Yesterday was my husband's birthday and for the past month I was coming up short on what to get him. I didn't have a lot to spend on him and my creative juices were not properly flowing.
So on Monday I had an idea that I might have a very special gift for him and I confirmed it that day.
God has decided to bless our family with another baby! I don't think I could have given him a better gift if I tried!
I am due on Nov. 1st. This is the first time that a pregnancy started and ended in the same year. I usually get pregnant in the fall or winter and then give birth the next year so this is a first for me and November seems so far away.
And I have been asked a million times already how I am doing. I am doing very well. I am eating healthy and still able to workout and go for walks. I am SOOOO beyond tired but I expected that though! I am slowly feeling more and more nauseous with each day though. I don't expect to go through this without the effects of the hyperemesis but I do pray that they are not as bad as they have been in the past. I can already feel the excessive saliva (I know TMI...sorry!) production and that is causing me to have a low appetite so I am trying to make myself eat anyway.
I feel very strongly that this baby will be a blessing to us. I feel like God is smiling on our family right now and is giving us another opportunity to grow and learn from raising another child for Him. I can't wait to see the blessing God has in store for us as we meet the challenges of this pregnancy and we reap the rewards of having another baby in our home. My girls are already vowing to cook every meal, put Amairah to bed at night, clean the house every single day and rub my back every day. I hold them to none of these tasks expect the daily back rubs!!
And I will say that no matter how many children God has blessed you with, it NEVER gets old and it doesn't lack excitement when you find out that He is giving you another one. The more children you have, the more love you can share with another baby. This baby is going to be really loved!! The girls are already making plans for him/her! Look out baby!!
Thank you all for your kind comments. We are still in shock over his death and are still calling people to inform them. We are still trying to make arrangements for the funeral and like I said, it looks like it will be my family and just a few others. Just a few minutes ago, Frederic and I were going over our plans for the week and Frederic said, "if I go from my workout tomorrow to the church building to get my keys (which he left there today) and there is no traffic...." and then he just stopped. I asked him what he was going to say and he said, "Wow. I was gonna say if there is no traffic I can run by and see if Rudy needs anything before I come home for you to take Malachi to speech therapy." And we still have to get into his car. The hospital and coroner didn't have the keys and no one knows where they are. I am thinking that when he passed out they may have dropped or fallen out of his pocket and the medics didn't get them and someone else got them and maybe turned them into the library. So Frederic is going to check on that tomorrow and then we have to figure out what to do with his car. He didn't even own it and we don't know who did own it. So I'm guessing Frederic will have to get the police involved in that and get the car to the owner. We haven't seen his son yet since this happened and we're hoping we can see him soon and help him deal with this. Frederic always used to tell him what a special guy his father was and how God was going to do great things in his father's life. He would always smile so big when he'd hear that.
And now I will totally change the subject....
The rest of this post is not a judgment on you and your family's choice of how you educate your children. I am just sharing our story. If you are reading my blog, I probably love you to pieces (unless you are a silent reader and I don't know who you are!) and I don't judge anyone on how they educate their children. That is your choice and it's between you and your spouse and God. So please don't be offended or judge me for my choices!!
When Frederic and I married, we never imagined that we would turn into a homeschooling family. We didn't really talk alot about how we were going to educate our children before we were married (which is sad because that is such an important thing). We didn't really start talking about it until Noelani was about 8 months old and at that point we were both sold on the idea of public education which was how we were both educated.
We went to our first homeschool convention in Orlando when Noelani was 2 years old because Frederic was going to be teaching for a local homeschool coop. He loved the people behind the coop and we needed the extra cash so it was a win win for everyone involved. So he needed to find a curriculum and see what all this homeschool business was all about. It wasn't like anyone tried to sell us on the idea of homeschooling but while we were there we heard some amazing talks and saw all the wonderful products that were available to use and as we talked with other homeschoolers, the seed of homeschooling was planted in our hearts. We drove back home everynight after the convention was over (it's a 3 day event) and we had a little over an hour to talk and we both were amazed that we were actually thinking about homeschooling. How could this be?!?!
