Thursday, February 25, 2010

And the Winner is...

I've shared how I've set up a competition in the morning between siblings and their buddies to accomplish morning tasks on time. So, I thought I would share with you how this week went. Monday, Kaitlyn and Micah won. Tuesday, Christiana and Matthew won. Wednesday, Josiah and Jonathan won. Thursday, (our last day to compete because I need to get said dessert and because Friday is usually sleep in day) tie between Kaitlyn and Micah, and Josiah and Jonathan. Since two teams won they had to agree on a dessert together. And their choice is...cookies and cream ice cream. It's amazing how something as simple as ice cream can bring about such a change in my home and our schedule (and my sanity).

The cool thing that I realized while explaining how this competition works to a losing team one day is that in the end, everyone still wins. The winners aren't the only ones who get to enjoy the dessert. Everyone gets to have some because everyone worked really hard and accomplished their tasks. The winning team (or teams as this week played out) just gets to choose what the treat is (losing team was ok with losing after this realization, however, they still like winning).

So, we'll see how next week plays out. My oldest daughter (14) has already informed the other two teams to watch out because she and her buddy plan on taking the gold next week. I'll keep you posted :)

Twitter lingo

Ok, so this post may make me sound a bit ignorant, but that's alright. I figure that if I don't ask I'll never learn. I'm looking for some help with twitter lingo. I read tweets and wonder, "What does that mean/" all the time. For instance, what does it mean when there is a # in front of a site address? What does RT mean? What does the @ symbol in front of an address mean? What does the number above my message box stand for and why can I sometimes leave long messages with no problem and can't tweet short messages? And how do you link an address into your tweet? If anyone can help me I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Helper - Wordless

Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday posts head over to

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Final

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued... today finishes the article.

We are Preserved Spiritually
The context of the Scripture in I Timothy 2:13-15 is that we will be saved from deception. Verse 14 NEB says, "It was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who, yielding to deception, fell into sin. Yet she will be saved through motherhood..." The more women move away from the purpose for which they were created, the more prone they are to get into deception. Embracing motherhood keeps us in the perfect will of God. Embracing child-bearing keeps us waling in the very purpose for which we were created.
Thousands of women have been lured from the home by humanists and feminists trying to find their fulfillment in their career outside the home. They have been deceived to think that childbearing is an inferior task when all along it is the greatest mission given to them. Many women come to me after a seminar and say, "Thank you for giving me permission to be who I really want to be!"
God didn't make two Adams to go out from the home and leave the children. He made an Adam and an Eve. He planned for the mother to be in the heart of the home and embrace and nurture children. Feminists have deceived women to believe that motherhood is second-rate, yet they themselves are deceived. They are actuallly annihilating womanhood. They purport that a woman can only find status in doing what a man does, whereas a woman doesn't have to do what a man does to find her worth. She finds her worth in who God created her to b-a woman! She has been given the wondrous gift to conceive life, to nurture it in her womb and to nourish, mother and train this life.
Each new life a woman conceives is an eternal soul that will live forever.
Motherhood is an eternal career, not some earthly aspiration that will be left behind one day. Truly, as we embrace motherhood, we are saved from deception.

Nancy Campbell

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 8

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

We are Preserved Emotionally
As we have already learned, God give calming hormones to nursing mothers that help her stress levels.
Having children also delivers us from a self-centered life. Before we have children, we have time to dote on ourselves. Some young people take at least half an hour or more to put on their make up each day. Wait until children come. They soon learn to do it in two minutes or less!
We are all prone to self-pity and selfishness but children take our mind off ourselves as we minister to their needs. This is healthy. We are much better emotionally when we care for others. Often when people come to me, depressed and full of self-pity, I encourage them to think of something they can do for someone else. We come back again to the eternal law that Jesus gave, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." (Luke 17:33)
I have observed women totally taken up with their problems, fears and phobias, but when they married and children came along they soon forgot about all their little personal problems. How wonderful to be preserved form our self-pitying, self-complacent, self-pleasing, self-satisfying, self-gratifying, self-seeking, self-pampering, self-conceited, self-opinionated, self-serving, self-preoccupied and self-centered life. There is no greater deliverance!
We can rejoice that motherhood delivers us from emotional weakness. For the sake of children we must not give into emotional stress. We have to be strong and take courage, exercising self-control and a disciplined life. And who gets blessed in doing this? You and me.
I am always challenged by 2 Corinthians 5:15. "And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again" And also John 12:24, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."

