Monday, February 28, 2011

The journey continues

I am still on this journey I started a while ago. A journey to 1,000 Gifts. A journey to a life that is full, a life that exudes joy even in the midst of suffering- even in the midst of monotony- even in the midst of the everyday. This journey is not about praising the good things, but the Giver of all good things. It's not about changing my attitude or becoming PollyAnna. It's not just about being thankful and it is no simple gratitude journal. It's about an eternal perspective. It's about seizing the gifts He has given now. It's about seeing His Grace and His Mercy in every moment. It's about feeling, acknowledging His presence in every moment.

"Counting the gifts, one thousand gifts, isn’t an Oprah kind of gratitude. It isn’t a new age kind of feel-good exercise. It isn’t trendy. It isn’t pop culture. And it definitely isn’t comfortable.

Counting one thousand gifts is to live the radical thanks of Christ. It’s about an exercise in the age to come coming now and finding comfort in the Comforter. It’s the culture of believers really believing, the culture of God and the Blood of the Lamb.

This world doesn’t need Oprah gratitude like it needs Jesus gratitude. The kind that gives thanks for the bread and the nails, for the fire that refines and the blood that saves.

That gives thanks in the pitch and the thunder, the wind and Gethsemane black, that gives thanks even staring into the face of death because it sees His face in all things, because it fiercely believes in relentless Grace and the Hound of Heaven who can’t stop pursuing in Love.

That doesn’t gives nebulous thanks to the universe, but named thanks to the King of the Universe, the Giver of All, to Him who is the only Gift, for from Him and to Him and through Him are all things." ~Ann Voskamp

221. spring in the midst of winter

222. little boys' heads bent with dad's listening to frogs calling
223. bike rides and walks

224. open windows
225. the fluttering feeling of a little girl growing safely in the womb

226. a precious new nephew all cuddly
227. the smell of a new baby

228. best friends

229. my biggest loving a new sport

230. his tongue out in concentration

231. joy on his face

232. the way he adores them- Wo-Ah and Babeb

233. the way he fathers

234. kisses and giggles and days that cannot be replaced- moments to be cherished

"  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."   Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In case you wonder....

Many have asked if we are sure the baby is a girl. The ultrasound tech was very positive. But just in case you need physical proof:

Here is Josiah at 21 weeks. Clearly there is something there.
 Here is Noah at 19 weeks. Even more clearly something there.

And here is Eden, today, at 19 weeks. Nothing there.

Feeling pretty confident she is a girl! (PS-We didn't get a print out of this shot for Caleb. I am sure when he is a teenager and finds out I did this to his siblings he will be SO thankful that I didn't!).

We're Having A........


We are absolutely shocked. We didn't think we could make girls! We asked the ultrasound tech over and over if she was sure and she showed us the "girl parts" about 5 different times. But more importantly, she is just perfectly healthy. She is quite stubborn and had her legs crossed for most of the ultrasound and simply refused to move! We thought we might not find out if she was a boy or girl. So, the ultrasound tech spent the first 20 minute showing us so many amazing things- her brain, all four chambers of her heart, her kidneys, her face, her upper lip, all of the bones in her legs and arms, her knees and elbows, her little feet. All perfect. Simply amazing. I honestly just laid there praising God. She only weights 10 ounces. She is only about 7 inches long, but she is a whole person. What a beautiful little miracle!!

Caleb got to go with us and it was priceless watching him watch her. Finally, the ultrasound tech had me turn on my side and that got little one to move. As soon as she found the legs and bottom I said, "Oh my gosh." I have seen three boys and this was not a boy! She said, "Yep, it's a girl!" Caleb's little mouth just dropped open. He has been wanting a sister.

If you know anything about me, you know that I truly, deeply, honestly did not care whether we had a boy or girl in there. I feel so very blessed to be a mother, so very blessed to carry four healthy babies, I really could care less what gender they turned out to be! And now we are in a tailspin here!! What do we do with a girl????

Her name is Eden Frances. Frances is my middle name. But it is so much more, too. My grandmother's name was Frances. My great aunt, Toss, who deeply impacted my life- her middle name was Frances. And Jack's grandmother, who deeply impacted his life- her middle name was Frances. This little one is inheriting quite a legacy! And Eden was the perfect place that God created for man. The place that He walked and talked and had perfect union with man. And the place He will one day restore. This is the verse we have chosen for our Eden:
"For the LORD comforts Zion... 
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
   her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
   thanksgiving and the voice of song." Isaiah 51:3

We are overwhelmed, shocked, happy, all-a-whirl! Will you pray with us for Eden? Pray for her to continue to grow safely in my womb. Pray that she will grow into a woman who loves the Lord. A woman filled with joy, gladness, thanksgiving and the voice of song. A woman who enjoys sweet fellowship with her Creator. 

 Eden's profile

 Another sweet profile

 I think this is my favorite! Her sweet profile with her bent arm touching her face. Love it!

Here is her girl shot. I labeled it for you. You can see that between the legs there is something missing!! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Learning Responsibility

Caleb and Noah are getting older now (well, Caleb is and Noah HAS to do everything Caleb does!). So we have started trying to teach them how to be helpful members of this family. For their birthdays my parents gave them a chore chart. It is really neat. It is magnetic and has lots of different chores or even goals that you can choose from. We have chosen just 4 for the boys to do each day- clear the table, make their beds, get dressed and pick up their toys. Let me tell you- who knew a smiley face magnet could be so motivational! It turns out Caleb is really great at making his bed. Many mornings he gets up and gets dressed all on his own! And because of the chart, Noah has learned how to put his shoes on all by himself. And everyday they pick up their playroom with very little fussing. Seriously it is awesome!

But we also decided this would  be a great time to start teaching them about money. If they complete their chores everyday for a week, they each get a $1 allowance. Jack and I were going to get some banks that we had seen before that were divided into three sections- spend, save and give. But, man, those banks are expensive! So, we went to Michael's and decided to make our own banks. It took our two heads put together, but we really like the end result. We bought clear cylinders that resemble paint cans. We used cardstock to create the three sections and let the boys decorate each section. And then with some hot glue and a little finagling we got the sections into the cans. Then Jack used his chisel to make the bank holes in the top of each section. The boys have loved it! Every week they put 10 cents into save, 10 cents into give and 80 cents into spend. At the end of the month they will give their giving section as a tithe at church and we will take the spending section to the store for their spending pleasure! Once the savings add up to more then we'll take that to the real bank. I am really proud of how the banks turned out and how helpful my boys are being around the house.

Now, before you say there sure is a lot of money in those spend sections- we got the banks finished just as some Valentine's Cards arrived in the mail from both sets of grandparents with a little monetary treat in them. The boys couldn't wait to put the money in their banks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Caleb!

I can't believe you are already 5 years old! How did the time go by so fast? You are such a sweet boy. You make us smile and laugh everyday. You are so smart and it is very fun to have conversations with you. You talk our ears off most days, but we wouldn't change it! You have been reading for almost a year now and I really love to snuggle with you while you read me a book. You are such a wonderful big brother. I love to listen to you and Noah giggle when you wrestle and play. And Josiah just adores you. You are so excited to have one more baby in our family- what a blessed baby to have such a wonderful big brother. You love to read from the Bible and you are a whiz at scripture memorization! I love to listen to you pray. Caleb, Mommy and Daddy love you so much. We are so proud to be your parents. We pray that as you grow you will fall more and more in love with Jesus. We pray you will grow more and more into a man like your namesake- one who is a passionate defender and faithful follower of God. We are praying that you and your brothers continue to love one another and grow into the best of friends. We have had the most wonderful 5 years being your parents. We love you Caleb-Monkey! No matter what, forever and ever!!