Monday, September 29, 2008

Taking the Plunge

I think I might be re-vamping my entire school curriculum. We are going to give a unit study a trial run this week.

We've been homeschooling for several years and I've always thought unit studies would be a great and fun way to learn, but many of them involve so many projects that we would never accomplish - such as building a mote complete with drawbridge around your house.

Many unit study curricula are so freedom-loving that they bombard you with a ton of ideas but no clear-cut plan. I don't do well with the "do-as-you-please" idea. When I was in school, I froze when the teacher would say, "Write a five page paper on any subject you'd like." Now, if they'd give me a subject or idea (i.e. "Why Commoners Never Built Motes Around Their Cottages") I would be on my way to a paper worth placing in the National Archives.

However, I have recently come across a couple of unit studies that actually seem interesting, have many REALISTIC hands-on projects, and are laid out with a day-to-day plan.

Why change to a unit study and why now when the school year is only a few weeks old?

1. I am now at a point where my youngest is 1 year old and the rest are ready and willing to learn. No babies to be nursed and I'm not exhausted with a pregnancy.

2. We will all be learning together - each of the children will be doing the same activities geared for their age and ability. They can encourage one another and I can be involved in their education as I was at the very beginning of this journey.

3. As most of the children will be doing the same thing at the same time, I won't be pulled in 4 or 5 different directions at once.

4. This type of learning appeals to all learning styles. I have readers, talkers, and doers and there's something for everyone.

5. Why now? Why wait another whole year when I could spend time with my children as they have fun learning TODAY? Also, as we are trying to decide what is best for our oldest child, this may be a great way for him to get excited about learning again and be able to stay at home instead of sending him to Christian School.

6. This, hopefully, will provide us with more time for the things Christians ought to be busy doing - writing letters, making cookies for neighbors, visiting, etc. As it is, some of my children are in the other room working in their textbooks until 4 or 5:00 every day. Where does that leave time to think of others?

I realize that this may seem idealistic. This is why we are giving this unit study a trial run. The BJU books aren't up on eBay, yet!:) If you think to pray for us this week, I would appreciate it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beautiful Moms - Kind Words



"She openeth her mouth with wisdom: and in her tongue is the law of kindness."
Proverbs 31:26

"Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile." Psalm 34:13

Have you ever seen a mom who looked so very pretty and sweet - until she opened her mouth and yelled at her children? Instantly, the beauty fades away and reveals the angry monster within.

My angry monster came out yesterday. Only my children saw it, though. Thankfully no one of importance witnessed this flaw in my character. How embarassing and tragic that would have been!

Wait a minute...whose opinion of us matters more than our children's? We are shaping their lives to either live for Christ or live for themselves. When they see the angry monster come from their Christian mother's mouth, it is enough to scare them away from the path of Christ. Why is it that we - I'm sorry - I attempt to be sweet and loving and kind to complete strangers while I justify harsh words towards my young children?

I could "justify" why I became angry and yelled at my trembling children. I could give "reasons" why they drove me to behave badly. None of those reasons hold water, though. The only reason I snapped was because I wasn't in God's Word. I was not walking with Him - the One who loves and protects children. I was acting in my vile flesh and only considering my rights and feelings.

"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6

Usually, we conservative Christians like to aim that verse at the abortion activists or the child molesters. However, moms are slowly breaking their children's hearts and destroying their spiritual lives each time they "fly off the handle." Have you seen the look in a child's eyes who is being yelled at? It is fear or it is anger. It is not a look of repentance and learning.

Yelling (I could say "speaking harshly", but let's not try to make flowery what it truly is) at our children does not edify them or train them in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord." Not once do I see Christ yelling at His people. Oh, He judges them severely at times, but do we ever get the impression that He is yelling? I read the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Revelation and "hear" His voice speaking firmly but not a maniacal God screaming at the world.

How dare I yell at my children?! Each of them loves God and truly wants to do what is right, but they need some leading. If they argue with each other or disobey me, it is not for me to get angry because they've not done what I want them to do. It is up to me to guide them back to the right path and show them the ways of God. Do I do this with a lilt in my voice? Most likely not. But, I can do it firmly with kindness. They may not enjoy being rebuked, but the look in their eyes is no longer fear and anger. There is a glimmer of repentance and they know I love them.

