True Joy

I just met an incredibly beautiful family.

They came to visit my neighbors and I had heard all about them.  There are 12 children in this family, by the way.  Yes,  I said twelve!  Six months ago, they lost their second oldest son in a drowning accident.  And just this month they lost their father to cancer.  In both cases they had believed God would miraculously heal their loved ones, and both times He decided to take them home.  I had heard about their strong faith, their love for the Lord and their steadfast hope in Him.  I had heard about all these things, yet my own heart was troubled for them and I wondered how they would bear all the grief they had been through.  I was anxious to meet them and a little nervous, too.  What do you say to a family that has experienced so much loss? 

I needn't have been afraid.  I was introduced to them in a whirlwind--twelve faces and names to remember.  But one defining characteristic of them all:  peace.  They were radiant with the strength that comes from the peace of Jesus.  They wore on their faces a joy that can only come from an unmovable faith in the Lord.  And do you want to know the most amazing part?  They traveled from several states away to minister to those in their family that are not saved.  Can you imagine taking your eleven children on a mission trip right after losing a son and a husband?   This mother's faith is great.  What a testimony she has.  I know their lives and their story has already made a lasting impression on my life.  We gathered together in my neighbor's living room and my dear husband played guitar for nearly two hours.  We sang and worshipped our God who gives and takes away.  And it wasn't a chore for them.  They sang with joyful abandon.


Mary Moments

When I get overwhelmed, nothing gets done.  The twin's birthday is this weekend and my to-do list is exhausting.  Instead of tackling one thing at a time, I get overwhelmed and start procrastinating.  Is that what I am doing right now?  Of course.  : )  
God has been trying to teach me some important things lately, though.  He's been beckoning me to sit at His feet.  To be a Mary in a Martha world.  (And sometimes that may mean that my house will not always be spotless but my conscience will).  I am surprised at how much I have resisted.  "But, Lord, I have to take care of what you've given me."  "This is the only moment I have to clean, you understand."  "If my house looks dirty, someone might think I'm lazy."  "Can we wait until I put the dishes away?"  Of course He waits.  But by then, the free moment is gone.  And I missed it.  Oh, I can always pick up on my time with Him whenever I can and He will lovingly meet with me, but I wonder what strength I could have gained for the moment, what joy could have been mine for the rest of the day had I only left some less important things undone. 

Here is a wonderful song for those Mary moments:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it8mPXP_K7k

Best Friends

Thaddeus was so excited to wake up and find his daddy home!  Saturdays are "Dad 'n Thad" days.  And my little boy thinks they are the best days in the world!  "Daddy, am I your best friend?"  Joel smiles from ear to ear.  "Of course you are."  My heart melts as they walk out the door and I hear Thad's voice say, "Daddy, wherever you go I follow you."


hi, i'm joye

I'm a girl in love.
I'm in love with my Jesus who loves me unconditionally.
I'm so in love with the amazing man he's blessed me with and enjoying every minute of this crazy life we've made together.
And I'm absolutely in love with our passel of kids--all four of them.  
Thad is the oldest, our brilliant little four year old (who just so happens to be sticking a carrot up his nose).  Boston and Astair are our adorable two year old twins.  And then there is Legend, our newest little bundle of joy.   My oh my!  They are as sweet as chocolate cake and just as messy.

I like being a mommy.  It's the most challenging, most rewarding, and most wonderful experience.  I get to spend every day with my favorite people--making pudding paint, blowing bubbles, kissing bo bos, and rescuing rubber duckies from the toilet.
There's never a dull moment.  
And I wouldn't change a thing.

In all my free time (ha!), I love to create a beautiful home for my family and make unique handmade items.  I'm always on the look out for great vintage finds and darling pairs of shoes (in case you haven't noticed).

I believe everyday is a gift...meant to be lived fully.
And every moment is to be treasured.


Sunshine, twigs, and picnics

I love the sunshine.  Louisiana weather suits me just fine.  It's one of the few places where you have to turn the A/C on during the day and the heater up at night.  Often.  I am not complaining.  No, not at all!  It was such a bright, brisk, and beautiful day.  We decided (well, Thad and I did--the babies don't get a vote yet, but they seemed to agree) to have a backporch picnic.   Blanket picnics DO NOT work and are NOT ADVISED for 11 month old twins.

