Monday, October 6, 2014

Prayer Please!

Right now my sister is sitting at the airport about to board a plane to
New Delhi India!
It's hard to believe for an entire year she will be following her call to reach people sharing the gospel... in INDIA. Not exactly where I thought she would end up but isn't that how God works most of the time?! I'm so excited, nervous, and sad all wrapped up in big bowl of emotion! I can't imagine the feeling she must be having getting ready to board. I'm excited because this has been a deep desire for her for many years.. her dreams are finally coming true! Her life has be designed for her to serve on the mission field... if anyone is ready, she is her faith is rooted deeper than anyone I know!  I'm sure you can sense,  I am so beyond proud of her for allowing God to be able to use her to the ends of the earth! What a year this will be but she needs our help!
Will you join me in praying for her!
Prayer request: 
Pray that she would have a hunger and renewal for Jesus and His word so that no sin will have dominion over her (Psalm 119:133)
 
Pray that the Holy Spirit will prepare the hearts of the people to hear the gospel. Pray he would give new life out of the dead and hardened hearts
(Colossians 4:3-4)
 
Pray for boldness(Ephensians6:19)
 
Pray for a spirit of unity within her team as well other partners(Romans 15:5)
 
Pray to stand firm under affliction and to look forward to eternal Glory(2 Corinthians 4:17)
 
Pray for a hedge of protection around her (Job 1:10)

Sadness covers me as I think of my selfish desires of not being able to see her or the things she will miss but I know it's not about me .. it's all about Jesus! It's about living this short time on this earth to surrendering ourselves and being used to further his Kingdom! That is exactly what she is about to do as she places her foot on the plane right now! Gives me chills!!  
I love you sweet sister and praying like crazy for you!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jo Jo

Yep, I'm teary eyed just thinking to myself my baby Jonas could actually be turning 5 years old!  Yes, it's me thinking 5 is the year between a toddler turning into a child,
oh but it's much deeper than that.





 It's that his 1st birthday was one of Jonas' first big moments we were able to celebrate with him ... we missed those first moments of his life and also wonder if his birth mother would be proud of us today? Wondering what were those first months of his life was like.  I do deeply wish I could have been there to hold him with his first few breaths of air.  If you have adopted you know it just goes much deeper than another birthday...your heart has a special place for them...it's different than your biological children...you're in constant wonder if I'm messing him up...his story is already rough coming into this world you don't want to add more difficulty...loving him unconditionally, is that enough? Our last four years and 5 months have been constantly hard work, behind his perfect smile is a nonstop attention seeking little boy ... that honestly I don't handle it very well all the time ... he pushes buttons, he's the kind of kid you ask NOT to do something and two minutes later he does it one hundreds times .. and you think how does he not get it? After many seasons of feeling guilt that I was doing something wrong, wondering if he's ever going to get that making bad choices is not fun. I feel that today is a milestone so deep within my heart that's he's finally getting it and his heart has been slowly transforming right before us. I feel he has a strong conscience to please us after so many frustrating times where Scott and I have gotten really rattled, we can truly see our discipline of consistency is paying off! We have finally learned how to channel this sweet spirit into a striving little boy. Scott and I were so worried about him going into Pre-K this year, but he's shinning in his class this year...his teacher adores him constantly giving me good reports. His beaming smile shows how proud of himself he is! For the first time I drop him off at school and he's eager to learn and his frustration and anger has fallen to the side and confidence is building that he is very smart.  Today, I choke up thinking what a gorgeous child he is and I'm thankful for him teaching me to push boundaries and not all children fit into my tight box. More than anything this child has taught me more about me, how to truly love unconditionally that no matter what he does I will always love my children even though they misbehave I may be frustrated at the action my love will never wavier! I do think the secret ingredient these past few years has been UNCONDITIONAL love...

