facts of the family

Unprofessional disclaimer (for the benefit of the Wal-Mart photo department, who frequently withholds pictures from me until I can produce the professional photographer's signature.  I'm flattered.  Really, I am.  But I'd like my pictures now, please):  These pics were taken by little old novice me using a tripod for a spur of the moment family shoot in the churchyard in front of our house.  I mean really, do you think we'd actually dress like that for professional pictures?  Okay, so maybe we would.  But  don't my poses give it away?  I literally had ten seconds to sprint from behind the camera, leap over a dog, grab a child, and pretend to not be gasping for  air.  Please put that in your copyright file.  Thank you very much.
I thought I'd share some little tidbits about our Family.  It's hard sometimes via blogworld to really get a true sense of what someone's family is really like.  So, here are just a few...

F A C T S  . O F . T H E . F A M I L Y

1.  Words that best describe us:  crazy, kinda loud, fun-loving, spontaneous, adventurous, passionate, loving, creative

2.  Favorite thing to do as a family on the weekends:  hiking in the woods, bike riding, roasting marshmallows over a backyard campfire, wrestling with daddy, dancing while he plays the guitar, snuggling on the couch

3.  What we value the most as a family:  Love for God and Love for others.

4.  What we value the most in relationships:  Authenticity, transparency, respect, compassion, forgiveness

5.  Weirdest thing about us:  We collect things...rocks, strange objects, old things, odd things and we're constantly "making" things (and this probably isn't the weirdest thing about us...we're pretty weird)

6.  Favorite family movies:  WALL-E, UP, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Chronicles of Narnia

7.  We like to eat____:  a lot of different foods.  We love Thai.  We heart sushi.  Love seafood but also love comfort food like roast beef and mash potatoes.  We really like broccoli  (well, everyone except for Joel).  Shrimp stew and crawfish bisque are his favorites.

8.  We are for:  World Missions.  Mission of Mercy.  Compassion International.  World Vision. GlobalRoar.  The Mission Haiti. AdoptionNOTAbortion.  Amazima Ministries.  Love146.  and a whole lot more...

9.  Favorite Bible Verse:  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind."  Matthew 22: 37

10.  Our most annoying habits:  we're too loud.  and rowdy.  and we play jokes.

11.  Parenting style:  pretty traditional.  supportive.  encouraging.  rules are expected to be followed.  grace is embraced.  I liked to think I was patient, but then I had four kids...

12.  Phrase that is wayyyyy overused right now in our household (and drives me crazy):  "pooh."  (why?  why do little kids love this word??!!)

13.  What we're most likely to be doing if you stopped by:  racing through the house with superhero capes on and having a tea party with fine china.  

14.  Our newest endeavor:  Charts, charts, charts.  Stars for good behavior and completed school work,  nickels for chores.  Anything to try to control this chaos of tiny people with attitudes :)

15.  Our most endearing quality:  cute kids!  very cute kids!


Home Made Lovely House Tour! and my MESSY house photos too

Ooohh, I have some really fun news today! 
My home is being featured in the series Home Made Lovely over at the fabulous Life Made Lovely blog!  So super awesome.  

>>Click HERE to see all the neat and tidy pics of my home tour.<<

And then you can scroll through the rest of this post to see my what my home looked like just minutes after I took the "tidy" pictures.  I'm telling you, this was the very same day!  We really live here, folks.  Honestly, most days I feel like all I do is clean and pick up toys and do damage control.  And I know most of you moms feel the same way sometimes.  It's hard for me to just walk away from the dishes and play picnic with Astair or give my littlest one the attention he craves.  But at the end of the day, all they will remember is whether or not mommy made time for them and let them know they mean more than a clean house.  It's the memories we're making that are the most important, after all.  As hard as these days are while my babies are still babies, I'll never get this time back.  I'm learning that sometimes I have to just embrace this mess:

{little print i made inspired by pinterest}

Just keepin' it real.



 sometimes I just need to be reminded 
how blessed I am
sometimes I just need to look up
from the mess
and start counting my thankfulness...

it works.
every time.

{instagram plays a huge role}

my thankful list from this weekend...

 for your one day off since Christmas and our date night.  
how in the world did you manage to work 96 hours last week?  we've missed you.  
you've missed us too.
I love you.
I believe in you.
Thank you for loving me through everything.
you know what I love about us the most?
we're still the same.
we haven't changed.

these boys.

love this family of mine.
playing the jukebox.
dancing at breakfast.

always an adventure.
exploring the woods.
golden sunlight everywhere.

this little girl.
light-hearted and carefree.
all smiles and sweetness.

pink boots.

finding treasures
in acorns.


our messy nest.

So much to be thankful for.


moms, I think you're just great!

Hey all you mommas out there:


Forget the dirty look you got when you dared to venture into a crowded store with all of your children (again).


Forget the rude comments people make about how many kids you have.


Don't let it get to you when other's criticize your parenting decisions (shots or no shots, public, private, or homeschool, this or that and blah blah blah)


You have the hardest job in the world and you are trying the best you can to do it with grace and dignity and love-- endless, selfless, sacrificial love.

So, whaddya say we give moms everywhere a break?  

And, moms, why don't you give yourself a break, too?

You can't compare yourself with anyone else.
No one else on earth can love your kids like you do.
No one else on earth can do what you do.

Motherhood was God's idea.
And His heart is for you, too.


A Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord, it's such a hectic day, 
With little time to stop and pray,

For Life's been anything but calm, 
Since You called me to be a mom -

Running errands, matching socks, 
Building dreams with matching blocks,

Cooking, cleaning and finding shoes 
And other stuff that children lose,

Fitting lids on bottled bugs, 
Wiping tears and giving hugs,

A stack of last week's mail to read - 
So where's the quiet time I need?

