Copy Cat

August 31, 2011

Bath time. I'm sure that many of you mothers out there know that anytime the bath water starts to run it's an invitation for little wee ones to get naked and hop in for a playdate with mommy. Well, my house is no exception. Every once in a while I put my foot down and demand a hot soak all to myself, but usually it's a nice time to connect with my kids with few distractions from the ins and out of life. Community baths end when modesty begins. So, these days it tends to be just Aubree who cares to take a dip with me.

Well, she and I were bathing and the dialogue went something like this:
Aubree: "Mom, remember when we were playing like you were my baby daughter and I was cooking?"
Me: "Yes." 
Aubree: "Wanna do that again?"
Me: "I'd love to!"
Aubree: "Okay baby. Let's have a bath."
Me: "Mommies don't sit on their babies."
Aubree: "Give me a hug you sweet girl."

So, the play and the banter continued back and forth for a little while. Then, I decided that my muscles deserved some rest time of their own after what I'd put them through a few hours before at the gym. Luckily for them, I have this wonderful soaking tub and I found a nice little spot to put my head back and close my eyes and check out for a few minutes while Aubree was busy "being my Mommy". So she takes the wet washcloth and pours water on my stomach to wash me. Then she says, "Okay baby. Now you wash Mommy." And she leans back on her hands like she's relaxing and closes her eyes. Just. Like. Me. I laughed very hard! I'm talking a belly shaking from my gut laugh. It was so cute and so funny! But, I quickly realized... she is learning exactly how to behave from ME. That was a very sobering thought.

Note to self: Make sure your behavior is worthy of being copied at all times.

"Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." 1Corinthians 11:1

"When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, 'Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should also do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.'" John 13:12-17


19 Reasons Why....

August 29, 2011

Nineteen years ago today I was a 98 pound bride with nothing but hope and magical dreams in my heart and my head. I was eager to start a new life and close the book on what had been a difficult journey up to that point. I was head over heels in love with a boy. He had the potential to make my life or destroy it. I was searching to find myself- in him. I was 19 years old then. Barely. Still a kid. No wonder I had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. But, I did know one thing- I LOVED that boy who said that he loved me, too!

Since then, I've discovered who I am- I am the daughter of the King of Kings. That's why I can be a good wife to this really groovy guy who rocks my world. We have been through so much over the past 19 years. Some of it was absolutely dreamy. Some of it was like a nightmare. But, we stood by each other and held on tight when there was not much else we thought we could do, because at the end of the day we really did love each other. And sometimes that was all we had.

Today, in honor of our celebration of our love for each other,  I would like to share  
19 Reasons Why... 

I love you because

  1. Karli Blayne
  2. Drake William Elie
  3. Brant James Lee
  4. Aubree AnnaLynn
  5. You loved me when I didn't even know how to love myself.
  6. You work hard so that I can stay home and live MY dream, and you never complain.
  7. You don't have problems with self-esteem, mine or yours.
  8. The first time you kissed me I literally felt my heart melt and pour like warm coffee throughout my whole body into my toes.
  9. You almost always spend your Best Buy Rewards on me instead of on yourself.
  10. You push me to be better than I think I am.
  11. You think I'm hot.
  12. You've got the cutest boyish smile that you flash at the perfect time.
  13. You are the most amazing Daddy to our kids!
  14. Wherever you are is the only place that it feels like home to me.
  15. You are smart.
  16. Most mornings when I wake up the coffee is already made.
  17. Being a couple is still as important to you as being parents.
  18. You eat pretty much anything I cook.
  19. You use reverse psychology on me even though we both know exactly what you're doing and it always works!

Happy Anniversay, Freddie! I love you even more today than I did all those years ago. I thank God for you every day and I pray for many more healthy, happy years together!

"Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." There fore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:23-24

"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church" Ephesians 5:28-29


What's Your Name?

August 28, 2011

Okay. I think I am probably going to be judged here, but, here goes anyway. I am a Big Brother fan. There. I said it. Not always proud of it. I know it's not the most wholesome TV show. (Honestly, it's slim pickings out there in TV land.) Often, it is a really good lesson in how NOT to behave. But, it's entertaining nonetheless.

