Through the Valley
of
Serenity
Our Family's Miracle Journey
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November 2010



Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?


This is one of Serenity's absolute FAVORITE songs! She is constantly walking around the house singing..."Oh No! You nebber let go... through the calm and through the storm...Oh No! You Nebber let go...Lord you nebber let go of ME."  The words are forever embedded into her memory.  She sings while playing with her dolls, while drawing pretty pictures, even while sitting on the potty. She LOVES this song! Her eyes instantly light up the moment it begins to play. At the first note, she immediately lifts her hands in praise. As I listen to her sing these lyrics I can't help but notice the connection.  Although her mind may not conscientiously understand her reasoning for loving to belt out these words of Praise.  I certainly understand! For I know that during those difficult moments when I could not hold her, she was not alone.  For Jesus was snuggling her tightly and I thank God with every fiber of my being that HE NEVER LET GO! 

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on..
And there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes...
STILL I WILL PRAISE YOU... STILL I WILL PRAISE YOU!


Oh No! You never let go! Through the calm and through the storm.
Oh No, you never let go, every high and every low.
Oh No! You never let go!
Lord, You never let go of me!


THANK YOU LORD FOR NEVER LETTING GO!



November 1, 2010
Our God is an AWESOME God!  He takes special care of His children.  Over the past several years, He has been teaching me how to completely rely on Him for our every need.  It all started with Serenity.  He took us to a place where all we had was His promise for healing. I thank God that's all we EVER need.  Lately He has been teaching me to rely on Him financially.  I praise God that I don't have to depend on this economy to supply my needs.  I praise God that I don't have to depend on the stability of any job.  For the word says MY GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL MY NEEDS.  Even if He has to rain manna from heaven or put coins in a fishes mouth.  When we have a heart of pure trust and obedience to tithe and give (especially in our need) He has promised to open the windows of Heaven and pour out a blessing that we can not contain.  I praise Him because He is such an awesome God. 
Today, I took Serenity and Eli to a dental appointment.  It was the second in a series appointments, unfortunately.  Eli has several cavities and Serenity had one....no more candy at Nanny and Papa's house!  Any way, their dentist is about 85 miles away.  My sister found him through one of her friends.  He is a rare breed of dental professionals that embraces the idea of parents supporting their kids during procedures.  Most dental offices I had been to in the past, would not allow me to go back with my children.  This did NOT sit well with me!  Tami told me about our dentist now.  I thought it was well worth the drive to check it out.  The moment I walked in the door I felt a certain comfort and peace.  Everything was so relaxed and open.  Everyone was so warm and friendly.  I knew right away we had found our pediatric Dentist.  We have since been going to him for a few years now.  We don't see him often, only a couple times a year, but he's always warm and welcoming to the kids.  Anyway... on our way to see him today, I mentioned to Tommy that I was out of gas. Eli's tooth really needed to be fixed, so not going really wasn't an option.  So I had to stop and put as much gas in as my checking account would allow.  First problem, I knew it would get me THERE but I was HOPING it would be enough to get me HOME. Second problem, I didn't know how I was going to cover the money I spent. We had other expenses coming up soon.  However, I told him that we we're just going to trust God.  I knew that He would come through. He always does! 
After we arrived, the kids were soooo good.  They sat perfectly still and did everything the dentist asked. They never once complained or whined.  I was such a proud Mommy!   Their Dentist was proud of them as well, because he told them they could pick out 2 toys from the chest instead of just one today.  As they were choosing their prizes, their incredibly generous Dentist goes into another room and returns with money in his hand.  He places a folded bill into my hand and says..."This is for gas and the kids something to eat on the way home."  My eyes immediately filled with tears.  We barely know this man.  He had NO IDEA I desperately needed gas money to get home, but GOD DID!  Holding back tears, I managed to utter out a "Thank you." then proceeded to check out.  When I got to the car, I opened my hand to see a $50 bill.
                            HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD!
 I am so thankful for a God that I can trust to take care of ALL my needs regardless of the circumstances around me. I so thankful that He continues to bless us and does so in ways that we least expect so we never forget the ONE who provides for us! I am sooo thankful for the shield of favor He places around our family. I'm so very thankful that He led us to a generous man who listens to his heart and is obedient to freely give! Our God is AWESOME and those who allow Him to work through them are awesome as well! :)

For you, oh Lord, will bless the righteous.
With favor You surround Him as with a shield.
Psalm 5:12

             
Let them shout for joy and be glad
Who favor my righteous cause
And let them say continually,
"Let the Lord be Magnified,
who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."
Psalm 35:27

                   Great is thy Faithfulness Oh Lord!


