Sunday, December 23, 2007

God's Fingerprints . . .

I haven't posted in so long, so I thought I would log a quick update. We have officially sold and closed on our house and have moved into rental property. We had three weeks to pack up and move just before Christmas--but we loaded everything into pods and officially 'moved' last weekend. We are so amazed and thankful for the way God has shown his fingerprints throughout this entire process. Here are just a few that come to mind . . .

Selling--the fact that we sold our home in this terrible housing market is the biggest indication of God's work! Also, that our home was priced higher than many of the other homes in our subdivision and yet our buyers still chose our house. We prayed for our buyers to come and God brought them!

Timing--we received the offer on the house the day before Thanksgiving. I am SO THANKFUL that we didn't get well into the Christmas season and have to take down our Christmas tree and the sentimental decorations. That seems silly and trivial I'm sure, but taking down the tree really would have made the move even tougher for the children--and more work and emotion for me!

Friends--During the week of packing and moving we had so many wonderful friends who took our children and cared for them as their own. We had friends who offered their 'muscles' to help move heavy furniture. We had friends who brought a meal to save us from eating pizza or fast food. We had friends who simply called or emailed to make sure we were doing okay. Thank you Lord for surrounding us with such an incredible support group!

New Home--Andrea Jenkins was so thoughtful to let us know of a mutual friend with a furnished basement. It has been the perfect arrangement for us; it is completely furnished so that we were able to put everything in storage. Definitely beats moving twice--well, unpacking twice! Everyone seems to enjoy the new living arrangements. Doug and Karen have done more than necessary to make us feel comfortable and the kids have loved getting to know each other. Anna Beth has been a little 'weepy' with all of the changes, but she is adjusting. Also, our 13-year-old black lab Bailey has adjusted to a new home as well--she is used to sleeping in our basement and has now taken-up residence outdoors. She absolutely LOVES her new igloo doghouse; it has really surprised us all that she has adjusted so well. Although it really shouldn't come as a surprise--the boys prayed for her and God has answered.

Family--the timing of this move allowed us the perfect opportunity to spend the holidays with our family. Normally we rush down to Warner Robins on the afternoon of Christmas, spending two hours on the highway, enjoy some time with our parents and then head back a day or two later. This year we decided to spend the whole week with family, enjoying time in a familiar environment. We've been here 24 hours and it has been a blessing already.

Those are just a few examples of the many blessings we've been given during the past few weeks. God is so good and we are so thankful for all He has done. I encourage you to look for His fingerprints in your life as well!

Christmas Blessings!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Now In Color!

We don't have a lot of time right now (read below!), but I couldn't resist posting pictures of the house exterior IN COLOR! It was painted earlier this week and we are thrilled with the way it turned out. It is so hard to tell how the colors will look together until it is on the house--but we are very pleased with the end result. The metal roofing still has to be painted and shutters will be added later. They also installed the columns (the stone bases will be built later) which will be painted the trim color later on. On the schedule for this week: finishing the deck and starting wood flooring and trim!

This will probably be my last post for awhile. As many of you know, we have a sale contract on our house and have two weeks to pack up and move to a rental. Thanks be to God for his work in this terrible housing market, he deserves ALL of the glory and praise! Thank you also to all of you who have prayed with us. Your calls and emails pledging your prayers and then follow-ups to see how we were doing mean more than we can even express. Several of you even offered your homes, your basements, your trucks for moving, info on homes for rent--we have been so blessed with such an incredible circle of friends! Thank you for giving of your time and yourselves--we pray that we can help you in a time of need as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Moms for Modesty

I came across this site awhile back and was so impressed with it--I signed the pledged immediately. I feel that I dress myself and my children in a modest way, however, this blog challenged me to be even more aware. My intentions were to post it here on my blog to make others aware; unfortunately, that is just now happening!

