Monday, December 31, 2012

December 24 to 31

I cannot believe I am already finishing my 2012 blessings. I am thankful that I have found well over 1000 things to be thankful for in less than half a year. With family in town I did not keep as good of a list as I have been the past couple of weeks. I know there are far more than this, but my brain is tired and unable to recall all of the great blessings of the week.

1041. Christmas Eve Service
1042. Buffalo Wild Wings
1043. Cake!
1044. Christmas Day!
1045. IHOP
1046. Enjoying a day of family being together
1047. Listening to the kids sing
1048. Lunch with Mom
1049. Medicines to help all of us feel better
1050. Having other people around to help with some of the early mornings
1051. Lunch with Dad
1052. Pie Kitchen!!!!!
1053. Seeing The Hobbit
1054. Blogs and free resources to help me organize and set goals for 2013 (more to come on this)
1055. Having some quiet time with Jim
1056. Gabriel growing well
1057. Snow
1058. The Lorincz family bringing us dinner
1059. The Freeman family bringing us dinner
1060. Getting some emails written (though still catching up)
1061. A great end of year message from Jonah
1062. Getting a family command center started for next year
1063. Working on a mission statement and goals for 2013
1064. Great calendar that is helping me stay on top of house cleaning!
1065. Ringing in the New Year with my hubby

Saturday, December 29, 2012

1 Month

My little Gabriel is already one month old! How the time flies. Having family in town and celebrating the holidays does make time go faster. He has gained 2 pounds in 3 week now weighing in at 9lbs 5oz. And he is almost 22 inches long. I knew he was growing, but I did not think he had grown that much. That is such a blessing. He has become so alert and loves to look around. I am thankful that he is strong and already has some head control. He is currently going through a growth spurt so he is not sleeping as much, but he had been giving some 4-5 hour stretches at night.

Perhaps the best thing I have been learning (again) is how unique each person is. Having 4 kids it is easy to compare, but really you cannot compare. They are each different with their own personality, growth, look and learning curve. It's fun to see the similarities, but I realize I have to be careful. With my oldest being so into learning and being more "intellectual" if you will it is easy to treat them all like that. But they are not all like that. The third is more physical and a bit of a dare devil. I do not yet know his learning style, but it may be very hands on and may not be as interested in reading and writing. With Gabriel I definitely do not know yet, but I can already tell he is different too. In just 1 month I have learned this. How much more will the next 18 years hold?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 17 to 23

991. All kids napping at the same time
992. Erin bringing Egyptian food for dinner
993. Jamey and Lillian working on a puzzle together
994. Reuben hugs and kisses
995. Gabriel doing tummy time well and getting stronger
996. Ladies from MOMsTogether bringing lunch and dinner
997. Getting some organizing done
998. Going out on a date
999. Free Red Box movie
1000. Fun evening at home
1001. Getting to sleep in a bit
1002. More organizing
1003. Getting diapers stripped and sorted for 2 wearers
1004. Angela bringing dinner
1005. My kids talking to me
1006. Singing all together
1007. Doing school
1008. Reuben joining in school and clapping to songs
1009. Getting most of the office organized
1010. Emers getting here!!!!!
1011. Watching my kids and their cousins play together
1012. Talking with my sisters
1013. Donuts!
1014. Getting to sleep in some this morning
1015. Sanity
1016. Low key day of fun
1017. Sweet moments
1018. Kylee snuggling with Jim
1019. Gabriel snuggling with Britney
1020. Brendon and Jamey playing together
1021. Dad and Mom getting here safely
1022. Pizza!
1023. Having the whole family in one room for the first time in 2 years!!!!!
1024. Gabriel lengthening his sleep time at night
1025. Having whole family pictures made
1026. Getting pictures made of Reuben
1027. Subway!
1028. Getting pictures and sorting them
1029. Christmas dinner
1030. Celebrating family Christmas together
1031. Pajama pictures (family tradition)
1032. Kyle playing with Reuben
1033. Jim getting to watch a Falcons game
1034. Jim and Kyle having male bonding time
1035. Getting Gabriel's stocking!
1036. Time to talk with Britney
1037. The whole family going to Sojourn together
1038. Great message from God's Word
1039. Lots of Free e-books
1040. Quiet Sunday afternoon

Monday, December 17, 2012


I was driving to MOMsTogether Friday morning and looked in the rear view mirror to see Lillian scrunching her face up with her eyes closed. She looked so much like Pappy when he was in one of his silly moods. She let her face relax and I saw Gran and Grandmother Stines in her face. All of my grandparents are gone now. I had to remove Pappy's name from our Christmas card list. I have not been able to be near him for many holidays the past 4 years or so, but there is still something heart wrenching at the holiday season when you realize a whole generation of your family is gone. But at the same time because of DNA there are still pieces of that generation in us and they have left marks on us by being a part of our life.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 10 to 16

931. Pie Kitchen
932. Running errands with Rachel
933. Jamey and Lillian playing together without arguing
934. Getting to eat a ham sandwich from Subway
935. Free cookies
936. Ann bringing dinner
937. Free body wash x2
938. Free hot chocolate
939. Playgroup
940. Meeting 3 new moms
941. Having my sisters to help
942. Journaling
943. Kids napping
944. Sarah bringing dinner
945. Going to sleep early
946. Doing school with the kids today
947. Kids wanting to continue educational play for several hours
948. Doing a Russian Lesson on Rosetta Stone
949. Getting toys reorganized in living room
950. Blake and Jenna bringing dinner
951. Jamey sitting with Reuben and giving hugs
952. Jamey and Lillian putting puzzles together
953. Watching Jamey make connections while learning
954. Lillian playing with Reuben while I worked with Jamey
955. Getting some educational time with Reuben
956. Amanda coming by
957. Rachel cleaning the bathrooms
958. Going through clothes and organizing more
959. Watching Jamey write and draw in his journal
960. Another free gift card through swagbucks
961. Kids napping for the 3rd day in a row
962. Gabriel sleeping 6 hours!!!!!
963. Starting Radical Womanhood
964. MOMstogether
965. Hearing testimonies from sisters
966. Yummy brunch
967. Watching Jim and Jamey do a puzzle together
968. Realizing the 4th sister will be here with her family in a week!
969. Getting more stuff organized
970. Getting a hanging coat rack
971. Jared and Rachel bringing dinner
972. Getting Gabriel's newborn photos
973. Getting announcements ordered
974. Getting blog post written
975. Kids sleeping until 6
976. Gabriel sleeping 6 hours
977. Getting more wipes cut
978. Having sisters to help hem wipes
979. Getting shelves moved
980. Getting more organizing and cleaning done
981. Reuben giving kisses
982. Free frapaccino
983. Jamey knowing how to spell his name
984. Seeing the deaf worshiping at church
985. Seeing brothers and sisters before they leave town for the holidays
986. All 4 kids napping at the same time
987. Making preparations for the rest of the family coming to visit
988. Writing reflections in my journal
989. All of the kids sitting together watching a movie as a family
990. Restful Sunday

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Unusual Suspect by Stephen Baldwin and Mark Tabb

While perusing the library a couple months ago, I saw this book on the shelf. I had heard about Stephen Baldwin becoming a Christian and was curious to see what he had to say. I was seriously blown away by the  honesty, clarity and blunt, in-your-face message he shared with his audience. He is clearly not ashamed to share salvation in Christ and he is not afraid to go into the dark places to share the Truth.

The book is Baldwin's spiritual autobiography. He does not share explicit details, but he most definitely gives a clear idea of what his life was like before becoming a believer. What is so striking to me is Baldwin's admission that he was having a good time in life when he came to Christ. He knew there had to be more, but he was enjoying the celebrity life. I think sometimes we feel like we have to pretend like sin is not fun, but he readily admits the struggle of not wanting to change because life seems good.

Baldwin's wife, Kennya, became a believer before he did. He shares about her conversion and life. My favorite quote of the book comes from his sharing about what his wife did for him during this time.

