Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Blessings

This month has sped by, but God has definitely blessed us! I am so thankful that God is still moving, still working, still being God even in the midst of a busy life. Here are some highlights from this month.

  1. Making it through the day without vomiting
  2. Jamey helping a lot
  3. Snuggling with my kids
  4. Wrestling with God
  5. New Years Gifts
  6. Low key day with everyone at home
  7. Watching "War Room"
  8. Being reminded of how much I need to pray
  9. Remembering who we're fighting
  10. Really good message on faith from Pastor Luke S
  11. Kids napping
  12. Taking a nap
  13. Jim getting stuff done
  14. hanging out as a family
  15. "Iron Chef"
  16. Fun with Jim
  17. Making it through the day and school by myself
  18. Becca home earlier than expected
  19. Gabriel and Reuben doing well with their school work
  20. Washing machine getting fixed!
  21. Lunch out with Jim
  22. Sharing depth of heart
  23. Encouraging time at CG
  24. Laundry getting washed
  25. Feeling OK most of the day
  26. Kisses from Sam
  27. Kisses from Neo
  28. Getting some things done that needed to be done
  29. Early bed time
  30. Email from Dawn
  31. God's grace to get through
  32. Productive school day
  33. Kids napping
  34. Getting a lot of reading done
  35. Not having to cook a full meal
  36. Time with Jim
  37. Getting rest
  38. Finishing school week strong
  39. Movies
  40. Writing emails and blog posts
  41. Jamey growing in helping
  42. Lazy day
  43. Jim coming home for lunch
  44. Grilled Cheese
  45. Lasagna
  46. Becca being home for the day
  47. God's great mercy
  48. Prep for Classics Challenge
  49. Sleeping until after 9
  50. Jim going much of the school work
  51. Good doctor appointments
  52. Figuring out dinner with stuff in the house
  53. Getting Box Tops ready for Co-op
  54. Usborne party
  55. Decent day
  56. Getting school work done in a timely manner
  57. Really good CG discussion on work
  58. Snuggling with Jim
  59. Sleeping in
  60. Getting hair trimmed
  61. Instillation of Pastor Jamaal
  62. Jim taking care of school
  63. Shower
  64. Time to rest
  65. All kids in their beds
  66. Kids getting their work completed
  67. Making mac and cheese with Lil doing most of the prep
  68. Jamey helping out a lot
  69. Lazy evening snuggling
  70. Closing out BB&T
  71. Biscuits and gravy
  72. Date brunch
  73. Talking through needed things
  74. Jim working on school work
  75. Low key afternoon
  76. Good sermon on money
  77. Getting lots of reading done
  78. Rest
  79. Kids napping
  80. Jim working on papers
  81. LOTR
  82. Short nap
  83. Doing together school
  84. Encouraging message from Ashley Brooks
  85. Book club
  86. Sisters
  87. God's gift of life and His timing
  88. Sleeping until after 9
  89. Working through things with Jim
  90. Jim writing sermon
  91. Reading
  92. Meeting Evan and Tara
  93. Good discussion about money
  94. Jim writing 2 sermons
  95. Being able to rest
  96. Really cheap Chick-fil-A
  97. Talking with Jim
  98. Kids getting their work finished 
  99. Snow
  100. Feeling good most of the day
  101. Doing a decent amount of school work
  102. Snuggling with Jim
  103. Writing a long overdue post
  104. Everyone napping
  105. Jim finishing his preaching class!
  106. Victor coming for the afternoon- talking with the kids
  107. Lasagna
  108. Kids finishing individual work
  109. Aria joining our family
  110. Talking to Brit
  111. Prayer
  112. Neo sleeping late
  113. Making it to rest time without TV
  114. Working on things
  115. Becca being home
  116. Making it through the day with Jim at work
  117. Making it through a Sunday with Jim at work
  118. Good sermon on family
  119. Ryan helping us
  120. Kids all napping 3 hours
  121. Ryan and Becca getting us pizza for dinner
  122. Writing class
  123. Watching writing videos with Jim
  124. Sleep
  125. Jim being off work
  126. Getting caught up on some school work
  127. Doing well with Budget
  128. "War Room"
  129. Blog post
  130. Kids growing
  131. Getting papers signed to get work done on the house
  132. Field Trip!
  133. Napping
  134. Not throwing up
  135. Doing catch up work
  136. Sort of expressing myself at CG
  137. Getting Kate's number
  138. Seeing our new baby!
  139. Good doctor appointment for me
  140. McAllister's
  141. Time to snuggle
  142. Showers
  143. Getting emails written
  144. Mexican
  145. Free coffee
  146. Sam saying "Let's Pray"
  147. Deep heart conversations
  148. TV
  149. Getting prayer email sent
  150. Making it through the day
  151. God's grace
  152. Ryan closing on his house
  153. God's provision
  154. Jim getting free lunch at work
  155. Writing blog posts
  156. Making it through a whole day by myself
  157. Time to pray
  158. Snuggling with my kids
  159. No TV until after rest
  160. Tangible answers to prayers
  161. God is powerful!
  162. Nehemiah turning 6 months
  163. Writing group with Marie
  164. Teaching on writing
  165. Praying
  166. God reminding me I am not helpless
  167. Making plans for the year and Feb
  168. Early bed time
  169. Learning to work on things quickly
  170. Good sermon on work and justice

January Evaluation

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- I've been able to do this most days
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Been able to do this most days
  • Memorize verses with the kids - working on this during school time
  • Have extended prayer times 4 times during the year- Have not done this yet, need to get on planning these
  • Read Christian books (Jim- 1 (not school related), Emmie- 3)- Have not started any yet
  • Pray together daily- YES! This is huge!
  • Go out for a date once a week- We have averaged this
  • Go on a night away once this year- Need to plan this
  • Read 3 books together this year (read one day a week)- This did not happen
  • Discuss plan weekly on Saturday afternoon- Did 2 weeks, got off on the others
  • Spend 15 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- I need a good way to gauge this. I think as a whole we did this, but I am really not sure
  • Special Outing Alone twice during the year with each child- Did not get one of these done this month, need to get on planning these as well
  • Family fun activity once a month- Had a game night and dance time
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- Behind on this already! 
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- No work was done on this
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- NO!
  • Keep up with my calendar- Sort of
  • Being fully present when with my family- Struggled to do this this month
  • Try 12 new recipes this year- Don't think we tried one this month, so behind on this
  • No TV 2 days a week (watching)- 2 weeks I know we did this, but the last 2 have been challenging, maybe just 1 day without
  • Begin gardening in the spring
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
  • Read a book a month for myself- Read "Running with Scissors" and started 2 classics 
  • Jim read one fiction book- not yet, this month has all been school
  • Journal 5 days a week- Yes! God is gracious
  • Jim Journal 3 days a week- Did 2 days a week
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing- No work on this
  • Book Club once a month- Yes! Love these Sisters
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- Yes! Love these Sisters too
  • Blog 1-2 days a week- Averaged 1 a week
  • Mild Exercise twice a week- No!
  • Maintain weight until birth- Gained a little but not too bad
  • Lose weight after giving birth- 
Seriously, where did January go????? It feels like it's not even been a week since the new year started. But here we are at the end of January, realizing how quickly time goes by. One thing I learned looking over this list is I must plan better! The second is that sometimes things happen that we weren't expecting and life gets turned upside down so things don't happen that you really intended to do. We found out at Christmas that we are having our 7th baby, which was very much a surprise but kept me from doing things that I really wanted to do because of fatigue and nausea. 
Does this mean I failed this month? No, I did what needed to be done for my family at the given moment. By God's grace, I will be able to do more next month as I pray I will have more energy and less nausea, and be able to do more of the things I want to do with my husband and kids.

How was your January?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Our Family is Growing Again!

God has been busy in our family again. The Manor clan will be growing again in August! The kids are really excited, especially the older 3. Jamey and Lillian have been asking for a sister since we brought Nehemiah home from the hospital, so they both think, hope and pray that this little one is a girl. We know God will do what is best for our family, but will you pray with us that the baby is a girl? This baby was already the result of prayers from our two oldest, as we were hoping for a bit longer of a break this time, so we are praying that God answers them with their hearts' desires and gives us a little sister.

More than this, pray that the baby will continue to grow and be healthy. Pray that I (Emmie) will be healthy and continue to be able to eat well. Pray that I will be disciplined in taking care of my body and the baby as well as taking care of the family. Pray for the kids to be patient with me as I'm still tired and really weak. Pray for obedient hearts that desire to follow God. Pray that we will learn to work together as a family and follow God's plan for us.

We are excited but overwhelmed. God is good and we know He will continue to provide for us as He always has. We thank God for the gift of new life!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are the children's of ones youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127:3-5

Monday, January 25, 2016

I Want to Be a Mrs. Clara

If you haven't seen the movie "War Room", I suggest you see it at your first opportunity. Mrs. Clara is an old woman who loves to pray and desires to teach other young wives to pray. I love to pray and oh how I know the power of prayer. But like most people in our culture today, I so easily lose my gusto to pray. I forget how God has taken care of me and others. Life gets crazy and I forget to take time to really pray.

But I cannot continue to live this way. When I fail to pray I lose. I lose my focus. I lose my footing. I lose the ability to love as I should. I lose my ability to fight my flesh and give way to laziness and ease.

This is not the way I want to live.

I want to live as a prayer warrior who fights the right way for my family, for my friends, for those who do not know Jesus. I want to see the power of God go forward and conquer this world.

I have tried to encourage others, but it's hard. In such an affluent culture it's hard to see how much we need God because we have what we need and want so readily.

I'm still trying to figure out how to have a war room in my own house as the design does not easily lend itself to this. Maybe I'll be like Mrs. Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley) and buy an apron to put over my head while I pray amidst the chaos. I don't know, but I need to do something. I realize so frequently that, though I'm not hungry, I have a house to live in, running water, and far more materially than I could ever need, I still need God because I have no control. He is the One who changes lives. He is the One who provides me with far more than I deserve. He is the One who holds the universe in His hands, and I need to be in tune with Him and taking everything to Him.

