Saturday, November 28, 2015


Today my fourth child is 3 years old! How quickly the time has gone. Gabriel surprised us by coming a week before he was due, and he has continued to be a go-getter ever since then.

Gabriel is such a fun spirit. His name, we later found out, means mighty man of God, and is he ever strong willed. Though not extreme, he still seeks to please, but Gabriel is a determined little boy. He is rough and tumble and full of energy. His smile and laugh are contagious. He loves to learn and thinks he can do everything the older ones can.

I love to hear Gabriel talk. He is so excited about life and want to tell you about everything. He talks to his siblings and loves on them. Gabriel loves to dance and sing. He is just about anything you would expect a 3 year old boy to be.

As rough and tumble as he is, Gabriel is still sensitive and easily gets his feelings hurt. He loves hugs and kisses, but only when he wants them.

Giraffes are Gabriel's favorite animals. He also loves cars and puzzles. I am so thankful to see a love for reading in him already.

We started him with a preschool program this year and he gets so excited about learning. He loves to write and gets out his writing board for fun to practice writing.

I am so thankful God has given this precious boy to us. He is such a blessing to our family. God has used his life so much already.

Father, thank You for our precious Gabriel! Please make him into a mighty man of You and a man after Your own heart.


Photo shoot by Becca Camp

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October Blessings

What can I say about October? It was so full and God has been constantly teaching us. We have had so many blessings. So thankful to be able to share some with you!

  1. Spending some quality play time with Reuben
  2. Getting all needed school work finished with a late start
  3. Figuring out how to roast broccoli and cauliflower without a recipe
  4. Cheap balanced dinner
  5. Sleeping until 9
  6. Getting good work done with the middle boys
  7. Homemade pizza for lunch
  8. Redeem Marriage
  9. Good reminder of Truth
  10. Meeting Stephanie- fellow scarf wearer
  11. Getting school work finished
  12. Learning how to deal with growing kids
  13. Helping Becca with her paper
  14. Making it through a Saturday without Jim
  15. God teaching me in every moment
  16. Learning about the 3rd Commandment
  17. Being sobered
  18. Napping along with the kids
  19. Finishing The Accidental Feminist
  20. Starting the next classic
  21. Time to write a little
  22. God working in weird ways
  23. Great dentist appointments
  24. Grocery store as a family
  25. Learning to eat better for cheaper
  26. Getting emails written
  27. Homemade granola
  28. God working
  29. Sleep
  30. Getting lead inspection completed
  31. Heart to heart with Jim
  32. Prayer walking
  33. Kids growing in friendship
  34. Time to hang out with CG
  35. Milk increasing
  36. Great day at co-op
  37. Gleaning from those with older kids
  38. Encouraging those younger
  39. Interactive class
  40. Never ending pasta bowl
  41. Good date evening
  42. Growing together
  43. Reuben singing "A Bushel and A Peck" and giving Gabriel hugs
  44. Talking to Brit and sharing with each other
  45. Uploading pictures
  46. Inspiration
  47. Kids napping
  48. More clothes organized
  49. Girls movie night
  50. Getting to know Brittany and Heather better
  51. Going through more clothes
  52. Finishing picture upload
  53. Cherry soda and dark chocolate
  54. Getting some needed cleaning done
  55. Over half-way through clothes
  56. Going to the seminary to meet Jim for lunch
  57. Writing group
  58. Time with Jim
  59. Talking about murder
  60. God working in my heart
  61. Connecting on a deeper level with Jim
  62. Fun family afternoon
  63. Growing in enjoying being together
  64. Grace to make it through a Monday with a sick child and Jim at work
  65. Getting through group school time
  66. Continuing to learn myself
  67. Teaching Lillian about not letting a schedule control us
  68. Everyone going to CG
  69. Showering
  70. Learning to let go of a perfect day
  71. Knowing God is always in control
  72. Learning as a family what is truly important
  73. Getting coffee with Jim
  74. Sara coming over to help and hang out
  75. Getting Bible time done
  76. Naps for everyone
  77. Getting laundry finished
  78. Potatoes for dinner
  79. Restful evening
  80. Bed at 10:30
  81. God healing my stomach
  82. Time to pray alone
  83. Feeling more rested
  84. Washing my hair
  85. Purging some
  86. Movie and logic problems
  87. Sleeping in
  88. Girls lunch date with Mom, Becca and Lillian
  89. Neo doing well at home
  90. Family Shopping trip to Kohl's and the Mall
  91. Mom getting us new clothes
  92. Dedicating Nehemiah to the Lord
  93. All 6 kids making it through the entire church service
  94. Being together as a family
  95. Lunch at Olive Garden
  96. Nice family afternoon
  97. Left overs
  98. God speaking to the depths of my heart
  99. Being reminded of how blessed I really am
  100. Going to playgroup
  101. Talking about school stuff
  102. School work
  103. Walking with Lillian
  104. Running into Shannon
  105. Good CG time of catching up and encouragement
  106. Seeking advice from those older
  107. Being surrounded by others who seek to honor God
  108. Bucca di Bepos
  109. Running into Chad and Ginger
  110. God revealing more of my heart
  111. School time as a family
  112. Time to talk things through with Jim
  113. Learning to seek together what God is wanting for us and our family
  114. Time to reflect
  115. Heart for the Nations
  116. Hearing from friends overseas
  117. Relaxing evening
  118. Singing with Reuben
  119. Kids playing together
  120. Talking through more scheduling adjustments and making plans
  121. Meeting with Dawn
  122. International food at SBTS
  123. Growth in Becca
  124. Great sermon on Sabbath
  125. J and L coming to church with us
  126. Taking a nap!
  127. Kids reading together
  128. Bean bag
  129. Pics of Sam
  130. Talking to my parents
  131. Family play time
  132. Shortened school schedule! Much better
  133. Quick and cheaper grocery run
  134. The kids playing well together
  135. Sam praying and saying Scripture
  136. Book club
  137. Sisters in the Lord
  138. Rainy day
  139. Kids working well together to learn
  140. Jamey teaching his siblings different things
  141. Great discussion at CG
  142. Getting to co-op mostly on time
  143. Timely note
  144. Seeing God work
  145. Heart to heart
  146. Jim getting half a paper written
  147. Good Panera
  148. Finishing The Age of Innocence
  149. Jim leaving me a heartfelt note
  150. Sam volunteering to pray, praying and saying Romans 10:9 with me
  151. Good school morning
  152. Productive afternoon
  153. Reading half of The Comedy of Errors
  154. Dancing
  155. Washing my hair
  156. Good doctors appointments
  157. Healthy kids
  158. Free food from Friends
  159. Becca being OK
  160. Getting budget and schedules complete
  161. Finishing The Comedy of Errors in 2 days
  162. Lillian and Sam dancing together
  163. Reuben reading to Nehemiah
  164. More stuff from friends
  165. Movies
  166. Sam turning 18 months
  167. Neo almost sitting up
  168. Watching some of the World Series with Jamey and Lillian
  169. God always working
  170. Mac and Cheese