When she said she planned on serving Jesus she wasn't kidding. She served Him, all right, and she did it right in front of my eyes. But she didn't try to push her Jesus on me. She never wagged a finger in my face and told me I had better get right with God or else. Nor did she pressure me to go to church with her or attend any of her Bible studies. No, she did something far more dangerous: She started praying.

Having recently been feeling the need and urgency to pray more, this spoke greatly to me. Baldwin continues on to describe how his wife prayed and lived before him and it was very convicting. I want to become even stronger in prayer.

Baldwin continues on to describe how he became a believer and how his life changed. He even "challenged" God to prove Himself if Baldwin completely submitted to God. God has not let Baldwin down. In fact Baldwin goes on to speak of how life with Jesus is amazing and wonderful. Quite a refreshing look at a person following the Lord.

The biography concludes with a look at ministry and how to reach those that seem unreachable. Baldwin shares about his ministry, Livin' It, as well as other ministries that are reaching those that are in different worlds. He challenges believers to be active and think outside of the box to be relevant to those in different spheres like Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

It is a great challenge for all of us. 

The clear presentation of the Gospel message along with straight forward talk and challenge make this book a worthwhile read. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


871. Having some time with the Lord
872. Starting Numbers
873. Taking a morning nap
874. Having a low key day
875. Beautiful weather
876. Kids getting to play outside
877. Having a TV
878. Healthy kids
879. Getting caught up on shows
880. Taco Bell
881. Gabriel giving me two 4-hour sleep times!
882. Kids sleeping later again
883. Doing school with the kids
884. Having a little one on one time with Reuben
885. Going to playgroup
886. Getting seasonally right sized clothes from Dawn
887. Jen bringing us food
888. Dawn bringing us food
889. Newborn Photos with Chelsey
890. Going to community group
891. Sleeping in a little
892. Gabriel giving me a 4 hour sleep stint
893. Washing my hair
894. Rosetta Stone and getting the equipment for it to work on our older computer
895. Getting books for SWI
896. Meeting with Dawn
897. Having friends who listen and encourage
898. Caroline bringing food
899. Reuben cheering on Jim while he played a game
900. Communication
901. Laughter around the dinner table
902. Gabriel growing
903. Finding out I could get several Amazon gift cards for free!
904. 2 ice cream sundaes free!
905. Blogging
906. Jamey and Lillian working on puzzles together
907. Jamey and Lillian sitting together without fighting
908. Jim's surgery went well
909. Gabriel did well while waiting
910. Finished "The Unusual Suspect"
911. Kids napping
912. Lillian giving Gabriel hugs, kisses and saying "I love you, Gabriel" of her own volition
913. Reuben looking at Gabriel for a few seconds
914. Jamey being very helpful
915. Snuggling with 3 of my kids at the same time
916. Getting to go to writing group for a little bit
917. Rachel getting here
918. Mama and Lillian date
919. Free cup of Mt. Dew
920. Cards from people at home for Gabriel
921. God's Faithfulness
922. Church
923. Balcony full of babies
924. Lillian cheering on her brothers
925. Coupons
926. Jeffrey and Laura bringing dinner
927. A quiet moment with Jim
928. Jim beginning to heal
929. New stuff on Netflix
930. Anticipating all 4 sisters being together

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Due Date

Today is the day that Gabriel was due to be born. Honestly I expected to still be pregnant today, but I am so thankful that I am not and that Gabriel is now with us outside of my body. He is a week and a half old today and it's amazing. Already he is getting so big. He is a great eater and sleeper. He is lifting his head some. He loves to look around. And Jim and I have even gotten a couple of smiles. Gabriel is such a blessing and I am so thankful he is already in my arms.

Due Date Picture

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Am A Mom

For anyone who knows me, that is an obvious statement. But as Gabriel is now a week old it has hit me once again, I am a mom. Not only am I a mom, I am a mom to 4 precious children that God has given to me to raise for Him. I am in even more awe and wonder at this fact as I have been given one more. It is great responsibility and in that it is an honor.

I have always desired a family and a large family at that. I remember dreaming of my children at a young age,  naming them, wondering what they would look like. But this, the children and life God has given me, is far beyond anything I could have ever hoped, dreamed or imagined. I am blessed far more than I deserve to be. But I am thankful. Thankful that in Christ I am worthy to be called a child of God and because of the work Christ has done for me I can hope to raise the children He has loaned to me for His kingdom and His glory.

At times it is overwhelming. Am I fit to raise 4 children? On my own, no. In my own strength, not at all. But in Christ I am fit. In Christ I have the strength to do what He has asked me to do every day and bring up these children in the Lord. Only in Christ are all these things possible.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Jamey Quotes

About Lillian after putting on pajamas: "She is wearing a night gown. She is Wee Willy Winky."

Walking into Rite Aid "We're going to Moldova!" Sadly I had to disappoint him.

"I'm sorry T-rex. I know you're big" after stepping on an inflatable dinosaur.

Me: "Who brought the Isrealites out of Egypt?"
Jamey: "Um, I think there is 1 God in 3 persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit"

Jim: "Jamey, you have a brother."
Jamey: "But Lillian needs a girl."

Jim: "Your brother's name is Gabriel."
Jamey: "That's my Gabriel."

Jim: "Who is your mama?"
Jamey: "Um, my mama's the Lord."

While playing Wheel of Fortune Jim says, "Daddy's awesome"
Jamey responds, "No, Jamey's awesome."

Jamey: "I'm not going to Ninevah."
Me: "Where are you going then?"
Jamey: "In the octopus direction"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Week of Blessing

801. Jamey sleeping until almost 7!
802. Having real quiet time this morning
803. Reading Proverbs 31 to Lillian and talking about it
804. Seeing things God told Israel in Leviticus and connecting it to what I recently learned in Amos
805. Having a God who hears, knows and understands me
806. Finding out Jamey can count farther than I realized
807. Lillian leading us in singing "Jesus Loves Me" during school
808. Jamey signing most of the letters as we sing "ABCs"
809. Reuben responding to questions when asked
810. Jamey spelling his name in sign language
811. Laughter around the lunch table
812. All 3 kids napping
813. Getting to read some
814. Knowing God is not done with me yet
815. Getting a couple of needed things done on my to-do list
816. Swag Codes
817. Learning more
818. Having children who like to learn
819. Watching Jamey trying to figure things out and seeing his imagination
820. Reuben saying, "Mama" climbing into my lap and giving me a big 1 minute hug
821. Listening to Lillian sing with her number video
822. Lillian asking me to sit with her
823. Reuben helping pick up the blocks
824. Reuben motivating Jamey to obey
825. Community Group
826. Having a doctor appointment this morning
827. My water breaking while in the doctor office
828. The doctor office being in the hospital
829. God putting my body into labor
830. Nurses listening and paying attention
831. The labor being mostly easy
832. People stepping up to help us quickly
833. Gabriel Jonathan being born!
834. Having a good transition
835. Gabriel eating quickly and well
836. A short labor
837. Jim telling me about showing Jamey a picture of Gabriel and Jamey saying, "That's my Gabriel."
838. Getting some sleep!
839. Mandy coming by
840. Ali and Asmaa coming by
841. Love and support from the people around us
842. Dad and Mom getting here safely for the weekend
843. Getting more sleep
844. Jim taking his last final for the semester
845. Taking Gabriel home
846. Being greeted at the door by Jamey
847. Jamey's excitement in meeting Gabriel
848. Jamey and Lillian giving Gabriel hugs and kisses
849. Getting to love on my babies
850. Sleeping in my bed
851. Kids sleeping until after 6am!
852. Going to the Women's Gift Exchange
853. Seeing friends
854. Yummy food
855. Taking a nap
856. Jim and Daddy digging up some of the stuff  in the yard
857. Mom making dinner
858. Nice weather
859. Kids getting to play outside
860. Ice cream
861. Kids sleeping until 6 again
862. Jamey sleeping until 7:30 am!
863. Taking Gabriel to church for the first time
864. Olive Garden
865. Lemon Cake
866. Getting to take a nap again!
867. Gabriel sleeping well
868. Gabriel eating well
869. Hanging out with all the kids
870. Knowing that God is continuing to give me strength

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gabriel Jonathan

One week and two days before my due date, God decided to surprise us with the birth of our 4th child! It started as a normal morning with the Lillian wake up call at 5:30am, Bible reading, prayer, Jamey's appearance around 6am, little play time, breakfast, Reuben waking up at 7am and getting ready for my weekly doctor's appointment. School had to be by-passed since the appointment was scheduled for 8:45.

