Monday, July 16, 2018

1 Year Back in Smyrna!

It's been a year since our family returned from a seven year stretch in Louisville. We took a leap of faith returning to Smyrna, just as we took a leap of faith moving to Louisville. In taking that leap I know I expected God to do for us exactly what He did in Louisville: provide a job and a house within a couple of weeks. God did it before, so of course He would do it again!

Reflecting back on it now, I realize how foolish of a thought that was. As I search Scripture and all of my life I remember that God doesn't do the same thing twice! He is always seeking to stretch and grow His people so that they will be conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So we returned to Smyrna, 7 years to the day we left. God's perfect number. We moved in with my parents and settled in. Jim applied for jobs, we looked at houses and... Nothing happened. No job offers, no houses that were right, nothing. It was humbling. We prayed, we cried, we wrestled, but still nothing.

A month after returning, we found out we were expecting our 8th baby! Not only were we expecing child number 8, but he was due in 6 weeks! God's grace and provision through insurance and Jim being home with us was evident through it all. Especially since our precious Isaac spent 10 days in the NICU! By God's grace everything was covered and Jim was able to be with us throughout the whole time. What a blessing!

Finally, in December, Jim was offered a home health nursing job that was almost everything we had prayed for and we took it. But the hours we had expected were not there. So we could not move forward with a house and had to stay with my parents longer. Jim worked whenever he could get hours, but it still was not where we could buy a house.

Again, we waited, prayed and asked for God to provide. In March Jim received full time hours and we were finally able to look at houses and that exact house that God had put in my mind came available! In April we closed on our place in Mableton and finally had a permanent home! How thankful we all were.

It took time but in the last couple of weeks we have finally gotten mostly settled and are finding our rhythms.

In the midst of all of it God has stretched us, grown us and made us more like Jesus. He has revealed more of Himself and our relationships to God and to each other have grown deeper. While the entire transition has been extremely difficult, and at times very painful, we have been made better, by God's Grace, for it. It has strengthened our faith and taught us more about the One True and Living God who is always Faithful and His Word and Promises are always True! God is God and I'm so thankful to serve the One True God and I'm so thankful He has brought us to this place.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Our 3 Year Old Nehemiah

It's been three years since we welcomed Nehemiah into this world! It was a crazy time in our lives and he came fast and furious! But we could not be more thankful to have him in our family.

Nehemiah is petite and full of life! He fully believes he can do whatever his older siblings are doing, whether he can or not. He is quick as a whip and his verbal skills always take me aback! He loves to talk and he is usually very thoughtful and very precise in his words. He is also cute with such a little voice and he knows it. So he is also an expert at manipulation because everyone believes he is younger than he is. If you're around Nehemiah, don't be fooled! Generally, he understands everything you say.

Nehemiah loves to play with his siblings and being a big kid. He is also very sweet and sensitive, which is a huge blessing! Playing outside and reading are 2 of his favorite activities. If it were up to him he would have a full school work day! Nehemiah loves to learn. Currently he is learning basic pencil hold and excels at Mighty Mind Puzzles and Memory Games. He also remembers most of what he hears and enjoys figuring things out.

Nehemiah loves going to his class at church, being loved on by his teachers and time with his friends. He readily reminds us, "Jesus died on the cross for our sins!" How I pray this truth will take root in his heart and God will save him. Singing is also huge for Nehemiah. He will sing anything and it is precious hearing him sing songs of the faith. Sometimes he will dance too! He is just so full of life!

Father, thank You for our precious Nehemiah. Thank You for giving him to our family! He is such an amazing gift. Father, stir his heart for You that he may be a man after Your own heart and be a comfort and help for others. Make Nehemiah wholly Yours by Your grace! In Jesus Name. Amen!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Year 14

Yes! 14 years ago, Jim and I said "I do" and began this rest of our life journey together. The 14th year has been major to say the least! We started it on our last mini vacation to Elk Creek Vineyard and a month later packed up everything we owned and moved back to our hometown of Smyrna, GA with Emmie's parents. Just like 7 years previously we took a leap of faith moving to Louisville, we took a leap of faith and moved back to Smyrna. In Louisville we were blown away with how quickly God moved everything after we arrived. Moving back, it was quite the opposite. God was teaching us that slow steady trust that God is not slow as we think of slow, but that He does everything according to His timing and He knows what He is doing even when we don't understand.

