Author Archives: souzafam

About souzafam

Jessica: a wife, a mom, a follower of Jesus Christ, the one true God!! Daniel: fantastic, fantastic, fantastic, really he's the best!!!! Josiah: my biggest helper, and a very tender heart!! Claire: incredibly sweet and the best middle child ever! Aaron: my funny boy. he loves making us all laugh!

Summer is Over

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Yep. Summer is over.  It’s time to put on the snuggie and blog.  Ha! I don’t actually have a snuggie.  Maybe I should get one? For now, my big sweat shirt will have to do. It’s hard to know where to start since I haven’t blogged since May. We moved to the burbs of Minneapolis in May, and I think I may survive the rest of seminary!!  I know it’s ridiculous, but there is so much more space, light, and air it feels like. Even though i can see into several of my neighbor’s yards and they into mine, I love it and am so thankful to be here. It is definitely an adjustment having neighbors.  I got a text just last night from one of them to say that my back porch light was on.  I didn’t know that it was, kids, you know.  But, I did feel a little creeped out.  It was kinda like, “Hey, I can see you. But, you can’t see me”.  Thankfully, I know these neighbors fairly well.  But still…

Anyway…The summer in a nutshell: We pretty much followed the northern law and lived outside. We took walks and biked, and pretty much had a picnic everyday, and swam as much as I was willing to haul four kids to the “beach”.  If Annaleigh hadn’t eaten a pound of sand each time we went, we would maybe have gone more.  My kids got crazy dark, and had a great summer.  In fact, I miss it already. No tears, Jess, no tears.

Josiah turned 5 this summer, and someone should have told me what turning 5 would do to my little guy.  He learned how to read, write, ride a bike with no training wheels, swim and swing all by himself!  Say what??!! And he learned how to say things like, “Ding-Dong, Momma’s wrong” and “This is the most boring job I’ve ever had”.  To be fair, I usually am wrong when he says that, and the “job” was to find and pick up dirty diapers.  Some of you may have just judged me for actually having to have a “job” like that, but sometimes poop happens when you are in a hurry, and don’t have time to take it to the diaper genie.  After a few found diapers he said, “Mom, I’m diaper hunting!”, and then the most boring job ever turned into the most AWESOME job ever!  *maniacal mom laugh*  So, yeah, Josiah grew up this summer.

We got Claire and Aaron these http://www.stridersports.com/ bikes. SOOOO awesome!  If you are looking for Christmas presents for your littles these are so cool.  We are huge fans! Also, I’m reading this kids’ series http://wingfeathersaga.com/ which is a super fun read for those with kids that can read chapter books or for those of you who enjoy reading fun stuff. (those are my Christmas present plugs)  And, the last summer tid bit is that Annaleigh is nearly walking now!  I feel like she was just born yesterday.  Maybe, it’s because I still look like she was born yesterday.  Somehow all the pins on Pinterest of people exercising just isn’t cutting it for me. hmmm… But guys, hold on to those babies.  They grow so fast!!

School is going well for the hubs, as usual. 🙂  He added a second job, pastoral assistant to north campus head pastor, to the whirl wind of our life, and it has gone surprisingly well.  It is amazing how God can take your time and some how multiply it into being enough. Don’t get me wrong, we see less of Daniel than before, but the time we do have him is usually rich and full. Also, the Lord provided a second car for us, so I’m not house bound anymore which helps A LOT!  Can I get an AMEN? I’m doing a Beth Moore study, Jesus the One and Only, and I love it. We recently covered the feeding of the five thousand, and was reminded that God can multiply ANYTHING we give him.  And, He has truly done this with us. I’m crying as I write this because our God is so good.  He is so faithful.

I was thinking the other day about how when you fly in an airplane and in your ascent as you rise above the cloud line you the sun is shining as brightly as it ever did, even if it was cloudy and stormy when you took off. While I was thinking about this I felt the gentle tug of the Holy Spirit, that this is what it means to trust in His goodness in the midst of the trial of life. No one would ever doubt that in an actual physical storm the sun wasn’s shining just above them right above the storm just as it always did.  I hope I can remember this as trials come my way. We just have to get our head up over the storm to see Him. You never know when your turn for trial will come.  And, honestly, we have them everyday, right?  Some very minor compared to others, but taxing on your joy nonetheless.  It helps in the fight for joy, as Piper would say, to see His glorious shining light of the faithful sun each day; even if we have to look through the clouds to see it.

Thanks for reading, and as usual, for your reward, a few pictures of my sweet babies.  I’ll have to add one of Josiah later. I’m on Daniel’s computer…

Annaleigh

Claire

Aaron

A Revelation

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Our brains are funny, aren’t they?  Don’t you think it’s crazy how you can accidentally put the ice cream in the microwave instead of the freezer, and lose your credit card when you JUST had it in your hand, and be looking for your sunglasses and they are actually on your face and you are actually looking out of them?!  The funniest of these moments happened for me a few weeks ago.  I took all the kids in to the grocery store, which usually never happens, and after being in the store for a while, I couldn’t find Aaron.  I was calling him and looking around; finally, I asked Josiah, “Jo, where is your brother?”.  After giving me a confused look, “Momma, he’s in your arms”!  I was holding the kid in my arms and looking all over the store for him.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Nope, true story.  And, yes, I am a little embarrassed to post it.

Maybe after hearing that story, you will understand what Jesus has to put up with to get me on the right path sometimes. How many times must He tell me, “What you are looking for, you already have!!” He is glorious for being kind and patient with me, and reminding me over and over, “I’m right here, and I’m at work in you.”  That’s all I truly want in life anyway.  To have Jesus and for Him to make me more like Him each day.  I do get a little confused sometimes and think I want money, or food, or pretty curtains, or “me” time. I had one of these confusing moments the past several weeks, and on Tuesday morning, Jesus reminded me of what I already know.

I was running, and listening to the album Glory Revealed.  I had been listening to this album for about two weeks now, but not getting enough of it.  And clearly missing something God wanted to show me. I had been struggling to see the purpose of why we were here in MN and in seminary.  I guess it is very American of me to think I would already have the answers to those questions after having been here nearly a full year (June 1).  I mean we are still no closer to knowing what comes after seminary than we were when we left TX.  Plus, I was/am super homesick.  As I’m running and thinking about all of these things and wanting to hear from Jesus again.  The song covering  Isiah 40:3-5  comes on.  Here is the scripture covered:  “A voice cries:“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;   make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4Every valley shall be lifted up,    and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level,    and the rough places a plain. 5And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,    and all flesh shall see it together,   for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”   Maybe you see it already, but I’m going to tell you anyway.  Here I am in what feels like a wilderness to me- without the comfort of home, without my beloved CBS for accountability, without my sisters, without my friends, without our usual income…etc. And God is still at work.  He is making my mountains and hills (my idols of money and comfort) low; He is making my valleys (my missing/longing for my family and home) raised up; and, He is making a highway for Himself in my heart and all the rough places in me He is making plain and I will see the Glory of our Lord revealed!!  He is keeping me steadily on the path, so that my flesh and my weakness will see His glory and marvel at His worth!  I am so thankful that He is not like me and is able to help this weak, ungrateful human overcome all her faults and love Him!  I have heard it said, and it may be a little trite, but still true, that it isn’t the product but the process that is important.  So until He reveals what the “product” of seminary is, I can be content knowing that right now, it is the “process” that is the purpose for my life right now.  And, I know, He has told me this before!! Thank you, God for telling me again!

I hope this is encouraging to some of you, as you may very likely be in a similar situation.  Also, I hope that if you aren’t walking closely with the Lord right now, that you will seek His face and His presence. I am not worth the time He took to show me this vision for my season of life, and yet He did.  I promise that He will take the time to show you and walk with you on your journey as well if you press in!  He is kinder and greater than you or I can imagine.

We Like to Move it, Move it!!

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Haha!  I just had a major flash back to PT school.  Anybody with me?  We like to mob (short for mobilization) it, mob it!  Seriously nerdy.  But, fun. Unless it was an actual mobilization lab practical, then tie my guts in a knot!

ANYWAY!  So, yes, we are moving!  Not back to Texas, alas, but just a little north of the twin cities in Blaine, MN.   Our current landlords are moving back to MN after having been in CA for the last year.  And, we are super sad about leaving our neighbors and our little “hood”. We couldn’t have asked for a better first year. Even the winter was kind. By moving north we are getting more space for our buck, and, my favorite thing AN ATTACHED GARAGE! Those don’t seem to be quite the commodity one would expect in a northern state! To be fair the house we live in no was built forever ago, and I’m sure they didn’t want to park the horse and buggy right next to the house.  Now that I have an attached garage, I say bring on the snow!  I don’t think I will mind so much now that I won’t have to load and unload 4 kids while standing in a blizzard or just negative 10 for that matter.  Until I get where I’m going, I guess. Logic, leave my happiness alone!  We get the keys to the new place on May 1st, and movers come the 21st or the 20th, I can never remember. I’m hoping to take the kids on Daniel’s work days and get it all cleaned up and some things moved before the actual move day.  A good friend suggested I do the kitchen a few days before the big move, so that will all be done and unpacked on the big day.  I think it was excellent advice.  🙂  I am super excited about this house for lots of reasons, we will have two sets of washers and dryers!  Holla!  The new landlord added a set up in the basement for the ones we own and said he would leave his there, too!  Such a nice guy. And, we will have an extra room  and bathroom for guests!!  YAY!  So, anybody want to come visit? PLEASE COME VISIT!!! Alright, enough about the house.

We decided to wait to put Josiah in school. He turns 5 this summer and is ready in so many ways, but every person I admire and respect has told us that waiting a year for summer boys is a good idea. So, I thought I would heed the advice of the wise and wait.  And, I think we’ve found a school we like.  Although, it will make me sad to leave when we do, because there aren’t many of these schools, only two in TX, and no where near we would be ending up, I’m sure.  Now that we have settled that huge question, I am excited about the next year with all my babies at home.  I feel like the Lord has given me a vision/goal for next year and I am loving it.  I still have to work out all the details and nail down some of the logistics, but I think it will be mostly like circle time.  I think I will be focusing on character qualities, scripture memory, and catechisms (a super big word, for something that isn’t a big deal check out this link if you are curious).  I’m excited about all I will learn! 🙂

I think those are all the updates I have for now. Thank you all for continuing to pray for my sister.  Check out her blog for more updates from her.  Losing a child just isn’t something you get over. Ever. So, thank you all for your persistence in prayer.

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of weeks. Amanda got my mom a picture frame that connects to your wireless internet, so we can email her pictures directly to her frame.  How cool is that?  Needless to say, I have been a little photo happy lately.  Trying to make sure mom and dad miss us enough to come visit or come get me!! 🙂  Love you guys, thanks for reading!

brothers.  half the pictures i take i have to delete, because josiah is quite the photo bomber- with any part of his body he can get in the photo!  usually it’s just a finger or two, but occasionally we get his whole head.  at least in this one he is smiling! oh, and before you think i have to delete all because of josiah, aaron is almost impossible to photograph.  he thinks it’s funny to close his eyes.  EVERYTIME! i took about 15 pictures to get this one! ugh. forget trying to be an artsy photographer. all i have the patience for is hanging in there long enough to get one with eyes open and no “bombs” ruining those. 🙂

such a good boy, despite the bombing.

“enough, mom!!”

um….i wish i was as sweet as she is, like her shirt says.

or her, annaleigh is such a good baby!

had to share. this was on the flight home from TX.  she looks peaceful for having the flu and about to puke all over me, right? calm before the storm, y’all.

Thanks for reading!  I’m sure I won’t get to post before the move; so ttyl! lol!  haha!! icsuaaa! (i just made that one up. you can do that right?) anyone  guess what it stands for?

Thankful

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It has taken me so long to post because 1) life is crazy and I STILL haven’t unpacked from our trip to Texas and 2) I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about.  My tiny little mind has had a lot to process, and I feel like your vacuum cleaner when it  gets snagged on a  huge rug- trying as hard as it can to suck up, well, a huge rug. You actually have to turn off the vacuum cleaner or be a super-hero and pull out the rug.  Maybe that’s what I need, to turn my brain off. Or maybe a super-hero. But not really.  I want to learn as much as God will teach me about himself during this time.

Most of you know that Mary was born March 9th and is now in heaven.  She knows more about Jesus than I ever will on this earth. If you want to know more about Amanda and Hayden’s journey and see pictures of sweet Mary you can check our their blog http://staggfamily.wordpress.com/.  It has been so strange for me, as the big sister, not to be able to help Amanda in any way that I already know how to do.  I’ve never been through anything like this, and she hasn’t either.  I was the kind of big sister that would make her bed for her so she wouldn’t get in trouble. (don’t think i was perfect, cause i still made her be my slave for a day before i would have a sister day with her)  But, I can’t do that now. I can’t take her pain, so she won’t hurt.  I don’t even know what to say half the time. I have this mental picture of her walking down a beautiful road hand-in-hand with Christ, and I am stuck behind a gate and can’t follow.  I can see her look back, wave and smile and continue without me. Only people who have suffered as she has can go down that road.  Being Mary’s Aunt has allowed me to go a partial way with her, but the full road is for her and Christ alone. For the first time in my life I understand “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  The only reason you are blessed if you mourn is because you receive comfort. From God. It is a place deep in the heart of God reserved for those who truly suffer. And what more could a believer ask for, but more depth in Christ?  Suffering is hard and awful, but you get Jesus like you’ve never had Jesus before.

