(almost) ready

I had a brief conversation with a stranger last week. A sweet and kind middle age woman who was beyond the years of bearing children. She was just amazed to learn we had six children at home and that we have one on the way. Her eyes lit up as she pondered the busyness we see everyday.  Then when she spoke of how exciting Christmas morning must be in our home she was so excited. And she repeatedly told me just how lucky my husband and I were to have a large family.

Then the light in her eyes died as she spoke of never being lucky enough to have any children of her own and I could see the pain and heart break in her eyes. My heart broke for her.  The deep hurt and longing and emptiness she felt deep inside could be seen in those few brief moments of our conversation. I wanted to be able to say something, to say anything to offer her comfort or healing. The words didn’t come, I sidestepped the conversation into a different direction.

But her pain has not left me or my heart.

How humbling and startling at the same time. In all the chaos of this Christmas season to see our family through the eyes of another. I do know our children and large family are an amazing blessing but the day to day takes over and you in a way become desensitized to truly appreciate these blessings.

On a typical day when I am tired or sick, the kids are not getting along, not listening, complaining and bickering, full blown two year old tantrums, preteen attitudes in full swing, messes to be cleaned, never-ending to do lists are growing its hard to look at all that in the moment and think ‘wow I am blessed!’.

So in this moment, this conversation I was given the gift of seeing our super size family through the eyes of someone who longed for a family that never came.  To be reminded that all the mess and chaos and busyness is a blessing even during the hard days and moments.

Not to be taken for granted but loved, valued and appreciated.

I am thankful but not as thankful as I should be.

‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.’ Colossians 4:2

I am joyful but not as joyful as I should be.

‘But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God, may they be happy and joyful.’ Psalm 68:3

I am imperfect, a work in progress.  I will continue making progress and I will continue to grow.

‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ 1Thessalonians 5:18

During this last week of December I will reflect on this past year and pray for the upcoming year.  This sweet reminder will continue to sit with my heart as I prepare myself to enter 2018.  I will study scripture and lean to the Lord to mold me and guide me to be a more thankful and more joyful momma-bear and wife during this next year and season in our life.

Bring God glory in all circumstances!  Bring on 2018!  I am (almost) ready.

Organizing successes & wins for our super size family.

Keeping a home with our family of 8 (plus a grandmother) running comes with its fair share of challenges.   So as we are about to take on another busy school year I will share some of the organization successes and wins that we have experienced over the last few years.

 

 

The color system, this is something my mom did with me and my brothers growing up and has been a huge success with our crew. Each child has a color, this goes for theirs cups, tooth brushes, towels, anything that can be done in their color.  It helps the kids to know what is theirs and makes it much easier for us to keep track of many daily items.

Joshua is green, Tyler is blue, Emily is pink or purple (since she is the only girl this works), Noah is yellow, Richard is red and Nathaniel is orange.

 

LOCKERS IN THE GARAGE

Lockers in the garage have been amazing. We started off with the white plywood ones from Lowes but these did not last and were very expensive, so last year we found some metal lockers at Ollie’s and they are fabulous.  The kids have a place to keep their shoes, book bags, coats, sporting supplies and anything else they want.  They were allowed to personalize their lockers with stickers.  I cannot imagine the chaos we would have if they did not have this space to put their belongings.

These kids would be lost without these!

 

 

CUBBIES DOWNSTAIRS FOR ELECTRONICS

 

Cubbies downstairs, these functioned for a while.  We are actually in the process of phasing these out and taking on a room swap that is turning out to be a complete disaster!  The cubbies are downs stairs and the kids rooms are upstairs so instead of using this for storage of books or things they would be using daily it has become a catch all for things they do not feel like bringing to their room.  The big idea with these was a charging station and storage for their electronic devices.  We stand firm in no phones, tablets or electronics are to be brought upstairs.  These devices are limited in use and must be used in the main spaces downstairs where everyone is.  So while we are going to get rid of the cubbies my husband will make a small shelve with 6 slots to use strictly for a charging station so their devices remain downstairs.