The picnic was a huge hit and we all decided to stay outdoors until Thad's naptime.  I discovered, not for the first time, that Astair has an inner cowgirl!  She loved Thad's tractor and refused to get off.  Her favorite toy is a rocking horse (on which she rocks incessantly and even discovered how to climb on by herself).  Boston was not as interested in the tractor as he was in the mud!


I attempted to put Thad down for a nap but he's been on a nap strike for the last month and I've been stubbornly refusing to let the nap go completely  (for my sanity's sake and his!)  So, he stays in his room and lays on his bed to "rest" for at least a half hour.  Sometimes he falls asleep...but not today.  So, we decided to do our "school" work.  The twins and I strolled to the park while Thad drove his trusty dump-truck (I'm surprised the wheels haven't fallen off--he drives it so much).  I've been desperately trying to think of some creative ways to teach my active little man how to recognize his letters.  Pictures on a page just don't enthrall him.  He loves sticks, though.  So, we collected twigs and small sticks in his dump truck and when we got home we made letters.  But we only made two!!  It turned out to be a little more arduous of a task than I imagined!  We might have to work on only a couple a day...:0)


Finding Joy- Part I

Today it seemed nearly impossible to spend any focused time with my Father.  My Bible reading felt rushed and forced.  My prayers scattered and few.  I felt drained just trying to teach, correct, train, love, soothe, entertain, cook, feed, and clean!  My fuel tank is starting to sputter and I know I need an oil-change--a good old-fashioned tune-up!  Thank God for the One Year Bible!  It helps keep me accountable in my Bible reading.  And Lord knows I need that!   Every day there is a passage from the Old Testament, the New, and Psalms and Proverbs.  It helps bring more Godly discipline into my life (I'm your typical unorganized, spontaneous procrastinator)!  Days like today show me just how desperately I NEED the Word of God.  And I need to read it in a way that invites the presence of God in my life.
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11
When Joel and I gave each other our Valentine's Day cards--we wanted to be there when the other one opened it.  And while we read each other's cards, we felt like we needed to 'explain' why we picked that particular card out and what phrases were the most important to us.  We wanted to make sure the other one understood exactly what we were saying.  We wanted them to feel our love for them all over again and it was important that we were together.  Isn't this what God desires to do while we read our Love Letter from Him?  He desires to read it with us--and point out the things He wants our hearts to grasp.  And in so doing, He will fill us with joy and give us strength!  So, slow me down, Lord, and please top off my tank!
"Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy in his dwelling place."   I Chronicles 16:7


Feeding your Five-thousand

In October my husband's job took him to Saudi Arabia where he worked in an oil refinery twelve hours a day seven days a week.  He was there until December.  It was a heart-wrenching trip for him.  He witnessed an unfair class system and the depravity of Islam.  He befriended the underground christians that were there as well as the muslims.  One muslim man, in particular, became close friends with my husband.  They met everyday to discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel he had never heard before.  Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country and christians are put to death there.  This muslim man was so hungry to hear the gospel and we pray that the seeds Joel planted will bring him to salvation!
My husband was assigned helpers while he was there.  Many of them were from the Philippines and India.  They were paid $2 a day for their labor!  They were required to stay and work for two years after which they could visit their families for two months and then return to work another two years!  He found out that many of them were Christians and he was moved by the resiliency of their spirits.  He knew God had brought him to Saudi Arabia to spread the gospel and to care for the brothers in Christ that are already there.  He gave all that he could to them while he was there--food, clothing, money, bicycles.  When it was time for him to leave, he knew he couldn't just walk out of their lives.  So, Joel wrote down the addresses to their families in the Philippines and in India.  
My heart was so burdened for these families when I heard of their poverty and sacrifice.  We are so blessed and I often take for granted all that God has given us.  It just so happened, though, that Joel was not going to be able to go back to work for a couple weeks and we were running low on money.  I was torn between wanting to help these people but needing to save for my own family.  I cried out to Jesus, asking him what he wanted me to do and the answer was so simple.  I opened my bible and these words jumped off the page:  

"He replied, "You give them something to eat."   Luke 9:13
And then Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish!  Wow.  My faith can be so small sometimes!

