Thursday, April 29, 2010

To Vaccine, or Not To Vaccine

That is the question, people. I think about it every day. I brood over it. I pray over it. I am torn. That deep-down, mother hen instinct in me tells me, no, we're not going to do it. I've read the autism statistics and research, I've listened to tapes from doctors, I've re-read, re-researched.

Then I take my kids to the doctor and I feel the pressure, see the raised eyebrows. I fill out registration papers for potentially sending Elijah to Christian school, and there it looms: are your vaccines updated? Check beside all vaccines your child has received. And being that we started Elijah off getting his vaccinations, I wonder, should we finish them out? Grace is about a year behind, and Emma hasn't had any at all.

The reason I am torn is this: we are in a battle in this country, whether you realize it or not, for our parental rights. Our right to decide what we feel is best in the raising of our children, regarding their health, their education, and their spirituality. My brother is an advocate and spokesman of sorts for If you're not familiar with this situation, pay them a visit and read up. It's frightening.

How long will we be able to hold on to this basic, natural right of deciding what is best for our children without governmental intrusion and mandation? (if that's a word). The homeschooling movement is not well thought-of by our government, and they will seek any reason to tear it down. And it's going to get worse. My point is, when they come knocking on my door looking for a reason to take my kids away from me, do I want to give them a good one? And they could rightly use my choice not to pump my kids full of foreign substances as a reason to say I am not taking care of them (by their standards).

So, would it be better to go ahead with something I do not believe in, for the better sake of my children in the long run? Wouldn't vaccinated children safe at home be better than un-vaccinated children in foster care? Which they would then be appropriately updated on, most likely.

I'll give you a real-life scenario: a close friend of mine is the oldest of 10 siblings. They are a conservative, Christian, home-schooling family. The kind that makes liberals cringe. When my friend was still living at home (she is now married with children of her own), her 14 month old brother fell in a pond and drowned. He was gone by the time they pulled him out, completely lifeless. Someone immediately called 911. This family is a praying family and they gathered around the baby and began to pray. Within minutes, he started breathing again and vomiting water. By the time the ambulance arrived, about 45 minutes later, he was up playing normally as if nothing had happened. The paramedics took his vitals, and all was normal. The Dad did not want them to take him into the ER, because he felt like God had healed the child, while the ambulance had failed them. If they had waited on the ambulance to assist them, they would have been planning a funeral. The ambulance service called the authorities and the family was forced to take the child to the ER. While at the ER, the parents and older siblings were questioned extensively by child services. For three days their home was searched and they were questioned with threats of removing all 8 children from the home. They were terrified. Thankfully, at the end of this long ordeal, it was decided in their favor and they were allowed to keep their family together.

Up to this point, none of the children had been vaccinated, but after going through what they did, they decided to start . Having already been put under the magnifying glass, they did not want to give any reason for speculation, should anything ever come up.

I'm still not decided, I'm still torn, still praying. Our parenting methods are counter-culture, to say the least. We follow a more natural, old-fashioned approach that does not follow the societal norm of just following along, without question, with what is recommended by the medical world. I would like to hear the opinion of other like-minded Moms on this issue. Please share.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some Shots

I love to take pictures. I truly, dooly-do (can't remember where that line came from, but it popped into my head just now, and seemed appropriate). My sweet man bought me a really good camera about a year ago, BUT. I obviously need to take some photography classes because I'm at a loss on how to manage the settings on it. My pictures often come out grainy. I've put the ISO on as low as it goes, but I have no clue about aperture and what to do with it. I think it's important.

Being that I dropped out of radiology school because I could not "get" the class on how to run and repair the x-ray cameras and machinery, there may not be much hope. I would love to take a photography class, but have not the time or the mou-la right now.

So, I guess you'll just have to put up with my amateur photography skills. Here's a few I've been pleased with:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tea, anyone?

Remember the ladies' get together I mentioned last week? Well, that get-together was actually a surprise birthday party for my pastor's wife, and I was the host. We went with the tea party theme with hats and all and it turned out really well! Although I'm not sure if we actually drank any tea?

As my friend and I were decorating and bringing out our crystal serving ware, we chatted about how our grandmothers were much more well-versed in the art of hospitality than our generation. It seems people are just too busy these days to plan fancy get-togethers. Isn't it a shame? I for one think it is important that we make the effort to foster fellowship among our fellow sisters in the Lord, beyond the occasional shopping trip or phone conversation.

The food was awesome! Each of the ladies brought a dish I had designated for them to bring. I made tomato pies. Yum!

We ordered Sis. Sonya a beautiful scripture plaque from Danielson Designs by Dayspring. It was a lot of fun designing the plaque. We chose Proverbs 31:26, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." It was a perfect fit and she loved it! She really is a blessing and a wonderful role model for me. We also surprised her with a few unexpected guests--her Mom, aunt, and sister, who drove all the way from Oklahoma. The look on her face was priceless!

After the gifts, we had a sit-down time where each of us shared something about Sis. Sonya that we appreciated. I had to hunt down the Kleenex box before it was over! That's what it's all about!

We have a precious older sister in our church who is full of godly wisdom and always encourages me with her testimonies, so I asked her to prepare a devotion for us. She talked about attitudes and how we can choose what attitude ship we board each day: fellow"ship", hard"ship", friend"ship", etc. Isn't that a great thought to ponder?