 

WEEKLY FAMILY CALENDAR

 

Weekly calendar- we have been using this for a while now, I think I started this about a year ago actually.   This is awesome!  There is a row for ‘family’ for our family activities and events and then each person has their row.  I update this every Saturday and then everyone can see what the week will bring.  I used dry erase boards and put post it notes, I tried just writing in the squares with dry erase marker but that did not work very well.  The kids have really come to rely on this being there.  Next to the weekly calendar we have a plastic tray and in the tray if a folder for each member of the family.  This is used for kids to put papers in that need to be signed, trying to avoid being handed 15 different things the moment we walk in the door.  And then once the paper for school or whatever it may be is signed, we will put it in the child’s folder and it is their responsibility to check and get it out.


I also keep an update monthly calendar for the kids on the fridge. (MorMor uses this one too:)

 

 

MENU PLANNING

Menu plan- This is a must. We have used this for years, or the most part we stay consistent with using this. Not quite as good at using the menu planning over the summer while we are so off routine. On the weekend my husband and I will meal plan and then grocery shop based off of the meal plan. It is a piece of paper in a frame and I write in dry erase marker. The kids love being able to look and see what meals are what nights seem to love knowing this information. It is amusing when at times we do not have what is written on the menu, oh the looks of shock on their faces!

And yet they still ask almost daily…’what’s for dinner?’ 🤔

 

BATHTUB SOLUTION

 

Another thing that has worked well for the older children is shower caddies.  We have tried any things trying to minimize the chaos of bath products and sponges in the shared bathroom.  Especially keeping them out of each others things.  So we have gotten them each a plastic shower caddy to keep their shower supplies and they bring this to the bathroom with them when they go to shower.  No clutter in the tub and fighting over who touched who’s things!  Definitely a WIN 🙂

They will be ready for dorm life 😉

 

 BUSY MAMA—-> JOURNALING SOLUTION

 

This last organizational success is not used by my family directly but by me for keeping our family organized. This has truly been a game changer for me. I used to struggle with journal confusion and my husband would even tease me frequently because I was constantly getting a new notebook to try something different. I had a prayer journal and I would have a journal for taking sermon notes, I had my electronic and paper calendar and planner along with some form of running to do lists. At times it felt like I was trying to juggle six different notebooks. Juggling so many notebooks was complicated and caused more confusion than helping keep me organized.  About two years ago the bullet journal concept was all over the internet and that caught my attention. After doing some exploring and ‘pintresting’ thus began my journey and evolving of building my own organizational system that has worked so well for me.

I started with one notebook. I had ongoing prayers and running lists in the back. A yearly calendar in the front. And the after the yearly calendar I would do my months, weeks and days, sermon notes and daily prayers as I went. It was awesome! To have everything condensed into one flowing journal. I fine tuned this system and fell in love with the Leuchtturm1917 leather bound notebook. This was by far the best journal I found. I loved it so much and used it so consistently I started filling up one journal every 3 months! So having to change journals so frequently was becoming a chore because I would need to transfer my yearly information into each new journal to continue with my system that was working so well.

 

So several weeks ago I transitioned and transformed to a similar and updated version of what I was already using. I bought a 3 pack of the small moleskin notebooks and made a slipcover for them out of fabric.  There are elastic bands holding the 3 notebooks in place like binding in a book.  I attached ribbons in the moleskins to use as place holders.  I made a pocket in the front pocket for pens and then another pocket for post it notes and little papers I am needing to keep with or hang onto.  (I always keep a thank you card with me, just in case I need it).

