Phillip

phillip 2     It hit me the other day that I had not yet featured my youngest baby, Phillip, on Sunflowers in Summer. When I first started writing, he was just a newborn and we hadn’t had much of a chance to get to know each other. Now, at a whopping 10 months, his personality is certainly shining through!

This boy is so different from my first two. He was born mostly bald with fine blonde hair. It took me a couple of days to really realize that he was my child. I hope that doesn’t sound horrible. I loved him completely but he didn’t look like anybody in my family or my husband’s. My other children been born with thick black hair and button noses. Even Phillip’s facial features were different. Now that he is older I can see that he has my worry wrinkles on his forehead and he has Josiah’s long eyelashes.

It is kind of funny, my best friend predicted that he would be different, “Jeremy and Iris are North Carolina babies, he is going to have a Texas baby personality!” Well, she couldn’t have been more right! Phillip is the most laid back of all my children… and they are pretty laid back. He was the best newborn sleeper too. I would just lay him down in his crib and he would fall asleep. No fuss! I think God knew I needed that for my sanity. He has turned out to be the biggest Mama’s boy. Don’t get me wrong, Phillip really loves other people, he just loves them from the safety of my arms. He loves car rides, unlike my other two, and is refreshed by excursions out of the house. If he is having a grumpy day, sometimes we just have to get out and about for a while to turn his mood around.

His hair is really starting to grow out now. He is still as towheaded as ever (where did that term even come from anyway?) and he has super tight curls in the back. Way tighter than my curls or my daughter’s. She was well over a year before we were sure she would have curly hair. My great-aunt Janis says his looks take after my grandmother’s side of the family. Aunt Janis is one of the few blondes in the family and she has a way of adopting the other blondes that come along. I have one blonde cousin who also happens to have those tight curls and Aunt Janis has claimed him and now she is claiming Phillip too.

Phillip is such a loving, sweet little guy! He is totally adored by his big brother and sister. He has the best expressions and he is my pickiest eater *gulp.* He really does think he is one of the big kids and plays side by side with the others like a pro. I love that I get to watch him develop and grow into the man God designed him to be.

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Running a Home Business With Kids

20180217_100929.jpgI have to apologize for not writing lately. Life has been a whirlwind… a good sort of whirlwind but exhausting nonetheless. I’m sure I have mentioned it before, but my husband and I have started an antique side business. Thankfully it is a very flexible undertaking, however when I do have spare time apart from raising kids, there is ALWAYS something to do.
My struggle right now is with balance. If I am doing good spending time with kids, then housework doesn’t get done. If housework is getting done, then valuable antiques sit around the house waiting to get broken by unsupervised children. Thankfully, my mother-in-law has let me take over her game room with vintage stuff. That cuts down on the risks considerably, though we usually bring our new inventory into our house while we research and price them. On top of all this, I have been utterly unstructured about homeschooling. Is there ever an end to the struggle? Has anyone found that happy spot where nobody is lacking in love and attention and housework and business gets done? Is it a fantasy? If you have discovered the secret, let me know!
Poor Jeremy has been feeling a little resentment I can tell. Getting behind his eyes, I can see that it would be frustrating not to be able to touch all the beautiful things coming in and out of the house. As I was preparing for our first vintage market, I was frazzled with details and I know that he was feeling left on the backburner. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how I can make this a fun endeavor for him. Something he can participate in and feel a sort of family pride in.
Lately, I have been letting him paint rocks while I am painting and preparing furniture for resale. I really blew it last night. We both did. I was in too much of a hurry with my project to get him set up with his own paint and paintbrush and I didn’t let him paint rocks per usual. He was a little disappointed but not devastated that I sent him away. He went off and chased chickens and climbed trees. Once I was done with my work I went inside to wash up. When I went back outside my heart dropped! He had taken my paintbrush, dipped in the red paint and then the white, mixing up a nice Pepto Bismol pink, then he painted big gloppy pink splotches all over my vintage cabinet! Luckily my husband was able to get some paint thinner and get the worst of it off.

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So this is where I am at right now. The business is starting to take off but I am still not feeling as though I have it all together. Maybe I never will. Maybe we’re not supposed to have it all together. Okay, I know we’re not. I am praying more than anything that I will continue to keep my family my top priority and that I won’t let distraction blindside me. I still think this business is a good thing for us it’s just a growing experience for me right now. Friends, please pray for me as I learn to navigate these new waters!

