Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The best present...



Daddy was folding clothes and Karlie came to him out of the blue and told him that she had decided to follow Jesus and wanted to be baptized.  She was so sweet about it that Daddy just had to video her talking about it.  We pray she will always remember this special day!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas miracles

When we decided Mark should accept the teaching position, most people that we talked with thought we were crazy.  Why in the world would we commit to a job that did not fully cover our needs?  It didn't make sense.  And honestly, it didn't make a lot of sense to us.  But we just felt that it was the right thing to do.  That it was the path God wanted us to take.  And we loved the people he would be working with. So we did it.  And I can't say that it hasn't caused moments of worry or stress.  We've been on quite a journey in learning to trust God, but it is still hard when the numbers just don't add up.  And when Mark got a call back from a job he had preciously applied for that paid about $30,000 more, we definitely had our moments of doubt and frustration and concern that we had made the wrong decision.  But God wasn't don't showing us His faithfulness.  I have been utterly amazed at the way He continually provides for us, especially in ways we don't at all deserve and haven't even asked for.  A few examples:

Last Monday, we went to eat dinner with some friends.  When we returned home, there were presents on our doorstep for our girls.

Presents that were absolutely perfect for them.  And only a sweet note thanking us for our friendship and godly example.  We still don't know who did it.  But it meant the world to our girls and to Mark and I.  I seriously cannot describe to you how exciting it was to find presents on our doorstep!  Karis has been talking and dreaming non-stop for the past few months about how she is going to have a bakery/ candy store when she grows up.  We hear about it every day.  One of the presents was a large cardboard sweet shop to color and play with and brand new crayons for coloring.  My girls have had the best time coloring it and pretending to sell treats in their new shop!  The girls also recently had a special tea party with friends and have talked about it a lot.  The other present was a nice tea set for them!   I am not sure if the presents were from someone who knew them well or if God just directed our benefactors in their gift-choosing, but these gifts could not have been more perfect for my girls :)

This Monday, Mark went to work and his boss gave him a large envelope and said it was handed to him with Mark's name on it.  Inside was the exact amount of money that we were lacking to make our budget for December and January!  It was no small sum and we have no idea who all contributed to it.  A definite Christmas miracle.   But it thoroughly strengthened our faith and confirmed that we are doing what God wants us to do.  We are amazed at His faithfulness and by the love and generosity of His people.

Today I received a gift card to Target from a sweet friend that was the exact amount of an item we had been needing to purchase there but didn't have enough money.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

These are just a few examples of how God has been taking care of us and I hope they encourage you as well.  Even when it seems that there is no possible way things will work out, God is still working.  He will provide!  This has undoubtedly been unexpectedly the most exciting Christmas ever!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Catching up on videos...

My husband got a google chromecast for Christmas this year.  At first, I wasn't sure we would get much use out of it, but then we had a blast watching old videos that I had uploaded to youtube.  The girls laugh so hard and are just amazed to see themselves as babies.  It made me remember that I hadn't uploaded any videos since Susanna's birth so I am going to try to catch up.  Here are a few from the last few months:

A song they learned at VBS this summer:

Abbi learns most of the girls' songs for school. Here she is singing the 8 parts of speech:

  (And in case you have forgotten them, she says, "8 parts of speech, noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, conjection, interjection, preposition, adjective.")

In ballet, the girls are asked to demonstrate something they learned at the end of class. Abbi didn't want to do it by herself, so Karis helped her:

Karlie's turn:

 Nothing makes me smile more than seeing a baby laugh:
 This is a funny video of Pup-pup chasing the cat and Susanna thinks it is hilarious:



Karlie laughed like this the entire time she jumped:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving fun!

Well, we forgot to take any pictures on Thanksgiving day, but we sure had a fun weekend at my parents' house!

The girls were so excited about putting up the snowman!

Grandma and Papa have a cute little Teddy Mountain store just minutes from their house...

And it happened to be Black Friday so the girls got 2 stuffed toys for the price of one!


They each got a special snowman and then Karis and Abbi each got a pretty pink and purple unicorn and Karlie got a pink bear



They even got to meet the real Teddy!

Sweet sister fun!

Susanna got to taste a banana for the first time...

And we tried for a family picture...





Monday, December 9, 2013

And my God shall supply all my needs....

There is this song I always loved that we sang at the charismatic church I grew up in.  It kind of has a Jewish flair and it is called, "Jehovah Jireh: My Provider."  I taught it to my girls (we sing songs every night before bed) and it happens to be one of their favorites as well.  My sweet Karlie Sue got the crazy Jones gene that my brother has that simply has no shyness or fear of performing in front of people.  (Those who know me know that I lack this particular gene completely.)  She is the tiniest thing ever, but she has amazing boldness.  When they had parents' night at Cubbies at our Baptist church, they asked for song requests and of course she asked for that one.  Hardly anyone else knew it, but she sang it loud and clear and as I thought of all we have been through financially this past fall, it just brought tears to my eyes.  Then Mark helped out in her kids choir class one Wednesday evening and they took requests again.  Not a single kid knew the song, but she happily hopped up in front of everyone and sang it all by herself.  She just keeps singing it and it just keeps bringing me to my knees.
Jehovah Jireh, my provider, His grace is sufficient for me, for me.
And my God shall supply all my needs
According to His riches and glory
He will give His angels charge over me
Jehovah Jireh cares for me

That song has been proven true to us this fall over and over again.  Just when we think we can't make the next payment, God provides.  This week we got an expensive bill from the dentist for several cleanings because we thought we had coverage in October but unbeknownst to us, Mark's employer had not paid for dental insurance for months.  We didn't have the money for it. But Mark got to work today and there was an anonymous Christmas card in his box with a check that helped a lot.  Thank you, whoever you are!  And things like that have happened over and over and over again this season.  I look at my bank account and I'm still not sure why we have any money since Mark had not been receiving paychecks since September.  But we do.  God is providing.

