Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sneak Peek on my little enterprise

A couple of weeks ago, the girls and I went shopping for material for the swim dresses I sew them every couple of years (see here and here). 

Each time I make the swim dresses, I have to make up the largest of the patterns from scratch for Miriam, who is the oldest. The patterns I have made her in years past still work for the younger girls. 

For years, I have been wanting to make these patterns available to others, as I get asked about them quite frequently. Not to mention, if I had the pattern designed once and for all in all sizes, it would save me much time and effort down the road.

With all that in mind, I set about starting a new little venture of selling my patterns online. I am hoping to have it all up and running, ready to take orders by next week. In the meantime, I just wanted to give you all a heads-up why I will not be blogging much in the coming days. 

This is just a little prototype pattern in its envelope. In all, three multi-size patterns will be available, for ladies, girls, and toddlers.

Stay tuned for the official launch! :) I'll have to think of a fun giveaway.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Upcoming Live Q & A

For those of you who enjoy the live Q and A sessions I do every few months, I am excited to announce another one! It will be streamed live next Wednesday afternoon, April 22nd, starting at 2 p.m. MST.

This time, I ask that you please submit your questions primarily through the chat feature on the video, as I did not get around to answering any of the live questions last time.

If you have a pressing question, but will not be able to tune in next week, please leave it in the comments below. I will try to answer it, but will give priority to those coming in during the live stream.

Below are my previous Q and A sessions:

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Our Easter

We had a lovely Easter celebration last week.

To make our Sunday less hectic, we had the big ham dinner on Saturday night. This also provided plenty of leftovers for Sunday's lunch, without the hassle of having to cook at all.

For Sunday breakfast, I made hot cross buns the night before, which we served with hot cocoa.

Some of the buns I made into "bun-nies" (thank you, Pinterest), which was particularly popular with the younger kids.

For gifts, we continued the tradition of new dresses for the girls, and swim clothes for the boys.

I love this little dude! He is so precious!! 

In addition, all children received new towels, so they could better keep track of them when they go swimming each day. I made these on my wonderful new embroidery machine. The kids decided that since the towels were so nice, they wanted to keep these as their "bathroom" towels, and keep using last year's beach towels when they go in the pool.

I'd like to say this officially opened the swimming season for us, but with Easter coming so late this year, it didn't. The boys have been going swimming every day for about a month now.

The girlies were all sweet and beautiful in their new dresses. I love having daughters! They are so precious to us.

Our church had a new record attendance of 172 that morning, which meant ice cream for all after the service. We also had a baptism.

It was a great day, and full of wonderful memories. And ham. Ah!


P.S. Here is a video for all the "Easter is pagan" folks that might be reading this:

Of course, you are free to disagree - I just really don't wan to hear the arguments from that camp again because it gets old.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Romans 14:5)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jury Nullification

The info in this short video is so vital to our liberties, and to putting an end to judicial tyranny. Yet the vast majority of Americans do not know this.

If you are on a jury, and even if the defendant is clearly guilty of breaking a law, you as a juror can still say "Not guilty" if you think the law is unjust, and does not serve justice. For example, just because the government passes a law that we cannot breathe, you as the juror can rule "not guilty," and the defendant walks free in spite of clearly breaking the (unjust) law. This safeguard was intended to keep an abusive government from enforcing wicked laws. While my example is extreme, what about unjust laws that do affect us, such as in the areas of taxes, activism, preaching/soulwinning, raising our children, etc.

Then there are laws regarding things that are wrong, but should not be up to the government to punish, such as drugs, etc. It is NOT the government's job to punish every sin, or else we would all be in prison - which pretty much is the stated goal of our government at this point.

Personally, my rule is (and should be that of anyone): No victim, no crime. By that standard, 90% of convictions in this country would not stand.

