Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Update

Thank you to everyone who has asked how we are doing. We appreciate the cards, calls, e-mails, etc. I can not tell you how very blessed Clint and I are to know such caring people. We feel very loved and we appreciate you. People see the difference in our group of friends and often ask us where we found so many wonderful people.

When you take the time to encourage others, to show them love and concern, you are being the hands and feet of Christ. I know it is hard to wonder what to say to someone who is going through a hard time. Never hold back from doing good or showing kindness. Far too often we let loose with the mean due to our injured pride and hold back on showing kindness for fear of saying something wrong. We have a choice to either shine light or cast darkness on others. God tells us to ignore our pride and to reach out to others. One of the most touching things said to me recently was from a male friend I have known since childhood who showed his concern with awkward, but genuine words. It wasn't a Hallmark card, but his beautiful heart shown through those words. It was his heartfelt concern that touched me. I am thankful to know so many humble people with big hearts.

While I have read the e-mails, I am not up to answering all of them. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate them. I have not felt like talking on the phone either. Physically, I am still waiting on the baby to pass. It has taken my body up to 6 weeks before. There is a comfort in knowing my body has fought so hard to hold on to our children. I would rather do this naturally. This is my fourth miscarriage and I am aware of what to look for as far as complications go. If I think there is any problem at all, I will go to the ER. Emotionally, Clint and I are sad. Mentally, I am trying to focus on figuring out the new homeschool schedule. We took 6 weeks off for the holidays, and with all that happened it has been a blessing. It is time to get back into a full schedule, and it will be a busy one. Spiritually, I am reminding myself of all of the blessings God has given me and praising Him for those.

Prayer requests are that God will continue to heal our and our children's hearts....that my body will release the baby so we can move forward...that there will be no complications. Thank you to those who asked how they could pray with us.

I can not tell you how many people have written to us to say they have found a new direction in their thinking through our sharing about enemies. While I can't honestly say I am glad someone showed hateful thoughts towards my family, I can say I am glad God is working through it. One person is changing their life and considering a relationship with Christ. We have heard some heartbreaking stories and some amazing stories of reconciliation. You just never know how God will use the things in your life.


For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Respond in Love

For years, I put up with a person speaking gruffly to me when they would call our home asking for Clint. They'd bark "Wendy, this is XXXXXXX!!!!! Let me speak to Clint!!!" It hurt me each time. I had never had a harsh word towards them. I had never even had a real conversation with this person in the years we had known each other because they never took the time to get to know me. They never gave me a chance. They were mistreating me because of something someone had told them I had said or done. I know for a fact that person had lied about some of the things they were telling others. I was always polite and took the phone to Clint. I took my hurt and anger to the Lord and my husband. Clint wanted to say something about it, but I asked him to let it go. I was afraid it would make the situation worse which would have hurt Clint far more than it hurt me.


One day, I got tired of it. I asked Clint to pray for me because I was to a point where I was not going to allow this person to keep talking to me like that. We prayed about it and came up with a response for the next time they called. I planned to say "I am sorry, but you can not speak to Clint until you learn how to ask politely. You are welcome to call and try again, but how far you get will depend on how you speak to me. Goodbye." At that point, I was going to hang up the phone. An interesting thing happened. They called and bit my head off again, but the phone call was interrupted before it got any further. They had to call back. When they called back, they apologized to me for how they had spoken to me. The Lord had convicted and changed them! Now, they only changed in that area, but God had answered my prayer. That was enough to encourage me to keep looking to Him when dealing with difficult people.

I share this to encourage you. We have had so many people contact us after we addressed the person who wished harm to us when they found out we were blessed with another pregnancy. They've shared some painful stories about broken relationships. Respond to people with God's love even when they do not deserve it. Do what is right even when it is hard to do. He can change them. Some people won't change permanently and others will only change a little. It's about how much they let God in and let their issues go. I know well the battle with pride and anger to defend yourself. Instead of listing their sins, start listing yours against God. It will humble you and allow love and compassion into your heart.



If He doesn't change them, He may change something else. For two months after another long, painful struggle, I cried out "Lord, change them so they stop hurting me, or change me so it doesn't hurt me like this, or get them out of my life because I can't take living like this any more!!!" He used my refusal of their help to open a window to bring them to such anger that they threw a fit my children still remember to this day, cut me out of the family and walked out of my life. He answered that prayer in a way that I have complete peace about how things ended.


I also want to tell you that I am not perfect in this. Sometimes people are rude to me, and I respond in kind or worse. I am a very fallible human. When I catch myself, I make myself apologize. The self discipline it takes to admit a wrong keeps us humble, heals relationships and grows us in character. Being a Christian is a struggle because God tells us to do things that do not come to us naturally. Do what's right, and God will bless you.

A dear friend shared this with me in an e-mail. He copied it from someone else...

