i have this notion that to enter this new year, everything needs to be in place and ready to go. type A personality to say the least. it isn't like if it isn't done we won't be blessed with a new year. i am just eagerly anticipating this new beginning and feel like i need to be "doing". today, i physically moved things around to get ready.
over the last two weeks or so, i have mentally, emotionally and spiritually moved things around. i have done a lot of thinking and praying. jamil and i have done a lot of thinking, praying and planning together. we have made some major decisions as we move into 2008. we have made decisions that will indeed move us past the road blocks of this last year and into a year of great things. we know 2008 is going to be great!!!
last night our prayer and worship service at elevation was awesome. awesome doesn't even describe it. for me, it was such a time of restoration and gave me so much encouragement and so much hope as we move into this new year. elevation is such a big part of our lives and to be there last night just gave such an incredible and positive ending to 2007.
so, that is it... my last post for this year. my next one will be dated 2008!
This year has brought us a lot of change and transition to our family. We have experienced a great sense of loss this year in a few different ways. But we have also received a wonderful abundance of blessings!
Jamil and I each lost a grandmother, just a few months apart. That was pretty hard for both of us. And during this time God also led us away from our church home of over six years. Most of you know that Jamil was on staff at church and God called us away. He made it evidently clear that we were to step down from paid and volunteer positions and find a new church home. It was hard to say the least. We spent a lot of time in shock and disbelief at the turn of events.
God did not leave us during this time. He provided us with a church home immediately. We are now excited and sold out members of
Jamil is also serving in a wonderful capacity that uses his gifts to the extreme!! He is serving as one of our Pastor’s armor bearers. Jamil is able to serve Pastor Furtick by encouraging, praying and protecting him on Sunday mornings. Jamil is by his side and assisting him in whatever way he needs. I can say Jamil is greatly appreciated! As you can imagine leaving the Youth Group from our old church was especially heartbreaking for Jamil. But God has really healed those wounds. We have been able to keep in touch with a majority of our kids on a regular basis. Jamil made such an impact on their lives, that it just wasn’t possible for him to just walk away. Jamil continues to work at his full time job at AXA/Equitable as the Asst. Facilities Manager. God has been faithful in providing for our family, even with the loss of the income from his staff position. Jamil works a lot of side jobs here and there to help make ends meet! He stays busy!! He is coaching Josh’s basketball team this season for Upward.
Joshua turned seven in October. He started first grade this year at a charter school,
Jordyn turned four in July. She is still taking ballet and tap at a new studio and LOVES it. She started preschool this year and is doing great. Although some days she would rather be with mommy – still a mommy’s girl. Jordyn continues to be our princess! She has grown up so much over the past few months. Not only is she gorgeous she is very smart too. She loves to dance, sing and play dress up!!!
Jesiah turned two in March. He is still our sweet boy. He makes us laugh and smile. He talks all of the time. Jesiah loves to do whatever the other two are doing. He loves anything Disney Cars or Buzz Lightyear. Jesiah is very bright and extremely active. He is always on the go.
As for me, taking care of our three little blessings keeps me on the go. I also take care of our friend’s three year old little boy, three days a week. So, being a mommy is still my full time job right now.
I was accepted into the
We received this phrase in a beautiful card this week that I am going to use to close out our annual letter:
“May you experience Jesus Christ, who fills every void and can heal any heart. He is our miracle worker. To Him be all glory, honor and praise! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
The Massey Family
i spoke to a really nice lady on saturday before the other family came. i really liked her and felt an instant connection. she is a kindergarten teacher with two little boys. her and her husband are going through a separation and she is looking for a puppy to complete their family. i let her know saturday night that jaci had been adopted but if something didn't work out i would call her.
so i did, yesterday afternoon. she was in asheville visiting family and when i called she was telling them about our puppy. little did she know that i would call to tell her she could adopt her. so she drove home early to meet jaci at the other families house. we were in contact most of the day. and then she called me last night to tell me that she had jaci with her and they were doing great!!! and she just emailed to say they are having a good day as well. jaci loves their two cats!!!
this is the best part... her boys (ages 7 & 8) were returning home today from being with their dad and she would surprise them with their new addition, in a big christmas bow if i might add!!! i can only imagine seeing our sweet puppy make another family so happy.
