Search This Blog

Thursday, August 27, 2015

At Peace Academy - School year 2015/ 2016

School has officially started for us around here! This is my 10th year homeschooling! And I have a senior this year!

Abigail is taking early college courses at the local community college ( Writing and Inquiry & Quantitve Literacy)  and a few high school co-op classes. She is also helping out as an assistant for the middle school physical science teacher at 2 local co-ops.
She is playing volleyball and basketball for the Forsyth County Home Educators ( Go Hawks!) and is Lifeguarding.

We will be going to visit lots of campuses this year as she decides and applies for college. GULP!

Nate is in 10th grade and is taking a pretty heavy load this year at our local co-ops. He has
Physical Science
US History
Spanish 2
Auto Upkeep
A writing class

He is active still with music and would love to be a music major/ worship leader in college in a few years.

Micah is in 9th grade and is playing soccer for FHE. He is taking classes at our local co-ops and is working with me daily in reading and language. He has came a long way but still has a long way to go with his reading.  His favorite class in Geography.

Essie is in 7th grade. She is doing math and language at home with me and taking classes at the co-op too. She is beginning to want to read for pleasure  (which makes me so happy) ! She is also still very artsy and loves cooking and craft projects.

Sarah Faith began her second year of preschool at Piney Grove Elementary. She takes speech therapy there a few days a week and has an IEP to meet her needs. We love her teachers and her class! She has skipped and danced to class the last two mornings. I am just praying that she keeps that up!

I am super excited for this year. From trying to enjoy and soak up every minute of my girl's last year of high school to baby G joining us in December.... It is going to be quite the year!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Amy took the frog.

Back around the last week of June, we had a weekend with some pretty significant rainfall. One evening, I was putting Sarah Faith to bed and we heard a frog outside her window. It sounded like one of those great big creepy deep voiced bullfrogs and it was on her window ledge. I said, "Listen Sarah..I hear a frog".. I thought it sounded kinda cool, and maybe she would too. 

Boy, was I wrong. Her eyes widened in terror, she jumped out of bed and ran to the living room, crying and saying, no frog, go away frog, no no frog!" 

She refused to go back into her room. Even after Greg went outside and removed it from the window. ( apparently it was a tiny tree frog with a really big voice!) All night long, one of us would either have to sit in her room or lay on the couch with her. If she, for even a moment, thought she was alone, she would start crying about the frog. We kept telling her daddy threw it in the grass, but no luck. 

The next day was Sunday and she still refused to go into her room, she also made someone carry her to church because the frog was in the grass. I started to rethink the whole "Daddy threw it in the grass" story because now she was refusing to go outside too.  So I had me an idea.....

After church, my best friend Amy came to lunch and we took a stuffed frog from Essie's mass collection of stuffed animals and strategically placed it in the middle of Sarah's room. We made a big production of finding the frog and Amy went in , with a shoe box, scooped up the frog and said she was taking it to her house.  Bye bye frog. 

It still took some coaxing and playing with her in her room before Sarah would go back in there, but finally she deemed her room safe again.  I must have answered the question 100 times that week. 
" Amy take the frog?"  "
Yep, Amy took the frog." 

Even now, some 6 weeks later, ever once in a while,  she will look at me and say, "Amy take the frog?" 

I was thinking of that story in my quiet time the other day and how I have begun to see a pattern in my own life of letting fear and worry prevent me from enjoying things that God has given me. With 5 children and one on the way there are plenty of things to be worried about. 

I have a high school senior... where will she go to college? Can we afford college? How far away is she wanting to go? 
I have two 15 year old drivers. Enough said. 
I have one that struggles socially. What can I do to help?
I have one that struggles academically. How can I fix this? 
I have one with autism and are we choosing the right therapies and help for her? 
As a homeschool mom, Am I getting enough academics in? 
As an expectant mom, is the baby ok? Is he growing like he is supposed to? 

Sometimes I am guilty of putting my best face forward on Facebook and people tend to think that life is perfect when in reality.... I have a lot of " frogs" in my life. Things that keep me in a state of worry and fear. That prevent me from enjoying the blessing He has given. 

The Lord led me to two verses:

For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 
2 Timothy 1:7

Casting all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
I Peter 5:7 

Just like Amy came and took Sarah's frog, we have a Heavenly Father that wants to take "the frogs" in our life. He wants to carry our burdens. Especially the crippling burden of fear.  I know that the worries and fears in my life could be considered small compared to some of the worries and burdens that you might be facing every single day, but I will leave you with this one last promise from Ephesians: 

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
 Ephesians 3:20

Exceeding abundantly.