I need to give what I do have and watch Jesus multiply it.  


A Dress For My Lil Valentine

I made a dress for Astair with  the help of a borrowed sewing machine, a wonderful mother-in-law, and many cups of coffee :)  It took me three and a half months to complete it!  And it really should have taken only a couple hours...but those are a couple hours I just don't have.  So, it has slowly taken shape and I'm just glad it still fits her!!  She looked absolutely gorgeous.  My perfect little valentine!  I had a headband for her to wear with it, but she kept pulling it off! I even made matching vests for Thad and Boston, but Joel was adamant about them not matching!! lol.  So, they'll have to show off their new duds on different days. : )

  Astair and Mommy


Twin's Birthday Invitations

I stayed up till two in the morning making the twin's birthday invitations.  I wanted to save money by making my own, but I was just fresh out of inspiration.  I really wanted this party to be classy and unique.  Well, I finally found a template on my computer that I finagled and tweeked to meet my needs.  Turns out, I love the outcome.

On the front I wrote: "Two by Two, Come have some fun, Astair and Boston are turning One!"

 Inside I give the date, time, and place.  For the place I got creative and wrote "Our Nest".  Then, as a final note I wrote "It'll be so 'tweet' to see you there!"


My stretch-limo i.e. stroller

Our day at the park!

I can't mention the park without writing a sufficient ode to THE STROLLER!

Today was beautiful!  We live only a couple blocks away from a fabulous park.  And we are there almost every day!  When the kids get bored and all of them are crying at once--the outdoors is an instant cure-all!  My stroller has become an integral part of our lives.  It's like my second right arm--my baby-sitter (no pun intended!)  And let me tell ya, it is THE cadillac of all strollers.  There is a little seat in the back where Thad can sit or stand--it's wonderful.  He loves it, the babies love it, Joel loves it, people who see it love it, and trust me--you'd love it, too.   I don't know what I'd do without it!  Some wonderful, absolutely beautiful women in my church bought it for me.  God bless those dear ladies!

Spoken Words

"The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word, and all the stars were born...
Let everyone in the world fear the LORD, 
and let everyone stand in awe of him...
For when he spoke the world began!
It appeared at his command.
The Lord shatters the plans of the nations
and thwarts all their schemes.
But the LORD's plans stand firm forever;
his intentions can never be shaken."- Psalm 33:6-11
"The Lord merely spoke and the heavens were created..."  Over and over again in the word of God I read about the power of God's voice.  He made us in his image and he gave us something he didn't give anything else in his creation:  a voice.  Then he tells us in Matthew 17:20,  "if you have faith as small as this mustard seed you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."  Wow.  I'm learning to watch what I say.  Have I been telling mountains to move or have I been creating them?   

Then in Matthew 18:18 he says, "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."  We have what we say.  I want to speak life and truth over myself, my family, and those I meet, but that doesn't always come easily!  Sometimes it feels like ignoring the obvious.  For example, we were renting the house we live in and we had been trying to get a loan for 2 years.  It felt impossible.  I was getting so discouraged, but God kept impressing on me to confess that the house was ours and that our loan was coming.  And it did!!!  God is good and He is faithful!  He's given us His Word and nothing is impossible for us!  It's good to remind myself this when I get overwhelmed with my role as mother to three!!  God believes I can do this. 

Mysterious Phone Calls...

I've been getting some mysterious phone calls lately...

The first one happened a few days ago when I saw a missed call on my cell phone.  
So I called the number and while I was waiting for someone to pick up on the other line, my home phone started ringing.  I had to drop the call on the cell and answer the land line, but no one would answer.  Frustration mounting, I tried to call the mystery number on my cell phone and my home phone rang again!!  "That's it!"  I said, "there better be someone on the other line this time!"  I ended the call on the cell, picked up the home phone...and finally realized that I am completely insane!  The number on my cell was my home number.  I had been calling myself and getting frustrated because there was no answer!!  Oh wow.  It's bad.

