Saturday, March 30, 2013

My story with Jesus

I feel led to open up about my where my relationship with Jesus started and a little bit of what He has brought me through. For all of my lovely non-churchy readers, I'm going to try my hardest to opt out of churchy language.

First of all, let me preface with my story is not what you may be thinking. It is a long post, but I really want you to read all of it.

Yes, I was raised in church. I first started getting to know Jesus when I was very young. I was led to pray and I enjoyed reading Bible stories. I even had some pretty cool encounters with angels and had one dream in particular when I was in 6th grade that has stuck in my head and my heart and has really shaped the way I relate to God. [this is what I dreamed: I was swimming in this deep ocean. I kept going deeper and deeper. The colors were so crisp and beautiful. I was full of wonder. Deeper and deeper I went. I even swam with a huge humpback whale. I can't even begin to describe the colors. At last, I came to the bottom of the ocean, only to find another shore to another ocean. I will expound later on this, so please keep reading] Even though I was raised in a "you're good if you know your Bible/ who's up for another Bible drill?!" type Christianity, I knew God was real and that following Him would be more exciting than knowing facts.

When my heart explodes with gratitude and I thank God for saving me from a life of sin, I do think back to when I was a little girl because that's when something else happened in my life. I was molested when I was very young by a girl friend of mine, who had most likely been molested herself or had encountered pornography. Every so often, not even every year, I would think about those experiences. Was it just normal curiosity? But no matter where the line was crossed between curiosity and molestation, it gave my enemy, the great father of lies, Satan, an opportunity to plant a lie in my heart and mind.

"You're really just a lesbian." "You're more than just a tom-boy" "Isn't that girl attractive?"

So from the age of 8 to the age of 22, I would have these thoughts. The most dangerous thing about being deceived is that you don't KNOW you're being deceived. I never acted on this. I never had a romantic relationship with a woman but the question of "Who are you?" and "What do you really believe" was posed continually. But in the midst of all that, God was still calling me and drawing me and allowing me to have experience after experience where I could not doubt that He was alive and powerful and wonderful. I would love to tell you about it, but that would make for a very VERY long blog post.

The debate going on in my head over this came to a head when I graduated college. I had moved back in with my parents in the Atlanta-area who were getting ready to move to Houston, Texas. I was working at Starbucks and wondering what my next move would be. At this time, I was separated from all my friends and my Christian family I had left in my college town. All alone, the lies increased in magnitude. At one point, I considered just giving in and moving to Dallas to live a homosexual lifestyle. I was starting to become more attracted to women and it seemed like I was drowning in this deception. At this massive crossroad in my life, the questions were "Who are you?" "What do you believe?" "Is God REALLY real? Or this who you really are?"

It wasn't until then that I made the connection between my being molested and this scheme of the enemy-liar to steal my relationship with God and my destiny. This made me MAD. Really really mad. So I basically cursed Satan out and said "How dare you? Do you think I can just ignore what I have experienced of God? I cannot forget. I will not forget. You will not drive me to live a lifestyle that is displeasing to God and is destructive to me!" I called his spade a spade. His words are lies. I was free from the tormenting questions and I was free to live my life with God. If I would have listened to Satan, I would not have married Michael and had John and Milo and I would be in a very very dark and desperate place. I can't imagine how unhappy and hopeless I would be right now.

And it's all because God chose to reveal to me that He was more real than anything I could experience in this world. If He would have left me in that "Just be good and know your Bible" Christianity, I would have no doubt moved to Dallas and lived a very different life. But in His kindness and His goodness, He called me to come to get to know Him. He said, "Laura, come see my wonders! Be amazed at my love for you!" I am forever grateful for His redemptive power in my life.

Homosexuality is wrong. The church doesn't help anyone by saying "It's okay. You don't have to change." It is not love to deny someone the freedom they could have, in the name of tolerance and a more palatable gospel. Yes, by all means, I love homosexuals and anyone else who is struggling so fiercely with such lies. I have been there. Jesus loves me and He loves you. He loves THEM! But it doesn't stop at empty "good-feelings" kind of love. Real love wants to see them free. Homosexuals are living a less-than-second-rate life compared to the life of freedom that is available by knowing Jesus and encountering Him.

Think back to my dream. The depths of the wonders of God are endless. He is a deep ocean of wonder. When you think you've gotten to the bottom of the Ocean, you find only another shore to a deeper ocean of beauty and magnificence.

God is calling everyone. Homosexuals. Bible scholars. Prisoners. Celebrities. He says, "Come! Take the freedom I have for you! Live the life I have dreamed for you!"