He can take your frog. 

 No matter if it is a tree frog, a bull frog or a goliath frog. All you have to do is let Him. In 1 Peter, the verse says " casting" all your anxiety on Him. It is a progressive thing. Just like Sarah felt the need to ask me if Amy really did take the frog over and over, God knows we need reassurance that He is indeed in charge and He is patient enough to answer those questions over and over. (A lot more patient than I was to answer frog questions. )

And life is a lot more fun without frogs. 

Just ask Sarah. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Post about Autism

Most people know that Sarah Faith was diagnosed with autism in April of 2014. She is what I would consider "mid - functioning". Meaning if you interact with us/her for 5 or 10 minutes, you wouldn't think anything was wrong, but if you would observe a 30 minute sliver of her life, you would get some red flags about her behavior.

Every article you read about autism will tell you what the author and the various researchers he has interviewed thinks causes autism. Unfortunately, about everyone is different. Genetic disposition, vaccines, toxins in the air, too much screen time, food preservatives are just a few of the ideas. 

Some people claim, " You are just born with it." 

I have no idea why Sarah Faith has autism. It could be she was doubly vaccinated ( once in Ethiopia and once in America) It could be that she was pumped full of medicine too strong for her tiny body while at the transition home in Ethiopia. I don't really blame them for that.... it was either give her the medicine they had or let her die as she battled chicken pox, scarlet fever and respiratory infections the first 5 months of her life.  Thankfully,  they chose to medicate. It could be that her system could not handle the preservatives and dyes in our food.  I really don't know , but you can bet if I did and could go back in time and try to change it,  I would.

There is a quote that is used regularly in the autism circles, " If you know a child with autism then you know one child with autism." It manifests itself in each person so very differently. The politically correct way to ask questions or statements about this disorder ( and even as I write this I have to think.... "Is it correct to call it a disorder? I can't remember. ") is a bit like a minefield.

 People get offended about certain phrases used to describe their child. Some parents justify every behavior as part of being on the spectrum. Others do not want their child set apart at all and insist on mainstreaming them in every aspect of life. With a 4 year old and only navigating these waters for less than two years, to be honest, I am unsure how I feel or what I think.

Here is what I  do know and what I struggle with..... why is it that we can say cancer sucks or how much we hate MS,  that we need to stamp out diabetes or other infirmaries that people live with, but we are suppose to just accept autism?

Cause living with autism is freaking hard. 

I hate that Sarah cannot seem to understand time and consequence still at age 4. 

And that we have to decline outside birthday party invites because this summer she is terrified of flying bugs. 

I hate that she won't sit still for story time at the library and listen but wants to giggle and roll on the floor. Then other parents look at me like I need to control my child. What they don't realize is once we get in the car, she will tell me all about the books that were read and for the rest of the week,  she will talk about story time and that it was " so much fun." 

 I worry she is a disruption and is trying her teacher's patience every time she walks into Sunday school class.

I grow weary of hearing her say the same phrases over and over and still have no idea what they mean to her. Or that she wants to eat the same thing every. single. day. 

That things like having her ears pierced, pedicures or enjoying tea parties,  making crafts or  going on play dates are not in our future unless there are some major developmental milestones reached. 

She has taught me many things though... and for that I am starting to become more and more thankful. 

 Like that my patience and faith are a lot smaller in quantity than I would have liked to believe. 

That I have pride issues when it comes to being a good parent and others perception of my skills in this area. 

I am beginning to have more empathy and understanding for those that battle special needs or care for those with  these needs each and everyday. 

And most importantly,  how great the love my Heavenly Father has for me.  I can begin to see that no matter how exasperating Sarah can be, I still love her and want her to be in my family. He feels the same way about my sinful self. 

I can see that He found me worthy to raise a child that needs more from me than basic parental skills. 

I can believe His will is perfect and that He knew I needed my faith stretched and by giving me this little spicy Ethiopian princess,  out of all the orphans in that beautiful country, He would be giving me joy mixed with pain and the continuous need for HIM to pour out of me everyday. 

So, I don't know what causes autism and I may never know and I don't know the politically correct way to ask questions and say things about kids on the spectrum. I don't even know that I have fully accepted that I have a child that is special needs but of this I am absolutely sure: 

 I will praise you because I {*as well as Sarah Faith Mullis }am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalms 139:14

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8;28

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required. Luke 12:48b

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Baby G

My 20th week of pregnancy started on Monday. Half way there! We started the day by going for an ultrasound. I was a little nervous because I have had blood pressure issues and that can cause damage to the placenta that will only show up in an ultrasound, so I wasn't really sure what we would find.