Yet, when I steal a moment, Lord, 
Just at the sink or ironing board,

To ask the blessings of Your grace,
i see then, in my small one's face, 
That You have blessed me all the while-

And I stoop to kiss... That precious smile.
Source Unknown


winner winner

what we've been up to....

a little bit of this...

and a little bit of that...

And a whole lot more in between (lots of blog posts rolling around in my head but mommyhood has kidnapped my brain and when I get it back I'll let you know...it seems to be missing often these days)

But the real reason for this post is to announce the winner of my giveaway!!

->>-->  Paisley Jade!  <--<<-

Hooray for Kristy!!  If you need a smile and some creative inspiration, go check out her blog!  You'll get both in big doses :)  Her family is so much fun and she is super duperty nice.


hey hey it's a giveaway!!

For the littles:

Grace Hill Media sent me Roma Downey's (known best as the pretty redhead from Touched By An Angel) Little Angels dvds to review and give away.  I have to say I was really excited to watch these with my kids!  And they were a big hit.  I'm not a fan of kid's shows these days (I usually end up having to watch the shows with them and provide commentary like "we don't say things like that in this house", "that's rude", "don't try that at home", blah blah blah)  It's gets old, ya know, and now we only watch what I pick out and approve of on netflix.  But even that is limited.  My kids are still so young and impressionable and they're like little sponges.  I want to be careful about what they're soaking up.  

I grew up watching GREAT christian movies like Superbook, The Storykeepers, The Greatest Adventure, and McGee and Me.  My mom sent me some of these on vhs and I've been trying to collect them on dvd format for my kids.  They're awesome tools for making the Bible come alive and teaching it's truths to little hearts.

And now these wonderful Little Angels dvds have arrived on the scene.  And it's. about. time.  My six year old loved them.  My three year olds loved them.  My one year old loved them.  And I am one very happy mom.  Not only do they teach the ABC's to your preschoolers, but they incorporate biblical truths and life lessons in fun and creative ways.  

---->  Just one side note that may or may not be that big of a deal to you, but I ended up having a conversation with my kids about angels and their roles in our lives now that Jesus sent us his Holy Spirit.  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit teaches us all things and His Holy Spirit is alive within us who have received him.  Not only does the Holy Spirit guide and instruct us, but the Holy Spirt also empowers us to live lives that please God.  The Bible instructs us not to worship angels, they are God's servants just as we are.  We worship Him alone.  Not that these dvd's teach anything contrary to the Bible at all, I believe they were sound, but I just wanted to make extra, EXTRA sure :) 
 (Okay, thanks class for listening to Mrs. Sunday School.  bye bye now.)

For YOU:

Just to let you know, I WILL be buying this book, Kisses from Katie, for myself as well :)  I've followed Katie's blog and her journey in Uganda for a couple years now and I KNOW that this book will be BRIMMING with the life and love and transforming power of a God who does something miraculous with ordinary hearts willing to attempt extraordinary things.  
It's message will change your life.

To Enter:

1.  Follow me on this here little blog 
(so I can find you if you are the winner)

2.  If you don't have a blog, then please leave me your
e-mail in the comment (you can spell it out to protect it from search engines:  joyefuljourney[at]gmail[dot]com)

----------->  WINNER ANNOUNCED NEXT MONDAY!  <-------------


Happy New Year!

    '^:^:^' Sending lots of prayers your way for a new year full of the love of Jesus! '^:^:^'

This Year I am simplifying.
{So I am sure that applies to resolutions as well, right?}

I want to live life simply in the grace of God.

Not striving to be more, do more, have more, make more,
but just resting in what Jesus has already done for me
on a Cross that marked the end of death and brought
a salvation that can never ever be earned.

Always it is free.
No strings attached.
Nothing at all can be "added" by me.

I want to become LESS so that Jesus can become MORE.

This year I won't expect every day to be sunny,
 I won't expect myself to be perfect
or my kids to be transformed overnight into replicas of Jesus 
 (we are born sinful after all and that is the beauty of God's transforming grace).

I won't expect my home to miraculously clean and organize itself
(or myself to miraculously organize it for that matter).
I won't expect too much from my husband, 
I will give him room to grow just as
I am growing and learning, 
and being forgiven.

I won't expect too much from others.
I have been given much grace so that
I can give it away.
Grace and Forgiveness:
What love looks like
when it's lived out.

I WILL expect myself to be THANKFUL
In ALL circumstances
for this is God's will for me
In Christ Jesus.

Thankful for a year that has been full of God's rich blessings:

God's love filling my heart, every single chamber, when it's been torn 
and bleeding from losing pregnancies and dreams

He's held on to me.

A husband who loves me so much it must be how God loves

Four of the most amazing children, definitely the cutest
that make me pictures and write me letters when I'm sad

My six year old washing the dishes for me "because you just need to rest, Mommy"
Spending every day with him and getting to teach him how to read

My one year old taking his first steps and now he's running and riding a scooter and saying things like "sorry mommy" and "ready, set, go!"
His little body fitting snug in my arms, his face in my neck, his hands holding me.

My little girl telling me I'm beautiful and wrapping her sweet little arms around me.
She is my gentle sunshine.

Boston's big bear hugs and the way he runs (sooo cute)  and the way he loves people--with his whole heart.

Family near and far that are always with me in heart.
A never ending source of encouragement, love, and prayer.
ALL the time.

Friends, beautiful friends that show up at my doorstep.  
That call, or write, or send me a message (or leave a kind comment here).

I have been so very, very blessed this year.

And I am thankful for a new year to count my blessings...


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Do ask. Do tell.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape