Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Before reading this post read SOMETHING STOLEN, PART 1

God is a God of restoration; we see that all throughout scripture - sometimes restoring double or even more. He restored positions, lives and vision. I do not believe there is ANYTHING that He cannot restore.

One day while sitting at a red light, I was reading an affirmation I had posted near my speedometer and one of the lines was, “I am as innocent as a newborn baby”. Then I had a vision of the Lord sitting on His throne handing me my innocence, RESTORING it. I knew that “innocence lost” was a thing of my past. Praise and all Glory to God!

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:3

WHATEVER the enemy has stolen from you, the Lord wants to and will RESTORE it. His timing is perfect. Submit to Him, ask Him and agree with HIM.

Take the time to listen to this song and let it settle into your spirit…



1. an action for the recovery of goods or chattels wrongfully taken or detained.

It is time to take back from the enemy what he has stolen from us. We do not take it back because we lack, but because it is ours.

This video is a great portrayal of taking it ALL back!

What has he stolen from you? Your husband, your health, your children, your joy? Whatever it is, it belongs to you? Go get it!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


To read PART 1 click here

In April of 2002 we brought home our precious baby girl, our gift from God. She was a wonderful baby; did not cry except when she was hungry, slept a lot and nursed well. She was what I had always wanted and had prayed for, so why was I so miserable?

Shortly after coming home I was nursing her one night and suddenly it was if I were a child again in my grandfather’s house – I was having a flashback of the abuse! It was so vivid and frightening – I cringed and my stomach began to hurt. Next time Isabella cried because she was hungry I wanted to cry too, I did not want to feed her. I began to have anxiety every time I had to nurse her and the flashbacks continued. It became something I dreaded.

We both ended up with thrush a few weeks after she was born and I decided to stop nursing at that time. It eased some of the anxiety, but the depression and fear had already set in. I was back on anti-depressants and the doctor also added sleep medication because of the anxiety keeping me from resting at night.

When my second child, Annais was born I was so fearful of that happening all over again I forbid the lactation consultant from coming in my hospital room and started taking my medication again the day he was born.

Midway through my pregnancy with number three, Kaira, the Lord began to show me how I was being robbed again. Nursing my children was His gift to me and the enemy had stolen it. It made me mad and grateful all at the same time. Mad that something so precious was taken from me and grateful that the Lord showed me His truth. He was working on me in this area, but I was still not ready to try nursing again when Kaira was born. During the pregnancy with her He healed me of lifelong depression (read about that here) and I was still celebrating that victory. I had peace knowing He was working.

Next post will be SOMETHING RESTORED, be sure to come back to read it.

John 10:10-11 (King James Version)
10The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Monday, April 27, 2009


As a little girl something was stolen from me. Sometime between the ages of five and seven my grandfather stole my innocence.

It was a Saturday afternoon, the best I can remember, and I was watching cartoons in the big yellow swivel chair in my grandfather’s living room. He came and sat next to me on the ottoman and began rubbing my back, but he did not stop there. He proceeded to work his hands around to other parts as well. That day my life changed forever. The abuse continued until I was twelve.
I had no idea this was not normal in a family and I had no idea why it felt so wrong. I was a shy and fearful little girl and that only enhanced that. It affected everything in my life although I did not know that at the time. This is a poem I wrote as a twenty something desperately seeking restoration, but not yet knowing the RESTORER:


