Sunday, October 30, 2011


When something is shattered it is broken in many pieces.  It makes a mess.  It hurts others close by.  The immediate tendency is to grab a broom and sweep up the mess and toss it out.  What was once a beautiful work of art is now a mess shattered on the ground.  However all does not have to be lost. What if someone takes the time to pick up every piece and carefully, patiently, tenderly puts it back together?  Guess what....Christ is in the business of restoring the broken.  His expertise is in mending and redeeming what was lost and devastated and ruined!

But let me tell you a secret.  A truth that God spoke into my life years ago, before I was shattered.  Brokenness does not have to be the end.  It can be a new beginning.  No you won't look the same and yes there will be cracks.  But if you are filled with the light of Christ, his light will shine brightly and it is through those scars and cracks in your life that he can shine the brightest.

Shattering can happen many ways: It can be caused by an accident, it can be caused purposefully, it can be caused by carelessness......and shattering is not the stuff in life that takes a chip out of's not hitting the ground with a hard thud but remaining's when it all falls apart.  Shattering happens quickly, in a is not an eroding.  It is immediate.  It's when you hit the ground, you fall to pieces, and life looks like it will never be the same.  It's overwhelming, it's devastating, it's a mess.

I've had several people I care VERY deeply for whose lives have shattered.  It breaks my heart.  I hurt for them.  I love them.  I know truth and I can tell them.....God has a plan.  He will use this for your good.  But they already know that.  And honestly that doesn't help when your life is shattered.

I am praying.  There is hope.  It is such a long process.  Life will never be the same.  I have not felt your particular pain.  I can not imagine all that you are going through.  My life has been shattered -once.  So I do know about shattered dreams and I do know that God has used my cracks for his light to shine the brightest in those areas of my life.....but that took years.  First I had to piece by piece be put back together again.  I ache for you.  The process of a life being restored is not fun.  HOWEVER precious friends there can be beauty from the ashes.  I love you guys dearly.  I will walk this road with you and I'll love you all forever.

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has annointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favar and the day of vengeances of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.  They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fashionable Friday

The Baby, as you may know, is very fashionable...However today I was just tickled pink to hear the sweet encouragement from Twinkie Girl.  I LOVE when my children are nice to each other....which is not often enough.  Here's what happened:

Twinkie Girl caught sight of The Baby in her Fabulous Friday Flowers Outfit.....


Sweet words of encouragement!

Music to a mothers heart.....

Oh the outfit....

Here's a picture....a picture is after all worth a thousand words:

Now I am going to step away from the computer....and go clean my house!

You Might Be a Homeschooler If...

1.  You might be a homeschooler if you have seeds germinating in your kitchen window.

2.  You might be a homeschooler if the simple question, "What grade are your kids in?" causes you to pause....significantly.

3.  You might be a homeschooler if your formal dining room has been transformed into a cute little one room schoolhouse and yet your den is littered with curriculum.

4.  You might be a homeschooler if your socialization is constantly being called into question.

5.  You might be a homeschooler if....they know you by name at every library within a 20 mile radius of your house and have your bill waiting for you at checkout!  Gotta love those late fees!

6.  You might be a homeschooler if your kids ask you why you're so dressed up when you've thrown on jeans, a shirt, a pair of earrings, and run a brush through your hair.

7.  You might be a homeschooler if you know who Tim Hawkins is and think he is hilarious!

8.  You might be a homeschooler if your kids are often stumped when asked, "Do you like your teacher?"  HELLO....EASY ANSWER KIDDOS!

9.  You might be a homeschooler if you give Home Ec Credit for household chores.

and finally.....You might be a homeschooler if......

10.  You consider schoolwork after lunch to be cruel and unusual punishment!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I haven't blogged much about Co-op this year.....because I keep forgetting to bring my camera and take pictures.....well today.....I finally remembered the camera....although I kept forgetting to use it!  So I'll give you what I've got.

Today was a LOOOONNNNG day.  We were busy and I'm glad we aren't like this everyday!  All the little ones were tired out from the fall festival last night and they had to get up early to get to school so they were pretty exhausted and cranky by the days end and so is Mommy!

I got up about 6:00 and got everything prepped for the day:

Then I got myself ready and finally woke up the troops....

Everybody got dressed.  Ate cereal for breakfast.  Brushed teeth and got on shoes.

Then they started to play Wii while I did little girl hair for school.

While I ran around doing last minute stuff and packing lunches etc. The boy took care of walking and feeding the dog while the girl volunteered her sandwiches making services:

So glad to have a sweet helper.

Then we all loaded up and were off to Co-op

We got there on Time!
So from 9-4 we were all in school.  Here are the pictures I got.

Little guys in music/devotional time.  Carved Jack-o-lantern.  Read story about being like a Jack-o-lantern for Jesus.  Sang this little light of mine.

Littles in Language.  Sequencing a story they have been reading.

The Girls Art Class

Pumpkins were definitely the theme of the day....

Although we had some spider webs too!

Littles at nap time

The Girl's Science Class busy experimenting!
Love the teamwork!

Preschool Playtime

Girls sharing the swings

Waiting turns

After Co-op we ran home.  Got everyone changed.  Said hey to Randy.  Left The Boy and The Twinkie Girl with Randy and Took The Girl, The Twinkie Boy, and The Baby with me.

The Baby had dance

Twinkie Boy and The Girl had Basketball Assessment/Sign up

In the van and headed home....FINALLY

Drive thru Dinner

And the mess of a too busy day!

Yes.....REALLY.....this is my real life mess!

Well lucky for them Friday is not only a school day.....but also the STEWART FAMILY CLEAN THE HOUSE DAY!

and lucky for me.....I have a fun adults only night planned for tomorrow AND Saturday and I am sooooo EXCITED!



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Festival Fun

All day long the kids have been excited about the fall festival at church tonight.  So as soon as we were done with school, we did early baths and started to get the crew ready.....

We had a cheerleader.  Yes this is an original Cresset Christian Academy Cheerleaders Uniform....from about 20 years ago!  I couldn't believe a girl I went to high school with saw her in it tonight and hunted me down!  MEMORIES!  That is now an antique...but the girl loves it!

We had Spiderman....who is so excited about his costume!  We don't have much boy dress up around our house!

Lydie Bug was a Ladybug!

The Baby was Wonder Woman!

We stopped to pick up Pippie Long-stockings on the way to the festival!
Meridith looked soooo cute!

Wonder Woman was the costume of the night!

The boy didn't dress up....but he did have fun!

Loved seeing all the creative costumes!  Such a fun night!  RBC is the BEST!

Now.....praying my sugared up children will PLEASE go to bed!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So the Baby LOVES three things:

1.  Her Dog

2.  Her Red Blanket

3.  Her thumb

The problem:
THE BABY is not a baby.
What to do?

I think we will let her keep the dog......perhaps drag the blanket around only at home.....and I guess we have to let her keep her thumb.....but it keeps sneaking into her mouth???? 
For a while....the doctor said not to suck your thumb worked....but lately....not so much!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Carolina Princess

So this week has been BUSY.  It has been fun and different too....but definitely BUSY.  We've had the usual stuff going we've been having a little too much fun getting The Girl ready to participate with Miss Molly in the Miss Garner pageant. 

Now....this is NOT toddlers and tearras!  The girl is not being judged or competing in any way, shape, or form.  This is a great opportunity for her though to play big time dress up and to be VERY brave and have lots of fun.  The girl is a girly girl.  She likes dresses, sparkles, makeup, hair....the works and the chance to dress up and hang out with Miss Molly and lots of other "fancy" girls is absolutely appealing to her!  The stage part....not so much....but after weighing her options she decided she DEFINITELY wanted to do this!  I was shocked, not that she wanted the makeup/hair/dress up....but that she would go on stage and do choreography...but I'm telling you....My girl is coming into her own!

So last Monday we met mom at David's Bridal "just to look" at dresses because we had the very generous offer to borrow a dress from Miss Molly's former princess.

She looked so pretty in all the dresses.

We don't go shopping for clothes much at all because we are so blessed with wonderful people who share their stuff so generously with the whole fitting room experience was very exciting for her!

Nanny and Pa decided they wanted to buy her a princess dress. 
Needless to say she was thrilled!

They even got her matching shoes!

After a long day of shopping and Odyssey and School and Gymnastics....we went to meet sweet Nina for a costume consultation.
She had so many GREAT ideas and we were able to come up with a plan for her gypsy costume for the "production number" and Miss Nina had some cheap-o hints for me that I loved and appreciated.
Sophie really did have fun meeting with Nina...she was just very tired!

The rest of the week was filled with looking for gypsey stuff....filling out form after form....getting forms notorized....finding a black and white photo for the program....

Then Saturday we headed to Nanny's to practice hair and makeup....That is Nanny's expertise....Not Mine!

They had lots of fun playing dress up.
Baby cousin Julia got in on the action...and no they did not color coordinate on purpose.  Great minds think alike!

After hair it was on to makeup....which THE GIRL wore allllll day!

We came up with some final ideas for the Gypsy costume.

Then Sunday The Girl got to meet the reigning Miss Garner!

She had lots of time waiting and got to make friends and play with the other Carolina Princesses

Then it was time to learn and practice the production number...

It is going to be CUTE!

So I've learned I am definitely enjoying this experience and I think it is going to VERY beneficial for the girl.  She is growing in confidence.  She is being brave and she is having so much fun! 
I am also really glad that this pageant focuses points primarily on the interview and on talent. 
I am also continually reminding THE GIRL that Molly is competing, NOT HER.  That she is just participating with Molly.  We have had several opportunities to talk about what makes someone beautiful and does beauty matter and how much and why....It has been a good conversation opener for lots of important discussions that I am grateful to be having.  It has also been fun for Nanny, and me, and the girl to have an excuse to get together more!  So we have a few more weeks and then the big show.  Looking forward to it!  GO MOLLY!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Pondering I Planned to Ignore.

Okay....I almost let the week slip by without a pondering post. I REALLY did not like this passage SHAY.....It stepped on my toes. It got to one of my root issues. I don't really feel like addressing this issue right now in my life....but here it is....(I cut and pasted from Shay's Blog to save time)

This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Now I could dive into the spiritual lessons of this passage, of which there are many, however the part that convicts me is the physical. UGH.....I've given birth to 6 babies.....I'm busy homeschooling and raising 5 children......I am recovering from severe exhaustion of life.....and I live with foodies (and have joyfully become one) and am surrounded by exercise/fitness fanatics (no offense....if you think I may be talking about you :) The last thing I want to think about, talk about, or be convicted of is my body.

Here's my brief psycho analysis of myself.
1. I grew up in a loving, Christian home with health conscious parents who modeled good eating and good exercise. I like healthy food. I like unhealthy food. I actually just like food. I have never been a big outdoorsy/sweaty/ exercise person. I am a sit and chat and relate person. So exercising is not really fun for me....not even the hike or swim or "fun" exercise appeals to me.

2. I was blessed with a great metabolism. I have always been an eater. However my age and child bearing has taken a tole and apparently I can no longer get away with my eat whatever and don't exercise and be thin ways of my youth.

3. As a teenager I was considered by many to be attractive. A lot of focus was put on my appearance (not by my parents....I mean they told me I was pretty but they didn't make it my identity) However others did. I had a lot of attention from boys as a teenager. Lots of dates. Lots of phone calls. Lots of compliments....boys liked me a lot. Girls did not. I was pretty shy...which came across I'm sure as very stuck up. I only had a few girl friends.  As I gained weight I noticed boys paid less attention to me and girls liked me better.  I liked that. 

So busy life + 6 pregnancies + slower metabolism + hate of exercise + love of food + issues = my current situation

Then along comes Shay with his pondering.....

I am a competitor.....I do love a prize......I do get this is talking about spiritual conditioning along with physical conditioning.  I've spent a lot of the last 14 years on the spiritual part....I guess it might be time to focus a little on the physical. I post this I realize that I may get much "encouragement" from all my sweet, well meaning, generous fitness fanatic family :).....I am not ready to go Paleo....I am  not ready to become a major athlete I am taking baby steps....So pray for me.  I do not want fitness or health or beauty or the physical to become my life or my obsession or my identity or even my pastime....I just want to try to integrate healthier choices in small doses....that is all I can take right now!

And Shay could you please try to refrain from any further pondering that has to do with physical fitness.....I'm just sayin'

I did get up and do my exercise video and drink and cup of water BEFORE I read my Bible and BEFORE I blogged....I don't know if it will become a habit but you can seriously pray for me in this area.  Now for some coffee!

A work in progress....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about provision the last few months.  Randy lost his job about 3 months ago.  There has been a loss of financial provision.  That loss brings about lots of fear, questions and insecurities.  However,  one thing the Lord has shown me is HIS provision.  This change in financial provision has allowed Randy to provide for us in other ways.

The last 5 years have been very difficult years in many ways.  They have also been very wonderful years filled with precious moments and memories.  If you know us you know we have 5 children.  Five years ago we were expecting our 5th child and had infant twins.  Our older 2 children were still very young(9 and 3) .  Unless you've had a lot of little kids at one time it is difficult to understand the demands, stress, exhaustion....that our family setup entailed.  It has been tough.  I feel like I'm just now really coming up for air.  These last 5 years have been a blur.  They demanded a lot from me.  I was able to give very little outside my home just in an effort to survive and focus on my primary family.  I just had little left to give.

ANYWAY....I have been thinking lately, as I think about the Wilford's and empathize with their current situation, how much the Lord filled in the holes.  I didn't realize how much I did or how hard it was while I was living it because there was no time to think only time to function and get through the next day.  However on this side I see how faithful the Lord has been.  I also see how exhausted I have been! 

So what does this have to do with Randy and his job?

The Lord is giving me rest....... and I had no idea how exhausted I was!

I have been TIRED!  I am grateful for the rest!  Things are still busy.  I still have plenty to do.  I would certainly welcome this "break" to end with Randy finding a job......BUT I can see how even when things look bad and when life is not how I would choose the Lord can use the bad for good.  He can use the down times as blessings.  This loss also carries with it "his mercies in disguise".

The Lord is teaching, pruning, and growing us during this season....but he is also giving me rest.
Randy is providing for me and our children in ways he couldn't when he was at work all day.  While Randy and I are both VERY eager for his financial provision to return in the form of a career.....I am also very grateful for how he has wisely used this "time out".  He not only is faithful in seeking employment and taking opportunities to make money while he looks for a job but he has also picked up a tremendous amount of my work load. 
He does all the laundry.
He does the dishes regularly.
He keeps kids so I can take other kids to their activities without having to take all the kids.
He cooks several meals a week.
He has even taught a few classes for me when I had other responsibilities.

I am grateful God gave me Randy.  I am grateful I have a husband who provides however he is able in each season of life.  He has provided very well and very faithfully for us through the years financially.  Now when he is not able to do as much financially he has willingly and generously provided for us in more practical/physical ways.  He has always provided for us lavishly in love, time, leadership, faithfulness.....What a blessing he is to my life.  So grateful the Lord provided me and my sweet kiddos with such an amazing man!
So grateful the Lord has a plan.  So grateful his plan is not mine.  Wow-my life would look very different and it would not have nearly the joy or the purpose that it has if the script of my life was my own.  So glad his plans are not mine!
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall Fun Day 2

Today was Day 2 of our Fall Break.  We have had a nice restful day at home.  One fun thing we did was make tie dye T-shirts.  Randy has been wanting to do this for some time so today was the day:

Everyone except THE BOY participated....he was playing Madden with his buddy.

All the kids were so careful

You could see each of their personalities in the colors and style they chose:

It was a cheap family fun project because everyone just got an undershirt from their drawer and we just had to buy the dye which is not at all expensive.

The hardest part is waiting for the color to soak in....

I can't wait to see how they all turn out!

We've watched movies, gone on scooter rides, chatted with friends, messed around on the computer with cool photo apps...

Randy's favorite!

It's been a nice family day at home.

Here is a tower that Pa and Jack built last night.....


Hmmm.....I wonder who did that???

We are looking forward to capping off the Day at Nanny's house where we are going to celebrate cousin Joshua's 6th birthday and Aunt Amy's 35th Birthday!  What a beautiful, restful, fall day!