Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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February 2009




February 2nd, 2009
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." ("Whoever does not love does not know God" - 1st part of 1 John 4:8)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is Love.  (Because God is love. - 2nd part of 1 John 4:8)

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us..."  1 John 3:16
Brotherly Love - Defined
Our family has had it's fair share of ups and downs.  We've had our moments of discontent, anger, disappointment. We had our disagreements, arguments even moments of impending failure. I have been stressed, fed up and had days of sheer exhaustion.  However one thing has Always remained the same, our home is filled with LOVE!  Of all the things that we could achieve in this world, if we have not love, than we have NOTHING! For without God, who is Love, all hope is shattered, all things passed away, eternity is forever lost!! With every breath I breathe I am so grateful for the Love of an awesome Savior.  I am so grateful for the love of my husband. I am so grateful for the love of my children, my family. I am so grateful for Love Himself.  I pray that Love is revealed in my words, thoughts and actions more with each passing day. May my steps be led by Love's own hand! Lord, without your love, I would not even be capable of loving.  So right now I ask, Lord, fill me up. Fill me until my heart is full, for  "Covered by Your Love divine... Child of the risen Lord....to hear you say this one's mine.....
                     
My Heart is Spoken For!"



February 3rd, 2009
I tell you what folks. I have some gifted children! I have never seen the likes of children with so much talent. I would have to say they are on the verge of genius.  This morning, Eli passes by and a trial of fumes lingers behind him. In a disgusted tone I ask, "Elijah did you have an accident!" Quickly he replies with, "No Mommy!" In disbelief I ask again, "Elijah did you potty in your pants?!" "No Mommy!" Carefully I take a peek inside his pullup and find a very unpleasant surprise. "Elijah Donavin you DID potty in your pants." "No Mommy, My not do it. Neni do it." I let out a big sigh, "Reni pooped in YOUR pants." "Yep!" Okay, whatever!!  A few hours later, Serenity passes by me.  The paint on the wall starts to peel as the stinch lingers behind her. "Serenity did you go potty in your pullup."  Innocently she also answers with, "No Mommy, My not do it" Again carefully I peek inside, "Oh Serenity you DID go potty in your pants!" Then with a very sincere tone she replied, "No Mommy, I not do it. Ligah go poop in (she points to her diaper) there!"  Obviously he was repaying the previous favor!
Yes folks, I have some talented children. Some kids can read by the age of two, Some can count before they can walk. My toddlers have the ability to potty in each other's pants.  Or maybe..... they're just smart enough to blame it on each other!  Either way, genius...pure genius! 
I really hope you're feeling my sarcasm. :)

I just want to add a quick "Happy 5th Birthday!" to our nephew Bryer.
Wow they do grow up fast!



February 4th, 2009

"I sat there for hours at a time just reading, praying and crying. We would take the authority that Christ has given us to bind the sickness and disease, commanding her body to line up with the Word of God. Man said my baby was sick, God said my baby WAS healed. We were going to believe God's words.

The nurses would walk by and stare. I could hear them whisper, but I didn't allow this to affect me. I continued to read my scriptures and pray. I knew that God would be faithful to HIS promises.

After awhile of hearing only the constant beeping and seeing only her chest move up and down with every breathe the machine breathed for her, I began to fall apart. I would poke her and tickle her, doing everything I could just to get some kind of reaction out of her, but nothing. She laid there, not even a twitch. I picked her arm up and gently let go. It fell limp and lifeless to her side. I began to cry. I cried out to God. "Lord please give me a sign that somewhere inside this body my daughter still thrives. I need to know she is still in there." 

I took my hand and gently caressed the bottom of her foot, what had before just laid motionless and lifeless, suddenly jerked back. I thought my heart might leap right out of my chest. I began to play with her. I would tickle her foot
and she would move it. We did this over and over for several minutes.

This was one of the first of many miracles to come. Still to this day, Serenity is extremely ticklish on the bottom of her feet. I know that God gave this to me because I needed it to strengthen my faith. I had to have something to hold onto. He always meets us at our level of faith. " 
Courtesy of Our Story page

 

"Offer unto God thanksgiving: and Pay thy vows unto the Most High: And Call upon me in the day of trouble: I WILL DELIVER THEE, and thou shalt GLORIFY ME." Psalm 50:14-15

Yesterday, as I was chasing Serenity from one mess to another around our house, then at my parents house then at Wal-Mart, then at... well.....you get the idea. My mind drifted back to me sitting beside her hospital bed, praying for just one tiny movement. All I needed at the time was just one tiny movement, to prove that my baby was more than a breathing machine.

As my mind begin pondering that thought, God suddenly brought Ephesians 3:20 to memory.
"And unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."

Serenity is the complete opposite of that ill little baby. She is by far the most active out of our five children. She is constantly keeping me on my toes. I hardly go a moment without wondering what mess she's making...and if I do slack off for a brief minute..I definitely regret it later.

Yes, she is the exact opposite of the baby she once was. How awesome is our God?! I am so very grateful for my Savior....not only does He swoop in and deliver us from the darkness...but He always sets us on the complete opposite side of the spectrum!

"I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12






February 6th, 2009

"....... as God hath dealt to EVERY man the measure of Faith." Romans 12:3b

I once heard a minister speak on this scripture. He was preparing a sermon and God kept leading him back to this verse. He thought.. Okay God, your word says you have dealt to every man the MEASURE of faith, but how do I explain to them how much the measure is. Is it a lot, a little that grows over a period of time, how much is THE measure?

He said immediately three little words came to mind...."It's always enough."

I thought, Wow... how very profound!

Instantly I was taken back to our journey with Serenity. God was always handing me my little "faith boosters."
(For example: Reni ticklish feet posted in the entry just above)  Every time I thought that I might just completely break down and lose it. God was always there giving me what I needed to hold on. Those little baby steps that some how catch our eye, is His way of lifting us to a new level of faith.

We ourselves can not make it in our own power, but God's Grace carries us. With every step He is lifting us higher and higher until we reach that mountaintop. When we keep our eyes focused on Him, the very moment our faith seems weak, we can call out to Him and He will send the little boosts we need to make it through. Whether it be someone with encouraging words, a scripture brought back to memory, an answered prayer, or just simply opening our eyes to see His miracle unfold.

It doesn't matter who we are, when our eyes are focused on Him, our faith is "always enough!"


Take Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, for example. I know most people give this story a bad rap. They look at it like Thomas was something less than what a disciple should be because he needed confirmation. I, on the other hand, see a completely different side to this story. I see a Savior who loves us so very much that He is willing to give us whatever we need in order to believe. Jesus did not shun Thomas for his doubt. He simply replied with,
"Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands: and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. "John 20:27


Yes blessed are those who believe without seeing, but if you need to see... then so be it. Come so that you will not be without faith.

God wants us to have faith strong enough to believe Him for all the blessings He has promised us. He knows that sometimes we need a personal confirmation and HE IS NOT OFFENDED BY THAT.

Sometimes we need Him to answer us personally. We need Him to reveal Himself in a mighty way. Sometimes we just need to see His scars and that's okay! He meets us at our own level of faith, then boosts us to a higher level until we reach that mountaintop.

God hath dealt to every man THE measure of faith. The measure... meaning there's only one measure. We all are capable of moving mountains. We are all capable of Victory in every situation in our lives! We can not do it in our own power, but Thank God that when we choose to place the measure of faith in Him...

It's ALWAYS ENOUGH!




February 8th, 2009

Reni: 
"Ligah!"

Eligah:
"What?"

Reni: 
"I bite you, k?"

Eligah:
"What?"

Reni: "I bite you...right there (points to his arm)
K?"

Elijah: "Okay!"

Serenity bends down and bites Eli in the exact spot she pointed.

Eli begins to cry: 
"Mom! Neni bite me."

Mom:
"Serenity NO!  You don't bite!!!!"

Reni shruggs her shoulders: 
"Ligah say k!"


February 10th, 2009

"Come and hear all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried unto Him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God has heard me: He has attended to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, which has Not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me." Psalm 66:16-20

 The last few days, I have felt God drawing me closer to Him.  I have felt His presence so strong surrounding me.  I sit and quiver under an anointing.  I feel God preparing my heart for something nearly surreal.  I am in anticipation of something great. 

The last few months God has placed an incredible compassion in my heart for complete strangers.  I have laid in bed weeping hours at a time for the healing of those I have never met.  He has placed such a hunger and determination in my heart.  Then I have been able to witness His hand move in each and every one of those situations. 

God chooses to answer my prayers and I often wonder why..... why my prayers.  I am so not worthy.  I am not worthy of the anointing that makes me weep uncontrollably.  I am not worthy of the spiritual "goose bumps" I'm feeling at this moment. I am not worthy of the intense heat that warms my hands when I lay them on the sick.  I am not worthy to be His instrument. Yet I feel Him longing to use me more.  I feel Him drawing me closer.  I hear Him calling out my name.  "Rise up my daughter! Rise up and take your place!"