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first notebook I use for my weekly/daily.  I have a list of tasks and events for the week, our meal plan, prayer requests from our loved ones, friends and church family, and a weekly verse to study/memorize.  Then I keep a page for each day with tasks/events, I log my miles, write out a daily prayer, keep track of my ‘wins’ for the day to help focus on the positives and write out the daily verse.  I keep two pages a week for writing out the prayers that I have written down prayer request for, writing them out helps keep me on track with actually praying over these requests.   I also like to tape and save any movie stubs or little momentoes I want to save as well. This is the notebook that will be replaced every few months, it fills up quick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second notebook is my yearly book, it is my constant.  I have my yearly tasks and goals, keep track of the books I have read, I have an ongoing list of things we have bought for Christmas gifts as well as ideas for Christmas gifts,  a list of all my log in and password information, basically anything I don’t want to forget gets written down.  I have a page with tasks/goals things to remember for each month and a monthly calendar. Each month is tabbed with tape.  I still keep my online calendar up-to-date, this is something that my husband and I use together.  However I still prefer to have a paper calendar to be able to write on so I keep a written one in my yearly book and up date as needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third notebook is my prayer journal.  This is where I can keep my written prayers, for my husband, marriage, children, country, church and for Landy our compassion child.  I have this organized by sections so I can keep track of the prayers.  I love written prayers, I love being able to look back to weeks, months, years ago and see where my heart was and the ways that God has answered prayers and brought me to where I am today.  God s good ALL the time!

Ready set go

When I take a moment and look at our family from the outside looking in I find it somewhat overwhelming.  I would imagine that some would say we are just plain crazy for all we take on.  Two full time working parents, 6 kids, our family is active in our church, our kids do extracurricular activities- one per child,  exercise regularly and in our downtime always finding adventures and outings for the kids.  Frequently I will be asked or hear the comment “just how do you do it all?”.  My response is simple, we don’t do it, we are not capable of doing it on our own, we are not made to do anything on our own, God give us the strength to push through and persevere during this season of busy, at times chaotic, our season of READY-SET-GO.

My strength comes from the Lord……Philippians 4:13


 This is our season of busy and I realize this is a brief fleeting moment in our lives and one day will be gone and we just may miss the busy.   I am making an honest and conscious effort each day to not get frustrated or annoyed with the small insignificant details and truly appreciating each moment as a gift on God in this challenging and wonderful journey of parenthood.  This can be a struggle for me as I tend to be a perfectionist and lean towards the OCD side of the spectrum, I while I am not always successful in these efforts however with God’s wisdom and guidance I am aware and I am improving.  

If we don’t take it moment by moment and enjoy it for what it is, will blink our eyes and one day it will be gone.  
As these hours, day, weeks and months are slipping by so quickly yet the are so incredibly important in the molding defining and shaping of our children into the young adults they will become.  Of course the most important and vital element in them growing up is their salvation, growing to truly know Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The most vital aspect for us as parents is to live the example. 

You cannot teach your children to live a life for Christ when your are not living yours for Christ. 

Wow!  This truth and realization cuts me deep and convicts me to my core.  This makes me really question and evaluate myself.  When my kids see me and how I am living do they see joy in all circumstances?  Not likely.  Do they see a patient and kind spirit?  Sometimes, in all honesty not as they see see an impatient spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 ‘ but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’

We cannot expect our children to learn to live in a way that we are not able to.  For example look at healthy eating, we can teach our kids day in and day out what healthy choices are, what they should be eating and how that should be exercising however we lose credibility when we eat junk and sit on the couch.  It does not matter what words come out of our mouths if our actions do not match them.

John A. Younts writes this in his book titled “Everyday Talk.”  “Parents, God has given you a mission to make Him known in every corner of life. To pursue this mission takes great courage. As you walk along life’s road with your children, you must literally deny yourself in order to speak first about God and how He views this world. When your child hears and learns about God this way he will indeed be clothed with honor and crowned with grace.”  I love this perspective, as parents raising our children to know God we must deny ourselves.

 

I can look back and see how far God has brought me already in the last few years, God has transformed my heart and my life in many ways already.  I am so amazingly thankful to God and all He has done and for always being faithful and patient and loving with me.  So as I self-reflect on my many areas of weakness in my living the example of Christ for our children I turn to God for wisdom, guidance and direction to grow into the mother and woman He created me to be.  

Psalm 106:1 ‘Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.’