If you're not familiar with Big Brother, it is a television show where contestants are locked in a house full of cameras and microphones, completely secluded from the outside world. They must compete with other house guests for a chance to win $500,000. It's always interesting because you just never know what to expect and the show has even adopted a motto of "Expect the Unexpected". They play games to compete for power, luxuries, safety, privileges, and food.

Anyway, this season has not disappointed with an interesting and eclectic cast of characters. One house guest in particular is named Jordan. She has played and won Big Brother in a previous season. She does not have a mean, vindictive bone in her body and I genuinely like her a lot. There is another woman in the house named Shelly. She is the mother of an eight year old daughter that she had to leave behind for the summer. So, there was this competition where everyone competed for "the power of veto" (which can be used to save someone/themselves from being evicted from the house) but, each competitor also received an additional prize, either good or bad. Okay. So Jordan wins "24 hours in solitary confinement that includes a phone call from home". By this time, any house guest would consider solitary confinement a small price to pay for a phone call from home.

Listen. I went on a cruise for 5 days and I called my kids EVERY SINGLE DAY! By the second day, I was literally crying every time I sat still long enough to let myself think of them for more than 5 minutes.

Imagine how precious that phone call would be to ANY mother. Including Jordan's mother on the outside who has not spoken to her daughter in forever! But, my sweet little Jordan decided to take one for the team and she gave Shelly the phone call from home! Without a moment's hesitation. I heart her! (By the way, Jordan ended up winning the sentence of wearing a "humilitard" for a week! She was still unfazed.)
On the front is an arrow pointing up saying "I'm with Stupid" and on the back it reads "Kick Me"

Yes, Jordan and Shelly were in an alliance trying to keep each other safe in the game until it came down to brass tacks and they were forced to fight for themselves to win. But still. Jordan demonstrated unselfishness, true friendship, and human compassion.

Fast forward. Shelly has now flipped sides against Jordan. After bawling her eyes out from being SO GRATEFUL for what Jordan did for HER. Proclaiming that she would NEVER forget the kindness shown.... blah blah blah. As soon as Jordan turned her back Shelly jabbed that sweet little sugar booger with a knife. (Okay. Devil's advocate. Shelly is playing a game to win money to benefit HER family.)

I get the whole family comes first thing. I have a family that I would die for. And I would not die for very many people. But, isn't there a different way? Can't you still put YOUR family first and still be loving and loyal and compassionate and respectful to your friends?

We all fail in the friendship department from time to time. But, I want to consistently be more of Jordan than a Shelly. I want to be there for my friends when they need me. I want it to be as natural as breathing in and out. And when it's not, I want to do it anyway. I want the choice to be a no-brainer. Honestly, it's a wonderful feeling to be that person that someone turns to when they need someone. It's an honor and a blessing. It fills me up.  But mostly, it's who God would want me to be.

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:13-15

"As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt." 1Samuel 18:1-4

"Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him, they came each from his own place, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad teh Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They made an appointment together to come to show him sympathy and comfort him. And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great." Job 2:11-13


Where I Want to Live

August 24. 2011

I was having a conversation with my mom the other day. She was having a really bad day and got a little snarky with me. Now, not too long ago, this would have not ended well. I would have taken offense, become disrespectful and angry, and it would have certainly ended in hurt feelings on both sides of the phone.

But, this time was different. I heard God say to me, "You should not take this personally." So, I did something that I would normally not do. I just said, "Mom, what's wrong? That's not like you to snap like that." And you know what? It was not me. She was dealing with things within herself that had nothing to do with me. Because I was able to stop my instinct and respond differently than I would have before, it allowed a door to open to a new place in our relationship.

I have been focused on my own Growth over the past year or so. I have been hungry to learn as much as I possibly can about how I should live my life so that it is pleasing to God. So often you hear that "you just have to accept Jesus into your heart". And that is true. But, if He's really in your heart, then His character should start flowing through your veins and oozing from your pores. Slowly at first. But, eventually, it should be a controlling factor in your thoughts. It should stop old habits and replace them with new perspective. It should be the driving force that allows you to put your tail between your legs in humility when you need to apologize or concede. It should cause your reactions to be less automatic and more deliberate and loving. It should be what propels you to take the more difficult path- the one that pleases our Savior. I've found that I should not try to live like the only important thing is to have Jesus in my heart. I want to find my home in His heart!