He has been preparing me... preparing me for something great. Now I feel it is nearly at hand. 

"O Bless our God ye people and make the voice of His praise be heard.. For thou O God has proved us: You have tried us, as silver is tried. You brought us into the net: you laid affliction of our loins. You have caused men to ride over our heads, we went through fire and through water: but you brought us out into a wealthy place." Psalm 66:8-12

I can't not describe the love I feel.  I can't explain the anticipation that makes me heart leap within me.  I can not express my hunger nor thirst.
All I can do is praise Him and say "Yes Lord! Yes Lord!... although I know I am not worthy....Yes Lord, I will answer your call...."

"Oh God thou art my God, early I will seek thee; my soul thirsts for you... my flesh longs for you.... To see your power and your glory... as I have seen you before."  Psalm 63:1-2



February 11th, 2009

Eli and Serenity are getting ready to take a bath.  Elijah clothes get wet in the process.  Serenity notices and bends down to pick up an article of his clothing.  She holds it at arms length and gives a disgusted expression.

Serenity:  "Eeewww! Ligah's panties are wet!"

Eli: very defensive.. "Those no panties, Neni.  I air wonder wear."

Serenity:  "What?"

Eli:  "Girls air panties....I a boy... Us air wonder wear!"

Serenity:  "Why?"

Eli:  points to the underwear, "See em' duperheroes? Girls air pretty princesses. Boys no like princesses. Boys air duperheroes!

Serenity:  "Oh!" nods her head then "Ligah?"

Eli: "What?"

Serenity: "Er duperheros pee on der panties."

Eli:  very loud and forceful   "NENI
those no panties...I toad you... those wonder wear and my duperheros not pee on em' there is a slight pause.. then quietly he adds.........I do it."



February 13th, 2009


Two years ago today, Serenity was enduring reconstructive open-heart surgery. Mommy, Daddy, Nanny, Poppy and God were right there by her side through it all.  It's so hard to believe that it's been two years since her surgery. It's been two years since her first Valentine's Day... 
                
She's grown so much and she's come so very far. It's all because of God's mercy, grace and most of all HIS LOVE!


On a funnier note..... As I was going through old pictures, I came across this one....


               
She was throwing a fit because she didn't want her picture taken. I know I shouldn't laugh...but......then again.... It's just so very funny!  :)



February 17th, 2009
             "I compare you to a kiss from a rose..."

                         
Every year for Valentine's Day, Tommy not only blesses me with beautiful roses, but he always buys his other very special girls some as well. 

Kayleigh is old enough that she actually anticipates their arrival.  The moment her daddy walked through the door, she just knew at least one of those beautiful bouquets belonged to her.
"Which one's mine daddy?" she immediately blurted out.   

Serenity just absolutely loved her roses.  She not only kissed them over and over again, she also danced with them...spinning around and around....
                  

Gracee just couldn't stop smelling her pretty flowers.  "Mama they smell SOOOO good!"
                           


I on the other hand,  appreciate the simple beauty I see in a rose.  It's the beauty of simplicity that brings a tear of warm joy to my eyes.    
                            

                Aren't they just beautiful?  Here take a closer look.....

                   
     Now tell me those aren't the most beautiful roses you've ever seen!

                  Yeah.... My baby did good!  He did REAL' good!
                                           I love ya honey!



February 18th, 2009
                              
I bet you're wondering what that big blob of goo is on top of little Reni's head.  Well....at our house a nice friendly breakfast isn't as simple as it may seem....

Reni: "Ligah, You put bubber on er toast?"

Eli: "Yep!"

Reni: "Why?"

Eli: "Cause it tastes good.... and then I eat it!"

Reni: "Oh! I eat toast too!"

Eli: "Neni you want some butter on er toast?"

Reni: "Yeah"

Eli: "K... come here closer..."

Suddenly I hear Reni scream

Reni: "NO.....!   MOMMY!"

Mommy: "What's wrong Reni?"

Reni: "Ligah's gonna eats me!"

Mommy: "What?"

Reni: "Ligah bubbered my head.... now I taste good."

Mommy:
"Don't worry Reni, Elijah's not going to eat you."

                            
 "Hmm...I wonder if I would taste even better with a head full of jam."



February 19th, 2009

"Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." Mark 10:15

The faith of a child never ceases to amaze me.  The other day Elijah was playing rough, like boys tend to do, and accidently scratched his tiny hand.  He came to me with the start of tears in his little eyes.

Eli:  "Mommy, I hurt (pointing to the outer side of his hand) right there.