Exciting Evening at the Aurora Country Auction!

The Lumpkin Patch

This Saturday was a huge win for us! We found some really exciting treasures in unexpected places. Our youngest baby, Phillip, was such a trooper and a perfect charmer as he tagged along on our adventures.

Our first stop was The Pecan, a local antique store in downtown Keller, TX. They were having a Lucky Duck sale with discounts between 5% and 25%. At checkout you would pick out a rubber duck and receive the discount on his belly. We scoured the store, keeping some specific collectors in mind. Some vendors were already having sales in their booths so if we could find good items we could really pack a punch combining it with the lucky duck discount. It took two rounds about the store, I’m sure the owners thought we were crazy, but we finally agreed on these two beauties…20180129_133950

Indiana Carnival Glass with grape and Ivy design

20180129_134201 Milk…

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The Mystery Blogger Award

mystery-blogger-awardI am so honored to have been nominated The Mystery Blogger award by Barb, the sweet and thoughtful writer behind the blog, Bipolar Barb. Her honesty about her journey through bipolar diagnosis, depression, and anxiety is rare and beautiful. Sharing about personal struggles shows a lot of strength of character and I admire her for that.

The Mystery Blogger Award is, in the words of it’s founder, Okoto Enigma, “…an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” Aw, this makes me feel really warm and fuzzy inside!

The Rules Are:

Put the award logo/image on your blog.
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog, as well as to the specific post in which you were nominated. That way, the blogger who nominated you will receive a Pingback and know that you posted your answers and will be able to read them!
Mention the creator of the award.
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
Nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (specify).
Share your link to your best post (s).

My Questions From Barb Are:

Q: How long have you been blogging? A: I have been blogging off and on for about 5 years, but Sunflowersinsummer has been my longest and most successful stretch.
Q: Who do you want to reach with your blog? A: I really have a heart to encourage women to see themselves as God sees them. To be able to find rest in the knowledge that we are fully accepted and cared for by a loving Heavenly Father who is not afraid of our mess.
Q: As a blogger, you’re comfortable writing for an audience. Would you be comfortable speaking in front of an audience? A: Let’s just say, I think I am. That’s not to say I wouldn’t go into a mini panic if I were ever asked to speak, but I think I have been equipped to overcome any initial fears.
Q: Do you believe reading improves your writing? A: Without a doubt! I was an avid reader as a child and still am. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, and Laura Ingals Wilder were the finest teachers when it came to learning how to turn a phrase.
Q: (Funny Question) Please play along, even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan. If you could, which Star Wars character would you be? A: Is it bad that I don’t remember any female characters besides Leia and Amadala? I’ve got to go with Leia.

Three things about myself:

  1. I was an Army wife for 6 years
  2. I went to college to be a sign language interpreter
  3. I am working on a children’s book series I would like to publish someday

I have one nominee, and that is my dear friend Aby of Abyquilts. She is an amazing quilter and has a beautiful perspective.

I really enjoyed Barb’s Questions for me so I will pass those on to Aby.

 

 

Furniture Flipping and Our New Side Business

junk-1680921_1920    So, my husband and I might have a little addiction… we can’t pass up a good deal on cool furniture or antiques. Nothing brings us together more than dreaming up how to bring life to sad furniture that just needs a little love. Our talents really do come together in a perfect marriage; I have an eye for color, texture, and design, and he has the technical skills and the ability to see the project from beginning to end. Our ideal date nights are flea markets and auction houses… haggling and bidding tend to get our adrenaline rushing and it is way more fun than dinner and a movie.

There’s just one little problem with our addiction and that is lack of space. We went from a house with a basement and garage in North Carolina to an 800 square foot house in Texas. Although my in-laws have been very gracious to give up a lot of their storage space for us, we would hate to take advantage of their generosity and keep bringing in more furniture. So, in order to keep our passion going and our inventory fluid, we have decided to start a small side business. The Lumpkin Patch is going to be making its debut at local North Texas flea markets very soon! We have a Facebook page with our inventory, appearance schedule, project update videos, and more.

