Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hannah's Short Speech to Clint

Hannah (just turned 3) in a heartfelt conversation at bedtime: "Dad, I do NOT like 'piders. I do NOT like big 'piders or small 'piders. I do NOT like mom 'piders, dad 'piders, or kid 'piders. I DO NOT like black widow 'piders."

Hannah has not liked spiders since she was about 18 months old.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Better Today

Thank you for the prayers. This isn't going to be something that gets better overnight, but I did better yesterday and am doing better today.

How my child went from home school to Harvard and yours can, too.

"Dakota Root doesn't just prove the success of home-schooling. She proves the success of the individual over a dependence upon government. 

She proves the success of alternative education, parental freedom, and school choice. 

Her tremendous success as a scholar and athlete proves that it doesn't take a village, or a state-licensed teacher, or a teacher’s union, to educate a child. It just takes two caring, motivated parents with a willingness and courage to seize control and take responsibility for their children’s future.

Dakota’s story proves the American Dream is alive, if only we’d stop depending on government to save us."

To read the entire story, click here. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Keep the Faith

(not our image, not sure where to give credit)
Thank you to Theresa A. for sharing!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lowly in Spirit

My past had me not trusting people as it was, but what little I had left is completely shattered. There are two people responsible for bringing me here. They come from the same place and have the same behaviors. One resents the other for what they did when their behavior is worse. One befriended and used me to try to persuade my husband to give them what they wanted. The other did it behind my back while pretending everything was OK to my face. I survived one blow to have another come along and knock me down even harder. The cruelest assaults come from people who say they care and then hurt you anyway. At this particular moment in time where the first wound has been reopened and the second is fresh, I wish I had never met either one of them.

I have always believed if you treated people well and tried your best to do right, you would be blessed for it. I no longer believe that. Life sucker punches you. Hard. Sometimes back to back.

I am thoroughly whipped by life at the moment. There is absolutely nothing left of me to even try to help myself up, so I am counting on this:

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I found out five days ago I have been lied to repeatedly by another person I trusted. That person had lied to me about something from 2005-2007. I found out, forgave them, and gave them another chance. Well, they did it again. To my face, they were pretending to care while they were harming me behind my back. My heart hurts; my mind is overwhelmed. If it had been one thing, I think I'd be OK, but stuff just keeps coming. Some of it is big and and some of it is small, but in the last fifteen months there have been many, many stressful situations close together.

God says to forgive, show them love at every turn, and work with them. So, I am trying. The anger pops up now and again but that is easier to deal with than the deep hurt. This has reduced me to bouts of heavy sobbing every day. I have had some very low points, but have never been this bRoKeN. I have barely been able to function the last few days. It's like my mind and body are demanding a "time out" for a little while.

Still, God is God and He sits on His throne. I cling to His promises each day and seek Him out for reassurance when I grow weary. I am casting my burdens at His feet...and often picking them back up ....and learning how to drop them yet again. I know each trial serves a purpose and is molding me more like my Father for the future He has ordained for me. He puts my tears into His bottle; they do not escape His notice or concern. He is acquainted with all my ways; nothing I feel or do surprises Him so I can freely share my heart with Him without holding back. My Father knows the good, the bad, and the ugly in me. I can be me when I go to Him and He will not turn me away.

Since I accepted Jesus' blood atonement for my sins, He calls me His child. I know nothing can ever separate me from Him. I know in His wisdom He does things that don't make sense to me just as I make decisions for my children that do not make sense to them now.

He is God and He has opened the door on all of these challenging things for a plan and a purpose. It's a difficult time, but I know something good is being accomplished through it. I have been knocked down hard over and over again. I am reaching out for the Lord to put me back on my feet so I can continue this race.

Father, please send me a period of rest. Help me to truly forgive those who hurt me. Forgive me for where I have failed and keep me humble enough to apologize when I have wronged others. Strengthen me and renew my focus on the priorities You have for me. Let me let go of my "to do" list and replace it with Yours. Open my eyes and heart to let me learn all I can through this period so I can become more like You. Don't let fear of more disappointment rule in my heart, but let me treat and receive every single person the way You want. Show me when to trust and when to question. Teach me when to hold on and when to let go of relationships. Let me grow as close to you as I possibly can while on this earth. Please don't let me disappoint You.

Psalms 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalms 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

“Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Preschool Activity: Making Paint with M&Ms

This is a neat preschool activity that involves sorting, measuring, color recognition, and art followed by an easy clean up.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Per our annual tradition, we took from Thanksgiving week until January 2. Now we are back to the full schedule and that means I am very busy. If you send a message (through whatever means) and I don't answer, I probably haven't seen it. Sometimes I have a couple of minutes at a time between checking math problems for the middles (Joshua, Caleb, Bethany) or helping the littles (Emily and Hannah). That allows me some sporadic use of Facebook.