Continued later...

Face Paint and All Tied Up

Not Me Monday's are humorous true stories of real life that I experience on a daily basis. It's true, but of course "not me" who would allow that to happen (although I did). It's just me being brutally honest, knowing I'm not the only one :) So here's my first "Not Me" post.

I did not allow my 1 year olds face to get painted by his sister, because I know how difficult it can be to get face paint off of a 1 year old. No, not me. I am way too responsible for that, surly I would wash it off right away. I mean, after all, I have six other children and I know better than that.

I did not look downstairs this morning only to find this scene.

My children were working together nicely removing all the birthday streamers from this weekend. And they would never tie their younger brothers up just for fun because my children always treat others the way they want to be treated.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Pretzel Day

February 20, is Free Pretzel Day at Aunt Anne's Pretzels. If you find yourself near one between the hours of 10 am and 3pm stop by and get yourself either an original or cinnamon pretzel. Enjoy!

Helping Hands

Jonathan helping in the kitchen

If you've read my earlier posts then you know that I have a difficult time sharing the responsibility of cooking (since I LOVE to cook). I also realize that I need to teach my children how to cook, so I do share this responsibility. I just thought I would post a couple of cute pics from yesterday as proof that I am keeping my word to smile and continue letting the little ones help so that they can learn too. Just so you know, he did actually help brown the meat. I didn't just pose him there for the pic (trust me, he wouldn't have been smiling if he wasn't really cooking) and I did keep a very close eye on him while at the stove. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another successful morning

So yesterday I shared how we started getting ready in the morning by having the kids compete to see who could get ready first. Well, today I woke up to get Joshua and nurse him. After nursing him (Matthew had already come down and joined us in bed) I got up to get breakfast set. As I passed by the stairs, what would I see coming down but Josiah and Jonathan already dressed. They informed me they had already made their beds and were coming to comb their hair. I was so impressed, then Micah came down dressed and his bed made. Can I just say that I am loving this!
Needless to say Josiah and Jonathan finished breakfast and brushed their teeth and won today. It was a close call with Kaitlyn and Micah though. Again, we had plenty of time before school actually started to accomplish other things. This has become quite a stress reliever and I'm so happy to have put this into practice. Hopefully, this will keep up and my children will realize how much better their day is by starting off this way as well :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 7

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

Biodentical Hormones
Today many women are using biodentical hormones (not chemical HRT) to balance their hormones, to increase lacking libido, to feel good and to stop anti-aging. What are these hormones? They are the same hormones that increase amazingly in the pregnant woman-HCH (human growth hormone), estrogens, progesterone which increases one hundredfold and available testosterone which increases by 20 percent. Each time a woman becomes pregnant, she has all these benefits and the blessings continue throughout her life.

I'm sure you'll want to know just a few more plusses you receive from progesterone which jumps up 100 times when you are pregnant. Not only does it guard you from breast cancer, but it protects you from cardiac-related health problems and also promotes the function and maintenance of the brain. Progesterone helps alleviate anxiety and depression by increasing you reproduction of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), the neurotransmitter that causes you to feel calm and relaxed. GABA is often called the "sleep inducer"!
If all this is not enough, progesterone also improves the immune system, builds bones, improves hearing, protects from seizures and decreases allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis and water retention.

