Friday, July 29, 2016

Our school weeks 2-4 and a little encouragement

As children go back to school we will be in the middle of our school week 5! The kids and I both have really enjoyed My Fathers World Creation to the Greeks so far. We are learning about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his family, the Tower of Babel, and ancient Egypt. We have made a cuneiform tablet, pyramids, and a reed boat. We have learned about the Fertile Cresent and all its glory. God sure did take care of people long ago who didn't worship Him. We are also learning some interesting fundamentals of art, how to draw pyramids and other 3D shapes in art. We are really loving our art program. It is called God and the History of Art. We have learned about Vivaldi in our music. We are learning the Books of the Bible from the Old Testament. Freedom Kids on YouTube puts this to song and makes it very easy to memorize. For science we have been learning everything you can think of about light. We do an experiment before every lesson and the kids just love that. We have a very STEM minded household here. 

We have also been learning so,e very valuable lessons in our Language Arts. Noah is doing Communications in Grammar this year. He is also doing Esssentials In Writing. He needed a lot of work on this part of his Language Arts. No spelling for him this year as he has pretty much mastered that. For math he is doing Teaching Textbooks 7. The program for Grade 7 is more on real life situations. He will have a mock checkbook and we pretend he gets paid and pay bills, buy groceries, and do what grown ups do. I hope this will prepare him for real life. We are also watching the election process and discussing it together. He seems very interested in that. Next week he starts Rosetta Stone Spanish. He does a separate science from Sarah and Caleb. He is doing Apologia General Science this year. I think he likes it. We have always liked Apolgia Sciences. They make it so fun. He also participates in Sarah and Calebs science because he just wants to. 

Sarah and Caleb do Language Lessons For Today for their grade level. Sarah does Essentials in Writing. She is doing well with sentence forming. When all is said and done I think she is going to be an amazing writer. She has a hard time processing her thoughts and putting them on paper however, she has did well under the instruction of Essentials in Writing. She is writing more complex sentences and they are very impressive. This is a DVD program with a workbook to go with it. The lesson on the DVD is short and to the point but filled with lots of information. Caleb still does phonics. He is in Explode The Code Book 4 and he is doing very well.  He has used this from the very beginning and I can't say enough good things about these books. There's no twaddle or busy work. It seems so simple and to the point. I wasn't convinced when someone told me their children learned to read by just doing these workbooks but I can say now that he is in Book 4 that this is very true for Caleb too. I fully intend to use Explode the Code with Hannah. For Spelling I am Rod and Staff Spelling by Sound and Structure for Sarah who is 5th grade and Caleb who is 3rd grade. This is really the first time we have used a separate spelling program and really liked it. We tried Spelling Power which is recommended by My Fathers World for upper elementary and it just didn't work for us. Rod and Staff is a more structured and somewhat independent Spelling program. It's exactly what we needed!!! I'm so happy that I found it. I will definitely be using it for Hannah as she moves forward in school. Sarah also uses a Teaching Textbooks 5 for her math. She has begun to like math pretty well. At first there were tears and I questioned whether this was the right program for her but she is the type that resists everything at the beginning so I've started just making her do what I have. Noah has done Teaching Textbooks since 3rd grade I believe. Maybe 4th but anyways I already had Grade 5 and so Sarah is stuck with that. However with Caleb he is doing Living Math Lessons. It's a workbook and it's a very gentle, real life situations math program. Some would say it's very weak however, I say that it works for us because he needs the good foundation of math. We have Grade 3 of Teaching Textbooks when he is ready. I'm thinking I will start him in that in January 2 days a week and we will still so the Living Math 3 days a week. I will reassess at the end of the year.

All in all so far it has been a good year. I want to encourage new homeschoolers and those who may not have found their place, It has taken me to last year to really find what fit well for us. In that I found that some of my kids will adjust to whatever we have however some need specifics. I have finally settled upon mostly Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. I don't really have time to get into that but it's a more relaxed approach to teaching. At first glance back when my now 7th grader was in 2nd grade I thought that it was way too relaxed and a crazy style of teaching. What I didn't know is that it's not the traditional way of learning but it's learning all the same. It's just in a different, very different way than what I was used to. So with that said don't focus on what others are doing. You can glean off other homeschoolers because Lord knows I have but please do what is best for YOUR family. All family dynamics are different in some way, shape, or form. School is going to look different for you than it is for me. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you and apart from all the other advice you get take the Lords leading into consideration the most. I completely hand over my year to God. I ask Him every morning to help me teach the kids the way HE wants me to teach. On some days that's not even what school is to some.