I still fail. My imperfections and impatience still burst through the surface and leave ugly wounds from time to time. But, I am growing. Still. And even though it has been very painful and difficult at times, it is worth it. To see where I am now and how my life is better for it makes my heart smile. And I've only just begun!

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2Peter1:3-8

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2Corinthians 5:17


We Are Family

August 22, 2011

Today is my mother-in-law's birthday. She is sixty-one years old today. She has been a part of my life for the past 21 years or so. She and my father-in-law opened up their home to me when I was a wandering teenager who was too broke to afford ramen noodles on my grocery store salary. She proposed marriage to me in the place of her son twenty years ago.  (That's a funny story. I'll have to share it here one day.) She has rocked my babies, shared funny stories of my husband's childhood, and has come to the rescue at a moment's notice without a thought of hesitation when I was too sick to take care of myself, much less my littles. She has always been careful to not cross any boundaries created by marriage and has made it clear that she loves me as much as she loves her own children. She has encouraged me through so many years of terrible two's and has always supported me as a mother.

Have we never had any problems? Well, no. We have. But, that was more the result of my immaturity and insecurity than anything to do with her. That is so far in the past that it's nothing more than an afterthought now.

I love her. For so many reasons. I love her because she raised the man who was born to love me. I love her because she has this wonderful laugh. I love her because she has fought hard for her family over the years and will be ready to fight again in an instant if need be. I love her because she places very little value in material things of this world. I love her because she makes it clear exactly where I fit into the equation- I am her family!

One day, I will be someone's mother-in-law. My prayer is that I can love them with the same passion that my mother-in-law offers me. I pray that I will be able to follow her example, and never cross the sacred lines between a husband and his wife with my opinions and judgements. I pray that my lap is always big enough to hold all the grandchildren that my kids can give me. I pray that my laugh will forever be ingrained in the minds and hearts of my littles and their families. I pray that I will always have the God-given strength to stand and fight against whatever may threaten to harm my family. I pray that I will remember to encourage my kids and their spouses on their journeys as parents and be quick with words of admiration and praise. I pray that they will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are loved well by me.

Happy Birthday, Marie! 
May you be abundantly blessed today and all of your tomorrows! I love you. And I am so glad to be a part of your family.

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness," Galatians 5:22

"Finally, all of you, have a unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do no repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing." 1Peter 3:8-9

"Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children's children-" Deuteronomy 4:9


False Advertising

August 16, 2011

Many of us are on an ongoing search for HAPPINESS. We look for it in the strangest places- in a new dress, a  pair of smoking hot shoes, in a new house, this man, that woman. Have you ever been guilty of the mentality of "if only he would yada yada yada, then I'd be happy" or "if she would stop yada yada yada, then my life would be perfect"? How many times do we acquire the thing that we are convinced is going to make us happy only to find that there is still a cavity deep down inside of us left nearly empty? Sure, we may be utterly overjoyed with the latest conquest for a little while, but it all too soon fades into the surroundings of our lives as not much more than unfulfilling clutter. Is there ANYTHING out there that can bring us true happiness?

Well, I believe there is. And I have the answer to real HAPPINESS. And here it is:
"Happy are people of integrity, who follow the law of the Lord. Happy are those who obey his decrees and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect with your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with your commands. When I learn your righteous laws, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your principles. Please don't give up on me!" Psalm 119:1-8

When you focus your life on walking the path that God has set before you, and turn your face to the temptations this world lays at your feet with it's false promises you will find happiness!

Don't be fooled by the different versions of happiness the world tries to sell you. Here are some slogans that we should believe:
A diamond God is forever!
A day without orange juice Jesus is like a day without sunshine.
Calgon Jesus take me away!
American Express. Don't leave home without Him.
Maxwell House. God is Good to the last drop.
Coke. It's He's the real thing.
Alka Seltzer. Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief He is!
L'Oreal. Jesus. Because you're worth it.
How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S J-E-S-U-S!


Fill Her Up

August 15, 2011

Last week was not a great week for me. I did not like myself very much, and I am sure no one else did either. It was so bad that one night while laying in bed Freddie asked me what was wrong because I just looked "sickly". I tried to fight off the "nasties", but I wasn't very successful. I had fantasies thoughts of indulging in a nice, big  Lexapro Cocktail.