Lord, thank You so much for the great honor and blessing of being a mother.  I know that in the moments of busy I do not always handle my words, emotions, or actions the way You would. I fall short every single day.  I reach out to You and pray for continued strength, wisdom, discipline and guidance to continue to grow and transform into a godly mother and an example to our children to love You and live my life for You bringing You glory in all I do.  You have blessed me and my family abundantly, thank You for Your many blessings thank You for the greatest blessing of all Your son dying for our transgressions so that we may have eternal life with You Lord.  Thank You for loving me and our children, I pray they see and feel Your love through me in all circumstances.

In Jesus name ~Amen.

Giving in—>NOT giving up!

I am giving in on a certain area of my life. I have come to a point and I realize I just need to let go of certain expectations, unrealistic expectations I continually place on myself. I feel like I have been in a constant battle with myself that I keep losing and this only leads to feeling frustrated and disappointed. Day after day I have this unrealistic idea that I am going to magically put this 30-60 minutes in my day where I might get this incredible quiet time and I can sit down and spend time in God’s word and have personal prayer time. Every time I plan for this to happen and it doesn’t happen I become discouraged and frustrated. It feels like this magic window of time doesn’t happen…. EVER and if it does I am so completely and utterly exhausted that my mind shuts down after just a few moments and while my heart desires the quiet time my brain fails and I end up falling asleep.

This is what I have come to terms with…. This is my season of BUSY

So while I am going through this season of busy I just need to accept that I won’t have extended periods of quiet time to feel close to God. BUT THIS IS OK! I have discovered that I don’t need extended periods of quiet time to feel close to Him! I have learned that can still feel close to God and still have time with Him even on the busiest of busy days! I just need to be creative in centering my day on Him and make sure I am keeping Him as the focus and not the opposite and not just ‘fitting Him’ into my day.

  
This is my season of busy, our children our young and my husband and I work full time, we are blessed with 6 children, we have my mother living with us and I am still keeping up with breastfeeding the youngest exclusively and we are active at church and play sports and we exercise regularly and frequently bottom line is —>we are a BUSY family. One day later in my life when I am in a season when things are not so busy and when our sweet little ones are no longer at home I know I will look back and miss these moments so I need to stop with my unrealistic expectations of sitting down for structured quiet time and regroup with a more realistic game plan.

After some careful reflection and consideration on my last few months I feel like overall I have done a pretty good job of balancing the busy and maintaining my spiritual time as a whole. Some days are better than others and they are moments spread through each day but I do feel like I have improved and can sit back and reflectively observe where I can do better.

There is ALWAYS going to be room to improve and grow. Now I am far from having this figured out but I feel like I am moving in the right direction and I am walking closer the Lord each day.

So far these are the areas where I have improved and feel I have made progress-

-devotions with the children, especially in the mornings, I have tried several things the last few years, making them read scripture out loud, having them read our family devotional and however I approached it seemed to at one point cause argument, conflict and grumbling and after a hectic morning to get everyone in the car this was very discouraging to me so what I have been doing is not making any of them read anything, when we stop in the morning before anyone gets out I take up our family devotional and I read it to them, no arguing or complaining, if they listen and get something from it GREAT! If not then that is their choice, and most days I am walking away with something from the devotion we read. They have even started asking questions on occasion and actually seem to be enjoying this, since I stepped back and made it less forced and gave them the choice to listen and participate it is going much better. Now there are days that we are running late or time just does not allow and we don’t read but more mornings than not we are doing this—>making progress!

 

-Weekly scripture- I have been selecting a verse each week for my own personal study and memorization, I write it in my journal, put it in scripture typer and put it on note cards and post it notes to help. I have not been completely faithful each week with memorizing but have been studying them, but I have memorized more scripture this year than I have in the past, I really feel like the methods I have been using have been helping me bury God’s word in my heart —>making progress!

-when I do find that have a few moments instead of instantly opening my Facebook app to see what is going on in social media I have been opening my bible app, scripture typer, devotionals and christian books.  I have actually finished reading a couple of books this year which I find a HUGE accomplishment for me.  Being more intentional and purposeful with these golden spare moments through my day has definately helped me keep my heart, mind and focus on the Lord—> making progress!

– one of the things I have started including in my daily journal is a praise and specific thank You lifted up to the Lord for something in my day.  So that even on the days when I don’t have time to write as many of my prayers and thoughts as I would like I have been dedicated in journaling thanksgiving.  It is already so awesome to go back and remember exactly the way my heart felt in these moments.  It has helped my heart to be more thankful each day—> making progress!

 

2016—>So as days turn to weeks and weeks to months I am making progress and maximizing my spiritual growth even in the busiest of busy days when I feel like my head is spinning and I want to submit to being completely overwhlemed.  I am working on keeping my mind, heart and focus on the Lord.  Some days I stumble and start to lose focus but we have such an Awesome and Forgiving God who shows such AMAZING GRACE!

So I am not rolling over and submitting to the busy, I’m not giving up, far from it, in giving in and moving forward with this wonderfully blessed season of busy.  Determined to continue to grow in my relationship with Christ and to be the best witness I can for our children and those around us.  

Thank You Father for this season of BUSY, for blessing us abundantly!

  

 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

Don’t worry….. Pray to God

Our Wednesday evenings at church I spend in the 3-5 year old room during Teamkid. This week had a great message for the kids and so simple and has really stuck with me….

“DON’T WORRY….PRAY TO GOD.” The children’s simplified translation of Philippians 4:6. What a great message for all of us.

When you are afraid- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are mad- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are upset- Don’t worry, pray to God!
WHen you are happy- Don’t worry, pray to God!
When you are lonely- Don’t worry, pray to God!

If we could just follow this simple command how much simpler could things be for us? To let go and trust God, He is in control, everything is according to His plan and His purpose. I know and have experienced that He knows what is best, I have learned time and time again His way is SO MUCH better than my way, so why do I spend so much time worrying about things I have no control over??? When I simply just need to follow the advice we gave our little ones this week…Don’t Worry, Pray to God.

This topic was approached from another direction in my ladies group on Tuesday evening, the chapters we study focused on fear and anxiety and goes down the road of identifying worry as a sin, which is a hard fact to ponder and realize. It is so easy to worry and let this worry, turn to fear and lead to us sinning. When we worry we are questioning God, we are not trusting Him when we do this. If we had complete trust and solid faith that He will always provide and be there for us then we wouldn’t need to even consider worrying. But we cannot do this, we are sinners and human and we need God in every area of our lives, hearts and souls. It is not possible to not worry, we are not built this way but we do need to work on obeying God’s commands to us, if we are working everyday to keep in constant communication with God, constant prayer, through every situation, always stay focused on Him and let Him be the center of everything then it will come more naturally to follow the advice and let go of worry and pray to God first and always.

Message for this week is heard loud and clear—-“DON’T WORRY—PRAY TO GOD!!!”

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-27
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:34
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

“Lord thank You for this great reminder this week, I pray for strength, guidance and wisdom to take and apply this to my life. Your words are so clear to me this morning please help me keep this sweet and simple reminder in all areas of my life. Help me to be humble before You. Daily I am faced with challenges, please help to always come to You first, I pray to live out these words and to not worry and always come to You in prayer and supplication. Let the great truth in Your words and Promises continue speaking to me and guiding me. Thank You for all You have blessed me with in this life, thank You for having Your plan be so much better than my own. In Jesus Name- Amen”

 

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ALL are precious in HIS sight…Jesus loves the little children of the world…

By far this was one of my favorite songs growing up, ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world’….. And now as a mother when I reflect on the true meaning and what the words in the song actually say it has a much deeper meaning to me. He does love ALL the little children of the world including my children. He loves them COMPLETELY and He loves them PERFECTLY, He loves them more than I am capable of loving them which is very hard to realize this. The love I feel for my children is UN-measurable and grows each day so how could anyone possibly love and care for them more than I do…. GOD does, His love for my children surpasses my own, how humbling and breathtaking is that!