A Beautiful Mom speaks with love and kindness at all times. How is this possible while living in this fleshly body?

"...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Matthew 12:34

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Let us get in the Word and on our knees before God. Let us be thankful to Him for this gift of motherhood. Let us pray for the souls of our children and for their future to be filled with service towards Him. These lovely and pure things in our hearts will go far in helping us become women of virtue speaking kindness. In this way, you and I can become truly Beautiful Moms.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Interupt This Regularly Scheduled Blog...

...for some blog maintenance.

First, I would love for you all to stop by Lunchtime Thoughts where there is an excellent discussion taking place concerning homosexuality and what the Bible says pertaining that subject. Join in...the writer accepts anonymous commentators.

Second, please remember to e-mail me (victoriamcc@frontiernet.net) with a tribute for a Beautiful Mom that you know and admire. I would love to publish them on our weekly Tuesday posts.

Third, I encourage ALL of my readers (yes, all 7 of you) to participate in the polls that I place on the sidebar every week. As I no longer have the stats counter, this enables me to get an idea of the amount of people who visit Love & Rewards. According to my poll this week, I have only 4 readers. I know that's not true. Obviously, 3 of you have not voted! Seriously, even if it involves a situation you are not currently in (i.e. this week's parenthood-type question)feel free to vote according to how you would respond. Pretend you have children (or, some weeks, a spouse) and vote! And, just so you know, I don't have some secret way of finding out who you are. All votes are anonymous.

Well, that's the story I'm sticking with, anyway.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Next week, back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beautiful Moms - What Are We Doing?



Well, there are still three hours left in this Tuesday - just enough time to post for Beautiful Moms.

This morning, I was reading in Ezekiel. Poor Ezekiel. He's the prophet who had to lay on his left side for over a year and on his right side for 40 more days to illustrate something about the destruction of Jerusalem. All this while he had to eat food cooked by a fire fueled by...um...cow manure. I'm thinking this man will REALLY enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

Reading about the destruction of Jerusalem made me ponder the obvious destruction of this world in which we live. Look around you - Christ's return is imminent.

First of all, let me make clear that I've always been someone who has struggled with prophecy. I get almost nauseous when people begin to talk about the rapture and the tribulation. I know I'm not going to be here for most of it, but I'm one who likes to think "happy thoughts." I don't like when people put dates on the "end of the world" as it makes me doubt the sense of making any sort of future plans. I mean, really, if Christ is definitely coming back in a year or two, let's stop homeschooling now and have some fun!

But, that's where I really stopped to think. If Christ is coming back soon, what am I doing? As a mom, what am I doing to prepare myself and my children to meet Christ face to face?

Sometimes, we think homeschooling, caring for the home, cooking good meals is good enough. We are fulfilling what God commands of Christian mothers. But, are we doing what God commands Christians to do?

"Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel..."

"Be kindly affectioned one to another...Not slothful in business: fervent in spirit; serving the Lord...Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality...Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep...Live peaceably with all men..."

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers..."

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

So many more verses I could list, but I have to ask myself, "Am I doing these things?" I may love and reverence my husband, I may be a keeper at home, I may love my children, etc., but, am I being a Christian worthy of the name? Am I following Christ by showing compassion to those outside my family? Am I telling others of the unconditional love of the Saviour? Am I laying up treasure in heaven by being busy in the work of God?

Even if Christ does not come until after my children are all grown with families of their own, what am I doing for Him now? How am I training my children to fear Him and to serve Him? Doing school in the room off the living room isn't going to make them great missionaries. Cooking them nutritious meals isn't going to encourage them to visit the poor and needy. Staying at home with them will not train them to have an answer for the hope that lies within them.

These are all wonderful things. I'll venture to say they fulfill the biblical pattern set for us. But, they are only a beginning to fulfilling the greatest commandment:

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

In God's eyes, a Beautiful Mom is a beautiful Christian.

The time is short - whether we have 2 years or 30 years. What are we doing?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs - Something New



I'm really late with this one, but there were too many other fun things to write about and then I got to go away with the love of my life this weekend. Just for inquiring minds - I think it was the most enjoyable romantic get-away we've had in our 14 years of marriage. We didn't go far, but just getting a hotel away from the duties of home and spending time together without interuption was priceless!

Anyway...back to my assignment. We're supposed to let everyone know what we are doing new this homeschool year. As we only changed curriculum for one of our children, I am choosing to inform you all of something new that we are doing which involves all of our students.

This year, we have "joined" a homeschool co-op. I say "joined" because the co-op is brand new. For years it has been my desire to begin a homeschool co-op at our church. Our church is made up of homeschool families and I thought it would be a great thing if we could pool our knowledge, skills, and resources as parents and bring them together to further our children's education (Romans 12:4-6).

The story of our homeschool co-op's origin is a long one - I won't bore you with it. But, by the grace of God, a seemingly impossible dream has come to fruition this year. We have gathered a few officers and several wonderful teachers. For legalities, etc., we opened this co-op to only members of our church. Amazingly, we have over 80 students this first semester! Obviously, this was something other families were looking for, as well.

What classes are offered to our students this year?

K4-2nd grade - Art, Phys. Ed (following directions, group games, etc.), and Fun with Music

3rd - 6th - Sign Language, Math Review, Art, Crochet, Phys. Ed. (volleyball)

7th-8th - Sign Language, Math Review, Art, Crochet, Phys. Ed. (training to run a 5K)

9th-12th - Basic Electronics, Home Ec. (sewing - this course will become Household Economics during the 2nd semester - learning to make and follow a budget for home and small business), The American Constitution, Sign Language, Math Review, Phys. Ed (training to run a 5K)

2-3 year olds - Bible/Music, Art, Phys. Ed.

H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Parents Educate) begins at 10:00 every other Thursday. The first 20 minutes of the day are spent together as we say the Pledge of Allegiance to the American and Christian flags, have a devotional, and then announcements. After that, classes are 40 min. each, with a half-hour lunch time from 12:00-12:30 .

Our first meeting was this past Thursday. My children had a wonderful time and were excited about doing their assignments as soon as they got home! I have had many wonderful reports about how much all of the students enjoyed it (including the teenagers!) and that many of them are very much looking forward to our next meeting.

As homeschool moms, our time and resources are limited when we attempt to teach our children alone. By being involved in a cooperative with other like-minded families, we are able to use our individual skills to benefit many other families while we benefit from their skills and knowledge, also. In the process, our children are motivated to grow in knowledge, encourage their peers, and have fun while they learn in a different setting every couple of weeks.

"For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us..."

How grateful we are to God for this new experience this year!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He's (sort-of) Back!!!!

The other day, I was reading my blog comments and came across one by a person named "Dave."

"Dave? I wonder who Dave is?" thought I.

Then, "Could it be?!" I looked at the picture. I clicked on the link.

It IS!!!!!!

Major Dave
has been in Iraq since the end of April. Apparently, the world-wide web isn't as world-wide as it's cracked up to be. Therefore, he's been missing in blogdom and sorely missed.

Until a few days ago. The internet made it's way to Qatar and Dave found his way back to his blog and my comments!

OK: time for a quick biography:
Major Dave is a good friend of mine and my family's. He and I are one day apart in age (unless you bring up the fact that he stopped having birthdays 10 years ago) and were in the same classes in school for 13 years. Making matters worse (ha!), our family moved down the street from his when we were fifteen which meant riding the bus to and from school together, our siblings and us terrorizing the small town we lived in, and our family crashing his family's house during the infamous '91 ice-storm.

No, we never were boyfriend/girlfriend. NO WAY. Don't worry - he won't be offended. We were such a part of each other's lives that the other one was just...there.

Dave was, I believe, considered a
nerd in school. Not by me. I knew him. I knew how funny he was. I knew how smart he was. I knew he would make something of himself one day. He never went with the crowd. He knew who he was, what was important to him, and where he was going in life. He didn't need the acceptance of the jocks or anyone else. He was the rare guy who realized high school wasn't going to last forever. He knew life started after high school. It angered me - ever since elementary school - when people would suggest that he was a nerd. My mom would just say, "Just wait. He'll show them all up. He'll go further than any of them."

And, he did. HA!!!!!!! Major in the Air Force, following the Lord, and about to marry a wonderful, godly, and fun woman who can actually take his sarcastic sense of humor!!!

At risk of offending all of my precious readers, Dave adds great interest to my comments. His blog is of a different sort - the guy sort. I love all the "girl" blogs I read (hey, mine is lumped in that category, too), but my favorite blog has to be "The World According to Dave." Once you read it, you'll find out how wacked out I really am.

I love the perspective on life guys have. Black & white, logical, no fluff. That's Dave. And, his humor? Exactly my style because it's the sarcasm I grew up with.

Now, he's unknowingly added a new element of humor and interest. You MUST go read his latest post. What he says about me - completely UNTRUE!!! You see, I tried to get him going and told him a FALSEHOOD. Apparently, the follow-up e-mail that I sent to let him know I was JUST KIDDING got relayed in Arabic and he's still trying to translate it.

Seriously, it's great to have Dave's thoughts back on the internet. Even if it is propaganda!

Oh, to my best friend and to my sister-in-law: I told him the same falsehoods about you! HA HA!:)



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Beautiful Moms - Loving Their Daddy



Today is a special day - Eric and I have been married for 14 years. FOURTEEN! Looking back over the years, so much has happened that all the events and moments make that day seem so very far away.

The day after we said, "I do," we moved out of state for 3 years. We've been through 8 vehicles, 7 homes, 4 states, 11 harvest seasons, 11 hospital admissions (childbirths plus children's health issues), at least 8 ER visits, farm robberies, a parent's death, the deaths of 2 grandparents, and the births of 7 children. The list goes on and on.

One thing stays the same - our love.

Scratch that. That has not stayed the same.

It has become stronger. Each situation - good or bad - has brought us closer together as a couple. Ok, well, maybe one or two of our moves made us a little crazy; but in the end, we kissed and made up.:)

You may be thinking, "Well, happy anniversary and all, but what does this have to do with Beautiful Moms and motherhood?"

So glad you asked.

First, I couldn't let this day go by without mention.

Second, part of becoming a beautiful mom is loving your child's daddy. Not only are we instructed to love our husbands in God's Word (Titus 3:4: That they may teach the young women to be, sober, to love their husbands), but loving our husbands is our children's first and foremost example of how Christians ought to love one another. If parents cannot get along how can we expect our children to get along with one another? If our children do not see how wonderful love in a Christian marriage can be, why would they "bother" to find a Christian mate when the world seems to have the claim on "love" and "happily ever-after"?

When someone asks us if we love our husbands, it's the rare Christian wife and mother who would say "no." But, what would our children answer? Our children only know what they see. Children do not understand the concept of "love is a commitment, not a feeling," or, "people don't have to be affectionate all the time to love each other." While these statements may be true, children need to see to believe.

Do you try to look pretty for your husband when he comes home? There are days when it's been so crazy and you've been barfed on by the baby 10 times. Your darling husband is so understanding. But, his understanding kindness shouldn't allow the sloppy, haggard look to be the norm. Think back to when you were dating. Didn't you make sure you looked "just right" for the man of your dreams?

Do you smile at your husband? A cheerful wife does much to lift the heart and spirits of the working man who provides for his family. "She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."

Do you listen to your husband as he shares about his work day, projects, and ideas? Do you encourage him? Do you only speak to him of dirty diapers and schoolwork or do you try to expand your conversational skills? Oh, don't get me wrong. Dirty diapers and schoolwork are a huge part of our day and our loving husbands do like to hear what is going on in our homes. But, think back to conversations we had during our dating years - telling about our growing years, sharing hopes and dreams. Having children ought not put an end to hopes and dreams - they ought to make them abound even more. Raising our children often will remind of us stories from our own childhood. I know that sharing these tales helps us to understand and love each other even more as well as help us decide what path to take with our own family.

Do you reach for your husbands hand as you drive to church or walk in the parking lot? Do you rub his shoulders as he sits at his desk? Do you give him a hug as he washes his hands after working on the car?

None of these things are difficult to do, yet, they keep that flame going. They also provide tangible evidence to the little ones in your home that you think their daddy is the greatest man in the world and you love him just as much (if not more) than they do. Keeping love alive will relieve stress on you and keep you joyful, as well.