For those of you that don't homeschool (and those that do that have never been to a convention), the homeschool conventions vary by each state (and some states have several conventions). But most conventions have specific times set aside for various speakers to give talks on all kinds of subjects (state laws of homeschooling, where to begin, how to create a high school transcript, motivational talks to help you along in the homeschooling journey, marriage talks, talks for moms, talks for dads, talks for the teens, etc.) and there is also a vendor area where you can buy curriculum. For most homeschool moms, it's like going to disney world!! I know for me, I save as much as I can throughout the year and come armed with my check book and a list of what I need to buy and then (and this happens EVERY year) out of no where I find some other amazing thing(s) that I just "have" to buy!! Anyway, I try to do my best to stick to my budget. Some years I am successful and some years I totally stink at staying with the budget. The more children I homeschool, the harder it is to stick with the budget!
Anyway, my husband is now a very passionate supporter of homeschooling and he is also a gifted speaker. When he shared his thoughts about homeschooling or marriage or various other topics he felt like the responses of people were very strong and that he has something that is worth listening to and that he could help other homeschool families on their journey to educate their children at home. That was when Frederic decided he wanted to speak at homeschool conventions all over the country.
As he looked into speaking at conventions, he realized just how hard it was to get into them. Florida has several conventions in the state but the largest one is in Orlando. It's also the largest convention in the country. It's not uncommon for them to host more than 10,000 people at this convention. And it's HARD to get in it. There are usually just under 150 sessions and there are usually around 600 speakers that apply to speak. It is the hardest convention to get into to. And since we also have the largest vendor hall, there is a lot of money to be made there and speakers know that so that is why so many apply to speak and sell their products.
One of the biggest criteria to speak at the Orlando convention is that you have to have spoken previously for another convention in the country. They don't want any first time speakers. Well last year, Frederic spoke for the first time at the Tampa convention and it went very well. The lady that ran the Tampa convention also runs the Orlando convention and he talked to hear about applying for the Orlando convention and she told him to go ahead and he would be up against several hundred other speakers but it's worth applying to see if you can make it in the mix of speakers. He had to send in several sample talks and do a few others things and then we just waited.
Well a few months ago, he got the call back about the covention. She said that there were over 500 speakers that applied and that out of those #130 sessions, Frederic was accepted to speak at 2 of them!!
Yes my friends, Frederic will be speaking at 2 sessions at the largest homeschool convention in the country. We are so humbled and honored to be able to help other homechool families and we are thankful to God for opening up this door in our lives. Since then, Frederic has applied at several other conventions and we are hoping that God will use our family to glorify him as we share motivating messages everywhere He leads us.
So if you are planning on going to the convention in Orlando, please come and hear my hubby speak at session #67 and #113! I will be there with all four of our babies and would love to see some friends in the crowd of new faces!! His talks will also be available to order at the end of the convention from the convention website. The more cds are ordered the more they gage how well the speakers were received and if they will ask you to speak again in the following years. Several people ask us to buy cds of various talks all the time so now would be a great time to purchase a cd!!
I have been DYING to share this news with my friends but I had to wait several months until everything was finalized and the current schedule for the convention was up on their website.
If you want to check it out the site link is http://fpeaevents.com/events/826/05-23-2013/fpea-2013-convention/speakers
Sorry I don't know how to link it on there so you can just click it. Sorry!
Just scroll down until you see Frederic. He's the cute one on there that says he is married to me!