i know now that jaci is where she is meant to be. and that being able to bless another family makes me very happy!
although, it is still pretty hard on me. everything reminds me of her. i didn't think i would be so sad. and the kids have been missing her. jordyn reminded us that God helps us to do hard things (she has that one down thanks to E-Kidz!) she also told jesiah today that jaci wasn't with us, and jesiah said yeah she is at home, he hasn't even noticed jaci was gone. josh is taking it the hardest, but prayed for jaci and for our decision to get easier.
they had a hard time because jaci looked so much like their dog who had to be put to sleep in may, her name was casey (- how bout that for coincidence. also, casey's birthday was on christmas day and they took jaci home for a christmas present) anyway, they were not sure that having a dog who looked so much like the one they lost would be good for them. but they fell in love with jaci and after being here for about 2 hours, they did take her home. i feel soooo good about the decision and i know she is with the right family. it still was hard.
it wasn't easy to say good bye to her. and little things around the house remind me of her and i get a little sad. putting her in their van with them was one of the hardest things i have ever done. she looked at me and i just cried. i do miss her. but i know this is for the best. i know she will be loved and a part of a great family!
God's hands have been all over this. i have been sad today, my heart a little broken. the kids are doing pretty good. they were upset for a few minutes. and when we talked about it today, jordyn reminded josh that God helps us to do hard things. and she is so right again. when God asks us to do something, the right something, it isn't always easy, most of the time it is hard but it is for the best - His best. so, i digress... (God, I have gotten this down, can't we move on to the next lesson, I am emotionally exhausted from loss and pain and crying - it has been a long year, although you have provided in so many ways. i will take what you give me and do it without a complaint!)
doing an early christmas with my parent's tonight took their minds off of her being gone. and mine too. the presents stacked up helped with their loss. and the check they gave us to buy our present helped me too. i am sure that it will get easier as the days go on, but tonight as i right this there are still a few tears left in me. i am looking forward to tomorrow and being in church!!!
she is a great puppy. she is soooo cute and soooo sweet. but i just don't see her as part of the family like a lot of other dog owners do. to me it looks great to have a puppy to complete the family, but in reality, i am just not feeling it. if that makes any sense. maybe it is God working on my heart again.
as i played with her and tried to enjoy having a puppy yesterday, i kept thinking about the replies i received from craig's list. there was one family that really stuck out to me, i loved what he had to say in the email so i decided to give him a call. and when i did i felt complete peace.... i feel like he and his family are to adopt jaci. there are so many little things that i saw as signs from God that kept sticking out. which i will speak to later.
so today, we will meet with the family and let them meet jaci. and if all feels right, they will adopt jaci. it will be a bit emotional to have to say goodbye AGAIN -- (loss is wearing me out this year, we have had way too much) -- but i know it is the right thing. and i know the right thing isn't always easy.
i will share the details of our phone conversation and our meeting in another post.
so please pray for our family today as we go through this transition. it is hard to say the least.
i have been pretty emotional today about the decision. i know it is the right one, logically. but emotionally, i get so upset. i have sent out a mass email and posted on craig's list. i spoke with one lady on the phone from my ad on craig's list. and i got pretty choked up. so i called jamil at work to tell him i didn't think i could do this. of course he talked me through it.
jamil reminded me that we just don't have a lot of "free time". and if and when we do, we chose to spend it with our kids or family or friends. so poor little puppy spends a lot of time in her crate or outside on the back porch or on a run. it really is not the best life for her. she could be better cared for in a home with people who love pets. we are just not those people. we have tried to be. but it isn't coming easily for us at all.
when i was talking to jamil, i realized one of the reasons i am having a hard time is that i am looking at this as a failure. if you know me, you know when i do things i do them well, i put a lot into what i do and want things i do to be perfect (or close to). i also do not give up easily. i rarely quit at any kind of commitment i have made. actually, i don't recall quitting anything as an adult. i am struggling because i am not doing this puppy parenting thing well. i am barely keeping my head above water with three young children and having a fourth 3 days a week. then you add a puppy into the mix and i just have nothing left to give. i don't feel like i am doing anything well. i know with my personality i am pretty hard on myself but i just feel torn. and i feel down a lot of times about what i am not doing or how i could do things better.
