Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Blessings

February was a short but full month. A lot has happened and God has shown Himself in so many ways as He seeks to woo us to Him and guide our lives in His way.

  1. Being able to speak into other women's lives
  2. Getting to take a Sunday afternoon nap with Jim
  3. Working as a family to do massive cleaning in the living room
  4. Having enough box tops for co-op in the fall!
  5. Four course meal at Red Lobster (love that deal!)
  6. Thinking about who and how God made me
  7. Walking around the mall as a family
  8. Seeing God's grace in how Jim handled the mall
  9. Becca painting my toenails in a fun way!
  10. Getting out of the house on a Saturday
  11. Sam saying "amen" after praying with him at bed time
  12. Seeing our baby on Ultrasound
  13. Finding out the gender for the first time!
  14. Girls night at Comfy Cow with Shannon
  15. Organizing everything in the time warp room
  16. Going to playgroup
  17. Hearing testimonies of people in CG
  18. Time to read and pray while the kids were running around
  19. God revealing more of my heart to me
  20. Lillian reading to Reuben
  21. Good conversation with Jim, working through things
  22. Turning 31
  23. IHOP Breakfast with the family
  24. Seeing "Kingsman" with Jim (really liked this movie)
  25. Jim making a really yummy birthday dinner: maple walnut chicken, apple cheddar rice and green beans (My husband is a wonderful cook! So thankful for that.)
  26. Talking to Brit for awhile
  27. Jim surprising me with friends at Comfy Cow! 
  28. Really good birthday
  29. Daddy and Mom singing to me
  30. Having a lazy low key day with the kids
  31. Time to talk with Becca
  32. Lots of snow! (Think we got 8-10 inches during the week)
  33. Getting buckets put in the attic
  34. Ash Wednesday Service
  35. Date night with Jim at the Cheesecake Factory
  36. Seeing God at work in our hearts
  37. Becca having a Saturday off
  38. Watching movies not on Netflix
  39. Jamey turning 6!
  40. Getting needed errands run
  41. Jamey and Gabriel playing together
  42. Andy and Shannon
  43. Book Club
  44. Moving things around to get more organized
  45. Hanging out with Julianne
  46. Yummy dinner and night out with Jim
  47. Quiet hang out night with Jim
  48. Writing group
  49. Free drink at Panera
  50. Sleep  

February Evaluation

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

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Yes, usually for strength or wisdom sporadically throughout the day
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Getting better at this, but still struggling to really sit in the Word every day 
  • Memorize verses with the kids - We are working through verses related to lent and catechism
  • Memorize Scripture- Currently working on verses that go with North Star Catechism
  • Go out for a date once a week- Yes
  • Go on a night away once this year- Need to plan this
  • Read 3 books together this year- Started a list of books we want to read together
  • Discuss plan weekly on Sunday afternoon- Starting to discuss plans more, though not always on Sunday afternoon
  • Spend 30 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- still growing in this as we work on what our days need to look like
  • Go to playgroup each Tuesday- Missed a couple due to weather and house work
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- I have not written in any this month, but hoping to get caught up
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- This is not a top priority,but hoping to at least do some work on it this year
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Began working on this together
  • Keep up with my calendar- Starting to do better with this
  • Being fully present when with my family- Getting better at this, but still struggling
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
  • Read a book a month for myself- I have read with the kids and begun "The Odyssey", but it is taking a little time to get through
  • Journal 5 days a week- doing better in this, but still not where I want to be
  • Write (books) 3 days a week- Wrote down some ideas for a non-fiction work I have been thinking about for awhile
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing and research publishing options- No editing this month
  • Finish Rosetta Stone Russian level 1 - Have not worked on this
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- Yes!
  • Blog 3 days a week- With all my book reviews this month, I have reached this goal. Hoping to keep it up in March as our family reads and learns
  • Go to water aerobics once a week- YES! Though I ended up missing one week because of really bad weather
  • Maintain weight until birth- Have gained a little, but been having more digestive issues with 2nd trimester. Hoping to get back to eating healthier again
  • Lose weight after giving birth- 
February was really fast! We had a lot going on this month and the weather was terrible. Being home bound for many days did help with working through things, being together as a family and getting started on some much needed organization in our house, which was a huge blessing. There were definitely some tough moments, but our faithful God saw us through as He always does. Looking forward to March and what it will bring.