Jurors, know your power!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Birth Hypocrisy

If there is one thing those of us in the natural/home birth community (dare I say, movement?) hear over and over and over again, it is:

The most important part about giving birth is making sure that mom and baby are healthy and safe! It shouldn't matter how we get there, or what sacrifices we have to make. 

Of course, I completely agree with this statement. However, I don't take it to mean what the OB crowd wants it to mean: that mothers should be happy to put up with sub-par and dangerous care, or with a traumatic birthing experience, so long as mother and baby walk away with their lives spared. 

That would be like saying we should not strive to stay safe on the roads for the sake of preventing accidents and trauma, except for fatal accidents only. Lived to tell about it? Must have not been that bad, so shut up, get over it already, and BE THANKFUL!

Sigh. I better slow down before I get worked up.

And for the record: 1 in 3 babies being born via C-section is definitely what I would consider "sub-par and dangerous care." If that makes you angry, please stop reading now, or else spare me from the fallout of your indignation, and comments telling me why YOUR C-section was necessary. They all are! All 33% of them! I am still waiting for that OB to finish up suturing a mom, and then declare: "Coming to think of it, that really was an unnecessary C-section. Ooops! My bad! Better luck next time!" 

So we can all agree that delivering 1 in 3 babies surgically, with the supposed goal to save the life of mother or baby, is too high. I mean, that's a no-brainer, unless you want to argue that (a) God didn't know what He was doing when He designed reproduction, or (b) evolution is bent on self-destruction. Yet nobody ever wants to acknowledge any single instance where a C-section, especially THEIR C-section, was unnecessary. 

That's fine. You make your choices, I'll make mine.

What today's post is really about is the hypocrisy put forth by the OB crowd, when a planned home birth ends up in the hospital, and possibly, likely, in a C-section. 

My first thought is:

CONGRATULATIONS! The most important part about giving birth is making sure that mom and baby are healthy and safe! Boy, am I glad they made the necessary transfer, to ensure a safe birth!

Is that what we hear from the OB crowd? I sure wish it were the case, but that's rare.

Case in point: The news today of Jill Duggar Dillard delivering her son has the internet ablaze with snark, sarcasm, outright hatred, and worse, all because of the above photo being released, without any more specific details on her mode of delivery. Jill is a midwife, and was planning a home birth, while the photo was clearly taken in a hospital. Of course, the possible scenarios are literally limitless, but that is not stopping the internet sleuths from speculating about the tiniest details to piece together the puzzle regarding the mode by which this child was born. Scrubs? High-risk wrist band? How tired is she looking? What is that makeup hiding? Is she holding the baby like someone avoiding a tender incision site? And on and on and on. 

Of course, delivering in a hospital, and having your FIRST child, also makes you the target of well-deserved hate, such as comments about her headband, how her uterus will fall out eventually, that they won't be able to think of 20 names starting with the letter "I", how she put her child in danger for even attempting a home birth, etc.

Truly, misery loves company. Many of those women who have had an unnecessary C-section (which is the majority of women today) seem to have become bitter to the point where they now take pleasure in the possibility that someone else also might have had to undergo a C-section. In the meantime, the haters seem to be overlooking the obvious (and stated) fact that mother and baby are healthy, that the little guy is super cute, and that the parents are obviously in love with each other and their newborn. All that doesn't matter, and cannot be acknowledged, until we know how this child was born. Because evidently, in their minds and contrary to their stated ideals of worrying only about the health and safety of mom and baby, that IS what it's all about.

I wonder how these birthing hypocrites would feel if I started expressing no surprise at the fact that their induction led to a C-section (it does in 3 out of 4 first-time moms), scolding them for not getting a doula, reminding them of the fact that VBACs are near impossible any more due to legal woes, and outlining how  they will still be able to recall their traumatic birth experience decades from now. 

And that, dear reader, is birth hypocrisy at it finest.