My prayer is that we all answer with a resounding "Yes!" and that we begin to dance in the freedom He has given.

Monday, March 4, 2013

history in my closet

I just went upstairs to get a gift bag. I finally emerge 30 minutes later, after getting sucked into looking at all of our old ancestry stuff. This stuff is stinkin' COOL! I got to look through things dating back to the Civil War. It's easy to be a history nerd when history is so exciting and it just happens to be in my closet! Fun side note: John and Milo are both family names, dating WAY WAY back. Other family names that I like for our *one more??* boy: Adam and Henry. I especially like Adam. We're slowly redeeming the four-letter words, one son at a time. :) Oh and I'm not preggers, by the way. I'm just spit-ballin', here. I had wanted to name the next? last? boy Caleb because I LOVE Caleb in the Bible. I mean, this guy is old as the hills. He's survived 40 years in the wilderness with all these whiners. But he remembers the promises of God. When he finally gets the green light to take the land, what does he say? "Oh, I'm an old fart. Give me something easy." ?? NOPE! "Give me the land with the giants! I can take 'em!" Love. Caleb. But, I've been thinking, I want ALL my children to have that kind of faith and God-strength to take down giants and walk into their God-destined promises. I've been thinking about calling our "school" (since we will be homeschooling) The Caleb Academy. So what do you think, dear readers? John, Milo, and Adam? I'm diggin' it.

In more domestic news, I really need to buy groceries! We ate out a lot this weekend because here is what we have in our cabinet: cereal. girl scout cookies. Like, 10 boxes! And while they are delicious, you really can't feed a family on girl scout cookies. sunflower seeds. almonds. pumpkin seeds. shredded coconut, goldfish crackers. a cake mix. crisco. oatmeal. Which I HATE eating because it makes me hungrier! If I eat oatmeal, 5 minutes later, I'm wondering if I've eaten anything in a week! Feed. Me. Now. Half a box of pasta. A can of diced peaches. Peanut butter. Protein shakes. That's literally all we have. In the freezer, we have a bag of frozen fish. Baby food cubes. A bag of chicken nuggets (containing exactly two nuggets) a few freezer bags of gumbo (which I'm hesitant to eat because last time we ate that, John threw it up all over us. Not a fond memory of the gumbo.) and a few bags of pintos, which, if memory serves correctly, were a total bust. For produce, we have two apples and a bag of limes. There's a bag of banana muffins on the counter. In our fridge, we have milk, a crap ton of goat milk, pizza hut pizza *gag* (from this weekend), various condiments. Yeah, it's bad. Here's the menu for this week using all this stuff and whatever I buy later:

fish with somethin'
granola bars

ummmm, yeah I'm at a loss already. Focus, Laura! Feed your family! Any ideas?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Updates and Goat Milk Formula

Sorry! Last post was October???? Seriously??? What's wrong with me?
Oh yeah, I've got two kiddos and time enough to myself to shower (some days) and check facebook. Here's to 2013: the year of blogging regularity. 

2013. Also a year of blossoming and building for my marriage. We are going to be celebrating 5 years of marriage in April! They were foundational years. They were tough years. We have found more freedom in Christ by walking through the difficult times and dealing with our pasts and now it seems like we are getting a fresh start. Let's start building!!! 

With my relationship with God, I am focusing on James 3. Taming the wild tiger that is my tongue and allowing only praise to be released from my mouth and not curses. 
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 NASB
 This is especially challenging since John is a rambunctious, strong-willed little man. What is edifying to him? What does he NEED in those moments where I could just yell at him and allow my frustrations to lead to me reacting in anger instead of responding with grace? Yes, he needs boundaries. He needs to learn to submit his will. All great leaders understand authority because they are under authority themselves. So that is my vision and my goal. According to his need, what are the words that should proceed from my mouth? Will it give grace? Will it build up? In the Message, it is paraphrased as "Say only what helps. Each word a gift." I love that. Obviously, this applies to every relationship in my life. James 3 is my calling for 2013 and really, my whole life.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for. Kiddo-updates!!!! Hurray for the two most handsome boys on the planet!
Milo AKA Mr. Drooly Face (6 mos.)
John-John in his cubby (26 mos.)
Well, we've already talked a little about John. Other than his strong-will, he has a huge heart! Thankfully, I think his heart is a worthy foe to his will. Also, he is potty training and obedience training and doing stellar in both! I'm proud of my little man. He loves to dance and sing and of course play with cars (he sleep with his little stuffed doggie and Lightning McQueen) He's not into crayons. He likes to paint but it mostly gets on his body (war paint?) He will sticker the mess out of stuff. He's not really talking. He mostly speaks in "sounds". Vroom Vroom for car. Hoo Hoo for owl. But we're working on it. I still say he's a genius. (of course, he is)

