Category Archives: Life

Watching History

This morning, we watched the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

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As we do every 4 years, we watched history being made.

I have watched every Presidential Inauguration of my adult life (in addition to several before I was of legal voting age). And, since becoming a mom, my children have watched with me.

I am not proud to be an American. I am thankful. And, I want to my children to understand the blessing of the freedoms we have been given, and to be grateful for the privilege that it is to grow up in this country.

Over the years, I have watched the Inauguration of Presidents that I have voted for, agreed with, or was happy to see take office. I have also watched the inauguration of Presidents that I disagreed with, did not vote for, and did not want in office.

But, I have never once feared a violent, militaristic, governmental take over. I have never once feared a total disregard for the transfer of power. I have never feared a brutal and unjust tyrannical regime.

Maybe I should. But, I haven’t.

We have been blessed with peace, with security, and with freedoms unknown in most of the world. Regardless of who our President has been. Regardless of whether or not we deserved it.

The majority of the campaign season, through election night, and even up to the inauguration itself, has been frustrating, disappointing, and divisive, on so many levels.

But, today was a day of ceremony, tradition, and patriotism. We once again witnessed a respectful, peaceful transfer of power. From one political party to another. We heard lofty promises, and were painted a picture of an administration that would be vastly different from the one preceding it.  And yet, we witnessed several of our country’s past leaders, of differing convictions and political affiliations, sit side by side, to witness the inauguration of this country’s newest leader.

President Trump may not have been your choice. (He wasn’t mine.) But, as the President, he deserves our respect.

But, even more than that, he needs our prayers.

After the Inauguration Ceremony concluded, we took some time to pray for our country, and its leaders. We prayed that the Lord would graciously grant wisdom, discernment, integrity, and humility to President Trump and Vice President Pence, as they seek to lead a deeply divided country. We prayed for their protection. We prayed for the men and women they have chosen, and surrounded themselves with, who will advise, counsel, and help to lead this country. But, most of all, we prayed that their hearts that would be softened to the truth of Scripture, and for genuine repentance and salvation.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)

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Filed under Biblical Womanhood, Homeschooling, Life, Mommyhood, Thinking Biblically

Christmas Day

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I took hundreds of pictures. Yes. Hundreds…with an s. But, I won’t subject you to all of them (unless we’re friends on Facebook, then you’ve already seen them all!). Here is just a little glimpse of our day…

img_6041wmBefore…complete with Christmas music and a fire in our TV fireplace.

We started out the morning opening stockings…

Christmas Stockings 2016

Then, after breakfast, we were off to church…

2016_12_251{Aren’t they adorable?!}

I love that Christmas fell on a Sunday this year! I wish it always did. We had a sweet time, worshipping, and celebrating the birth of our Savior together with our church family!

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I know that Christmas isn’t about the presents. But, I just love picking out special gifts for my family, and watching the excitement on my children’s faces as they open their presents! This year, I especially loved seeing them choose gifts for each other, and truly experiencing the joy of giving.

2016_12_253Favorites this year included books (of course!),
Transformers, American Girl accessories, a Minnie Mouse outfit, and a bike!

The kids had some time to enjoy their presents…

img_6258wmTitus explaining his new Transformers.img_6280wmRebekah on her new Minnie Mouse bike!

Then, we continued the celebration into the evening with Grammy and Grampy!

2016_12_255It was a busy, busy day. But, so fun.

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Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

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Filed under Christmas, Hannah Elisabeth, Just for Fun, Life, Mommyhood, Rachel Susannah, Rebekah Ann, Titus Ryle, Traditions & Celebrations

Christmas Eve

I love letting the kids each open a gift on Christmas Eve…

img_5993wmI love these kids!

img_5996wmEveryone with their Christmas Eve gift. By now, Hannah and Titus have figured out that they’re getting pajamas. But, that’s just part of the fun, in my opinion. This year, Hannah insisted that Daddy needed new Christmas jammies too!

img_6023wmRebekah & Rachel got matching Minnie and Daisy pajamas (they love all things Minnie Mouse!); Hannah got horses (of course!); and Titus got a glow-in-the-dark Triceratops (only because I couldn’t find a T-Rex).

img_6026wmLooking cute and cozy in their new jammies! And, hopefully ready for a good night of rest…

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Filed under Christmas, Life, Mommyhood, Traditions & Celebrations

2016 ~ Year In Review

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Dear Family and Friends,

This year, much like every year, was full of joys and trials. But, through it all, Lord has given us many reasons to rejoice, to pray, and to give thanks!