Jonas Scott Armstrong I love you so deeply with all my soul and yes I'm fully confident your birth mom would say that above all else that is the most important gift we can give him! Jonas, I'm so beyond proud of you and who you are becoming!! I continue with God's help to be a mother you need me to be! Your beautiful brown skin is a gift ..like I always say yummy chocolate I want to eat...and yes we may never have the same color skin (believe me I try as much sun as I get) but our souls are united as mother and son!  Your smile and laughter is beaming and contagious and impacts all that get to see and hear it. You have a love for life.. living in the fullest in full throttle. You are a gift that God has designed so perfectly for this family.  Parker, Brooke, and Kate are so lucky to have you as a brother but I know the bond with you and them is unbreakable and no one would protect them better than you, which is such an awesome trait! Your inquisitive mind always asking questions wears me out sometimes  but never stop your sense of wonder...it's proven as a part of your smartness! Your love/hate of food has taught us the most to let it go and enjoy those foods you love when you can of course with a sprinkle of healthiness  Your LOVE sports as it's just in your blood to play and watch them is going to be such a big part of your life.. I'm proud of you and the determination you have to succeed in them! Just now describing you I feel I fully know every part of who you are and who you're becoming and it makes me so proud...that I get to be your mother! Today we celebrate you and you're going to love every minute of that!:) Full eyes are on you while you're changing into this beautiful young boy growing up with your family as your biggest cheerleaders! We are behind you every step of the way...God's got BIG plans for you and I know he's going to help Scott and I give you the tools to reach them!! 

Today we as a family we celebrate you being 5 years old and it's a celebration for us all!     

Monday, September 15, 2014

2014-2015 School Year



It has begun... the bump and grind of going to school. 
Yes, I'm one of those dorky moms that loves summer and hate for my little ones to go back to school... but really it's because of the hustle of getting out the door...the feeling of hurry ..the yelling of come on guys we got to go... yuck! But I'm looking forward to the small breaks for quietness this year as my babies are all learning away .. I want to do the same.  I want so desperately to carve out "ME" time... yes it's easy to get carried away with the never ending to-do list but this year I want to make time in my life for reflecting and planning for this sweet family of mine.They deserve a momma ready to serve them and prepared for them when they walk into the door. I'm going to try to put the errands aside and spending my mornings at home stretching my mind, whether it be in the word, being still listening to God, or blogging while reflecting the current season we are in. These last two years have been a complete blur ... with scattered busyness, sprinkled in fun times and lots of stressful ones. What's this life without taking time reflecting and stillness?!
Let me climb through the barriers of sound and pass into your silence 
and then in stillness and silence let me adore you! 

I'm going to try my hardest to follow my spirit calling me instead of the piles of laundry and dishes that distract because this momma doesn't want to miss this! These years that I think will be my favorite let me relish and rest in them finding the small little treasures throughout each day. Like this story of the first day of school .. every mom out there celebrating their adorable, clean, cutely dressed little star students. Most moms have those first day photos that look so perfect on the outside but inside it took lots of bribing, only a few tears and yes stained toothpaste on Jonas' shirt for our cute picture. Ours was a typical school morning... I thought.... 
lots of loud voices of excitement, responsible Brooke I think had everything ready bossing everyone else on what to do. Parker was quiet but steadily getting ready for his big first day of second grade. The Little's (Jonas and Kate) had only meet the teacher and started the next day... but very ready to meet their teachers for the year. Of course, not planning it in my head correctly with it being the first day of school the line of parents into the school was unbelievably LONG as everyone wanted to walk their child into the classroom the first day ...oops should have planned better I told the twins.  Brooke immediately said "it's ok just drop us off in the front" her confidence was soaring high and I thought "wow, they are big kids now?" Brooke was ready to jump out of the car and high tail it to class. I said, "Parker is that ok with you?" he said "well, can you do car line and drop us off there instead?" I said "sure". He was wondering how he was going to carry his bag of supplies too and I said "you'll be fine honey you're strong."  Car line went fast and as I pulled up to let them out I could hear the complaining starting from Parker " I don't want to carry this bag of supplies it's just too heavy".  He was upset ... I said I'm sorry buddy but I'm stuck in this line now and cant walk you into class.  I was actually starting to get annoyed, Parker you will be fine I promise he really didn't have to walk far.  I gave him a kiss and watched him walk away, complaining still talking to himself acting like the bag weighed 400 pounds... he started to drag the bag on the ground ..oh no, I thought he's going to rip it ...Where is Brooke I thought? Yep, she high tailed it out of there straight to her classroom and left Parker in her dust. I pulled off to the side and got out and ran up and said Parker you can do this and put the bag back on his shoulders.  He looked up at me with his big green eyes and said I'M JUST SO NERVOUS!  ... tears began to fill his eyes ... uggg a huge knife in my heart. I wanted to cry with him ... how could I have overlooked him and thinking he's so strong and he doesn't need me? I hugged him tightly and said it's going to be alright ... you're going to do great... he said "I don't know anyone!" It is the first year the twins don't know anyone in their class. How could I have overlooked my sensitive sweet Parker? I should have known he would have been nervous! I guess I thought Brooke had enough confidence for the both of them! He's always been the tender one ... and doesn't like change. I told him come on jump in the car and I will park and we'll wait in line ... might take an hour but it was worth it!  I messed up ... I was so busy with all my other kid's drama that morning ... I forgot about one of the easiest. As I was helping Parker get his bags into the car ... I hear PARKER PARKER one of his dear friends ran up to him and gave him a hug and I could see him quickly wipe his eyes and swallow his nerves. His friend asked him to walk with him ... his dad was with him and took the bag of supplies for Parker. I gave Parker a big hug and told him tomorrow I will walk him into his class to make up for today... he smiled and said great! 
I got into the car and wanted to cry ... Silly I know, but I messed up and missed being there for him... with a large family it's hard to know how to meet every one's needs but this is something that I should have known, but got caught up in the busyness of the morning I missed it.  I'm sure he won't remember (hope not) but it helped me to wake up and try harder to put the distractions away and focus on these precious souls that God has given me ... to be present, to be still and listen to the voices around you that's my mission this school year ... what's yours?
 