The night Mary was buried all of us Capps girls were in the kitchen grieving over what we had just had to do with our precious Mary.  I looked at Amanda and I told her, that if I was God, I would have done it.  I would have healed Mary for her. But I’m not. And He didn’t.  I have walked with God long enough not to be afraid of my questions.  I didn’t question God’s goodness or His power.  I just didn’t understand why. And I still don’t, but he rarely tells us the why. And, here is where He totally blew my mind.  I think a few posts back I blogged about how we can honor God in the mundane of our lives.  This past week God has shown me how when our thoughts are on Christ during the mundane, He can turn your kitchen floor into hallowed ground.  I was washing the dishes and listening to Shawn McDonald’s song “Captivated”; my heart was overcome with love for Christ. And it hit me. This is why He is God!  Only my God, only Jesus, can make you love Him even when you don’t understand.  No matter what I would go through or what He would let my sister go through, He will always make my heart love Him. I found so much peace in knowing that no matter what EVER, my heart will always love Him.  He is that good. He is that irresistible.  Only a mighty and powerful God could make a man who had just watched his entire family drown in the ocean pen the words, It is Well With My Soul.  Or a mom who just buried her child sing that song with true joy on her face, as my sister did. I think in some circles this is called perseverance of the saints, but how simple that term is when you feel love for the only God flood your soul even in the midst of atrocities. Thank you, Jesus, that you work up my love for You all by yourself and not by my high thinking or right reasoning!

Please continue to pray for my wonderful and amazing family!  

Pictures and updates to come!

 

Daddy Daughter Date

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We tried to find a father/daughter dance here in MN, like the one in MP that Daniel and Claire went to last year, but no luck.  I think there was one in like November or something, but I wasn’t looking then.  I assumed that there would be one in February for Valentine’s day.  I probably just couldn’t find it.  SOOOO….we made up our own date.  It is kinda nice to live an a big city where they have stuff like children’s theater!  Daniel got tickets for he and Claire to see Harold and the Purple Crayon.  Of course she had to have a new dress and necklace from Daddy.  He also wrote her a sweet note.  She has been so excited about her date.  And, like all girls, when the time came and she was all dressed up and Daddy was all dressed up, she got super shy and excited.  It was adorable to see her blush and bloom under the praise of her daddy.  What a beautiful spiritual picture!  When we can come to our father pure, because of Christ,  and hear his praise over us and then be drawn into fellowship with Him and into His arms.  It really is wonderful to see Claire with her Daddy and know that Daniel is making such a huge impression on her.  How she sees him will be a big part of how she sees Christ. I took pictures, so you guys can see, too.

One more sweet story.  We went to a restaurant with the kids the other day and after Josiah had eaten his food he asked to sit in my lap.  I usually don’t let them, because then everyone wants out of their seats and to sit in my lap.  But the other two were still into their food pretty good, so I let him.  He climbed up and gave me a huge kiss and said, “Momma, I can’t stop loving you!”  Awwwww!!!  I melted. I don’t even know where he heard that. It is moments like these that make all the craziness totally and 100% worth it.   It is very true that little boys love their mommies.  Aaron will come find me all on his own and hug my leg and say, “I wuv you, Mommy”.  I don’t know how long that will last, but I will cherish every single “I love you” while I have them! 🙂  Here are some pics for your reward for reading! 🙂

 

a messy kitchen drawer is just the place to hide your secret weapon!!

silly cousin time. this was from christmas. miss my fam.

sibling train

Claire before her date with daddy. Aaron photo bombed her. brothers. 🙂

Claire with her handsome date!!

 

love those two. like a lot.

A Sermon

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Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach you one. hehe!  But, I want you to listen to one. It was preached this past weekend at Bethlehem by a BCS professor. This one is short when measured by John Piper standards, but is so amazing.  Some of you know what Amanda and Hayden have been going through with her latest pregnancy, and if you don’t you can read about it here. Daniel and I have been fasting and praying for Mary’s healing and we are not done doing so yet.  However, I have struggled so much with the question of prayer and the sovereignty of God.  Why pray if He isn’t going to answer the way I want?  Why pray if He already knows the outcome and I can’t change it?  I’m sure many of you have felt helpless in prayer just as I have.  My words seem so insignificant to impact such a significant situation. And yet, I know that somehow prayers do change things, and somehow God does hear me.  This sermon addresses many of the issues I have struggled with over the last several months.  I have never prayed for something that has seemed so unimpactable (is that a word?)  by my prayers. After I listened to this sermon, though, I was encouraged and it reminded me to just participate in what God is already doing.  I cannot tell you what watching my sister handle her trial with such grace and love and joy has done to my heart already.  I pray you, any of you, who read this post will join me in praying for Amanda and Hayden and Mary.  Let’s participate and see what God will do!!!  Here is the sermon, just click on the MP3 button. I pray you are just as encouraged as I was.