Now, the next "mysterious" phone call happened yesterday.  My cell phone started ringing and I answered.  I could tell someone was on the other line, but they weren't talking.  All I could hear was a lot of scuffling around.  This time, I realized my home phone was calling me!!  Boston had got a hold of the phone in my room!!  He must have hit redial!  When I found him, he was smiling from ear to ear!


Captive Thoughts

"We can gather our thoughts, but the Lord gives the right answer."  -Proverbs 16: 1

As a woman, I think I think too much.  I don't believe men have that problem!!  I never understood before how a man can sit and not really be thinking about anything at all.  I used to bug my husband all the time, "What are you thinking?  Why are you making that face?  What's going on in your head?"  Now, after five years of marriage, I don't bother to ask that question.  Because if he has something important he's thinking about, he tells me.  And if he says he's not thinking about anything--he's really not!  I wish I could do that!  I can easily allow my thoughts to rule and guide me.    I have to continually "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor. 10:5)  Joyce Meyers puts it this way, "think about what you are thinking about".  So when those random negative, critical, irritable little thoughts sneak in on me, I can start bringing to mind the Word of God.  He's always the answer.


sew easy, right?

Just look at that face!  Someone was not very happy about getting her picture taken!

Five minutes before my photographer friend was to pull into our driveway, I sat at my sewing machine frantically sewing this bird onto Astair's shirt.

I wanted something cute but not "cutesie", something darling and chic.  I've had several ideas for appliques on shirts for my kiddos lately.  It's just so hard to find really adorable kids clothes.  Well, that is if you don't want to pay a pretty penny for them!  It's really easy to do (as long as the kids are all in their beds!)

I usually cut out a stiff fabric webbing by tracing my pattern so that it's easier to sew and doesn't slip.  For this bird, I used a zig zag stitch.  It's fun!  I think I'll definitely have to try making some more!


Partners in Crime

Boston and Astair: Partners in Crime

Can I just say today has been a little rough?  Can I say that?  Or should posts on a blog always be cheerio?  All I want to do is go to the bathroom BY MYSELF!!!!  It would only take a minute, I promise.  But one minute is way too long to leave the twins and Thad alone!!  So, I'll hold it.  For another hour....

The twins have decided they want to be mountain climbers and they are practicing on everything!  They really get a kick out of climbing the stairs  (there is a gate--but Thad often forgets to close it)  If I don't see one for a minute and everything is just too quiet, I run to the stairs and there they are--climbing just as fast as their little legs will take them.  Eeiiyiiyii.  If one of them climbs up on a box and the other one tries to join them they play King of the Mountain.  And if someone forgets to close the door to the bathroom--guess where I find them?  Mmmhmmm.  Which means I just turn in circles all day between the three of them.  I'm a little dizzy.



Thad the Man

I really do love the ages that my children are at right now.  And I never thought I'd say that.  I remember being in such a rush with Thaddeus, always thinking "I can't wait till he crawls, walks, talks, etc."  Now I know how fast they grow and I really want to cherish each stage of their lives.

Thaddeus is in a very sweet stage of the threes.  He keeps me on my toes, though!  I have to watch him like a hawk around the babies.  He loves them to distraction, but he runs them over without a second thought!  I'm excited to see him become more mature emotionally now--he's constantly telling me how much he loves me and his daddy and his babies.  It's precious!  He also loves to hear how much we love him!!  The other day I had to correct him but afterwards I told him that I love him all the time.  He looked up at me with wide eyes as if he had just got an amazing revelation and said, "You love me even when I'm bad?".  My heart just melted and I said, "Yes, baby, I love you even when you do things that are wrong.  I love you all the time."  How fitting that God is telling me the same thing lately.  Being a parent has revealed so much about the Father Heart of God to me!

Enjoying the day, cherishing the moments

I am so excited about this blog.  Basically because it will keep me accountable when it comes to journaling.  Just the other day, Thaddeus said something that had me rolling and I forgot to write it down!!!  Now I can't remember what he said.  : (  I'm going to do my best to post all of my little monkey's anecdotes and precious moments!!  Right now as I'm posting this, Astair is eating dirt and loving it!  I gotta go!!


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