Merry Christmas!

I have never been consistent with Christmas cards. It isn’t because I don’t want to be. I love getting cards from friends and family. I especially love the extra little note that shares about their year, their family, etc. The favor should be returned by me, shouldn’t it?

Guilt riddles me every year that I don’t get a card out. I stopped feeling guilty this year though. Instead, I will issue a Christmas Blog post. And you are now reading it. And, of course, in true Franklin fashion, it is a week late. *Ahem* So… What HAVE we been up to?

I couldn’t find a decent picture without me in it… I guess I help him behave.
Stephen is still in cahoots with my dad, running the family business. He has a reputation among his peers for being even-tempered and a problem solver. I am so proud of him! He’s created a lot of neat signs this year and the last 3 months found him ridiculously busy.  God continues to teach us lessons on His provision through this endeavor.

Trademark Natalie!
Natalie is now 12 and turning into a lovely young lady. She reminds me of myself at her age (quirky), except she is much more confident. She loves playing soccer for the club team in town and loves anything weather related. She’s also turning into a fabulous babysitter!

Meredith loves a good selfie… I find them on my phone all the time!
Meredith just turned 10, and enjoys being “mature”. She’s taken a fancy to basketball and likes crafting and doing whatever Natalie is up to. She loves fashion and perfume…. our girly-girl.

Sophie. Sugar. Smiles. That about sums her up.
Sophie is 8 and is an interesting mix of eclectic tomboy with flower child tendencies. She will beat you at any game you play with her, much to the frustration of all her siblings. She will play legos with her brother and can often be found twirling and dancing instead of walking anywhere.


That red hair and cute grin… it’s hard not to love!
Ethan is 7 and loves his legos and anything construction related. He spends his summers digging with his best friend, Dominic. Torturing his sisters and doing crazy stunts is also high on his list of favorite past times, much to his mother’s chagrin.

Evie is always cooking up something and usually wearing jammies to do it.
Evelyn is 2 and really runs the house. She is shy with non-family, but loves everyone secretly when they are gone. She likes to watch “moobies”, footie pajamas and to play kitchen. She’s always “making dinnah.” We love her Boston accent, but are baffled as to where it came from.

At the office, drinking Black Waters Coffee. I may or may not have been taunting my sister in this photo…
As for me? I’ve enjoyed working more on my blog this year than ever before. I still home school my four oldest and have the added responsibility of helping with office work at the family business. So, sometimes we “business school” instead of “home school.” I continue to teach Bible clubs and Teen Sunday school as well. Life is busier than ever before, but I love the life God has made for our family.

As if all this was not enough blessing, God has decided to add MORE to our family… as in another child! Franklin no. 6 will be joining us in late May/early June of 2017! I’ve made it through the first trimester with much nausea but a lot of help from our children. Stephen and I concealed this little one until just recently when I could no longer explain why I look so “plump.” It has been a lot of fun! We do not understand why God continues to bless us, but we take His gifts and praise Him for them!

So what does 2017 hold for the Franklins? Well aside from a new child, we are trusting God to provide a bigger house for our growing clan. (Pray that our house will sell!!) We are planning a trip to the Northeast this year to visit my sister’s new home, as well as Stephen’s brother’s new ministry. Sporting events, sign installs, and more legos and blog posts…. I’m sure other surprises as well! We are so thankful for another year of health and family. God is good!

Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Setting the Record Straight

A story came to my attention on the news about a young Marine killed in Iraq. At his funeral, members of Westboro “Baptist” Church showed up, picketing and “protesting” the funeral of this hero. The disgusted father sued the church and won the case, but the church won the appeal. Thus, the father is supposed to pay over $16,000 in legal fees to Westboro “Baptist” Church. The case is pending in the Supreme Court right now.

This is the church that pickets all over the United States against homosexuals, soldiers and the like. They spew a “doctrine” of hatred. Their pastor, Fred Phelps, claims that it is his right to “preach the truth”. In the mean time, we who claim the “Baptist” name get the black eye of true bigotry from him every time he and his followers are in the news. And it bothers me.

So I am going to set the record straight. Fred Phelps is not really preaching the truth. He is preaching hate. And God has something to say about it in His Holy Word. “Six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethen.” (Proverbs 6:16-19) I think that these highlighted phrases describe what the Westboro group does. They make it a point to cause mischief wherever they go. They are not speaking truthfully (I will say more in a moment about this one.) They create conflict in every place they protest. Sounds like a situation that God hates to me.

Westboro parades around with vulgar signs that say things like, “God hates fags.” This is simply not true. God loves the whole world (John 3:16) and is not willing for anyone to suffer His judgment. (2 Peter 3:9) It is true that God sees homosexuality as a sin. It is as grave as sin to Him as lying is. It offends him just as equally as disobeying parents does. To God, adultery and homosexuality are they same – they are sins. (Romans 1: 26-32) Sin is when we violate the commands of a holy God. And they are worthy of death in hell. The Bible tells us all have sinned – so everyone is guilty. But when we sin, it doesn’t make God hate us. No, it grieves Him deeply – kind of like a father grieving over a wayward child.

Christ has paid for that violation by dying on the cross for ALL our sins. The only sin that is unpardonable is unbelief – and that is because a person refuses to place their faith in what Christ did on the cross. That’s it. The blood of Christ forgives lying, disobedience, adultery and homosexuality.

Westboro condemns people to hell in their rhetoric. That is something God never commands us to do. He alone is the final Authority on who will be in Heaven and who will go to hell. (Psalm9:7-11) It is true, God commands people to preach, but He commands them to preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to say, “Hey brother, that’s a sin. God loves you and wants to forgive that sin if you will confess it to Him.” It’s entirely another to say, “Nasty man, God hates you and you will go to hell for what you do.” There is no edification. No bowels of compassion. No Christlikeness.

