Wednesday, December 7, 2016

November Blessings

How busy November was for our family! We have been cleaning, organizing and purging as we seek to bring order to our home, family and lives. In the midst God has been gracious, cleaning and ordering our hearts before him. Here is a glimpse of His blessing toward us.

  1. Jim working 8 extra hours overtime
  2. Provision
  3. New Month
  4. Sharing struggles at CG
  5. Hearing others' struggles
  6. God moving
  7. Productive school
  8. Time with Jamey 
  9. Time with the little boys
  10. Working potential new rhythm
  11. BJ's Cherry soda
  12. Flip flops for $1
  13. Good rest time
  14. Making plans
  15. Writing blog posts
  16. Boxed mashed potatoes
  17. Working on a project with Lillian
  18. Getting to co-op before 9 am
  19. Encouragement from Tara
  20. God speaking through friends
  21. Free food
  22. Enjoying my last day of co-op
  23. Organizing all homeschool material
  24. Going through all kids books
  25. Working together as a family
  26. Time with Jessica
  27. Extra hour of sleep
  28. Pastor James preaching
  29. Great sermon on embracing multiculturalism
  30. Learning to care for each other
  31. Time to read
  32. Family time
  33. Working on the office with the kids
  34. God's Grace
  35. Terminix working on our attic
  36. Jim only working 4 hours
  37. Waking before my alarm
  38. Jamey helping with cleaning
  39. Getting main part of upstairs cleared out
  40. Parent's getting here safely
  41. Medical Missions Conference
  42. Hearing why our view on sexuality matters
  43. Being affirmed in some I want to write
  44. Encouraging and informative breakout sessions
  45. God confirming next immediate steps
  46. Praying together
  47. Meeting more people with similar backgrounds
  48. Free Yummy Food!
  49. Great close to conference
  50. Time to think, talk and pray
  51. Dinner and display
  52. Kids doing well with presentations
  53. Good close to the weekend
  54. Stepping forward in faith
  55. Great sermon on God's Kingdom
  56. Talking about grieving together
  57. Jim finishing class work for the semester
  58. Ryan and Becca hanging out for a bit
  59. Grocery store by myself with 7 kids!
  60. Meeting a mom of 7, grandmother of 24 and great-grandmother of 21! and getting encouragement from her
  61. Seeing Rachel Davila
  62. Talking to Rachy
  63. Costco as a family
  64. Talking with Jim 
  65. NO TV!
  66. Working well with all the kids
  67. Music
  68. Time to work on business with Jim
  69. Beginning to work with Canva
  70. Catching up with Kate
  71. Organizing and purging
  72. J, L, and R helping with clothes and cleaning
  73. Date Night
  74. Talking to Ryan and Becca
  75. Classical music
  76. Catching up on journals
  77. J helping cut up veggies and taking care of M
  78. Watching my kids grow
  79. Having my kids home with me
  80. Being creative with J
  81. J and L being really helpful
  82. Finding new Bible reading rhythm
  83. Quiet evening at home
  84. No computer
  85. Jim meeting with James
  86. Time to really pray at Panera
  87. Pizza
  88. Hearing God's voice clearly
  89. "Sky High" on Netflix
  90. Great sermon on Consecration and confrontation
  91. Great Sunday class
  92. Lots of time to talk through things with Jim
  93. Praying together
  94. Cleaning out L's closet
  95. Finding remote
  96. Sam growing in prayer
  97. Gift card for McDonald's
  98. Special lunch
  99. Lots of milk
  100. Time to wash hair
  101. Jamey organizing closet
  102. Seeing light in organizing tunnel
  103. Jim getting called off work
  104. Malachi 3 months!
  105. Nehemiah progressing well
  106. Yummy food and fellowship at CG
  107. Lots of progress in L's room
  108. Running errands with Lillian
  109. Baking
  110. Sam's tooth still doing well
  111. Chick-fil-A breakfast
  112. Getting heat fixed
  113. Teaching kids organizing and kitchen skills
  114. Pancakes and Eggs for breakfast
  115. Thanking God for blessings
  116. Cupcakes
  117. Day with Ryan and Becca
  118. Time with the McMillin family
  119. Jim talking to Max
  120. Lunch with Jim at work
  121. Jim getting meds to help him heal
  122. Getting Black Friday deals set up
  123. Snuggling with my babies
  124. Jamey working hard
  125. Being able to work with J
  126. Getting pictures uploaded
  127. Great Advent Sermon on suffering and believing God
  128. Nice afternoon talking with Ryan and Becca
  129. Left over curry
  130. Sojourn providing Advent Jesse Tree resource
  131. Making ornaments
  132. Gabriel turning 4!
  133. Homemade Chocolate Cake and Blueberry Cream Cheese Icing
  134. Closing out party and getting what we need
  135. Gifts for Exchange
  136. Good deals at grocery
  137. Jim cleaning fridge
  138. Haircut
  139. Great deal on World Market Coffee!
  140. Nice Date Night at Arby's