jamil and i have made a lot of decisions together by using a simple "pros and cons" list. for this decision - there is way more in the pros column to finding jaci another home. i think there may be just 2 things in the cons column and both of those are emotionally based.
one of those cons is how the kids will take this decision. we have told joshua that we will be giving jaci to someone else for christmas - the timing is perfect! and we know with all the excitement of christmas they will be very distracted.
so, if you know of anyone looking for a wonderful 6 month old puppy, please let us know!! we want to find her a good home just in time for christmas!!
~ last night we had our high school small group here for our gift exchange and party!!
~ tonight i am going out with some friends from my MOPS Steering Team!!
~ tomorrow josh has a christmas party at school ~ we are baking cookies today!
~ tomorrow night we are going to a christmas party with some friends from church!!
~ saturday we are doing christmas with my family!!
~ sunday ~~~ big day ~~ christmas at cricket!!!
~ sunday afternoon- christmas with jamil's family!!
~ monday ~ christmas eve ~ we are getting together with the carr family: the kid's will make a birthday cake for jesus!
~ tuesday ~ it is the big day...
phewwww... busy but a ton of fun!!
he supports me and helps me with whatever i need. he helps out with the kids and the household to dos. there is always something to do and it seems like all kinds of stumbling blocks get in our way, but jamil has the most positive attitude and outlook on every situation. he relies on God for his daily encouragement and fulfillment and he passes that on to me. not always in his words, he can be kind of quiet, but always in his actions.
he strives to make the best decision, even if it is to tell me or the kids no to doing something or getting something we want. even if the decision turns out to be a wrong one (not to say i was right), he learns from his mistakes and moves on.
all around and inside out, jamil is a wonderful person with a wonderful heart. he is loyal and faithful. he is loyal to us and to those he interacts with. he loves to serve others, encourage others and minister to others. that is where his passion lies. and he does that on a daily basis to me and our family.
words can not even begin to express how honored i am to have him as my husband. words can not described how blessed i feel to be his wife. i met jamil at a time in my life where i was not in a relationship with God and jamil was a big part of my decision to accept Christ as my savior. he was a shining example of Christ' s love! and he still is today. i am very thankful that God blessed me with a man like jamil.
jamil, i love you and eight years does feel like eighty --- eighty wonderful years!!
eight years and three kids later, a christmas anniversary gets a little lost in the shuffle, if you know what i mean. there were many years that we allowed the day to go unnoticed or without much celebration. with the timing of our anniversary, we face the whole present ordeal too. like a child with a christmas birthday, often we combine our gifts making them anniversary/christmas gifts. many years we didn't exchange gifts for either holiday. this year we skip the anniversary gift and just do christmas (maybe).
on saturday night, we were able to have a night to ourselves - thanks to my mother in law for watching the kiddos - to finish up shopping for the kids and go out for dinner (kabutos - yum!). it was a wonderful time!
but today is really an ordinary day... since the celebrating was done early.
jamil is actually home from work today because we had some water/well issues that needed his attention. right now, he is off checking on a side job and then tonight he will be out with josh coaching his basketball team. later, i will look through our wedding album with jordyn - she will love to see all the pretty dresses and familiar faces!!!
i think we will begin to look into celebrating a "half anniversary" in june!
but even though our anniversary isn't nearly as big of a day as our wedding was, it is still super special to me!
i am sure many of you are feeling the same way. i have been encouraged today by so many blessings that are in my life. i am trying to focus on those to get me through this hectic time. i am encouraging you to do the same. to focus on all the blessings in your life and try not to let what hasn't gotten done bring you down. it's easy to focus on the stresses in our life but choose to focus on the things that bring you joy instead!
2. it's beginning to look (feel) a lot like christmas....i am starting to feel a little more in the holiday mood!! i think the weather not being in the 80s has helped some. i love the warm weather just not used to it mid december.
3. jamil and i are going on a date night tonight. his mom is going to watch the kids - she offered!! so we are going to celebrate our anniversary a few days early and try to wrap up our christmas shopping.