Jim and I left the house just after 8 to go to my appointment. With this pregnancy I have had contractions here and there for weeks so I thought nothing of the fact that I had a couple of contractions during the morning and on the way to the office (which is thankfully connected to the hospital). I signed in and sat to wait to be called back. I was so tired and was just trying to stay awake. I remember thinking I hope they call me back soon and then had a contraction that caused my water to break. That I was not expecting. Jim told the people at the front desk. They got towels and a wheel chair and whisked me down to labor and delivery. I went to triage first (I have never done that before so it was odd) to get admitted and checked out. Though I was not contracting regularly I was around 4cm. They soon moved me over to my designated labor and delivery room and the waiting began. Thankfully my body responded and began to contract regularly after an hour or so. God gave me strength and thankfully held off very intense contractions until the end. Because of my water being broken I was not able to move around as much as I would have liked in the hospital setting, but I was able to move around in the bed to help bring the baby down. Praise the Lord, I did not need anything to augment my labor. It took a little while, but by God's grace my body did what God designed it to do. Around 1:30 I felt the rest of the water break and the baby moved into place. I knew it would not be long.
I am very blessed that when that happens it is quick and at 2:07 pm the baby made it's way into the world. I looked down and Jim said, "It's a boy!" "It's a boy," I responded laughing. I could not believe I had another boy. I really thought this one was a girl based on my pregnancy, though I had had some doubts. But a boy he is and a beautiful one. He weighed in at 7 lbs 11oz and is 19 inches tall. We quickly began kangaroo care and it was wonderful. I love having my baby on me.

I was having trouble seeing his face and I wanted to look at him since we were still not settled on a name. He soon was acting hungry so I got him situated to eat and got a good look at him. We pulled out the boy name list and started working our way through it. After looking at him we realized our current top choice did not fit him. We got it narrowed down to a couple and decided on Gabriel which means God is my strength, the same meaning of our other top choice, but Gabriel fit him much better. The meaning is dear to me as that truly has been my theme in this pregnancy. I have struggled a lot with not being physically strong enough to do the things I needed to for my family during the pregnancy. But God has given me strength. God has given me the grace I needed to do what I can and to learn not to feel like a failure when I had limitations. God truly has been my strength. Jonathan is after Jim's brother, which also means Gift of God. This baby, like all babies, really are gifts from God and we are so blessed to have another child. And so we welcome Gabriel Jonathan to our family.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings

761. Being able to turn on TV shows for the kids so I could sleep a little longer
762. My mom getting Thanksgiving lunch figured out even though it was at my house
763. Thanksgiving lunch as a family
764. Reuben starting to hold hands when we pray
765. Yummy food!
766. Beautiful weather
767. Jim having a job (even though he had to work on Thanksgiving)
768. Jamey being entertained for hours with stickers
769. Talking Bible and theology as a family
770. Being able to encourage and challenge
771. All sleeping until 6:30
772. Having kids who are good eaters
773. Going to Homerun Burgers
774. Getting some black Friday deals at CVS
775. CVS taking responsibility for something that may or may not have been their fault
776. PIZZA!!!!
777. Lillian putting herself to bed by choice
778. Reuben's laughter and clapping
779. Movie night at home
780. Pumpkin cake and cool whip
781. Watching Jim and the kids play
782. Journaling
783. Realizing I have done more on my to do list before baby than I thought
784. Having more books to choose from and read
785. Reading
786. Swagbucks
787. Getting caught up on email
788. Getting pictures uploaded and posted
789. All three kids cooperating for a picture
790. Going to bed early
791. Feeling awake when woken up at 5:30
792. Lillian helping me get out of the bed
793. A reminder of God's heart for His people
794. Taking a nap
795. Getting meals planned and shopping lists made
796. Movie with the kids
797. Evening with the hubby at home
798. Really good price on Rosetta Stone
799. Encouraging blog posts
800. Learning that we are not so alone

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. For me it is a time to relax, spend time with family and eat amazing food. It is still all these things, but as God has been growing my heart I have realized how much I do have to be thankful for. I have been posting blessings when I get the chance so I'm not going to go back and list out things I am thankful for, but I wanted to reflect on the things I have learned as I walk with the Lord and share what I am most thankful for.

In the past 6 months in particular I have learned a great deal about God, the Bible, His ways and how He sees me. I struggle a lot with what I am suppose to do for God. I tend to think I have to do things a certain way, act a certain way, talk a certain way, etc. But in the last few months I have been shown and taught the Gospel in many different ways that have helped me to realize and understand that there is nothing I am suppose to do or have to do. Jesus did all the work for me on the cross. He took all of my sin and shame upon His body when He died and left it in the grave when He arose three days later. Apart from Christ I am nothing and I can do no good. There is no way for me to please God. But in Christ I can do the will of the Father. I am covered by the blood of Jesus and there is no work for me to do. But because of the work Christ has done in me, I desire to do good works for God. God has given us good works to do, not to earn or secure our salvation, but to bring Him glory, which is our aim. The more I learn the more I see what I am to do at this stage of my life and in the place God has put me so that I can bring Him glory. But it is only because of His work that this is possible.

This is what I am most thankful for this year and I pray that it never stops.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting Caught Up Before Thanksgiving

721. Church
722. New Sojourn Music! (Check out the new album here
723. Being reminded that I cannot earn my salvation and Jesus died so I can live a life beyond sin and death
724. Mexican food
725. Finding out all of the Emers are coming in December!
726. Movie afternoon (since the kids decided not to nap)
727. Finding good deals at CVS
728. Relaxing Sunday
729. Beautiful weather
730. Getting grocery store and CVS run done at the same time
731. Free Cookies!!!!!
732. Laughs and giggles
733. 3 kids napping
734. Getting some cleaning done
735. A fun evening with the kids
736. Becca getting home early
737. Finding out Becca's class was canceled for Wednesday night
738. Reaching Swagbuck goals
739. Banana split ice cream
740. Early sleep
741. Playgroup
742. "Meeting" a new mom
743. Getting to spend time with sisters while our kids play
744. Family lunch on a Tuesday
745. Jim finished Greek for the semester!
746. Getting more stuff done
747. Going to the pool for a few minutes
748. Talking to a sister about birthing classes and finding more information to help educate women about birth
749. Meeting Mrs. Sills and Molly (very encouraging)
750. Getting done in the pool early
751. Community group dinner
752. Encouraging brothers and sisters
753. Organizing the office
754. Going through clothes
755. Getting some cleaning done
756. Seeing Dawn after 2 1/2 weeks
757. Encouraging conversation
758. Family getting here safely
759. Planning family pictures for December
760. Laughs, hugs and play

Saturday, November 17, 2012


681. Having the option of educational videos when needed
682. Given unplanned time to write
683. Kids laughs
684. Watching Jamey figure out how to make things
685. Seeing the kids imagination come alive
686. Lillian's singing
687. Time to read
688. Staying healthy
689. Kids going to bed early without complaint
690. Early bedtime
691. Getting needed emails done
692. Learning more about priorities
693. Getting registered for SWI classes next semester
694. All taking an early nap
695. Being able to visit sister Kara
696. Small water aerobics class
697. Getting to meet and talk to another sister
698. Getting two sandwiches for the price of one!
699. A great last night of Amos class
700. Being challenged to know God's Word better
701. Kids sleeping until 6!
702. Getting some extra needed sleep
703. Hanging out with my kids
704. Yummy food
705. Kids wanting me
706. Reuben loving on Jim
707. Getting some of my book typed up
708. Kids going to bed without fight
709. Going to CVS and Rite Aid
710. Treats
711. Kids sleeping until 6 again!
712. Skyping with Brit, Brendon and Kylee to wish Brendon Happy Birthday!
713. Feeling really good this morning! (is this a good sign?)
714. Having a great time of prayer and Bible reading
715. Learning more of the Torah
716. Writing Group
717. Panera breakfast
718. Kids napping for 4 hours!
719. Catching up on TV shows
720. Relaxing evening as a family