October Evaluation

Due to circumstances this past year, I'm not really changing my goals. Some will go that are not top priority, but I'm keeping the ones that fit with the overarching goal of having a God-centered life and the things I see Him leading me to right now. So thus far this is how it goes:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes, I'm working more directed prayer into my day
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Yes! 
  • Memorize verses with the kids - We have already memorized 8 verses together
  • Memorize Scripture- Doing this with the kids in school time
  • Go out for a date once a week- Yes
  • Go on a night away once this yearYes we went away for our anniversary!
  • Read 3 books together this year- Did not read any this month
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday Saturday afternoon- We are discussing plans but still need improvement on consistency and sticking to our plans as much as it depends on us
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- We have had great improvement on this in the last week, still have a lot of growing, but at least we are progressing :)
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- With starting school we have missed a couple as needed
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Up to date for the year. Should reach this goal next month
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- Need to go through pictures with Jim so this is on hold currently
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Cleaning has gone by the wayside again. Trying to find a good balance in our day
  • Keep up with my calendar- Status quo, still need improvement here
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this but always room for improvement
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
  • Read a book a month for myself- This month I read "The Accidental Feminist". "The Age of Innocence" and "The Comedy of Errors" (review to come on the last one)
  • Journal 5 days a week- Yes! God has really been giving me opportunity to do this in the morning
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- I have written down some ideas for my nonfiction book I'm working on, but no actual writing 
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- No additional work on this during the month
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 - Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- YES! Loved meeting with these Sisters this month. Such a great time
  • Blog 3 days a week- Got a couple book reviews written
  • Go to water aerobics once a weekStarted back to find out that our instructor was moving and they are going to begin charging for classes so only did this half the month and this will be no more
  • Maintain weight until birthDid well with this, still gained some but far better than other pregnancies
  • Lose weight after giving birth- Just maintained this month, need a plan for this, but other things are taking priority
Where did October go? This month has flown by! We had a busy month with school, illness, co-op, church, and just life in general. We have spent a lot of time this month trying to figure out what life needs to look like. We're still struggling to figure this out and praying regularly for clarity. When I finally get a moment to breathe and write, I hope to blog some of the things that we have been learning and working through the last couple of months. God is constantly at work in our home and I am so thankful I am His.

How was your October?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton

*Warning there will be spoilers. If you do not want to know the end, do not read.

