Thursday, November 26, 2009

William’s Thanksgiving Praises 2009



"You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have put off my sackcloth
and girded me with gladness,
To the end that my tongue
and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You
and not be silent.
O Lord my God,
I will give thanks to You forever."
(Psalm 30:11-12, AMP)

 
  • We are so thankful this year! There are just too many blessings; it is hard to record them all! Our biggest praise for 2009 is the blessing of John's hard-earned Teaching job! What began as an aid position, soon led to him taking a very difficult exam, which we just found out John passed – with an 84%! John has found favor with many teachers and the principal at the middle school where he works, with his present position and credentials there are a few job opportunities being discussed. We're excited to find out which one God will bring to fruition.
  • I'm also thankful that for the first time since marriage, my husband has a normal job with set hours! We can now plan outings and I can plan dinner every night and not wonder if he will be home in time. We're enjoying family centered weekends and attending our couples bible study together! The boys love waiting for Daddy to come home and greet him with huge explosions of excitement and energy!
  • We were blessed this year to conceive, very quickly, with our third little blessing from heaven. With great eagerness, we found out in September that we were adding a little girl to our family. Praise be to God that I'm still pregnant and the progesterone injections are keeping me off bed rest! We're looking forward to meeting our little peanut – Abigail Mae sometime in January 2010. I'm also so thankful that I've only gained 15 pounds (@29 weeks), I was so huge with the boys my tired, getting up there body, is thankful to not have that extra weight – especially now that I'm officially in my 30's.
  • Health – thank you Lord that after many trial full years of health issues, we're all healthy and in very good physical shape. Even our little Gabe who just had pneumonia is feeling much better! Lord, may we never take our health for granted, after John's many years of physical pain and surgeries, 2009 was a nice reprieve from illness, surgery, recovering, and doctor visits!
  • John was especially thankful for the opportunity to visit his family in Oregon a few times this year; the highlight was his climbing adventure on Mt. Hood which involved lots of freezing snow and great memories forged between brothers!

  • John and I are still in awe, that after 7 years of paying off debt, we can finally breath a sigh of thanksgiving that all consumer debt, including those horrible student loans, are finally paid off. It was only through the hard work of my husband, much sacrifice, and many wonderful blessings from God that we were able to finish off that monumental task. Wow, John and I are still in shock. I get almost giddy when I put money in savings, instead of paying off loans. God is so faithful, the road was not easy, it had many trials and bumps along the way. John and I shared together that those same trials and bumps were just what we needed! Now that we’ve struggled so much to get out of debt, we’re never looking back to that bondage again. 2010 will bring lots of pre-paying on our mortgage and saving for retirement. We’ve got some catching up to do!

  • As parents, we are so humbled by the two little blessings we are raising in this home. They have so much energy, bring so much delight, and provide so much love. Our little men are teaching us how to submit to the Lord's instruction and helping us in the venues of patience and perseverance. John and I are blessed parents to have such creative and caring little men to steward.
  • A God centered marriage, which has seen some rough times, 2009, was the year we began to reap all the benefits from those marital trials. I was able to see my husband grow in confidence, leadership, and fortitude. I personally reaped the benefits from learning and practicing submission and respecting my wonderful husband. It is amazing what a year will do to a marriage!
  • Yet again, I'm thankful for a work from home job that allows me to be a mommy and help provide for our family. I could never have imagined working for such a flexible boss who lets me set my own hours and never questions when things will get done. God had such a wonderful plan for my life that summer day in 1999 when I showed up to copy and file. What began as a part time summer job turned into a decade of blessings – who knew I'd move on to Texas and have three kids and this wonderful job would help support my dream of being a stay at home mommy and accountant – only God could orchestrate such a master plan.

  • What a year! John and I had a goal to out give our normal tithe and offerings from 2008, I feel so blessed that we were able to not only get out of debt this year, but also bless the church and others more than in any other year of our marriage. There is nothing that tops the joy of giving – both giving sacrificially of time and money. One of our goals in getting out of debt was to be able to serve and give more, John and I have prayed a lot about where 2010 will take us, and God has revealed His desire for John to go to Mexico this summer on a short term construction project through our church. I'm so thankful that we're in a place financially that when God calls, we can answer without thinking about finances. I'm also grateful for a husband who listens, obeys, and is excited to answer God's call! I wish I could go, but the joy of mothering a little 6 month old will keep me on US soil for at least another year or so!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We Are A Thankful Family


The Thanksgiving CD is playing, the sweet potatoes are boiling, the pumpkin pie is going to be made, and the little peanut is kicking away at my rib cage. It is a glorious per-Thanksgiving day! Drew and Daddy are wrestling out front, Gabe is deep into slumber, John built a fun hopscotch course in our kitchen, the house is clean, soupo is in the crock-pot, and thankfulness is in the air.

Wow, God is the master planner of blessings! This past year has been quiet, reflective - preparation for the changes ahead. Changes of jobs, changes of family dynamics, changes in finances, & hopefully it all leads to changes within our hearts. We are a thankful family, there is nothing I could possible be ungrateful for - it was all pre-ordained by God and those few things in my life which I like to grumble about are also the things that grow me and raise me up to handle a God filled life. I am truly grateful today, more so than ever before. We have health, a roof over our heads, a great marriage, and thanks to my husband we also have a generous spirit. John loves blessing others, as do I, so we're so excited to be thinking of fun and creative ways to bless others this Thanksgiving season.


Blessings -- they are everywhere, we just need to look, and then give thanks to the Creator of all things - Jesus Christ Himself, "the author and perfecter of life!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Gabe


I'm so sorry your sick with pneumonia, but I'm so happy your feeling better and that nasty cough is going away! Your such a little trooper, always happy and running around. You actually remind me when its time for a breathing treatment and love the fact that you get to watch 10 minutes of Dinosaur Train while your treatment is running. I'm so glad your feeling better!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Quiet Week


We had such a wonderful week, it was quiet, relaxed, and full of fun. The leaves finally dropped in our yard, the sun was out, and we enjoyed time playing together as a family. I baked some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and we drank tons of cocoa - thanks to John and my Birthday gift! The boys and I have had cough's for weeks, I'd hoped staying home relaxing could get rid of them, alas no such luck. I'm beginning to wonder if we're just suffering from allergies? Gabe and I have it the worst and we're both prone to allergy issues.


Drew must be at the top of his learning curve, he has been asking tons of questions like, "How big is my brain?" and "How do you spell reptile?." He has also been doing tons of math problems in his head and talking all about our frogs being nocturnal and making "hypothesis" about various topics. Wow, I can't keep up with his creative mind, Drew talks non stop all day and is always asking tons of questions. I am trying my best to answer, but by the end of the day I'm beat!

Then little Gabe is our very pensive and quiet one, he doesn't talk much because Drew is always talking. Gabe has been enjoying one on one time with John and I which greatly diminished his angry episodes. It has also helped that most of his teeth are in - only two more (bottom left) until he is completely done teething. Gabe loves to look at books and has lately been stacking various objects around the house - like blocks, books, food, etc. Gabe loves to play in the garage with Daddy and dig in the dirt for bugs. Just yesterday we had a storm blow through and both boys were out running in puddles - totally wet through. The even found Daddy's shavings bag and enjoyed throwing wood shavings all over the front yard. Needless to say the shavings and wet clothes ended up in the house  - it took a whole hour to vacuum the downstairs.


John has exciting news, he passed his K-12 special education exam on the first try. We're so proud of him! He has been celebrating by spending tons of free time in the garage making Christmas gifts.


Baby Abby is doing great, no news, still having contractions and taking the progesterone injections. Abby is quiet busy these days, her movements are much more busy than the boys! She is head down and patiently waiting her appearance in January.

I've been prepping the house and our pantry for Thanksgiving - finding great grocery deals! We're working on our annual Thanksgiving list and reading all about the pilgrims and their struggles coming to America. Drew is fascinated with their boat and loves to talk all about how much God protected and provided for their needs. We have so much to be thankful for, I'm spending this month in awe of God's blessings, provisions, and mercy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thankfulness: Discipline for A Family's Heart


Be joyful always; 
pray continually; 
give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  
1 Thessalonians 5:16  



I just love Fall! I love the season of Thanksgiving and the quiet evenings of tea by the fire. I love books and reading to my boys. Recently John and I started to dialog about ways we teach our children about gratitude; we soon discovered that gratitude in our house needed to be emphasized more. We felt Drew's excitement for Christmas & his Birthday, yet quickly picked up on his "I need, I want" attitude. So we went back to the basics and have been implementing some fresh ideas into our Fall fun, I'm so excited to see Drew's heart change from "I want" to "Lets give!"
Tonya Ruiz writes on her blog that,
"The Bible tells us that the wicked are not thankful, but that Christians are to give thanks always, for all people and things. I'll admit I don't always have a grateful heart and my kids are the first to pick up on my bad attitude and follow along. Remember the saying, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." We set the tone for our homes. We should concentrate on having hearts of gratitude."

You are wondering, How can I be grateful when my life is less than perfect?

The Bible does not say, "Give thanks only on good days," it says "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!" (I Chronicles 16:34) That means even when the toilet overflows, your teenager is begging for a tattoo, and you find a rat has taken up residence in the attic. Those are not necessarily good things (as a matter-of-fact, they are yucky things), but God is still good. Thanksgiving is not just a one-day event; it should be "an action" happening in our hearts all year long.".

Fun & Frugal Ideas for Teaching Children; and dare I say ourselves, How to Give Thanks Always:

  • Send a "Thank You note" (or pictures if they are too little to write) when they receive gifts from others. Make it a point to pray over the next few weeks for those who blessed them with gifts.
  • Make fall cookies and take them to your neighbors with notes stating why they are so special to your family and to God.
  • Teach children the importance of saying "thank you" all the time, also personally use affirming words before your children on a daily basis like "I'm proud of you" and "I'm so thankful to God for giving me such a kind son/daughter." It was interesting to watch Drew learn to pray, he always starts off with a list of thankfulness. Drew believes prayer is for thanksgiving, even when we tell him that he could petition God for things, he always goes back to thanksgiving. In his little world, there is so much to be thankful for! Hearing Drew pray makes my heart sing!
  • Make it a dinnertime tradition for everyone to share what he or she is thankful for that day.
  • A few years back, when life was especially challenging, dare I say even depressing; I was challenged to start writing down all that I was thankful for. It grew into quotes & verses about thanksgiving. My goal is to make it to 1,000 and I'm almost there! Through the process I've learned so much about being content and taking delight in the ordinary nuances of life. The process changed my thinking, so I am always on the lookout for things to write down that I'm thankful for.
  • In the month of November, make a Thanksgiving tree and use scraps of paper with "thankful thoughts to God" as the leaves.We placed ours in a jar, but I read about the tree idea on www.mypennypile.com and thought that was much better and way more visual.
  • Make a list each year of what your entire family is thankful for; I turned ours into a scrapbook, which we eagerly look forward to reading every year. The list covers things we are thankful for that entire year; it is a great way to look back and see God's hand of guidance and blessing!
  • Provide your children with a small allowance and teach them diligently, using the tool of an allowance to show how to work hard unto the Lord, save, and give generously. Over the next few months, instead of focusing on what your children will be receiving; stress the act of giving and blessings others in visual and sacrificial ways. We use Gospel for Asia as a tool to help our children learn to give www.gfa.org. Their allowance always includes giving 10% back to God. Recently we pulled out the Christmas catalog from GFA and spoke about children who do not have homes, clean water, food, etc. Then my son was able to pick out a reasonable gift to save for – Drew chose to save up for a pair of chickens!





    Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    1 Chronicles 16:34


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Stop the Presses



Wow, the past month has just flown bye. I'm not sure what happened to October, but I think I blinked! I'm already getting Christmas calendars ordered and thinking about celebrating Gabe's birthday on November 19th, then on to Thanksgiving; my most treasured holiday, then to Christmas and the birth of our little peanut. Wow is all I have to say, In honor of slowing down the time a little, here are some pictures from today, we took a much needed trip to the park and visited Daddy while he was out working at Mr. Mike and Mrs. Sue's house - they have a wonderful and quiet park in their neighborhood which has wonderful lighting!. The boys have had tons of energy so this was actually our second trip to the park in a 24 hour period, I forgot my camera on the first trip. We're having a lazy quiet Saturday today, we've tried to get lots of vitamin D and enjoy our 70 degree Fall days. Now I'm off to wash the car & the dog while Gabe naps.





Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Abby Update at 26 Weeks

I had a great appointment today! At 26 weeks our little peanut is growing and moving as she should be. She is in the head down position and pressing nicely on my bladder! I thought she had moved from transverse last week to the head down position since all her little movements started to feel different. I guess I was right!  I had another scan today and despite all the contractions, mostly between 5 & 10 pm, my cervix hasn't thinned or shortened! That is wonderful news, it means the contractions aren't doing anything for the time being. I also inquired about my iron levels since I've been addicted, and I mean addicted, to ice over the past month. My iron was indeed low so I'm on some prescription iron pills, since the OTC ones made me so very sick.

I also came very close to failing my glucose test, praise the Lord that my doc is so understanding and allowed me to fall right on the line of passing. I had a 137 and the range for passing is 130, but can be as high as 140 if the doctor so deems. Thank you Doctor W.! I  failed the 1 hour with Gabe last time around, my body just doesn't enjoy sugar and doesn't like the "rush." It processes the sugar but not within the 1 hour time allowed. The three hour test is terrible, I'm glad I don't have to take it this time around! After the 1 hour test yesterday I went home and took a very long nap, I felt so sick after leaving the doctors office, that sugar just tired me out. I'm so glad to not take that silly test again.... ever!

So our little girl is doing great, contractions are acceptable this go around and I don't have another appointment until December 2! Then the fun two week appointments begin!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekend Fun

We had a great week here in the Williams household! I am quite exhausted with all the fun we had. The boys went to the Harvest Festival at their Preschool one night, we built a paper castle one day, and over the weekend they boys dressed up and went begging for candy! Drew and Gabe were so excited to dress up, stay up late, and eat candy! We also cut open some pumpkins and all hopes I had to baking the seeds were lost when Gabe decided to put them all on his head. Then the dog enjoyed cleaning up all the leftovers.

On a new note, our science project arrived, only to be void of tadpoles. We were going to study the lifecycle of a frog, but the tadpoles won't arrive until the Spring when the weather is better for shipping. Anyhow, Drew was so disappointed that we ended up buying two Fire Bellied Toads. I think mommy is more excited about them than anyone else, but the boys love watching them and feeling them crickets. Their new terrarium will arrive Thursday, until then they are hiding out in the tadpoles home.

To view more pictures of our week, check out the photo link to the right. There were way too many pictures to post here.


Weekend Grocery Trip


Wow, Kroger is having some awesome deals this week! You can view the great deals matched up with Internet and Sunday paper coupons at www.mypennypile.com - just look under the Kroger section. All of the items I purchased we use or needed so it is quite a great sale - I was especially tickled with the 3 FREE Snuggle fabric softeners and the 4 Birds Eye meals which I paid 2.39 per package (normally 7.59). Everything pictured was free (or within pennies) except for the wipes (2.50), banana's, and the .45 ketchup and the Birds Eye meals mentioned above. In total I paid 14.67 for everything above and the original bill was 95.00! That is a savings of 85%. My Fall and Winter baking will love the 14 free cans of condensed milk (only a few are shown) and the boys are loving the free Mandarin oranges! It was a great shopping trip - one of the best I've had in a few months! I even went back the next day and grabbed some free tuna!