Wow, they are so strong. I wonder how they’re doing it?” But as we walked through cancer, the following  verses became very real to me.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

                                                                                                                ~ Hebrews 4:15, 16

Prior to my husband’s diagnosis, I didn’t have that strength, nor did I need it, but God provided it at the proper time.

By God’s grace my husband is alive and doing well today. We’ve watched three of our five children graduate from high school, two of them from college;  we adopted a child from Guatemala; my husband walked our oldest daughter down the aisle on her wedding day to a godly young man, and just last year we became grandparents. Each milestone bears witness to the fact that every day is a gift; a reminder of God’s undeserved grace.

As we think back to that year, we often say, “While we wouldn’t wish cancer on our worst enemy, we wouldn’t trade that experience and the lessons we learned for the world.” We feel like Job who after coming out of the storm of his life declared, “ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” (Job 42:5)

If you’re facing some darkness, you do not need to fear. He is waiting for you with the grace you will need. Lean on Him, He’s more than enough!

Blessings,

Barb

Photo Credit:  http://trigger.photoshelter.com/image/I0000R94fjX9xInE

 

What Were You Thinking, God?

Like all normal parents, my husband and I eagerly anticipated the births of each of our four children. We marveled at their perfectly formed bodies as they were placed in our arms for the first time. And as they grew, we delighted in each new accomplishment.

After our fourth child was born, we felt a desire to pursue adoption. We came close to adopting on two occasions, but as often is the case with adoption, both fell through. Shortly after the second failed adoption, my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It was at this point that we recognized God’s sovereign hand in not allowing these adoptions to take place.

My husband made it though his cancer battle and as his reports came back clear year after year, so did our dream to adopt. One night we sat on our living room floor as a family, held hands and pleaded with God to let us adopt. A few months later as my husband was traveling home from his 5 year cancer checkup (a milestone for cancer patients), he took a call from a friend who worked for a ministry that placed special needs children with Christian families. Our friend had just returned from visiting orphanages in Guatemala and told us of an opportunity to adopt from an orphanage there. We were elated! We chose a beautiful little girl named Katerine whose cerebral palsy left her unable to walk and with limited use of her hands.

We spent the next 18 months completing our “paperwork pregnancy” and looking forward to the day we would bring Katerine home. Our children shared the anticipation and excitement and we were thankful God was answering our prayers. We saw our dream fulfilled on a snowy day in January 2009 when we brought Katerine home. We were greeted by our children and son-in-law at the airport. Katerine was now part of a family–our family!

As the weeks passed, however, we began to realize Katerine’s needs were much greater than we expected. We had been told by the orphanage that although Katerine suffered physically from her cerebral palsy, she was completely normal mentally. We were now realizing that this was not the case; Katerine was mentally handicapped as well. This painful and growing realization overwhelmed us as we came to terms with the fact that our lives would be forever changed. I daily found myself asking, “What were You thinking, God, allowing us to adopt a child with so many needs at my age?”

Nonetheless, we could not get away from the fact that God had ordained this. His perfect plan was for Katerine to be part of OUR family. As we look back over these past three years, we could never have anticipated how He would use this little girl to expose within us selfish attitudes and behaviors. It is clear to us now that God wanted to conform us to His image through this little girl He so dearly loved.  This wasn’t a punishment or some trick God was playing; it was His perfect plan to sanctify us.

As we continue to work through our feelings we recognize more and more our need to surrender to God’s will. We still have days when keeping a good attitude can be a chore, but we are able to see Katerine as a delightful little girl God has lovingly placed in our lives. And Katerine and I actually have something in common: we’re both handicapped. Just as Katerine has many deficiencies, I, too, fall utterly short of His desire for me and I am a work in progress. Thankfully, God understands my deficiencies and is patient with me.

How about you? Have you ever felt like God tricked you or pulled a “bait and switch” on you? Just remember, His will is “good, pleasing and perfect” and nothing happens to you that does not first pass through His loving hands.  Isaiah got it right when he wrote, “Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand”, (Isaiah 64:8).

From one lump of clay to another,

Barb

Do you have Celiac Disease?

I first heard of Celiac Disease in the recovery room following my husband’s endoscopy.

He had been complaining that his face and hands tingled, his upper right quadrant hurt, and he had been losing weight that he couldn’t afford to lose. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it triggers an autoimmune response. The body attacks itself and destroys normal tissues, in particular the villi in the small intestine. This is what the doctor saw, and what he explained to us in the recovery room.

wheat, barley, ryeThe more we learn about the disease the more grateful we are that he was diagnosed quickly. A decade ago they thought 1 out of 10,000 Americans had celiac disease, but a new study says the number is really 1 out of 133.

So why does it take an average of 10 years for a person to be diagnosed with celiac disease?

There are over 300 symptoms! Many have severe digestion problems, but others may have no gastrointestinal discomfort at all. Some are even asymptomatic… but here are some possible symptoms one might have:

  • Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
  • Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Infertility
  • Insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset or type 1 diabetes)
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Mouth sores
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Skin rash
  • Stunted growth (in children)
  • Systemic lupus
  • Tingling (neuropathy)
  • Upset Stomach
  • Weight loss

To make it more difficult for doctors and patients, celiac symptoms can also mimic symptoms of other conditions! Such as Anemia, Crohns disease, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel, parasitic infection, various skin disorders and some nervous conditions.

Celiac disease is not isolated to one gender or age group. It can begin as early as 6 months old (whenever the child is exposed to gluten). The most common symptoms in children are diarrhea, poor appetite, a bloated or painful belly, weight loss or difficulty gaining weight. Other symptoms could be stunted growth, iron deficiency anemia, a skin rash, or tooth changes. Children with this disease may experience spontaneous remissions and later in adulthood it is reactivated by stress such as pregnancy or surgery.

For Chicago area residents, The University of Chicago has a free blood screening October 15, 2011 8:30 AM until Noon (Advanced registration required; open Aug 15th). http://www.celiacdisease.net/ check their website for more information. They say 97% of celiacs are undiagnosed.

If you’re related to someone with celiac disease or recognize the symptoms in yourself or your children than ask your doctor about a blood test. Doctors recommend you get tested before you experiment with a gluten free diet because going off gluten will alter your test results. If celiac disease remains untreated, it increases the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, cancer, and other complications from malabsorption. Even if there is no immediate reaction the body is being damaged.

One simple blood test could change your life or the life of your child!!

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