Possibly the hardest and most challenging responsibilities I face as a mother is learning to let go and trust God to take care of them when I cannot. I struggle with this every day, several times a day, all the time constantly having to remind myself that they are in His protection. I cannot be with them 24-7 and put them in a ‘bubble’ to protect them from all the evil in this fallen world and that is so hard to accept this cruel reality. When my mind starts going down the ‘what if’ path and doubt creeps in I turn to find my comfort in the Lord, in knowing I can cover them and surround them in prayer, I can lift them up to God the One Who loves, cares and cherishes them more than I can even comprehend and trust that He will protect them for me. So I guess in a way I can keep them in a bubble, a bubble of prayer, surrounding them in prayer and scripture and keeping them lifted to God, He is their bubble.

In my prayer life my best prayer time is when I am prayer journaling. I find this best directs my thoughts and feelings as I share with God. I am not very outspoken verbally but express myself more effectively through written words. When I sit down and pray this way and am writing everything out, I have learned it is a little overwhelming to pray specifically for each of our 5 children every time I sit down to prayer journal, so I rotate and each day I spend time journaling I pray for all of them together and then I focus on one child specifically, this seems to work well for me. As I have been doing this I have carefully, thoughtfully and prayerfully selected two bible verses for each child to pray over them with. They each also have a list of 10 prophetic words that me and my husband have chosen to pray over into their lives. I have made them each have a poster in their room with their photos and their 10 words so they can see it each day and start believing these things about themselves.

So today I take comfort in the words of this popular children’s song…”Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world”. It is quiet and sweet reminder that Jesus loves and cares for my children more than I do. He is with them when I cannot be and will always protect and watch them in His will and not my own. He is MIGHTY and SOVEIERGN and my faith and trust are in the Lord. This is especially important for me this week as my children are away for the entire week and I need this constant reminder more than ever during this difficult time. It is painful during this time to be separated from my precious children; they are each a piece of my heart and something is missing when they are not at home.

To my dear sweet children- today these are my prayers for you….

 

 

———-Joshua James– bold, courageous and sweet Joshua…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Beloved warrior of Christ, Faithful, Intelligent, Generous, Compassionate, Determined, Adventurous, Servant’s Heart, Courageous, Strong

Jeremiah 20:11 But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior so my persecutors will stumble and will not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced and their dishonor never forgotten.
Romans 1:16-17 for I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written “The just shall live by faith”.

I pray you grow more and more each day into a beloved warrior of Christ that God has made you to be, that you are true to your namesake of Joshua in the bible, that you remain adventurous and determined in all that you do, you amaze me with your intelligence and generosity for others, I pray you continue to be compassionate and have the heart of a servant with all you do in this life. I pray you continue to grow each day into a strong and courageous young man who is following and living for Christ. I pray you remain faithful to Christ in all the struggles and triumphs you shall face. I pray that you live out your favorite verse and live boldly sharing the Gospel without shame or fear. If you keep your heart and life focused on God He will protect you in all you do. I pray that you know even when enemies come, because they will come, that you find strength and confidence in the Lord and with Him you will always be victorious.

 

 

———-Tyler Lewis– kind, wonderful, brave Tyler…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Compassionate, Brave, Determined, Honest, Loyal, Son of God, Loving, Faithful, Patient, Humbled

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not for I am with you be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you; yes I will help you I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

You are a cherished son of God, I pray your walk remains loyal and honest, that you grow into a patient and humbled follower of Christ, faithful to Him in all you do. I pray for you to be loving to all those around you, that You know Christ loves you and can share His love with those around you with compassion and bravery. I pray that you use your determination for the Glory of God in all areas of your life, that you live your life with complete trust in the Lord; He will always give You strength when you are faithful to Him. I pray you turn to Him in times of hardship and celebration, I pray You seek Him always and let Him guide your path in this life. I pray you have the will to go to God with your problems and feel safe and loved and comforted by His presence.