Here is the mission statement held by this effort:

Moms for Modesty Mission Statement

As a Mom for Modesty I believe in common-sense modesty for girls and young women.
I believe in refraining from sexualizing our girls and young women.
I believe that it is unwise and unfair to taunt boys and young men by permitting my daughter(s) to dress in an immodest manner.
I believe that true beauty comes from within and I strive to teach my daughter(s) this truth.
I will loyally shop at retailers that provide girls' and young womens clothing that is modest, affordable and stylish.

In addition to this statement, I include my own pledge for my sons: To only purchase clothing that presents them as young children of God, clothing that does not advertise immorality or support the popular brands that use explicit sexual advertising. They are surrounded with children wearing the 'cool' brands and this has already been addressed in our home--so I don't want to leave them out!

Many retailers, marketing and PR firms review mommy blogs for trends and opinions. If we speak as one we may be able to effect change in the clothing industry. If you are interested in pledging your support for this effort, please check out the site below and sign:

***News Flash***


You probably won't be able to tell a lot by the pictures, but I'm so excited that I had to post them. This is really the stage where the house takes shape. It is looking great and we absolutely LOVE it. We hope to have more picts up soon as soon as we have trim, flooring, etc.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Let the Little Children Come to Me . . .

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
~ Matthew 19:14 ~

This past weekend we were given the greatest joy a parent can experience--Graham, our seven-year-old son, accepted Christ as his personal Saviour! Graham said that he made this decision back in January when his brother Ethan made his decision for Christ; however, our talks with him have really concerned us that he was not certain. I have been so burdened about this and have prayed that God would just speak to Graham and bring him on his own. I have specifically prayed that his decision would not be the result of a friend or sibling's conviction, but his own. On Sunday night, after hearing a christian illusionist's incredible presentation of the Gospel, he prayed and accepted Christ. He is such a private person that he didn't want to go forward in the service; however, we had a special time of confirmation later at home. Soon, our sons will be baptized together--what a blessing!

I have no greater joy than to hear
that my children are walking in the truth."
~ III John 1:4 ~

God is SO good!

A Feast to Remember . . .

Today Anna Beth celebrated Thanksgiving with her preschool class. Anna Beth wore her turkey shirt that she painted herself. Her Indian headband identified her name as "Shining Star" . . . so appropriate for this girl who loves the *bling*! Each child provided an item for a traditional Thanksgiving meal--and Anna Beth enjoyed every last morsel! In fact, after gobbling down THREE of the pilgrim hat cookies we made, she was ready to run off the energy outside.

Enjoy the highlights in the slide show below!

Baseball & Football Come to an End!

Baseball and football have finally come to an end for our family! It has been a fun season for the boys--they've gotten tons of exercise, improved their athletic skills and had so much fun!

Graham really improved this year with the Pirates. Coach Jay and Coach Dave were the best--they made the game FUN for the boys and taught them so much. Graham is looking forward to playing again in the Spring.

Ethan had a great year as well--it wasn't a winning season, but it WAS a learning season. Ethan was given a lot more playing time this year and he improved in so many ways. Kip was the offensive line coach, which made the season special for both father and son.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Cleft: What's in the Name?

I meant to link to this post this earlier--when Andrea Jenkins first posted it on her site! The Jenkins family will soon be one of our new neighbors in 'The Cleft'. This community has been their dream, along with the Warbingtons, for many years. In her blog, she explains the origination of the name of our little community of five homes. We feel so blessed to share in their dream, and make a part of it ours as well. As Andrea so aptly stated in her blog:

"Our desire for The Cleft is to be a safe haven for our families, a place where we can all come and rest and find safety. We also want it to be a place where we all seek to see the LORD and all His glory - not only for us, but for all who come to visit."

God is SO good!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Update on the New House!

We now have brick AND stone on the house! It is so exciting to see all of the things we have chosen for our new home coming together. We love the brick and the stone together and the siding/trim colors we have chosen should really highlight it even more.

The elliptical arches over the windows were a last minute decision, but we love the end result.