Some Thoughts and an IV

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So…I have always said I wanted to have my kids close together, and I am glad I did, but I think I should have spent some time with kids before we went all in. I am being stretched to a whole new level.  Intrestingly enough it isn’t really Annaleigh that is so difficult.  She is a super baby in my book.  She eats great, sleeps great and even gets IVs great.  It’s just all those things, the eating, the putting to sleep, the IV getting that makes life a little more than crazy. It’s the when the already chaotic “witching hour” (between 5 and 6 in the pm); you know, when you’re trying to finish dinner, the kids are starving and one of them is pulling on your pants as you try to not spill the boiling water on anybody…that it’s time to nurse the baby.  So poor Annaleigh gets to scream until I get everybody’s plates ready and then get to sit and nurse her.  Sometimes it depends on how hungry I am, because I can nurse and eat at the same time.  I know, talented. Not really.  If I could have my hair fixed, make-up on, and real clothes on and still nurse and eat- that would be talent. But I usually look beyond frightening and a little like a raveged wolf who hasn’t seen food in days, and I’m nursing. Boy, super sexy, I know.  And tonight was one of those nights.  But, as I was cleaning the table I had an epiphany.  Isn’t that when you usually have those?

God did amazing things in mine and Daniel’s life to get us to MN.  It was such a wonderful mountain top experience.  We felt so chosen, so priveleged, so near God, that  it was easy to move here.  As the newness has worn off and we have climbed back down the mountain the land has leveled out and you can’t see the end of it like you could from the top of the mountain.  Then I realized that it will always be this way.  We keep waiting to have arrived at the end of glory.  You reach the top of the mountain and all things at the bottom of it, the laundry, the dishes, the spanking the babes, the getting dressed, the showering, the drying the stinking hair, the picking up of the toys, looks so much easier.  But, here I am and it isn’t any easier than before the mountain.  And, truthfully, maybe a little harder with no Gran and Pop to make a random stop to take one kid for the day.  So, no matter what experience we have with the Lord, and right now I am thinking of the next step after seminary, there will still be the mundane.  I am totally cool with this.  It was a revelation to me. I’m sure you people already knew this, but every once in a while God takes what I know with my head and puts it in my heart.  This happened to me tonight.

As I was voicing this to Daniel, he was washing the dishes, he said exactly what I needed to hear.  He said, that is why we have to press into God daily. For example, if God calls us to the mission field, I can imagine what a spritual ride that will be.  All that He would have to stir in our hearts, the pressing in to God to hear clearly, the affirmation from friends and family, the planning, the preparing, and then all of the sudden you are there. In another country. And there is still the laundry, and cooking, and cleaning and the spanking of the babes. 🙂 But God is still just as glorious, still as mystifying, and still as desirable in the midst of all that.  And my wonderful husband is right.  That is why we have to go to God’s word daily, listen to music that makes us remember the mountain, talk to friends who point you to Christ by the way they live their lives and whatever else helps you love God through the mundane. Amen and amen!  I needed a good reminder of how important daily time with God is.  Thank you, Jesus.

Now for a quick recap of the week.  Annaleigh was in the hospital for two nights this week.  Thankfully we have a Children’s hospital just down the street, but how I missed my Dr. Stagg!!  Serioulsy, missed him so much. She had RSV.  While I was there I learned that by 1 year old 80% of kids have had RSV and by 2 100% of kids have had RSV.  It was our first time to actually be diagnosed with it, though.  And she was my smallest to ever be that sick. I guess when you have three other kids coughing and sneezing on you, you can’t help but get sick.  Anyway… I took her last weekend to the ER, because it was the weekend (regular clinic closed) and she was coughing so much that she was vomiting. They just sent us home, though.  Then on Tuesday she turned blue on me for like 10 seconds.  So I took her to regular clinic and they sent me back to the ER.  She was admitted, and we spent that night and Wednesday night in the hospital on O2.  Thankfully, that was all she needed.  We are back home and doing great.  She is back to smiling all the time and being so stinkin’ cute.  Here are a few pictures!  Lvoe you guys! Thanks for all the prayers!

first smile on camera, and before rsv hit

finally got iv in after 5 tries! poor baby, she just passed right out!

i can swaddle even with an iv!

our last morning there.  her smile is coming back! and check out that crazy fro! haha!!

Thanks for reading guys!  Have a blessed week!  Let’s rejoice in God even in the mundane! May our children see His worth because of it!