The first thing he did was show us that he is indeed a boy! :) Even though the genetics test I took was 99% accurate, it was nice to have visual proof as well.  Everything else looked good too, he measured according to my due date and thankfully the placenta and umbilical cord flow all looked great. So thankful!

Unless I get a BP spike or he measures "off" , we won't have another ultrasound. It is crazy to think I am half way through this pregnancy AND summer is our slowest time of year. Once school and sports begin in the fall, time will fly by! sooooo...... I have already started nesting!

I am a planner and I knew waiting until fall and having to squeeze baby prep into an already busy schedule would be stressful for me so I began purging and cleaning out a spot in our bedroom for baby central. I went to a garage sale Saturday. A couple with a one year old is moving to Florida and they were selling a lot of stuff!
I was especially interested in their car seat/ stroller combo that had been at the grandmas house as a spare. It literally looked like it had been used less than 5 times and she sold it to me for $40. I know a lot of people frown on buying used car seats, but this one is only a year old and had been barely used and never in a wreck, so I felt safe about it. She also had sleepers for $1 so I bought some of them..... first clothes purchase I have made for little G.

I got home and Greg asked it I wanted the crib up. Yes, and mainly to work on dimensions in the bedroom but also for a place to store things as I bought them. Greg and the boys had it up in no time. It was so surreal to see a baby crib up again in our bedroom! A sweet friend of mine called and asked if we would like her baby gear she was getting rid of so she dropped off a swing, bouncer and ton of other baby stuff for us. Super thankful for her thinking of us and giving us so much stuff we won't have to purchase now.

I have an old dresser that my mom bought when she was pregnant with me that I used and my sister used and then she gave it to me for Abby. It has been " the baby dresser" with all three of my bio kids and with Sarah. We have painted the actual dresser and the knobs various colors over the year.  It was white with pink and navy knobs for Sarah. I wanted it a little more boyish for Gideon so Micah and Nate helped me sand and paint it a Carolina blue on Monday afternoon.

 The knobs were beyond another coat of paint so I went to Hobby Lobby and found the cutest sports knobs on clearance. I think it turned out great!

Still not sure what bedding I will get. Truth be told, I cannot bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on new bedding. Consignment sale season begins this weekend around here, so I will shop those sales until I see a sports theme bedding that I like. So much fun nesting again. I can't wait until it is time to buy some Dreft and start washing his layette.  Is there a sweeter smell than baby? I can't think of one!

Once Abigail gets home from Africa, she is going to go with me to register for baby items and my mom is hosting a baby shower for me Labor Day weekend in Virginia. I am super excited about that. Not only celebrating Gideon but also being able to see friends and family that I haven't gotten to see in a long time!  My sister is even flying in from Colorado for it. :)

It is gonna be an exciting rest of 2015, that is for sure!

Friday, July 17, 2015


Last fall, Abigail approached us about going on a month long mission trip this summer with Adventures in Missions.  There was a lot of researching, packing , fundraising and logistics questions involved, but in the end, we agreed it would be a good thing for her to do the summer before her senior year of high school.

She set out to fund raise, wrote and mailed out her own letters, gathered documents and was able to raise the money she needed for the trip. She had decided that Swaziland Africa was the trip she wanted to take.

Honestly, I kinda put the reality of it all off in the back of my mind. I helped her with documents and we discussed her gear and clothes, but the fact that she would be SOOO far away for a whole month..... yeah, I didn't give that a whole lot of thought.

As time got near for her to actually leave, we all began feeling the anxiety of it. She waffled between excitement and panic. Not normal for my very steady 17 year old. Greg and I tried to be calm for her, but in truth, we were both having some big regrets about allowing her to go so far a way for so long.

There would be 14 girls and 2 leaders on this trip. She would spend 4 days in Georgia at a training camp and then fly the 15 hours to Johannesburg,  then take a bus 5 hours to Manzini Swaziland. She had no idea exactly what her lodging conditions would be or what tasks she would be doing.

The morning she flew from Greensboro to Atlanta, we stood in a circle in the kitchen, prayed over her and all cried. I think she cried from the sheer emotions of it all. I cried because I knew she would not come back the same girl she was at that very moment.

When she landed in Atlanta she was happy and excited ( thumbs up) She also found out that she would be sleeping on the ground in a tent for the next few days, her phone would be taken away, she would have bucket showers and portapotties as her facilities. And it was raining. ( thumbs down)

She called that night in panic mode right before they took her phone. Honestly, I wasn't sure when she called us back Sunday night if she would be begging her daddy to drive to Georgia and get her or if she would be focused and ready for the ministry she was about to take on.  She called and was thankfully the latter. The next day, she (tearfully and excitedly) board that internationally flight.

Can I just tell you having your child over the ocean for the majority of 15 hours is NOT an easy thing??

One of the discussions Greg and I have had multiple times over the past 3 weeks is that you cannot teach your children to Be SALT and Be LIGHT in this world and then not allow them to actually GO and do it.

You cannot teach your kids that Jesus loves the children of the world and then deny them the opportunity to be HIS hands and feet and minister to these little ones.

But, man is it hard to let go.

She was able to let us know when she had landed and she was able to FaceTime us in South Africa  (where she stayed with strangers from a church there.) BUT she had a real bed, real shower and that sweet lady who hosted her washed all her moldy clothes from the Atlanta rain/camp.

Communication has been super sketchy since then. She called the following Saturday crying and throwing up, but assured us that things were good and she was loving Africa. We were just getting the calls when things were not so good. Thankfully, AIM has been able to let us know she was beginning to feel better the next day. We then went 8 days without communication and she finally texted this past Monday with a photo that melted my heart!

She also was able to blog on the AIM website. You can read it here. 

 I can not begin to tell you how much I have missed her. I am pretty sure our college visits the next year are going to be in a 30 -45 min radius to our house! :) The boys have also decided life without Abigail is boring and she should not ever leave for this long again!  Sarah Faith thinks she has been on an airplane the whole time and so she waves and screams, " Have a good trip , Deesie" everytime we see one.

She flys home a week from today! YAY!!!  I know that she will need a re- entry period. We did that when we came home from Ethiopia. It is hard to go from the simplicity of life in Africa to the busyness of the US.

I sure do appreciate your prayers for her (and for us) this past month.  Thank you to those who gave for her to be able to go.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surprise Surprise ( part 2)

I left off with Micah and Sarah joining our family and the 7 of us living and loving life here in NC.

Last summer, I began training for a half marathon. I was running around 10 - 15 miles a week, eating healthy and strength conditioning.  In February,  I ran the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World. It was awesome. (I throw this in here because I am unsure if focusing on my health and diet is the reason I was able to conceive or if it was something else or just Gods timing. It is the only thing that I can think of that we did differently. )

Fast Forward to this April 2015. We went to my parents house in Virginia for a pre Easter visit and decided to hike up to the Cascades in Giles Co. We started out around 10:15 and about 10 minutes into the hike, I was starving. Like really really hungry.

Me: Anyone bring any snacks?
Kids: Mom, you are the one that packs the snacks, not us.
Me: Anyone have any gum? mints? tic tacs? anything???????

OK... that is a little weird.

 By the time we got to the top I couldn't even enjoy the beautiful view. I wanted food and right then. I  contemplating crashing some college students picnic.  I smelled chickfila in the woods. I felt like Esau willing to give up a birthright for one bowl of stew.  I made everyone search their pockets again for mints or gum.

FINALLY,  we made it back to the car. I tore open my protein bar, took two bites and thought to myself, " This is the nastiest thing I have ever tasted in my life." Couldn't finish it. I ate a few handfuls of the kids chips, but really, they didn't taste very good either.

So weird.

We left Virginia and drove back to NC and the next day had a brunch and egg hunt at church. Again, I was starving but nothing looked or tasted good at the brunch and that was when it first crept into my head that there might be a reason for this food aversion/hunger. I did some calendar checking and realized that I could accurately take a pregnancy test, so I left the egg hunt and ran some errands before going to Micah's soccer game.  While out,  I bought and took a pregnancy test.

( In the Target bathroom!)


Say, what???? I am 41 years old. It had now been 10 years since Greg's vasectomy reversal.

10 years.

So I did what any other sane women would do..... I bought more pregnancy tests. Over the next 24 hours, I think I averaged peeing on a stick about every three - five hours.

 And the line just kept getting darker.

It was Easter weekend still and every pastor's family knows that is one of the busiest weekends of the year, so I actually kept my news to myself all day Saturday and all day Sunday. Finally, after Greg was finished with all his Easter Sunday responsibilities and had a good nap, I told him Sunday evening.

He didn't believe me.