Our future front porch in the making!

Of course, all of that brick and stone caused a BIG mess, so the Stokes Clean-up Crew was on the job:

Kip won't be happy about the photo above, but I couldn't resist, lol!

Everything seems to be moving right along and we are excited about our future in this home. One special request: Please continue to pray with us that God will send the buyer for our home in His perfect time. We covet your prayers!

"BOO" to you!

It was a SCARY Halloween at the Stokes home this year . . .

Just take a GOOD look at Ethan, our well-fed, near-sighted referee! Ethan and Kip locked themselves in the closet this afternoon and came up with this creation--and it was a hit! Graham was going to be a football player, but opted to wear his favorite Ninja costume from two years ago--the weapons are just too fun.

Anna Beth was MORE than happy to doll-up in her favorite Belle gown--she loves any excuse to wear a little make-up and a pretty dress!

We've been so busy lately, we had to quickly carve our pumpkins before heading out to trick or treat--the boys designed the faces and mommy carved. OH--and then Ethan ate the roasted pumpkin seeds, lol! There is never any waste at the Stokes house!

All in all, it was a 'BOO-tiful' evening--lots of candy and tons of fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Anna Beth!

Our little sweetie Anna Beth turned four on October 10--we celebrated the Saturday before with a "Make-A-Bear Party" in our home. Anna Beth had fifteen little girls to help her celebrate, and it was certainly a day stuffed with fun. Enjoy the pictures!

I've been TAGGED!

AHHHHH! I’ve been tagged by Stephanie (Ocean Mommy)--Okay, Stephanie, I'm not great at these things, but I'm going to humor you, lol. Here it goes:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
  1. A Fabric-cutter at Hancock Fabrics (during college years)
  2. Promotional Coordinator for a Publisher
  3. Marketing Coordinator for an Engineering Firm
  4. A Mom (my favorite job, by the way!)
Four movies I can watch over and over and over:
I hate watching movies, so I don't really have one! If I were to sit down and watch one more than once, my two favorites are:
  1. Sweet Home Alabama
  2. Facing the Giants

Four TV shows I like to watch:
  1. Extreme Home-Makeover (our whole family watches it after church on Sunday nights--we love it, we ALL cry together!)
  2. Designed to Sell (and all of the other house selling shows--b/c I'm trying to get tips to sell our house!)
  3. Divine Design and any other Design show on HGTV
  4. Brothers and Sisters (probably shouldn't, but I do--I like Calista Flockheart)
Four places I have vacationed:
  1. Bahamas--cruise
  2. Colorado--skiing
  3. Niagra Falls/Canada
  4. Florida--the beach, of course!

Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. SALAD--any kind, I absolutely LOVE it--especially with fruit, cheese and nuts!
  2. Seafood--anything broiled (I hate fried food)
  3. Pizza--wish I didn't love it!
  4. Italian food--whole-wheat pasta only, of course!
Four websites I visit daily:
  1. Our realtor's site (for some reason--see if there is any change!)
  2. My bank account site to update hubby's work expenses
  3. My friends' blogs to check for updates and be encouraged!
  4. During change of seasons--EBAY--where I shop for the kids clothes!

Four places I would rather be (beyond the obvious "Heaven"!):
  1. In our new home!
  2. On another cruise--maybe without kids this time (although it was great with them)
  3. Touring Europe with Kip--he has never been there
  4. Anywhere with my husband and kids with plenty of time to spend together
Four bloggers I am tagging:
  1. Carol, probably know most of your answers, lol, but you never know!
  2. Amy,
  3. Andrea (my future neighbor!),
  4. Deanna,

Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Brick at a Time. . .

. . . Our house continues to take shape. We were so excited--and RELIEVED--to finally see brick on the house earlier this week. After the pallets of brick were delivered last week, I was sweating bullets. Honestly, it was some of the ugliest building material I had ever seen in my life and I had my doubts that it was the look we were hoping for. Kip reassured me though, and I am now convinced. Seeing the brick on an actual wall WITH mortar makes all the difference. The workers have mainly worked on the sides and back of the house this week and are just starting on the front. Here are some pictures:

And by the way: YES, there are many different colored bricks here and there is supposed to be paint splattered on the brick, LOL--we are trying to achieve a distressed, old cottage look. The brown bricks will look even better once the trim, shake and siding are painted a deeper color. We hope to have more pictures up soon once all of the brick work is completed!

Punkydoodle Day for Anna Beth!

Anna Beth woke up VERY excited last Thursday . . . Punkydoodle was coming to her school! You may be wondering, WHO is Punkydoodle? Punkydoodle is a pony that her preschool brings in each year, along with a horse named Coca-Cola, as a special treat for the children. The children learn about the horses and then have the opportunity to feed, pet and ride them. Anna Beth was ecstatic about riding the horse, but just a bit apprehensive once it was her turn. She did great though, and enjoyed every minute!

**Pretty as a Princess**

Anna Beth was in *PRINCESS BLISS* this weekend! We traveled to Warner Robins for her cousin Abbi's 4th birthday party. Abbi had a dress-up princess party at a local "Sweet and Sassy" party facility, and it was the epitome of *GLAMOUR*, *SPARKLE* and *BLING*! Anna Beth and the other girls enjoyed EVERY moment of the pampering . . . from manicures and make-up to hairdos and wardrobe, it was a day of pampering. At the end of their transformation, each princess was announced as she walked down the runway to be crowned. What a fun experience for the girls!

Happy Birthday, Abbi,
and thanks for an incredible day!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Put me in Coach, I'm Ready to Play!

We are so excited Graham wanted to play baseball again this season! He is our creative, multi-talented middle child who loves to dabble in a lot of activities, but doesn't tend to stick with many of them, lol! He played tee-ball early on, but decided it wasn't for him. Then came soccer, which he was great at, but it wasn't for him either. Then he asked to play baseball again this past Spring and loved it. When he asked to play in the Fall league as well, we were excited to see interest in the same activity again--even though it was going to mean a tough schedule for our family since Ethan is playing football too.

Anyhow, Graham has incredible coaches this season and he is absolutely loving the game. The Pirates had their first game Tuesday night and he played both second base and third base. Now, you have to understand--this is his first time playing on the infield in the Pee Wee league, so it was a VERY exciting night for him.

On another note, here is a photo of Graham doing his favorite activity--playing the piano. He has been taking lessons for a year now and is doing great! Since the rest of us have no musical background, we are excited about having a musician in the family. Way to go, Graham!

Anna Beth is off to school . . .

My little princess started preschool at A Child's World last Thursday--she will only be going half a day on Thursdays and Fridays. She has been so excited--choosing her backpack, who her new friends will be, what will she have for snack (she IS a Stokes afterall, lol), etc. Here are a few photos of her headed to her first day at school:

Anna Beth was SO excited--however, it was a tough, tough, tough day for me. Did I say it was a tough day? Sorry, but it was a TOUGH day. I think it just caught me by surprise when the tears started flowing on the ride back home. I had done this twice already with the boys (with just a few tears each time), so I felt like a pro. However, this time seemed a little worse . . . no one was going home with me. You see, each of the other times I had taken a little one off to preschool, there was always another little one going home with me who needed me to be a mommy. When you have been a mommy for almost 10 years, it really is an odd feeling when no one is there to need you.
Anyhow, I counted the hours until I could pick her up, and needless to say, I was the FIRST mommy in the pick-up line! She had a wonderful time and enjoyed another great day on Friday. Friday was a little easier for me as well, although it was still tough. I know that it will get easier as I fill those few hours she is away with exercising/running, making decisions for the house we are building, and working in the boys' school. Hmm . . . might even be able to get my nails done without the little princess tagging along! Although I'm not sure--it just wouldn't be the same without you, Anna Beth. :-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