January – Jason continued a tradition that he started a couple of years ago at our church. At the beginning of each year, he preaches a special series of sermons for the purpose of “Strengthening Grace.” This year, he taught on some of the key elements of the church. It fit in so well with his ongoing series in the book of Acts. He has also been teaching a Sunday School class on the Doctrine of God, and leading our church’s monthly men’s study. In addition to his preaching and teaching responsibilities, counseling, discipling, performing weddings, and developing new ministries and leadership have kept him more than a little busy! In order to keep up with everything (between church and a young, growing family), we had to make the hard decision to eliminate our midweek service this year. But, we are eagerly looking forward to its return this coming year…along with a new children’s program!

img_9030cfm-copyFebruary – Titus turned 4 on February 7th! We celebrated with a Monster Truck-themed party with a few of his friends from church. Superheroes, Transformers, and monster trucks are his newest obsessions. He often tells me that he wants to be a monster truck driver when he grows up. And, he has already promised us all a ride! He is in Kindergarten this year! He is still young, so, I know I should say that our plan is to go slow and keep it simple…but, it’s not. He is not having any of that. He loves school! I thought some of his first-day enthusiasm would have worn off by now, but he continues to amaze me with his eagerness and hard work each day. He asks for more work than I have planned. He is disappointed when his schoolwork is completed for the day. And he has been known to cry when I tell him that we don’t do school on Saturdays. Reading is his favorite subject, and he loves practicing his new skill by sounding out everything he can get his hands (and eyes!) on! He has become very responsible, remembering and diligently doing his chores each morning. He loves his sisters, even if he does show it by alternating between terrorizing them and being their best buddy. Sometimes, it is easy to forget how young he really is, because he is growing up so fast!

img_9015cfm-copyMarch – We celebrated Rachel’s first birthday on March 23rd! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a one-year-old so into opening presents! She thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of her party…just like she does everything. This girl has brought so much joy to our family this year with her sweet smiles and silly antics. She started walking shortly before her first birthday, and has recently mastered climbing the stairs! (Going down is still a bit of a work in progress!) She rarely sits still, but, when she does, she is a cuddle-bug. And, she gives the best hugs! She loves being outside, coloring, play dough, all things Minnie Mouse, and playing dolls with Hannah. She shares a room with her big sister, Rebekah, and it is so sweet to hear them talking and singing together before they go to sleep. Her vocabulary seems to grow each day. And, even after 4 kids, I still treasure each new each new word and sentence. She greets me each morning with a big smile and a loud “Peek-boo!” She rarely says yes. Instead, she always responds in the affirmative with an enthusiastic “Sure!” But, I think my favorite is hearing her sweet prayers before bed and mealtimes. We look forward to seeing these simple prayers grow into a true faith and obedience in the years to come.

April – At the beginning of the month, we had the privilege of having John and Janie Street out to speak at our church’s annual Bible Conference. They taught on “Parenting for the Long Run.” As always, it was wonderful to see them, and sit under their wise, biblical teaching again.

img_9035cfm-copyAlthough we had to delay the celebration a few times, due to illness, we celebrated Hannah’s 11th birthday this year! Of course, she handled the delays graciously, with a maturity far beyond her 11 years. She is our sweet, creative, dreamer. She loves to write stories, draw pictures, and make cards for her friends and siblings. She is in 6th grade this year, which I am told is considered “middle school” here in Texas (but, that just sounds a little too much like junior high). Her favorite subject continues to be science (Zoology), because, in her words, “we are finally studying land animals!” Her favorite land animals are horses…which we will begin studying shortly after the new year. But, she has already checked out every book our library has on the topic of horse care and training, dreaming of someday getting one of her own! Her grandparents gave her a day of “horse camp” for her birthday. She spent a Saturday at a local stable, where she got to ride and groom a real horse! Even cleaning the stalls could not make her enormous smile disappear! I think it was the highlight, not only of her year, but of her life! She has also joined a homeschool band, and is learning to play the flute. She seems to be a natural, and absolutely loves it! She is currently preparing for her first concert, which is coming up this week! She is a wonderful big sister, and continues to be a capable and willing helper. She cares for her siblings, and works hard at the many things she is asked to do around the house. But, her favorite place right now seems to be in the kitchen. She loves learning how to cook and bake! And, we all got to enjoy the results of her hard work when she made a delicious chocolate chip-pecan pie for Thanksgiving – all on her own.

May – Just before Rachel’s birthday, we were thrilled to learn that we were expecting another little one to join our family in November, around Thanksgiving Day. But, sadly, we miscarried just before Mother’s Day. My mom was very sweet to fly out here to help us as I recovered. And despite the circumstances, it was a special blessing to spend Mother’s Day with her. At the end of May, some complications landed me in the emergency room. Although it was a difficult time, both physically and emotionally, and my recovery was slow, through it, the Lord used it to allow us to address some other health issues, and I am feeling better than I have in years!

June – In addition to my health issues, we all spent about 2 months fighting what seemed like a never-ending cycle of illnesses. There were too many sleepless nights to count, mountains of laundry, multiple prescriptions, and several visits to the doctor’s office and urgent care. It did end…eventually. And, we were even able to enjoy a visit with Veronica’s parents, sister, and our nephew/cousin. But, this time definitely made us all very thankful for our normally good health, and for the help and care of our church and family! People brought meals, cleaned our house, and watched sick children while we took others to the doctor. Jason’s dad even rescued Titus and me after we got stranded in a downpour and flooded streets on our way to (yet another) doctor’s appointment!

