Turning the Big 4!

Blake man is now 4 years old!  I seriously can’t believe how fast time has flown and that he is now 4. This kid, our miracle baby, who had so many issues in the womb, when he was being born, after he was born, and yet has survived it all. This kid, who melts hearts everywhere he goes and causes people to just gravitate towards him. This kid, who for all the drama his sisters bring, just goes with the flow and is so even keeled. This kid, who has such a sweet, soft heart that anytime he does something ugly towards you is quick to apologize and say how sorry he is. This kid, who talks and talks and talks just like he is 8 years old, and is so smart that he makes doing school with him a breeze. This kid, who is a spitting image of his dad and couldn’t be denied if he tried. I am so sad that he starts 4 year old preschool next year and that I will lose him being with me all day. I pray that his heart is captivated by the One who created him with this sweet and magnetic personality and that God uses that magnetic personality to turn people to Jesus. I can’t wait to see what God does in his life – it is such a joy being his mom!

For his birthday, he chose to go to a bouncy house and eat Shake Shack for dinner and have a chocolate cake with red icing topped with Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. So that is what we did. Enjoy the onslaught of pictures 🙂

Here is a video of him doing the zipline at the bounce place. He is a super cautious kid so I am a little surprised he even did it, so its not shocking that his face looked like this. Funny too!

And here is one of Brynn doing it – she even held on until the end. She is adventurous just like Emerson and Ed!

Blake had a blast celebrating his birthday (and the other kids did too!). Because Ed was out of town taking a seminary class in Boston on his actual birthday (Wednesday), he got to celebrate a little on Wednesday and then have his big celebration on Saturday, so his birthday lasted even longer!  On to the next one in February – Brynn’s birthday!

New Years Resolutions

2019 came in with a bang…literally. As we lay in bed at our hotel in Baltimore after an exhausting day staffing a conference for around 1000 college students, we heard the fireworks going off over the Baltimore harbor. We got out of bed, looked out the window for a few minutes, gawked at the people watching from balconies, kissed the obligatory “welcome to 2019 kiss”, and went back to bed. I still love watching fireworks and celebrating the new year, but I also love my sleep, which due to 6 people sleeping in one room at a hotel, wasn’t hitting a home run in previous nights. Here are the kids having fun in Baltimore and in the conference rooms at the hotel.

Here is a photo of some of our students (and 1 of our staff) who attended the conference from Queens. Kseniya (far left) is from Belarus and Sam (third from left who lives in NYC now) is originally from Jamaica. I met them at Queens College last semester during a meeting and have enjoyed getting to know them better.

But back to the whole New Years and resolutions. Do you set resolutions? I am not one who normally does. However, I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram, an Achiever on the Strength Finders, a S and J on the Meyer Briggs – and basically, all that leads to this – I love setting goals and achieving them and I have no lack of anything in my brain at any given time that can’t tell you something in my life that I could do better at or want to grow in. So, I set goals and tackle them with ferocity.

Here are some things I have been working on or what to achieve/grow in this year:

1 – Continue learning Spanish and maybe, just maybe, become fluent. I learnt a little Spanish in high school, a little in college, can read a little, speak a little, and hear a little, but it is hard to imagine me being able to just rattle it off and converse with someone well. Well, friends, that is my goal. Any Spanish speakers are welcome to take me on as their challenge 🙂

2 – I want to learn how to do lettering. My mom is phenomenal in calligraphy, I have friends who make beautiful notes and signs, and I want to know how to do all the things and make all the things pretty.

3 – I want to become a better mother. Yes, yes, I know most people strive for this and I know there isn’t a standard to get to because everyone is imperfect, and so on, and so forth. But, I do want to trust Jesus to help me be more patient, kind, even tempered, compassionate, and trust Him more in my parenting instead of trusting in myself or my own feelings or instincts. I want to stop yelling. I want to speak kinder to them. I want to talk about Jesus more with them through the everyday struggles and successes. I have been through a journey this year where God has shown me how great my sin is and how weak in my parenting I really am, but how through His strength, I CAN do better…its not about trying harder myself or reading all the books or having all the self-care time, but its about trusting Him and walking with Him as he uses me to disciple my littles.

4 – I want to lose this stuck-on-like-glue baby weight that never went away from Babies 1-4. Again, another area that Jesus is revealing just how weak I really am and how much I desperately need His help. I think I still want a quick fix, a diet pill, a no-pain workout, but really, I have to hunker down and do what I know I need to do and settle in for the long haul. Ugh.

5 – I think of Kysenia above, of Sam above, of other girls I know on campus, of women in my small group, of moms in my neighborhood, and I know there are so many women that God could use me to disciple and pour into. But heres the thing….my time is so very limited…and in an effort to use that time well, I have done a whole lot of praying about who to invest in and not a whole lot of investing. So, this year, I want that to change. As my kids get a little bigger and life becomes not so overwhelming in NYC, I want to actually begin to pour into girls/women.

6 – My heart since we moved here was to find women who don’t know Jesus and become regulars in their lives and trust Jesus to use me to show them that He is the way, the truth, and the life. Again, another area that I know my time was limited and kept praying about who to invest in, and never actually invested (other than surface relationships). Jesus, use me to actually make more of an impact here and show me How you are working and I can be a part of it.

I am sure there are more (like I said, no shortage of things to shoot for), but these are the things weighing heavy on my heart and mind going into 2019. What are your goals for 2019 (goals and not resolutions because resolutions is a thing you promise to do and drop after January)?