 

 

 

———Emily Ann– sweet, beautiful, loving Emily…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Loyal, Ambitious, Kindhearted, Pure, Smart, Fearless, Complete, Honest, Talented, God’s Cherished Daughter 

Romans 12:2 do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what good and acceptable and perfect will of God is.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 You are such an ambitious young lady in all you do, I pray you use this to glorify God that you ambitiously seek Him in all you do. I pray you remain loyal and kindhearted as you grow up and that you can use this to share God’s love with those around you. I pray for you to remain complete and pure and that you always know without a doubt that above everything else in this fallen world you are God’s cherished daughter. You are incredibly smart and talented, I pray this continues and can be used for the good of God as you find the path He has made for you. Your heart is fearless and honest; don’t be afraid God is always with you. If you turn to Him and remain faithful to Him in all you do He will not let you down. Trust in Him always. I pray for you to see the beauty of this work and the goodness of people without being conformed to the world. I pray sweet daughter you have the confidence to raise your head yet know when to go before God with humility. I pray the Lord gives you wisdom and shows you how to make good choices in life. I pray you will hear the still small voice inside, God’s voice leading you and guiding you and you will always find your strength in the Lord.

 

 

 

———-Noah Towsey– loving, bold, amazing Noah…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Worthy, Strong, Complete, Loving, Peaceful, Kindhearted, Smart, Child of God, Servant, Gentile
Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.

 Your heart is so loving and kind; I pray that this continues to grow each day. That your heart and life is filled with love, that You know Christ’s love for you and you use your talents and strength to share Him with those around you. Let all you do glorify God and shine His love onto others. I pray that you come to understand you are complete and worthy the way that God made you. I pray for you to continue to grow and learn in all that you do, you are smart and unique and loved the way you are. You are a remarkable Child of God. I pray for you to be a servant of Christ and your gentile heart and ways will open hearts around you to see the love and light of the Lord. I pray that your walk with the Lord brings you peace in all that you do. I pray for you to overcome some of the challenges this life has forced you to face and that the challenges that you do not overcome you are able to embrace and use them to grow stronger into the young man and follower of Christ that God has created you to be.

 

 

 

———-Richard Turner– charming, determined, sweet Richard…
YOU ARE AND ALWAYS SHALL BE—>Affectionate, Living, String, Worthy, Humble, Devoted, Brave, Wise, Deserving, Mighty Warrior of God
Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
Romans 8:28 And we know all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose.

 My precious son, I pray that you grow each day as a might warrior of God. I pray you will always know that you are worthy and deserving. You are so affectionate and loving in all that you do, embrace this and use this in your life to share the light and love of Christ with all the people in your life. You are so wise and brave, it amazes me how quickly you learn things. I pray that you grow in your wisdom with the Lord as Your Sheppard, trust in Him always and let Him lead you in this life. I pray you are devoted and humble in your walk with God. Something about your eyes can light up a room, use this to share the truth and the gospel with those who see your eyes, sweet boy you are the light, let God’s love shine through you in everything you do. Find comfort and strength in the Lord, turn to Him when you are hurt, lost, happy, broken hearted, always turn to God first and let Him comfort you and strengthen you, if you remain faithful to Him He will not let you down, He will always be with you , leading you and loving you.

 

 

 

 

Lord above all else today, I thank you for the privledge and honor of being a mother and stepmother.  Thank you for this incredible blessing.  Please continue to give me strength, courage and wisdom as a parent to lead and guide our children, to raise them most imporantly to know and love You.—–AMEN

Finding my way to prosper during this season of BUSY

Since the kids started their football and cheer practice at the end of the summer right before school started our family has been busy day in and day out, it feels like we are constantly on the go and always running to get somewhere. In the peak or our busy and chaos there are moments when I can feel completely overwhelmed with the feeling that I will never have enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, EVER. Between working full time, church activities, kids sports, household responsibilities, exercising, there will never be enough time in a day, and I will never get everything done, but that is ok.

Instead of waiting for things to slow down…which realistically with 5 children in our home (we pray to be blessed one day with a 6th:) it is not likely to happen for the next 15+ years, I have come to terms to accept this as my season of busy. This is the time in my life I am going to be on the go, full of activities surrounding the kids and our family. Instead of getting overwhelmed and frustrated with the busy, constantly waiting for the season to change or slow down, I need to enjoy all the blessings God has packed into this season of busy. I need to remind myself that I am not here by accident; God built me and equipped me to handle my season of busy. How AWESOME that He entrusted me and my husband with raising these 5 amazing children. Then when I have reached my season of slow, our little ones are grown and on their own I can look back on the season of busy and know that I was able to enjoy and cherish the many blessings of busy to the fullest.

So many blessings keeping us busy,
-loving marriage honoring God
– 5 amazing children
– 2 working parents, we are blessed with security in our careers
– Amazing church home and family
-kids that are motivated to be active, social and play sports
-beautiful home to take care of
-pets to love and cherish
In every area of our life we are blessed, THANK YOU LORD for all you have given us!

Isaiah 41:10
‘Don’t be afraid for I am with you, don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand’

As I embrace being blessed with this season of busy in our lives I am tasked to keep God at the center of our lives. Keep Him front and center in all we do is essential and key to being successful, successful in obedience to Him and successful in what we set out to do. Being busy day in and day out is for pointless and insignificant unless we keep our eyes, hearts and focus on our Amazing and Awesome Lord. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. He is intimately involved and cares about every detail of our lives, every detail of our lives should involve Him.

For this past month I know we could have done better, we are not perfect there will always be room for improvement but overall I am very pleased with some of the progress we have made as a family to work on keeping God our focus. Here are some of the highlights where I can really feel our focus has remained on God.

—–>Scripture to go; during the week the older kids ride in the car with me to school which is a good 25 minute car ride, after we drop the youngest our 3 year old off at preschool and each of the older children take turns reading scripture. We started at the beginning in Genesis; they are required to read a minimum of 3 verses each, some days they choose to do more some days they read their minimum. This has been a great start to the day, not each day has been perfect but they are starting each school day reading and listening to scripture. HOW AWESOME! They are pretty excited about the idea of reading the bible cover to cover eventually if we keep this up. At the end of the week if they have done well all week we get a treat on the way to school, breakfast sandwiches and a drink at Wawa. They think this is great 🙂

—–>Wednesday evenings before going to church for Teamkid and youth group, we have made it a point to set aside an hour to sit down and have dinner together and hold a family meeting and devotion time. In order to make this work we do frozen pizzas and salad, which require little prep and clean up allowing us more time in the middle of our crazy busy week. Kids love routine and do so well when they know what to expect every Wednesday. They are each allowed time to talk about anything they want to, any concerns or praises. The family devotion each week varies. Wednesdays are not always a complete success, we have 5 kids sometimes their silly behavior gets carried away but overall this has been awesome and effective for all of us.

—–>Sundays after church we go home and make lunch. Over lunch we have discussion and questions about the sermon. We ask the kids different things to see what they picked up in the sermon and discuss the message and review the commandments and verses.
—–>My incredible husband Matt and I have made it an effort to add onto our devotions together, we had been getting up early and starting each day with scripture and prayer, we are not always successful in this as some mornings we are so tired and hit snooze one too many times but we don’t’ beat ourselves up over a missed morning or two. We have added on scripture in the evenings while kids are getting ready for bed, we make it a point to sit at the kitchen table and read scripture together so they can see up doing this and making this a priority, we are trying to set an example for them.

Psalm 16:8
‘I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.’

Psalm 18:30
‘As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

Proverbs 16:3
‘Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.’

“Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for Your many blessings. We are so undeserving and yet you still show us unconditional love, mercy and grace. Thank You for answer prayers. Thank You for the honor and blessing of being a parent. Please guide us and strengthen us, give us wisdom to triumph through this season of busy. I pray to keep our focus and hearts on You Lord, that You will always be center of our home. I pray that we can be an example of You to our children and those around us. Our children are a gift from You, daily we need Your strength and wisdom to train them in the way they should go. Give us patience and a joyful heart. Forgive us when we are too busy to listen to Your voice, help us to take a breath and experience Your presence and so we can hear what You have to say.
In Jesus name I pray~ Amen”
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