I’ve got to admit, this is all a little nerve-wracking. I’m so hoping to see this succeed, but it is one of those things we won’t find out until we try. Do check us out and if you have any tips or suggestions I’d love to hear them!

Visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/thelumpkinpatch/

A Lesson From My Son

aircraft-1526567_1920    My son was so thrilled to have his aunt and uncle seated on either side of his car seat. We were dropping them, and my mother-in-law, off at the airport for their trip to Colorado. They played with him the whole way there and he was reveling in their undivided attention. But then, once we got to the airport and they walked through those terminal doors without him, my son went unglued.

“Mom! Get me out of my car seat! I have to get on the plane.”

“Baby, you don’t have a plane ticket. We won’t get to go this time but we can go home and do something fun.”

“I do have a plane ticket!” He held up a tag from one of his outfits I had left in the car.”

“That’s not a real plane ticket, honey. You have to buy a special one from the airport.”

“I will buy one, mom. I have pennies in my piggy bank.”

“Plane tickets are expensive, even all of your pennies won’t be enough.”

He burst into tears. It was apparent that he was in desperate agony that he had been left out of the fun.

“Turn around, Mom. We can still make it on the plane!”

He cried the whole way home, bargaining and begging.

After a little while, I began to get a little irritated with all the whining, but how could I get really get mad when his feelings were all too familiar. I knew exactly how he felt not getting what he desperately wanted. Don’t we all?

I had felt that way when I struggled through two years of infertility. It wasn’t until I stopped warring with God and resolved to redeem the time of childlessness that I began to see His blessing. I am in the same boat again, waiting for my husband to really start making money at his job and hoping to be able to afford a house soon. In the same spirit of frustration that my son experienced, I have desperately begged God to give us money now! I have tried to use my own resources to the point of distraction and depression… looking for a work-from-home job for a stay-at-home mom of three with no degree. In the midst of all this begging and desperation, I have forgotten to remember the blessings of where I am now.

Right now, we are living in an 800 square foot house on my in-law’s property. While this may seem impossibly small to some, if I am honest with myself, I don’t know how I would have been able to cope with a bigger house when my baby, Phillip, was still a newborn.  My four year old and two year old just might have killed themselves if I hadn’t known precisely where they were at all times. Even in our small house, they still managed to get into loads of trouble every time I sat down to nurse.

Being close to family has been such a blessing. My husband’s little sister is the perfect babysitting age and she has poured out so much love and energy into my kids. When we moved into our little house, the whole family pitched in to put everything in order just days before baby Phillip was born. Best of all, I have become very close with my mother-in-law, Ellen. During nap time, we often enjoy a coffee break out on the deck or by the fire. Her companionship has been so sweet and her lively sense of humor makes my days so much brighter.

As much as things are beginning to feel snug in our little house, I know that I will miss many of the blessings we have enjoyed here. Whenever I feel tempted to pound the gates of Heaven with my demands, I know it would benefit my soul to redeem the time and appreciate the season God has placed me in.  I am reminded of Paul, who said in his letter to the Philippians, “… I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” God speaks to our hearts in many ways and this month He spoke to me through my little son. How is He speaking to you today?

Is the World Falling Apart?

city-2462053_1920As I look at the world around me, I feel this sense that we are in strange and unprecedented times. There is tension on a grand scale as we are grappling with the meaning behind all the senseless killings, the devastation of worldwide natural disasters, and political and domestic confusion and unrest. It is enough to unsettle the best of us, but let me assure you, there is hope.

I’m not sure how many of you are going to take what I am about to write. As a believer in Jesus Christ, it is my Blessed Hope, but many will find it a stumbling block and a curse. Believe it or not, these times we are living in today are described in great detail in the prophetic words of the Bible. I believe what we are witnessing now is what the Bible describes as the beginning of the labor pangs of the End Times. Things are about to get much much worse, but for those who trust in Jesus, we have the assurance of being out of here, raptured, before the worst is to come.