4. jordyn had her first "big girl" sleepover last night and had a great time!!!! thanks jess for having her!!!! she stayed the whole night - i expected a call around 11 to come get her but she was a big girl. the other moms thought the same, it was their girls first time too -- but no one got called in the middle of the night!! yahoooo!!
5. we watched the transformers movie with the boys last night -- a great pick!! they loved it and so did we. although i fell asleep through some of it, what i saw was pretty good!!
6. i am looking forward to next week - our schedule is a little more open during the days since i don't have to take jordyn to preschool. that frees me up some. although our nights are way to busy next week. i am probably going to have to cut out something. it is all fun stuff but packed into one week. and jamil will be traveling on thursday and friday. so i will be in single parent mode for 36 hours or so. that is a scary thought. next week isn't as appealing as i thought, hmmm.. maybe i just won't think about it.
7. joshua is doing great in first grade, he has been getting all 100% on his spelling and math tests. he is also reading like a champ!! we are very proud of his accomplishments!!!
8. we don't do a lot of shopping for gifts. we keep it pretty simple around here!! we do a lot of homemade crafts and pictures and stuff. so i have most all of it done. i just need josh to help me with a few things and we will be all set. we only have to buy something for him. he has been the hardest to buy for. he wants things that are way too expensive for a 7 year old - ya know? so tonight i hope we can get his gift and be done.
9. jesiah has been a handful lately. it is like his "terrific twos" are turning a little bit "terrible" dare i say that? he has been into everything lately and i mean everything... for example, taking off his diaper at nap time when it has poo poo in it -- i will leave it at that. so he has been a challenge this week.
10. thinking of 10 things to write about was harder than i thought - i know that was not really a 10th thing, but i am out of ideas.
anyway, i made wonderful friendships. one of those friendships is still thriving after almost 13 years! my best friend, amy and i met when we were in college! this summer amy and i became mad myspacers. initially, jamil and i started our my spaces so we could keep up with our youth. then, amy caught onto the bandwagon and together her and i became reunited with a lot of our sorority sisters! it has been really awesome to catch up and see how different their lives are now.
one of my sisters, who was also my roommate our senior year, keeps a blog too. so i get to really keep track of her life and what is going on with her these days. melanie left me a note on myspace yesterday that i wanted to share with you. here is her message:
I was reading your latest post and looked over to read your blogroll and noticed that I am no longer listed there. Just wondering if that was an oversight---or for some other reason? mel
when i first read it i immediately knew my response. immediately. so here was my response to her - (with some editing done here):
omg... thank you soooo much for bringing it to my attention, as you can tell, my blog has been under construction and i have been revamping it. i was trying to categorize my blogroll (i have a type A (anal) personality you see) and it was an honest mistake when i deleted a bunch of them and put some under our church and then never replaced some. i was going to do an AST blogroll/category, but you are the only AST other than Amy that I know of who has a blog. Anyway all that to say.... I am soooooo sorry it is not on there, i will put it on there ASAP! complete oversight... i am so sorry and so glad you brought it to my attention b/c if i was you i would be stewing about it and making myself sick instead of just asking. b/c something like that would be hurtful to me.
the whole reason i wanted to share this exchange between and old dear friend of mine (who i haven't seen in almost 10 years - miss you, mel) and myself was for this reason:
I LOVE HER BOLDNESS, HER TRANSPARENCY AND HER HONESTY.
melanie was completely open, bold, honest and transparent with me. instead of letting the fact that she was removed bother her, she confronted me and asked why. before she overreacted she wanted the truth. and wanted from me. she didn't ask amy or another mutual friend why she was removed, she came straight to me. to me that says so much about melanie and who she is as a person and as a friend. she is the type of friend i want in my life. (i wish she lived closer!) the type of friend who says what she feeling and doesn't allow herself to get in the way for the sake of the friendship she does what is right. she confronts the other person and says what is on her heart.
i love and respect melanie for who she is! and i am so glad that she brought a complete error on my part to my attention -- and i did immediately add her on my blogroll!
with that said i am off to see who else i have left off my blogroll...
oh and by the way.... who is chubbacoo? check out mel's blog to find out!!