Don't let inconsistencies in how I keep in touch make you think I am avoiding you. I try to put people/relationships before things and tasks because if we aren't doing that, how can we be living for Christ?! But, I also have to teach and provide my family with a clean home, clean clothes, and healthy meals. I need my friends to keep me going on the hard days, and there have been a lot of those lately. So, if you don't hear from me, check in again. It's always welcome and appreciated even if I don't say the words.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Clint's Thoughts on Life with Seven Children

Clint's co-worker compared our lives with seven children to another friend without children. The man asked Clint if he missed traveling, fancier clothes, nicer cars, etc. Clint said "There is not a single thing that I would rather have than my children. Trips are a few times a year and are soon a memory. Possessions don't last. My children bring me joy every day and will continue to do so for an eternity. I am not missing out on anything. I already have everything."

At 43, we are at a stage where most of our friends have children who have left home for college or have families of their own. Many times we have heard "I wish we would have had more children," "I miss having young children at home," or "Your family has so much fun together." We have also heard "I love being at your house because the children make me feel young again." These comments remind us of how blessed we are to be where we are. They help us to not take our children for granted when things are chaotic.

Clint and I are very thankful for the Holy Spirit's leading to let the Father control our family size. We have never regretted it. Even with the miscarriages and hyperemesis gravidarum, we know there is a plan and a purpose for our good and God's glory. Our daily lives are filled with laughter and a sense of purpose. We are joyfully living out the calling God gave us knowing there will be an eternal reward. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Are Worthy

"A well-known speaker started off his seminar holding up a $20.00 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this." He proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. "Now, who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air. 
 "My friends, we have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions the circumstances that come our way or the decisions we make. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to the One Who Redeemed YOU. The worth of our lives comes not in what we do or who we know, but through Christ. You are Special-Don't EVER forget it."
This should also affect how we view others.
Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Praise of Homeschools by Aaron Smith

"The most admirable group of entrepreneurs is perhaps the least appreciated. Homeschool parents, or parentrepreneurs, are not waiting for politicians and technocrats to fix broken systems of education. Rather, they are eschewing the status quo and finding innovative ways to advance the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth of their children. Unlike their counterparts in the public sector, parentrepreneurs have achieved astounding results with humble budgets." ... Read the rest at:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why I Hate Religion by Spoken Word

This is how Clint and I feel about religion vs a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In This Home...

not our picture, not sure where to give credit

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Breastfeeding in Public

not our picture, not sure where to give credit

I have seven children and have breastfed all of them. I have breastfed in public hundreds of times including in the pew at church,  at parks, restaurants, stores, theme parks, events, etc. Not once have I been mistreated or had a single word spoken against what I was doing. I haven't even had a dirty look aimed at me. Even though I wear a DD cup, I never showed as much cleavage as either of these women. The Biblical standard of modesty would have both women covering up.

You can breastfeed discreetly. It's a choice you make to show respect to others. The only time anyone knew I was breastfeeding was when a woman leaned in to see the baby's face. Even though I was in a public place, she apologized profusely for invading my privacy. I was not offended.

The picture has a good point, but it misses a bigger one: While I am pro-breastfeeding, respect goes both ways. The goal of breastfeeding should be to give your baby the best nutrition NOT to push limits and challenge other's views.

Quote on Difficult Circumstances

"There is no circumstance, no trouble, no testing, that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and past Christ until it came right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a great purpose which I might not understand at the moment. But, I refuse to become panicky as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the Throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart." ~Alan Redpath

Monday, January 09, 2012


This applies to all relationships, not just marriage.

Thank you to Jen C. for sharing!

Friday, January 06, 2012

January 2012

We were ahead of schedule with the school work, so we took the whole month of December off of homeschool. It was a nice break! We baked and decorated cookies, decorated the house, played games, and enjoyed the down time with each other.

Per tradition, Clint and I took down the Christmas decorations while the children were playing with their toys. I have found it is easier to do it while Clint can help. If I wait, it is hard for me to find time to get to it.

We started school back on the third of this month which was when Clint had to go back to work. Being on a schedule is easier than not. My children know what to do on a school day and do not usually have to be prompted. Being off the routine is more challenging. The house gets messier quicker, and I have to remind everyone of the things they need to do to keep our family functioning.

Clint has to work some overtime so we can redo our bathroom. We are down to one working toilet. The bathroom with the working toilet had an electrical problem several weeks ago. So, the light doesn't work. We have all of the items to redo the bathroom already, but we did not anticipate a wiring issue too. Now we have to tear out walls too.

My homeschooled son, Brandon, continues to be in the top of his classes in college!!! He aced another math test yesterday! He was the only one to solve a tough Geometry question in class, so his teacher gave him 10 points to apply to any exam. He plans on adding to the final. When he succeeds, I feel like I succeed because I taught him. I knew he was capable of this, but I did not expect the satisfaction it would bring me. Reaping the blessings of obeying God's leading to homeschool has been very sweet! Seeing Brandon excel in academics has renewed my determination to give my other children the best education I can.