Multiple Sclerosis
Prolactin also spurs spontaneous production of myelin, a fatty substance that rebuilds a protective coating around nerve cells. This process can repair damaged nerve cells responsible for MS. A study at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute compared pregnant and non-pregnant mice of the same age group. They found that pregnant mice had twice as many myelin-producing cells as non-pregnant mice and they continued to generate new cells during pregnancy. This is another reason why MS usually goes into remission during pregnancy.

A diabetic mother who is breastfeeding her baby needs less insulin than a bottlefeeding mother.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Seventy-five percent of women who have RA go into remission when pregnant.

Continued later...

Successful Morning

Getting going every morning in our house takes a while. The kids will get up, and eat breakfast just fine, but when it comes to the next step of their morning they are in no hurry. You see, after breakfast they are to get changed,brush their teeth, comb their hair, make up their beds and take care of their buddies. They have been doing this for over two years now and I always found myself having to ask each one, "Did you brush your teeth? Did you comb your hair? Is your buddy taken care of? Did you make your bed?" Always to get the answer, "no" to some of these questions. I've always wondered what I could do to get this task accomplished without so much effort on my part.
Well, today I found the answer. I told the kids at breakfast that we were going to have a competition. Whoever could get themselves and their buddy ready first, without me having to remind them of anything, without arguing and be down in time for school, would win. Arguing or rude behavior in order to win disqualifies them automatically. I will keep track of who wins each day then on Friday Family Night the one who wins the most will get to choose the dessert or meal. Boy, you should have seen them run. Everyone was done with ALL their tasks and I didn't once have to make sure they did anything. They were done fast and had extra time before school started. I couldn't believe how quickly they worked. After I checked their rooms and verified that everything was complete, I announced the winners (because of the buddy system they win in pairs). My oldest son is already trying to figure what he can do the night before to help his morning tasks get accomplished more quickly. Now, why didn't I think of this earlier. I must admit that this idea doesn't come from me, I have read a few different places where something like this was done. I just don't know why I never applied it until now. I think that eventually I will purchase medallions like Olympic medals for the winning team to wear all day. I will keep you posted on how it continues to go for our family and if they keep up the energy like they did today.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I just mentioned earlier today that I use to help me save big on groceries. Well today when I went to her site I saw this giveaway and wanted to share it with you. She is giving away 5 cookbooks that can help you save on meals. It also comes with coupons inside and if you don't win it you can get a coupon from her site to save $1. So go enter and you may win :)


I told you a few weeks ago that I would keep you posted on how my shopping with coupons is going. I have learned that I can get better deals at Kroger (since they double coupons) using coupons than I can always get at Walmart buying store brands. Now there are always some items that are cheaper and that I still make a special trip to Walmart to purchase, but all in all I can shop at Kroger for less. You have to learn what the prices are and do your homework.
Last time I shopped at Kroger I saved almost $50 using coupons and store sales. Then I went to Walmart and purchased some card games (that I had coupons for) and saved $16. That was a fun shopping day. I would, however, love to save more. I'm learning that I do need to buy a Sunday paper because there are coupons in the paper that aren't available to print straight from your computer. But there are a LOT of coupons that you can use online. I go to the blog website where every week she actually post all the sales and where you can get coupons and what your end price will be after using the coupon. I have gotten stuff free using this website. The week I saved $50 I bought "I can't believe it's not butter" for .06 and two packages of shredded Kraft cheese free, along with some other great deals. I also keep up with to find cheap dinner meals for our family. With my family being larger than her family I spend more than $5 on some dinners but I still save in the end.
So here is another way I help to keep our budget down while we are working on getting out of debt. Every little bit helps and it really feels good when I can save :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 6