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary Message

I just took this class in SWI with Dr. T.J Betts, author of the supplemental text with the title above. Recently God has given me a passion for studying the Old Testament, and it was a privilege to sit under this teacher and learn more about Amos. Though it is a Minor Prophet and only 9 chapters long, there is a lot of information and much to be learned from this book. The commentary helped in understanding the text and the context of Amos. The questions at the end of each chapter also guided me in thinking in depth about God, His nature, and what He teaches us today. In this study, God opened my eyes to see how this applies to His Word as a whole and points to Christ. It was quite convicting and I hope and pray God will continue to work on my heart as I study the Bible and learn it better.

I encourage everyone to read Amos, and if you are looking for a commentary I highly recommend this book to read along side or to do in a group Bible study.

In the course of the class we had some challenging thoughts and questions that I would like to share.

God is patient, but His patience has a limit.
Are we trifling with God's patience?

God judges the pagan nations based on what they know. God judges Israel based on what they know, and they know the truth of God's Word and have His law.

How can we bless the nations for God's glory when we are not blessing each other.

Have we been faithful to the Gospel by word and deed?

Where is your security?

Those who reject the Lord are dead.

Does your future truly hold what you think it holds?
Am I truly living for Christ? Is that my heart?
Is your worship of the Lord truly worship of the Lord?
Why do we do what we do? For ourselves or for Christ?

God is against the pride of humanity.

What does it mean to be humble?

A "whoa is me" attitude is looking at ourselves too much and is false humility.
Humility is complete dependence on God.
Confidence comes from our relationship with Christ and who we are in Him.

If there were really a famine of God's Word, how much would we miss it?
How long would you last on what you know of God's Word right now?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reading to Write

When I returned from the writing retreat I was so on fire for my writing. I am still strongly desiring to write, the passion is still there. But as life as continued to get more exhausting and I have written what I planned to write I have gotten discouraged and will go days without writing. I may write in my journal and I can usually manage to do that most days, but my book is a struggle. This is frustrating as my goal is to be finished with it by March and I will be adding a new family member in the middle of that time.

So Thursday afternoon as I sat in my kids room I decided instead of writing I would read a book I borrowed from the library and it was like a breath of fresh air. Do not ask me why, but it helped me to relax and the next couple of days I was able to work on my book, even though I am not sure of the next specific steps I was able to plug through. I have limited hours in the day right now it feels as I am requiring more sleep currently and have 3 kids and a husband to care for as well as a house to run to the best of my capability. But I am realizing that reading helps to inspire writing and I need to do both more in the midst of preparing my home for baby number 4.

661. Having a family fun day
662. Getting needed emails written
663. Watching the kids play together on the playground
664. Jamey wanting to help Reuben
665. Talking through my next classes with Jim
666. Target!
667. Relaxing in the afternoon
668. TV shows
669. Playing games
670. Watching the kids play horse for each other
671. Church!
672. Catching up with Kristen
673. Brothers and Sister we can connect with and love on even when we do not get to talk often
674. Kids resting
675. Getting to read some
676. Laughing with my family
677. Laughing with my kids
678. The honesty of children
679. More time with the family
680. Kids in bed early
681. Jim letting me sleep until 8!
682. Still getting school done
683. Lillian comforting Reuben when he was upset
684. Reuben allowing Lillian to comfort him and hugging her
685. Grocery store without kids
686. Sticking to the list!
687. Quiet afternoon
688. Taking a hot shower just because
689. Teacher's tournament on Jeopardy
670. Going to bed early
671. Everybody sleeping until 7:30!
672. Another lazy day at home
673. Getting lots of laundry done
674. Taking a nap (even if by accident)
675. Prayer time at Sojourn
676. Meeting another worker and connecting with her
677. New brother at Community Group
678. Knowing Satan is threatened by what God's people are doing
679. The Holy Spirit sustaining me in all things
680. God's faithfulness

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Baby is a Coming

If Mama "neediness" is a sign of a baby coming, this baby should be born next week. The last couple of weeks the need of and cling to me has increased greatly, especially of Jamey and Lillian. In fact, my 3 1/2 year old has reverted back to about 18 months! He is always whining, wants me to be everywhere with him and "needs" me to help him eat. It's insane. Some of Lillian's antics I associate with being 2, but she picks the strangest things she needs help with but then thinks she can do things she cannot. Reuben has moments of clinginess, but he is more attached to Daddy at the moment, which is nice so I am only wrestling with 2. I do love it when he wants to snuggle though.

So anyone familiar with kids regressing prior to delivery?

641. Kids wanting to snuggle
642. Hearing Jamey sing Bible verses in the back seat
643. Jamey and Lillian asking to listen to Bible verse songs (can learn a lot from this)
644. Reuben clapping while we sing
645. Excitement about school
646. Reuben being in school and enjoying it
647. Jamey and Lillian saying Scripture and learning character definitions
648. Continuing to learn about God as I study Amos
649. Meeting new people at water aerobics
650. Seeing parallels to Israel and myself (not in a good way but eye opening)
651. Catching up with Ashley Wells (love this girl and her story)
652. Being awake to greet Jim
653. MOMStogether!
654. Meeting a former worker in Russia
655. Getting an afternoon nap
656. All 3 kids napping
657. Making holiday plans with the family
658. Having family come to us this year
659. Kids in bed on time with little fight
660. Getting to sleep early

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


601. Hearing from a brother from England on Sunday morning
602. Learning about the warning of judgement being a blessing
603. Lazy Sunday afternoon
604. Being able to keep the kids up to help get them back on schedule
605. Kids going to bed without any fight or getting up half a dozen times!
606. Going to bed at 7:30!
607. Feeling sort of rested after the time change
608. Kids begging to do school
609. Getting done with morning routine including school by 8:15
610. Growing in meal planning
611. Going to the grocery store without kids
612. Kids being excited to see us
613. A cuddly Jamey
614. Jamey and Lillian "reading" their Bible and knowing that John 14:6 is in the Bible
615. Watching Jamey and Lillian "journal"
616. Jamey loving to journal
617. Reuben's playful spirit and laughter
618. All 3 kids taking a nap
619. Jim being off from work
620. Getting to watch some TV shows
621. Women's prayer- great time of prayer and fellowship
622. Living in a nation that can vote
623. Living in a nation that where I am free to serve God as He leads
624. Becca not having class and going to playgroup with us
625. Catching up with sisters I have not seen in a while
626. All 3 kids napping again!
627. Being able to journal and write
628. Getting a little down/rest time
629. Going to prayer time at Sojourn
630. Talking to one of the interns interested in going overseas
631. Community Group
632. Going to bed before 10
633. More eagerness to learn from the kids
634. Going to the store to get fun stuff for little money!
635. Making lunch!
636. The kids eating up their tilapia, sweet potatoes and broccoli
637. Lillian serenading us with "Jesus Loves Me" (signs included) and the ABCs
638. Jamey cheering Lillian on
639. Lillian being everyones cheerleader
640. Strength to endure even in fatigue

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3 Days of Blessings

571. Getting things done
572. Making cookies with the kids
573. Learning to make cookies from scratch
574. The cookies turning out yummy
575. Talking with sisters at water aerobics
576. Being there to help a sister who passed out
577. Teachers who speak truth into your life
578. Being reminded that it is only by God's grace that I can fight sin
579. Talking with sisters after class
580. Free ebooks and great deals
581. 8 Ladies at women's prayer!
582. Wonderful time of worship, prayer, fellowship and snacks
583. Seeing God answer prayer
584. Jamey making us laugh with his funny sayings
585. Seeing a friend at McDonald's we have not seen in a while
586. Watching a few new TV shows
587. Nice family evening
588. Teaching the kids to play Risk
589. Kids having a decent attitude about staying up to prepare for time change
590. Women's Conference at Sojourn
591. Seeing many sisters at the conference
592. Having lunch with Rachel and Melanie
593. Melanie treating us to lunch
594. Sitting under Biblical teaching on Biblical womanhood
595. God teaching me more about Biblical womanhood
596. Watching Jamey and Lillian "take turns"
597. The kids wanting to sit sit me and snuggle
598. Hearing Jamey make connections
599. Hearing Lillian make connections
600. Just talking with my kids

Friday, November 2, 2012

Jamey Quotes

Jim put Reuben on his head and said "Do you like my hat?"
Jamey: "It's not a hat, it's a shlapa!" (Russian for hat)

Jamey singing "He is the Truth, the Life, the Way" repeating
Me: "Who are you singing about?"
Jamey: "Jesus is the Truth"

In the back of the car today: "I want to go to Moldova and Russia"

Walking to playgroup this week: "I want to go to earth"

His imagination coming out- He says regularly that he is Lillian, a Monkey, Cow, Horse-Duck (from one of his toys), Mr. Incredible, Jafar, Prince Ali, Lion King, Wart Hog, and many many others

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Women's Prayer

I cannot believe we have reached the last 2 times of women's prayer for 2012. With the baby coming in December and the holiday season we will not be meeting at the beginning of December. It has been a  great year getting to know our workers and learning more about prayer. I hope that God will continue to grow me in this area and will also grow others.

So Sojourner Women come join us for out last meeting of 2012 to pray for those serving the Lord in other countries!
This Friday- November 2 at 10 am
Next Monday- November 5 at 7 pm

At my house (please email for address at

We will be praying as well as preparing Christmas cards for our workers
Feel free to bring a holiday treat to share!

Hoping to see many for this great time of worship, service and fellowship!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So Much to be Thankful For

501. Being a child of God
502. Having Becca with us
503. Having a TV as an option (even when I don't want to use it but it's all I can manage)
504. Friends who love me and accept me as Christ does
505. Dawn hanging out in the middle of a long day
506. Seeing Jamey playing with kids younger than him well
507. Laughs and giggles from kids playing
508. Lillian walking around quoting Scripture
509. God using sisters to speak into my life
510. The Holy Spirit's conviction and revealing of my heart as I study Amos
511. Getting to swim once a week
512. Sarah Sloan and her help in thinking through how to best proceed in women's prayer
513. Encouragement
514. Naps! (All 3 kids and me)
515. Rite Aid deals
516. Costume parties
517. Fun food with fun friends
518. Meeting more Sojourn women
519. Being used by God as a confirmation for a sister
520. Seeing friends I haven't seen in awhile
521. Kids playing games together
522. Writing group
523. Being affirmed in talents God has given me
524. Learning how to use the talents
525. People who can help me with grammar :)
526. A lazy Saturday afternoon
527. Celebrating a friend's birthday
528. Meeting more Sojourn sisters
529. Meeting a couple who want to serve in Eastern Europe! (This is a huge blessing and answer to prayer)
530. Meeting Eliana
531. God's faithfulness
532. The kids wanting me (even though there are times this can feel burdensome)
533. Sojourn pastors feeling the conviction to pray more as individuals and a church
534. Being encouraged to pray
535. Pastors confessing their weaknesses to encourage us
536. The opening of the prayer chapel this week
537. Jim being able to help friends move
538. Great pizza deals
539. Pizza and movie in the living room
540. Family play time
541. Being able to run to the grocery store without kids
542. Running into people from church
543. A very active baby
544. Healthy family
545. Kids going to bed well
546. Becca coming home early
547. Going to bed at 8pm!!!!!
548. Getting 10 hours of much needed sleep!!!!!
549. Finding out I get to see Brit and her family this year!
550. Accountability
551. Going to the Tuesday 5pm international prayer time at Sojourn!
552. Quick dinners
553. Community group
554. Homemade Mocha
555. Sisters that love and encourage each other
556. Hearing the heart that God has changed
557. Having lesson plans done for me
558. Walmart run!
559. Jamey asking to journal
560. Jamey's excitement and finally getting a journal to "write" in (cannot wait to start that in the morning)
561. Teaching my kids about reading the Bible and journaling
562. Having time with the Lord every morning this week
563. Though it was a tiring week, God saw me through
564. Getting home made cookie dough made
565. Snugly kids
566. Reuben's personality really blossoming
567. Seeing my kids becoming best friends
568. Seeing God at work in my family
569. Learning how to love my family more each day
570. Learning to be gracious when I don't get everything done

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Today launched a 2 month prayer emphasis at Sojourn Community Church. I am so stoked about this! Prayer has always been an area of struggle for me. But recently the Holy Spirit has been convicting me about my lack of prayer and teaching me how to pray faithfully, even when I do not feel like it or I do not know what to say. Many of our pastors have been feeling the conviction to pray more as well which has led to the sermon today and the opening of the prayer chapel in our St. Vincent facility.

There will be 3 prayer services held Monday through Friday at 7am, 12pm, and 5pm.

If you live in Louisville come and pray with other believers. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:20. Come and lift up this city. Pray for God to work and show us His way. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move mightily and call people to himself. Pray for our leaders, that they will be filled with God's wisdom and seek what is best for all. Pray for those sharing the Good News around the world and that those who hear the Good News will be saved!

Some of the times are adopted by certain ministries. I do not know them all, but as part of the International missions ministry I know we will be meeting Tuesdays at 5pm and Fridays at 7am to pray for the nations.

No matter when you can, come pray. It is the most important thing we can do.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Catching Up Again

461. Water Aerobics
462. In depth study of Amos
463. A night for personal growth once a week
464. Chicken salad sandwiches
465. 3 Kids napping at the same time for the same length
466. Getting to talk to my sister
467. Journals
468. Helping friends with a yard sale
469. Seeing God work in the yard sale for them to get rid of things and make some money
470. Meeting more Sojourners
471. Getting to talk pregnancy, labor and delivery
472. Opportunities to encourage others
473. Jamey teaching Lillian her ABCs
474. Jamey and Lillian singing together
475. Reuben being loving
476. Jamey and Reuben wrestling and giving kisses
477. Seeing God's grace at work in my kids
478. Sojourn's fall festival
479. Seeing Dave, meeting his family and him meeting mine
480. Seeing other friends I have not talked to in a while
481. Friends letting us take left over items to Goodwill :)
482. Evening to relax
483. Early bedtime
484. Sojourn J-town
485. Parent/Child Dedication service
486. Being reminded that God never checks out on us and we should not check out on our kids
487. Meeting another family interested in missions
488. Going to lunch with other people from church (miss doing this regularly)
489. Getting the office almost organized! (still have a little more to do but it's more functional)
490. Prayer time at our friends' house
491. Getting a free desk!
492. Grocery store without kids :)
493. Back massage
494. Blue Bell on sale!
495. Seeing the kids learn more everyday
496. Jamey trying to read a little
497. Active kids
498. Friends who help and are supportive even when your kids do embarrassing things
499. Rest
500. Brothers and Sisters who encourage you when they are in the midst of an unthinkable tragedy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not In My Own Strength

Today was one of those days. One you don't want to write about or really remember. But it's one of those days that I remember that God is my strength and only by His grace and work in my heart can I even get through.

I woke up at 7:30 when I heard some noise coming from across the house. I was dreaming vividly when the sounds woke me so it took a few minutes to come to reality. If you have been awaken during a dream you know the state. When I realized the time I thought, "Yay! The kids slept in again." I walk to the kitchen and was greeted by my sister huffing, "finally!" Apparently the kids had been up for an hour and a half but had failed to come get me when they got up and had not made enough noise to wake me up. So that is how the day began.

Jamey was crazy hyper and clearly had not slept enough. We began the day with immediate disobedience and defiance. I ended up sending him back to his bed to lie down for 30 minutes because he was so crazy.

Lillian also had a bit of an attitude, but that seems to be the new norm for her right now.

Thankfully school time went smoothly, even with Reuben joining us. I was able to finish unpacking boxes while they played upstairs. These were the clear blessings for the day.

After lunch the disobedience and disrespect came out with a vengeance as well as fighting among all three. This called for an early rest time. They were all sleepy, clearly, but trying to explain to a 3 1/2 year old why he needs to sleep is futile. Thankfully the younger 2 went to sleep fairly quickly, but Jamey did everything he could to fight it and with blatant disobedience. After 2 hours I was over it! And it went on for 4 1/2 hours.

These are those sanctifying days. These are the days that I marvel at God's patience with His children. These are the days that I see God molding me into Christ likeness even though I don't want to be. These are the days that I cry out, "Lord, I cannot do this! I cannot go on like this!"

And ironically, this is God's grace. This is where He wants us. On our knees relying on Him to get us through and to become more like Him.

One day I will act in love instead of reacting in anger. One day I will think rightly.

But until then, I will fight with Jesus by my side. I will fail and repent and He will pick me up again and I will continue on until I see Him face to face and I will be perfect as He is perfect.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blessings I Can Remember

416.  Family outing to the zoo
417. Watching the kids enjoy the animals
418. Meeting other people who avoid the reptile house
419. Spontaneous Fellowship
420. Ice cream cake!
421. Talking about labor and delivery
422. Meeting new people
423. Restful Sunday
424. Afternoon nap
425. Being reminded that we have to work at building relationships, but that they are a gift
426. Watching Reuben tackle Jamey thinking he can win
427. The laughter of my children
428. All three kids wanting to cuddle and give hugs
429. All three kids sleeping until 7:30! (This is super late for Jamey and Lillian)
430. Being able to write again
431. Spending time with the Lord
432. Taking only one child to the grocery store
433. Lillian walking around quoting Scripture
434. Jamey and Lillian both asking to pray
435. Bedtime with little fight
436. Having lesson plans ready each morning (loving Sonlight right now)
437. All three kids sleeping until 7!
438. Playgroup
439. Reuben playing on the playground
440. Sweet Fellowship
441. Sisters who pray for each other
442. Sisters who can be vulnerable with each other
443. Reading
444. Writing another page and a half in my book (still trying to get back in a good routine)
445. Journal
446. Free e-books
447. Free readers and spelling book
448. Community
449. Cake
450. Great time of prayer and Bible reading
451. Finishing my homework the day before it is due
452. Seeing Asmaa
453. Iraqi Food!
454. Watching my kids enjoy and devour Iraqi food!
455. More Cake
456. Going through boxes
457. New TV episodes
458. A moment to sit down and blog
459. Grace
460. God does not leave us where we are

Friday, October 12, 2012

Off Week

I do not even know where this week went. It has been a blur and totally odd. With Jim's schedule getting changed for the later half of last week the craziness spilled over into this one, as well as other things here and there that made the week crazy. I have felt exhausted everyday, like I was walking in a cloud. I did not pray or read my Bible as I should. I did not write but a little and I could not seem to muster the desire to write. It was like most days my brain was not even working. Next week we need to get back on our schedule. Everyone feels it when we get off and it makes for grumpy kids and non-present mama. Not a great combination! In fact, I sat down a couple times to write out my blessings and I didn't even want to do that. Even in the chaos there was so much to be thankful for, but I didn't want to be grateful! What a crummy attitude. I hope I can remember the blessings for the week. Even now I still feel like my head is in a cloud and I just want to go to sleep! But sometimes discipline is necessary even in the fog. And so I write tonight to  the best of my ability.

381. Walking to church when it is cool
382. Fall weather
383. Jim off from work for 2 days
384. Several Amazon gift cards
385. Movies!
386. Playgroup
387. Learning more about dental care for kids
388. Jim wrestling with the kids
389. Date Night!
390. Accountability without kids running around
391. New Keyboard!
392. New crockpot
393. Maternity clothes from Dawn
394. Member meeting
395. Finally meeting Anastasia
396. Making further connection with Sofia
397. Cheesecake!!!
398. Learning about new websites that pay you for stuff
399. Water aerobics!
400. SWI starting back
401. Learning the background of Amos
402. Frozen Pizza
403. MOMstogether
404. More connections to Eastern Europe
405. Normal pregnancy
406. Healthy kids
407. Watching Jamey sing Bible verses in the rear view mirror
408. Reuben clapping
409. Jamey and Reuben wrestling
410. Jamey and Lillian snuggling on the sofa
411. Jamey wanting to take responsibilities
412. Opportunities to teach things
413. Blondies
414. Yummy filling breakfast
415. God sustains His people

Sunday, October 7, 2012

All I Have is Yours

by Rebecca Elliott and Bobby Gilles

Creator giver of all things 
All I have is yours 
Accept my humble offering 
All I have is yours

When I was chained to greed and pride
Tight-fisted destined just to die
You paid my debt and bought my life 
All I have is yours

All I have
All I have
All I have is yours

This offering is a means of grace 
All I have is yours 
You show me this to grow my faith 
All I have is yours

The more I give the less I need 
I learn that youʼll provide for me 
Was blind to this but now I see 
That all I have is yours.

© 2006 Bobby Gilles and Sojourn Community Church
CCLI Song #4878364
CCLI License #1888971

Saturday, October 6, 2012


So today, for the first time in quite awhile, I ran errands with all three kids in toe. It is seriously by the grace of God we made it. We had 3 stops so 3 loading and unloadings, 3 buggies, lots of listening, clear speaking, lots of patience and the need for food as we were out during snack/lunch time. Reuben is also in the process of going down to one nap so I stretched him during this time and he did really well except when I put him in the carseat. I was able to get good deals on the things I needed, which was great. And I managed to do it all in about 2 hours. God is good!

Today's Blessings
361. Good outing
362. Jamey helping his siblings
363. Lillian helping with the shopping
364. Reuben not fussing in the carts and not fighting the seatbelt
365. Good deals: getting a lot for little money plus money back
366. Great deal on Zulily: I was able to get 2 maternity shirts for less than $15!
367. Able to get money back for online shopping :) (check out
368. Time to veg a little this afternoon
369. Jamey snuggling with me
370. Jamey and Lillian sitting in my lap while enjoying a movie together
371. Sweet Tea
372. Watching Lillian sleep in the chair
373. Getting coupons in the mail
374. Reuben snuggling with me in the floor
375. Watching Jamey and Reuben give hugs
376. Getting laundry done
377. A sunny day when rain was expected
378. Swagbucks
379. Knowing that what we are teaching the kids is sinking in, even if they are lecturing lids and blocks
380. Watching Jamey and Lillian enjoy being together

When He Returns by Bob Dylan

This was the song for communion last week and I was amazed by it. Very thoughtful and well written, it is really beautiful and a hopeful reminder as we wait for Christ to return.
The iron hand, it ain't no match for the iron rodThe strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty GodFor all those who have eyes and all those who have earsIt is only he who can reduce me to tears

Don't you cry and don't you die and don't you burnFor like a thief in the nightHe'll replace wrong with rightWhen he returns

Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes throughHe unleashed his power at an unknown hour that no one knewHow long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?

Can I cast it aside, all this loyalty and this pride?Will I ever learn that there'll be no peaceThat the war won't ceaseUntil he returns?

Surrender your crown on this blood-stained ground, take off your maskHe sees your deeds, he knows your needs even before you askHow long can you falsify and deny what is real?How long can you hate yourself for the weakness you conceal?

Of every earthly plan that be known to manHe is unconcernedHe's got plans of his own to set up his throneWhen he returns

Friday, October 5, 2012

Far Behind on the Weeks Blessings

306. Missions Cookout
307. Nathan and Sarah Sloan
308. Connecting with others who are missions minded
309. Walking
310. Finally meeting Milli!
311. It being October
312. The weather cooling down
313. Kids asking to do school
314. Lillian walking around saying Bible verses
315. Waking up to Jamey singing "Jesus Loves Me"
316. Reuben loving to clap and clapping often
317. Jamey and Lillian "reading" their Bibles during quiet time in the morning
318. Quills coffee!
319. Dawn
320. Praying with Becca
321. Playgroup
322. Watching the kids play together on the playground
323. Jamey helping Lillian climb
324. Seeing Jamey step into the big brother role
325. Community Group
326. Going to the pool as a family
327. Water Aerobics
328. Time with Jim in the evenings
329. Seeing the kids' faces light up when Jim got home from class early
330. Journaling everyday
331. Keeping up with my story
332. Finishing 2 of the books I have been working on
333. Starting a new book that I have been waiting for from the library for a couple months
334. Reuben grabbing Jamey in a hug and laughing
335. The boys wrestling
336. Lillian wanting to be the big sister/acting like a little mama
337. All 3 kids napping at the same time twice this week
338. Getting to nap
339. Getting some work done on the office
340. Jamey making patterns on his own
341. Women's Prayer
342. Erin Owen
343. Opportunities to meet more moms
344. Making a connection with someone I can reach out to
345. Free ebooks
346. Free samples
347. Cookies and Brownies
348. Options
349. Lillian initiating singing
350. Jamey singing Bible verses and Sojourn music
351. Watching Jamey act out Aladdin (Yes I realize that means he has seen it too many times :) )
352. Sunshine after a rainy week
353. Jamey and Lillian singing together
354. Jamey and Lillian giving hugs, kisses and saying good-night to Reuben in unison
355. Reuben's laughter
356. Laughing together as a family for no reason, just to laugh
357. Paper and pencil
358. Starting a new journal
359. Being alive in Christ
360. Scandalous Grace

Thursday, October 4, 2012

To Siberia

by Per Petterson

This book was told in first person by a woman reflecting on her life, particularly in the WWII era. I picked it up because of the title and the description on the inside cover. I don't know if it was the translation or lack of clear story line, but I had a very hard time following this book, which made it unenjoyable. There were parts that I really liked and as a piece of art it is beautiful, but as a story I did not like it. I think this would appeal to some, but I believe it would be a certain type of person who would really be able to enjoy it. Maybe in the future I will learn Norwegian, read it in its original text and like it better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mere Christianity

After years of wanting to read this book I finally did! Aside from books in The Chronicles of Narnia, this is my first C.S. Lewis read. This book was very good and a great overview of the Christian faith. I very much appreciated the break down of elements and how he was able to simply put things that Christians as a whole believe. I wish I had written on each chapter as I went and perhaps I may reread it in the future and delve more into my thoughts on each chapter, but I am always impressed when someone can explain something to vast in a way that is easy to understand. That being said, I did not agree with everything he wrote, but as a whole I found him to be Biblically and theologically sound to the best of my knowledge and understanding.

I hope to read more of his books soon, but I do like to vary my authors.

Have you read this book? Thoughts?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Missions Cookout

Yesterday we had a cookout to connect with missions minded people at our International director's house. This was so much fun and a great time of networking. There were some whom I had met before and some whom I had not. I was able to talk to 13 women who did not know much about women's prayer and add them to the email list. It was so encouraging and exciting to hear so many people talk about taking the Good News to the world!
I hope and pray that many more will come and feel the burden to pray for God to make His Name great among the nations. Women's prayer is this week and we have 2 more next month before the end of the year.
I do want to give my own personal shout out here to Nathan and Sarah Sloan, our international director and his wife. They have such a heart for equipping people to go to the nations and encouraging the local church to be a part of what God is doing around the world. They are such a blessing to Sojourn and I am so blessed to know them.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Absent from Flesh

By Isaac Watts and Jamie Barnes

Absent from flesh, O blissful thought
What joy this moment brings
Freed from the blame my sin has brought,
From pain and death and its sting.

Absent from flesh, O Glorious day! 
In one triumphant stroke
My reckoning paid, my charges dropped 
and the bonds 'round my hands are broke.


I go where God and glory shine,
To one eternal day
This failing body I now resign,
For the angels point my way.
For the angels point my way.

Absent from flesh! then rise, my soul, 
Where feet nor wings could climb, 
Beyond the sky, where planets roll, 
And beyond all keep of time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Reflections on a Week of Writing

At the writing retreat last weekend we were challenged to write 20 minutes a day. I was also given the personal challenge of writing a page a day on a book that has been in the works for over 10 years (I honestly do not remember when I started it). So Monday I started with this challenge and it has been refreshing. During the kids rest time I sit in their room to help them actually rest (this is another story) and I take my journal and book with me. I began by writing in my journal about the events of the day or since the last time I wrote in it and anything that God is teaching me or feelings that I need to write out to work through. When I finish journaling, which usually takes more than 20 minutes, I pull out my story and write. Everyday I have written at least a page and most days I have written more than that! As I was typing up what I have added since the last time I typed I realized I have written 10 pages (handwritten) and most of which was done this week. That is more than a page a day with only five days of writing. God has really blessed my faithfulness to sit and write as I believe this is something he wants me to do. Just getting in the habit is refreshing. I decided to take the weekend off of this, like you would with a 9 to 5 job, and will begin again on Monday. Though writing is wonderful and therapeutic for me, the break, especially from story writing, is good. I do plan to journal during the weekends as it is great for life in general. And life is what leads to creative writing of all kinds.
To punctuate this productive week, the writing group I am a part of met this morning. This group is always encouraging and uplifting, and today was no exception. I love having a safe environment to share and receive feedback. God gives such good gifts.
Blessings Today
296. Writing Group
297. Claire DeBakey
298. Shannon Skelton
299. Marie Peterson
300. Amanda Noonan
301. Paper and Pencil
302. Computers
303. Jamey acting out his favorite movies
304. Reuben laughing when Jamey holds his hand to pray
305. Reuben reaching for Jamey and Lillian to give them hugs and kisses before bed

Friday, September 28, 2012

Things to Remember

271. Going to water aerobics
272. Playgroup
273. Rain
274. Jamey singing Bible verse songs in the back seat
275. Lillian walking around quoting Bible verses (Ephesians 6:1 is her favorite :))
276. Reuben getting excited and clapping his hands
277. Listening to laughter of Jim and the kids wrestling
278. Jamey wanting to help Lillian and Reuben
279. Singing with my kids
280. Kids getting excited about school
281. Reuben's giggles
282. All 3 kids playing together
283. Starting to teach Jamey how to take pictures
284. Going to bed early
285. SWI
286. Ashley Wells encouragement and advice
287. Homemade cookies
288. Meeting new people
289. Family outing after 4 straight rainy days
290. God being real and personal
291. Writing in my journal everyday
292. Writing at least 1 page of my book everyday
293. Clean hair
294. Two new rose blooms
295. New season of TV shows

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food, Fitness and Faith

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Food, Fitness, and Faith for Women: A 21 Day Journey to a New You was our book for my current SWI class, Raising Healthy families. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Based on the title I thought 21 days with 21 things to do, essentially a what to do guide book. That was not the case. This book was insightful  challenging and Scripturally based. There was no "you must do this" or "you cannot do that". Instead each day had a topic on health weather physical, spiritual or emotional and they discussed the subject with Scripture and thoughts. It gave suggestions, but ultimately said that anything you do needs to be discussed with the Lord and physical decisions should be discussed with your doctor.

My favorite aspect was the questions to consider at the end of each chapter. There was nothing fancy, simply things to think about and write down goals or ways to apply what you are learning. There is no guilt just facts and things for you to think on.

