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