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

God is so good to the mother. he doesn't give her a baby and say, "Here you are; now you can manage on our own." Instead, He gives her two hormones to help her with mothering. Both oxytocin and prolactin are produced in the pregnant and nursing mother. Oxytocin is known by different names-the "love" hormone, the "cuddle" hormone and the "bonding" hormone. I love to call it the "calming" hormone. When the mother puts the baby to the breast and the milk lets down, she experiences a calming feeling come over her. Often she will fall to sleep on the job! This is such a wonderful boon to a mother, especially when she has a number of little children. I was not a calm and relaxed person when I started on the adventure of mother-the very opposite, in fact. But as I nursed my babies over the years, constantly being calmed by this
God-given hormone, my personality changed. My daughters used to call it "relaxin" instead of "oxytocin."
A dear young mother, who I know personally, gave birth to her third baby when her husband had an accident with very serious head injuries. It was touch-and-go for his life. Well-wishing friends advised her to wean her baby because it would be too much for her to cope with, especially as she had to drive an hour and a half to the city each day to visit her husband. But her wise mother encouraged her to continue nursing. Every day, through the long difficult months, she took her nursing baby to the hospital with her. The hormone oxytocin helped reduce her stress levels during this trying ordeal.
Oxytocin is also released in love-making, touching and even eating together. I am sure we would see a lot more peace and contentment if families would sit together and fellowship for their family meals. It is interesting that studies reveal less domestic abuse in breastfeeding families. And few breastfed mothers suffer from postpartum depression.
Oxytocin also causes contraction of the uterus, which inhibits the risk of bleeding and promotes the return of the uterus to its original shape and size.

Prolactin, which in involved in milk production, also has a calming and sedating affect upon the mother. Prolactin increases with sucking stimulation. the more a mother nurses her baby, the more prolactin she produces and the more motherly she feels. An interesting study disclosed that when prolactin was injected into a rooster, he became clucky, gathering the little chickens under his wings. Researchers on animals in the wild show that while nursing, the mother will fight to death any intruder that would touch her young one. But once she has weaned, the young animal is left to fight for itself. This hormone binds the mother to the baby and causes her to be very motherly and protective.

More later...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 5

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

Estriol, this wonderful pregnancy hormone, also has anti-aging properties.
Manufacturers are now using estriol in face creams to reduce wrinkles, maintain skin firmness, elsaticity and moisture content. This is just another proof of being preserved through motherhood. Every pregnancy will help your aging. I love this, don't you?

Adrenal Fatigue
Pregnancy can help heal the adrenals. I know a young mother who suffered with panic attacks because of going through a serious trial in her life. She feared getting pregnant again knowing she did not want to combine the traumatic panic attacks with pregnancy. Eventually, after much research she read that adrenal burn out could be remedied through pregnancy. She went ahead in faith, became pregnant and has not had a panic attack since. Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, page 252 quotes, "Pregnancy helps adrenal fatigue because the fetus produces a greater amount of natural adrenal hormones than the amount in the non-pregnant female."

More later - Oxytocin and Prolactin

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 4

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Do you feel sick when pregnant? It is the hormone, hCG, which is produced by the placenta to maintain the early stages of pregnancy. Don't despair,; try and smile for it is actually a blessing. when you feel lousy with morning sickness, remember that this hormone is helping you to prevent cancer. Johana Vanegas, M.D., a research associate at Fox Chase, revealed that rats exposed to hCG over a 21 day period (the length of rat pregnancy), are far less likely to develop breast cancer when exposed to a known carcinogen.

Estriol is a protective estrogen hormone. It is one of the three estrogens produced by the body-estrone, estradiol and striol. During pregnancy the body produces up to 1,000 times more estriol to protect teh mother and developing baby.
In one particular study, researchers compared estriol levels during pregnancy with breast cancer incidence 40 years later. Results revealed that of the 15,000 women who entered the study, those with the highest levels of estriol relative to other estrogens during pregnancy had the lowest cancer risk. As the relative level of estriol increased during pregnancy, risk of breast cancer decreased 40 years later. In fact, women with the highest level of estriol during pregnancy had 58% lower risk for breast cancer compared with women who had the lowest serum estriol levels.
Estriol has also been shown to improve EAE, MS and collagen-induced arthritis. It also has benefits for heart health, bone density and postmenopausal health.