How was your February?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jamey is 6!

Time flies faster and faster. I cannot believe my little Jamey is 6 years old. My first born is growing up so quickly and I sometimes would love for life to slow down for just a moment. But that's not the way the world works. Jamey has grown so much this year and it is exciting to see him becoming a young man, though I'm not yet ready for it (though are mama's ever ready for it?).

So what can I tell you about Jamey. He is fun and energetic and loves to get up early to start the day. He loves school, I mean really loves school. If we are off that day he hates it. If we have to miss a subject because of other things he hates it. He just wants to learn all the time. God made him to learn, think and create. Jamey's favorite hobby is drawing and coloring. I'm excited to see what happens with his art as he learns more and grows. He is also really enjoying is music class and learning to play the piano. He definitely reminds me of myself, though, when it comes to practicing, and praying he will grow in wanting to practice more instead of just doing the minimum.

Jamey is already asking deep questions about God, the Bible and Truth. This is so wonderful and God's grace in his life. We continue to pray that God will work in his heart and save Jamey. We have seen God's grace in Jamey's life as he grows in his role as big brother. He loves his siblings and takes care of them well. He is so excited about having another baby. God has really given him a heart for his family at such a young age, a huge blessing. He has such a sweet spirit. Jamey also loves his daddy and spending time with him. He wants to be just like him.

It's fun watching Jamey come into his own, learning how to order and ask for what he wants, learn how to clean and keep things in order, learning how to be a part of a family and just learning about life. I'm so thankful for his sweet spirit and inquisitive mind. God has blessed our family tremendously with this wonderful little (or not so little) boy. I'm so excited to see what God does with Jamey during his life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMEY! So thankful for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Missionary Stories with the Millers by Mildred A. Martin

This book was part of our homeschool curriculum this year, and it was such a fun book to read with the kids. There are stories about missionaries all over the world and we got to hear how God has done miraculous things for His people. I love hearing the ways God works and it was great reading this book as a family during our school time. What a great way to share how great God is and talk about what God does as well as learn about different cultures at the same time. I absolutely recommend this book!

5 Stars without hesitation.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Felicity Saves the Day

I read this book with Lillian, and it was quite interesting. I appreciated the dilemma that Felicity is in where it was difficult to say what the right thing to do is. It was good to talk through with Lillian what God tells us in His word and how to seek His counsel when situations are not so cut and dry. I do think the title is a little misleading, but for a 10-year-old girl, how she acts could be considered saving the day. Though not my favorite in this series, it was still a good one to think and talk through.

I would give it 4 stars

Friday, February 13, 2015

31 Years On Earth

My 31st year on earth was a little chaotic, with a lot going on in my life. The best thing God has been teaching me this year is to be who He has made me to be and to focus on Him and His view of me, not what others think of me or how they view me. So for my birthday post this year I'm sharing a little of who I am.

Most importantly, I am God's daughter, and if you know nothing else about me, that's OK, but He is teaching me that is the only identity that matters. Though I am a messed up horrible sinner, He has saved me by His Son. He loves me, cares for me and takes care of me like no one possibly can. I love telling people about Jesus and God's great love for us!

If you are interested, here is a little more about me.