November Evaluation

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Thanks to morning pumping this is happening most days!
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Again pumping has really helped with this
  • Memorize verses with the kids - working on this during school time
  • Have extended prayer times 4 times during the year- Jim has had 3 and I have had 3
  • Read Christian books (Jim- 1 (not school related), Emmie- 3)- 1 for me so far and started "Mission of Motherhood" and "Humble Roots"
  • Pray together daily- YES! Growing in more directed prayer times together as well
  • Go out for a date once a week- By God's grace I believe we actually managed this this month again! It's gotten a little tricky lately
  • Go on a night away once this yearYes! We were able to get away for 2 whole days for our Anniversary! Big thanks to Becca, Shannon, Julianne, Victor and Ariana who made this possible for us! It was wonderful
  • Read 3 books together this year (read one day a week)Crossing this off because it's not going to happen. Maybe next year when we're forced to for School of Missions
  • Discuss plan weekly on Saturday afternoon- Did not happen 
  • Spend 15 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Still did not schedule this, but we're getting better at intentional one on one time
  • Special Outing Alone twice during the year with each child- No outings again this month. It's been a struggle to plan extra outside activities with getting organized
  • Family fun activity once a month- We went to Mulberry Farms to play, do a corn maze and pick pumpkins with some friends from church. It was a great time!
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Got caught up and now I need to write in 2 of them again! 
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- May not get to working on this until January because of other needed organizing
  • Keep up with cleaning scheduleWe are finishing the year with massive cleaning and organizing so hopefully we will get this made for next year
  • Keep up with my calendar- Have not used it at all like I should this month
  • Being fully present when with my family- This is back and forth depending on how overwhelmed I'm feeling, but still growing in this
  • Try 12 new recipes this year(12) Jim made chocolate cake and blueberry cream cheese icing for Gabriel's birthday and it was DELICIOUS! So we have also met this goal!
  • No TV 2 days a week (watching)- We had a couple days without it, which was a blessing! Still using it a lot with seeking new patterns
  • Begin gardening in the springAnother that just did not happen and isn't going to, but that's OK!
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
  • Read a book a month for myself- Still working on "Don Quixote" hoping I can finish my classics challenge this year but doesn't look like it, would really like to finish this book though
  • Jim read one fiction book- Yes! He finished "Eragon", Eldest", and "Brisingr"
  • Journal 5 days a week- Still not getting this done.
  • Jim Journal 3 days a week- Yes
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing- No work on this
  • Book Club once a month- We didn't meet this month :( 
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- Scheduled it, but ended up with a meeting with God, which was just as useful
  • Blog 1-2 days a week- Think I got 4 posts in this month 
  • Mild Exercise twice a week- Nope, really need to work on schedule/routine/rhythms
  • Maintain weight until birthThis did not happen, so I have extra work to do now
  • Lose weight after giving birth- I'm basically stagnant at the moment. Hoping to get cracking on this soon. I need it and I need the energy!
There goes November. It FLEW by! It seems, as with life on the whole, the closer to the end of the year the fast it goes. November was busy finishing co-op, doing school and organizing the whole house from top to bottom. We're still in the midst of this massive project because we have realized how desperately we need orderliness in our house. So we're starting with finding a place for everything and purging what we no longer want or need. Then hopefully we will find a new routine for next year so that we can maintain order and be more effective in everything so we can bring God glory in all things.

How was your November?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gabriel is 4!

Today our 4th baby is 4 years old! It's so hard to believe how much has happened in the 4 years he has been in our life. He has grown so much and God has taught our family greatly.

Gabriel has added another element to our family as he is strong willed and mighty in everything he does. His name means "mighty man of God" and he has mighty down quite well. We pray daily for the man of God part and pray that it comes soon!

In his might Gabriel bucks against God and us, but more than that he is passionate about everything. If you have ever talked to Gabriel you know that he is excited about everything! He will talk your ear off about anything and everything. He loves life and I love that about him. He regularly brings a smile to my face as he laughs, dances, squeals and tells me what he is loving at the moment.

Gabriel loves to sing and dance. He loves to run around outside and explore. He just loves to go, go, go. His energy is contagious. He loves playing with his siblings, especially Sam. They wrestle and go at it all the time. They are fun to watch until they start destroying. But Generally it brings a smile to my face seeing my boys play together.

We are doing pre-K with Gabriel this school year and he loves it! He wants to learn and asks to do school work everyday. It's challenging on the days we have nothing specific to do, but he is content to get his journal and draw or write in it. I'm excited to see how much he will learn this year!

Some of Gabriel's favorite things are giraffes, drawing, digging in the dirt, mac and cheese, pancakes and anything sweet. He definitely loves to eat.

We are so thankful for this spunky personality to keep us on our toes. God has blessed us so much with Gabriel's life. Father, please save Gabriel and make Him mighty for you. Show him how much life with You is a blessing and a joy like he has been in our life. Thank You for this precious image bearer that You have given us to enjoy and raise.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

I had grand plans to make a list of 10,000 things I was thankful for that were all different, similar to a few years ago. Or doing something every day like I've done before. But best laid plans don't always go as expected.

This year has been busy and full because we have been so blessed! And none of that happened. We've been given marriage, 7 beautiful, busy and crazy kids, a home, many things to fill our home, jobs, church, family, and friends. God has been good to us and we have so many people and things to be thankful for this year. 

But this month I have realized I have not been a good steward of the blessings that have been given to me. The past 2 1/2 years we've been working to be good stewards of our marriage and to be God honoring in it as we seek to live out the picture of Christ and the church marriage is to be. The past couple of months we have been wrestling with what it looks like to be a good steward of our kids and our home as, after marriage, these are our God given mandates to look after first. Women in particular are called to be homemakers and God is teaching me what this looks like for this season.

Right now I'm showing thanks by getting my home in order and teaching my children as diligently as possible. It is hard but good. This month has been filled with going through all that we've been given and seeking to give to others, organizing so we have order, and cleaning from top to bottom. None of these are my strong points. But I'm learning to die to self and live according to God's Word. God desires Thanksgiving and the sacrifice of self. This is what I'm learning this Thanksgiving. 

We were blessed to spend Thanksgiving with Jim, as he did not have to work this year, and the McMillin family here. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. I'm also learning to be grateful for the people in my life and not take them for granted. I don't know what that looks like all the time, but I'm learning and I know that as I learn to fully give myself to God and His plans that I better love others and am less likely to take them for granted. 

It all goes together. As we love God and are thankful for what He has done for us we love others as we should and become the stewards God has made us to be. May I continue to learn this and grow in it everyday.

What did you learn this Thanksgiving season?

Monday, November 7, 2016

When You Just Want To Go Home

Sometimes I just want to go home. Not Smyrna, but Heaven.

No, I'm not suicidal. Life is just hard sometimes and it is evident everywhere that this world is not supposed to be.

A friend's baby is born early and has been hospitalized 3 times in 3 months, fighting for her life.

One of my doctors has a mass and has to have emergency surgery.

People are shooting each other regularly for no good reason.

Friends my age are dying in the most unexpected ways.

Satan is constantly attacking and I just feel drained.

I could name so many other things, but you get the idea. Life is overwhelming. Sin and the effects of the fall abound and it seems as if nothing will ever get better. Those are the times I stare into the sky and look for any hint that Jesus may be on His way back.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will [a]dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”" ~Revelation 21:1-5

See, Jesus has told us He is coming back. He will make everything new. No more death. No more suffering. No more striving to figure out what to think, do, say. Everything will be perfect as it was intended to be. How my soul longs for that. How I want to be in God's presence worshiping perfectly as He created me to do. How I want things to be perfect.

I recognize some of this is selfish in motivation, but the more I get to know God the more I just want to be with Him. I want to be in a place that really worships Him as Lord over all. I want to live the way He intends.

I'm so thankful that Jesus has given me a way to have this and that one day all of this will be true. I will be with God and worshiping Him perfectly. I will be in a place that worships Him. I will live perfectly as He intends.

Sometimes I really want to go home. Until then, I press on. Many days are hard. My heart grieves the loss of life, of health, of sleep, of obedience. I sometimes seek to control it. But God reminds me even in those heart breaking moments, He is in control and by His grace I will overcome and see this great day!

"Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son." ~Revelation 21:6-7

Friday, November 4, 2016

Kids Who Love to Clean

My kids love to clean. No really, they do. Sometimes I wonder where they came from because I cannot say that about myself. In fact, I hate it. But I love that my kids love it!

Because of this I am stoked that Norwex has the Kids EnviroCloth and Kids Window Cloth on sale this month! Slightly smaller versions of the EnviroCloth and Window Cloth, they are perfectly sized for little hands to use and still get an excellent clean. Have them clean alongside you to learn or let them go to clean on their own. Kids like to feel like they own something. This is a great way to build that ownership and teach them how to clean and care for their cloths as well as how to care for their home.

With Christmas around the corner this is a fun gift idea that will be life giving in many ways.

Do your kids love to clean? What is their favorite thing to clean?

Please Contact me with any questions
Emmie Manor Independent Norwex Consultant
Catalog (p. 43)

Monday, October 31, 2016

October Blessings

As October comes to a close I can't figure out where it went. But I do know that even in the blur that was this month, God has been very gracious to us and blessed us far more than we deserve. Here is a picture of the blessings we have experienced this month.

  1. Productive school day
  2. Malachi attempting to nurse and doing OK with it
  3. Spending time with the middle boys
  4. Singing with the kids
  5. Evening with Jim before a long week
  6. Ryan and Becca coming to help for the day
  7. Hearing about work in Asia
  8. Catching up with Brian and Karine
  9. "Blue Bloods"
  10. Jim enjoying class
  11. Jim being home at dinner time
  12. Jamey and Lillian working on science together
  13. Working on business
  14. Encouragement to reach out
  15. Time with the younger boys
  16. Everyone at CG and the kids doing well
  17. Meeting Jim for lunch at school
  18. Running errands
  19. Good milk production
  20. Getting work going again
  21. Talking future with Jim and hearing his thoughts
  22. Good nutrition visit
  23. Uploading pictures
  24. Ordering pictures to change the wall
  25. A little time to write
  26. Getting into co-op with the kids helping
  27. Talking with Tara
  28. Free spaghetti for dinner
  29. Jim coming home early
  30. Playing "LOTR Trivial Pursuit"
  31. Cleaning and organizing the entire living room
  32. Jim cleaning the kitchen
  33. Getting most of to-do list done for the week
  34. Great sermon on how we're all messed up
  35. Sunday class encouragement
  36. Time to really talk with Jim
  37. Watching a movie together
  38. Having a good day with the kids
  39. Working on Box Tops
  40. Getting addresses
  41. Kids working well
  42. Neo singing Noah
  43. Good postpartum appt
  44. Being encouraged in my knowledge of birth
  45. Getting groceries with the baby
  46. Catalogs
  47. Free Starbucks
  48. Good CG discussion on vulnerability
  49. Getting party set up
  50. God opening my eyes more and open wrestling with Him
  51. Jamey asking to take a nap and to do housework
  52. Learning more balance
  53. Fun Norwex party
  54. New customer
  55. Catching up with Candice
  56. New Pizza place
  57. Jim planning date night
  58. Good writing group
  59. Catching up with Sisters
  60. First time to a pumpkin patch
  61. Time with our community
  62. Fun pictures
  63. Getting to bed early
  64. Good sermon on growing in Spiritual maturity
  65. Jim seeing to make the best decision for all
  66. Restful afternoon
  67. "The Chase:
  68. Good Dentist appt
  69. Neo taking steps!
  70. Cleaning the majority of the kitchen
  71. Getting packed
  72. Haircuts for all the boys
  73. Having a calm spirit
  74. Productivity for being home without Jim
  75. Good intense discussion at CG
  76. Challenging each other
  77. Kids doing well all day
  78. Going to eat lunch with Jim at work
  79. Time with Gage
  80. Being available to help
  81. Unexpected blessings
  82. Comfy Cow with Sara
  83. Finishing a couple of projects
  84. Lillian having time with Jim
  85. Learning to let go of perfection
  86. Being reminded what's important
  87. Getting to co-op early
  88. Being in Karate
  89. Jim being able to help in the afternoon
  90. Getting on the road by 3 pm
  91. Kids sleeping in the car
  92. Caravaning with Becca and Ryan
  93. Chick-fil-A Breakfast with Max
  94. Relaxing afternoon
  95. Time with cousins
  96. Seeing FBC Smyrna Family
  97. Seeing Noemi
  98. Unexpected gift
  99. Great sermon on giving our whole life to God
  100. Shower for Rachel and Becca
  101. Time with Brit
  102. Jim having breakfast with Jeff
  103. Getting on the road early
  104. Talking with Jim while driving
  105. Encouragement
  106. Making good time
  107. McDonald's with good inside playground
  108. Nehemiah saying "amen", singing, dancing and walking
  109. Meal night at CG
  110. Catching up with Meagan
  111. Surprise big Norwex order
  112. Closing out 1 party
  113. Jim working an extra 4 hours
  114. Getting through a really busy day without too much incident
  115. God protecting our teeth
  116. Being able to be honest without losing it
  117. Playdate with Shannon & Gage, Courtney & Asher
  118. Doing some much needed work
  119. Talking with the kids
  120. Nursery 4th hour at co-op
  121. Working on clearer scheduling
  122. Aldi's pizza for dinner
  123. Sleep
  124. Helping out Will and Abby and getting to know them more
  125. Relaxing afternoon
  126. Talking with Alicia
  127. God providing
  128. Good sermon on abundance
  129. Learning about worshiping as a couple
  130. Advocate training- learning more about encouraging workers
  131. Solutions to issues in the house
  132. Jim getting to work on school
  133. Time to work together in the office
  134. Good OT
  135. Family movie night