Milo is the sweetest, most content baby in the world. He is 6 months old today! Where did the time go?? He's crawling already. He really likes John. He's a total sweetie. He's only high-maintenance in what he eats. He refused to nurse during the day so I had to pump all the time and give him formula to supplement. I've recently stopped pumping (I figured I got enough brownie points for pumping every day, three or four times a day for 5 months) and now he's just getting formula. He is slightly lactose intolerant so I have to make it from scratch. It's good though because at least I know exactly what he's eating. And he enjoys it and it settles well with his tummy.

Here's my recipe for Goat Milk Baby Formula:
yields 4 cups

2 cups goat's milk
2 cups filtered drinking water (don't use distilled b/c it lacks healthy minerals)
1/4 cup liquid whey
1/4 tsp. Lactobacilli Bifido
1/2 tsp. cod liver oil
1 tsp. sunflower oil
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. coconut oil (I add just a little bit at a time to the warmed bottle)
2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 tsp. acerola cherry powder
3 tsp. blackstrap molasses (makes it sweet and it's high in vitamin B12, potassium, iron, calcium and it helps with constipation)

Mix it all together either in a blender or I usually make a half-batch at a time and shake it all together in a Ball jar and keep it refrigerated. Use it within 24 hours.

That's all for now! Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Welcome, Milo Leonard!

Welcome to the family, Milo!! 
On Thursday August 16th at 7:27pm, we welcomed our second son, Milo Leonard!

He is now almost 2 months old and he is such a sweetie! I can already tell that he and John are going to be best friends, even though I can also already tell they are sooooo different! Milo is so good for our family dynamic and I'm really happy that we have him in our family :) So far, I can tell that he is a lot more "chill" of a baby and he's already sleeping pretty well at night. Cuter pictures are to come. Ones where Milo is less... gross... He really is a cutie!

As you can see from the picture, we were fortunate enough to experience a water birth! It was so nice and I would highly recommend it. My first contraction in the nice warm water was like eating a cupcake, it was so soothing. If you are in the Charlotte, NC area, you should look into going to Carolina Community Maternity Center in Fort Mill, SC.

That's all for now. John has shut himself in his room and I should probably go hang out with him since Milo is sleeping. :) Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

random thoughts... just because.

I've had coffee. That coffee had lots of sugar. Thus explains this post. And we begin.

I had the strangest overwhelming urge the other day to go somewhere brand new and EXPLORE! Like, go to a cave and find hidden treasure, or go on a long hike and find a trail long forgotten with possibly an old abandoned settlement. This urge was so strong that I almost drove to the Blue Ridge Mountains with John (Michael was at work, otherwise he would've been included in my adventure. Well, I might've kidnapped him from work... with a picnic!)

Speaking of the mountains--- I unexpectedly had a really fun morning. What does this have to do with the mountains? I'll get there. I started out the day thinking, "okayyyy... a whole new day... what the heck do I do with this kid allll daayyyy looonngg!?" So I decided to go downtown Salisbury to buy some pimento cheese from our local whole foods store, Simply Good. Then we went by Salisbury's pride and joy, the amazing coffeeshop Tastebuds. Usually, I get something hardcore like an Italian machiatto or a cappuccino. But today, I wanted something sweeeeeet. With whipped cream! Caramel Machiatto! yum! And Kirk made a baby chocolate milk for John-John, which he drank like it was the great outdoors in a cup. I was going to say "gold in a cup"... but that's not a big deal for him. But to be outside. If he has any thoughts of heaven at this point, I'm pretty sure he thinks "outside" is it! Anywho. He really liked it. On the way home, we listened to Ricky Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder and THIS is what makes me think of the mountains. Listening to great bluegrass like this makes me want the following:
1- a trip to the mountains. (full of exploration and discovery and picnic food :))
2- an old dog, a hound dog or an old beagle, named Skaggs or Banjo or Tuck (short for Kentucky) or something else bluegrassy. This is really the only time I ever find myself wanting a dog.
3- finally, it makes me want to live in the country forever!