Why should he really. 10 years is a long time and there had been plenty of " Maybe I am" months in there... Good thing I had about 10 pregnancy tests to back up my claims. ;)

We decided to wait until I had been to the doctor to tell the kids. Trouble was the doctor didn't want to see me yet ( I was, by my calculations,  only 5 weeks)

 AND we were leaving for Florida the following week and being so close together,  if I was sick, the kids would know.

 AND I stink at keeping secrets.

Soooooo, we told the kids the following Tuesday.  They were a mix of giddy excitement, shock and disbelief. Mostly happy and excited... for which I was thankful. We also swore them to secrecy until I had went to the doctor. We did end up telling our Florida parents and I texted my mom on the way home from Florida.

Mom: How was your vacation?
Me: Ok. I have been sick a lot though. Nausea and really tired.
Mom; Maybe you have a stomach bug. or gall bladder issues Or diverticulitis. Or an ulcer.
Me: Don't think so. What else could it be.
Mom: Maybe you are pregnant HAHAHAHAHA
Me: (Texting her a photo of the positive pregnancy tests all lined up) Ding Ding Ding. You are correct!

so the news was slowly getting out.

I did have my doctors appointment the following week to confirm what my dozen tests had already told us..... I was indeed expecting a baby.

Baby number 6.

All the emotions.... Shock. Surreal. Thankful. Scared. Nervous. Excitement.  We kinda ran the whole gambit. I would be considered higher risk because of my age.  Of miscarriage. Of Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida. My blood pressure was high. I was fighting some pretty yucky morning sickness.  The reality that by Christmas, I would have a 1 month old AND an 18 year old started to set in.

Greg and I both decided that the only thing we could do was give this baby ( like we had all our others ) to the Lord. He had decided, in HIS time, when this baby should be born and we would have to trust Him with all the details.

And so far, that is what we have been able to do. :)

I am 19 weeks along now. The baby is due December 7 ( which was also my due date with Abigail back in 1997) I did have a genetic blood test done and the baby shows no signs of being special needs.

We also found out that he is a BOY!

So, I am trying to enjoy this second trimester of what I am assuming will be my last pregnancy. Even though I am in better shape than I was in my 20's, being pregnant at 41 is tiring. Being pregnant at 41 with a 4 year old to chase around is especially tiring! I am trying to record every milestone and memory. Bringing this blog back to life will be a part of that.

So if you are still reading, thanks for joining us as we get closer to welcoming Gideon Burke Mullis into the world and into our crazy family.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Surprise Surprise ( part 1)

If you follow me on FB or Instagram then you know all about what has been happening around our home the last few months, but for the blog only readers I have a little bit of news:

We are going to have a baby!!!!!!!

Crazy, huh? Even though my belly seems to be growing daily and I can feel his little kicks, I am still in shock and it is SO surreal! I am gonna start with the back story and give you guys the details.

Sorry if  this part  is TMI but it is part of this crazy story

Back in 2001 , we lived in WV and had just had our third child in 4 years. We were most assuredly finished having kids  (or so we thought)  I had been on birth control our first year of marriage and it had wrecked my system so we knew that me going back on it would not be a solution. Instead,  Greg and I decided he would have a vasectomy. So in 2002 , he did just that.

A few years, ministries and states later,  we are now in Florida,  it is 2005 and we are kinda regretting the no more kids thing. We thought one more baby would even us up at 4 and we both began looking at adoption. At the time, the cost, wait, paperwork and uncertainty of the adoption process scared us a lot so we decided that,  for us,  the best thing to do was a vasectomy reversal. We researched doctors in the area and Greg had this done in January of 2005.

I just knew we would have a baby by Christmas.

 Boy, was I mistaken.

The procedure must not have worked. Or my body would not cooperate. Whatever it was, there was no positive pregnancy test. No good news. No baby by the holidays. This began my journey with secondary infertility.  Now, we never went back to Greg's doctor to see what was wrong. He was insistent that he would not have another surgery no matter what the doctor said so there was no need to go back. I accepted that and didn't push him to.

A few years and the baby dream seemed an impossibility so we started researching adoption again. We worked with Florida Baptist Children's Home for about a year , taking classes, doing home studies and we were even matched with a mother who later decided to parent her baby.

In 2008, we moved to North Carolina and Greg began full time pastoring again and in November of 2009, we started the process of adopting from Ethiopia.  I have even said that God used our secondary infertility to allow us to adopt Micah and Sarah.... we probably would not have pursued adoption if we would have been able to have a 4th baby.

In June of 2011 Micah and Sarah Faith came to the USA and we became the Mullis Family, party of 7. Our unit was complete. 

Or so we thought...........

(Stay tuned for Part 2)