November 2, 2010

On October 25th, our little Eli turned 5 years old.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he replied..."Monkey cupcakes!"  "Monkey cupcakes?"  I asked.. "I meant, what do you want for a GIFT?"  "Oh..." he said.." I want a toy gun to hold while I eat my monkey cupcakes."  I guess around this house you might need one! lol  We love our little monkey and wanting to make his day extra special.  So we honored his birthday request.
I had never made monkey cupcakes before, but we did some experimenting and came up with some pretty cute ones I think. 
                         Here are some pictures of his special day.
November 3rd, 2010

And yet another birthday.... This is definitely our celebrating time of year! Kayleigh turned 10 years old today.  Hitting the double digits means only one thing to her... she FINALLY gets to get her ears pierced.  She was sooo excited!  Happy Birthday Baby Girl! We Love You!
                     Here are a few pictures of her special day.
November 4th, 2010

The way the song actually goes....
"The windows of Heaven are open. The blessings are flowing tonight. There is joy, joy, joy in my heart, since Jesus made everything right.  I gave him my old tattered garment. He gave me a robe of pure white. I'm feasting on manna from heaven and that's why I'm happy tonight."


The way Eli & Serenity have been singing it all day...
"The winnows of Heaven are opened. The blessings are FLOATING tonight.  There's joy, joy, joy in my heart since Jesus made everything white. I gave Him my old scattered garbage (boy ain't that the truth) He gave me a robe I don't know why.  I'm sensing a man from Heaven and that's why I'm happy tonight." :)



November 5th, 2010

Last month we took Serenity in for her annual check up with her favorite cardiologist! EKG and Echo were, of course, FANTASTIC!  Blood pressure and pulse ox, were PERFECT!
?
"The LORD will PERFECT that which concerns me;" Psalm 138:8

So glad we serve a God that not only corrects our concerns... but PERFECTS them! He turns the IMPOSSIBLE into His GLORIFIED POSSIBLE for those who will ask and believe!
 
To the nurses who snickered while I recited healing scripture around the clock.. To the Doctors who thought my faith filled words were merely symptoms of denial... To the world report that stated surviving that diagnosis was impossible without lifelong medication and transplant...
                     LOOK WHAT OUR GOD HAS DONE!
            
                                To Him be ALL the Glory...
            
                           Forever and Ever... AMEN!



November 6th, 2010

          We have recently discovered a hidden talent in Gracee. 
               
She has definitely found her niche in soccer.  Tommy and I are completely amazed by her natural ability. She went into the season literally knowing nothing about the game except the fact that it looked fun and she wanted to try it.  Then because of a mix up in paper work, she started the season late. She literally had only ONE hour of practice before her first game. By half time she had already scored her first goal. :o
 Everyone was very impressed with her aggressive playing skills and I was completely surprised by it. I had no idea my baby could be so aggressive. She gets out there and chases that ball. She plows over anyone who gets in her way. Then she guides it all the way down the field with ease. It's like she's stuck in her own personal soccer zone. Whistle blows and game face is on. She picks up on new techniques as if she's been playing them for years. Amazing I tell ya.. amazing! 
With every practice her game continues to improve.  Today she scored all three of her teams goals and would have scored a few more had her aim not been a few inches off.  Yes... Gracee has definitely found her niche and I'm excited to see what the future has in store for my baby and soccer. I know in the years to come, she will only continue to improve!
                 


November 7th, 2010

Our little miracle turned four years old today! Eli's monkey cupcakes inspired us to try piggy cupcakes.  They turned out pretty cute as well, but the best part was making the pig sty cake.  Since a pig sty is not supposed to look "good" the kids were able to get really involved with it's creation.  I let them have free reign with the icing.  After all, what could they hurt... IT'S A PIG STY!  :)  They all had a blast! 
                           Here are some pix of her special day!


November 8th, 2010

Working on updating the site! I'm sorry we missed the entire month of October.  So much going on! I will be posting some pix of the kids costumes soon! We had the whole Scooby gang this year!




November 9th, 2010

Curious about my feelings on halloween?  You can read my thoughts on any October Journal page.  In short we do not celebrate the traditional halloween. However, I do allow my children to dress up in costumes that are not considered scary or evil.  Just as I would allow them to play dress up on any other day. I believe every day is the day that the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it!
                   Here are pictures of our family playing dress up.



November 10th, 2010

The school's fall carnival is coming up soon.  The kids are collecting 2 liter bottles of pop for the pop toss. This morning as the older kids were leaving with their pop bottles I reminded Eli..."Don't forget you have to take your bottle of root beer to school today." Since he doesn't go to school until later in the day I didn't want him to forget.  He responded with a carefully devised plan... "Okay Mom, this is the plan.  Before we leave I'll look in my hands and if it's not there, I'll say Mom give me my root beer, okay?"  I smiled and gently patted his head..."Okay Sweetie!"

Several hours later we pull up in front of the school and suddenly I realize..."Oh Eli we forgot your root beer!"  Disappointingly Eli glances down at his empty palms... "OH MANNN!  I forgot to look in my hands!"  
                I think tomorrow we might need a better plan! :)





November 15th, 2010

I always say that God puts a special fight in those whom He knows will need it for survival.  Its a special personality trait that doesn't go away once that person is well... nope based on experience I would say it GROWS with age. Serenity may be a small, skinny little thing, but she has a MIGHTY heart.  She's a strong determined leader.  Sometimes that strength isn't always easy for Mommy & Daddy to... shall we say... guide. 

In our particular case... strong fight means... BIG mouth! :0  Serenity is quite the little sass talker... a trait that seems to have her sitting in the naughty chair quite often these days.

Like the other day... Serenity woke up sassing everyone.  Then after a full day of calmly correcting her mistreatment to others, she finally crossed the line. She sassed her Mommy. That was it... I had enough! I raised my voice and sternly scolded..."Serenity! If you know what's good for you, you will not back talk your mother!"  Without hesitation, Serenity smiled a sly grin then calmly replied..."Well... I DON'T know what's good for me. That's becuz, I'm justa kid... so Ha.. Ha.. Ha!"  Bombs bursting in air, steam coming out my ears, all while desperately struggling not to LAUGH. Seriously? Did I just get outwitted by a three year old... AGAIN?!  I can still picture her tiny little head rolling around that cute little neck w/ her finger pointed up in that "as a matter of fact" stance and tone.
Seriously? I just got outwitted by a three year old... AGAIN?! That day I managed to control my anger (and laughter) and Serenity managed to learn a thing or two about what is truly "good" for her.... discipline.

You can see what I mean... Serenity was born with quite the little personality.  Guiding our little miracle is a challenge to say the least. Constantly being outwitted by a toddler, can be very demeaning at times. Here I am... big, stern mommy and this tiny little blessing is constantly putting me in my place.  So I know that most will understand my excitement when I say... I FINALLY stumped HER!  Yes... I FINALLY left Serenity SPEECHLESS! I FINALLY made it onto the Serenity vs Mommy scoreboard!

The other morning before school, the kids and I prayed as usual.  Afterward Serenity exclaims... "Mommy! Eli had his eyes open while you were praying.  You need to get him in trouble! Eyes are POST to be closed and head down." I causally reply..."Oh you're absolutely right honey. Eyes are supposed to be closed and head down while praying. But I have just one question. Tell me, little Miss Tattle Tail... How do you KNOW he had his eyes open if YOUR eyes were closed?" I squint my eyes in suspicion. "Your eyes WERE closed weren't they?"  Serenity instantly realized she had been caught. She dropped her head in defeat and sighed... "Aww... NUTS!"
Score is...            
                        Serenity: 1, 235,456 ;  Mommy: 1

 


November 19th, 2010


Wow! WHAT A WEEK! So much happening and most not good, but still praising our Savior! More on the details of a hard week later. Just wanted to share something cute. 
Serenity spent yesterday with a tummy virus.  Poor little thing couldn't keep anything down and felt just awful. She managed to become quite dehydrated which concerned us all. Yesterday afternoon she snuggled up beside me and whispered..."Mommy pray for me."  My heart just broke for her, but at the same time rejoiced. Serenity knows who THE HEALER is and she also knows that she can trust me to pray for her. If I accomplish nothing else as a mother, my work would still be complete! It thrills me to be asked such a question. So I accepted the great honor and together we prayed. Afterward Serenity declared in a weak little voice... "In Jesus name, I am healed!"  Such amazing faith for such a tiny little girl!