Growing up in a town or city, I had no idea what I was missing. But living where I do, with a big garden, lots of land, tractors passing my house on a daily basis, the random adventures that can only happen here, I really appreciate the country life. I look forward to the day when we can have chickens again. And I'm going to make their house so cute! And the more kids we have, the bigger the garden we will have! This year, we have been BLESSED with unexpected plants popping up randomly. We originally planted 4 tomato plants in containers to see if they would do better against the fungus that usually kills our tomatoes. Well, they are hardly doing anything. We haven't gotten anything from them so far. BUT we have 7 or 8 tomato plants popping up randomly in our garden where the seeds have fallen and taken root from previous years. Along with all these tomato plants, we have a bagillion watermelon plants springing up all over our garden. This of course makes me one happy pregnant lady since my goal once it gets really hot outside is to have ice cold watermelon on-hand at all times.

And thus ends my post of randomness. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SWC series: Chapter 2 (pt. 1)

fun with pudding! May 2012
Okay readers! I'm continuing my series on The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson. To reemphasize, I am simply reading through this book again and quoting notable thoughts from the book for easier reference. All rights belong to the author. I claim no insight of my own.

Ch. 2 Shaping the Will (part one of two)

"When a child behaves in ways that are disrespectful or harmful to himself or others, his hidden purpose is often to verify the stability of the boundaries. This testing has much the same function as a policeman who turns to doorknobs at places of business after dark. Though he tries to open doors, he hopes they are locked and secure. Likewise, a child who assaults the loving authority of his parents is greatly reassured when their leadership holds firm and confident."

1. Define the boundaries before they are enforced.

"The child should know what is and what is not acceptable behavior before he is held responsible for those rules... If you haven't defined it, don't enforce it!"

2. When defiantly challenged, respond with confident decisiveness.

"In a moment of rebellion, a little child will consider his parents' wishes and defiantly choose to disobey."

"The child has made it clear that he is looking for a fight, and his parents would be wise not to disapoint him! Nothing is more destructive to parental leadership than for a mother or father to disintegrate during that struggle. When the parent consistently loses those battles, resorting to tears and screaming and other evidence of frustration, some dramatic changes take place they are 'seen' by their children. Instead of being secure and confident leaders, they become spinless jellyfish who are unworthy of respect or allegiance."

3. Distinquish between willful defiance and childish irresponsibility.

"A child should not be spanked for behavior that is not willfully defiant."

4. Reassure and teach after the confrontation is over.

(this section is fully quoted because it is SO good!)
"After a time of conflict during which the parent has demonstrated his right to lead (particularly if it resulted in tears for the child), the youngster between two and seven (or older) may want to be loved and reassured. By all means, open your arms and let him come! Hold him close and tell him of your love. Rock him gently and let him know, again, why he was punished and how he can avoid the trouble next time. This moment of communication builds love, fidelity, and family unity. And for the Christian family, it is extremely important to pray with the child at that time, admitting to God that we all have sinned and no one is perfect. Divine forgiveness is a marvelous experience, even for a very young child."

5. Avoid impossible demands.

"Be absolutely sure that your child is capable of delivering what you require. Never punish him for wetting the bed involuntarily..."

6. Let love be your guide!

"A relationship that is characterized by genuine love and affection is likely to be a healthy one, even though some parental mistakes and errors are inevitable."

-- To spank or not to spank--

(corporal punishment vs. child abuse)- "[corporal punishment] is a teaching tool by which harmful behavior is inhibited, rather than a wrathful attempt by one person to damage another. One is an act of love; the other is an act of hostility, and they are as different as night and day. "

"A spanking is to be reserved for use in response to willful defiance, whever it occurs. Period! It is much more effective to apply it early in the conflict, while the parent's emotional apparatus is still under control, than after ninety minutes of scratching and clawing. In fact, child abuse is more likely to occur when a little youngster is permitted to irritate and agitate and sass and disobey and pout for hours, until finally the parent's anger reaches a point of explosion where anything can happen (and often does)."

"If punishment doesn't influence human behavior, then why is the issuance of speeding citations by police so effective in controlling traffic on a busy street? ... both reward and punishment play an important role in shaping human behavior, and neither should be discounted. Leonardo da Vinci... wrote, 'He who does not punish evil commands it to be done!.' "

"Let me hasten to emphasize that corporal punishment is not the only tool for use in shaping the will, nor is it appropriate at all ages and for all situations. The wise parents must understand the physical and emotional charactersitics of each stage in childhood, and then fit the discipline to a boy's or girl's individual needs."

Dr. Dobson continues Chapter 2 by listing specific age categories and offering a few practical suggestions. To be continued!

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the Garden updated!