Just know in the end that there are going to be struggles whether you send your child to school or if you teach them. I learned this very valuable lesson when my defiant 1st grader who I thought refused to learn to read because she was just hard headed. I sent her to public school. My battle continued. It just switched from morning to afternoon. It went from her fighting me as the teacher to her fighting me through homework. This lasted only a week and I told her we wouldn't be going back. What's the point? She is now in 5th grade and is a very good reader. She reads ALL the time. ALL the time! I figured out that she just wasn't ready at 6 years old to read. She wasn't ready until about 7 1/2 or 8 actually but let me tell ya, when she got ready she skipped forward a few grades. It was hard! But what would have been harder is for me to have left her in public school and her be labeled as slow. That's never removed from someone's mind after they've been labeled that. She knows now that there was a struggle but she also knows that she persevered and she is above and beyond her peers now. Not only did this grow her but it grew me too and it solidified my goal and the calling to homeschool that God has placed on my life.

So mamas I pray that you have a good homeschooling year. There's nothing like teaching your sweet child to read and that first book that they sit down and read to you and knowing that you with the help of the good Lord taught this child to read. It's an amazing feeling. I pray that all you mamas who are teaching your children have an amazing year and don't grow weary in well doing because the benefits of pressing onward are great! 



Sunday, July 10, 2016

Shabbat Weekend Part 1 of 3

On Friday we started preparations for Shabat. We are studying the customs of Jesus' people the Jews. This was an optional activity to do and a lot of work but I decided that it would be worth the effort. A lot of preparation has went into this weekend. On Friday at sundown is when Shabbat starts so during the week and especially on Fridah preparation started. We are supposed to cook for all weekend on Friday. I didn't quite get that done. I'm not used to doing this so I cooked more than usual but not for all weekend.

Friday we started our day by starting the process of making Challah bread from scratch. What a job! But what fun! I just wouldn't want to do this EVERY Friday! We took lots of pictures so I will most share that way.
Our ingredients for Challah Bread

Sarah helped me mix it and knead.

And Hannah helped too.

Caleb too

Noah too. He's actually really good at kneading dough. He wanted to do it like the pizza makers and roll it thin and twirl it up in the air. Ha!

For Challah bread you braid it. The braid represents folsed arms.we are celebrating Shabbat which translates "rest".

The loaves are ready to go in the oven.

This was our table setting.

There are lots of blessings in this meal. Lots and lots of praying. Dad of the family leads prayer over the children laying hands on them.


And Noah. I wasn't able to get a picture of him praying over Caleb but he did. Then he read some of Proverbs 31 over me. 

We all drank juice from the Kiddush cup. It represents joy.mwe also broke bread and passed around for everyone to have a piece. It's not be be cut because the bread represents Christ's body on the cross being broken for us. It was not cut.

We all washed our hands and the blessing was said.  And finally we ate. And there was a blessing after too.

This was an amazing experience to have with my family. I am so glad that My Fathers World sees the benefit of doing this to know what customs that Jesus celebrated. It certainly reminds you that God is on the throne and that we shouldn't let God ever slip out of our minds. Our Sabbath is not over yet. We still have certain things we are supposed to do today so there will be more blog posts on there.

If you got this far thank you for reading. God Bless!

Friday, July 8, 2016

School week 1

We have thoroughly enjoyed Week 1 of My Fathers World Creation to the Greeks! Tuesday we got a late start due to being out for fireworks. When we got home on Monday night Daisy our Boxer puppy had an upset tummy so I was left cleaning up after her. In addition to her being sick Larry had to wake super early the next morning to go back to work so he didn't help with getting Hannah to bed. So I was up until 1AM getting everyone situated and cleaned up. Daisy is fine now if you're wondering. She decided to drink rain water from Hannahs sandbox and it up settled her tummy really bad. She was fine the next morning, however I wasn't so fine. I felt like a zombie. I'm just not a late night person. I usually am heading to bed about 9 and I'm up at 4AM on a good day. So going to bed at 1AM is not something that I do on a regular basis. 

Tuesday around 10 we started school. I let the kids sleep In as well. This was not our plan however we continued to push through and we did school into the afternoon. I was ok with that. What fun is homeschool if we can't be flexible, right? Right! I say that but I have a hard time when my schedule is messed with and this was our FIRST day! I had thoughts of defeat and doubting whether I should start the kids so early. Then I reviewed in my head why we started now to begin with. One reason is because it is so hot outside during late morning and afternoon hours that we would rather be inside anyways so I wanted to be productive. Another reason is because we have a vacation planned for a week in September. Starting now gives us some room on our calendar to be able to do that. One other reason would be because I don't like chaos in the house and that is what happens when we have no structure around here. We get finished with History, Bible, Art, Music, and Science around 11:30. We have lunch. Hannah naps from 1 to 2:30 while we do Language Arts and Math if the kids didn't finish before lunch. Some days they are motivated and some days they need to just take a break and do it on the afternoons. If they are done with everything they get free time while Hannah naps. Also they finish up any chores needing to be done. As you can see this gives structure to my day.

Now on to our first week. Well I have left off Friday because I am going to give a special blog post for our weekend. We are doing something very special with our school and I am so excited about it. For our History, Science, Bible, Art, and Music we are reading through Genesis. We are starting with Creation and learning History chronilogically through the Bible and learning about the events and people as we go! We will be learning the books of the Bible this year which is something that I had the privilege of doing when I was a child when I was in Bible Drill. For Science we are doing Science in The Beginning where we study each of the 7 days of Creation for a few weeks. Sarah and Caleb only do science lessons twice a week. Noah has a 7th grade General Science that we didn't start this week but he participated in Sarah and Caleb's science this week. We talked about what reflection is and how without light there is no color. Without light there's just darkness. If we have Jesus in our hearts light reflects off of Jesus onto us and then bounces off us onto others if we let Him. Great lesson! We did two experiments on which I didn't get any pictures. I will do better next week. We went into a dark closet and used a mirror and flashlight and saw how the light shining into the mirror from the flash light bounced off the mirror and onto the wall and we learned the word reflection. The next experiment included a candle and a CD. We learned about how the rainbow isn't a rainbow without light. Without light we don't have color. We held the CD behind the light of the candle and tilted it and named the colors we saw. Because the CD has a shiny surface it reflected all these colors. We also learned that there is a certain order of colors in a rainbow and an easy way to remember. We met Mr. White Light and his nickname is Roy G. Biv. This is a made up person but it is an acronym for the order of the colors of the rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue. indigo, and Violet. This was new to me. I had no idea there was a certain order of color in a rainbow. Who knew?! 

With History we read a few pages from Dinosaurs of Eden. We learned that the the Bible tells us a lot about dinosaurs but they were not called dinosaurs in the Bible. We read the first chapter of Genesis and a few verses or Chapter 2. We also read Journey Through a The Bible which has a lot of pretty pictures of the days of creation. For our student sheet this week, the kids drew a picture of each of the days of Creation and the box was numbered and written in Greek. We also learned the Greek work biblos. It means book.  The kids had to write sentences with this word as well as write the word and meaning every day. I think it stuck. LOL! I didn't get pictures of these in particular but I got a picture of everyone sitting at the table doing their student sheets.
These are my precious students! Hannah was just hanging out because she can. LOL!

In Art they learned about a woman who dove into shallow water, broke her back, and was paralyzed from neck down. She turned her life over to God and ended up being an artist. She drew with her teeth! They also learned that art starts with the very basics of lines. They drew horizontal lines on a piece of paper. It sounds so simple however two of my three students are perfectionist so it wasn't so simple for them! They couldn't use a ruler. It was strictly drawing a horizontal line as straight as they could. Here is a picture of them drawing with a pencil like the lady who ended up being an artist after she couldn't use her hands. This was a lesson in frustration. They were instructed to draw a butterfly and they were to copy it from the book.