God always honors our faith! Today she is feeling MUCH better.  She is up riding her tricycle and drinking plenty of Pedialyte and Gatorade.  However, as a precaution, I'm still keeping track of her urine output. I want to make sure she is drinking enough to rehydrate her body. Earlier I asked... "Sweetie...How many times have you gone tinkle today?"  She placed her finger on her chin and looked up as if she was thinking really hard..."Ummm... afer I woked up... afer I dranked my daterade and umm... oh yeah... when I tooked a bath." 
When you took a bath?  lol  Uh yeah... That's Good to know!!!!!
Think I'll go clean the bathtub now. :)



November 24th, 2010

As mentioned before, Last week was a CRAZY week! It didn't start out that way.  As a matter of fact, It started out great! Sunday on the way home from church, the kids and I were discussing how much everyone really wanted a bigger house somewhere in the country.  We have been praying for awhile, but had never gotten very serious about it.  However, something changed within us Sunday. God put a little fire in our bellies.  We went driving around the countryside, looking at houses and claiming them in faith. We had a long talk about how money is not our source, a job is not our source, but GOD is our source.  Over the years we have been slowly learning the lesson on how to rely on HIM solely!  I wanted to pound into my children that it doesn't matter how the circumstances look like... ALL things are possible with God.  We never have to settle for less than the desires of our heart.  We just sow seeds of obedience and faithfulness then wait patiently for God to deliver them in His time. 
We had an awesome time in the Lord.  The next morning we awaken, on fire.. thanking God for the house that He was preparing for us.  The kids began speaking it in faith daily... calling those things that are not as though they are.  Over the last couple of months, God has spoken through several people that blessings were heading our way.. in a BIG way.  We are standing in faith believing!
So know that anytime we make the decision to stand in faith believing God for ANYTHING.  Satan is going to come and TRY to change our minds.  If you remember correctly, after I received God assurance for Serenity's healing, immediately doctors came with their impossible reports.  I have no doubt that if I had accepted my daughter's fate, that is exactly what we would have had to face.  However, we chose to listen to a Higher authority.  We chose to stand on God's promises.  By the Grace of God, We chose to believe the report of the Lord!  They thought I was in denial, but we never backed down.  You can guarantee that anytime you chose to stand in faith for something, satan will come full force to change your mind.  This time was no different. 

Wednesday started off bad... lots of little insignificant things went wrong.  Then that evening as we were getting ready for church.  Eli came running into my room heading for the bathroom.  The floor was wet from kids taking a shower.  He slipped on a puddle of water, slid toward the toilet and gashed his head open just above his brow.  Thankfully, the cut wasn't very deep, but it was fairly wide. It was a hard call on whether or not it needed stitches.  With it being on his face, I didn't want to take any chances.  So I loaded up all the kids and headed to the emergency room.  It was POURING down rain!  The roads were flash flooding and it was still coming down full force. I got in the car.. first thing I noticed... the gas gauge was below E.  (BIG SIGH)  Drive to the gas station, get out of the car again in the rain.  Swipe my debit card... computer says DENIED. "WHAT? I KNOW THERE IS MONEY IN THERE!"  Check the card to make sure I didn't grab one that had expired.  Nope! It was the right one.  Swipe it again... DENIED!  So I'm standing in the rain with this confused look on my face.  Eli is in the car, blood running down his face as he holds a washcloth on his head.  "Okay... I know the company deposited Tom's check this morning.  We should have a week's pay in there."  I swiped it one more time.... DENIED!  UGH! I managed to scrap up enough money to make due.  Then I headed back to the house.  Ran to the computer and pulled up my checking account online to discover a HOLD on our account.

The bank was holding money out of our account for a bill that we were already making monthly payments on.  We had been paying them $200 a month, every month at the same time. As a matter of fact, I had just paid them the week before. Yet, apparently that wasn't enough, because they had Tom's entire paycheck tied up and then some.  Never informed me they were going to do so.  Left me stuck in the rain with five small children and no gas to get to the emergency room. Not to mention, without even a PENNY for an entire WEEK. Talk about one HOT mama! 