I have already heard many say, “But things on earth have always been evil. Even the Apostle Paul thought he could be in the End Times.” Let me show you a few things that I believe sets this time apart. Let’s start Matthew 24:32-34. When Jesus’ disciples asked him about the end of times he spoke thus, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.  So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” This passage always used to confuse me. I just skipped over the fig tree part, ‘what does that even mean?’ When I read, “this generation will by no means pass away,” I assumed Jesus meant his generation. Well, that interpretation is alarming! Jesus’ own prediction didn’t come true? I recently came across some really good Bible teaching and was overwhelmed by the beautiful truth depicted in this passage. The fig tree is figurative of Israel. Why had no one taught me this before? When Jesus talked about the fig tree blooming, he was talking about Israel becoming a nation again after the destruction of the temple and scattering of the people, see the beginning of Matthew Chapter 24. For nearly two thousand years Israel was desolate. Nobody could ever have imagined it would become a nation again, but in 1948 she was restored! So with this perspective, we know that the generation that saw Israel re-established will see the second coming. Now, how do we know what a generation is? Psalm 90:10 “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years…”  We just celebrated Israel’s 70th year of rebirth. This puts an expiration date on this prophecy and we are nearing the very end of it.

      Is there anything else that indicates we are entering end times? Ezekiel 38 describes a battle in the latter days known as the Gog and Magog war. In this war, a coalition of nations will unite against Israel. It is a league of nations led by Russia (Biblical names: Magog, Rosh, and Tubal) and including Iran (Persia), Turkey (Meshech, Gomer, and Togarmah), Libya (Put), and Sudan (Cush). Guess who recently formed an alliance and is currently sitting on the northern border of Israel? That’s right! Russia, Iran and Turkey. In the time between writing my first and final draft, Sudan has joined the alliance too. Meanwhile, Libya remains a fierce enemy of Israel.

Another Bible prophecy that is showing signs of being fulfilled very soon is Isaiah 17, which predicts the utter destruction of Damascus. This is a prophecy yet unfulfilled. The city has been laid siege many times but never completely destroyed. Currently Damascus is sitting on a stash of chemical weapons. One well placed bomb would completely obliterate the city. With tensions growing in Syria, it would not be surprising if we were to see this prophecy fulfilled very soon.

    What about all the mass shootings, riots, and natural disasters? Well, the Bible has a thing or two to say about that too.  It also predicts signs in the sky, such as the solar eclipse of 2017, the four lunar eclipses of 2015 that landed on Jewish feast days, and the Revelation 12 sign on September 23rd maybe? We can also expect apostasy in the church and the denial of Biblical doctrine among those who call themselves Christians. Do these things sound familiar?

Luke 21:25 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.”

 2 Tim 3:1-5 -“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

Luke 21:11 – “And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”

Matthew 24:68 – “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

2 Timothy 4:3-4 – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”

1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils

2 Peter 3:3-4  Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning of the creation.

Matthew 24:8 says, “… All these are the beginning of sorrows.” I write this to you, not so that you will tremble in fear like the rest of the world. If you believe in Jesus as your savior, you have the blessed hope of his return at the rapture. Jesus is coming back twice, once at the rapture to take his church, his bride, to Heaven, and then again at Armageddon with great wrath. Praise God I won’t be here to see the worst of the things about to befall the earth. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your savior, I entreat you wholeheartedly to do so. God loves you so, and His desire is that “…None should perish, but all should have eternal life…” The only way to eternal life in Heaven is through Jesus. He said himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the light, and nobody comes to the Father except through me.” To become a Christian, all you have to do is A) Admit you are a sinner (we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) B) Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That he came to die in your place on the cross. That he rose from the dead on the third day. That he ascended into heaven and is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, and he is returning again.  C) Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.   

For further prophecy updates, check out my favorite websites:

Amir Tsarfati – http://www.beholdisrael.org

JD Farag – http://www.calvarychapelkaneohe.com/index.php/teach/prophecy-updates

Jan Markell – http://www.olivetreeviews.org

A Sweet Hiatus

teacup-2324842_1920What was meant to be a short hiatus from writing has turned into quite a long break. Investing all of my time and energy into my kids has proved to be a sweet relief to all of us and I have to say it has helped me to put my goals back into perspective. Prior to my break, I was writing up to three articles a week for my blog besides submitting four other articles to Focus on the Family to be considered for their magazine (prayers for that please!).