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Beyond the Mask" movie

For some time, I had seen the movie "Beyond the Mask" advertised in various homeschool magazines and mailers. The movie is produced by a couple of Christian brothers who are both homeschool graduates. The ads were intriguing enough to have me look up the trailer online. It seemed like at the least, the kids would enjoy such action-packed yet wholesome entertainment. Not to mention, we had been learning about the East India Company in our history studies, so this fit in perfectly with that theme.

We purchased our tickets online a few weeks ago, and the oldest five kids (plus baby Boaz) and I went to see it on the opening day today. Yes, this happened to be on the same day as "Marching to Zion" was screened at the theater, which was purely coincidental. I don't go to the movies for a decade, and then I go twice in the same day - ha!

Well, we all loved it! Having seen other Christian films, I was expecting it to be corny and dull, but this movie was neither. The story line, and message behind the film, were both well thought out and superbly executed. I would consider the movie appropriate for all ages, though I doubt anyone under the age of 8 would really be able to follow the plot. Still, even Becky at only 6 years old enjoyed watching the movie, maybe only for the many special effects. There was no questionable content or attire at all, and the most risque thing shown was the couple briefly kissing once at the very end, after becoming engaged.

Even after today, the movie is still playing in many theaters around the country. If you are interested, you can buy tickets here (tickets not available at the door). I highly recommend and fully support this movie, and think adults as well as children will greatly enjoy it. I am really tempted to go see it again on the big screen, and we are definitely going to buy the DVD once it is released. 

If you have seen it, please share your comments with us below!

Watch "Marching to Zion" on the big screen

Calling all local readers! 

Please join us tonight to see 
Marching to Zion
played at the theater.

Admission is free.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Birthday Tea Party

Last Wednesday, I turned 36 years old. Many sweet friends and relatives wrote me cards, sent gifts, left messages, and otherwise made my day special, all of which I am ***so*** thankful for. The kids made me different gifts - I had specifically asked them not to buy anything, because I absolutely love seeing what they come up with. 

On my birthday, my husband treated the whole family to breakfast at Panera Bread, which has just recently come to Arizona. Until now, I could only enjoy their food on trips to California, so this was a special treat. Then, we took a trip up to the Mogollon Rim a couple of hours northeast of here, to scope out a possible camp location for our church camp this fall. 

The day before my birthday, the girls put on a tea party for them and me, since they knew we were leaving early in the morning on my actual birthday. We had strawberry scones and tea (the latter of which involved lots of cream and sugar cubes). It was so lovely! We all thought we should have tea for breakfast at least once a month from now on. 

 Little flour handprints on my top - classy! :)

This cute little guy joined us, and we certainly didn't have the heart to tell him no.

Many, many thanks to everyone who made my birthday so lovely and special. It really means a lot to me!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Documentary "Marching to Zion"

Independent filmmaker Paul Wittenberger and my husband have been working together for the last year on their latest documentary, Marching to Zion, which has just been released.

Our church hosted a screening of this film last Saturday. It was such a hit that we are planning another screening at a local theater on their big screen (I will post the details on that as soon as they are confirmed). Not surprisingly, with visitors in town just to see the movie the moment it released, we bust our Sunday morning church attendance record again, which is now 158 (up from 144).

Marching to Zion was also played at Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, CA, and is being screened at Word of Truth Baptist Church in Prescott Valley, AZ this afternoon at 4 p.m., and at Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX tonight at 7 p.m. If you live in either of those areas, I would very much encourage you to stop by and see it live today.
The full movie will not be available on YouTube for at least a couple more months. You can view the trailer below:

Of all the documentaries that my husband and Paul have made, Marching to Zion is my favorite one yet. It is PACKED with biblical truths that are as important as they are relevant today. The information is presented thoroughly without ever being dull, the arguments are backed up with plenty of Scripture as well as interviews and science, and the overall presentation is incredibly professional and captivating. If you love the Bible and learning the truth, you will love this film!

The DVDs will be ready to ship next week, and can be ordered here.

If you have seen the film in full yourself, please feel free to leave your review in the comments below!


