Caught Off-Guard

Thank you everyone, for all the kind comments, well-wishes and particularly, your prayers, regarding this pregnancy.  The shock is wearing off more and more as each day goes by.  I thought I should share a bit more about why I was caught off-guard.

My consistent and specific prayer this year has been to eliminate debt. Annihilate it so that we can save.  With three girls and the looming thoughts of post-secondary education in their future– we don’t need debt.  My other prayer has been for a bigger family vehicle.  We currently drive a 2000 Nissan Maxima.  Purchased second-hand, it was a great purchase for our needs at the time, back in 2004.  Our idea was that this car would need to do for us and one child.  Three children later, we’re still in the same car…even though we do not fit well in it.

As I’m praying for these requests, I watched God arrange a few opportunities around me to earn some extra income. We were in a comfortable groove.  But count on God to not let me settle in one spot. There is something much more important than my desires– my willingness to trust Him with everything!!

Back towards end of April/beginning of May, I found myself feeling quite exhausted. Between a virtual assistant position I’d just prayerfully started, homeschooling, babysitting, church volunteer work, and home life, I figured I was stretching myself too thin. Time to re-examine my schedule and trim out all the little extras I was selfishly clinging too (aka season finales of fave tv shows, too much online time, etc).

My changes didn’t do much to help with the fatigue.  Then my appetite began to change.  I’d want a certain food, yet only eat a small tiny portion if the dish.  I’m talking barely a few bites.  Nothing was appetizing.  The idea of food made my stomach start to churn.  Perhaps I needed to find ways to increase my low iron levels (normal for me).   But healthy food was nowhere near my radar.

Suddenly it clicked–I had to be pregnant!

Huh?!  What?!?!  Me?!?!  How does this work?  My prayers were for financial repair and a new vehicle.  With the impending arrival of a new baby, a new vehicle suddenly jumped higher on the list.  And the finances??  Huh?!  What was going on exactly?  I was clueless because I couldn’t see the full picture.

I was so stunned by the pregnancy test results that I made myself take three tests, just to be sure! I didn’t even have to wait the instructed two minutes for the results–that second line appeared immediately, before the test line did!  I sat on my shock for days, taking nearly a week to tell my husband. He was equally floored.  And then I copped out and give him the *pleasure* of sharing this news with our immediate family, and especially my mother. 

Both my husband and I walked around in a foggy state for days.  We were in no way mad or upset. Just shocked and overwhelmed.  What was God’s plan for us, exactly?

I still don’t have an answer for that.  God has shown me that I just need to let Him be in charge and to trust Him.  He is the only Creator that has the power and ability to give life despite circumstances. He’s not about chaos or confusion.  This bombshell of a new baby for our family means that He’s up to something B-I-G!  Even though He hasn’t yet clued me in as to how all this is going to work, His Word has promised that He’s in control and that “every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good(Rom. 8:28, The Message).

So now I was okay internally, with a new baby.  Externally, however, I was still scared…

Gift Reaffirmed

What better way to christen a new (to me) laptop than with a blog post?  It’s been a bit too quiet on my online space the last couple weeks.  Life offline, however, has been full.  I’ve started working as a virtual assistant.  The best part of my duties?  Editing.  I’ve been given the chance to hone my writing skills in a different way.

Yesterday, my oldest daughter wanted to try her hand at writing a poem.  She asked me to sit down and compose one alongside her.  My Momma-writer’s heart was very glad to oblige.  While my girl didn’t get too far ahead on her poem, I managed to jot something powerful (to me) in under five minutes.  I’ve been told that I have a gift in writing.  Countless people have been positively impacted by my words.  Praise the Lord!  I’m certainly not this brilliant on my own.  
But every so often, doubts and other silly things try to sneak in the back door.  This poem and message that I needed was reaffirmation that writing is still a precious gift.
I’m sharing it here, hoping that you will be blessed too, by this (untitled) poem.
Colours so vibrant
Matchless and right
Fragrances well-paired
In marriage to the perfect bloom
Taking note of their beauty
Gaze and inhale deeply
I must pause in awe
As creation worships its Creator
These flowers seem handcrafted
Each petal uniquely delicate
Only the gentlest of touches
Could have placed them just so
But it was a word
An almighty and powerful command
The earth trembled at His words
And erupted into breathtaking obedience
This should be me
I must listen for God’s voice
Be willing to obey His divine command
Out of me can come exquisite beauty
To the glory of my Creator
I’m linking up with Debi at FunkiPlanet today.  Check her out when you have a moment.  
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The ORIGINAL Throwback Survey!