Caleb-There was whining from him but he persevered and did well.

Noah-7th grade- No complaining from this guy. He just did what he was told. No questions asked and actually said he enjoyed the lesson.

Sarah-5th grade Sarah enjoyed this lesson too.

They also still practice handwriting. This year they are using Pentime from Rainbow Resource. Noah and Sarah are doing cursive and do very well. Caleb is transitioning from print to cursive this year. They usually do Pentime outside. I do require them to do this daily.

So I guess that about wraps up our Week 1 besides our special weekend I have planned. Be looking for another post soon. I will probably get to it next week sometime. I enjoy sharing our weeks with all of my readers. I do hope you enjoy reading and getting a little glimpse into our school life. If you got this far without me boring you, thanks for reading!

Independence Day 2016

July 4th wasn't anything special this year.  We just hung out around the house all day doing the norm.  Larry was off so we enjoyed his company.  He is working off from home during the week again and we all miss him terribly, especially little Hannah.  She is his shadow pretty much the whole time he is home.  I love that they have such a sweet relationship. She and Sarah both are daddy's girls.  We wanted to go to Wild Adventures to enjoy the water park and watch the fireworks show but we didn't really want to fight the crowd.  Having four children and one being a toddler who is very independent made me a little nervous to go when there is such a crowd to be expected.  We are planning to go when schools are back in session which is one reason we started school on July 5th this year!  So with that said, we decided to stay local and go to the local fireworks.  We can see them from our house but not quite as good from here as we would like.  We rode down to the stadium and sat next to the playground with some friends and watched them.  I enjoyed myself.  It was nice and relaxing.  The kids were able to play with their friends and I was able to talk with my friends.  Perfection!  Here are a few pictures from that night of these sweet, special people.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Getting Frugal Part 2

Today I did my first homemade dried fruit. Well not dried fruit I don't guess but it's banana chips. They are super yummy and a big hit with the kids. All I did was slice two bananas into thin slices, dipped in lemon juice, and put on a cookie sheet sprayed with coconut oil nonstick spray. You can use any nonstick spray. We use coconut oil since it has proven health benefits and the other leaves an aftertaste in my mouth after eating the food cooked with it. I baked at 200 degrees for 2 hours, turned them, and baked 1 1/2 more hours. With four kids + my bonus kid for the summer these are eaten on all afternoon and will probably be gone by supper time. This is quite okay. It costed me hardly anything to do these. It was certainly less than a box of cookies that's not healthy anyways or less than a candy bar for 5 kids. There's a little prep time that goes into this but it was minimal. It took me 10 minutes to slice, dip, and get in the oven. 

Going in the oven

This is them after two of the five kids got a hold of them. They won't last long.

My next project will be dried peaches. I will let you all know how that works out and if it's a big hit.

Getting frugal

Being a one income family I am always looking for ways to save money. There are some places that I just refuse to cut corners. Others I don't cut as much as some. I have been buying healthier snacks for the kids and in doing so I have found myself in awe of how expensive these things are. I got on Pinterest to see if I could find ideas of how to do dried fruit myself. This is a favorite amongst the kids in my house. Now some snacks that are healthier are not much more but then there are some that are. I had some bananas going bad yesterday. I had 5 of them. I used 3 for some Honey banana muffins and the other two to make some banana oatmeal cookies. Both were DELISH! The cookies only had four ingredients. Two were optional. The muffins of course we're from scratch so there was a bit more involved but not anything I couldn't grab out of the cabinets. There was NO sugar added to neither and there was no sweetener actually. The ripened bananas and honey sweetened the muffins up and the chocolate chips sweetened the cookies up. Here are some pictures.

Above is the delicious Honey Banana Muffins

The toddler approved! 😬

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Summer break is here!