More from the Strong-willed child is coming but I just wanted to say that I've updated my "From the Garden" section. Enjoy the sneak peak at our small family gardens this year. I think I'll post a new recipe, too. Check out the "From the Kitchen" section to find out what it is! yummmmm....

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Strong-Willed Child notes: Chapter 1

I've spoken with several mommas out there that would love to read the super-helpful book by Dr. James Dobson entitled, "The Strong-Willed Child" but they just don't have the time! I borrowed the book from a friend of mine (Debbie from the ultrasound bus!) and have taken a few notes. I'll go chapter by chapter for easy reference.

All quotations are from the book. I claim no insight of my own. Just the facts, ma'am.
Copyright 1978 by James Dobson

Chapter One: The Wild and Wooly Will
"Just as surely as a dog will occasionally challenge the authority of his leaders, a little child is inclined to do the same thing, only more so."
"Adult leadership is rarely accepted unchallenged by the next generation; it must be 'tested' and found worthy of allegiance by the youngsters who are asked to yield and submit to its direction."
"[The] respect for strength and courage also makes children want to know how 'tough' their leaders are."
"The ultimate paradox of childhood is that boys and girls want to be led by their parents, but insist that their mothers and fathers earn the right to lead them."
" Treat your child with sincere love and dignity, but require him to follow your leadership. Choose carefully the matters which are worthy of confrontation, then accept his challenge on those issues and win decisively. Reward every positive, cooperative gesture he makes by offering your attention, affection, and verbal praise. Then take two aspirin and call me in the morning." 
"It would appear that the strong-willed child may possess more character and have greater potential for a productive life than his compliant counterpart. However, the realization of that potential may depend on a firm but loving early home environment. Thus, I repeat my admonition: begin shaping the will of that child while he is in toddlerhood. (Notice that I did not say crush the will, or destroy it, or snuff it out.)"

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Sooooo totally didn't mean to skip March but times have been crazy busy. I've been almost wearing myself out doing life: family, church, traveling, building a business, getting ready for my craft/yard sale, AND growing another baby! A nap sounds really nice right now, but I MUST blog! :) Here are some cute pictures of Michael and John going on a joy-ride on the lawnmower. He's outside AND with Daddy, so John is a happy little boy. 

 Yesterday, I had my 2nd and last ultrasound done at this really amazing place: My friend Debbie and I were volunteering our baby-bellies to help train nurses to use the sonogram equipment so that they could go out and offer free ultrasounds to pregnant ladies considering abortions. My ultrasound was done in their portable ultrasound RV that they park in the parking lots of abortion clinics in the Charlotte area. They are saving lives and people are being brought into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the great love He has for them and their unborn child. It was a neat experience. 
Here are some pictures to give you a better idea of what it looked like:

"Buckle up Ladies!"

Debbie's sweet daughter, Eleanor. Debbie in the background with the nurses.

yeah, I'm a blogger. Take our picture! :) 

The ministry that provides this life-saving service is called Cities4Life. (
"Cities4Life is not simply an event or a ministry; it is a culture. We exist to create a culture of Life in every city where the death of unborn children exists. We seek to transform the culture of death brought about by the abortion industry, to a culture of LIFE in our cities as we work to mobilize the body of Christ to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. This is accomplished by uniting and supporting grassroots, Gospel-centered ministries dedicated to proclaiming the Truth of Jesus Christ, exposing the deeds of darkness and providing tangible support to abortion-minded mothers at local abortion clinics. 
So the question is... what can you do? PROCLAIM. PROVIDE. PRAY."
-Cities4Life brochure.

I encourage all of you reading this to first and foremost, stop what you're doing, and pray for revival in America. The hearts of the mothers and the fathers need to be turned to their children again. 

"Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse." Malachi 4:5,6

Secondly, while you're praying, ask God what He would have you do to stand with Him and His Church for the lives of the innocent children that are killed every day in our nation. 

We need a heart-change and then we need to MOVE where the Spirit leads. 
Give us Your love, Father, and the boldness to live it out!

If you have any questions about Cities4Life, you can contact Jenny Starnes at---

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Giving Love & Receiving Grace

This might be a long one- I've got a lot to say. The last few weeks have been really good. Challenging but good. Father God has been faithfully speaking a lot of good stuff to me lately. Thus, I'm writing this post so as to share and so I don't forget it! :) The first revelation in this string of revelations came on a morning where I was barely functioning. So tired. A little bit at my wits end. And ya know, when your mind is out of the way because it's not quite there, God's voice is able to come in a lot clearer! Get my own thoughts out of the way so His thoughts can come right on in.