Later - Anti-Aging and Adrenal Fatigue

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 3

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women. With every menstrual cycle, cells in the breast grow and divide and therefore have the possibility of accumulating mutations which could lead to breast cancer. Therefore, the longer a mother breastfeeds, the less likelihood of breast cancer. In The International Journal of Epidemiology it says that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer by up to 30 percent.
David Bjerklie writes in Time Magazine, "An analysis of nearly 50 studies involving 150,000 women in 30 countries found that the number of children women bear and how long they breast-feed may help determine their chance of developing breast cancer. Women who had six or seven children and breast-fed each for two years had cancer rates less than half those of women who had two or three children and breast-fed them for only two months.
And what about your figure? Breastfeeding helps you to get back into shape sooner, bringing you back to size by six weeks postpartum. And you use up to 500 calories a day while nursing! Isn't that good? I loved all the years I was nursing babies. I didn't have to worry about what I ate and I still stayed slim!

Later - Human Chorionic Gonadotropin and Estriol

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 2

Above Rubies article Preserved through Motherhood by Nancy Campbell. Continued...

We are Preserved Physically
Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is on the increase today. Twenty-two thousand women are diagnosed each year and 15,000 die of this cancer. One of the reasons is that women are cutting off childbearing. Pregnancy and breastfeeding provide a crucial resting period for the ovaries. Because of limiting their families, most women today are ovulating about 450 times during their life time instead of only about 150 times.
An article called Timing of Pregnancy and the Risk of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer states,"The accumulated evidence from epidemiological studies suggests that the risk of epithelial cancer of the ovary is strongly related to the number of ovulations throughout a woman's reproductive life." Pregnancy hormones are beneficial to the ovaries. They help to clear precancerous cells from the epithelial lining of the ovary. Because older women will have accumulated more cells than younger women, pregnancy at an older age is also a blessing." A case-controlled study revealed that women 30 years of age or older at the time of their last birth had approximately half the risk of women who completed childbearing before age 25 years. Another study reported a 60% increased risk of ovarian cancer among women who delivered their last birth before age 25 compared with women who delivered at an older age."
The more children a mother has, the less risk of ovarian cancer. Women who bear their first child before the age of 22 are less likely to develop ovarian cancer which again proves the Bible when it says,"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth." (Psalm 127:4) Interestingly, a mother who gives birth to twins, or more, reduces her risk of ovarian cancer even more than a single pregnancy.

More Later - Reduced risk of breast cancer

"Preserved Through Motherhood" Part 1

This week I will be quoting an article from the latest "Above Rubies" magazine (issue 77). It is entitled Preserved Through Motherhood and written by Nancy Campbell, creator of Above Rubies. It is so good that I want to share it with as many people as possible. I hope you are as blessed and encouraged in your womanhood and motherhood as I am by this article.

Preserved Through Motherhood

"I'm not going to have any more than two children. I don't want my figure ruined." "I've got my career. I've got more important things to do than stay home with children." "I don't want to nurse my baby; I don't want to get sagging breasts." The comments keep coming-women trying to preserve themselves from childbirth or any extra sacrifice to their womanhood.
But, in actuality, does this work? I am always challenged by the words of Jesus in Mark 8:35, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it." It is an eternal law, that when we try to save our life we end up losing it.
And what about this lovely promise in 1Timothy 2:15, NAS. "Women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self restraint." Every woman wants to be preserved. She wants her body to be preserved in good health, her figure to be in shape, and she wants to be preserved mentally and spiritually.
This world system feeds us lies. It pours out the reasons why women should not have too many babies. But God's Word says we will be preserved through embracing motherhood and the bearing of children! A woman's body was created for this task and her womanly functions atrophy when they are no longer used. The word "preserved" in 1 Timothy 2:15 is the Greek word, sozo. It means to be "protected, delivered, restored, saved and preserved." I certainly want to be preserved in my womanliness, don't you? Let's discover some of the ways we are preserved.

Continued Tomorrow. How we are preserved Physically.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I've mentioned previously that we use schedules and that I don't think I could accomplish all the things I do each day without one. I took some pictures of our schedules to show that I really do what I'm telling you I do.