(Disclaimer: My husband, our family, or Faithful Word Baptist Church does not receive any monies from the sales of this film, or any other film my husband helped produce. The above sites are all run by Paul Wittenberger, who is the producer and filmmaker. Making these professional documentaries with such incredible production quality is very expensive, much more so than the average viewer might guess, as well as very time consuming. Since this is not just an expensive hobby, but rather Paul Wittenberger's job and his ministry, he must be able to turn out a profit and support his family if he is to continue producing these important documentaries. To that end, Marching to Zion will not be released for free viewing on YouTube for some time yet. We are grateful to the many supporters who donated toward this project, and made its production financially possible.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Little Getaway

My husband was invited to preach at Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California last month. My mother-in-law very generously offered to travel out to Arizona the week before, so she could stay at our house and watch the kids, and my husband and I could both travel to California and make a little getaway out of the trip. This was only the second time in almost 15 years of marriage that we have been able to get away without the kids, so this was very special treat. We did bring little Boaz along, since he is still nursing, and has never been apart from me for more than just a couple of hours at a time.

We left Wednesday night immediately after my husband finished preaching the midweek service at our church. In fact, if you watched the sermon live, you may have noticed that the order of service was switched up, and the service a little shorter than usual, in order for us to make it to the airport in plenty of time. 

Several months ago, both of us had signed up for the TSA PreCheck and obtained trusted traveler numbers, which allowed us to be able to skip the naked body scanner and/or a grope-down. You can also leave your shoes on, don't have to take your laptop out of its case, skip to the head of the security line, etc. If you have avoided flying because of the intrusions and inconveniences, you may want to look into this program. While it is not guaranteed that you won't be patted down, it is unlikely. On the flight back home, the metal detector security gate was roped off, and everyone was being sent through the naked body scanner. When we walked up with "PreCheck" on our boarding passes, they opened the metal detector just for us. Totally worth it, if you ask me!

Anyhow, we arrived at our hotel close to midnight from Wednesday to Thursday. We spent the entire day Thursday with my husband's family, most of which live in the Sacramento area. I hadn't been there since 2009, so it was great getting to see everyone again, and meeting my youngest nephew for the first time. 

That's my husband's older brother and his Dad, with a couple of our older nephews in the background. His younger sister and our newest nephew are in the middle.

Wild hand gestures run in the family... :)

Thursday night, my husband preached, and we stayed at church very late talking with our friends, Pastor and Mrs. Jimenez, and their church members. If you have not yet heard the sermon, you can watch it here:

On Friday, we leisurely got up and ready, and left town to spend Friday and Saturday at Lake Tahoe. The weather was absolutely amazing, considering this is a ski resort and it was February. (Those who love skiing would probably disagree on this point - ha!) 

We spent the afternoon riding rented bikes down by the lake, strolling through Heavenly Village and having Victorian-style photos take of us, picking out souvenirs for the kids at home, and having dinner at a really great place called Fire and Ice, which happened to be located inside our hotel. Thanks to Priceline, we had scored a room at the super fancy Marriott Timber Lodge for about 30% of the going rate for Friday night. Woohoo!

Bo in the bike trailer

Becky asked me today, "Mom, did you take any selfies when you were on your trip?" Ha - kids these days!

As it turned out, Bo was the perfect little travel companion. He hardly ever cried on the entire trip, and just generally went along nicely with whatever we were doing. When we brought baby Stephen along on our last getaway, he was quite the pill the whole time, and didn't lighten up again until we got back home, so this was a welcome change of pace. 

Sleeping angel

  He really enjoyed exploring this little cave again and again.

We got home Saturday evening just in time to tuck the kids into bed. This was such a wonderful trip, and we made lots of great memories. I am so thankful for my mother-in-law, who volunteers to run our family circus and allow us time away as a couple. Anything without all the kids would have been relaxing, but this was an especially awesome trip.