Counting It All Joy

Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  ~ James 1:2-4

I am on a journey…a journey to find joy in all things, ALL things.  And on this journey I’m learning that there is joy in the letting go and laying down — in the letting go of  perfection and expectations and in the laying down of busyness and distractions — expectations of who I should be, who my husband should be, who our children should be, and distractions that steal my attention from the truly important things in life.  I’m finding joy in trading the material for the eternal and trading perfection for what’s real.  Because it’s not a full schedule of extracurricular activities and a social agenda that makes a happy life, or a house full of all the latest must-have gadgets and toys.  It’s the rested mommy who has the energy for just one more story.  It’s the undistracted daddy who has time to throw the ball 5 more minutes.  It’s the family who gathers around the dinner table to share their day with their closest companions.  These are what make a happy life.  It’s the little things, the everyday things, the ordinary things, the monotonous things that matter, and it’s the sharing of these seemingly small things that turns a house into a home.  Day in and day out — caring for one another, sharing with one another, loving one another — it’s what makes a family a family.  And it’s what brings warmth to my heart, strength to my frame, and life to my soul.  It brings joy to my journey.

Cheer-up Cookies

This is how I spent naptime today. We were talking about cheering people up today in school, and Bella and Judah both said they needed cheering up, and honestly, so did I. So I thought this might do the trick. Family cookies~Daddy, Mommy, Judah, Bella, & Justice. Letter A and Number 4 in a repeating pattern. Baseball cookies for the boys. Heart cookies for Bella. Everyone loved them, even Daddy and his “perfect women” who is sweet and doesn’t nag ;)  Success…happy family = happy mommy :D

What’s Next?

Tonight I’m wondering about my future.  Presently, I am deeply sunken in Mommyhood, spending all of my days taking care of our 4 year old, 3 year old, and 1.5 year old.  I am woken up at 7 am every morning, after having at least a couple of extras end up in our bed some time during the night, usually by the pouncing, and jumping, and laughing, and squealing of all 3 of our children…or by my husband who informs me that he’s walking out the door and our children are awake and waiting for breakfast…or by the screams that come from my extremely, melodramatic, 3 year old daughter, who is being antagonized by either one of her brothers.  There is, however, the rare occasion that I do actually wake up at 5 am, the time I set my alarm for to ensure that I have enough time to myself…to dress, fellowship with God, enjoy the quiet, and to not feel like a zombie.  So then my day usually consists of fixing our meals and then cleaning up the kitchen (at least 3 times a day), rushing my little girl to the potty and cleaning up the mess if we didn’t make it on time, making the beds, picking up toys and trying to get the kids to actually help (usually a dozen times).  And then, either vacuuming, laundry, or other cleaning, and trying to remember to stop and play with the kids, or read my Bible, or to just sit.  Then putting the kids down for their nap, picking up the toys (again), putting the kids back in their beds (a number of times), and then finally getting to enjoy the quiet with some solitude or a nap for myself.  And then, going to the grocery store, or meeting family for dinner, or a service at church, coming back home to put everyone in bed, trying to keep them in their beds, picking up the toys (yet again), and hopefully, if I’m not already asleep at this point, finishing up any unfinished chores and spending time with my Hubby.  It is exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming, but it is my life, and I love it. 

I do, however, have nights like tonight where I wonder, what will I do when this season is past?  What am I going to do when my kids are older and involved in things that don’t include me?  I know that they are not the sum total of who I am, but right now they take up so much of me that it’s hard to see anything different for me. 

I use to enjoy writing, and was actually majoring in journalism at one time.  I was also majoring in early childhood and special education when I graduated from the local college with a 4.0 and an associates in arts and humanities, having taken and aced chemistry 104 and 105.  At one point I was planning on going to the Hair Design School, not because it was the only other option outside of college, but because it was an actual passion of mine.  I have a harp, and used to take lessons, and I have self-learned to play the piano.  I’ve attempted, but not yet conquered the guitar, and one of my secret desires is to own and play a ukulele.  I sing and play for one of our worship teams at church, and help lead other worship/prayer sets that we have throughout the week.  I am a “Mary” deep down, in that I love to worship and just sit in the presence of Jesus. 

I love God, and I love my family, and I am very comfortable with my identity being in Him and in them.  But I still wonder some times, is there more that I’m supposed to be doing?  Should I be going back to school, or do something else to prepare myself for the other seasons that will come in life?  How do all the things that I love and have a passion for work together into an actual path for me to walk on? 