Summer break has actually been here for about a month for the Gooden children.  I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Well most of it.  There's always moments where I think "what in the world am I doing?"  I'm so not cut out for this.  This is true however with His mercies new each morning, I have hope.  He is with me every day.  He is there to guide me.  Without God's precious, gentle hand guiding me I would not be able to do what I do.  Summer break comes with its challenges.  During the schoolyear we have a full morning of doing school and sometimes that goes into the afternoons.  With summer break going I only require the kids to do Math.  They are doing well with Language Arts so I am not requiring them to do this through the summer.  This usually takes them about 45 minutes to do.  They are usually motivated enough to get on up about 8 and get everything done.  So by 10, there is chaos as to what they should do.  Of course I encourage playing outside, leisure reading, or creative work.  This does not always happen.  It depends on the day.  But if I hear "I'm bored" that drives me nuts.  The older two have actually learned to NOT say that because they know I will put their bored selves to work!  Haha!

I will push through this summer break though and I will enjoy it.  It's wonderful to be able to just be mom to my kids.  I can work on spending some one on one time with each one and finding out what their dreams are.  Not that we don't discuss this during the schoolyear but I'm more focused on this part of their lives during the summer.  We will start back the week after Independence Day and I actually can't wait for that either.  I will enjoy each day up until then with them though.  Life is so precious.  Each child is so precious and special.  They each have such different qualities.  I can't wait to take them to Wild Adventures and other places that I've been dreaming about taking them.  Some of those trips will be in the fall when most children are back in school.

Happy Summer Yall!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016


I have had many times in the past few weeks a chance to lose my joy and just let depression and anxiety get the best of me. To know Jesus is to know Joy. To have a relationship with Him is to have Joy. Joy is my focus. This(something negative) is happening in my life BUT I will have Joy because this(something positive) is happening in my life. I have so many reasons to just give in and let things steal my joy. I can't do that though, I have a husband, four precious children, two dogs, family, and friends that are depending on me. The enemy would have it no better than to make me feel as if I'm invisible. There's a difference between being humble and dismissing ourselves from being involved due to pride.  I have felt like so many times in the last week that I'm just not enough. Why do I bother doing what I do? I'm not important. The enemy will not win though. I've come to the conclusion that I had went back to some old eating habits which include less water and more soda. I believe my diet and the lack of exercise had a lot to do with my down feeling. I spent Tuesday in bed all day. Wednesday I was up but felt so very tired and anxious,  I was spiraling downward really fast. I truly believe if I would have given in to the enemy he would have rendered me useless and let me know it clearly. I however, CHOSE to force myself to go be with my family on Wednesday evening. I felt a little better but still had this feeling of dread and I was beginning to really hate how I felt. At the time I thought I must have been coming down with a cold or something. Thursday morning we had somewhere to be at 9:30. This whole time I've not been feeling well I had not been doing my Bible study. Big mistake there. It's so important to start with the Word even if we aren't feeling anxious and everything is just great in our lives. When things get rough, then we are equipped with how to handle it. Then I thought about my bad habits. I worked out Thursday morning and felt so so so good. I felt so much better all day. I made it a point to eat and drink as healthy as possible. Friday morning I got up feeling better. I've started my day off with the Word. There have been so many distractions. I really believe Satan would have no better than for me to prioritize things over my time with Jesus in His Word. 

To know Joy is to have a relationship with Jesus. We can't just expect things to happen. I think I may have said this before but I will say it again. To get to know someone that we have become friends with, we MUST spend time with them. We must learn about them. The same has to happen with Jesus. Attending church is being obedient to what the Lord tells us to do in His word however, that doesn't give us that relationship. We must spend more than 3 hours a week with Him. I know that it's not enough for me. Praying will help with difficult situations. It will not help with the day to day life events. We must have a relationship with Jesus, our creator and our children's creator to know how we need to handle discipline. It's different for each child. We should be prayerful about how we respond to others however if we have no relationship with our sweet Jesus we can't and won't respond with grace and in love as Jesus does. No we aren't Jesus and we are imperfect but God calls us to be LIKE Jesus, we can respond with grace and love. It may be that we respond with silence until we can respond like Him.