 
The 2nd day for the twins went much better.
Thank you Jesus for second chances!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving=Peace

 
Our TURKEY!

I read a really great devotional this morning, that inspired my soul to Google the word thanksgiving in scripture which then let me to ask i phone Siri how many times thanks appeared in the bible ...73 times, thanksgiving 27 times and other versions of thankfulness 12 times... so a total of 112 times thankfulness is talked about in the bible... to me that means God takes thankfulness as a pretty important word!  
  
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

In the devotion it said a truly thankful person is a peaceful person. 
They have made it a habit no matter what to notice, pause, and choose. 
Can you imagine if you were able to stop and be thankful in any circumstance. It's a choice to acknowledge being thankful is a reminder of God's presence in us and focusing on allowing God's presence will unleash his powerful peace within you. 
Will you in the upcoming weeks ahead pause, notice, and choose to be thankful?? 
So many times thanksgiving is talked about in the bible with very difficult situations like Daniel and Jonah... their hearts turned to thanksgiving. The bible even says that when we are to feel anxious we should pray with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your request to God. 7 and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
With a perspective change of being thankful continuously throughout the day. .. 
God can transform our hearts to focus on the good things and in return we will have peace. 
Wow, not brain science will you join me in praying and giving thanks daily? 
here is a beautiful prayer given in my devotion
Dear Lord, will You help me notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today? Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence? And will You help me remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly? Thank You for the reality that being thankful changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Also, I know I have mentioned it before but I just can't say enough of good things about the book 
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
 here's the blog, it so inspiring
    

Let's all make the choice of being thankful 
because our eyes will then fully see what cuteness beauty that is around us. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cleanse