A day does not go by that your memory does not haunt me
The abuse and the memories remain clear in my mind
Were you not the adult? Did you not know better?
I was young and naive and knew that it was wrong
How does a man get to a point where he feels his relatives are fair sexual game?
I, a child, so you and so innocent…in the beginning
You took it upon yourself to take that away from me
Was it me? Did I give you that right?
How could I have consented? I was a trusting child.
My family was not supposed to hurt me
I learned – from you – early on that I could not even trust my own family
I had to be strong, for no one must know
My little deep, dark, dirty secret…enveloping me with every thought
Day by day knowing I was alone
Such a huge burden for such a young child
I did everything I could to go on and forget
Go on and forget! What a joke!
Quite impossible to forget that my own flesh and blood raped me of any innocence that I may have had
Years have gone by, but the scars remain
I have spent a lot of time and effort to put the past behind
As I delve deeper the horror becomes more evident
The abuse was a crime YOU committed, yet I continue to pay the price
Somehow that does not seem fair
Fair or not I must deal with it
I must face your ghost when the man I love holds me close
I think of you when I must leave my body to allow someone to touch me
How long will the nightmare last? I do not know
I do know that I must continue my search and reclaim MY INNOCENCE LOST

As I continued that search I found God and He spoke truth into my life. I will continue with another post SOMETHING STOLEN, PART 2, SOMETHING RESTORED and then SOMETHING HEALED. The story DOES NOT end here.

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. Psalm 104:4-6

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Chances are if you have been reading my blog, even since the birth of Judah, you know God is moving and working in my life. I am grateful for all He has done, continues to do and has yet to do. Yesterday I got an email from a childhood friend. Her and I were best friends in kindergarten and we still keep in touch. God has moved us both all over the place, but more importantly He moved in our hearts and we both accepted Him as our Lord and Savior about the same time. We both grew up knowing about Jesus and the cross, just NOT knowing TRUTH. Praise God the truth has set us both free.

After typing the post about Isabella’s new baby doll I sent her the link because I knew she would get a kick out of it. Apparently she read a little more and this was part of her email to me yesterday:

I was just reading your blog, It felt like we were catching up and reliving memories. Your life is just a miracle. I know what God brought you out of and the fact that you are an awesome mom with 4 gorgeous children is just a miracle! You are a living testimony of God's grace.

One of my favorite songs is Oh, How He Loves Us and there is a line I love about grace:

If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking

It is those friends who REALLY knew us when that know and can testify to all that God is doing and they know it is God because they know where we come from. Her and I saw a lot of heartache together, she knows that my life IS a MIRACLE. The enemy sought to kill and destroy me since childhood, but God WON my heart and life.

There is a bigger picture than the trials I face now as an adult and have shared here. There is a past and that past attempts to shape my future. I must seek God and HIS PLANS for my future. I must agree with His plans for me and come out of agreement with the enemy's plan of destruction.

Last Saturday we went to an outdoor event and saw several people from the first church we attended in Georgia. They commented about our four children because they remember praying for me when I could not get pregnant. It was a great reminder of God’s faithfulness and promises.

This week I have been reminded of where I have come from and what I have come out of and it makes me excited about my future because God HAS moved mountains in my life and has become the Daddy I always wanted. He has transformed my life into something beautiful and as my friend Malorie always says, "I am not the exception, I am the rule".

But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 1 Cor 2:9-10 KJV

God has been prompting me since Judah's birth to share some of my past and I will do that soon. It is my hope that it will encourage others with similar stories.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Her name is Emma; she is three days old, has blonde hair, blue eyes and already responds to her name.

This was Isabella’s birthday present from my mom. Isabella and her daddy inserted batteries in her back, recorded her name and it was pure comedy after that. Emma is very demanding, as a baby can be, but she goes overboard. Isabella takes the roll of caretaker very seriously, so for Emma’s every demand she was doing whatever she could to appease her. It sounded like this:

Mommy I want my blankie
Mommy I’m sleepy
Mommy I have to go potty (don’t know why she says this since she’s in diapers)
Mommy I want my bear
Mommy I’m hungry

You can watch a video demonstration here

It was funny to hear because she is very much like having a newborn except she specifically asks for what she wants. In between fits of laughter I was taking pictures of Isabella nurturing her new baby just like a proud grandma. I assured Isabella when she has a real baby I will not laugh, but will help her.

When Isabella went to bed I asked her if she was going to sleep with Emma and she said, “Yeah, but I’m going to turn her off or I’ll never get any sleep.” Oh, out of the mouths of babes!

I used Emma’s neediness to explain to Isabella that is how it is with a newborn, except Judah does not have words to tell me what he wants, so he cries and I hold him and try to figure it out. Isabella has expressed recently that we spend too much time with Judah, so Emma’s arrival was perfect timing.

Yesterday in the car, with Emma securely fastened in her makeshift car seat, Annais told Isabella she was a good babysitter and she promptly replied, “I’m not her babysitter Annais, I’m a mommy now.”

As I type Isabella hands me Emma’s schedule, which is very similar to Judah’s – great reminder that they watch everything I do. She will make a great mommy some day, but in the meantime she has the flexibility to flip the on/off switch. Oh, the luxury!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Tea & Traditions is giving away this basket for Mother's Day! When I was 16 I entered a Mother's Day drawing at a florist and I won, so I gave my mother the most awesome and huge basket of flowers I had ever seen. It felt good to give her such a nice gift which would have been unaffordable to me at the time. I am hoping this is a similar blessing for someone this year. If you live in the area head over to One of a Kind on Whitlock Avenue and enter for your chance to win:

13 piece Chintz tea set
1 oz. sample of Burton Bliss, Kennesaw Mountain Morning and Whitlock Afternoon teas
Disposable tea filters
Brewing tea instructions
Gourmet iced tea instructions

Drawing is May 1st.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


First, I have been loving having an infant around (that was not always true - that is a post in itself). There are so many things I forget from baby to baby that I just love...the noises, the smells, the way they melt into you when you hold them and the promise. They are so new to the world full of promise, you have no idea yet what they will be like, what they will talk like or what they will look like. Tea & Traditions was closed for three weeks, so I did not have to worry about working when we first came home from the hospital, which was SO nice. We are still on break from school since we were so ahead for the year. Thank you Lord for the insight on that great planning.

My four week check up was yesterday and the doctor said that everything looked better than average, meaning my uterus is in great shape and that I can have more babies (not that it is up to him). He said there is also very little scar tissue. (I have much more to say on that in another post).

My other recent favorite pastime is saving money. The blogosphere makes it so easy. I googled "money saving blogs" and put them in my google reader and check them daily. Here is a picture of my purchases today for which I paid a total of $4.01. I always wanted to be that woman that you see on t.v. that gets $100 worth of groceries for $15 - thank you bloggy world for making that dream (almost) a reality. Isabella is really into this too and asks whenever I come home, what did you get for free mommy?

Some of the freebies I have gotten over the last two weeks are toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, dental floss, the candles pictured here, Walgreens shopping bags pictured here and mac n' cheese. It is very exciting and rewarding to save money.

Here are some of my favorite sites:

Faithful Provisions, Deal Seeking Mom, Good, True and Beautiful and The Freebie Blogger

These ladies do all the work, all I have to do is buy the newspaper and check their blogs, which is nice because I do not have time for much else. I feel the Lord prompting me and giving me the grace and desire to do this now - how else would I be able to do this with a newborn?

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Photos taken by Ann Purcell

The reminder of the promise of "Judah" has blessed me time and time again since his birth. It is His constant reminder, "Mari, I LOVE YOU!" Though the storms may rage around me, the Lord has given me His Word and I now get to hold it in my arms.

The story of Judah's name (originally posted December 3, 2008)...

It was August 2007 when the Lord began nudging me in the area of praise. I was reading Worship Warrior by Chuck Pierce and in the book he talks about Judah (son of Jacob & Leah) his name means “praise Yaweh”. At the time we were at the tail end of a season of great struggle, but I sensed victory on the horizon. The Lord was teaching me that praise must proceed victory. I also sensed He was giving me the name for my next child.

From Worship Warrior, page 14
Judah must go first. Praise must take it preeminence within our lives, churches, cities, states and nation. When Judah goes first, the scepter of authority is then in place for ultimate victory. This is a time that the Lion of Judah will roar louder than the lion that has sought to devour us!