I have so many things I want to share but I need p get up the nerve to share. I am also seeking guidance on how to write it out so as not to offend people. It is my intention to only encourage and life up through this blog. My intentions are never make anyone feel inferior to me for not doing things like I do them. We are all different, lead different lives but I believe if you are reading this your mission is the same as mine and that is to live with absolute abandon for God. Our mission is to raise our children to be world changers. This is different for everyone. The calling is different for our lives but our mission is the same. Jesus first always!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Joy unspeakable

Joy Unspeakable....What exactly does that mean? For me it means the love I have for Jesus gives me so much joy that I can hardly even explain it in words. I don't have a vocabulary eloquent enough to describe it. The love that Jesus has for me is vastly larger than what I have for Him. Joy is something I feel when my toddler puts her sweet little arms around me and in toddler language not yet clear to others she says "I love you mommy"! Joy! I feel Joy when I teach my children. When we have been working on something for longer than usual because they just can't get it and finally they do. That lightbulb moment. It shoots Joy all over me. Joy! I feel Joy when my oldest son sits down and reads a book to my toddler. These things make me so happy. I feel Joy at the end of the week when my husband comes home from work. I am so happy and joyous to see him. He makes me happy. Our relationship gives me joy. It's something I am very proud of.

Now I can point all the things that don't give me Joy. There are many things in my life that I could choose to focus on. I could choose not to have Joy because I just can't keep up with my home the way I want. We are a one income family. We have wanted to put new flooring down for a while but financially we haven't been able to. Is it disappointing? Of course. But I choose to focus on the things and mostly the people that give me Joy. Those new floors will come in Gods time. Would I like to redecorate my house? Of course. But I choose to focus on the fact that I have a home and it provides my family what we need. Joy is a choice. Our words are a choice. We can choose to have Joy in every word we speak or we can be known as the negative one of the bunch. I don't want to be know as what I call "bubblebusters". My house is not company ready right now but I am choosing to have Joy in the fact that God has called me to be my childrens' caretaker 24/7. Through Gods help with lots of prayer I am a tool in shaping and molding my children. What a wonderful blessing that is. I choose to find joy in this. I also choose to find good in every person. This is something that is super challenging for me sometimes because I am making a choice to be critical of a person without knowing their story. I don't want to do this. I want to choose to make my conversation good and say good things about others or nothing at all. This is my heart. ❤️

Psalm 19:14

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My word for 2015 and how it grew me....

In 2015 I did something I've never did. I chose a word for the year to focus on. That word was love. I just wanted to love like Jesus. 2015 was a really hard year. It was hard for my family. It was hard for me personally and it was hard for some close friends who are like family to me.  I learned that love cannot be taken for granted. I found out what it was like to lose a family member to the cruel disease of cancer. My mother's sister, my aunt passed away in January 2015. Not only was it hard for me personally to get through this and remember that God knows ALWAYS what He is doing. He sees the big picture. So many people were touched by my aunt and through the sickness she had.  I watched my Grandmother and Grandaddy bury their firstborn child. It was heart wrenching for me. I watched my uncle lose the love of his life. I watched her only son and his family lose a woman they loved dearly. My cousin, her so lost his daddy the same week. I could not imagine!  I watched her 5 sisters and 2 brothers mourn her loss. My mothers side of the family is very close. I love all of them so much. There's that word again. Love! Love like Jesus. She was an amazing woman and she will be forever missed. I learned that if not for the comfort of the Holy Spirit that none of us could move on. He was and is our comforter. I have no doubt that my Aunt Wanda was ultimately healed when she passes on from this world. Even though I don't understand why she had to go so soon, I know it was and is all for the glory of God. Things like this change us. They break us down so we can grow. I have grown so much from this loss. She is in Heaven with Jesus dancing on the streets of gold and enjoying the company of those who have gone on before us.

The next thing that hit me was the death of a local high schooler who was a star football player for the Trojans. He was also taken by this horrible disease of cancer. It was a very rare kind from what I understand.  Again so many lives were touched by Malik Sparkman. I believe lives are still being touched and changed for the good and for Gods glory. It is my understanding that he was also a strong Christian and was a witness for Christ through it all. He loved Jesus. With this information, I know that he is in Heaven as well.

In the spring of 2015, I got pretty sick. What I thought was just some sinus issues ended up resulting in some surgery and some unsettled information about myself. I thought a fish bone was stuck in my throat but as it progresses I realized it wasn't in my throat at all. I woke one night in excruciating pain crying. I had been to the walkin clinic earlier that day and they said it was thyroid and did thyroid bloodwork.  I was referred to an ENT doctor here in Douglas. I called and they could see me in 3 weeks. I was not happy with that information but living in this little town of Douglas I just settled for that and prayed that the Lord would work it out. My neck was swollen and red and was continuously swelling. I wasn't sure what was happening. My husband took me to the ER.  My three older kids were spending the night with my parents. Hubby had to get the baby out of the bed and get her out to the car seat. I don't remember much about that night other than the fact that the favor of a God absolutely surrounded me. My doctor was a 1994 graduate from Hazlehurst. I am from there. They did blood work, pain meds, lots of antiinflammatories and a CT scan with contrast. In doing the CT scan, they found a thyroglossal duct cyst. Before I go any further I MUST tell you this is NOT a thyroid condition. It actually didn't involve the thyroid at all. I don't really have time nor do I really want to go into what this is. Google it if you want to know. I assure you it didn't involve the thyroid. I had a lot of people who tried to tell me it could be thyroid cancer and to not let just any doctor do surgery, etc, etc. I know they meant well but they were used to put fear in me. I was able to keep that fear down by lots and lots of prayer but I'm just saying we should be careful with our words. We can speak life or we can speak death over somebody and ourselves for that matter. The doctor just happened to know a good ENT from Dublin that was a colleague of his. I think he said they were in college together. He promised me he would call him personally and get me in ASAP. I was told that surgery would be needed. Fast forward a few weeks. ER doctor called my husband later that morning while may I mention he was off work and did this out of the goodness of his heart told my husband he got an appointment for that Friday. I had went to the ER on Wednesday night. Like I said nothing but the favor of God!  I was told there was a slight risk of cancer. My doctor slid over this info like it was nothing. I Had to take lots of antibiotics and antiinflammatories to get the swelling down so surgery could be done. Surgery was scheduled for a Monday. On the Saturday night before, I started to feel bad and started to feel like it was swelling again. By Sunday afternoon when we went to take the kids to my parents I had to call my ENT and ask if he would still be able to do the surgery if the infection was coming back. It was Father's Day and I had him paged. He called me back in less than 5 minutes. He was a great doctor!!  Surgery went just fine. It was my first time being put to sleep and my very first surgery. I can say that I had the most peace about everything. I was nervous but it was because I really didn't know what to expect. I stayed a night in the hospital. Now I have a nice little scar right smack dab in the middle of my neck. That scar is a reminder to me though. It's a reminder to never ever take my health, my husband, my children, family, or friends for granted. It helped me to love more. It helped me to cling to the small things and appreciate them. It made me fall in love with my husband all over again. He was a good nurse. So patient and kind and a GOOD prayer warrior. He doesn't pray out loud but his prayers are so powerful I can feel them. I am so thankful for my husband. My parents kept our girls and my husbands parents kept our boys while I had surgery and for the remainder of the week while I recovered. I am thankful for this experience. I am thankful that the Lord was there comforting me and everyone who is close to me through this.

It took me a while to get back on my feet good. I was feeling more human around the first of July. In the middle of July, something happened that absolutely rocked me and the community that I grew up in to our very core. A friend of mine and her husband lost their baby boy. He drowned. I'm not going to say much about this because I know that his mommy will probably read this. I will say that I saw the people of the community that I grew up in come together and love on this family. I don't understand it but what I know is that the good Lord works everything out for the good of those who love Him. I do know his family loves the Lord with all their hearts and that although the days are hard, it's going to get better with time. We just need to cling to the Lord and I know they are. And to this family who is like my family I love you guys so much. Every single one of you!

And so back at the beginning of 2015 when I chose this word LOVE I never would have thought hat the Lord would teach me this way to love like Jesus but it was my prayer that God would open my eyes  to see those who needed love the most. I realized without Jesus, there is no love. God is love. Love never fails. Read 1 Corinthians 13. This is what love is.