New House News

This is the image I came across at the end of the boys' workday at the new house this weekend. The boys had given up on fishing and scampered off into the woods with their future neighbors Wesley & Will--being the overbearing parent that I am, I went to check on them after a few minutes. I had to resist my protective urge to yank them out of the tree, lol--do you SEE how high they are? After catching my breath, I noticed their topic of conversation--Wesley was telling the other boys the story of the Tar Baby. They were laughing and giggling and discussing what happened in the story--how incredible is that! With so many electronic and visual activities vying for their attention, it is refreshing to see them enjoying nature and literature!

Now--when I later asked how the Tar Baby topic came about--I was told that they were all comparing WHAT they would fall on if they fell out of the tree. Apparently, two of them would hit the ladder and the other two would fall into some briers . . . then came the subject of brer rabbit . . . and then the tar baby! LOL!

I know that spending time there this weekend--working, fishing, exploring--is making us anxious for the move. The house is coming along quickly; they are installing the siding and shake right now and the stone and brick should be next. On the inside, the rough plumbing is done and the electrical should be going in next. Our builder, Steve Harrison, is doing a wonderful job!

P.S. 'Click' the photos for the bigger picture!

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Babies are Here!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above"
~ James 1:17 ~

Many thanks to those who have been praying for our sisters--for those who don't know, both my sister AND Kip's sister were due with little ones in the month of August! We are so excited that both babies have arrived safely and everyone is doing fine . . . here are the details:

Ella Caroline was born to my sister Angie and her husband Rabb on August 23rd--t
his little one is long-awaited by everyone! Many of you have prayed for them during their infertility, in-vitro and high risk pregancy . . . and here is the beautiful result of our prayers and God's goodness! Ella weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long--She is doing great and Angie and Rabb are surviving with a few hours of sleep here and there. We were able to visit with little Ella this weekend and it was such a special time . . . I had to get out of there quickly before those 'baby emotions' got the best of me!

Ryder Stokes was born to Kip's sister Kaci and her husband Spencer on August 31st (just in time for that school year deadline, lol!). Ryder weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces, 21 inches long, and looks SO much like big sister Kadence. He had a pretty dramatic entrance, trying to enter the world fist first with his umbilical cord in hand. Needless to say, Kaci had a very scary emergency c-section. Everyone is doing well now and they should be resting at home soon--please keep Kaci in your prayers as she endures a longer recovery.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL???

We may still be in the hottest days of summer but football season has definitely arrived for the Stokes family! Ethan has prepared all summer by running and attending a speed, agility and quickness camp. He also attended a week of football camp and then jumped right into practice with his new team. One thing is for certain: He isn't the rookie this year!

Ethan is playing center for the offensive line as you can see in the photo above--Big number 44! He has worked so hard to learn this new position and do his best--we are so proud of his effort this year! Kip has encouraged him to use his position as center to be the leader of the offensive line.

An added bonus to the season this year is that Kip was asked to coach the offensive linemen! We all know this is SUCH a chore for him, LOL, but he is managing somehow. Honestly though, I think he now has a new appreciation for the time, emotion and responsibility that goes into coaching these boys.


Welcome to Our Story!

Well, a lot of great names came to mind for our new blog, but unfortunately they were already taken--so "The Stokes Story" it is!

Although I don't have a lot of free time to blog, I absolutely love the idea and have been enticed by the incredible blogs of Andrea Jenkins and Carol Hatcher--you two do such a great job! I thought this would be the perfect way to communicate to our friends and family what is happening in our lives . . . I may not be as consistent as some of you with my entries, but I will certainly do my best!

As the stories of our family are shared in the days to come, we pray they will be a blessing and encouragement to you. Most importantly, we thank God for the incredible story he has written for our lives.

"Lord, you establish peace for us;
all that we have accomplished you have done for us."
~ Isaiah 26:12 ~