but there is something about today, i woke up feeling more refreshed and more normal. i feel a lot less gloomy and like i want to be productive. like i have come through the fog (i have cleaned 2 bathrooms, wiped the floors on my hands and knees, loaded the dishes from last nights momtourage, made a list of phone calls, cut jesiah's hair) i even took the kids outside to play in the leaves in the near 80 degree sunny weather(in the middle of december, might i add).
and i don't feel stressed about the things i haven't gotten accomplished (going through one of my baskets of junk to be put in the right homes, vacuuming bedrooms, giving the puppy a bath, downloading pictures, finish shopping, making some teacher crafts).
i have a very driven personality. very. of the four elements of a personality - i am definitely fire.
and when i am off and can't accomplish things ~ i don't feel like i am productive.
today was a new day and i felt productive and joyful! thanks be to God...
so it got me to thinking about being bold and what sometimes holds me back from saying what i want to say or actually publishing a post that i wrote but wasn't sure about. what causes this for me sometimes? i think it is for fear of what other's may think about what i am saying. i fear the negative comments, or the lack of comments. but i am beginning to realize that i care less and less about that and care more and more about being real. because if i am not real, if i am not who God has created me to be, my blog will serve no purpose.
the purpose of my blog is for others to read and be inspired to seek God in all the things that they encounter in their lives. if i only paint a picture of a perfect christian life, they don't get an accurate one. i don't think that i do only that, but i think what i can do now is not hold back, i can be bold without a second thought.
if you haven't seen this, it is too cute. click below to check out how we have been elfed...
it all started when...
our babysitters kidnapped 2 of our kids and our friend's kid too!
then i had to put my family in it...
my j crew has been elfed!
and then i knew my sister would love it too...
my sister, jordyn and i were elfed
then do your family too!!!!!!
just so you know, life hasn't really been quiet, it's just my thoughts on what to blog about. i was reading my friend kelly's blog today and i am so glad that she isn't going to stop blogging!
although, i do understand that thought - i think it often. one of the goals of my blog is to be transparent. sometimes i feel like the things i really want to write about would be way too transparent. but then when i try to blog and i am only scratching the surface of what is going on with me i feel like i am being too "surfacey".
i really strive to be real and i want people to know who i am. i want to be who i am and not who others want me to be. to me that has been a really important part of my christian journey. and i want that to be apparent on my blog.
so, this week i have been struggling with my posts and what to say and how to say it. i actually have experienced a little bit of writer's block when it comes to the really deep stuff i want to share.
bear with me as i get through this and hopefully i will be back to posting more transparent and real stuff!! until then, i have a lot of not so deep things to share!!!
i told joshua that his daddy is not pastor's ring bearer - he is his armor bearer.
joshua asked what that was. so i began to explain to him by using the analogy of the armor of God and how daddy serves as an armor bearer. we talked about the armor of God and how when we have it on we are protected from satan. we talked about some of the pieces of the armor and what they meant.
then i asked josh what did you do as a ring bearer in your aunt's wedding, he said he carried the fake ring. so, then i asked him if he was the ring bearer in a wedding and carried the ring and daddy is the armor bearer for pastor what does daddy carry and he said the armor to protect pastor furtick from the bad guys. he asked if daddy carried a gun too. i told him that the armor daddy carried was to protect pastor from anything that may keep him away from God when he is preparing to speak at church. that daddy's job at church was to keep pastor protected from whatever may interfere with pastor's job to preach the word of God. but without any weapons -- we will leave that to the guys who are trained to do that!
i am thrilled that joshua is able to see this biblical application in his own church. and to see his daddy in this role is an awesome example. i think this speaks volumes as we try to raise our little man to be a big man of god!!
just another reason why we love elevation church and are completely sold out for what is going on there!! we are a blessed to serve at and be a part of a church who is dedicated to seeing lives changed and will go to any measure to have that happen - from having our pastor, an awesome man of God, protected by a "ring bearer" to the magnificent creativity that is demonstrated at each church service!
if you haven't been you have to check it out!!!! it is an amazing experience and to top it off we saw 142 people come to know Christ yesterday!!
so, being the wonderful husband and daddy he is - he "allowed" (i use that very loosely) me to retreat into my bedroom and take a nap. i slept from 3:30 until 5:30. i felt pretty good when i woke up still a little grumpy but much better. we were able to conquer all the tasks at hand. although the tree decorating wasn't as glorious as i had worked it up to be in my mind. while jamil was doing the dishes, i worked with the kids on decorating the tree and that was a chore. the ornaments were everywhere and the kid's were too. it was crazy.
because of my nap, i am now wide awake at 1:00 am. when i submitted my last post and it is reading as Monday it hit me how late it has gotten. wow, tomorrow morning is already here. and i have to be up in a couple of hours.
it is hard to believe tomorrow is monday. my mind is whirling of all the things that are going on this week and in the next couple of weeks.
~ i was asked to plan jordyn's christmas party on friday, so i will be putting the finishing touches on the craft and the story i will be doing (yes, i got stuck with the craft - none of the other mom's were crazy enough to take that on)
~ jamil and joshua start basketball practice on tuesday. i say both of them b/c jamil has agreed to coach josh's team this year.
~ joshua's music program for school is thursday night!
~ we switched our high school small group to tuesday night b/c of the music program - acutally our student's chose that option, we thought we might take the week off - but they didn't agree with that. they love small group -- i will save that for another post!
~ i have a few deadlines i have to meet for christmas -- gift deadlines - ones i can't explain in case one of the receivers is reading this.
~ every year i face the christmas card dilemna. i am all set for the christmas card part atleast i know what i am doing, i just need to do it. the dilemna is do i do the annual christmas letter or omit it this year. it has been a tradition and i hate to break it but will i have the time??? forgive me if your card is just that with no letter this year
~ we have 2 out of 3 of the kid's presents completed. just one left to buy for. we are praying for a good deal to come our way on a game system!
ok, just thinking about all of those things has made me exhausted again - i am finally off to bed!!
yesterday, i had the privilege of taking care of our friend's baby girl - while jamil helped them move. she actually just turned one. she is as precious as can be. i loved having her for the day -- loved it! she was as gold as gold! my kid's loved having a baby around. they asked me when can they have a baby sister or baby brother -- i said ask your daddy!
on friday, i saw my midwife at preschool -her kiddos go there. and we were talking and it made me think of having jesiah which was over two and a half years ago. i began to feel the fever rise.
a lot of people ask us if and when we will add another child to our family. and honestly i don't even think we know the answer to that right now. it is weird because over the last seven almost eight years -- this is the longest span that i haven't been pregnant or caring for a newborn. so i think my mind and body is like in shock from having no pregnancy hormones running through it. maybe some kind of withdrawl?
i have friends who have children, whether it is two or three or six and know without a shadow of a doubt that there family is complete. they feel a sense of closure and know they are done adding to their families. i don't have that. i haven't had that ever in the last eight years. i always feel like someone is missing in our family. even amongst the craziness and noise i feel like it isn't crazy or loud enough and there is room for one more. our van can handle a car seat for one more, our dining room table seats 6 - enough for one more. now our house, may be pushing it to fit in one more - size/space wise but there is enough love to go around and that is what matters most.
i am always thinking i am missing someone when i have my kids with me. i will count to make sure that all are near me and feel like i am looking for number four. i thought i was crazy doing this until my friend, marybeth, said she felt and did the same way before adding her sixth child. her saying that to me really confirmed what i was feeling. she also reminded me of God's perspective on having children. they are a blessing, they are of Him and He will provide and overcome whatever obstacle may be in the way from preventing His will on your family.
so, i chose to believe that God will remove the obstacles that are holding us back from having another child - if that is His will for our family. if He was mighty enough to raise His only Son from the grave, he is mighty enough to take care of our situation.
He will also take care of our insecurities of how we would handle another baby. honestly, there are days when i don't think i could handle another child -- my three are quite enough. i have prayed for a sense of closure if our family is complete and haven't felt it. i still can't shake the baby fever.
this is a part of my "sun stand still" prayer. i am praying that God will allow the sun to stand still for us to get our house in order so that we can have another child one day. until then i am going to start paying some of you to let me hold your babies so it will help subside my baby fever.