Mark has a job now!  He is teaching a few Bible and basic computer classes at the Christian School at our church.  It is still not sufficient to pay our bills, but we are trusting God to provide the rest.  There is a potential for more responsibility in the near future that would help and his classes have also been arranged so that the first few periods are planning periods and his wonderfully understanding boss has said that if he needs to find a part-time job for the morning periods he can have that flexibility.  We were originally only going to do this job temporarily for December since it did not pay enough, but after a week of it, we both felt a peace about accepting it through the end of the school year.  The staff has been so encouraging to Mark; they are like a big family and really want him there.  It is just so nice.  And Mark finally feels like he is utilizing all the studies he has completed as he teaches Bible.  And in my opinion, the best part are the hours of a teacher!  I cannot tell you how absolutely amazing it is to have him home for dinner every night!  He has had a flexible but crazy schedule as GM for the past 6 years and I didn't even realize til after it stopped how hard it had been.  It has been so good to have a normal family dinner every night with the girls!  So we are very thankful.  It is still a little scary to accept a job that doesn't pay all our bills but we do feel like God was leading us to do so.    Now I am looking forward to seeing how God provides the rest.  And I know He will because He is Jehovah Jireh: My Provider!

November

So much to be thankful for this November...

Pretty days to play outside...

Big smiles enjoying the sunshine...

Chubby sweet baby legs that just make my day every time I see them...
 Happy family times..


First requests (of many I'm sure) to curl their hair...


Looking much too old but oh, so sweet...

Sweet sisters...

 Little girls who were so excited to be Indians for Awana that they got dressed 3 hours early :)

A super fun last day of school and Thanksmas party...

A special turkey snack...

And cupcakes decorated very carefully by Daddy and his big girls...

Just enough snowflakes to catch a few on the tongue...


 A brave girl who decided it was ok to hold a worm...


A silly Daddy who told her to pretend to eat it...

A sweet and happy baby who rolls all over the floor and is threatening to crawl at any moment

...Dressing up for an awesome missions conference at our wonderful church...

Karlie's fun class...

Much excitement because the girls in Karis's class won the contest...

A mold issue in the house we were renting forced us to finally make the tough decision and move Abbi in the same little room as the big girls...

...But she has done great in her new big girl bed and absolutely loves sleeping with them!



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our Thankful Tree 2014

We got a late start on our Thankful Tree this year, but the girls got excited about it and it filled up very quickly!  Here are a few things the girls said they were thankful for:

Abbi:
--"dinner... I like to eat dinner!"
-- cod liver oil! (No lie... she does love it :)
-- Grandma and Papa and Nina and Papa!
-- My softies!
-- Play with Daddy!
-- Macaroons!
--Play with Susanna!
-- Doing tape!
--Our Thankful Tree!
-- Ruby (a favorite friend in school)

Karlie:
-- Daddy!
--made a leaf for every single person in her class and their siblings
-- made a leaf for every single relative
-- Going to school
-- For the Bible
-- Going to the store


Karis:
--Joseph and Mary
-- Esther
-- Me
--God
-- Love
-- Church
-- Kindness
-- Home
-- Bible
all relatives received a leaf as well :)



Saturday, November 16, 2013

And just like that, October was gone...

Why yes, I am still blogging pictures of October, even though it is mid-November :)  Event though it was a stressful month for us in many ways, we had a lot of fun family time!

We moved Abbi downstairs so that Susanna could finally have her own room (instead of sleeping in the hallway).  We were going to put the big girls down there, but they didn't really want to and Abbi got excited about the idea:

Karis because my entertainer for the middle girls while I put Susanna down for naps.  It amazes me how well she can read now!

We went to the outdoor festival and did all sorts of fun things.  In this picture, my fearless Karlie jumped into a blow-up ball with about 4 other friends and rolled around the field, laughing hysterically the entire time!

Abbi preferred the hammock:

This is Abbi's best buddy, James.  His Mama happens to be one of my very best friends and his sister is one of  Karlie and Karis's best friends.  I just love how that worked out :)

A random picture I found on my phone of Karis sitting in a humongoes tractor at the Homestead Creamery Family Fun Day:

A visit with  the grandparents most often results in ice cream :)


We set this up for the girls to play in and Pup-pup decided it was the best place to sleep.  And continued to do so every night.  We finally put a towel in there for her and called it her official bed.

Leaf fun!


Nina and Papa watched all the girls so Mark and I could go out on a date for our anniversary.  It was the first time I had ever left Susanna and we had to come back in the middle of it for me to feed her, but it was nice to have some time as just the two of us!

Thanks to a wonderful gift card from Mark's birthday, we ate at Carraba's!  Yummy!


We put Susanna's exersaucer outside so she could enjoy watching the girls and I could make dinner:

Abbi showing off her Cinderella slippers she found at our friend's house:

Karlie's attire:

Dress-up night at Awana!  Cubbies were supposed to dress like and animal on Noah's ark and Sparks were supposed to dress like a Bible character:

Karlie was so excited that her leader chose to be a cow just like her!
 And Karis thought it was pretty funny that the majority of girls chose to be queen Ester like her:

Daddy took a picture with Sparky to show Abbi:

Karis got her face painted for the first time ever!  It was a fun night :)