Sunday, September 25, 2016

August Blessings

So obviously I'm a little late on sharing these blessings since our big one came at the end of the month, but I still want to share what God did for us in August.

  1. Kids playing well together
  2. Growing in imagination
  3. Sam singing praise songs
  4. Reuben singing praise songs very clearly
  5. Getting through the day with little pain
  6. Time to read
  7. Snuggling with my kids
  8. Hearing from people at cg
  9. Getting a lot of business set up
  10. Working on Box Tops
  11. Curry
  12. Someone to help Jim quickly change his tire
  13. Friends coming to play
  14. Playing a game and watching a movie with Jim
  15. Neo doing well with OT
  16. Finishing "Murder on the Orient Express"
  17. Watching Olympic Opening Ceremonies
  18. Snuggling with Lillian
  19. Watching the Olympics
  20. Teaching kids about new sports
  21. Becca being home
  22. DQ breakfast
  23. Great sermon on being the Body
  24. Seeing CJ & Shelly and hearing from them
  25. Hearing from Brienne
  26. Surprise Norwex order!
  27. Doing logic problems
  28. Ice cream sandwich cake
  29. Lots of new people at cg
  30. Honesty from my doctor
  31. Being at peace
  32. Jamey organizing the Tupperware cabinet
  33. God reaching out to me
  34. Jamey helping and being creative
  35. Reuben growing in creativity
  36. Fraps
  37. Talking with the kids about church
  38. Jamey asking questions
  39. Creativity in building
  40. Going to the last book club at Bre's house
  41. Wonderful Fellowship
  42. Sam singing "Made Alive"
  43. Finishing "A Murder is Announced"
  44. Jim cleaning the kitchen
  45. Daddy and Mom getting here safely
  46. Good discussion and encouragement at cg
  47. Reading "The Old Man and the Sea"
  48. A day out of the house
  49. Kids playing for a long time
  50. Shoes
  51. Getting 2017 calendar
  52. Ryan coming to hang out with the family
  53. Celebrating Daddy's birthday
  54. Ice Cream cake
  55. Wrestling with God
  56. People praying for us
  57. Good news from a friend
  58. Helping and talking with Mom and Becca
  59. Frosties
  60. Malachi Edwin joining our family
  61. God's provision throughout labor
  62. Jim helping me through labor
  63. Emily being there
  64. Perfect doctor for this labor
  65. Kids meeting and loving on Malachi
  66. Julianne coming by
  67. James coming by
  68. Jim letting me sleep
  69. Malachi passing his hearing test
  70. Getting home from the hospital
  71. Nehemiah loving on Malachi
  72. Everyone asking to hold Malachi
  73. Making it through our first day at home as a family of 9!
  74. Seeing Tara
  75. Becca being available to help
  76. Robinette's bringing dinner
  77. Kisses from Nehemiah
  78. Samuel being helpful and asking to hold Malachi
  79. God's grace to persevere
  80. Norwex Body Cloth!
  81. Krispy Kreme Donuts
  82. Malachi's first day at church
  83. Starting a series in Acts
  84. New Worship songs
  85. Snuggling with Malachi
  86. Jamey and Lillian helping to organize school material
  87. Kids excited about starting school
  88. Sara bringing dinner
  89. Browns bringing dinner
  90. Seeing Julianne