Here’s a different type of post today.  My cheerleading-reading-diva-in-making Sista Friend, Debi, tagged me in her survey.  Thanks, girl!  I glanced at the questions, and took the plunge.  There is a link up happening as well, so why not join in the fun?

The Basics:

What is your name?
Sabrina J-R

What is the name of your blog?
And Then Some

What’s your blog’s web address?

The Survey:
1.  What state province do you currently reside?

2.  What colour is your natural hair? 
Black.  I’ve never dyed my hair.

3.  How tall are you?

4.  What is your favourite food?
I’m a sucker for most things mint chocolate.

5.  What colour shirt are you wearing right now?

6.  What are three cosmetic items that you wear every single day?
Deodorant, lip balm, contact lenses  (yes, I had to stretch hard for three…)

7.  What is your denomination?
Seventh-day Adventist Christian

8.  Describe your testimony?
I was raised in a Christian home and always encouraged to get to know Jesus for myself.  Watching the lives of my peers helped me turn to the Word for answers on how best to live.  I chose Jesus & was baptized at age 16.

9.  How did you meet your husband?
At church.  We were both born into the same church, though years apart.  We never hung out in the same circles.  Fast forward to November 2000.  He finally got himself on MSN Messenger and we started randomly chatting online.  Eventually the convos got deeper and months later we transferred to phone conversations.  Soon after that, we began dating.  

10.  What is your favourite beverage?
Water.  Also the non-alcoholic strawberry daquiri at the Fairmont Southampton Resort in Bermuda.  Not all daquiris are created equal, sadly.

11.  How many kids do you have?
Three precious girls.  JT (6 yrs), JD (4 yrs) & RJ (2 yrs)

12.  Have you ever experienced an earthquake?
Yes, while visiting California in June 2008.

13.  What is your favourite TV show?
I have a few:  The Cosby Show.  Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Criminal Minds.  Many shows on the Food Network.

14.  What was the last movie you saw?
The Makeover.  (The Hallmark Hall of Fame flick last weekend.  I like sappy movies.)

15.  Who is your favourite Bible character?
I love the gutsy characters:  Jael, Esther, Rahab, John the Baptist, Paul.  

16.  What colour are your eyes?
Dark brown.

17.  Are you a working mother, stay at home wife, or stay at home mom?
Stay at home mom, with a couple of ‘working’ projects in progress.

18.  Do you homeschool?
Yes, we do.

19.  Did/do you attend university?  If so, where?
I earned a scholarship to the University of Winnipeg eons ago.  I graduated from Herzing College, locally.

20.  If you could change one things in your life, what would it be?
Only one?!  It’s a toss-up between a body that bounces back after pregnancy or being debt-free…  Debt-free, for the win.

21.  Who is your favourite Christian singer or band?
Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin
22.  What is your absolute favourite colour?

23.  Think about something from the ocean and write it down: (yes, random…I know)
The view outside my hotel room on my honeymoon :)

24.  Where is your favourite place to dine out?
I have forgotten what this concept means…  Montana’s Restaurant, I guess?

25.  Did you attend church camp?
A couple times.  Usually for the week of general family camp, and not during the weeks of my age group.

26.  Name a blog friend who’s name starts with the same letter as your name:
I searched high & low for an “S” name.  Expanded to a surname and came up with Jen S. at After The Chapel
27.  Do you have a Facebook account for your blog?
Sorta?  I started to create a page last year, but it has yet to go public.  I’m working on my fears.

28.  Do you have a Twitter account for your blog?
Specifically for the blog–no.  But I am on Twitter.  @sabrinaj98

29.  Name someone you miss right now:
My Hubby.  It’s one of those odd seasons where time together is sparse.  We should plan a date night.