I want to pray like there is no tomorrow. I want to teach my children to pray. I want to teach other women to pray. And when I am old I want to be the one who prays more than I think about what I can do for myself. I want to declare that God is good and He has done great things. I want so much gusto and to praise God for who He is and what He is doing. My God is not dead, He is alive, mighty, moving and He is not done yet.

How is your prayer life? How can we grow together?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Back to the Classics Challenge 2016

Last year I participated in the Back to the Classics challenge hosted by Books and Chocolate, and I'm planning to participate again. It was so much fun reading books I have been wanting to read for years as well as discovering a couple of new books. This year I'm not planning to be as hard core, as I need to read some growth books this year, but will still choose a book for each category to read and get to what I get to. Here are the categories and the books I'm choosing at this point from my collection. (Books may change as I go.)

A 19th Century Classic: The Purloined Letter
A 20th Century Classic: The Old Man and the Sea
A Classic by a Woman Author: A Murder is Announced
A Classic in Translation: Don Quixote
A Classic by a Non-White Author: Chronicle of a Death Foretold
An Adventure Classic: Treasure Island
A Fantasy, Science Fiction or Dystopian Classic: Dracula
A Classic Detective Novel: Murder on the Orient Express
A Classic Which Includes the Name of a Place in the Title: The Merchant of Venice
A Classic Which Has Been Banned or Censored: Les Liasons Dangereuses
Re-read a Classic You Read In School: Light in August
A Volume of Classic Short Stories: Arabian Nights Or A Good Man is Hard to Find and other stories

Friday, January 8, 2016

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

The only reason I read this book is because my sister suggested it as a quick read and I told her I would read it. Sadly, it was a waste of 6 hours or so. Though he was not talking about this book when he wrote the title of a paper in college, Burroughs sums up this book best in his own words: "My Childhood Was More Screwed Up Than Yours". I feel like this is the reason this book was written. It was sad and tragic. Many of the reviews said it was funny and that he is humorous, but there was nothing funny or humorous about this book. It really is just a sad tragic memoir of a man who still sounds like he has no hope.

From a worldly perspective I can understand the interest in the book as the majority of it is pure shock factor. This is a book someone would read to say, "my life isn't that bad" or "Wow, I'm not the only one."

The language is terrible and I had to skip over clearly pornographic sections. It was ironic reading this while looking for a "banned or censored classic" to read for my challenge this year, as this book should be in that category for a modern book. There were several unnecessary details that really should have been left out of the book.

The one thing I did appreciate about the book was the honest feeling and emotion. I just wish Burroughs had found a better way to express it while still explaining the terrible life he grew up in.

I would not recommend this book to anyone, ever.

1.5 stars (the half is for the honesty)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Family Goals for 2016

As 2016 is upon us, we are working on goals together. Many are the same, some are going that just do not have priority right now. We want to grow together in everything, and so our goals this year are moving towards growing together. So here we go!

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- 
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- 
  • Memorize verses with the kids - 
  • Have extended prayer times 4 times during the year
  • Read Christian books (Jim- 1 (not school related), Emmie- 3)
  • Pray together daily
  • Go out for a date once a week- 
  • Go on a night away once this year- 
  • Read 3 books together this year (read one day a week)- 
  • Discuss plan weekly on Saturday afternoon- 
  • Spend 15 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- 
  • Special Outing Alone twice during the year with each child
  • Family fun activity once a month
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- 
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- 
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- 
  • Keep up with my calendar- 
  • Being fully present when with my family- 
  • Try 12 new recipes this year
  • No TV 2 days a week
  • Begin gardening in the spring
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- 
  • Read a book a month for myself- 
  • Jim read one fiction book 
  • Journal 5 days a week- 
  • Jim Journal 3 days a week
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing- 
  • Book Club once a month
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- 
  • Blog 1-2 days a week- 
  • Mild Exercise twice a week- 
  • Maintain weight until birth- 
  • Lose weight after giving birth- 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elyse Fitzpatrick

I started reading this book with a few Sisters from church, and it has been incredibly encouraging. Elyse does an excellent job of bringing home the reality of food and sin for all people. She does speak to eating disorders specifically in one chapter, but as a whole she speaks to the heart of where we are as humans who tend to worship food. She does not mince words, but still speaks in a way that is kind and gracious. It is a very practical book whose principles can be applied to many areas of life, not just food, but also gives direct application in how to battle sin with food. I also greatly appreciate how Biblical this book is. It is filled with Scripture and encourages you to hide God's word in your heart. Elyse does a great job of giving you principles to follow without giving you a five-step program, which doesn't work nor is it how we are instructed in Scripture. There is so much I appreciate about this book.

The biggest downside of this book is the repetitiveness. I really like that she is trying to emphasis truths, but there were several times that the exact same phrase was used multiple times unnecessarily. This would not keep me from recommending this book or from rereading it, it's just a quirk of mine.

This book is also directed at women as it is written by a woman. I feel like men could benefit from this book as well and would recommend it to men and figure out how to read it from whatever sins they struggle with regarding food.

I highly recommend this book and encourage everyone to read it.

4.5 stars for this book