"We often see faults in others without recognizing them in ourselves. Confess your own mistakes, then extend mercy just as you have received God's mercy. Surrender your pride, and apologize when you hurt someone. It shows obedience, courage, humility, love, and strength. God calls and enables us to become living, breathing, authentic imitators of Him. What a glourious responsibility and privilege. We are a "little Christ" to a watching world."

I Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Romans 12:15-21 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Monday, December 27, 2010



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Snow!



We can normally see our red gate, mailbox and the road.

Clint took me for a "sleigh" ride. We rode around in my 4WD truck for over 2 1/2 hours while it was still snowing.
It was GORGEOUS, and we had so much fun!
We did not have any problems, but we saw several people in sports cars and small trucks who did.



If it is a quick trip to the car, I don't put on shoes.
It makes Clint shake his head.



1 rubber backed rug: $12.50
2 trays of snow: $0
keeping babies completely warm while they play for hours in the snow: PRICELESS

All I have to do is pick their toys and my trays out. Then I shake the rug out and let it dry!
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More Pictures




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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pretty



one of my favorite Christmas decorations

It's made out of magnolia branches.
Each year, I eagerly await its appearance!
This is along Guinea Road.
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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christ-a-must! 2010

Ever since we have had four children, these pictures have been like herding cats. :-) This year, I asked Clint to do it. Ha! He kept asking me for help! Emily and Hannah wiggled and squirmed! Then long before this picture was captured, Hannah decided she was done with pictures. Caleb cut up in a few photos until we caught him. Bethany anticipates the flash and closes her eyes. Amanda, Brandon and Joshua are the talkers, so we get some interesting shots of them!

From us to you, Merry Christmas!


Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Losing the Baby

While we have suspected as much for a few weeks now, I am miscarrying Clint's and my 11th child. Emotionally, we are sad, but OK. We can feel the prayers of our friends who have known for the last few days sustaining us. If you want to pray for us, pray the miscarriage will be complete and over quickly without heavy bleeding or infection. We have peace that goes beyond understanding and are rejoicing that God chose us to make this child known to us even for a short time. We will not let this prevent our rejoicing in Hannah's birthday today or our celebration of Christ's birth.

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light Psalm 18:28

There is one person who publicly wished harm to our family when we announced the pregnancy. This is to him. I know someone will let him know it is here:

I have taken down my confrontation of the publicly aimed hate towards my family because I know the person has read it. My point was to tell this person they are so very, very wrong on how they have treated my husband and family. Just because my husband and I have chosen not to list the things done against us by his mother does not mean she did not give us reason to back out of her life.
I left the last paragraph because it is the heart of my message to them:

I do hope that one day, you are able to let the love of Christ into your life. Once you truly let Him in, you will see that He fills you up so much that you can not hold hate in your heart for anyone over anything. Your own sins against Him and others become so big, that you realize your own condition before Him. Once that is fully realized, you can not help but view the sins of others with compassion and humbleness. His love washes clean those bitter feelings and brings complete and total healing. That is my sincere prayer for you....that you come to truly know Him and find this deep and lasting healing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two Sisters


Emily and Amanda sharing a quiet moment.
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Hannah's 2nd Birthday



Hannah loved her play kitchen and her dishes! She really enjoyed opening her presents!



Brandon said "We can put this together without the directions."
Clint patted him on the back and said "Welcome to manhood, son!"



Clint reading the directions to figure out how three pieces interlock. :-)
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Hannah Turns 2 Tomorrow

We wanted her cake to go along with the play kitchen/cooking theme.
I needed something quick and easy since I was feeling rather "ick" from the pregnancy last week.

Hannah knew just what to do with the candles!

No one had to help her open presents this year!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Breast-feeding benefits academic performance 10 years later

Breast-feeding infants for at least six months appears to give kids' an advantage in school, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Many other studies have also found a small effect on school performance from breast-feeding. This study, however, was unique in that boys appeared to benefit the most. The researchers, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, have followed 2,868 children since the early '90s. The study showed that, at age 10, boys who were breast-fed for six months or longer scored higher in math, reading and spelling compared with boys who were breast-fed for less than six months. Girls who were breast-fed for at least six months showed a small improvement in reading. The researchers controlled for other factors that could influence school performance, such as family income and education and how often the child was read to.

Breast milk is rich in long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids that are critical to brain development. It's not clear why boys showed the largest gains from being breast-fed, but the authors explain that male babies are known to be more vulnerable in infancy than females. They speculate that breast-feeding "accelerates the rate of maturation in boys."

Boys may also benefit more from the mother-child relationship facilitated by breast-feeding. "A number of studies have revealed that male infants are more reliant than female infants on maternal attention and encouragement for the acquisition of cognitive and language skills," the authors wrote.