"The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...Her husband is known in the gates...Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

Love their daddy and you will become an even more Beautiful Mom.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs - Daily Routine

Homeschool Memoirs!

FYI - As of the writing of this post, I have not read any of the other blogger's assignments in this group. Therefore, I can, with a clear conscience, say this is not a response to any other post on this subject.

Oooh! Routines. This is where I get on my soap-box! So, bear with me for a minute.

Some people love routine while others run as far from routine as possible. My thoughts are that everyone thrives on routine. You can become a slave to schedule or you can be so "free" that you get very little accomplished. Obviously, there needs to be moderation, but there seems to be a thought among manyhomeschool families that schedules are bad and an open day lends itself to a more "creative" mind.

That's all well and good until the children are ready to leave the home. A child who has never been taught to rise up early or, at the very least, at a set time will have a very rude awakening when he needs to be at work at a certain time or she has to get up and fix breakfast for her little ones. A child who has never had deadlines for assignments will find it difficult to succeed in business - whether as an employee or as an owner. My husband runs our farm. It is mandatory that he rises early, stays late, gets the crops in by a certain date and harvests them when they're ready. He has to be extremely flexible while, at the same time, follow a strict schedule. A young lady who doesn't learn to follow a schedule will have a difficult time keeping her home organized. Her husband will come home to a messy home, a late dinner, and unkempt children.

Just an observation - most men like order in the home and don't understand the whole "free-spirit" mentality. It's not logical. Frankly, it's not biblical. "Let everything be done decently and in order."

Whew - feels good to have that off my chest. Now, onto my assignment which is letting you all know what our routine is.

Just so you know - I'm not a tyrant. Our summers are filled with days that our children may rise whenever they want - but need to be up between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. Usually, they're still up by 7:00 a.m, if not before. Once they get out the door to play, it's difficult to round them all up for chores, so they're still expected to get those done before they leave the house. Routine is loosely implemented, but not quite as regimented as it is during the school year.

Now that school has been taking place for a couple of weeks, this is the routine which I have put together:

5:15/5:30 - I get up to read my Bible, pray, then take my morning walk (2 miles).

7:00 - children get up/dressed/beds made/chores

7:45 - children eat breakfast while I finish showering and dressing for the day

8:00 - wash up/brush teeth/get Bible and hymn books

8:15 - hymn singing/Bible reading (currently in Psalms)/read aloud (currently - "Caddie Woodlawn")

8:45 - begin school - each child has their subjects that they are to do in a specific order. This eliminates the wasted time that comes from "what should I do next?".

9:00/9:15 - I get baby up/dressed/feed him breakfast

After this, I will throw a load of laundry in the washing machine, check school work, and keep order in the home. It is during the morning that I put together the evening's dinner. This way, I know it's ready to put in the oven or cook and the afternoon doesn't get away from me resulting in a rush to get dinner on the table. Making it easier on myself, before I go shopping on Monday evenings, I make a menu for the week. This eliminates the daily question "what's for dinner?" and I have everything I need on hand. Crock-pots are a wonderful tool for the homeschooling mom!

While the older children are doing school, my 4 and 3 year old play together. When they begin to fight, run, or wander aimlessly, I give them a special activity - such as coloring books, play-dough, a small new toy, etc. The baby? He just toddles around and keeps people entertained throughout the morning.

noon - lunch

12:30 - back to school

Normally, everyone is done by 3:00 p.m. Once school is finished, laundry needs to be folded or music needs to be practiced. Once the responsibilities are taken care of, they are free to do as they wish. Around 4:30 or 5:00, someone is asked to set the table. Dinner is usually between 5:00 and 5:30. After supper, everyone helps clean up the kitchen and the children have a bit of time to play or read before it's time to get ready for bed. Bedtime is at 8:00 on school nights & Saturdays. They stay up until 9:00 p.m on Friday nights reading together, watching a dvd, or playing games.

Other than some household chores and having our family Bible Club, the children are free to do as they please on Saturdays. It's a good day to "be a kid" but with enough routine to avoid all-out chaos.