I highly recommend this book. Though it says for women, I found it very straight forward and not overly girly so I think a man could read it if he so desired.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Writing Retreat!

What an amazing weekend! It was tiring, but educational and so much fun. I love writing and I love being around people who love to write. It was such a blessing to be able to go with 10 other people to a beautiful mountain cabin and discuss what writing is and how it is glorifying to God. God is the Creator of all things, the maker of Heaven and Earth. We are created in the image of God and therefore we also have the ability to create. Writing is creating! And therefore it is God honoring to create, to write. I personally believe that these talents can be used falsely and create things that are not God honoring, but if we are seeking the Lord, let our creative juices flow and see what beautiful things we can create!

261. Kids laughing
262. SWI
263. Learning about herbs and spices and how good they are for us
264. Learning about creative prayers
265. God reiterating to me that He wants me to create
266. Walking with Ann
267. Walking about 3 miles!
268. Quills Coffee (I cannot get addicted)
269. Meeting new people who like to write
270. Meeting people who are different than me and I can learn from
271. Being able to discuss differences
272. Courage to spend a day with people I don't know
273. Courage to share my creativity
274. Being able to encourage others
275. Being encouraged by others
276. Learning to see things in a different creative light
277. The sunset
278. Learning more about God's grace
279. Not being able to fully comprehend who God is
280. Being able to seek God and know Him more
281. Getting a few pictures hung
282. Jim and Becca thoroughly cleaning the kitchen
283. A fenced yard the kids can play in
284. Jamey and Lillian helping to put up groceries
285. Jamey knowing where the groceries go
286. Finding several things we needed on manager's special
287. Watching Jamey playing with Reuben
288. Reuben giggling at Jamey's antics
289. Reuben in the kids room!
290. All 3 kids napping at the same time for about 3 hours!
291. Getting to journal
292. Writing almost 2 pages in my story
293. Jamey talking in funny voices
294. Jamey singing to the Bible verse CD
295. Jamey saying Scripture
296. Lillian saying Scripture
267. Watching my kids make connections
268. Lillian's funny sense of humor
269. Sleep
270. Having access to the Bible

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blurry Days

Monday and Tuesday I was awoken around 4am to fussing and was never really able to get back to sleep. It has been very blurry from lack of sleep. God has been very gracious to me and I am so grateful. He has given me endurance, perseverance and patience. He also gave me time of sweet communion with Him! I do not remember much from the days in general, but I can testify to the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father.

241. Early mornings that allow an hour with the Lord
242. NAP! in the whole house
243. Rain
244. Cooler weather
245. Playgroup
246. Dawn
247. Coupons and Good deals
248. Community group
249. Transparency
250. Sleeping until 7am!
251. Catching up in my journal
252. Having a Bible to read
253. Reading some for fun
254. Jim!
255. Sarah Sloan
256. Banana bread
257. Kids napping at the same time
258. Becca making Mac and cheese
259. Grilled chicken instead of breaded
260. New season of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Amazing Weekend

Jim and I had the privilege to attend the SWI Family Life Conference over the weekend. It was such an amazing blessing as well as many other blessings that came with it. I love being part of a community that values family so highly and desires that their students be equipped with the knowledge of Scripture in what God desires for family. A large portion dealt with marriage and how to put your marriage as a priority. It was not a list of do this and don't do that, rather it was a time to learn from a seasoned couple in ministry and have God's Word poured into us about marriage and ministry. I may post a few things I learned at another time as it is getting late and I want to write out the blessings God poured out this weekend in just a couple short days. God answers prayer!

206. Family Life Conference
207. Meeting Amy McVicker (again)
208. Meeting Matt and Samantha Norton
209. Having Steve and Jim meet (after connecting with Valerie at Recess)
210. Great dinner provided by the seminary
211. Practical things to aim for in marriage
212. Being reminded about realistic expectations
213. Time with Jim
214. Yummy breakfast provided by the seminary
215. Meeting Robbie and Stephanie Gouge (major answer to prayer!)
216. Opportunities to connect people
217. Meeting Abby Webb (Another major answer to prayer!)
218. Godly women who are willing to speak candidly even about sensitive issues
219. 2 can dine for $20 at BJ's!
220. Finding a couple cheap things needed
221. Jamey praying for airplanes
222. Lillian singing "Jesus Loves Me" and half of her "ABC's"
223. Becca able to be with the kids so Jim and I could attend the conference
224. Jim being able to work out his schedule to attend conference
225. The Lord's faithfulness
226. Emails from Katie Magee (another huge answer to prayer!)
227. God connecting His people
228. God puts people of all kinds together
229. Realizing I have much to offer because of the work Christ has done in me
230. Gathering to pray for Greg and Dawn
231. Meeting Joanna who has connections with a Russian community near by!
232. Seeing David and Alba Egetter this morning
233. Working on getting a more regular schedule in place
234. Seeing God's grace at work in our kids
235. Reuben high 5ing Mrs. Rebekah this morning
236. Connecting with people at church
237. The giggles of the kids while wrestling with Jim
238. Getting coupons for the week together
239. Seeing the Lord at work in so many ways
240. Learning to be open to what the Lord puts in front of me

Saturday, September 15, 2012

God Given Talents

"And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts." Exodus 31:4-6

I realize that this passage is given in a specific context and do not want to miss quote the Word of God, but as I read this I was reminded that God is the giver of talents as well. I have only recently realized that my love and ability to write has come from God. He is the one who made me and my brain to function the way it does. He has given me creativity and an outlet to use it. Though I struggle, He is the one who has given me the ability to put words together in a specific way to send a message. I pray that it is His message and that it will bring Him honor and glory. I am still growing in this but God is faithful and continuously works on my heart showing me how to do everything for His glory. 

I was also reminded by this passage that God is the creator of the arts. I know that this can be an area of controversy in the church, but art that is to honor God is an act of worship. This particular passage is for those God set apart for the craftsmanship needed to make and design the temple with all of the things in it that God had specified. Today we are not required to follow all of this ornateness as believers are the holy temple of God, but we can still beautify our churches and homes with art that honors our Lord. Being artistic is God given. Have you looked at His creation? He is the greatest artist of all! We must not worship art as that is clearly idolatry, but let's give God honoring art it's due and appreciate the talent that God has given to some of his people.

What talents do you have? Are you using them for God's glory or your own? Are you using them at all? Seek out how God desires for you to use your talents today. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brief Update

I have a moment to write so I shall. I have so many things that come to mind that I want to write on, but the time is just getting away and right now the family and getting the house together is a priority. There have been so many blessings and even more to come this weekend, but I wanted to get an updated before the weekend as it will be a busy one (in a good way). The week has also been busy with women's prayer, swi, classes of the others, starting school, kids being kids and getting the house organized bit by bit.

So the blessings I can remember this week include:

176. Jim being able to get his scheduled fixed to have this whole weekend off
177. Quiet Sunday evening
178. Women's prayer Monday evening
179. Being reminded that we are to be worshipers of God before anything else
180. Meeting Sarah
181. Learning there is a Russian woman at our church
182. Watching Jim and the kids wrestle for half an hour
183. The giggles that come from the kids as they play with Daddy
184. Cool weather for a few days
185. Playgroup
186. Dawn Wilburn
187. Starting community group
188. Meeting new people
189. Opportunities to meet those with questions and want to discuss them
190. Laurel Rhyne coming and helping me unpack and organize most of the kids school stuff in the office
191. Reading the Bible!!!
192. Communing with the Lord
193. 11 hours of sleep!!!
194. Laurel bringing us dinner
195. SWI fellowship
196. Running into people I haven't talked to in a while
197. Ann having the kids over to play
198. Getting most of our bedroom organized
199. Putting some stuff in the attic! (I like having an accessible attic)
200. Connecting via email with Milli
201. Connecting via email with Anastasia
202. Free e-books
203. Doing a survey that told me about other self-publishing places (more research to do)
204. Starting school this week
205. Both Jamey and Lillian singing "Jesus Loves Me" with signs