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:6

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” ~Isaiah 30:21

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. ~Proverbs 16:3

A few of my favorite things

The smell of rain* waves crashing on my toes* watching the birds outside my window* Judah’s hand on my face* the sun on my back* the wind on my face* Jason’s hand on the small of my back* the taste of homemade vanilla ice cream* the smell of lilies* reading a book in bed during a rainstorm* the feeling I get after watching a good movie* the baby smell* the sunrise* the sunset* a rainbow* any kind of baby animal* the smell of clean linen* the warmth of Jason’s body when I’m cold at night* the pair of doves that nest in our yard* floating in water while I’m pregnant* the smell of oranges* Judah’s voice in the morning* Kyle* Kayla* Keri*Jacob* holding hands with my husband* the sound of Christmas morning at my mom and dad’s house* driving in the car with really good music and really good friends* the smell of coffee* staying up late at camp* coming home to a clean house* looking up at the stars on a clear summer night* the smell of a swimming pool in the summer* sharing girl moments with my sister while in the hot tub* sitting in my daddy’s lap* the phone call with my mom every day* waiting for Jason at the door when he comes home* the way my brother-in-law looks at my sister* white billowy clouds in a beautiful blue sky* laughing with my baby brother*Arabella’s hair*Judah’s eyes* Justice face* jamming with Brandon*walking along the shoreline*the way Judah says “Sis Sis”*the way Justice squeals at Judah and Bella*the way they all laugh together* how excited they get over simple things* the way they squeeze in between me & Jason when we hug* and how generous they are with their loving affection…these are a few of my favorite things…may they keep my heart ever turned towards you God, for you are in everything

A Reminder to Myself

So I decided to finally take some time today and dedicate it to my blog, and I discovered that my last entry was back in May, right before Justice’s birthday!  That has to be some sort of blogging crime.  The truth is, I got a little busy and neglectful, as we all do some times, but then I started to feel uninspired…like I really didn’t have anything significant to share.  And to be even more truthful, I still do.  I still feel like my thoughts aren’t complete and my ideas are vague, but I have decided to overcome this funk I have gotten into and just write. 

So…this Holiday Season has already been so wonderfully awesome with the purchase of our first home. YAY!!

Our Home
Our Home
It’s a truly amazing story with the way God worked everything out (but that’ll have to be another blog), and we are so incredibly happy with our “New Gray House,” the cute little title given by the kids.  (Fun Fact:  Meaning of Graham – from the gray house.)  And even as happy as we are, and how amazed at God’s Awesomeness we’ve been, I can still wake up on mornings like this one, and momentarily forget about all the greatness and start to feel weighed down.  And how horribly sad that is…that during such a happy and joyous season, I can lose sight of what’s important and eternal.  God has blessed us with a beautiful new home, and what’s eternally more important, He has given me 4 of the most beautiful people to share it with – 3 awesome kids, and THE most faithful and loving husband.  So…
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
   Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
   for I will yet praise him,
   my Savior and my God.
Surely you have granted [me] eternal blessings
and made [me] glad with the joy of your presence.
I am so thankful, God that you have blessed us so.  You have given me more than I could ever have wanted.  You have literally made all my dreams come true, and You have saved me, in every way.  I don’t want to lose sight of the important things, what really counts, and what’s eternal.  Help me to remember, help me to remember. 

Justice River

Justice is our baby.  He was born on Pentecost, and we named him Justice River because he will walk in the righteousness of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit will flow from him like a River.  We believe God will use him as His voice for the cause of LIFE.  “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” ~Amos 5:24.  Like our other babies, Justice is full of song.  He began singing when he was just hours old and he often sings himself to sleep.  He gets extremely happy when he hears music and mimics us by lifting his hands during worship.  He adores his big brother and sister and is quick to smile and laugh.  He’s tiny, but very strong, and learns at an incredible rate.  From the time he was born he knew who his Mommy was, and he has formed a special bond with me.  He’s a sweet baby and will be a mighty man of God.

Arabella Jada

Arabella is our coveted princess.  She is the little girl that every mother desires.  Her name means beautiful altar, and she was born with the heart of Mary.  She is full of passion and desire and emotion, and is  full throttle all the time.  Whatever emotion she is experiencing, she experiences it in its fullness.  She is either extremely happy, or extremely upset, no in-between, and she has the ability to go from one to the other instantly.  She loves much, and therefore requires much love and affection.  She is tenacious, and I love that about her.  “No” is only temporary to her, she will not give in until she is satisfied.  She is not shy, but fearless.  She is full of song and dance, and she is an encourager to Judah.  She is gorgeous and full of life.  She is our princess, destined to be a queen.

Judah Aaron


Judah means praise.  We named him this proclaiming that he will praise his God.  He came at a special time in our lives.  His due date was 7.7.07, which was the coveted day for all children to be born that year.  So much so that there were countless scheduled c-sections and deliveries, but we decided to let him come on his own time, and he came 10 days later, 7.17.07.  He was so loved and so wanted before he got here, and when he did arrive, he brought an abundance of love and joy.  We believe that he is born with the same heart of worship that Jason and I share, and he is full of music.  He play the drums, guitar, piano, and violin, and does so surprisingly well for his age.  He is full of passion and fire, and he has a gift of seeing and hearing supernaturally.  He is 3 years old now and has a younger brother and sister, and he has proven to be the best big brother.  He has a sweet, leading heart and always looks out for them, and he always seeks to teach them and to share with them.  He is our first-born son, and he is perfect.