All that to say this: Westboro “Baptist” Church is not a Baptist church. Most Baptist churches wouldn’t dare stand with him at the Judgment Seat. “Christian” means “little Christ.” There is no way that these people act like Christ, or even follow His ways. Fred Phelps and all who follow him will stand before God someday to answer for their actions… I do not know how it will come down, but it will not be pretty.

A Turn of Seasons

I can just sense it. Things get a little weird… nothing really changes, but I can sense that it is approaching. Spring. The sun is out more. Very s-l-o-w-l-y the temperatures are warming… if 35 is warm to you. Plant catalogs come, and one is hard pressed to find cold weather clothes on the racks anymore.

BUT IT IS NOT QUITE HERE YET. I just sense it is coming. And I am ready for spring, let me tell you! Life has been down-right dull around here…

OH! Except for the fact that my brother is home from Iraq. That’s quite important. It has been great having him around again, and hearing his stories about Iraq. He certainly provides good insight to what is going on over there.

WAIT! There are also revival meetings this next week. Jim VanGelderen is coming with part of his team. There will be children’s meetings, teen meetings, a children’s choir and a men’s quartet on Sunday. I am looking forward, in fear and trembling, to the work that the Lord will do in my own life. For, if we truly seek lasting revival, we ought not to pray for a general revival, but that the revival would start in us personally. So do pray that lives would be saved and changed for God’s glory – not just in unbelievers, but believers as well.

DUH! I have also been working on finding Grandpa J’s grandparents on the Ellis Island site. It is far more difficult than initially thought because names can be spelled all kinds of ways, and not everything was recorded accurately. I love history, though, and I love a worthwhile challenge. My great-Grandpa Johnson came to the US from Sweden in the twenties, and I have been able to look at the ship and its manifest several times. Very neat. You can check your relatives too… Stephen has even been helping in the search, so that has been fun.

OH YEAH! And we have just been offered a vacation in Mid-March. This is actually an answer to a prayer never prayed. Does that make sense? We wanted to squelch the cabin fever by going away for a few days in March, but reality says we cannot afford it right now. Then we were offered Stephen’s parents’ timeshare to use, since they can’t… and it has to be used in March. WOW! Stephen and I still pinch ourselves to make sure it is real. We are so thankful for the break from this long winter and they way the Lord answered our prayer when we had not dared pray it.

So I guess life is not as boring as I thought. And really, it never is. There is always laundry to do, children to bathe, diapers to change, kiddos to teach, picking up to do, dishes, grocery shopping and cooking. It’s just nice to have a change coming….

Rally Update

UW Health boards voted Thursday and Friday to re-institute second trimester abortion procedures as soon as possible. They ignored the petitions, phone calls, and substantial rally that called on them to turn down the proposal.

So, some people would ask, “What’s the point? The higher powers don’t listen to our actions anyways…” Standing up for what is righteous does not always guarantee instant success. God’s will is not for me to question. Perhaps, having the issue out in such a public venue will bring adverse reaction and reach more people. Speaking out may inspire our next leaders to take up the cross. One thing is for certain – when we are on the Lord’s side, the victory will ultimately belong to Him.

Stephen and I had the privilege of attending the pro-life rally the Saturday before the vote. Many people spoke, actually so many that we didn’t get to march because our little girls turned into girl-sicles. But I was honored to be standing with so many who have seen the truth. Life is life. The signs people held were sermons in a sentence. I tried to take pictures of some, but it was difficult to move around. The saddest to me was women carrying signs that read “I regret my abortion.” How sad to learn the truth so late. Fortunately, my God is the God of forgiveness and second (third, forth, fifth…) chances. 🙂

My girls went along, and I was glad that they did. They had no idea what was happening, but I don’t want them to be “closet advocates”. We are trying to teach them now, through our actions, that we need to stand for what is right. I want them to carry the torch when we are no longer able to.

“My Uncle Mitch is a Marine”

Some time tomorrow, my folks will get to see my brother for the first time in 3 months. This doesn’t seem special in and of itself but it is – Mitch is now a Marine.

One would think that Mitch, and Mitch alone, would be going through difficulties. I will argue that vehemently. My parents have been going through the turmoil right with Mitch. Perhaps not physically, but mentally and emotionally. To know that your son is going through grueling, unforgiving training is not a happy thing to dwell on. Even as his sister it has been a definite “season of prayer”.

Last week, Mitch had the most difficult task of his training: The Crucible. 54 hours of marches, obstacles, and tests. 8 hours of sleep. 3 MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat). During this time, we were able to watch a documentary on Marine Boot Camp called “Becoming a Marine”. It was difficult to watch, but I couldn’t turn away because I knew I was watching my little brother. He was just as exhausted as those soldiers on the screen, and I was thankful to get a little idea of what he was going through at that exact moment.

The best part of the Crucible is the end. It is then that you get your pins that make you an actual Marine. My family counted down Mitchell’s crucible, and as he was finishing, I had immense pride for what my little brother had just done. Even 1000 miles away.

This is a hard post to write, because words don’t fit the pride I have for my brother and what he has accomplished. I have always appreciated those who sacrifice for our freedoms, but it hits much closer to home now. I cannot be in San Diego with my family for graduation on Friday, but I am there in spirit. Congratulations Mitchell! We are so proud of you!!

Oh! Before I forget, if anyone wants to see my brother at MCRD, San Diego with his platoon, here’s the link: Go to 3rd Battalion, India Co., Plt 3211. He’s on the bottom row if you have a hard time spotting him.

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