Breast-feeding confers a lot of other benefits too. Children who are breast-fed seem to have greater protection from viruses and a lower risk of developing asthma, allergies and -- later in life -- obesity and diabetes. Public health experts urge women to nurse their babies exclusively for the first six months of life.

http://www.dailypress.com/health/la-heb-breast-feeding-20101220,0,7657289.story

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Very Bad Toys R Us Experience

Last night, we had one of the worst shopping experiences we've ever had. We were informed of a sale on play kitchens on ToysRUs.com. We called the store to see if they had the same sale. We were told they did not. We called back and asked again because this looked like a sale you'd see in a flier. We were told the sale was not going on at the physical stores. We decided to head to Target to see if they had the play kitchen we wanted for Hannah's birthday. On a hunch, we stopped in Toys R Us which is in the same shopping center. Yep, there was the sale on the shelf tag! Not only that, but there was a $10 rebate making the play kitchen a great deal for Hannah's birthday. We also found out it was in the store flier too! Store associates should have easy access to promotional information and be able to give accurate information to customers. This increases sales! It makes the customer happy! It's good business!

We took our tag to the check out. For the entire time we were being checked out, we had to listen to a loud assistant manager yell angrily at a customer on the phone. Then to our amazement, we saw the assistant manager SLAM the phone down, yell "*ITCH!!!" and storm away with more loud and angry words. Then, she comes back up the front and says loudly "And, she was BLACK too!" A customer's race should never be figured into the equation while settling a customer complaint. Any store employee, especially an assistant manager, should be trained to handle situations with professionalism and self control. We are thankful we had left our children at home. It was definitely not family night at Toys R Us!

After seeing how the store lacked information about a sale and how unprofessional the manager was, I can only imagine the customer on the phone had a legitimate complaint. We've contacted the store with our experience along with the time the cameras should have recorded the manager's behavior. We provided her name and description. We really do not have any expectations. Rarely do stores correct issues like these any more. Training costs money and most employers are more worried about the bottom line than their image. However, we as consumers still get to speak our displeasure with our dollars.

UPDATE DECEMBER 30, 2010: We have been asked by several people if we every heard anything. No, we have not. We gave them our e-mail address, our phone numbers (which have voice mail-and no messages were left from TRU) and our mailing address. Not.One.Word.

UPDATE JANUARY 21, 2011: Today, we received an e-mail from Toys R Us. The incident happened December 12, 2010. It is so far below the mark; it doesn't win any points from me. There isn't a reason given as to why it took them so long to respond to us. Neither the poor customer service of the manager's issues were mentioned in the e-mail. No solutions were given for the manager's racist attitude. It looks like a form letter with our names inserted. We are offended by this weak response and lack of a stand against that kind of behavior by the store:


Response (Christopher S***but) - 01/21/2011 02:03 PM
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Asbell

Thank you for your email regarding your unfortunate experience at our store. We value your opinion and appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to let us hear from you. As a company, we work hard to incorporate guest service into all aspects of our business, especially at the store level, and we are disappointed when we learn we have fallen short of our goal.

On behalf of Toys “R” Us, please accept my sincere apologies for the difficulties you encountered. Clearly, the lack of service and general disregard you received by our store staff is unacceptable. Be assured, the “R” Us Family does not condone this behavior and we take these matters seriously. I would like to assure you that your concerns have been forwarded to the appropriate individuals for review. They will deal directly with your local store team to ensure that your concerns are addressed and handled appropriately.

Thank you again, Mr. and Mrs. Asbell, for letting us know of your experience. It is because you have taken the time out of your day that we are able to improve our service at your local store and as an entire organization.

Sincerely,


The "R"Us Team

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Prayer Request

Please lift up prayers for Jimmy. He has cancer. His cancer has not spread to new areas, but it has grown where it was already. He has to undergo more treatments. His wife, Sandra, has always been very kind to our family. Several years ago, when I had only 2-3 children, I would go out during the day more. I witnessed Sandra patiently helping others. I have seen her willingly interrupt her lunch break many times to save someone else time. I know she still does this today, because Brandon has seen her do it too. Actions speak louder than words, and Sandra's kind of testimony shines the brightest for Christ. Please join us in asking the Lord to heal Jimmy.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Learning to Help



Hannah (1) ran over to help Clint spread the tarp that goes inside the teepee. It would have been simpler for him to do it himself. However, he would have lost a valuable opportunity to teach Hannah that helping is good and fun. Anytime our children have tried to help with something, we have encouraged it as long as it was safe. Hannah is only one, but she ran across the yard to help our family by spreading the tarp. She knows she is needed. Her input in our family is important. Let your children help, and praise them when they do. When Emily helps me clean windows, she misses a lot. I always have to go back over the window. I can still praise her for a willing attitude, her persistence and for keeping me company. Somewhere in her mind, she had to see me cleaning windows and think "I will help Mom." Then, she put those thoughts into actions. When I reward her with praise for her help, it reinforces taking action when a need is seen.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Teepee (Tipi) Covered




Here's the teepee frame covered. We uncovered it right before a storm and finally got the cover back on it.
Our five oldest children slept inside of it overnight one night. They were joined by three cats.
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