30.  What is your happiest childhood memory?
I have tons of happy memories–praise God!  Here’s one:
When I was about 9/10 yrs old, I received a letter stating that I had scored the highest mark in Manitoba in my grade 3 piano exam.  I was also awarded a medal.  My Granny was over and she uber-excited for me!  She gave me a massive hug and also wanted to give me a little money.  I was expecting only a dollar or two.  She gave me a ten dollar bill!  That was big money for me back then, in 1990.  

31.  Name one thing you can cook better than your husband’s mother: (if you’re not married, then your own mother.)
Everything.  I never had the chance to know my husband’s mother.  She died when he was a teenager (and I was 6 yrs old, so I have no memories of her at all).

32.  Would you consider yourself stubborn?
Yes, I have my moments :)

33.  Do you feel like you are a good writer?
Actually, yes :)

34.  Do you pin?  If so, list your Pinterest screen name.

35.  How many hours do you spend on Pinterest per day?

36.  Do you use WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, Typepad? (or another?)
Blogger at the moment.  When start self-hosting my blog, I will most likely transition to something else.

37.  Where do you stand on wearing socks with sandals?  
What do you mean stand?!  There are no sides here.  No socks with sandals in public!

38.  Did you design your own blog, or hire a graphic designer?
The current design is mine-ish.  I picked a free template online and installed it myself.  I also added in a few elements on my own, using tutorials when necessary.  I would love to have a designer in the future… 

39.  What is your favourite widget/gadget?
Does disqus count as a widget?  I don’t really have any extras on this blog.  I plan to go big when I’m self-hosted!

40.  If you had to choose only one, would you have a clean bathroom or a clean kitchen?
Ummm, clean kitchen.  Don’t need vermin or unsanitaryness happening in my place of eating & communing with my family.  

41.  Where did you honeymoon?
On the friendly island of Bermuda :)

42.  Did you elope? 
Nope!  We both come from huge families, who would’ve disowned us had we snuck off.  Besides, we were so giddily happy that we wanted everyone there.   I loved my wedding day :)

43.  Do you have a favourite sports team?
No.  I enjoy sports; Olympics are my all-time-stands-still epic event.  But I don’t align myself as a fanatic of any particular team or sport.  

44.  What is your favourite praise & worship song?
How Great is Our God….  at least for the moment 😉  

45.  Were you raised in church?
Yes.  Praise God!

46.  When did you start blogging?
In 2006, when I was pregnant with my first daughter.  The domain name has stayed the same, but there have been many renovations to the look, feel, quality of writing & content.

47.  What are your favourite blogs?
I don’t have a set list that I read daily.  I’ll read whatever articles are recommended by my Facebook people.  On Fridays, I do link up with Lisa-Jo.  I read Allume most days too.

48.  Have you ever lived in another country?
No, not yet.

49.  Have you done missions?  If so, where & when?
Yes.  While I haven’t done any foreign missions trips, I help out those around me.  Sometimes your mission field is right in your backyard 😉

50.  What version of the Bible do you prefer?
New Living Translation

51.  What’s the story behind your blog name?
And Then Some–  As my content started changing from baby musings to a bit more, I wanted a blog name to reflect that too.  So, I considered what I blog about–life lessons & faith–and the fact that I try to bring a new perspective to the table.  ‘And Then Some‘ jumped out and seems to have stayed for a wee bit.
(I am open to suggestions for a new name though…)

52.  Describe the ultimate hands down best date on a $20 budget.
A snack and stroll with the Hunny.  For me, it’s not about spending loads of money, but enjoying the moments you have together.
53.  Will you tell one blogger about this survey?  If so, then who?  (optional: include their web address)
I will tell those in my Mastermind Family.  
54.  What is your favourite scripture?

Psalm 34:8  Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!

I can do my best to tell you all about God and His awesomeness and His greatness.  But all you’ll have is my experience as you live vicariously through me.  It’s not the same!  God is so much more real when you try Him for yourself.  A total body experience.  And the joy you’ll have when you taste & see?  Indescribable, really!
I’m linking up with Priscilla today.  If you hurry, you can still get in on a fun contest.