I have one picture of the side of my fridge with our daily schedule and our If, Then chart (which I will talk more about later). The front of my fridge has our menu plan on it and the other side of my fridge has our chore chart on it.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have of any of these charts. As a blogger, I love receiving comments :)

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 4, 2010


Josiah doing dishes
Matthew clearing the table
Kaitlyn sweeping the kitchen
Micah vacuuming living room

Just thought I would post some pictures of my children doing their chores. As I have mentioned before, each of my children have daily chores that they are expected to do everyday so the house doesn't get out of control. With everyone doing their part, the house is more organized and there is more peace and unity. Everyone just seems to be in a better mood when things are clean. There is no way I could keep up a house with nine people living in it all by myself, so I teach my children that they have a responsibility to help as well. It keeps things in order at home as well as teaches my children how to do it for themselves one day.

I know this verse usually refers to teaching a child about walking with Jesus, but I also think it pertains to everything we teach them.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grocery Shopping

So I've shopped at Kroger the past two weeks and each time after my coupons have gone through and my Kroger card has been swiped my total has been reduced by about $20. Last week I was so excited to get two bags of shredded cheese free with coupons. I'm finding that Kroger store brands only average 1 penny more than the Walmart brand and with double coupons at Kroger I get better deals with coupons than I would with coupons at Walmart. I have a couple of blogs I go to and get all the latest sales each week and also go to the Kroger site and check out their weekly ad.

I prepare my menu for the week before I go shopping so I'm buying what I need and not spending more on what I don't need. My goal is to reduce my budget amount for food by getting as much or more food for less by shopping for sales.

I will keep you updated on how things go and as I see how well they work send you the links to the blogs I visit that gather all the information for me so I don't have to. For now it takes me quite a while to prepare to shop. I'm hoping that as I get use to this and can figure the best sites to go to and dwindle my process down it won't take so much of my time. Right now as I'm learning I don't mind taking more time. I know in the end it will be worth it.

More to come....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Snow Days

We love getting snow. It's always so much fun to get out and sled, make a snowman and then come inside for a warm cup of hot chocolate. This weekend we got about 5 inches of ice and snow. We actually got out on Saturday morning, while the roads were still clear, and went to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We stopped at the Inn at Christmas Village and took a tour, went to Apple Valley Farms Crafts and Country Store and just enjoyed showing Melanie the sights. Having some trouble with black ice on the way home that night we stayed home from church Sunday morning and the kids got a chance to sled. I was so glad that the kids were able to have a chance to play in the snow. I wanted to make some snow cream but there was too much ice to make a good snow cream. We still enjoyed our hot chocolate, though.

I just love the warm cozy feeling that comes from having snow on the ground, something brewing in the crock pot that makes the house smell wonderful and sipping on hot chocolate in good company. I hope you are enjoying your snow days as well. Be blessed and remember that those warm spring days will be here soon enough. There is a time and season for everything under heaven.

I hope that you are able to enjoy the winter season while it's here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Communication is the key

My mother-in-law, Melanie, came to visit this weekend and I'm glad to say that it was a good visit. I can't say that I have always felt this way about her. One thing I have learned is that communication is the key. I can truly say, now, that I love Melanie and enjoyed spending time with her this weekend. My advice to those of you who struggle with your mother-in-law, PRAY. Let God show you what you need to do and then communicate. Allow God to begin and work in both of you and to prepare each of you for what needs to be said or done to reconcile your differences. I am thankful for Melanie and for her willingness to talk and understand. I am blessed to have her. My prayer for those of you who struggle with your relationship with yours is reconciliation. It really can be sweet, but remember it is God who works on the heart. You can't change a person, that's God's job, and maybe you're the one who needs to do some changing (ouch, I know that one hurt). I pray that none of you are having struggles in your relationship, but if you do start today and decide to give it to God, then just take one day at a time and let Him work. You'll be glad you did, I know I am.