Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Our Ten Year Old Reuben

Our sweet Reuben is now double digits! It doesn't seem possible that we could have three children now in the pre-teen phase, but we are blessed to have such amazing children. 

Reuben joined our family on the outside ten years ago today! 

I can't express to you what a joy and delight Reuben is to our family! He is so mild mannered and for the most part even tempered that he just goes with the flow in spite of the chaos or fullness around him. He watches and takes it all in. He listens to what's around him. He also enjoys the stories in his own mind. Reuben loves to read and learn as well as imagine and create. He's a thinker and loves to put things together. He's quiet and caring and such a vital part of the Manor Manor.

One of the amazing things about Reuben is that he can fix anything! God has given him an incredible mind to look at something and find a solution for how to put it back together. He's become our handyman in training and regularly fixes drawers, doors, cabinets and shelves. He also practices his building skill with Legos and builds both from instructions and his own imagination. Building and putting together is probably one of his favorite things to do.

Reuben inherited creativity from his Creator. He loves to draw, color, create with origami and other paper creations. He is wanting to write a book series about heros and has been writing down ideas for these books. Creativity runs deep in his veins and it is so fun to see it emerge in many different ways. His drawings from our study of Revelation as a family were amazing and so realistic! He constantly surprises us.

Reuben also loves to read and learn. He reads books of all kinds from lift the flap from Usborne to chapter books. He has been working on The Hobbit this year as his stretch book and enjoys comparing it to the movie. Right now he's very interested in geography, Biblical studies and what firefighters do. 

We call Reuben "Muscles" because God has given him a natural strength that goes along with his natural building and fixing tendencies and preparing him well for becoming a fire fighter. He loves to climb, swing and use his muscles for fun activities. He also uses them to carry heavy objects for his mama and help when Daddy is not here to do the heavy lifting. He is eager to help and wants to help others regularly. When asked why he wants to be a fire fighter he says so he can help people.

Our Reuben is so sweet and tender. He is easily upset and doesn't like to see others hurting. This is a gift and it helps him care well for his siblings. It's amazing to see how God has given him such a heart already. He is learning Scripture and memorizing it and learning more about the God of the Universe. He also prays for missionaries and to obey. We clearly see God working in his heart and mind. Reuben is such a gift and I'm thankful everyday that God has given him to our family.

Father, thank You for our sweet Reuben. Thank You for how You're working in his life. Please continue to draw him to You and bring him to life in Jesus. Thank You for his sweet spirit and desire to help others. Make Reuben more like You even as You draw him. We pray all this in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

17 Years of Marriage

 Today marks 17 years since we said, "I do." 

17 years of adventure. 17 years of learning what it means to do life together. 17 years of learning what it means to follow God and live according to His Word. 17 years of ups and downs, smiles and tears. 17 years of life.

This year has been one of much growth. Since much of this year has been interesting in a number of ways, God has taught us even more of these things above and we have grown so much together. 

This year we have learned so much more how to pray together over everything. We're still growing in this as it's not always easy to do in the fullness of life, but we see critically how much we need to pray over everything in our life and in the lives of those around us. We need to pray for our leaders locally, nationally and globally. We need to pray for the church our local body and our family around the world. We grow everyday in what it means to truly pray.

This year we have grown in learning together. Learning Bible, learning theology, learning how to parent better, learning how to organize and plan more efficiently, learning how to grow an online business, learning how to be together and enjoy fun times. We have really loved learning about growing a ministry business together and understanding how Scripture guides us in the principles even when exact commands do not exist. We're learning how to try and keep going and not be afraid of failure. 

Year 17 has been big for us in other ways as well. A book was published, we had our tenth child (another girl!), we started working diligently on Childbirth Conversations, we have gotten coaching to help guide us as the LORD shows us His path, and begun work on The Manor Manor as our parent business for all of our endeavors. 

What an adventure God has brought us on! 

And even though it has been challenging in many ways, it has been so good as God leads the way. 

Father, thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank you for this opportunity and privilege to share the Gospel by living Your design. Thank You for all of your blessings and all of the amazing gifts You have given us. We are blessed beyond measure and we are so thankful that You have brought us to this point. Please continue to guide us in our marriage as we walk with You, teach and train our children and seek to encourage others to do the same. Thank You for your grace! In Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Jim's 38th Birthday

 38 years Jim has been on this earth. It has been an amazing year. Jim has grown closer to God, closer to me and closer to our children. He is growing in courage and learning to be who God has created him to be.