Mommy: "Oh Eli, you want Mommy to kiss it"

Eli: with a pouty quivering lip "Yeah Mommy kiss it."

I bend down a place a big kiss right on the ouchie.

Mommy:  "There does that feel better?"

Eli: not quite convinced "Yeah a little better."

Then suddenly he perks up!  With a great big smile and hope filled eyes he blurts out his announcment.

Eli:  "I know!  Jesus will make it all better.  He make Neni all better and he make me all better too!"

Mommy:  "Yes He will, Elijah! Good boy! You ask Jesus to make you all better!"

He runs excitingly away to play.  A few minutes later he returns still smiling from ear to ear.

Eli:  "Mommy Jesus make me all better! It don't hurt more.  See Mommy I toad you Jesus make me better too."

I give him a little smile of approval

Mommy: "Yes Eli you sure did!"

I think that every adult could use a lesson from a child when it comes to the concept of faith.  Eli never said, well if God feels up to it today, if it be His will...or if He feels the need to.... He simply said, "Jesus will make it all better." That was it! Plain and simple! Then he skipped off, confident it would happen....and....it did!



 

February 21st, 2009

Once again Eli was playing rough and ended up with a boo boo.  He fell and hit his head against a wall.  Mommy hears his cry.

Mommy: "Eli what's wrong?"

Eli: rubbing his head "That wall.....that wall...it hit me!"

Mommy: trying not to laugh "That wall hit you? Ahem.. Well, that mean ole' wall. We'll have to teach it a lesson."

Serenity over hears the conversation and never misses an opportunity to be cute. She  picks up a nearby broom and defensively poses facing the enemy (you know...the wall).

Reni: "Wall ou wanna piece of me? Wall you hear me? speaking louder.. Ou wanna piece of... me?    Hi Ya!"

She swiftly hits the wall with one side of the broom...then the other.  She stops for a second to stare with a mean glare. Then talks to the wall in her normal third person way.

Reni: "Wall ou have nuf Neni? Neni say.. Ou eve Ligah lone....K? she then answers herself....K!"

Eli: lovingly places his arm around his sister "Thank ou, Neni! Ou my hero."

Serenity drops the broom in triumph. Then together they walk away confident that mean ole' wall will never mess with them again!


February 24th, 2009

We spent the entire day at church.  We had prayer this morning, then this afternoon we did some painting on the new building.  Elijah and Serenity enjoyed their play date with their cousin Talynn, especially Eli. He never runs out of good things to say about his beautiful little friend.

Eli: Mommy, Talynn's my VERY best friend.

Mommy:  "Yes, I know....You love Talynn!"

Eli: "Yep! We're gettin' married!"

Mommy:  "Oh, you are?" 

Eli:  "Yep!"

Mommy:  "Eli, why do people get married?"

Eli:  casually shrugs his shoulders "I dunno"

Mommy: "Well then....why are YOU getting married to Talynn?

Eli: with his best "well duh" attitude  "Cuz Talynn toad me to!"

Mommy: trying hard not to laugh "Oh I see and what are you going to do once your married."

Eli: again shruggs his shoulders and sighs out a "Dunno! Talynn tell me that later"  

Mommy thinks to herself:

Wow!  He knows more about marriage than I thought!... wipes away a tear...sniff...sniff.....My baby's becoming a man! 


February 26th, 2009

"But let all those who put their trust in You REJOICE: let them ever shout for joy, because You will defend them; let them also who love Your name be joyful in You. For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as a shield." Psalm 5:11-12

Recently, Tommy's place of employment had a HUGE layoff.  Many people were left without jobs.  However, Tommy's job was spared.  They were forced to cut back his hours, which is not great, but Praise the Lord he still has a job.  I just wanted to take the time and give our Heavenly Father the Glory and Praise for His shield of favor.  I am so very thankful for the many blessings of serving such an Awesome Savior!

Please remember to pray for the families who are unemployed! Pray that they each will seek God as their source, For

"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:19

"The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich and he addeth no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22

"Let them shout for joy, and be glad that favor my righteous cause: yea let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. " Psalm 35:27


February 27th, 2009

Yesterday was a beautiful 60 degrees.  The kids really enjoyed inhaling all that warm fresh air as they played outside.  Yes, it was clearly a day meant for outdoor play.  So believe me when I tell you I have absolutely no idea.. whatsoever... as to WHY Serenity insisted on spending her time outdoors dressed like this:

                          
 She absolutely refused to take off Eli's spiderman hat and mittens. Oh well...she had fun!  You just gotta love our silly willy "Neni"! 



 

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