Recognizing Our Different Opinions As A Good Thing.

Alright.

Take a deep breath.

Exhale slowly.

Do it again.

Just breathe.

That was for me, not for you, because the subject that’s on my mind gives me high blood pressure.

Let’s Unpack Grace.

More specifically: God’s grace.

I believe it is simultaneously one of the most abused and underused gifts of God.

It is abused because it doesn’t cover sin. It does cover sin we have repented of, but I don’t believe that it covers sin we are actively, unrepentantly living in.

It is underused because we often repent of our sin but continue to carry the shame of this sin, rather then recognizing that through the grace of God, it is fully covered and paid for, by the blood of the lamb.

It is abused because we allow professing christians to live in unrepentant sin (sins that the Bible calls out as sin) and call it grace and love.

It is underused because we verbally assault people simply because disagree with their actions, choices or opinions (actions that the Bible isn’t clear on, one way or another.

What’s your gift?

I’m in no way or means a pro Bible interpreter so bare with me here but this my interpretation of Ephesians 4:

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The text for this is,

He climbed the high mountain,
He captured the enemy and seized the plunder,
He handed it all out in gifts to the people.

Is it not true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are easy prey for predators. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.

There is much more to unpack here then I’m capable of covering in one blog so if you’re interested, go pick it apart some more.

The first couple verses tell us to walk in what God has called us to do, it also gives instruction/direction on how to do that.

This next part really gets me though… and it seems to me we’ve missed this point…

But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.

Did u notice the part where we’re supposed to have varying opinions?

Ok, so it doesn’t say exactly that but still.

He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

He gave us different gifts (it is my opinion that every single believer has one of these gifts, although they might not actually use it in a church setting.)

In other words, you can have a pastor’s heart in how you respond to people but you might not actually be a pastor. Make sense?

The gifts explained:

Apostle: Identifies sin, strongholds etc and pushes back. The apostle actively takes back ground that the devil is currently in possession of.

When the apostle recognizes sin, injustices etc. his reaction is to fight back.

Prophet: Calls out truth. The prophet can usually clearly see the difference between good and evil.

When the prophet recognizes sin, injustices etc. his reaction is usually to call out sin and promote the truth. This is often done passionately because they can clearly see things that most people are confused about.

Teacher: Teaches the truth. The teacher usually has a strong desire to eradicate misuse of scripture and to interpret it correctly.

In all honesty, I’m not entirely clear on the teachers role but i picture them as more mild tempered. As in… I’m ready to show you the truth whenever you’re ready.

Pastor: Stewards the hearts of the people. The pastor takes care of people. They serve, meet needs and make people feel valued.

The pastor goes after the heart of the people. He is often less concerned about sin and more concerned about reaching the heart of each individual person.

The evangelist. Brings the lost to Christ. The evangelist’s sole desire is to preach the gospel and see as many people as possible be brought into the kingdom.

The evangelist, like the pastor, is less focused on sin and more on the hearts of each person. To see the lost come home is their main focus.

Now…

As the above passage goes on to say… we are all called to walk in OUR OWN gift until we (the church) are all moving rhythmically and easily with each other.

It’s quite simple really…

We should probably all take a deep breath, take a step back, take a look outside of our own perspective and encourage each person to walk in their gift.

This looks like:

Allowing Apostles to take the front line, to push back against the enemy and take back stolen ground.

Allowing Prophets to be the gatekeeper, bringing truth in and keeping the lies out.

If the apostle is fighting the battle and the prophet is guarding the door, the pastor is now free to minister to the hearts of the people without being concerned about enemy attacks.

I see the teacher working along side the pastor bringing truth into the lies that we’ve gathered along the way.

Meanwhile the evangelist is also protected by the apostle and prophet and is free to simply gather lost souls which he then delivers to the pastor and teacher for farther deliverance, discipleship and whatever else they need.

Do you see how it all flows together if we abolish the lie that we all need to have the same opinion on what needs to be done or how things need to be handled?

The final verses tell us that if we accomplish the feat of accepting each other’s different opinions and ways of handling a situation and above all, stay focused on Christ, we’ll ‘be healthy in God and robust in love’

I would also like to point out that each person needs to learn how to walk in the gift God has given them.

Have you ever compared a first graders handwriting with that of an 8th grader? There’s a pretty big difference.

In my opinion walking out your gift looks much the same. A younger christian, like the first grader, will have a smudged paper with many erases, restarts, some letters on the line with others falling off the paper. It’s messy. But if God is invited into the mess, he will simply teach, correct and lead and slowly but surely we will walk in our gift much more gracefully.

Side note: We won’t make it to graceful grade 8 of our gifts until we complete messy grade one.

So with all that in mind…

What if we stood together and encouraged each other?

What if we offered each other the same grace that God offered to us?

Eczema 101

I spent a lot of time and money learning about and trying to find a cure for a chronic case of eczema.

Now, I’m passing on everything I learned for FREE OF CHARGE!😁

Actually, I was thinking if it could help someone else, why not share it?

Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a DR. I have no medical experience or training. In fact, some professionals in the medical field would disagree with me, so there’s that. I do, however, have about 3 1/2 years of life experience in eczema.

What is eczema?

Doctor’s opinion: Eczema is dry skin. Use lotion, lots and lots of thick high quality lotion. Moisturize from the inside out… get him to eat lots of fish.