How God has grown us in this! How God has grown us together! Everything God works for the good of His people as He makes us more like Jesus, and while we still have a LONG way to go to be fully sanctified, I can say that today we are more like Jesus than we were a year ago.

We are also closer and stronger in our marriage than we were a year ago. We have learned that God alone is the One who sustains us in everything. God alone is the One who provides exactly what we need when we need it. God alone is worthy of all of our praise, honor and glory. And God alone is the only One we can fully trust to never let us down.

While it has been difficult and unpredictable year, we would not trade it because of where we are today, both in our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. The past four years have been filled with pruning, molding, stretching and growing and this past year was another level. We know this will continue until we are with Jesus in Heaven and we pray that no matter what comes our way we will hold fast to our faith in God, not only as individuals but together.

I can't tell how you thankful I am for the past 14 years. They have been full of emotional, physical and spiritual trial, but Jim and I have both become more Godly. I'm so thankful for Jim and how God has grown him in trusting our God.

Father, thank You for 14 years of learning who You have made us! Please continue to grow us in what it means for us to be the couple You have designed us to be. By Your grace we will be even more like Jesus next year. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Jim is 35!

What an adventure year 35 has been for Jim! He has led his family on a crazy ride as we have followed God to the next phase of His life for us. It has been hard. It has been trying. It has pushed him to the depths of trusting God. And He is still alive!

It can be easy to forget that God is working all things for the good of His people and His glory, but by God's grace Jim has perservered. The man known as Jim Manor today is an amazing man of God, whom I love and trust with our family. God has grown him in leadership and made Jim more like Jesus in all areas of his life.

This year Jim has read a lot while waiting for God to provide a job for him and has learned more about what it means to be the head of his family. With all of this, Jim is working toward getting his blog going: Broken Archer at I'm so excited to see how God uses Jim as he steps out in faith to do something completely outside of his comfort zone! He hopes to get it set up soon and begin writing on it regularly. Come on over and check it out!

Father, thank You for how You are growing Jim in Your likeness. You are amazing! Please continue to stretch and grow Jim. Show him Your kindness in the every day moments. Thank You for how You provide and teaching him that You are all he needs!

I love youm Jimbo!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Our 8-Year-Old Baby Girl!

Our sweet one and only baby girl is 8 years old! When did that happen???

It doesn't seem that long ago that we welcomed our precious daughter into our arms during a super fast delivery that taught us so much about trusting God's provision for His people! Today, we are still learning these lessons and teaching them to our spunky girl.

Lillian is so full of personality that comes out in everything she does. She is precise, scheduled and a bit of a perfectionist while still being a bit clumsy and disorganized. She reminds me of me!

Lillian loves doing her school work and works hard to get everything done so she has time to play and help in the kitchen. I think she has learned as much helping Daddy in the kitchen as she has from her workbooks! The kitchen has taught her to read and do a lot of math and still teaches her everytim she is in there. If you haven't figured it out, Lillian loves the kitchen and food. Cooking, baking, eating, she loves everything about the culinary world. She can even do several recipes on her own.

Lillian is incredibly brave and sure of herself, which helps alot when trying new things. By God's grace, He will use these qualities to use her for His Kingdom work. She is quick to correct mistakes in others, so we are working on politeness and respect. She also loves people. She really enjoys a crowd and being with her friends. With all of her brothers, she especially loves time with her female cousins and friends when she gets it.

Currently her favorite color is purple, her favorite subject is Latin and her favorite hobby is cooking. Lillian also enjoys singing, all things school, dancing, music, reading, and the occasional movie. She is also excellent at memorizing and loves to memorize Scripture, though currently it means very little to her. In spite being the only girl, Lillian loves playing with her brothers and telling them what to do. They have begun playing house and enjoy being a family. She is starting to talk about being a mama one day and it's precious to hear her dream.

We are so thankful for this little (or not so little) girl that God has blessed us with.