I'm married to Jim and have been for 10 1/2 years.
I am the mother to 6 precious gifts: Jamey, Lillian, Reuben, Gabriel, Samuel, and baby boy (whose name we're working on for June). I love having a big family!
Starting in 2009 I have been pregnant on my birthday except for 2013, after having Gabriel the previous November.
I am a writer. I love to write and am in the process of editing my first novel to hopefully self publish soon. I'm also thinking of other book to write, such as other novels, a book on things God has taught me, and childbirth.
Keeping a journal is very therapeutic and helps me see what God is doing.
I love giving birth and talking about birth. I think everyone who is having a baby should be educated to the best of their ability on the subject.
I'm opinionated.
I really enjoy watching movies in the theatre. (I hate how much prices have gone up.)
I'm a TV-aholic.
I am rediscovering the joy of reading. I really like the classics.
I really like homeschooling my kids, though I never thought I would do this.
I like being around people, though I do much better in small groups.
I love to dance! I will try just about any style. I really enjoy swing, square and contra.
I like card and board games.
I really like ice cream.
I enjoy learning new languages and culture.
I love traveling.
I love the mountains, not the beach.
Disney World is an adults playground, no matter how they advertise it, and I love it. (I wish it was much cheaper.)
I love to sing and music really moves me.
I like using cloth products as opposed to paper generally speaking.
I'm not super girly, but I do enjoy wearing skirts and looking nice.
I hate make-up, but like painting my toenails fun colors.
I love pictures and like having them up around the house.
I'm OCD and a perfectionist. I desire for things to be organized, but usually fail miserably.
I carry a bag of some kind, usually a backpack, almost everywhere I go.
I am a deep person and really like to know people and have people know me.

Obviously this is not everything about me, but these are things I've been thinking about. I know there are more, but I don't want to bore you. Anyways, here's to being who God created me in my redeemed form and knowing He loves me no matter what.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

It Could Always Be Worse

This was one of the books for Jamey's curriculum and it was really cute. It is a really good yet simple perspective on how bad things can be. It's easy for kids to understand and good for conversation.

4.5 stars

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Felicity!

This book was fun to read to Lillian. It deals with responsibility and incorporates an element of history into the story line. There is also an element of family tension along with forgiveness. It was neat to see how much they were able to pack into this short book that opened up some discussion with my girl.

4 stars for this book

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'A' Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton

This book was all over the place for me. The story line was really interesting and it took me awhile to figure out the "who done it", which I always appreciate it. Though I'm not sure this was Grafton's intent when writing this book, I found it an interesting portrait of feminism in 80s California. 

The down side of this book was the language. I was told it was very accurate for the culture, but as a writer, I feel like it went a little overboard. I also found some of the descriptions unnecessary and cumbersome, though beautiful at times. The writing style was just a bit weird for me I think. I also was really annoyed with the sex because of the involvement with someone in the investigation and her calling it "making love" when it was anything but. 

The ending was interesting and suspenseful, but was not enough to make up for the other. I cannot recommend this book, though it was an interesting story. And sadly, I will not likely read another one, at least not for a long time. 

I can only give this book 3 stars due to the problems mentioned.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Boy or Girl: What is Manor Baby 6?

For the first time we decided to find out early what our newest member would be. Jamey and Lillian really wanted to know and their hearts were each set on a different gender. So after much prayer and consideration, at our mid term ultrasound we got the results and our friends helped us to surprise our family with the gender. Lillian finished her challenge first and Jamey with help also finished.

So the Manor family is having...


Anybody else surprised? I was a little, but I'm so thankful God has blessed us with another child. Now to figure out a name. :)

*Many thanks to Andy and Shannon for coming up with the games for us to find out the gender and making a yummy cake.

*Many thanks to our friends who helped make this a special discovery for our family.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

I loved this book! It was part of Jamey's curriculum this year and I wanted to read it for my Back to the Classics Challenge for my children's classic and I am so thankful we had this book available. It follows Elizabeth Ann (Betsy), a 9-year-old orphan as she moves from one family member's house to another and how she adjusts. I laughed out loud so many times and even learned a few things. It is a fun glimpse into mountain life in the early 1900s as well as a good reminder of how much we take for granted in the 21st century. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading it again with Lillian in a couple of years.