With the pandemic Jim majorly stepped up and did an amazing job as we were unable to meet with the church for several months. We loved our family Sundays that included Bible study with breakfast, Systematic Theology study after kitchen clean up, watching our church worship from a far, and sermon discussion with lunch followed by family game and movie time. What an amazing job he did as we delved into going deeper with our children. While we don't do this all on Sunday now, it set us up for even deeper conversations after our corporate worship and Sunday School and gave us even more to discuss and teach in our week. This grew our family together in mighty ways and we have seen God doing amazing work because of the faithfulness of Jim to God's instruction to train up his children in the ways of the LORD. We're so blessed with an amazing spiritual head of our home.

I continue to see God welling in Jim a love for family ministry and training parents, especially fathers who work many hours, to train and disciple their children. It's a super exciting time as we work on plans to make a ministry to do just that. Jim is naturally shy, but as God expands His vision and shows Jim what He desires, Jim is growing in courage and love for following God and what He's calling him to even when it's hard. 

On top of this, Jim continues to work tirelessly at Piedmont in the PACU to provide for our family. God has been so gracious to provide far more than we ever expected with this job and still have a semi-normal schedule so that we have Jim on weekends and he's home Wednesdays during the week. He are so blessed to have a wonderful job that allows him to provide well and be present well for our family. 

We are beyond blessed! I'm so thankful for Jim and his incredible life. I love watching what God does as He grows Jim in Christlikeness. 

Father, thank You for Jim and his Godly influence on our family. Thank You that he loves Your Word and teaches our family straight from it without hesitation or reservation. Thank You that he teaches, trains and disciples. Thank You for the love he has for all of us. Please continue to grow him in Your strength and make him even more like Your Son, Jesus. Continue to lead Jim as he leads our family and teaches us what it means to follow You with all that we are. Thank You for Your continued provision, even in this strange year. Thank You for drawing us closer to You and to each other. I pray these things in Jesus's Name, Amen!

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Our Eleven Year Old Lillian

Our first daughter, Lillian, is 11-years-old today. Her birth is one I have never forgotten. From the moment we knew she was in my womb, God used her life to show us that trusting Him and listening to His voice is the way to live.

Lillian is such a precious young lady and God has worked so much in her this year. It's been amazing to watch Lillian flourish into a young woman and learn to embrace who God has created her to be. During this year we have seen God save her and Lillian has grown so much in her faith. She's been studying the Word, memorizing James and Proverbs 31 and growing in prayer. God has given her a love for her home and she enjoys taking care of her little brothers and sister, cooking and baking and is learning to sew. This love is definitely from the LORD as we have seen such a change in focus since she was saved. It is beautiful to watch her light up as she talks about making things for her home now and when she grows up. She so desires to be a woman after God's own heart.

This year Lillian has grown so much in her baking skills. Cookies, cakes, pies, tuilles, cream puffs, muffins and just about anything else you can think of she is willing to try and usually succeeds at making on her first try. (Soft pretzels are a family favorite) Her flavors are amazing and her textures are right on. She does both traditional baking and baking with alternative flours and sweeteners and both are delicious. It was amazing that she developed her own blondie recipe made with alternative flour and sweeteners so that those with sugar sensitivities could enjoy. This year she is working on presentation and finesse as she decorates her cakes. She has also started selling cakes, so Lillian's Bakery has commenced.

Reading has also become very important to Lillian. When she's not baking she's usually reading. She enjoys her American Girl books and is working through The Baxter Family series by Karen Kingsbury. There are many other books she reads, but she goes back to those over and over again. 

Lillian also enjoys being outside. Whether reading in the grass, exploring our yard, picking flowers or helping Esther explore she loves to be out and about in nature. 

And people. She loves to be around people, especially other women. She is wanting to learn from those who have gone before and asks all kinds of questions. Lillian sees the value in asking questions and learning from others. It is such a blessing to see this in her. She has grown up so much this year and it is amazing to see how God is working in her and through her.

Father, thank You so much for our sweet Lillian. Thank You for the life you have given her and the joy and laughter she brings to our family and home. Thank You for the work You are doing in her to make her a woman after Your own heart, making her like Jesus. Continue to grow her in loving You, Your Word and Your Way. Teach her to hear Your still small voice and let her follow You wholeheartedly! In the Name of Jesus we ask these thing. Amen!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Jim has been telling me for years to read the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini, and this year I decided was the year to start it as I want to study different fantasy books to learn and write one myself.