Father, thank You for the gift of Lillian! She is so precious. Father I pray that You will open her eyes and awaken her from the death of sin and into new life in You. Make her into a woman after Your own heart that desires You and Your way alone. Teach her that there is no good in herself and that without You she is dead. Thank You for how You are working and teaching her even now. I know You love her even more than we do! Make her wholly Yours!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Four Year Old Sam!

It's so hard to believe that it's been four years since we have welcomed Sam into our family outside them womb! So much has happened since he joined our family, but our lives have been made so much richer because of Sam.

What can I say about Sam? Sam is Sam!

He is so strong both mentally and physically. Sam is a big boy and wants to be a big boy. He tackles his brothers and is in the mix of all the big boys. He is also strong minded. When Sam sets out to do something, he does it. While this can be quite frustrating for us at times, it is becoming an asset as he grows and it determined to learn to do things.

Though Sam is not formally being schooled yet, he does love to learn. He enjoys puzzles and learning letters and numbers. He wants to do everything the older kids do and enjoys playing and learning with his siblings. He is also learning to clean, do dishes and other various chores around the house. He really likes to help and wants to do it all. The learning process is sometimes frustrating, though.

Sam is also very funny. He sometimes says things that make no sense, but is so sure about them you almost believe them too. His facial expressions also add so much to what he says. He is just funny. And so full of life. He adds so much to our family.

Already, God has already used him so much to teach and grow our family.

Father, thank You so much for Sam and putting him in our family. He is such a precious blessing. Please make him a man after Your own heart who loves Your Word and follows You wholeheartedly. Call him out of death into life with You for Your Kingdom and Your glory. Continue to use your precious life in amazing ways. In Jesus's Name. Amen!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Expected the Unexpected

I know I have been pretty quiet on here since returning to Smyrna nearly 8 months ago. Things have not gone at all how we expected. But then again, how often does God do exactly what we expect?

As God began showing us His plan for us to move back to GA, we had discussions about what we wanted and prayed over what God wanted us to do. We always hope that our desires and the Lord's desires are the same, but let's be honest, often times their not!

We prayed for clarity of vision. As we prayed a few things were clear:

1. God was calling us back to Smyrna First Baptist to be a part of the Body there
2. God was wanting us to take a step of faith and begin a multi-faceted ministry through blogs
3. We were to move July 16, 2017, 7 years exactly from the time He took us to Louisville
4. Jim was to look for something that was a better fit for our family's season

So just like when we moved up, we took a leap of faith that God would provide exactly what we "needed" in a couple months, and we would be resettled into our new life.

But just like God, what we expected did not happen. While we moved July 16 like He said and entered back into the Body of Christ at Smyrna First, the other two were a bit more elusive, especially a job for Jim. He applied, had some interviews and even thought a couple were a guarantee but nothing until December, and that job did not seem like it would really work. But we took it, knowing we needed something and God provided. 

Then the hours that Jim was told he would have did not happen. And several times he was canceled due to patients not being at home. We thought, this is never going to work! In this time we started looking at houses again, but the hours we needed to buy a house were not there. Our hands were tied and we could not move forward.

So we stayed, feeling defeated again. Jim had an interview for another job. It looked really promising. He even went to shadow, with a couple of months before it started. He called, he emailed. Nothing! We prayed, "God what is going on???"

What was going on, was God teaching us patience, obedience, endurance, connecting, trust, crying out to Him and relying on Him for everything. During these months our family grew together, worked through tough times together, and learned what it meant to cry out to God together.

Jim and I began working together, combining our strengths to launch 2 of the sites God had been laying on our hearts: Psalm 127 Ministry, the parent site for all of the ministry we desire to do, and Childbirth Conversations, a rebirth of my previous blog. (We would love for you to check them out and sign up for our mailing list!)

Then two weeks ago, Jim found out about a new patient, oriented, and started last week with a five day work week with more than what we need. God has provided! In His perfect timing, God has given us what we need. In fact, all that we envisioned before we came here is coming to fruition, just completely differently than we thought it would be.

We put an offer on a house and by God's grace everything will come through with it soon. God is providing what we need, what He wants us to have.

God is good and His timing is never slow!