Over the last year I have learned to praise Him during the storm. “Worship causes us to move thankfully with our body toward our creator” – Worship Warrior, page 150

In July 2008 as I lay in bed the Lord began to speak to me about Judah. It was a conversation initiated by Him and I just listened and received. At the time I wish I had had the forethought to write down His words to me. That was also during the time that I was experiencing revival and the Lord was just showering me with His love and presence.

A few days later I realized I was “late” and decided to take a pregnancy test. I was out of town, so I loaded up my three kids and went to Walgreens. I went into the bathroom and took the test which turned positive before I even stepped away.

Again, it was a time of revival for me, but also a time of great difficulty in our home. I read more about Judah and the more I read the more I sobbed and the more I understood. The revelation and timing were breathtaking. The story of Jacob and Leah revealed more of the Lord’s love for me and the perfection of His timing. This baby became another real and tangible way God was expressing His love for me and the revelation of his name a greater, deeper and sweeter expression of that.

From Worship Warrior, page 154
Leah, as we all know, was unloved. It was Rachel whom Jacob had wanted and had worked for. But Jacob was tricked into taking Leah instead. Not a good start for a relationship; but she tried hard as she could to gain Jacob’s affection. In those days, a high value was put on a woman who could produce children. God caused Leah to be fruitful, and she bore Jacob three sons, each time hoping to procure her husband’s love because of them, but to no avail. Finally she turned her heart toward the Lord. “She conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.; Therefore she named him Judah” Gen. 29:35 NASB

From Worship Warrior, Page 155
Unshakable praise plows through the hardest ground. God says in Hosea 10:11, “Judah will plow.” When the ground is hard, when the circumstances are adverse, God’s favor is on the one who will lead off with praise.

Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; Gen 29:35

For original post with links, click here

Thursday, April 2, 2009


My oldest, Isabella has said some of the funniest things this week.

My last trimester of pregnancy we had someone clean the house a couple of times a month and my kids love it. Ms. Ruth was here to clean yesterday, so everyone was happy to come home to a clean house. At the dinner table we were discussing how much we loved our clean house and how good Ms. Ruth is at cleaning our house.

Isabella (gratefully): Ms. Ruth cleans really good. You do too Mommy, you just don't clean anymore. (That brought about roars of laughter from me and hubby)

Today I was googling "babies with bad gas" - Annais and Isabella had to come with me to the computer because they wanted to know what to do to help poor Judah too. I was reading the information out loud and this is what they said:

Annais (concerned): So, what is all this gas about?

Isabella (very seriously): Well, it's all about nipples and formula.

(Amazing what they can pull from a few paragraphs of text)

Last night watching Judah all curled up on my belly, Isabella and I were talking about how he probably curled up like that in my uterus.

Isabella (happily): So, Judah already made a friend, your uterus.

Oh, laughter is good medicine!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Yesterday after a wild trip to the grocery store we headed straight to Babies R' Us to purchase this:
A child harness (the nice way to say it) or a leash (it is what it is)

I was one of those people who thought these were awful and how could anyone put this on their child...yada, yada, yada. Well, now I am that person with a highly curious, adventurous and FAST little girl. Juggling four kids at home is challenging enough, but the grocery store, parking lot or even the museum - well, that's just dangerous. Kaira can disappear in .3 seconds leaving no trace of her whereabouts.

Hopefully, after some professional leash (harness) training and time she will get used to it and stop throwing herself on the floor and writhing as though she were in excruciating pain. We got many looks at the baby store yesterday and none were nice or sympathetic, but I understand, remember I WAS one of THOSE people. Fortunately, with age I got some wisdom and feel no need to explain myself to strangers who disapprovingly look at me in public while I lovingly try to convince Kaira this is a "good" thing. None of those people had four kids with them!

So, again I say, "Don't judge me!" To those I judged - I'm sorry! I was ignorant.
If you have any tips on helping Curious Kaira adjust to her new boundaries I wanna hear it!

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