About 2 years ago, Frederic had the honor of befriending a homeless man named Rudy. Rudy is a well educated man (he is a lawyer) that fell on some hard times and was trying so very hard to get back on his feet. He lives in a car that someone gave him and he parks it in a doctor's office parking lot. He doesn't have much to his name....only a few shirts and pants and a pair of shoes. He spends most of his days at the library looking online for a job. He has a 7 year old son that we have gotten to know very well. Oftentimes, Frederic and Rudy and his son and my children will go to lunch together while I do planning for our homeschool. Frederic doesn't have very many friends (I know that may seem kinda funny because he has over 3,000 friends on facebook but I'm talking about very close friends that he talks to on a regular basis) and Rudy and Frederic are getting to be close friends. Frederic kinda took Rudy under his wing and brings him left over dinner or makes him a plate as we leave a potluck and helps him with looking nice for a job interview. Rudy loves my cookies so I often make a batch for him. We can't help him in big ways financially but we can give him some gas money or a quick meal or put a few minutes on his cell every now and then. We have given him gifts for him to give to his son on special occasions and we did give him lots of soap and razors from my coupon deal shopping. And Frederic did give him some blankets to keep warm at night. They text all the time and Frederic talks to him about God and his salvation and Rudy is starting to feel the love of God in his life and seems more open to listen and ask questions. Rudy also has some pretty promising job interviews and he is scheduled to hear something back on Monday about a very nice job.
Yesterday, Rudy texted Frederic around 5:45 pm saying that he was walking to the library and that he passed out in the parking lot and someone called 911 for him. Frederic called him a few minutes later and he was already in the hospital and was being taken care of and they didn't know what caused him to pass out but he broke the fall with his teeth and so he was in a lot of pain from that and that for the past few days his feet had been swelling. Frederic was already leaving the home of one of our members that he was visiting and was headed home for dinner and he told Rudy he'd come to visit him or get him clothes from his car or whatever he needed after he helped me put the kids to bed and then they could just hang out longer since the kids would be sleeping.
As we were putting the kids to bed, someone called Frederic's cell phone. It was pretty late and so Frederic said to me, "It's probably Rudy wondering when I'm coming to visit or calling to have me pick up something for him." Rudy loved KFC and Frederic would often bring him some chicken before he came to him and so he thought he might be "placing" an order before the visit.
I tried to finish putting Amairah to sleep and she was just not wanting to lay down so I thought Frederic might have some more luck with her. When I came downstairs to ask Frederic for help, he was crying in the bedroom and looked so sick. He said, "that was the hospital and Rudy just died. I was listed as his emergency contact" I couldn't believe it. (I still can't). The dr told Frederic that she checked on Rudy around 6:50 (right after he got off the phone with Frederic. In fact he got off the phone with him because the dr. came in the room) and 10 minutes later his alarms started going off and he was brain dead and he died about 45 minutes later and they had no idea why.
I really can't understand how this could happen. How could this be fair? He is just about to get this amazing, well paying job as a lawyer and he could help his son again and he died. It just seems so unfair.
A few hours later (in the middle of the night) the organ donor people (I don't know what their official name is!) called and asked Frederic a million questions about Rudy and Frederic was thankful he knew enough about him to answer them so he could help in that process. This morning, Frederic went to the county coroner and collected his belongings and had the very hard task of calling his mother and sister and ex-wife and a couple close friends and share the news with them of his death. I listened to many of his phone conversations while he broke these peoples' hearts and I was so proud of him for the way he lovingly was able to share stories of Rudy and help the family deal with his death.
Frederic is helping plan the funeral and has been busy making arrangements for his body. From what I can tell, I think Rudy's funeral will be a small one. Maybe 10-15 people (and the majority of those 10-15 are from my family!!). Even though this man didn't have much on earth (his belongings fit into a small plastic bag) and he won't have a huge crowd honor him at his funeral, he made such a difference to my family and to my husband and he meant alot to us. On Monday Rudy told Frederic that he was the best friend he had ever had and that their friendship meant everything to him and Frederic said he felt the same way.
When we went to the coroner's office this afternoon we found out that Rudy died from a blood clot that started in his leg (the ones that were swelling for days) and that it moved up to his heart. They thought the cause of the blood clot was due to him sitting in his car so much and not moving around enough causing the blood to not circulate as much.