I have an article that I am presently sitting on, waiting for the Lord’s timing. As I was praying for the Lord’s timing, he convicted me to wait and to redeem the time pouring into my children. Since then, my frustration level has diminished and my children have been so much sweeter and more compliant. Our homeschooling has been so much more joyful since my focus has been brought back to home too. Thank Jesus for his sweet correction.

Writing isn’t over for me, that is for sure, but I am going to be paring down to one blog post a week. Pray for me that I will be consistent with my resolve. Thank you all for encouraging me on my writing journey. If there is a particular topic you would like to hear from me. Please comment below.

Treat Yourself Tuesday

cookiesThis day has been a long time coming! Usually when I sit down to relax, my mind is still reeling with the to-do lists and guilt about all the undone housework. Not on Treat Yo Self Tuesday! I refused to feel the guilt! So what does a stay at home mom of three with no sitter and no money do to treat herself?

First, I stayed in cozy pajamas all day! You’ve got to be comfy if you are going to be treated. I fried up a ton of bacon and didn’t feel bad about eating most of it myself. Then the kids and I baked cookies. A LOT of cookies. My husband didn’t even realize how many we had eaten when he got home because we made so many the leftovers looked like a full batch. I got chocolate chips at Town Talk, the local salvage grocer… so no extravagance here.

While my daughter and baby were napping, I introduced Jeremy to The Sound of Music. This was my absolute favorite when I was his age. He thought the movie was kind of slow; so, we watched music clips on YouTube… that’s almost as good as watching the movie, you still get the premise. He loooved the marionette scene with the yodeling goats! We had to watch that clip several times. This may not seem like a big deal, but usually I use nap time to get things done around the house; so, to watch a movie in the middle of the day is huge.

While we were watching our show, I put on a clay mask. Jeremy thought my blue face was hilarious and he wanted some too. The nice thing about those masks is there is enough in one packet for two applications. I usually get my face masks from Wal Mart for about a dollar.

This may not seem like much to some, but for me this was a sweet day of pampering, relaxing, and sharing memories with my kids. What do you do to Treat Yo Self?

When God’s Calling Doesn’t Make Sense

 pray-2558490_19201 Corinthians 1:25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Have you ever thought about this verse before? How can God be foolish? How can He be weak? Of course you have to take this verse in context. Paul is describing to the Corinthians how God uses what seems foolishly simple, Christ’s crucifixion for our sins, to confound those who are wise in the ways of the world. It seems to be His way of bringing low the pride of the world. None of us can come to the cross with pride in our hearts. None of us can cover our sins by our own wisdom and understanding, but in humility and repentance we must bow before a carpenter who never sinned but died a sinner’s death; One who rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

From the very beginning of God’s Word in Genesis, God has shown us example after example of how He uses the humble or the foolish to accomplish His work. He created a nation from a man and wife who were barren and old. He used a shepherd boy to defeat a giant-warrior and become the greatest king Israel has ever known. He used a murderer to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt, and a couple thousand years later used another murderer to lead the Gentiles out of the bondage of their sin to the knowledge of Jesus as savior.

Is God done using foolishness for His glory? Absolutely not! It serves to magnify His power and goodness! Maybe you don’t think you amount to much. Maybe your path does not seem to fit with other people’s expectations, but if you are following the prodding of God and living within the boundaries of His Word, He WILL use you for His glory.

I see a woman who has always wanted to raise her children at home but fears she will never be enough unless she has a career. I see a blue-collar worker who is passionate about his work but is looked down on because he never went to college. I see a teacher who pours her heart and soul into teaching but who feels her efforts go unnoticed. Does it make sense for a woman to give her young years to needy little people? Does it make sense for the man with the high IQ to devote his life to his craft and struggle to make ends meet? Does it make sense for a teacher to grade papers and create lesson plans aimed to inspire young minds when those lessons appear to fall on indifferent ears? To the world this is foolishness! But to God?

We all have a choice before us. Do we choose the safe path, the one well trod, upon which everyone looks with approval? Or do we choose the path with no apparent reward other than that of following Jesus? Let me tell you, if you choose the latter, the Bible promises that if you “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:32-34). We must live day by day with our hands open, expecting that if we follow God with all our hearts, our Loving Father will pave the way and care for our needs along the way. It may not make sense to the rest of the world, but even if you are dwelling in the foolishness of God, it is far better than to dwell in the wisdom of man.