The last few months, I've no self -control on eating ... it's been whatever I see I must eat mentality. It's taken a tool on my body...I ain't no spring chicken anymore able to stuff my face with anything I want.   With the help of a friends suggestion, I decided to do a 3 day detox cleanse ... I asked Scott if he wanted to join and he jumped right on board. It helped but not in the way I thought it would. The first day it was exciting experiencing the new smoothie taste! The cleanse is broken down into 3 to 4 daily smoothies, multivitamin, probiotic, omega 3, and a hot Epsom salt lavender bath.  The morning smoothie was refreshing strong flavors of bananas and raspberries with a hint of almond butter finish, Lunch, I thought was nice too, strong flavors of cucumber and pineapple, now the dinner "was not my favorite" an Armstrong saying we say when we don't like it! The dinner on was darker berry but spicy with cayenne pepper and It felt thicker to get down then the other two shakes but you were pretty hungry by then you had to eat something. One my favorite things about the cleanse was the nightly bath.. nothing like winding down the day with relaxing hot lavender smelling bath it helped you sleep like a  baby! The first day was a lot of sharing with Scott about the reviews, about how its helped others, and checking in one another to see how we're feeling!  We were excited thinking it might just give us the pep we need to boast our days. Second day was the hardest for me, I was starving! I wanted to eat everything I had my eyes on ... my stomach was constantly growling with hungry pains. But Scott as my big cheerleader said you can do it ..only one more day!  The third day I was waiting for a huge grand final ,,, feeling like I could run a 5k because I would be bursting with energy from all the healthy foods I had been pouring into my body. Unfortunately, only to report I felt drained and tired, my thought process was slow, and I actually didn't want the last day of smoothies I had lost my appetite for them.Scott and I felt the same forcing down the last smoothie last night ... thinking did this really help? We did pull through and finished  and most importantly as a team.. we did it together!   I feel I'm still waiting for the grand finale but reflecting back now I do think it helped feeding my body with so much yummy veggies and fruits...really how could it not?  I'm sure I lost a few pounds which is always a nice bonus. It also gave our family a huge jump start to eating more healthy, the kids are super excited about smoothies now. 
But more importantly than that it reconnected Scott and I we were sharing a couple times a day our progress, encouraging each other on and just overall feeling on the same team again. Marriage is hard and especially with four kids pulling your attention elsewhere...and finding ways to connect can be even harder when your just plain worn out. This helped put our main focus back to one another as it should be instead being constantly pulled into our own separate ways. Even though, I wasn't running to the bathroom every second of the day like I thought I was going to be and didn't get that HUGE burst of  energy. I did get to share in some great time with my loving husband which really in the scheme in life is much more important than anything to me!  This cleanse just didn't clean out our bodies but cleaned off the cobwebs of healthy communication with my marriage. Love is stirring... and has entered into the air again! 

Here is the link if your interested in doing this cleanse 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Hand

This last weekend I had the privilege of going to Beth Moore and hearing God speak through her! It was  just so empowering and rejuvenated my soul with the words I needed to hear! So much I couldn't wait to share it with ya'll! 
How are such mighty works done by his hands? Isn't he the carpenter? 
Our God has done mighty things with his hands

Here are 10 things that God has done with his powerful HAND
1.There is nothing like the HAND of the Lord upon us
2. Jesus gave flesh and bones to the outstretched HAND of God
3. We are not only in God's HANDS we are in his arms!
4. We stretch out our HANDS to his outstretched HAND
I have a clear vision of when worshiping and you see people raise their hands it's a symbol showing you reaching for God.
5. Jesus knew firsthand what it was like to be a man
6 We need Christ's fingers in our ears sometimes to hear
we are all easily distracted from what God might be trying to tell us.. we are all called to speak but we need to listen to him first! Then we are able to speak plainly and explain it clearly!
 7 When God's HAND is heavy he wants something handed over
     REPENT- which makes you clean!
8. We have one sure way to get back beneath his HAND
Through his word ... we need to fill our souls with scripture!
9 Oftentimes his hand rises us up after the thing nearly kills us
10 Christ is seated at God's right HAND until we see him split the sky

There is so much HOPE given in every situation .. no matter what the difficulty you are facing it is reassuring that God is with us every step of the way! It's our responsibility to turn to him and seek his hand to lead us when we fall he will catch us to help us again and again. Allow the spirit to fill you up leading you every hour  and every minute of everyday. When we follow God's schedule we can't go wrong we are moving along in life with a peace that will be contagious to those around us. I encourage you to stop outreach your HAND as strong as you can to the KING that created you and who has the HOPE of this world in the scriptures that he has written to speak to each one of us!