I asked Brandon if he felt his homeschool education prepared him well for college. He quickly and firmly answered "YES!" He said he felt it prepared him better than the other student's experience. He is appalled by the rudeness and lack of interest. He told me he wants to give his children what I gave him.

Amanda graduated high school last year and is planning to start college soon. She has been praying about what to do. She has a couple of things she is contemplating. I am enjoying the blessing of extra time with her.

I had to cut Hannah's hair last night. Her fine blonde hair is still sparse but she had a long lock of hair that was resting on her forehead. She came to me after I trimmed the other girl's bangs and said "Please cut mine too, Mom!" I tried talking her out of it four times; she was not having it. I saved the bits of hair. The other day, as I cuddled her to me, I said "You are my baby, Hannah." She said "I am not a baby, Mom. I don't wet my pants anymore; I am a big girl!"

I have one child leaving behind his childhood as he starts his adult life. I have another child leaving behind her babyhood. It's nice to see both of those periods of development at the same time. It's also a little sad. I am enjoying my mothering adventures!


Clint and I love our friends. When we get knocked down, they reach out a loving hand, pull us to our feet, dust us off, give us a hug, and say "Go forward; you can do this!" We know some of the best people in the world. Thank you for all of your kindness.

 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you."  – Matthew 6:14

Being Silly

 He cracked himself up!

Even Maggie participated!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Gingerbread House

Clint works a lot, so I try to take a backseat and give him opportunities to do things with the children.
A wife should make her husband feel important in her life and in the lives of their children.
Little things, like gingerbread house making, can end up yielding big things.

They made the gingerbread house, let me take a few pictures of it, and then proceeded to eat all of it in about 15 minutes!

Amanda's shirt: She thought that and about 15 other "crinkle" blouses had been lost in the barn fire. She found them squished into the back of a chest in her room. She was so happy; she came downstairs wearing one to show us she found them.

My Very Favorite People

My "old" man :0)...
pretending to be a young man!
my young men

This stinker was hoping to run into me!
He forgets I can move quick when I need it!

Joshua and Caleb
May they fight battles together and not fight each other.

We make them pause by the front door before they go to the tree.
Note Hannah's face! Her Gramma Susan calls it her "poogy" face.

Clint and I are very playful with each other. He picks on me relentlessly sometimes. 
He thinks it is funny to get me riled up. So, I hit him. :0)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Lose My Soul-Toby Mac

My Brave Son Caleb

 Caleb is our youngest son. The zip line was challenging for him, but he made himself do it anyway.
 Not only did he do the zip line, but he conquered his fear.
He will draw on this experience the next time he faces a challenge.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Team Asbell

 Emily wanted to try it. Clint started her off in the middle of the cable for a slower and shorter ride. In case her arms grew tired, Clint ran beside her holding onto her legs.

On her third try, she climbed the big ladder and rode the entire length of the cable. 
On her fourth, she told me she didn't want help any more.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Already a Better Year by Clint

When last year started off so poorly and this year has started off so great, it is hard not to note the stark contrast. Around mid-December last year, we knew our baby had died, and Wendy would miscarry. It was a long wait. The baby passed from her body on New Year's Day. It was a day of sadness. We figured the year could only get better from there. 2011 was not an easy year. We lost our child, ended a negative relationship, saw many friends lose their battles with disease, had the large loss due to the barn fire followed by livestock and wildlife issues, were involved in three car accidents, had a long term injury due to an accident, dealt with a flood, had our nerves shaken by an earthquake, and had some damage due to a hurricane. Then Wendy broke her heel.  Just as we thought things were getting easier and we were looking forward to the holidays, more hurt and disappointment walked into our lives. Most would say 2011 was a horrible year for us.

It was tough, but through it all, we saw God's blessings. We have seen spiritual growth not only in my and Wendy's life, but also in our children's. Team Asbell bonded even closer as we tackled the clean up from the fire and began the process of restoring our lives. Blessings poured out upon us as we handled the insurance claim and reached out to help others. Friendships were strengthened. Wendy and I have grown even closer to one another. The trials and blessings were beautifully mixed.

Yesterday, Wendy and I got a rare chance to sleep late. Together we went out to a late brunch and had a nice, uninterrupted time talking. Later at home, we enjoyed watching our children play with their new Christmas toys. Then they took turns racing down the zip line I installed.  We had a bonfire and cook out followed by some game time indoors after it became too chilly outside. Our home was filled with activity and delight.

Last night, we rang in the 2012 with a lot of laughter and playfulness followed by prayers and rejoicing for all we experienced in 2011. In the last few seconds of the year due to a mix up in instructions, we were running to grab the grape juice someone stuck in the freezer. As we raced the clock together to serve sparkling grape "slushy" to everyone, we laughed at ourselves! It was a hilarious moment and a perfect end to a challenging year. Today, after worship and a trip down memory lane, we spent the day focusing on what is good in our life. Our day has been filled with thanksgiving, rejoicing, and lots of love and laughter. It's already a better year!

Psalms51:10-11 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.