I don't know why we met Rudy and I don't know what God will do with this relationship. It seems so unfair but when you consider that we are all sinners and that we deserve death, just the fact that we are living is what is really unfair. And then to know that we have the promise of a life in eternity with Him again seems unfair. God is good to us and all He asks is for us to believe and act on that obedience and live for Him. I pray that we did all that we could do for him and that we can do more for his son. I am thankful for the opportunity to get to know this sweet guy that showed such love toward everyone around him. He had a huge heart and showed so much kindness and love to everyone in his life.
Sore throat that each time you swallow feels like you are swallowing hundreds of tiny pieces of glass - CHECK
Body Chills that make your teeth chatter and your body shake - CHECK
My birthday - CHECK
Ears that are thumping - CHECK
A runny nose - CHECK
January 25th which means it's my birthday - CHECK
A sore body that feels like a guy Frederic's size took a bat and repeatedly hit every single inch of your body - CHECK
A mom and dad that drove over 600 miles to be here on your birthday so we could have fun and go to the beach today to celebrate birthday - CHECK
A husband that is out at the store buying everything he can to make the birthday girl feel better so she can go out on her birthday - CHECK
Eyes that won't stop watering - CHECK
Sweet babies that tell me Happy Birthday Mama every 5 minutes - CHECK
The blessing of another birthday - CHECK
Hoping that I feel better today and am able to get out of bed on my birthday. If not, we'll have to celebrate in a couple days!
God works in mysterious ways. I have heard that my entire life and every now and then you can actually see it and it just brings a smile to your face and warmth in your heart to know that God does love you and care for you.
Last week, Frederic had been in a car accident that totalled our car and we were in a desperate search for a new minivan asap. The insurance company gave us a more than fair settlement for our minivan (and when I say more than fair, I mean double what we thought our car was worth) and we had a couple days with their very low car rental rate to get a replacement. Sounds easy and fun to buy a new car but for us it wasn't. For the very first time in our lives (sadly I will admit that this is a new thing for us), we were determined to not go into debt for a minivan and buy what we could afford which was what the insurance company gave us. My friends, even though they gave us a more than fair amount, it just wasn't very much. Our price range was a minivan in the 13-16 year old range with VERY high miles and lots of broken things. We were determined to do this and we knew that this wasn't going to be a pretty car for sure but we wanted to buy what we could afford. Our plan was the Dave Ramsey plan which is to buy this minivan and pay ourselves (not the banks) monthly payments and in a year sell our junker minivan and take that plus our savings and buy something better. Do that again for another year and buy something newer. Within a few years, you are driving a newer car and you paid cash for it. Our only concern is that we didn't want it to break down because then our savings money would go to the repairs and not the newer car at the end of a year and that it needed to have air because we have 4 kiddos in the back and they need to drive in FL without dying (last year our ac went out and we drove that way for several months. During that time, our girls would often get heat stroke from riding in the car for long periods of time. Once it even caused them to throw up from being in the heat too long). That just isn't safe and we didn't want to go there again.
Well we couldn't find anything. I was researching hours and hours and hours everyday and we were diligently going all over Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater looking at cars and taking them to mechanics and we were just finding nothing. My brother has a small used car dealership in Birmingham and he has access to a private dealer website where the dealers trade their cars and give each other HUGE deals and he gave me access to that site and I still couldn't find anything in our price range.
The day that our rental car was due back, I was really feeling the stress of this entire situation. The kids were going slow that morning and I was trying to round them up, check one more time on my brothers site and craigslist and a few others before we headed out for the day. Since we were gone for 9 days straight looking at cars, my house was showing the wear and tear of a home without a keeper in it. My laundry was piling up and my floors were getting ugly. My bathrooms were starting to resemble that of a gas station (ok maybe not that bad. I think I'm being too hard on myself! But very close to that anyway!) I was trying to keep a positive attitude about the house and just try to let it go and really let it go and come back to it later.