A few weeks ago, I allowed Kate to sleep in a big bed while we were at the beach. She was so excited and proud.. I knew I might regret this brilliant idea but all the kids were so excited for her to sleep with them. She did pretty good except that she woke up at 5am ready to go ... loudly waking up everyone in the condo. We were all trying to go back to sleep but just couldn't then I realized the sun would be coming out soon. Lets layer up and go out to watch the sun rise. The girls were excited! It was one of those precious moments I want to hold on to we ran outside to see this ... 
 KATE took a huge gasp enjoying the view saying "mommy sun mommy".. It brought me to tears telling the girls our GOD is bigger than this ocean, our God is the beautiful writer of our story and he's with us EVERY step of the way! He has big plans for me and my family and I have to trust him every step of the way even when it gets so hard....  this beautiful sunrise is a reminder of his HAND in my life! 

We all stood there in awe struck wonder and watched as the sun appeared brighter and brighter
I have all my hope in the one who created me JESUS 
This is one of my favorite songs that I just can't get enough of lately 


Whatever storm or waters you are walking through our God's hand is pointing us in the right direction ahead It's just our job to turn to him and follow him! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween 2013

I never knew Halloween was one of my favorite holidays until I had children. I loved to dress up as a child but it's even more fun to relive it through my kids. I remember when I was little my mom and I had matching clown outfits we found from a garage sale... I swear I was a clown for MANY years after that just because my mom didn't want to spend the money on new costumes each year. Well, I guess you can say I didn't want that for my kids... I wanted them to have the enjoyment of dressing up each year.  Since the twins were born we have fully embraced this holiday, not the scary ghost and goblins but the dressing up, pumpkins and good time with friends. 
I did some digging and found the last few years of costumes ... 
pretty funny looking back through them.

2006
Our first Halloween as a family of 4
Only 3 weeks old the twins were peas and carrots 
Scott and I looking rough with lack of sleep 
We also went to a Halloween party that year ...
right next door as DEAL OR NO DEAL 
Remember the game show? ( actually on in the background) 
 My brother in law dressed up as a women...was definately hilarious!



  2007
Howdy from Cowboy and Cowgirl twins
They were just a year old.

2008
It was one of my favorite costume the twins were the cutest chicks. 
This also marks the first year of our Halloween Party with the same 4 families...
the only year missing the group shot

2009
The Royal Family 
We were King, Queen, Princess Ahora and a Knight 
Poor Parker got sick with the flu and couldn't trick or treat.
The group missing Parker 

2010
This cutie came into the picture, Jonas' first Halloween 
Isn't he the cutest lion ever?! 
 Brooke -Cinderella, Parker-Incredible, Jonas-Lion Scott and I -Doctors 

2011
Scott -Pumpkin, Parker-Dark Vador, Jonas-spider, Kate- Ballerina Me-Witch
This year marked the fun tradition that my family started of sending a package of costumes to surprise the kids on what they will be for Halloween. It's such a fun idea as the kids get so excited and they are much better costumes than I would buy. Plus it takes away the changing of the kids minds over and over.
 Our group of 5 families total has multiply in size.  

2012
Go Gators! 
This is one costume Scott enjoyed being as he's the big gator fan... 
pretty nice of my family to send a package of gator gear even though they are Tennessee fans. 
The traditional group picture 

2013
This year it was a Toy Story Halloween! 
I think is was a winner ... everyone opened up the package and screamed a loud "YES" 
Everyone fit the personality of the characters too except Kate as Bo Peep was grumpy about her hat and kept throwing it off ... so funny as you can see it right next to the planter on the steps. We had to call her princess Bo Peep as she wanted to be a princess... gotta love 2 year olds. But this year she fully had the trick or treating down except wanting to eat every piece of candy right when she got it. 
 This marked our 6th year of celebrating with our friends and family. 
 
Can you tell Scott LOVES being Mr. Potato head ... such a good sport! 
Mimi as fork in the road costume and  Princess Bo Peep  
Indian Aunt Allee and Princess Bo Peep Kate
It's a group shot as the kids have gotten so big... the years are in fast forward and need to hang on to these fun times while I can because before you know it they will be going trick or treating on their own.. Yikes
I'm just thankful I have little ones to slow down the older kids.
I think we are known for our love of Halloween ... we embrace it and enjoy the dressing up, eating chili with friends and trying to get a decent group shot of the kids without too many meltdowns.  

 Now what to do with four HUGE bags of candy!? 
To infinity and beyond ... until next year!