On the way to the er.  God gets a hold of me again... that small still voice whispers... "Peace be still and faint not!"  I was NOT going to allow the enemy to steal my peace.  I was NOT going to allow him to break my faith! God's words says, he will rebuke the devourer on our behalf and that is exactly what is at work here.  They had no just cause to do what they did.   God was, is and will ALWAYS be in control.  I just had to trust Him.  The kids and I began praying fiercely. 
"Lord together we stand on your promise that the devourer is REBUKED off of our finances right now in the name of Jesus!"

We manage to make it to the emergency room.  Good news is no stitches.  They were able to get by with merely a butterfly bandage.  He did very well.  Never even cried through the entire process.  The nurses were very impressed.  As were the security guards who watched my other four children in the waiting room.  As soon as I entered the room, they began boasting about my family's behavior! Makes a mama proud! We are blessed in every way and God's favor is upon us! :)

So from there we drive straight to church. Make it just in time.  I acknowledge our experience for exactly what it was.. an attack of the enemy.  I stand up and testify that I know God has BIG plans for our family.  If we were not on the right track, the enemy would have no reason to attack us.  I began giving God praise for what's about to be accomplished!  The dark is always darkest just before the dawn.  We are going to behold a GLORIOUS dawn... VERY soon!

After church, I drive straight home.  On the way there, I start feeling a slight pain in my right side.  The closer I get to home, the stronger the pain gets.  By the time I pull into the driveway, it's so severe I can hardly walk.  I make it inside and lye down.  The longer I lay there, the more it begins to hurt.  Noah, concerned, calls my parents from the other room.  They show up within a matter of minutes. Between my parents and my husband, the decision is made to return to the ER.  We rarely ever have to go to the emergency room and now here we are going TWICE in ONE NIGHT... UNBELIEVABLE! 

Get there... the doctor is very concerned that it may be my appendix... run some tests... blah blah blah... blood work comes back abnormal... he's now is more concerned that it may be my appendix.  I begin praying, speaking healing over my body, trusting God.  He sends me for a cat scan. Turns out it is NOT my appendix.  Just something minor that will resolve on it's own in a few days.  Sends me home with pain meds that I end up NOT having to take.  Good as new by morning!

Then the following day, as you may have read above,  Serenity starts puking.  She becomes dehydrated very quickly.  Doctor says she may have to be hospitalized for an IV.  At the last minute, he decides to try nausea medicine at home with Pedilyte.   Thank God! We did not want to do a third hospital trip in one week.  With lots of prayer, Serenity of course, bounces back very quickly.  She's able to maintain hydration without hospital stay.  She was back to normal within 24 hours. As for our checking account... it took a long conversation with A LOT of hateful people, but we managed to get everything worked out and every CENT of our money back in the bank by the next day.  We have since moved our checking account to another bank that I have VERY good feelings about.  That is something I don't think we ever would have done if this incident had not occurred.  God has His reasons for allowing the enemy room to wiggle.  He works everything out for our Good!

If you will notice a pattern here... All of these things could have been horrific, IF we had lost our faith or become discouraged, but we stood firm, prayed and just trusted God.  When we are on the brink of something great, the enemy will come at us full force.  he will throw everything he can throw to discourage us, but the only power he has over us, is what we give him.  As long as we continue to trust God, despite the circumstances around us, satan has no power over us.  Circumstances are just circumstances, they can't change TRUTH.  We will always have two choices... do I believe the report the world is giving me... or do I believe the report of the Lord?  We receive what we believe! As for me and my family, we choose to ALWAYS believe the report of the LORD!

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." Ephesians 3:20


Notice the last part of that scripture... according to the power that works in us... We have to do our part... we have to BELIEVE! So the Holy Spirit residing within us can bring about God's blessings in our lives! :)

Mark my words my friends... BIG WONDERFUL BLESSINGS ARE HEADING FOR THIS FAMILY! I don't know when.  I don't know how, but I KNOW THEY ARE A COMING!  WONDERFUL THINGS BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD HOPE OR IMAGINE!  Watch for it.... watch with expectation...
   HUGE BLESSINGS ARE COMING AND COMING VERY SOON!



November 25, 2010

"Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess 5:16-18

                                     With Grateful Hearts we say....

         

                          Happy Thanksgiving!





November 26th, 2010

We have finally hit the last birthday for this month. Our little Gracee turned 8 years old today.  My how time has flown.  We brought her home on Thanksgiving Day and every year since she has given us so many reasons to be truly thankful!
                        Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

            
                            We Love You So Very Much!



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