31 Days–P is for Prayer

I’m praising God for prayer. 

Prayer, simply put, is talking to God. 

All excuses have been stripped away.  I can talk to God anytime and any place. There are times to go into your personal prayer closet and pour out your heart to Him.  Even when it’s inappropriate to get on my knees and close my eyes, I can still talk to Him. 

There are no long distance charges.  No hassle of a phone number to memorize.  No connection fees.  No daytime minutes nor free early evenings or weekends.  No special holiday bonuses.  It’s never too late nor too early to connect with God.  No static on the line.  No risk of battery life powering down.  No fine print.  No script to follow.

I’ve just returned from a funeral.  While celebrating the 80 year life of one man, another grieving couple also turned out to support this family.  They will be celebrating their son’s 32 year life on Friday in the same church.  I caught a quick glimpse of them as they came in.  The freshness of their pain disturbed me.  In that moment, there was one sure way to help them while giving them their space:

I prayed.  From my seat, I talked silently with God on their behalf.  They managed to make it through the entire service and slipped out at the end.

There is profound truth in this saying:

No prayer, no power.  Little prayer, little power.  Much prayer, much power.

When I consciously schedule prayer time, the day runs better.  Part of that prayer time is also spent listening.  God has lots to tell me; I shouldn’t monopolize all the time requesting stuff.  His direction always works out better than my own crazy ideas anyways.  He can be trusted to pick what’s ideal for me.

I’m very thankful for a God that is approachable.  

Praise God! 

Can you praise God for prayer?  Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

(Join me this month, as I look at 31 days of words to praise.)
(It’s part of the 31 day challenge hosted by The Nester.

I Feel So Accomplished

Earlier today, I was feeling quite frazzled.  My parents & bro are coming over for lunch tomorrow after church and the house was a h-o-t mess.  The kitchen needed tidying up, I had to cook, the floors needed mopping and I had to vaccuum.  (Please note that I have yet to mention the bathroom [dare not even pluralize that right now] or the dusting). 

Anyways, hubby finally came home and we worked on the place a bit.  Jamayia actually helped to clean up her toys (usually she does this just before bed and not early afternoon) and the house is presentable for the grandparents.  Thankfully, they’re not coming to scrutinize my housekeeping, but just to spend time.  Regardless, this is something that I’ve definitely inherited from my mom–when anyone is coming over the place needs to be decent.

Then tonight, I was playing around with a section of my church website.  I read an instruction site, and managed to create a link from one place on the webpage to another place on the same page!  I’m so impressed with myself.  I also created a mini-calendar on the site.  I also started a blog for them too.

Ahhh…now I can sleep peacefully.  At least something got done today!

Pretty Memories

Did you know that memories can be pretty? And I mean tangibly pretty. I was on this site and read about a this company. They make paper that’s plantable. Meaning, if you get one of their cards, for example, you could plant it and it’ll germinate in 6-8 weeks time. You’d have a long lasting memory of that event! How cool is that.

I’m a “thinking of you”-type card giver. While I do enjoy giving/sending cards to people on a whim, the budget has not allowed me to do so as freely as I’d like. (Thankfully, email still is free). But emails don’t have that same fragrant, blooming effect as flowers. I’m not really one to do cards for holidays (unless we’re super close) or even birthdays. And thanks to the little gift tags on gift bags, I don’t even need to invest in your trash can. But these plantable cards? I’d definitely try hard to get a few of those and send them to those people who I rarely see, but cross my mind. And what’s cool is that for a few bucks, I’m indirectly sending more than a card!

Tell me about what other little neat ideas you’ve seen/read/experienced.

Tyler Perry Surprises Snubbed Kids with Trip to Disney World

Wow! I saw this story and thought it was worth sharing. I think this is a nice example of how to spend a fortune.

I know that there are some fantastic (and very non-famous) philanthropists out there somewhere. But too often I seem to here more stories of people who have squandered their money, or taken a selfish gamble and lost. Here’s a story where someone with money thought of someone else who doesn’t have money.

Tyler Perry Surprises Snubbed Kids with Trip to Disney World

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