July – Everyone recovered in time to enjoy our first real vacation! Well, I guess it was really more of a “stay-cation,” since we didn’t go anywhere. But, we rested, and visited the park and splash pad, and took care of a few projects around the house. It was perfect!

img_9056cfm-copyAugust – Jason and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. The celebration really was quite simple. More than anything, it was an opportunity to reflect on, and thank the Lord for the life, the children, and the ministry that the Lord has given us so far.

September – We started our 7th year of homeschooling! It has been quite the puzzle trying to figuimg_5812wmre out how to fit in all we want, and need to do each day. This year, I am teaching 6th grade, Kindergarten, and Pre-School…while simultaneously trying to keep a 1-year-old (constructively!) entertained. At the same time, I am also trying to get everyone to weekly band practice (during naptime!), grocery shopping, keeping track of the giant stacks of library books we check out each week, potty training, feeding growing children 3 (or more!) times a day, and attempting to keep the resulting piles of laundry and dishes under control! My days, and hands, are definitely full! Some days, it miraculously all gets done. Other days are a little (or, a lot!) crazy. The good days are sweet reminders of graciously answered prayers. The chaotic ones are too, but, they are also vivid reminders of God’s patience with His children, and opportunities to rely on His grace and strength when my own is severely lacking.

img_9022cfm-copyOctober – We celebrated Rebekah’s 3rd birthday! I think her favorite present was the bouquet of balloons from her party. She sang about them for a week! This little girl loves music! She loves to sing, dance, and pretend to play all sorts of instruments (but especially the flute, like her big sister!). Rebekah is equal parts sweetness and spunk. She is very compassionate, and it just breaks her little heart to see anyone sad or hurt. She is always the first to offer a hug when one of her friends or siblings is upset. And, she is our family cheerleader, and can often be heard encouraging her brother or sisters (or mom and dad!) with a hearty “Good job!” when they finish a chore, or project. She has joined us for pre-school this year, and is having fun with her own lessons, as well as listening in on a few her brother’s and sister’s. But, since she doesn’t like to sit still for too long, we are keeping things simple and fun for her this year. She would much rather be outside, “fwinging” (swinging), climbing up the slide, going to the park, riding her scooter or tricycle, and catching lizards or butterflies.

November – On Thanksgiving, we got to enjoy a visit with Jason’s aunt, uncle, and grandmother. And, Rachel got to meet her Great-Grammy! The 3 older kids helped make our Thanksgiving desserts! It was so fun to work alongside them, and to see their excitement to share the pies that they helped to make.

December – This month has already been busy with school, band and choir practices, fellowship with friends, and fun preparations for Christmas – at church and at home!

At times, this year has looked very different than what we would have liked. But, as we reflect on all that took place – the sweet and happy moments, as well as the sad times – it was a year marked by the grace, the mercy, and the providence of a sovereign, loving God. And, as a new year lies before us, we continue to rest and rejoice in the steadfast goodness and faithfulness of our Lord.

We pray that He would be the source of your joy and hope this Christmas, and in the year to come.

By His Grace,

img_9039cfm-copyJason, Veronica, Hannah, Titus, Rebekah, & Rachel Whitley

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Filed under Life, Life in Ministry, Year In Reveiw

Sad News

Just a few weeks ago, we announced that we were expecting another little one.

On Wednesday afternoon, we went to my OB’s office for what was supposed to be a “pregnancy confirmation” appointment. Of course, in my mind, I received that confirmation over a month ago, courtesy of a home pregnancy test. I was almost 10 weeks along.

But, this was not to be the happy appointment the name would indicate.

I have had spotting during the first trimester of my last two pregnancies (three, including this one). It is, apparently, “my normal.” And, twice, it has been nothing to worry about.

So, when it started this time, I didn’t really worry. Or, rather, I tried not to worry.

But, this time, it was different.

After about a month of on-and-off spotting, it turned into true bleeding on Tuesday evening. So, I was not expecting good news going into my appointment.

As my doctor started the ultrasound, I glanced at the screen. Hoping, and praying that, despite the symptoms to the contrary, we would see the flutter of a tiny, beating heart. My doctor was uncharacteristically quiet. And, one look at her face confirmed my suspicion. “Are you sure you have your dates right?” Yes, I’m sure. “Because, baby is only measuring at 6 weeks. And…I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”

Miscarriage.

It’s the word no mother-to-be wants to hear. But, there it was.

I miscarried on Thursday, at home.

“…I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:23 (ESV)

When I announced our pregnancy, we were looking forward to meeting our son or daughter around Thanksgiving. So, I said that we had much to be thankful for this year.

We still do.

Yes, of course, we are sad and grieving.

We already loved this child. We wanted this child.

But, even though we will not have the joy of knowing this child, this side of Heaven, I am still so grateful for each moment I was given with this little one. I am thankful for the time, no matter how short, that I was blessed to be his or her mommy.

“…The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job 1:21 (ESV)

Thank you for being excited with us over this little one. And thank you for being willing to grieve with us. We appreciate your prayers.

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Filed under Life, Miscarriage, Mommyhood