I would like to encourage you this week to do something to honor a fellow sister in the Lord, if it's a phone call, a card in the mail, or a hug and an encouraging word. I believe our pastor's wives especially need to hear a word of encouragement and appreciation, as they are under a great load of pressure that comes with leadership. We lay members probably do not know the half of it. Then come back to my blog and share it with me :). That would make my day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All Things Work Together

Rom 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

My little fender bender, (well maybe not so little) of a couple of weeks ago was quite unsettling. I loved my van! But God has a way of working things out, and His way is often a way we would not choose on our own. We had been looking for a truck for our family for months, and just couldn't seem to find one in our price range that suited us. We just started a new home-based party bounce house rental business, and really needed a truck to haul the bouncers in. We were getting desperate. Then I wrecked the van :(.

As it turns out, we were able to take the check from the insurance company and buy a new (to us) truck, and keep the van to either fix up or sell. We've decided to sell it 'as is'. Banged up Chrysler Town & Country anyone?? :)

God has been so faithful to our family. It makes me wonder how we could ever doubt His plan when unexpected events come our way. Sometimes He answers our prayers before we even have a chance to pray them, and sometimes He makes us wait a while. But He always comes through!

I'd like to encourage you today to hold out and keep the faith, whatever situation your are facing. If you're a child of God, He will take of it all!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Feminine Friday

Today I am participating in Feminine Friday, hosted by my Sis-In-Law, at her blog NaturalMamax4.

This is a light, airy dress I found at Wal-Mart. I love dresses! The sleeves are a little shorter than what I would like, so if I am going out in public I cover them with my jean jacket (with corresponding flower, of course). Flowers are a cute way to accessorize your outfits and give them that extra punch!

Note: This pic was taken by my short 5 yo and is a most unflattering angle :(.

I am a girly-girl and have always enjoyed dressing up. Dresses and skirts make me feel feminine and lady-like. I was raised in a home and church that taught dresses-only. It's just second nature to me. I do realize that not everyone holds these convictions, so please do not take this post as judgmental. I also know you can wear a dress/skirt and still be indecent and immodest. For me, it is not about following a "do or don't" rule, but about reflecting holiness in every aspect of my life--especially my dress :).

My SIL made a great point on her FF blog last week: If you don't usually wear dresses, try one and see if you notice how men and people in general treat you differently. Have fun and celebrate your feminine side! :)

p.s. My blog friend Chrissy has dedicated her entire week of blogging to celebrating modesty. Check it out:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Frugal Fix (Using What You Already Have)

Today was the last straw. I decided I've had it! Enough is enough! I drew, I aimed, and I fired....the water hose, that is. At my icky, dusty, yellow-pollen coated front porch. Aaahh...clean. A job accomplished.

Then I realized I have a problem with the also pollen-covered cushions of my wicker porch furniture. How do you clean these things? So I didn't. I dug around and found a vinyl tablecloth I bought a while back that was the wrong size and clashed with my dining room (bad shopping choice). I grabbed my trusty bottle of safety pins and recovered them babies (the cushions, not the pins)! (yes I'm weird, I reuse baby bottles for storage purposes).

The result: a clean, fresh front porch to enjoy! The only thing new on my porch this year is the flower arrangement by the door. I'm usually more selective when it comes to silk flowers, but the green hydrangeas I wanted were $10.00 EACH at Wal-Mart. I went with the $5 bunch of fake-os. But from a distance they don't look that bad.

Gracing my front door is a $8 flower wreath I found on Clearance at Target about two years ago. I really wanted a roll of that pretty mesh stuff to make a wreath with, but at $14.95 a roll, I'm gonna have to have a yard sale first and raise the money :). I just can't justify spending that kind of money on a decoration accessory.

On to another foyer. This picture was in the house when we first looked at it, and I loved it! The previous owners were nice and left it here for me! It's been lonely on that wall for two years now, needing a nice little table to go under it. Well, a few weeks ago my Mom was visiting and we went yard saleing and I found this table for $10. To be honest, I probably wouldn't have bought it if I had been alone, but my Mom just wouldn't give up until I did so here it is and I guess it's OK. I'm really not a fan of this style. I'm more attracted to chunkier, more natural-looking pieces that I can distress and paint. Anyway, but I'm glad to have it! So, I found this planter thing at another yard sale for .50 and used these flowers I've had for AGES to gussy it up a bit.

I'm happy with the result, and although I'd prefer a gorgeous new flower arrangement from Hobby Lobby, new chair cushions from Target, and a mesh wreath for my front door, beggars, I mean, frugal people can't be choosers! :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

When It Rains, It Pours

And right now seems to be the rainy season for the Acklen home. We've had a series of unfortunate events in the last week. One being this:

(courtesy of moi)

Which led to the cancellation of a long-anticipated, long-planned, much fund-raiser[ed] weekend trip. Bummer. In an attempt to salvage my weekend, I loaded up the kids in my hubby's car (two-door Chevy Cavalier)--talk about a tight squeeze--and we went to Alabama to spend the weekend with my family.

Guess what? We took a virus with us! Yep. Lots of nastiness filled the weekend. But now we're back home and Mom is ex.haust.ed. Let's hope this coming week is better than the last one (no lost children in public places, snakes in the backyard, or double ear infections). And that we find the right replacement vehicle at the right price. Without going into debt.

As a dear old-timer sister in the Lord used to say during prayer request time at church, "We covet cher prers." :) {translation--"we covet your prayers"}.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In the Blink Of An Eye

That's how quick he went from this:

To this:

My baby boy learned how to ride his bicycle yesterday--his first time on a bike, period. *Tear* :). What a milestone!