My opinion: She’s right on the lotion part… eczema gets itchy and when you itch it, it turns into a miserable looking rash so it seemed I should use ointments but they made only a small difference. I took her advice and we lotioned up every 3 hours. I had the timer set on my phone.

His arms were itched raw, bleeding and oozing from wrist to almost his shoulder. Putting lotion on it every 3 hours through the day brought almost clear skin within 1 week.

However, it didn’t fully clear up.

Lotion that worked best for us: Unscented body icing from lemongrass spa. We also learned that the skin adapts to one product so in order to see continued results you need to keep switching out lotions. Different brands, kinds etc.

The moisturizing from the inside out thing… she probably knew what she was talking about but I wasn’t sure how exactly to put that into action.

What causes eczema?

Doctor’s opinion: There is no underlying cause, some people just have naturally dry skin. He’ll probably outgrow it.

Here’s the deal… I don’t do ‘there is no solutions gloom and doom.’ It’s simply too depressing. So, realizing I’m on my own, I set out to find a solution.

My opinion: Eczema or any skin condition is a symptom of an unhealthy gut. I’m not a gut expert and if you start talking about balancing the gut microbiome etc, I will become very confused and will space out in utter boredom. 😁

So, here’s the simple version: processed foods, food dyes, toxins, sugar, antibiotics and probably a whole slew of other things, destroy the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.

If this ‘good bacteria’ is continuously destroyed but never replaced, the ‘bad bacteria’ will take over and can cause all kinds of physical problems.

Hello skin problems, body aches, fatigue and more…

In our eczema battle I concluded that an unhealthy gut was the cause but other possible causes of skin issues is: problems with the liver or hormone imbalances. I didn’t spend a lot of time on either of these so you’ll have to do your own research if you want more info. Sorry🙃

What exactly causes an unhealthy gut?

Doctor’s opinion: Again… There is no underlying issue, some people simply have dry skin.

My thoughts: Nope. Something is wrong with my child’s body. Skin so dry that he itches it raw is not normal. FOR ANY SKIN TYPE!

(If you want to learn about gut health, find a nutritionist not a medical doctor.)

My opinion:

  1. Antibiotics. They kill not only the bad gut bacteria but also the good. If you’ve ever had antibiotics you should take probiotics for sure.
  2. Medications of any kind. Painkillers, prescriptions, over the counter etc. (I didn’t do enough research to explain this one but IMO they mess up your system)
  3. Food allergies. If your body reacts negatively to something you repeatedly put into it, it eventually starts to wear down your immune system and a weak immune system allows the bad bacteria to over produce.
  4. Processed foods and food dyes. Our bodies were never meant to digest some of the things we call food. So, it needs to work harder to digest these and again we wear down not only our immune system but every part of the body by eating processed foods. Kinda like putting diesel fuel in a gas car.
  5. Sugar. Sugar is just all around bad it seems. Do your own research but some studies are claiming that Sugar feeds cancer cells. There’s also studies being done that claim over time sugar kills brain cells and may be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s. There’s also studies that try to refute all of that, so who really knows but currently I stand by opinion. Sugar is bad for your health.

There’s more things that supposedly affect your gut health but those listed are the ones that I believe played a part in in our case of eczema.

How to balance the gut bacteria

Nutritionist’s opinion: Probiotics and a good multivitamin. Plus cut out all processed foods, food dyes and sugar.

My opinion: I agree 100%. Not sure how it all works but probiotics help balance out your gut bacteria. A good multivitamin helps your body run smoothly because it turns out if your body is running low on only one small thing it can actually cause a whole host of problems. (This is why so many multi-level marketing supplement business’s Seem to be good. They are full of vitamins and minerals, but I’m here to tell you that a good quality multivitamin would probably work just as well.)

I have become a bit of a supplement snob. IMO if they have a bunch of added ingredients it kind of defeats the purpose.

Multi- level is a no go for me. Their main focus is money, not product. (That is over simplifying a big subject so stay calm and sell on.)😁 Their products Are probably mostly good but I don’t trust them completely.🙃

Mary Ruth’s Organics (online) is where I get our supplements. To the best of my knowledge she uses all natural, clean ingredients. Most importantly I’ve seen results from her products. They’re pricy but worth it.

Side note: I think most everyone is fine taking a multivitamin but adding in other supplements with out blood tests might not wise because There is such a thing as overdosing on supplements. Google it.

Adding probiotics and vitamins to Kyna’s diet controlled his eczema without the constant lotion regimen but it still didn’t clear up completely.

I do try (and fail a lot😤) to keep everyone on a Whole Foods, low junk diet around here. And while I feel like it has helped Kynaston’s eczema quite a bit, it still never cleared up completely.

Food Intolerances…

At this point I went down the food intolerances road. I had tried cutting out dairy before but hadn’t seen enough results to consider it worth it. And in case you’re wondering… this is no small feat! Dairy is a vast food group!

After some research, I learned that it can take up to 3 weeks to see results after eliminating a certain food. We’re doing this, I decided, we’re going for It. We cut out milk and yogurt. Just milk to drink. After one week I saw a huge difference in his behavior.

Side note: Here’s what we were dealing with:

• social anxiety

• whining (so much whining)

• irritability

• pale, washed out skin color

• underweight

• dark circles under his eyes

• extreme eczema

• and overall he just seemed unhealthy

One week of no dairy and I saw a huge change in behavior although I saw no change in his skin.

We kept going tho because just the Change in behavior was worth. At this point I started noticing that anytime I used milk in a recipe he would be grumpy afterwords.

This is the moment I started Using almond milk in everything. Bye bye dairy.

The process continued and I realized that he reacts to single slice of cheese in a sandwich for lunch. Bye bye cheese.

However, even after a month of no dairy his eczema still hadn’t cleared up. It was much improved tho. And his mood… he was a completely different kid. (At this point he just had really small patches on his arms but behind both knees he had a big patch (covering almost half his leg) of thick rough (alligator like) skin.

Hello dermatologist.

Her opinion: possibly food allergies but we can’t know for sure without doing all kinds of tests and he’s a bit young for that. He’ll probably outgrow it.

Her advice was to use steroid cream for 2 weeks, followed by an over the counter cream for one week. Because his body has been fighting this for so long it just needs a little help getting caught up.

She also said we might need to use the over the counter cream for life in order to keep it under control.

My opinion: It’s definitely a food intolerance (side note: there’s a difference between food intolerances and food allergies. Google it.)

She was absolutely right on his body needing help. I was determined not to go down the steroid cream route because using it can cause your skin to become dependent on it. (Google it for more info.)

However, I have no regrets. 3-4 days after starting on this cream his skin was completely clear. His appetite finally increased and he lost that gaunt, undernourished look. No more dark circles under his eyes, no more pale skin. His face looks so different. He has rosy, glowing, healthy cheeks.

I also have no regrets not using steroid creams earlier because until we found the underlying cause it was only going to be a temporary band aid.

I do however refuse to believe that he needs any kind medical cream for the rest of his life. There is always a solution. And if not then we’ll invent one.

And there you have our eczema story. If you’re familiar with eczema, I hope this helps you out somehow.

Here’s some random facts:

• If your baby was born with any kind of medication: c-section, epidural, Pitocin etc. they probably have a gut imbalance. The main symptoms for this are: sugar cravings, getting sick easily and skin rashes. Solution: a good probiotic.

• If you are on any type of medication during pregnancy this can mess up your baby’s gut health. And if mom’s gut health is imbalanced it will effect baby’s gut health.

• Behavior problems such as irritability and whining may be related to a food intolerance or vitamin deficiency.

• I haven’t gone far down this road yet but I’m pretty sure there’s a relation between gut health and ADHD. Myles has always been my wild child… and that is totally his personality.🙂 but he is much calmer and more focused since I started him on a multivitamin and probiotics.

• kids not sleeping well, teeth grinding, hyperactivity and even bed wetting may be caused by vitamin deficiency.

• Certain skin types are more prone to eczema (heredity) but I’d say the underlying issue is still gut health.

• If your gut health is off balance for an extended period of time it has probably led to leaky gut. (Google it. My thumbs are tired of typing.)😁

Conclusion: if you have ANY physical problems start with balancing your gut and your problem will quite possibly disappear.

Good luck, be blessed and live healthy!🙂

When I Lived Through 6 days without realizing it🙃

I woke up this morning and was rather surprised to find myself at home, in my own bed. I mean how did that even happen?

Let’s rewind a bit…

Checkers’ brother Ben got married in Southern CA on April 21st. His whole family flew out for the wedding and spent 5 days there.

So, last Saturday, we got up at 5:15. I’m not a morning person at all, so I spent the next hour in haze.

We packed up the car, microwaved some breakfast sandwiches, packed up our five kids, water bottles and all the things, locked the doors and headed out.

I was driving the first shift of this 11 hour road trip because the babies usually sleep late in the morning.

I drove a couple hours, then Checkers took over. The rest of the trip is a bit of a blur but I know I spent my time nursing babies, making bottles and climbing over the consul from the front seat to the back and then front again. Multiple times.

After their long morning nap, Hayley and Harmony were done traveling. It seemed 1 or the other was constantly complaining about something and don’t even get me started on the noise and demands that came from our other 3 kids in the back seat.

Let’s just say by the time we got there I felt like I ran a marathon when in reality I just climbed through our car like it was some kind of kid’s play set. Even I was amazed at my flexibility.😁

Side note: the middle seating row in our SUV has 2 bucket seats with a center consul, so every time I went back there I was sitting on the consul. (We are currently accepting donations for a vehicle upgrade.)😁

We arrived at our air bnb and found glass decor on most surfaces. I removed most of it immediately and set it in safer places.

A bit later as I was feeding babies, I heard a loud crash. Turns out the kids knocked the glass centerpiece off the table. One of the few I hadn’t moved yet.🤨 I quickly proceeded to remove ALL glass things, even those that seemed safe enough.

Our evening was spent introducing the twins to Checkers family as they dropped by our house and met them for the first time. (We hadn’t seen his family since July so it was so good to see everyone again!)

Day 2: (Sunday)

The day started with feeding babies, then breakfast, dishes and packing up all the things and getting the kids ready to go to the beach.

Packing the diaper bag is a 5k all by its self. There’s water to heat, formula to mix, diapers to find, wipes, extra formula, extra outfits and because I was driving, I needed my phone and drivers license as well. Nope my brain wasn’t spinning at all. (Note the sarcasm in that last line)😅

And water… I go nowhere without water, but unfortunately I spent a lot of this trip thirsty because a water bottle seemed to be the least important thing.🤷‍♀️

Oh and I didn’t even mention how wrangling 5 kids from point A to point B is a 1/2 marathon all by its self.


We finally headed out to the beach… and the parking lot was full and then some. The roads were narrow, the corners and turns were many, there were cars everywhere, kids were complaining and I had this big massive vehicle that I didn’t know where to put.😜

Long story short… I saw a train at the beach, so I found a train station because logic says that if the train runs past the beach, u should be able to park at the train station, board the train and end up at the beach.

Turns out that this logic fails if the train doesn’t stop at the beach. ‘Stop’ being the keyword in that last sentence.

The train station was on the beach though, so we spent some time there. The problem was… it was a different beach then the rest of our people were at. But the kids did have fun for an hour or so. Even the babies did really good.

We headed back to the house, bathed the willing kids, waged a war with the 3 year old who saw the whole bath thing as a waste of time, fed and changed babies and ate lunch.

Then I went to get groceries.

I made it back just in time to start the whole backpack packing, baby feeding, diaper changing, shoe finding, put the kids in the car marathon again. All so we can eat pizza with the whole family.😁

Now you know why Myles tends to show up shoeless, with ketchup on his face. All I can say, is at least he was fed.😁

Oh and we did a load of laundry somewhere in there.

Day 3: (Monday)

Fed and changed babes.

Breakfast. I don’t even know if I helped with dishes.

Ran to target.

lunch.

Checkers took the kids to the playground while I took a mini break which consisted of feeding babies, changing diapers and ‘trying’ to put them down for a nap.

Then Ruthie and I had all 8 kids while Checkers and Elmer went out for lunch with Ben and his friends and family.

They made it back just in time for us to head out to Gabrielle’s bridal shower while they watched all the kids.

The babies were fine when we got back but the rest of the kids were snuggled up on the couch shaking with fear because they watched a scary movie.😂😂

I may have stretched that a bit. Fine. I stretched it a lot. But it was rather humorous.😂

Things I didn’t yet mention: kids fighting about which car they ride in, Harmony crying pretty much every time the car was put into motion, keeping Myles out of trouble pretty much 24/7 and kids being loud. Just. So. Much. Noise.

Can anyone say over stimulated?

Yea, that was me. Pretty much the whole trip.

Day 4. (Tuesday)

Babies. You know the drill by now. Bottles, nursing, diapers.

Breakfast. Dishes.

Remember that leaving the house marathon? You know the whole backpack packing, shoes finding thing? Yea we did all that again. Every last step. Then went to a playground to hang out with the whole crowd.

We didn’t even forget the whining about which car we ride in and Harmony crying on the way part. Thank goodness for Ruthie. She was a pro Harmony whisperer by the end of the trip.😅

Oh. Elmer and Ruthie are also pros at feeding our kids by now. I think there’s a very real chance we wouldn’t have gotten around to feeding them.😳

After the park, we managed to bath the kids, did a load of laundry, we did the whole baby routine, ate lunch (or maybe it was supper?🤷‍♀️)

Then our men took the girls to rehearsal while Ruthie and I held down the fort at the house.

And then…

Wait for it….

We did the entire leaving the house marathon… AGAIN. You know, shoes, backpack, formula, car seats, fighting, crying, relaxing, no wait… that one didn’t happen on this trip. Not even once.🤨

Also, I made coffee, because coffee makes everything better.

Anyway, the goal was to get to a park to eat cake ad ice cream. We made it. And we even made it back to the house in one price with everyone in tow.👏

Day 5: (Wednesday)

I woke up and there was one thing I was very, very sure about. I had ZERO desire to run another marathon and yet I knew that since it was the day of the wedding, I was running that marathon, like it or not.😬

I think it might be called running on fumes. Or in my case running on coffee.😂

And so it started.

Baby routine.

Breakfast routine.

Then we went out to walk the pier. I have no clue why, except it was something we had wanted to do.

Hayley and Harmony thought it was the dumbest thing we had done yet. But at least they took turns voicing their opinions. Mostly anyway.😁

The other kids were sure the ocean was going to swollen them up.😅

They did enjoy it though once we got out past where the waves were crashing.🙃

We got back to the house and realized we are out of toilet paper.

So, I ran to target for toilet paper. And Starbucks. Because coffee makes everything better, remember?

I got back from target and realized that we only had 2 hours to run our leaving the house marathon and this time it was more like a triathlon because we had to dress up and Kenzie was a miniature bridesmaid.

The goal was to bath the babies. I should probably admit that I bathed them Friday night b4 we left and they didn’t get bathed again till Thursday night when we got home.

No, I won’t admit that. I’ll just focus on the fact that I intended to bath them during this trip. It’s true. I even packed their soap and lotion. Not that we used it. Talk about overpacking!

Anyway, we managed to arrive at the wedding with 1 min to spare. Technically, we were late since we should have been there early, but we’re not admitting to that either.

At this point even coffee was losing it’s power. But there was cake. 👏 And we survived the wedding.

While we’re talking about the wedding let me just say that it was beautiful! Gabrielle’s family is amazing, worship was incredible and the Holy Spirit was so clearly a part of the ceremony. It was so peace filled after a crazy couple days.

After the wedding we packed up most of our things.

Day 6 (Thursday)

Basically, we packed up and headed home. Although we did the marathon one last time. You know, diapers, feedings, backpack packing etc.

The ride home was a pretty much a repeat of the ride there, we were just headed in the opposite direction.

We got home around 7 and I finally bathed the babies.🙈 I put them to bed around 9 and they slept till 8 this morning. (Hayley woke once b4 that to eat) at 8 I fed them, they were awake for about 30 minutes, then fell asleep again. They’ve been sleeping ever since and it’s currently 1:00.

I think they may have been exhausted.😂

My alarm went off at 6 this morning and I could barely wake up.

Thank goodness for coffee.

As I thought back over the past week, I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth just happened.

I’m currently very sure of two things though.


1. Traveling with two babies is no walk in the park.

2. Benji did get married and that was the whole point, so mission accomplished. 😁

Our Life In A Nutshell

Grace: Makes the plan, figures out the details and lists the pros and cons. Then she hands the plan to Checkers.

Checkers: takes the plan, studies it and then makes it happen.

Kenzie: likes a solid plan, follows all the rules and has an absolute meltdown if we deviate from the plan.

Kynaston: looks at the plan, thinks, why so rigid? And does everything in his power to convince us to change the plan.

Myles: eyes the plan with a smirk, says yes! The plan is great BUT we’re going to make every last second of it SUPER EXCITING!

Harmony: has no clue there is a plan, squints a little at all the excitement then she naps the whole way through the plan.

Hayley: doesn’t know about the plan but knows that something is different, hollers from her corner till someone includes her in the plan then she watches every part of the plan unfold with eyes so big I wonder if they might pop out yet.

That is the story of our life. It’s a life we love.🙂

2020: The Year We’ll Never Forget

January: The month to rest and recharge. Even market normally slows down after the holidays. Not in 2020 tho. We saw record sales in January.

Ah, 2020, we should have seen the warning signs.

Plus we started renovations on our house. The goal was to be done by the end of February and have it on the market by mid March.

It was a crazy busy month.

February: Due to a busy January, we weren’t as far along on the house makeover as we hoped. We again saw record sales at market.

March: This month found us even farther behind on the house project but we contacted a realtor and moved forward with listing it while we tied up all the loose ends.

The first two weeks in March we again hit record breaking sales. Our sales increased so drastically that all year we had a hard time keeping enough food in the case.

Ah, 2020, if only we knew the tricks you had up your sleeve.

The second week in March, on a Saturday night when we once again sold out early I told the girls: ‘Next week we aren’t making just a bit more food. We’re making a lot more food!’

And so we did… we made ALOT of extra food. And then the drama started. We made all this food on Wednesday, and on Thursday Tom Wolf shut down the county.

Needless to say, we had an incredibly slow week.

Saturday morning we got there to find two of our employees (local girls who got there a bit before us) just kinda goofing off. Normally they got started without us. Their explanation: There’s so much food, we decided to wait for you, because we didn’t know what to do with it all.

Yea, I didn’t know either.

Ah, 2020, we were off to such a good start.

Saturday night we had quite a bit of food left and we peddled it for free to anyone who would take it. One person helped us out a lot by taking a lot of it and passing it out to their neighbors.

So, the next week we made a lot less food! March was definitely the most bipolar month our market stand ever saw as far as sales go. The last week in March was even slower, so…. (See April👇)

As far as our house… we got it listed and had at least 9 showings plus a great turn out for our open house, all in 4 days…

We even had a buyer and were almost ready to sign the contract…

Then the drama started.

Tom Wolf shut down the county and all real estate activity ceased.

Our buyer lost her job and therefore her financing so our house wasn’t sold after all.

Ah, 2020, is it your goal to make everything complicated?

By the end of March our realtor suggested taking our house off the market until real estate open back up because a house just sitting on the market for weeks isn’t good.

So that’s what we did.

April: At market things went downhill fast. Actually, our sales went uphill but I was never sure what to expect week to week so it felt like one big chaotic mess.

The first week in April we made less food again because we had a lot leftover the week before. You guessed it… we had a busier week and ran out of food early.

And that is how April continued… every week was significantly busier and every week we were running out of food. It seemed, no matter how much food we made it was never enough.

Ah, 2020, you’re driving me crazy.

To give you an idea… pre-pandemic we were turning 30 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week and by the end of May we were turning 60 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week. It really was insane.

We put our house back on the market at the end of April because our plan was to move to CA in June.

May: We had plans to spend a week in Redding CA, but pushed this trip back till June.

We had a few virtual tours on our house but nothing seemed to be happening there.

At market we ditched the masks and believe it or not we saw an incredible rise in sales. Yes, we had people tell us they’re never coming back but we also seemed to collect every single person within a 100 mile radius that was anti-mask.

Here’s some of my favorite mask stories:

  1. From day 1 we didn’t wear our masks over our noses. Why? It’s the weirdest thing really, but it turns out, I really like breathing fresh air!🤷‍♀️ So… I’m helping this guy and he says: ‘you forgot to cover your nose!’ I feel instantly defensive because some people weren’t very kind about these things. ‘Yea that’s because I kinda enjoy breathing.’ I said, as I shifted my gaze from my task to him. I find him standing there with laughter sparkling in his eyes and his mask very obviously under his nose as well.🙃 Later I’m talking to one of my employees and it really felt like she couldn’t hear me properly so I pulled my mask down to my chin. ‘Hey! You’re not wearing your mask properly!’ A customer hollered. My irritation rose slightly as I turned to find this annoying person. Instead I find the same guy that I had waited on before. He had a gigantic grin on his face and you guessed it… his mask around his chin.🙃
  2. Our stand was right inside the front door. It was funny watching people come in with masks on, then removing them when they realized the people working there weren’t wearing them. One guy came in with a mask on. He stopped right inside the door and looked around. Then heaving a huge sigh (of relief, I assume) he removed his mask and went about his shopping.
  3. Another customer told us she lives 5 min from a farmers market but they require masks there so she started driving 1 hour (1 way) each week to shop with us because we allowed her to shop mask free.
  4. I rung up a ladies items and told her the total. She pulled her money out but it seemed to be sticking together so she pulled down her mask and licked her finger in order to keep the money from sticking and then handed it to me. Thank goodness I have no faith in these masks.😅😂

This is also the month I got plagued by morning sickness worse then I ever experienced before. Just another side effect of the craziness of 2020 I assumed.

Trying to sell a house, no clue what to expect at market each week, when it had previously run like a well oiled machine, add severe morning sickness and I was about ready to lose my mind.

Miserable, might describe May pretty well.

Ah, 2020, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

June: We sold the market stand and took a week long trip to Redding CA. Our moving plans got pushed back till July.

This was pretty much the most miserable trip I ever took. My morning sickness was at it’s absolute worse. I spent the flight there and back trying not to throw up while trying to keep an energetic two year old in his seat. (Someone should invent car seats for planes.)

The plan was to find a house to live in, set up bank accounts, meet Checkers boss etc.

We did most of that but every time we traveled anywhere I ended up feeling extremely sick. So mostly I sat in the corner of the couch with a blanket and went back and forth between being extremely hot to fighting off chills, while Checkers and the kids got bored with staying at the house but didn’t want to explore the city without me.🤷‍♀️
We didn’t find a house.

2020, I blame you!

Once we were home again, my goal was to start packing. However, I was still so miserable that I would pack a little bit then sit down. Then I’d repeat the cycle. There was days when I wondered if I’d ever manage to complete the task.

July: Our house finally sold. Since we couldn’t find a house to live in we bought a camper and a truck with plans to live in that for awhile and find a house once we were actually in CA.

I continued packing and while my morning sickness eased somewhat, I still felt really miserable and had zero energy.

Checkers picked up the camper and had mentioned painting it just to brighten it up. I remember stepping into the camper and it all just looked so overwhelming. I told him: ‘You’re welcome to do whatever u want to this thing but you might be on your own because, I just don’t think I have the energy for it.’

A week later I musta felt slightly better because I had this sudden urge to renovate this camper after all. So we tore the thing apart and started putting it back together.

We spent 1 full day painting. And I paid a hefty price for it. The next day I found myself feeling a lot worse again and spent the whole day under a blanket on my chair again.

The next day I still felt miserable but forced myself to continue packing and cleaning. Although I stated very far away from the paint. Checkers kinda got stuck with that task on his own but I wasn’t about to risk the misery again.

2020, What have I ever done to you?!

Settlement for our house was on July 31st. That week was another extremely miserable week. Monday morning I woke up with a bad head cold on top of already feeling miserable. I pushed myself to be productive because we had things that needed to be done but by mid morning I found myself back on my chair with my blanket. My energy was completely zapped.

Tuesday morning I felt a little better and headed to Walmart for material for curtains then went to my parents house to sew them. I made it till about 1:00 before I headed home to my chair. The misery was real.

Wednesday my head cold had mostly cleared up and although my energy was still non existent, I managed to finish the curtains and get some more packing done.

Thursday we had family come to help us move our stuff out and do some cleaning. I was going to finish up the packing and cleaning but by 6:00 I was so dead on my feet that I just quit. I felt exhausted and wrung out like I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.

2020, Please know that I am plotting my revenge!

Friday morning, I did a quick clean over the rooms that hadn’t been done yet. We packed up the last of our things, said good bye to our home of almost 9 years. The first house we lived in as a married couple and the house we brought each one of babies home too.

Our settlement was at 1:00, then after stopping in at my parents house, we headed out. First stop: Dauphin county, to see Checkers family before leaving.

August: We spent 10 days traveling across the states. Final destination: Redding CA!

My morning sickness was slowly fading but there was a couple days of driving hilly, curvy roads that were pretty miserable.

We got here on the 10th and Checkers started at his new job on the 12th. Kenzie started school on the 13th. We spent the rest of August settling in and finding a routine.

Mid August I actually started feeling better and realized for the first time just how awful I had felt.

2020, your schemes will not control my life.

September: I finally found a midwife and scheduled a consultation with her. Since I was already at 20 weeks she sent me for an ultrasound and we found out we’re having twins!

Suddenly, all that afore mentioned misery made sense.

Ah, 2020, always bringing the unexpected.

Turns out it’s illegal for a midwife to deliver twins in CA do I was back to where I started, only this time I was looking for a DR instead of a midwife.

We also joined a house church. (Since Bethel is closed, their members opened up their homes to host small amounts of people.)

October: Finally found a DR. That felt like a lot accomplished.

We were also looking for a house. We looked at quite a few and even put a couple offers in. Turns out the housing market is insane and all the houses seemed to slip through our fingers.

2020, I do believe it’s time you moved on.

November: A month of frustration due to no progress. We still didn’t have a house and we’re having twins sometime in the next 6-8 weeks.

Before November Ended though we finally had a house that was looking like it might work out.

December: This month was spent working out the details on our house and trying to make Christmas in a camper fun.

The plan is to move into our house on January 2nd.

2020, I’m not sad to see you go. I’m believing that 2021 will bring redemption in all the areas you have let us down.

Popcorn: The Source of Our Biggest Dispute In 2020

It was just a normal Sunday afternoon.

Calm. Cool. Collected.

Just, you know, lounging on our easy chairs while the kids got some video time in.

It was all going so well.

Until

The kids video time ended and they wanted a snack. So I made them some popcorn.

Don’t worry, everyone is still getting along at this point.

Then I sat down again.

Checkers: “Where’s mine?“

Me: “I didn’t know you wanted some. But the popcorn’s in there.” (I pointed to the cupboard.) “And the microwave is right there. (I pointed to the microwave.)

So, Checkers got up and made himself a bag of popcorn, then he sat down again, right beside me, with this whole bag of warm, buttery, delicious smelling popcorn.

I innocently reached over and got a handful.

The glare I received was quite devastating to my fragile emotions.

But as Grace does when she thinks someone is being rather ignorant… she reached over, not so innocently, and got an even bigger handful.

Ah, the feeling of satisfaction. There’s something so rewarding about refusing to back down if someone is being unreasonable. I MEAN HE HAD A WHOLE BAG!

BY HIMSELF!

All I wanted was a couple bites. (Although I will admit, my appetite increased dramatically once I realized I wasn’t supposed to be eating any.)

Yup. Glare two was more devastating the glare one. Which is pretty much the only reason I went for the third handful.

Guys, he had a whole bag! By himself!🧐

Checkers: What are you doing?!😡

Me: Eating popcorn.😁

Checkers: I made it for myself, go make your own.😡

Me: You have a whole bag, surely you can spare a few bites. Why exactly is that a big deal? 🤨

Checkers: Because I made a whole bag and I was going to eat the whole bag. Why don’t you make your own?

Me: 🤷‍♀️ Maybe because I don’t want a whole bag… besides this is a lot more fun.

More glaring was sent my way.

Me: snickers a little but am wise enough to keep my hands to myself. (I do after all value my fingers and getting them back in one piece was looking rather questionable if they wandered into the popcorn bag again,)

Checkers ate the rest of his popcorn in peace.

(Although, I may or may not have asked if I could have more a couple times, just because, you know, it was kinda fun.)😁

Yup, you guessed it. There was more glaring, while he munched on his whole bag of popcorn.

You’d think this was the end of the story…

Nope.

Turns out we’re both holding a popcorn grudge.

And periodically when the need arises I might remind him that he didn’t share his popcorn, or he might remind me that I deliberately ate his popcorn when he asked me not to.

We finally decided to agree to disagree, but it turns out we can’t even do that.

Because I’m still fully convinced that he had zero grounds to claim a whole bag of popcorn and not allow me even a bite.

Turns out he’s just as convinced that he has a right to eat a whole bag of popcorn by himself. There was after all more in the cupboard if I wanted some.

🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

Don’t worry. We’re fine. I’m fine. He’s fine. Our marriage is fine.

We just can’t eat popcorn together.😎

Myles Moments

Myles: Mom can I go outside?

Me: No.

Myles: Why not?

Me: Because you went on the street.

Myles: Whaaaat? How’d that happen?!

Me:🤨🙄🤦‍♀️😂

*****

A conversation I overheard Myles having with himself.

He’s playing with a lego creation that Kyna had built earlier.

His crazy zooming of this LEGO creation ended with the thing falling apart in his hands.

Myles: Uh,oh Myles.😳

(Important side note: Ruining Kyna’s things is a pretty large problem if he (Kyna) finds out.)

However, Myles is pretty used to being the bad guy so he simply consoled himself.

Myles: It’s ok Myles, you didn’t try it.

President Trump and The Spiritual Warfare Surrounding Him

2020. The year we probably won’t ever forget.

If there’s one thing I wish everyone would understand about what we’ve seen in 2020, it’s this:

“The battle we’re fighting isn’t physical. Although it does have physical aspects. I don’t believe it’s political, either. Although there’s a lot of politics wrapped up in it. I believe the battle we’re fighting is 100% spiritual.”

I don’t for a second believe that this is about Covid, BLM, riots, murder hornets or whatever else they’ve tried to distract us with.

Is Covid real? Yea. It is. But I think we should be more concerned about the agenda behind the virus then the virus itself.

There is a major demonic agenda going on here. I’m sure of this, so sure that you probably won’t change my mind. I can feel it. I can see it, smell it, hear it…😜

Although I cannot fully explain it.

The thing is, I am all to familiar with the demonic side of the spiritual realm.

In a normal argument between two people either person can win. Feelings might be hurt, unkind things might be said but the playing field is fairly even.

However, if demonic influence is present during an argument, one person will damage the other emotionally and spiritually. The playing field is not even. One person will feel victorious while the other will walk away with unexplainable psychological pain or damage.

I wish I could explain it better but outside of the Holy Spirit speaking through you, it is impossible to have a conversation that benefits both persons if demonic influence is present.

It is equally impossible to stay calm or sane in this type of conversation unless you are fully immersed in the Holy Spirit.

Guys, I’m not talking about simply being a Christian or saying a prayer before entering these conversations.

If you enter a conversation, with demonic influence, on your own terms, you will walk away looking very unchristian. You will react instead of responding. You will say things you’ll regret. You will unintentionally give out information that will be used as ammunition against you.

In a conversation like this, you will possibly feel physically ill. You will feel disoriented. You will walk away unsure of what just happened. You won’t even be sure anymore what the conversation was supposed to be about because the devil is a pro at speaking in circles until nothing makes sense anymore.

I’ve been in many of these, I have left them all in tears, feeling attacked emotionally and spiritually, physically exhausted, everything I said got used against me and nothing I had to say seemed to matter.

Except one.

This one conversation I fasted before I entered into it. I had someone praying while I was having it and I had one Bible verse as my guide.

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. Matthew 10:19

In case you’re wondering, that’s actually not easy to do. If you know that you’re going to be verbally attacked, every fiber of your being wants to be prepared to defend yourself.

I saw first hand though that if I operate in the spirit, the devil can be silenced but if I operate in the flesh, against the devil, I will be destroyed.

Here’s my point…

It is my opinion that the presidential debate between Trump and Biden was heavily influenced demonically.

I didn’t watch the debate but after all the things I heard about it, I googled it and watched bits and pieces of it.

I know a lot of people were disappointed with how Trump handled the debate but here’s my challenge to you.

Put yourself in his shoes.

How would we respond, if we had walked through the spiritual warfare that Trump walked through this year?

He can’t do anything right.

They say he handled Covid badly but in the beginning they said he was stupid and racist for shutting the country down early.

The world and Christians alike say that he is too brash, too opinionated, too loud mouthed and I can’t say I disagree, but do you realize that those are the very traits that make him capable of doing the job?

Mike Pence is the epitome of what a Christian should look like, right?

I can agree to that, but I would also like to point out that I’m not sure he would have the backbone to stand against the backlash that Trump has endured.

After considering all that Trump has endured this year, put yourself in his debate chair and ask yourself how you would have responded.

Guys, the world isn’t just judging his presidential skills. He has been attacked on a deeply personal level. The average person would possibly have committed suicide by now or at the very least caved to the demands of the left.

Yet, Trump hasn’t.

To take a stand for truth against absolutely the worst odds, isn’t an easy thing to do.

Im not sure it’s even humanly possible to look evil in the face and refuse to back down. This is the kind of fight that is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

That is why I believe that Trump is God’s man in this hour. I believe that he is highly anointed for such a time as this.

Sure he makes mistakes and the whole world has seen his every imperfection. But he values the things that matter to God.

He’s pro life. He prays. He’s for the church. He stands on the Godly side on most of the decisions he needs to make.

I’ve heard the comment often, that our presidential options are so bad that the best we can do is pick the lesser of the evils.

Guys, I think that is an awful statement to make. I think it’s insulting not only to a Trump but to God as well. I believe that God put Trump on this earth for this precise season. This is his time to shine, to make a difference.

As humans, we aren’t capable of seeing everything that God sees. That is why we cannot form our opinions on what we see physically. We must instead put on our spiritual glasses and see things from a spiritual perspective. We’ve got to see it from Gods perspective.

Back to the debate… did you know that a demonic Attack on a person can lead to physical problems? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Trump ended up with Covid mere days after the debate.

Again, I don’t believe he was debating against just Biden, I believe the real debate was happening in the spiritual realm.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

I am well aware that Trump isn’t perfect and that he has a fairly messy past.

However, I do not believe that any of that makes it impossible for God to use him now. It’s one thing for the world to judge him but for Christians to see him as less than, or to say God can’t work through him because Of his flaws or because of where he can from is seriously unbiblical.

Here is a list of the people that God chose to use. It’s in the Bible guys so I’d say Trump qualifies just fine.

Before you say you (or someone) else isn’t qualified…

NOAH got drunk.

ABRAHAM was too old.

ISAAC was a daydreamer.

JACOB lied.

LEAH was ugly.

JOSEPH was abused.

MOSES was a murderer and couldn’t talk.

GIDEON was afraid.

SAMSON had long hair and was afraid.

RAHAB was a prostitute.

JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young.

DAVID was a murderer and adulterer.

ELIJAH was suicidal.

ISAIAH preached naked.

JONAH ran from God.

NAOMI was a widow.

JOB went bankrupt.

JOHN THE BAPTIST ate bugs.

PETER denied Christ.

The DISCIPLES fell asleep while praying.

MARTHA worried about everything.

MARY MAGDLENE was demon possessed.

The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced…more than once…

ZACCHEUS was too small.

PAUL was a murderer.

TIMOTHY had an ulcer.

and LAZARUS was dead!

Remember the words of the apostle Paul:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (1 Cor 4:6-7)

I love that so much!🙂

In conclusion, I think we should focus on what God is doing through Trump in this season rather then focusing on where Trump is messing up.

I think as Christians we should be warring for him in the spiritual realm.

I believe that we should be interceding for him 24/7.

I believe that the prayers and the worship of the righteous is what will get Trump re-elected and turn our country around.