4.5 stars for this book.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Moment of Real Life

This week we have worked really hard to begin cleaning and organizing our whole house. This is something I have wanted/needed to do for 2 years, but have not completed for many reasons. The biggest reason: I am a ridiculous perfectionist! No kidding. You would never know by walking my house that I hate clutter and disorder, but my perfectionism out weighs my OCD tendencies when it comes to my home because if I cannot get it all done in one day then I forget where I was or things get moved that should not have been and I feel like I have to start all over again. This causes my stress level rise beyond, what I feel, is a bearable point, and so I learn to live with horrible disorder and tell myself it will be better when the kids are older. Clearly this is a lie and I need to learn how to have some order and teach my kids some order now!

Monday we spent all day on the living room, deep cleaning and organizing. I was doing well until the end of the day. It was hard work, but I had been able to organize the shelves with decorative things, movies, kids stuff, Wii games and coupons fairly easily as well as move stuff from off the table we use for shoes and bags with little mental trouble. The last shelf did me in. Why? It was a shelf of my things. The thought of having a shelf for my notebooks in the living room stressed me out beyond what I was prepared for. At the time I did not understand why. What was such a big deal about having a shelf for a few of my things in the living room?

I am a selfish person at heart. I know this. God has graciously revealed this to me and has helped me to seek to kill this sin in my heart. The hard part of dealing with this is I can easily swing to my legalistic side, which says I must not have anything that is mine and deprive myself. This is not an appropriate response! My dear friend, Julianne, reminded me that it is good for my family and me to have a shelf with my things as it teaches sharing and that not everything belongs to them. It's not selfish to have a shelf with a few of my things on it. The house, the shelf, the things have been entrusted to me by God to take care of, and if that means having a shelf in the living room to keep the things He has given me on because it is the best place for them, so be it.

I pray as we organize God will continue to show me how to best steward the space He has given us. Maybe I will move the things from the shelf as we find places for other things in our house, but for now it is OK because it is the best use of the space at the moment.

I also pray God will kill my perfectionism as we organize in spurts. This is very hard for me, but must be done the way our schedule is the next couple of weeks. I want our home to reflect God in all things, even in the way it is organized and put together.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

This book is up there with The Magician's Nephew for me in this series. As a whole I really enjoyed this book. Eustace and Reepicheep had me laughing frequently. The adventures on the different islands were very well thought out and interesting to follow. I really appreciated the lessons that were scattered throughout. Our kids also enjoyed this book and talked through it with us.

What I did not like was the ending. It was very anticlimactic and abrupt after all they went through to get where they were. It was a big let down.

Aside from the last 2 chapters, it is my 2nd favorite of the Narnia books. I would recommend this as a food fun read.

4.5 stars for this book.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

At 30 years of age, I finally got around to reading this classic and was pleasantly surprised! There were many parts that made me laugh out loud. It was an excellent look at a different class of people from a different time and the absurdity around it. I also appreciate the conflict of marrying for name and wealth vs marrying for love and attraction. It is an area I really enjoy discussing and seeing other world views is helpful for me. The end was a little slow and unnecessary and I would have preferred it end a chapter earlier, but that's just my opinion. As a whole I enjoyed the book.

I would give it 4 stars.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timmis

It has been a little while since I read this book, but if I remember correctly it was pretty good. A couple of the early chapters I struggled with because of style and some tediousness. The rest was very practical and gave general vision for how the church can begin to work together to follow the Acts model of the Body. We read this book for school of missions and it is highly recommended.

I would give it 4.5 stars.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Felicity's Surprise

It was enjoyable reading this with my Lillian. Thus far, this is my favorite of the Felicity books. We see Felicity struggling with split desires and dealing with what is most important in life. I enjoyed talking through these things with Lillian at her young age and showing her these things through a Biblical perspective as well. These are fun books to read together during school time.

4 stars for this book.