Just as we were getting ready for a few more test drives, my very naked, potty training son and husband were frantically putting some clothes on the naked, potty training boy so he could run outside and wave to the garbage men. While they were outside they were greeted by the mother of my dear friend. I actually know a few of her children and they are all amazing and so is she. She was visiting from out of town and said she is a secret pleo post reader of mine and she wanted to give me a gift. She gave me an amazing book and a little pink polka dot box wrapped in a white bow. The book is called Calm My Anxious Heart and the box is meant to go along with this book. She explained to me that as I am stressed or worried or praying for something to write it down and put it in the box and let God take control of my box. What a great idea. She was just delightful to see and she broke up my stressful morning with some cheer and love and warmth and was just what I needed to get back on track. I didn't get a chance to look at that book before we left but I did think about it as we drove all over Tampa. Not so much the book but the spirit of this dear lady that I hardly even know stopping by my house when she is out of town and has many things going on and making a point of trying to bless my life. This is nothing more than God working in a mysterious way. God knew I needed this book and box and He knew I needed the love of a friend and the help of a friend to push me along. It was a blessing beyond compare.
So at our first stop of the day, we found a minivan. It was a 2001 Chrystler town and country with 212,000 miles. We weren't thrilled with the miles but the ac worked good and it drove pretty good. We were thinking this was the one. It was actually alittle lower than we were wanting to spend so that was a bonus. We would already be starting out in a good situation for our savings for the newer car we wanted to buy a year from now. So Frederic took it to our very trusted mechanic and after a few minutes he called Frederic into the back and told him he couldn't buy this car and said it was a total mess. Not only had the engine been replaced by a junk yard replacement but all the parts weren't even 100% there. It was missing several pieces of the engine and the transmission was about to go on it. Yes it was in our price range but there was no way we could buy this car.
So we left there and I was really feeling the stress of that situation. We had a few hours left before our minivan was due back and we couldn't cover the cost of the full price rental so now what?
My friends, God was about to work in a mysterious way again. My brother called about an hour after we looked at that van and said in a very excited voice, "Hey Heather I just bought you a minivan! It's a really nice one too." I was shoked and really didn't even know what to say. He was so excited and loud that Frederic could hear him from the passenger seat and the look on his face was pretty priceless! I said, "well you know we are on a limited budget and so I hope you didn't buy us something we can't afford because if you did we can't buy it from you so you'll have to sell it to someone else" He said, "Yep I know about the budget and you are good to go with this one. It's a 2007 Nissan Quest that only had 75,000 miles. It drives great and it has a few added extras that will be nice for you guys. It has a dvd player which makes me the coolest uncle around and the good news is you guys can actually afford it and it has a clean carfax and it's mechanically sound and the ac works so you won't kill your kids this summer in your crazy Florida heat. It drives better than my minivan does (he also has a 2007 Nissan Quest but his is loaded with everything your could ever want in a minivan) and it looks brand new and it hasn't even been cleaned yet. Oh and did I mention you guys can afford it?!?! And let me tell you I would sell this thing for about $3,000-$4,000 more than you are paying for it. It's an amazing deal and you are lucky you are my sister and I'm just selling it to you and not making money off this one. It's a nice one." At this moment I really felt like God was just wrapping his arms around me again. A nice, safe, reliable minivan in our price range and my brother just bought it...amazing. I felt silly even asking what color it was or what the other added extras were. I was thinking that whatever color it was or extras it did or didn't have all really didn't matter because God picked this car out for me and He knows what I need and what I don't.
So now we are just waiting for our new minivan to be shipped from Alabama to Tampa. The cost of our rental car has been picked up by some amazing fellow Christians that volunteered to help us out so that Frederic could effortlessly get to his dr. appointments (after the accident, he was having swelling in his left eye causing it to be totally bloodshot and red and his eye was swelled shut. The drs. weren't sure if there was bleeding in the brain or what was going on. Some tests were showing that everything was ok but he had many appts.), Bible studies and visiting members of the congregation and worship services. What a blessing!! Our life is now getting back to normal. No more car shopping! No more test driving and no more disappointment.
As for my sweet friend (you know who you are!!!), THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You will never know what your sweet gift meant to me and my family. You took time out of your day to brighten mine and God knew it was coming at a time that I so badly needed it. Thank you!