Please don't think that everything runs oh-so-smoothly and peacefully each day at my house because of my routine. HA! Remember, I'm still trying to keep everyone minding their own business, concentrating, awake, etc. The routine just shines the light on the path we need to take.

I encourage every mother to instill a routine/schedule in your home. Be flexible enough so that you're not a slave to it and stressed out, but not so flexible that no one even knows there is a routine to follow. "Let everything be done decently and in order."



Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beautiful Moms - A Tribute to Sarah



I have a cousin named Todd. I have only met him once and that was when I was nine and he was probably twelve. We grew up on the opposite sides of the country and never kept in touch. However, a few years ago my father took a trip across the country and stopped in to visit various family members. He told me all about Todd's wife, Sarah, and how he thought we'd really like each other as she was strong in her faith in God, had five young children and was considering homeschooling.

I have only spoken to Sarah twice (the 3 hour time difference makes it difficult to schedule a phone call between two busy moms), but we have kept in contact through e-mail and our blogs. I can truly consider her a friend and she has encouraged me in my walk with God and in my journey as a mom in so many ways.

As I have already mentioned, Todd & Sarah have 5 children ranging in age from 6-13 years. They served as missionaries in the inner city of LA for the last couple of years, but now have moved to a different state for a year of prayer and fasting for their future as they enjoy some family time on Todd's sister's farm.

Though they have five dear children of their own, Todd & Sarah's heart's desire is to adopt more children in hopes of giving them a brighter future with God. As they were packing their house in LA preparing for their long move to the farm, they received a phone call from the adoption agency. A single mom was due to deliver a baby boy with Down's Syndrome early in September. Would Todd & Sarah be willing to adopt this baby?

Would they?! ABSOLUTELY!! I don't think there was any question in their mind. So, as they traveled to their new home, they were undoubtedly preparing their hearts to welcome this precious new member into their family. Sarah had been in touch with the birth mother -a mom who only wanted the best for her little one and knew Todd & Sarah were the answer to her wish.

Last week, I received an e-mail from Sarah stating that due to a complication in the pregnancy, there was a chance she would have the baby just a bit earlier than expected. She and their oldest daughter were to fly back to California on Friday and wait for the anticipated arrival of their sixth child. Her excitement radiated through that e-mail.

I prayed for the happy duo as they traveled on Friday. On Saturday night I received an e-mail from my cousin Todd. The baby's birth-mother had gone into labor that morning. Sarah was with her. Their precious baby boy, Andrew Todd, was still-born.

How my heart broke. I cried myself to sleep knowing how much more Sarah's heart was crushed -as were the hearts of her husband, children, and Andrew's birth-mother. How do you explain these things to your children when you don't understand them yourself?

Todd said they were happy to know that little Andrew was safe in the arms of Jesus. This is an example of this couple's faith.

The sorrow is not what makes Sarah a Beautiful Mom - it's her response. If I know Sarah, she will cling to God and draw even closer to Him through all of this. If the birthmother allows it, Sarah will walk with her and grieve with her and be her life-long friend. I know she will tell her of the Comforter and how He can heal even the deepest sorrow. Sarah will talk and cry with her almost-teenage daughter as they spend their last couple of days in California. The two of them will grow closer through this and Sarah will lead all of her children to look to Jesus for comfort. She and Todd will not grow bitter. They will put all of their faith in God and look for His will for their lives in this. Because of her life up to this point, I know many will be brought to God through this experience.

Sarah is a Beautiful Mom - because of her amazing faith in her Lord. Does it waver? It may - I'm sure she may have asked God "why?" But, though she doesn't have the answers to her questions, she still rests in Him and His care for her.

My heart breaks for Sarah. To lose a child is the greatest sorrow in this life. She may not have carried Andrew in her womb, but she carried him in her heart. She had goals and dreams for him. Her arms ache to hold him. But, she now lays her heart at the feet of Jesus to put the pieces back together.

We love you, Sarah. There is a precious baby waiting for you in Heaven - and I'll be waiting in line behind you to give him a big hug as well. Thank you for being such a beautiful example to me of a truly godly and Beautiful Mom!

Note: Please read the comment Sarah has left in the "comments" section - see her amazing faith in her own words. Keep praying.