Saturday, September 24, 2016

August Evaluation

  • Spend at least 10 minutes praying daily- Definitely a lot of praying this month!
  • Spend at least 10 minutes reading and reflecting on the Bible daily- Yes until Malachi was born
  • Memorize verses with the kids - working on this during school time
  • Have extended prayer times 4 times during the year- Jim has had 3 and I have had 3
  • Read Christian books (Jim- 1 (not school related), Emmie- 3)- 1 for me so far and started "Mission of Motherhood" this month
  • Pray together daily- YES! 
  • Go out for a date once a week- We did until Malachi was born
  • Go on a night away once this year- Yes! We were able to get away for 2 whole days for our Anniversary! Big thanks to Becca, Shannon, Julianne, Victor and Ariana who made this possible for us! It was wonderful
  • Read 3 books together this year (read one day a week)- No and is not likely to happen at this point
  • Discuss plan weekly on Saturday afternoon- Um, no
  • Spend 15 minutes of one on one time with each child every week- Not sure about this
  • Special Outing Alone twice during the year with each child- No individual dates this month
  • Family fun activity once a month- With Malachi being late, what we planned ended up not happening
  • Write in individual journals at least 3 times this year- No writing this month, but I am mostly caught up
  • Finish Jamey's 1st year Scrapbook- No work was done on this, likely will not happen at this point
  • Keep up with cleaning schedule- Honestly we need to make a schedule
  • Keep up with my calendar- Did not do this well
  • Being fully present when with my family- Definitely a struggle this month, but did have a few good moments
  • Try 12 new recipes this year- (8) Still at 8 for the year
  • No TV 2 days a week (watching)- Nope It's gotten hard with being really pregnant and heat
  • Begin gardening in the spring- This is not likely to happen and obviously not in spring since we are well past spring
  • Continue sending out Prayer List- Yes
  • Read a book a month for myself- I finished "Murder on the Orient Express", "A Murder is Announced" and "The Old Man and The Sea"
  • Jim read one fiction book- Yes! He finished "Eragon", Eldest", and "Brisingr"
  • Journal 5 days a week- Until Malachi was born I did
  • Jim Journal 3 days a week- Yes
  • Edit novel to prepare for publishing- No work on this
  • Book Club once a month- Yes! Thankful I was able to attend the last at Bre's house
  • Continue to meet once a month with writing group- I fell down on this meeting this month! Sad that it happened
  • Blog 1-2 days a week- Yes! Thank you book reviews
  • Mild Exercise twice a week- Um not at all
  • Maintain weight until birth- This did not happen, so I have extra work to do now
  • Lose weight after giving birth- 
Obviously this update is late! August was a blur. It was spent praying for baby to come, for labor to start, while still trying to live. We had some time with family, and enjoyed having Becca home a little more as she prepared for her wedding. August 22 we welcomed our 7th baby, Malachi Edwin! The rest of the month was spent with adjustments, so many of our goals were put to the side or minimized. Hoping we will get normalized out in the next month!

How was August for you?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Malachi Edwin

It has taken me far too long to get Malachi's birth story shared. With him being 1 month today, I thought it was finally time.

I don't even know where to begin with this story. This one is just different. We thought we were taking a break, but for Christmas we got a surprise gift: finding out our family would be growing again. Our children had been asking for another sibling since we brought Nehemiah home and God answered their prayers, just like He did for Britney and me 23+ years ago. And as always God knows best and He has a plan.

On the whole the pregnancy was not bad. In fact in many ways it was the easiest. But in other ways it was very difficult. As it got closer to the end it got increasingly difficult to do many things and in the last 4 weeks I couldn't drive our van. The baby was big and I had a LOT of fluid which added to the overall discomfort. And I was HOT ALL THE TIME!

During the pregnancy we were helping my sister plan her wedding, which was a month after the due date, so with that going on I really wanted the baby to come early so we had time to adjust before that.

Enter all of the emotional hormonal mess that is increased with pregnancy. Dealing with the unexpected, dealing with the hearts of the kids expressing their desires and opinions, dealing with marriage, dealing with sin, dealing with my own expectations of the pregnancy and seeking control instead of relinquishing to God. I wrestled day and night with God and trusting Him and His plans for us.

The due date drew closer with no increase in contractions. I was anxious. I was fearful. I did NOT want to be induced again. But my due date came and went. A week later still no baby. Induction was scheduled for Monday if no labor over the weekend. Not at all what I wanted and I had everyone I knew praying. But I knew it was inevitable. I knew my body and like with Sam, this baby was going to need some coaxing to make its appearance.