Jim knew I would enjoy this book and he was not wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed delving in the the world of Alagaesia and following Eragon as he steps into a life he had never expected. A poor farmer boy raised by his uncle, Eragon finds a large blue stone while he's out hunting in the Spine and his life is forever changed. 

While I thoroughly enjoyed the world and the complexities of making your own world and magic system, the book was very predictable. I know there is a general outline for story telling and even more so for fantasy stories, but this was highly predictable and I definitely called much of the story as it happened. I'm still waiting to see whether some of my predictions are true as the story unfolds in the rest of the series, but most of the ones I made in the first book came to pass. 

That being said, I still enjoyed the story and will probably read this again in the future, especially if our children want to read it. For a first book written by a teenager, it is definitely well written and well thought through. I definitely felt with the characters and found myself cheering and booing internally as I read. It even brought tears a couple of times. 

If you enjoy fantasy books, I definitely recommend this one.

4 Stars 

Reading Challenges:

I'm using Eragon in the 2021 Reading Challenge by Tim Challies as a Book by an Author 30 or Younger in the Committed section

A Fiction Book for Fun in level 1 with 2021 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge

A Book Chosen by Jim in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Life Challenge.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Five True Dog Stories

This delightful short read is part of our Core A curriculum with Sonlight.

This book, as the title indicates, has five stories about dogs who did heroic deeds to help humanity throughout the years. Each story had its own flare and you see how different types of dogs are geared for different things. It's neat to see dogs doing what God created them to do to help humans. One fought crime another worked to protect people crossing the Swiss Alps. It was a vast array even in five stories. 

Our children enjoyed these stories a lot with many laughs and a few tears. Each chapter was a quick and easy read so everyone could sit through a chapter without issue. This was a great read for the whole family to enjoy. 

4 Stars for this family read.

Reading Challenges:

I'm counting this as a book I've read before in the 2021 Intentional By Grace Reading Challenge

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Our Seven Year Old Sam


Seven years. And what a seven years it has been since we welcomed our precious Sam into our arms!

This spunky, energetic boy has been a blessing from the start. His life brought about a new era in our family with God using Sam to push us into a deeper faith. God is still using him to do this. 

Sam loves life and loves everything in life. He wants to be a part of it ALL. When asked what he wants it is likely to change a dozen times in five minutes because he wants everything and enjoys everything. He wants to be in the middle of the party. He loves people. He loves making people laugh and Sam does this on a regular basis. His desire is to be happy and to make others happy.

Sam loves to watch anything and everything he is allowed to and then turn around and act it out for you. His memory for films is astounding and he quotes movies and educational videos left and right. He loves to learn and is growing in all his skills with books, but if he can watch it to learn it, he would rather do that. 

Right now Sam is growing in his reading skills and comprehension, basic math and writing. In the past couple of months he has really shown a deep desire to read and write and understand. It's so fun watching him put things together and get so excited that he figured it out. He is also really into schedules and calendars, desiring schedule and order, which is amazing to see in him. Sam also asks questions about anything and everything. He wants to know it all and his mind is a whirlwind of wonderings and musings and we enjoy hearing him come up with some funny ideas. He's so creative.

Sam is learning Bible and wants to know the things of God, though we have not yet seen salvation. He reads his Action Bible and talks through the stories with us. He is memorizing Scripture and growing in this. Right now he's working on James 1 and knows verses 1-8, along with other Scripture from catechism and Sunday School. It's amazing to see God working in him.

Some of Sam's preferred activities outside of movies are LEGOs, playing games and being outside. Being outside is at the top if the weather is nice. He loves to explore, pretend and imagine as he goes about our property. He does also enjoy playing in the rain when it's not storming. He loves being out in God's creation. 

Sam has a deep appreciation of food. There is not much this boy will not eat. From fish to chicken, apples to lemons, asparagus to zucchini, not to mention sweets he enjoys it all. And he loves to eat all the time. Food is definitely one of his favorite things. 

Sam keeps us on our toes and we are so thankful for this sweet young man that God has given to us. 

Father, thank You for Sam and how You have already used him to touch others. Please continue to grow him in wisdom and knowledge of You and bring him to Yourself. Continue to give him a deep love of people and of life and use that to show him yourself. Thank You for all You are doing in Sam and through Sam. We are so blessed by his life. In the Name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen!