Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Noah's Acting Debut

Tonight, Noah had the honor of playing baby Jesus in our church's Christmas program. He did wonderfully! During his first scene he seemed mesmerized by the lights. He remained bright eyed and happy as he gazed up at his momma
(a.k.a. Mary). During his second scene he started to get a little fussy but we were able to keep him from a full cry. He was vocal at the most appropriate times and we could not have asked for a better performance. Noah will have his Oscar acceptance speech ready for next Sunday. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Snow of the Season!

Emma, Jackson & Leah with some neighborhood kids and the snowman that they all built

Noah stayed inside warm & cozy in his swing while mom got the hot chocolate ready for his chilly brother and sisters....actually, now that I think about it, Josh made the hot chocolate. I intended to do it but there are a lot of things I have intended to do that haven't been done lately. The story of life with a new baby. Wouldn't have it any other way! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Welcome Baby Noah!

He's almost 3 weeks old but I have yet to introduce him on my blog. We've been spending all of our extra time sleeping instead of blogging. Here are some pictures from the day of his arrival.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our New Car! :)

Have you ever had one of those seasons in your life where you have no idea how you got from point A to point B? A time when the presence of God in your life is both undeniable and awe inspiring? We've just come through one such season. As I reflect on the last couple of months I can't help but marvel at the God of the universe who cares deeply for me and my family.

Point A was a little over 2 months ago. I sat on the side of the interstate with my husband as he tried to turn over the engine on our broken down mini-van. The look of defeat and hopelessness that came over his face when he heard the sound that it made told me all I needed to know. We were in big trouble. Our mini-van had been a huge blessing. A reliable car that we were proud of. A car big enough for our growing family. And, it was paid for. We had the van hauled to a mechanic where our fears were confirmed. The engine was done.

It's no secret that a life in the ministry means a limited income. Add to that a mom who feels strongly about being home with our kids as much as possible and...well, there's just not a lot of extra money around here. We were definitely not in a position to take on a car payment at this time. Our only other vehicle is a 13 year old, 200,000 mile, SUV that holds 5 people. Did, I mention that we are about to be a family of 6? I had no idea what we were going to do. The situation seemed hopeless. I had no choice but to put it into God's hands. I prayed for him to provide a car for our family. Then, I could do nothing but sit back and watch him work.

Let me tell you, he used our church, our family, a failing economy, a struggling family of strangers.....even the darn IRS to answer that prayer. Amazing.

I remember when they took the love offering at church for us. When, we were told the final number of the offering, we were so thankful. It was so much more than we could have asked for. But then, I started to divide that number by the number of families in our church. It nearly brought me to my knees as I understood the sacrifices that our brothers and sisters had made for us. These people were not just dropping 5 dollar bills in the offering plate. Amazing.

We had family that, in spite of their own financial hardships over the past year, dug deep and gave generously to help us meet a need. Amazing.

In this economy so many are making the move toward low gas mileage vehicles. The market has been saturated with large gas guzzling SUVs, which is exactly what we needed. When you have a family of 6, fuel economy kind of goes out the window. :) The prices of these type of vehicles had been driven WAY down. He even used a struggling economy to provide for us. Amazing.

We found out, at the most opportune time, that because Josh had been recently licensed as a minister he was eligible for tax credits for this year and last that we were unaware of. A little paper work and we had some extra unexpected money in our pockets. Amazing.

As we drove to look at the vehicle that would become ours, I remember praying, "God, it's obvious that you have worked miracles for us here. Let us be an answer to prayer to the family that we buy a car from as well." As Josh took the vehicle for a test drive, I stood there with the owner and mom of 3 as she poured out her heart to me about her husband being laid-off twice in the last year. They had been living off savings but their savings had run out. Their bank account had been in the negative for 2 weeks. She said, "I really hope your husband likes the car". When he came back, Josh and I talked and we decided that this was the car. We agreed on a price with the owner. She was so happy. She said that provided them with plenty of money to find a cheaper car and still have some money to live off of for a little while. And it has given me a sweet family to pray for. :) Amazing.

Here we are at point B and I feel so lucky to be driving this 2004 Ford Expedition with leather seats and a DVD player for the kids. And, Josh says I look pretty hot driving it. :) How did we get to be so lucky to have a car that not only meets all of our needs but also most of our wants? It's undeniable. There is a God and he cares for us deeply. He has surrounded us with wonderful, selfless friends and family. AMAZING!

Friday, October 23, 2009

3 More Weeks!

It was a good day. Went to the doctor today. We were scheduled for a growth ultrasound. My belly always measures a bit bigger than it should so doctors always want to do measurements to make sure the baby is not too big before delivery. You would think they would learn after having a few 6 pounders that it's just me... not the baby. He was measuring to be about 6 lbs. 2 oz. at this point which means if he continues to grow at a normal rate then he should weigh in at just over 7 pounds at delivery. This would be our biggest baby although he is still far from being TOO big.

As I laid back and the ultrasound began, the tech noticed that he was in optimal position for getting pretty good special 3D ultrasound shots. Wanting to get the shots while she could she offered us a last minute special on the 3D ultrasound. It is normally $250 dollars for a 3D simply because there is no guarantee the baby will cooperate and it can be quite time consuming. Knowing that she could get good pictures quickly she offered us the ultrasound for $25 dollars but we had to make the decision quickly before he moved. We definitely agreed to it!

It was so great to see his sweet face. I can see a little bit of all 3 of the other kids in that little face but I'm sure he will have his own unique little look about him. He smiled several times during the ultrasound. Already hamming it up for the camera. :)

I was also quite pleased to finally get to schedule my c-section for November 16th at 9:30 in the morning. As long as we don't have anymore pre-term labor episodes, that will be his arrival date.

We topped the visit off with a swine flu vaccination. It seems to have already worked it's way through the kids relatively easily but we decided it's not such a bad thing to be protected against any future exposure.

Here are some pictures of that sweetest ever little face!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Flower Girl Dreams Come True

A few years ago, we went to a wedding. One of Josh's good friends, Nolan, was getting married in Kentucky. Emma was 2 years old at the time. At the reception, she was in awe of the flower girl. You could just see the wonder in her eyes... You could see her thinking, "How did this little girl get to be so lucky to wear this beautiful dress and be the center of attention (sort of)?" That day, "flower girl envy" was born. We have been hoping since then that one of our friends or family members would get married and ask her to be the flower girl. As the first girl grandchild on both sides, I got the chance to be the flower girl in several weddings. It's definitely an experience I hope every little girls gets to have sometime. Finally, Emma's chance came this past September when my cousin Sarah got married. Emma loved her special day. I was tickled pink to see another little girl about 2 years old following her around with that same wonder in her eyes that I noticed a few years ago...

Brewing Excitement and H1N1

Here I am, finally, with a blog update for you! Our family has been through one thing after another over the last week or two.

Last Friday night, at only 34 weeks, I started having contractions about every 10 minutes. After being up and down all night with the pain alternating between my stomach and back, we decided to call the doctor at about 9 am Saturday morning. Of course they told us to come on in to the hospital. We quickly realized that we were nowhere near ready for this baby to come, but wanted to be prepared, just in case. We jumped into gear and packed bags for us, for the kids to stay at Mimi's and for the baby. I realized, I did not have anything purchased for the baby yet. No Diapers. No Baby Wipes. No Baby Wash. Even the car seat was down underneath the house in desperate need of being disinfected. We grabbed what we had and made the hour and a half trip to the hospital. After several hours of being monitored, they gave me a shot of Terbutaline which put a stop to the contractions. While waiting for my discharge papers, we were surprised to see my mom and dad walk into the room. We had called them early that morning to let them know what was happening but had told them there was no need to drive to the hospital. They didn't listen. They made the 3 hour trip from N-ville only to arrive as we were being discharged. It was a great surprise though. It was my mom's birthday so we ended up spending the rest of the day visiting with them.

The following Tuesday, I was just recovering from our excitement over the weekend, when it came time to drive back to K-town to take the girls in for their yearly check-ups. We decided to come up the night before and spend the night at Mimi's to make the day a little easier on everyone. As I kissed them good night that night, I noticed that both of the girls were running fevers. My only thought was that the timing was actually good since we would be at the doctor's the next day anyway. We found out the next day that both girls were in the very early stages of the H1N1 flu. We quickly got prescriptions of Tamiflu for all of the kids and myself. It took all day to get that taken care of between looking for a pharmacy that wasn't out of the suspension formula for the kids and trying to get my doctor's office on the ball. It was a little nerve-racking since the younger kids and me (since I'm pregnant) are in a high risk group for complications. We have all done okay so far though. Everyone seems to be on the mend now. No more fevers just a few coughs and runny noses. The kids were on fall break the first part of the week anyway but having them at home couped up all week has been almost too much for any of us to bear. They are so ready to get out and run around. Even with the cold weather, I think we will be going to the park very soon!

Photo Sessions

I hate taking the kids to cheap photography studios that have left me feeling disappointed and frustrated. I also hate the price tag of those wonderful photographers out there even though their work is usually gorgeous and painless for the kids and I. But, after one last straw last year at one of those cheapy places, I vowed never again to take the kids to any such place. Since then, I have been studying a bit about aperture, shutter speed and other such photography subjects. I have always loved taking pictures but now I am just making an attempt to be knowledgeable about the subject. I won't say that I am anywhere near professional yet but I have been very satisfied with some shots that I have taken over the last few months with the kids. I got a few great shots of each of them. Shots that are frame worthy and came without any tears - major accomplishment! I can't wait for baby Noah to get here so that we can get some great sweet baby shots of him too.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Psalm 37 according to Beth Moore

Last night I got the chance to attend a Living Proof Live simulcast with some girls from my church. It was a 2 day event. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the second day. But...I thought I would post some of my notes from last night anyway. I'm not the best note taker but...this was pretty good stuff from Ms. Beth Moore.


Psalm 37 - In original Hebrew it was written so that each line began with each letter of the alphabet. Why was it written that way? So that it would be easy to memorize. Hint, Hint.

theodicy - God of Justice. Read Psalm 9, Psalm 73 and Job. We all go through a season where we struggle with the question: Is God Good? God is just. He LOVES justice.

On the first night we received 3 of 7 facts that Beth came up with regarding Psalm 37:4. Look at whole Psalm but narrow in on 37:4, which says...

"Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart"

Fact #1: Nothing dictates our lives like our desires
- people do what they want to
- God is not a dictator
- desire is not a bad thing - it give us zeal for life
- a craving is an unattended to legitimate desire
- our prayer should be: protect us from everything EXCEPT from your glory
- Psalm 38:9 says "All my longings lie open before you
- We disconnect our desires from our religion until we lose all passion
- a legitimate heart's desire necessitates a wait. It is a sustained
longing, unaffected by mood, time or circumstance

Fact #2: Beneath the desires of our hearts is the heart of our desires.
- if you have not received the desire of your heart, something us up.
Glory is at stake.
- What is present in the absence?
- God does not say "no" flippantly
- He sees the end from the beggining
- every desire implies something we lack
- often if we move our delight to center on God, our desires will shift a bit

Fact #3: Delighting in God adapts our desires into inevitabilities
- Psalm 37:23 - the delight is reciprocated
- man's delight (ps 37:4) a feeling of extreme pleasure
& satisfaction, wonder, awe
- to sport - outpouring joy (like at a football game)
- "venti joy w/ an extra shot"
- on sharing faith - "God grant me a heart that delights in you"
- When a 2 month old smiles at you and you finally have a connection.
What joy! God has been smiling down on us our whole lives.
Joy is when we finally smile back at him and connect.
If joy is a smile, then delight is a laugh.
- delight = sensitivity to God, to worship
- He will only & always give us the heart of our desires
- God's delight (ps. 37:23) to move toward, to take pleasure in

This world is too depressing for delight? God sees it ALL.

He sees the most horrible evil in the darkest places.

He sees the mother teaching her toddler "Jesus loves me, this I know"....

He delights......

He sees, out 90,000 people at 516 locations, one woman and her desires.....

And He delights....

I have friends taking notes today. I can't wait to read about her other 4 points on this Psalm!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't Know if I Remember How To Do This...

So sorry friends.... I really should be keeping up with this a little better.

Well, we are settling into another school year. Emma has enjoyed getting back into the swing of things. She is in second grade this year and was excited to have some of her good friends from 1st grade in her class this year.

Jackson has started pre-school. I have to say that I could not be any happier with how it is going. We have been incredibly blessed with a wonderful teacher. She and Jackson get along great. Jackson takes great pride in going to school. Josh says he watched him this morning as he put away his backpack, got out his "take home" notebook and put it in the tray where it goes each day. He is learning the routine and doing very well. One of the assistant teachers told me today that she had fallen in love with Jackson and that they had nicknamed Jackson "The Class Flirt". Of course, this did not surprise Josh or I. Jackson definitely knows how to find the pretty girls. Such a ladies man.

On a more serious note, I humbly ask for your prayers for our family as we are going through a rough patch. We know that God is in control, but it is not always easy to wait for Him to reveal his plan to us. Pray that we will make good decisions in the following weeks and that we would have peace, patience and faith that the Lord will provide for our needs. Thank you friends.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Oh, The Wonderful Month of June!

Gosh, I was sitting here trying to think what all has happened since I last posted. I'm realizing that I have neglected my blog for too long. I have much catching up to do.

Lets see... Well, Emma turned 7 years old on June the 6th. We had a wonderful birthday party here at the neighborhood pool. We were a little worried about the weather since it had been storming so much, but turns out we had a perfect little window of sunshine during the exact 2 hours of her party. We had a great turnout with family and friends from church, school and our neighborhood.

We celebrated many other June birthdays and visited with a lot of family including my grandmother, grandfather and cousin from Missouri, Josh's family in Alabama, as well as my brother and sister-in-law & their youngins from Texas. This was all before rounding out the month with Leah's 3rd birthday on June 3oth. She also had a pool party, but her's was at her mimi and papa's neighborhood pool. With cousins from Texas in town, a great time was had by all!

We also attended our big 20 week ultrasound for baby #4. It's always so amazing to see those little ones with all working parts in place and still so tiny. We received confirmation that we were, in fact, having a boy. This led us to decide on the name James Noah. This was a huge compromise as Josh was insistent that the little guy have a "J" name while I was really a fan of "Noah". So, he did get a "J" first name but we will call him by his middle name, Noah. As far as the ultrasound could tell he appeared to be a very healthy 10 oz. boy.

We celebrated a great fourth of July by first attending the annual neighborhood 4th of July parade at Mimi and Papa's neighborhood. Emma, Jackson & Leah, along with their cousins decorated all their "go-gos" with flags and streamers. Leah enjoyed riding "back seat" on her new Barbie 4-wheeler. It was a birthday present that she doesn't really care to drive. Finally, we returned home for a spectacular fireworks display and picnic put on by some dear friends from our church.

The month of June was a memorable one! Now we are enjoying some much needed rest. Especially momma, who thinks Noah is going through a big growth spurt!