The Age of Innocence is my 8th book in my Back to the Classics Challenge under the category of Classic by a Woman Author. I was greatly surprised by this book and honestly enjoyed it, mostly because of how thought provoking it was and the ability to identify with the three major characters. The writing style was very clear and easy to understand in spite of when it was written. I liked not having to reread every other sentence trying to figure out what was going on.

This story is such a good look at what goes on in humanity and society as a whole. You have those who expect everything to be a certain way and will move heaven and earth to make it so. Then there are those who are different and do not care they are different. And finally those who want to be different and yet seek to find that middle ground to make everyone happy. It is the conflict of the soul that is so well presented in this book and that conflict that I believe most people can identify with. Though I was not happy with some of the things that took place, it is a great book to see how humanity really is. I was thinking throughout this book and will probably continue to think and evaluate myself from interactions and thoughts shared in this book. What made it even better is that the main character did not get what he wanted in the end. The sad part is that he fell into the all common trap, fantasy is better than reality.

4 stars for this classic.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Accidental Feminist by Courtney Reissig

My friend, Dawn, recommended this book to me and I am so thankful she did. I think everyone should read this book, and if you are a Christian, you absolutely should read this. Women, it has something for everyone. Men, I believe it would be useful for you in understanding the women in your life, especially if you are married.

This book is a very quick read, but has so much in it. Mrs. Reissig gives a brief history of feminism and explains how feminism has effected different parts of our lives as well as defining what it means to be a woman. She does an excellent job of applying the different aspects she covers to women of all stages of life. It is Biblically sound and does not give a list of dos and don'ts, but allows room for us to learn and apply the teachings to our own lives. The questions at the end of each chapter help in discerning how the topic fits into your life or has altered your thinking. I also enjoyed her writing style. My only issue was the occasional repetitiveness that I did not feel was necessary, but others might appreciate the repetition for themselves.

Again, I say, read this book!

5 stars

Friday, October 2, 2015

War and Peace

I finished my 7th book in the Back to the Classics Challenge I am doing this year! War and Peace is a book I have been wanting to read for quite some time and this challenge gave me the push to do it. This is in the category of "Very Long Classic Novel" for the challenge.

As a whole I really enjoyed reading this classic. Tolstoy is incredible at expressing the emotion and tension that exists in and among people. His style is very involved, which keeps you from wondering what is going on inside of his characters, but is mysterious enough to keep you reading to find out what will happen with his characters. You are drawn in by the lives of these people and get to the point of caring for them as if they are real. You want to know what is going to happen.

From all of this I realized that the name War and Peace really has a two-fold meaning, whether Tolstoy intended it or not. This book reflects time of war and time of peace in Russia during the early 1800s, the obvious meaning of the title. However, as you hear the inner thoughts of the characters and see what they are dealing with in their daily lives, we also experience the time of war and the time of peace in their souls and in their personal lives.

There were two downfalls for me. One being some of the war sequences that just seemed to drag on and added nothing to the story. The second was the ending. It fell off and made me wonder what the point was in ending it that way. I felt like it should have been ended a few chapters before it was.

This book was far more than I expected and I hope to read it again. I look forward to reading it with my kids and working through the thoughts and feelings as well as the history told in this book. I highly recommend it!

I would give it 4 stars.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Blessings

How quickly September has passed! It has been a full month for our family, but so many blessings have come from it. God is working and moving in our lives, which is always a blessing. Here are some of the specific blessings from this month.

  1. Jamey changing a poopy diaper on his own
  2. Going to playgroup
  3. Seeing a lot of people
  4. Getting a chunk of War and Peace read
  5. Good CG time
  6. Catching up with Laura
  7. God moving
  8. Getting almost everything ready to start school
  9. Good date evening
  10. Panera for dinner
  11. Jamey and Lillian helping and learning
  12. Getting my hair trimmed
  13. Nice morning with the Felix family
  14. Jamey helping to dress the little boys
  15. Learning more about discipline
  16. Talking to Brit and Daddy
  17. Working on lessons plans
  18. Hanging out
  19. Very productive day
  20. New shelf 
  21. Organizing School stuff and toys
  22. Making room
  23. Spontaneity
  24. Growing with Jim
  25. Teaching the kids practical things
  26. Sleeping until 8 am
  27. Working on stuff
  28. Enjoying a couple of movies
  29. Talking with Bec
  30. Jim making a cake from scratch
  31. Time to talk 
  32. Direct answers to prayers
  33. Making it through a Sunday with Jim at work
  34. Everyone napping including me
  35. Leftovers
  36. Restful afternoon
  37. Some one on one time with Lil
  38. Dancing
  39. Finishing up the cake
  40. Hanging out with Jim
  41. Reuben turning 4!
  42. Going to the zoo
  43. Seeing Megan
  44. Fun family day
  45. A good Mexican Pizza
  46. Getting some school work done
  47. Family celebrations
  48. Learning to talk and connect
  49. First day of school!
  50. Getting what we needed to done
  51. Making a grocery run in the middle of the first school day
  52. Middle boys excited to learn
  53. Trying new real food recipes
  54. Good CG time
  55. Talking with Jim
  56. Living and learning together
  57. Pizza rolls from scratch
  58. making it through 2nd school day
  59. Jim growing in taking initiative for dates
  60. Getting through school with 4 by myself
  61. Time to read for fun
  62. Thinking
  63. God's mercy
  64. Jamey working well alone
  65. Neo's smile
  66. Sam's laugh
  67. Being able to talk through stuff
  68. Day 2 of school without Jim
  69. Getting finished early
  70. Getting folders finished for co-op
  71. Going to the Fall Festival
  72. Free Chick-fil-A
  73. Sweet moments with Neo
  74. Going to bed early for us
  75. Finishing up our school week
  76. Bec vacuuming
  77. Getting lots of reading done
  78. Making homemade granola bars
  79. Having a productive day
  80. Pizza for dinner
  81. Learning about trials at church
  82. Jim working 8 so he could be off on Monday
  83. All the kids napping 4+ hours
  84. Time to talk with Bec and help with her paper
  85. Dancing!
  86. Jim being off of work!
  87. Working through more heart stuff
  88. Being broken for God's glory
  89. Jamey getting extra school work finished
  90. Date night
  91. Learning as a family
  92. Jim letting me sleep in a little
  93. Getting a lot of school work doing
  94. Reuben doing well with his 4 year old shots
  95. God's mercy
  96. Getting a lot of other things done
  97. Productive day
  98. Learning to work hard
  99. First day of co-op
  100. Kids doing well as a whole
  101. Time to meet new people and catch up a little bit
  102. Going to member meeting for a bit and hearing from our new Pastor
  103. Stories of God's grace
  104. Getting a lot of school work done
  105. Learning what is best for our family at this time
  106. Quiet evening at home
  107. Kids playing well together
  108. Wanting to be home
  109. Jim being home
  110. Making AB and J poptarts
  111. Working as a family to get things done
  112. Learning more of what is best for our family
  113. Becca and Ryan mowing the yard
  114. Talking with Jim
  115. Playing Clue
  116. Sleeping until 8 am
  117. Nehemiah sleeping 11 hours!
  118. Finishing our school week well
  119. God moving
  120. Having some family time
  121. Watching Prince of Egypt and talking through it
  122. Hanging out
  123. Being convicted of idols in my life
  124. Time to really talk with Jim
  125. Getting to deeper heart issues
  126. Kids napping
  127. Learning how to seek God together
  128. Finishing War and Peace!
  129. Getting through a busy day
  130. Evaluating what our days need to look like
  131. God's deep grace
  132. Teaching the kids to clean more thoroughly
  133. Seeing Jim truly happy at home
  134. Getting through a busy day without another adult
  135. Starting The Accidental Feminist
  136. Dawn
  137. Great conversation at CG
  138. Seeing God work around us
  139. Good day at Co-op
  140. Tim to talk with Jo
  141. Encouraging note
  142. Continuing to learn to battle
  143. Nice date night
  144. Great conversation at Sweet Frog
  145. Connecting with Jim
  146. Visit from Shannon, Gage, Courtney and Asher
  147. Growing in community
  148. Notes from Jim
  149. Reuben asking for forgiveness without being prompted
  150. Kids working hard
  151. Growth in our family
  152. Reading with Jim
  153. Gabriel passing out lunch without being asked
  154. Reuben and Gabriel asking to do school work
  155. Time to read
  156. Growth
  157. Spending time with CG Sisters and meeting new Sisters
  158. Neo staying with Jim
  159. Snuggling on the sofa
  160. Sleeping until 8:30
  161. Getting school work done throughout the day
  162. Sweet moments with kids
  163. Full productive day
  164. Trying Moussaka
  165. Constantly learning
  166. Muffins for breakfast
  167. Walking to church
  168. Learning about the 2nd Commandment
  169. Being challenged
  170. God working in my heart
  171. Beautiful weather
  172. Lunch at Harvest
  173. Great family day
  174. Nehemiah turning 3 months
  175. Taking a long shower
  176. Bearing my soul before the Lord
  177. A God who knows what's best for us
  178. Book Club
  179. Being able to talk with Meagan
  180. God breaking me down so I can know Him more
  181. Eating lunch with Jim at work
  182. Rainy day
  183. Kids responding in co-op
  184. Encouragement from friends
  185. Prayer