I woke at 5 am Monday August 22 to call and make sure they had a bed for me. I tried to go back to sleep for an hour but to no avail. After 10 minutes of praying to go to sleep and my mind going a mile a minute I decided to get up and spend some time reading Psalms and praying. I was already so anxious, I needed as much prayer time as I could get. God calmed my spirit. I ate a sausage biscuit so I would at least have a little energy and got ready to go. I kissed the kids who were up and Jim and I headed to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and checked in. Due to a miscommunication I had no nurse for over an hour so Jim and I hung out in the room and I walked as much as I could to try and get something going, but still the same. The nurse came in to tell me what the plan was. An IV was started after 2 sticks (MY WORST NIGHTMARE IN LABOR!) The plan was to then break my water, but the baby was still way to high for it to be safe for her to manually break it. Dr. Girard couldn't even feel the head so they got an ultrasound and the baby was slightly transverse. They ordered a maternal fetal ultrasound and I walked while I waited because the baby moved according to how I was positioned.

I prayed the baby would move so that I would not need to be sectioned and walked. By the time the next ultrasound was done (maybe 10 minutes) the baby was in the right position! God came through!

So pitocin was started, I was hooked up to a mobile monitor and continued walking. Our friend and Jim's coworker Emily Ewing was working that day so we talked to her for a bit while she waited for the next delivery. There were a few more contractions and they got a touch stronger, but after 3 hours they were still not in a good labor pattern.

Dr. Girard decided to check to see if she could break my water. The baby was in place but still a bit high. Jim and our nurse, Jennifer, held him in place and she began trying to break my water. The membrane was tough and it took about 10 attempts for her to break the bag. When she finally got it the flood gates poured! My fluid had been VERY high. Dr, G said it was the most water she had ever seen!

Once the flood stopped Dr. G checked to make sure everything was good and the baby was in an odd position again. She said she could feel fingers so she attempted to move it back. The baby also felt like it had moved back to a transverse position. We prayed again for the baby to get in the right place. I turned on my left side to see if it would help. Fairly quickly God moved the baby back into the correct vertex position and she could no longer feel fingers! God answered positively again!

It took about 30 minutes to really get contractions going. By 1 pm they were excruciating! I have never had labor pains like that before. The baby was probably still not in the best position for birth because it had never felt like that. Most likely he was side ways or even backwards. I attempted to turn to my right side, but the first contraction I had there the heart rate dropped and I had to go back to the left. I stayed in a semi left position for the rest of the time.

Around 2 I started to lose it. I was only 7-8 cm and the pain was worse than any labor I had ever had before. In fact, for me, it was really the first time I'd experienced true pain. It was weird and I was struggling to hold on. I told Jim I couldn't do it and he was right there telling me I could. I prayed for strength.

Finally the baby started to turn and get into the right position. About 2:30 the urge to push was irresistible and I was allowed to push! I could tell the baby was big and tall. Dr. G told me to look down and at 2:35 our newest babe was born. I asked Jim what it was. He laughed and said, "It's a boy!" "Really!?" "Yes!"

We have another son! I couldn't believe it but I was happy. They quickly put him on my chest. My first thought when I saw him was, "He looks exactly like Nehemiah only bigger, but I can't name him Nehemiah too." (We hadn't settled on a boys name yet.) Emily was right there checking him out. Everything looked good. As I looked at him my gut said, Malachi, but I wanted to get a better look at him after they were done cleaning me up.

Emily took him and measured him. 9 lbs 13 oz and 21 1/2 inches! He was a BIG BOY!

They got me situated and gave him back to me. Jim and I looked at him and agreed that his name is Malachi Edwin. Malachi means My Messenger. Edwin is my dad's name and means prosperous friend.

As I was looking at Malachi later I heard that still small voice say to me, "He is my messenger to you that I will not leave you or forsake you." I really wrestled with trusting God during this pregnancy, especially at the beginning and the last 6 weeks of it. God has reminded with this little boy that He is always there and looking out for my best even when it's not happening the way I want. My biggest request was please not a c-section and every time we thought it could be heading that way, God came through and kept it from happening and got me through without an epidural when I didn't think I could make it. He still gave me the birth that is the basic of my desire and never left my side.

Thank You, Father, for Malachi and for getting me through labor one more time. Thank You for never leaving me and never forsaking me even in the midst of my doubts and fears. Thank You for having mercy on such a weak and lowly vessel. Continue to grow my faith as I seek to follow You where ever You lead.

Please save Malachi by Your great grace and make him a mighty messenger for Your Gospel, Your Truth. I pray he will be a prosperous friend to all he meets because he knows You. Let him be Your beloved son and friend. Let Your riches pour out of him and over to those he meets. Use this precious boy for Your Kingdom!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Becca Getting Married

My baby sister got married today! 

When Britney and I were kids we both prayed for another brother or sister and got the great surprise of twin sisters 23 years ago, Rachel and Rebecca. Such a blessing.

Just over 4 years ago, our family welcomed Becca into our home to help with the kids and for her to go to school here in Louisville. It has been a crazy 4 years as we have grown together through many laughs and tears, fights and hugs. Our family has also grown and Becca has been such a great part of this time in our lives. God has used her to bless our family in so many ways, from early morning breakfasts to nights away. It has been such a pleasure to watch Becca grow these last four years into the woman she is today.

Now Becca is a wife, starting her family with Ryan. This too has been a pleasure to watch as they have grown both in the Lord and with each other. It was such a blessing for our entire family to be a part of this happy occasion of Ryan and Becca joining in matrimony. We are so thankful to have Ryan as a part of our family now and look forward to seeing Becca and Ryan grow together in the years to come.

As with all changes, even good ones, there are mixed emotions. As happy as we are for Ryan and Becca, It's hard to say good-bye. Yes, she is still near by, but she has been an intricate part of our daily lives for 4 years. We will all miss having Becca here to talk to, send for errands, play with kids and enjoy regular company. We love her so much!

So here we all go with the next phase of life. It's happy. It's good. It's God's best for all of us. But it's still change and a challenge.

Father, thank You so much for the joy of Ryan and Becca's marriage. Please bless them as they follow You and Your ways. Thank You for a new family member. Thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness. Please build their house in You and the power of Your Spirit.

Congratulations Ryan and Becca! We love you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reuben is 5!

It's been 5 years since we welcomed our third child into the world, but it hardly seems a minute. Not long after moving to Louisville, we found out we were expecting him and were greatly surprised but happy that God was blessing our family again.

Five years later, Reuben is still such a blessing and delight to our family. We are so thankful for his quiet and laid back spirit. He does a wonderful job of playing by himself as well as collaborating with his siblings to play games and build. We also love his sensitive spirit that is so sweet towards others. His docile personality is such a blessing in a house full of chaos!

Reuben loves to build and create with blocks, especially Legos. While a calm spirit, he is still a boy and enjoys a good fight or wrestling match with his Daddy and brothers. He LOVES "Star Wars" and "The Hobbit" and builds a lot of these characters out of blocks to have battles.

Reuben also loves to learn! He worked through a Pre-K program this year and loved every minute. He loves having something for his mind to focus on. We are excited to see how much he grows in learning this year.

Reuben makes us all smile with his love of singing and dancing. This boy knows so many praise songs, it makes my heart melt! It is such a joy to listen to him sing about God and the truths of His Word.

We are so thankful to have Reuben in our family and greatly look forward to seeing how God will use him in our lives and to further His Kingdom.

Father, make Reuben a man after Your own heart and teach him to know and love you with all that he is. Use him for your Kingdom that many may know of your great love because of this precious boy!