This whole discipline thing is something that I shamefully admit I've not been so good at. And it bothers me because I know that I am not doing right by my kids. Ugh. I feel wishy-washy. Too lenient at times and too strict at others. But what bothers me the most is that my discipline lacks the spirit of Love. I have not figured out how to lovingly discipline. That does not mean that I do not love my kids. It just means that I do allow my anger and frustration to be a part of the discipline equation at times. And it can be quite understandable from the human perspective. But, that is not what I want for my home to feel like. I want my kids to be able to use me as an example for raising their own kids. I don't want them to waste time searching for a better way. I want to teach them to have a loving heart in all things. "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are one of my disciples." John 13:35

Today begins a new week. A new approach. A new attitude. I've prayed to be FILLED with the spirit of Christ. That's what I want. It's what I need. Momma's got a game plan. In writing. {My kids HATE my charts and lists. There have been so many over the years.} After much searching, I came across a very good If-Then Chart. This chart has three columns. One for the Offense. One for the Bible verse against it. One for the punishment. I have been needing this chart for a while now. This is how I want to discipline. I want to have a scripture to back up what I've been yelling at telling my kids all along. I don't want to have to make a punishment decision in the heat of the moment. I want it to be fair and reasonable and appropriate! And let's not forget consistent and predictable.

I want the atmosphere in my home to be one of Love. I want to teach tolerance and respect. That's kind of hard to do when you allow yourself to get to the point of becoming a raging lunatic where you lose your patience and commence to yelling! I have got to learn to keep it together! I do not have the option of losing it! I am going to have to implement some discipline in my own parenting (ie Dropping to my knees instead of Raising my voice). I'm about to wake them up. My desperate prayer for today is to be filled with the Spirit of Love!

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

"The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother." Proverbs 29:15

"Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law," Psalm 94:12

"Don't fail to discipline your children. They won't die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death." Proverbs 23:13-14

"For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life." Proverbs 6:23


The End of Summer

August 11, 2011

Well friends, it would seem that my summer vacation has ended. Our last hoorah was a trip to a water park on Monday. We all had such a wonderful time. My mom, aunts, sister, godchild, nephews, and several cousins joined us on our Last Escape.

Now, I find myself back in the real world. Preschool is in full swing. Aubree is amazing me every single day with her eagerness to learn and her bank of knowledge. I am slowly acclimating the bigger kids into the new school year. By the middle of September it will be full on! Karli is learning some mad typing skills- well, she's trying at least! Drake is... well, I don't know what exactly it is he's doing with his multiplication facts. But, I can tell you he's not memorizing them. {Please, pray for us. He has got to memorize them! Aye.} Little Brant is doing whatever it is that Brant does. They've all been reading and writing to supplement their regular curriculum.

I am trying to acclimate myself, too. Every day I work on organizing some area in my house that has been neglected. I have been super busy with lesson plans and I am trying to keep myself calm about second grade. When I feel  like I am starting to get anxious, I just tell myself that I need to only get through one day of school at a time. It will be fine.

Our home school group is also gearing up for the school year. We've already got a field trip planned for the middle of September! Yay!

It seems that as the summer winds down, my kids' disobedience has kicked up. I have had days of pure frustration and I can see myself snapping one day soon and following through on my threat to go on strike! Can you imagine? I almost get a twinkle in my eye when I think of it. Who would cook for them, clean their dishes and clothes? What about school? Would they let themselves fall behind or would they realize the ramifications of that and trudge through? What if we ran out of groceries? Oh, that would be the best! Then THEY would be begging ME to go shopping and not the other way around! {I think I just felt an evil laugh building up in the depths of my belly!} I wonder how long it would take for them to realize that I actually DO deserve some respect from them.

All in all, as I reflect upon the past year, I am pleased. We faced some scary times, both as a family and me as an individual. We made do when there was no other option. We fought for what was ours when we needed to. We learned that sometimes the only way to climb up is on your knees. I can see growth in each one of my kids, my husband, and most dramatically, in myself. I have been blessed in one of my most damaged relationships with healing. That's something I never thought I would have seen. I have been honored to be able to spend time, share moments, and enjoy life with my family. I've made the effort to make memories, and it's served me well.

What does the new (school) year hold? Who knows? But, I am committed to remaining plugged in to my family. Part of that means taking time for myself. But, it also means giving of myself in order to get more of them! I am eager and hopeful to see where God will take us.

"For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." Psalm 28:7


Let's Get Wet!

August 9, 2011

Let's talk about this picture. You might look at it and see a little girl, a very adorable little girl, playing in water having a really fun time. She is just loving the way the cool water feels all over her body on such a hot summer day. I love how she's trying to grab and hold on to the water with her hands. She does not have a single care in the world, except for that water! Look at her face. Could she be any happier right at that moment? It's obvious that she's totally living in that place in time where everything else has disappeared. It's just her and that water spout. If you see all those things in this picture your observations are correct. But, I also see something more....

I see me. I am that little girl. Adorable in God's sight. Trying to soak myself to the bone in the relief of His graces and mercies in the heat of life with both hands! Oblivious to everything around me. As the spout of Water ebbs and flows, I anticipate what's coming next. I know that It will go down and shoot back up. I will wait for It. Expect It. Count on It. I will reach for It. Knowing It's there. Embrace It. Enjoy It. And I will encourage my friends to join me in finding Relief, too. I will share It with them because I know how wonderful and comforting It is!

Wanna get wet?

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." Isaiah 12:3

"Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4"13-14

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!" Psalm 31:24


Sands of Time

August 5, 2011

Do you ever get caught up in a web inside your mind of "what if's"? Chances are, if you're human, you do. The thing is, we never seem to be satisfied with where we are in life. There always seems to be a new "project" that will make us happy. A new wardrobe. A new pair of smoking hot shoes to carry us through the next season. Some latest and greatest thing that will certainly make our lives exceptional. We always have an agenda to accomplish. A mission!

But, what are we missing in the now of it all? What are the things that are worth stewing in? What should we be savoring for as long as it lasts? What deserves to have our heart in it's entirety, sitting in contentment? What feels better than having your 3 year old cup your face in her pudgy little hands? What is more precious than when your 10 year old son surprises you with a kiss? Is there any higher compliment than your 8 year old who tells you that you look "hot"? {Don't ask.} What about girl talk with your 12 year old? I hold these things in high esteem.

I used to have a professional career. Back before I had a meaningful career. My husband and I both worked very hard. I even enjoyed my job. There were really good perks that job afforded me. But, then, something happened. Something that I would never be able to walk away from. Ever. I became a mother. And that took precedence over all else in my life. I ended up walking away from that job cutting our income almost in half.

Four kids later, in a struggling economy to say the least, here we are. Paying our bills every month, but having to get creative at times to be able to afford "extras". Making sacrifices almost daily where money is concerned. But, you know what? Even though my salary would have nearly tripled by now if I'd continued to work, I do NOT regret one single second that I've spent with my children. Even those moments where I was certain that one of us was not going to make it out alive... I'm still grateful for the opportunity to be with them!

We tend to get caught up in life. We can so easily forget that time is not a renewable resource. We each only get so much of it, and once it's gone we cannot get any of it back. How many times do we spend our moments carelessly? Do we realize how we are repeatedly guilty of wasting it away being ungrateful, selfish, angry, resentful? Whether or not you work outside the home or you get to spend your days with your kids, it is still so easy to take the present for granted.

A wise man once told me that no matter how much money you have you will always want more. It will never be enough. But, what really matters at the end of the day is how much time you have and how you spend what you've been given.

The sand in the hourglass of life is certainly growing towards empty every single day. Don't let it be too late before you decide to appreciate what you have left. If there is a seed of unforgiveness in your life, resolve it now. If there are things in your life that are unproductive, cut your ties. Make each day count. Don't wait until later to visit that someone that you've been thinking about. Don't put your laundry before hugs. When your kids want to kiss you, let them! When they talk to you, stop what you're doing and look them in the eye. Make time for tickles. You don't have to sweep your floor 5 times a day. Heck, you should spend the day playing with your kids and skip the floor altogether every once in a while.

Time. So precious. Don't wait until it's too late to make the most of it. We can't afford to spend it carelessly, on things that don't really matter in the end. All that matters in the here and now is that we use the time we've been given to share God's love with all others. That's it. If we follow that one simple rule in all things, then we're doing it right!

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34

"For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night." Psalm 90:4

"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2Peter 3:8

"The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty, yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10

"And he answered, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27


Trust & Obey

August 4, 2011

This past Sunday, our pastor finished up a message series titled "In God we Trust"; Sunday's message was "Trust and Obey". Ironically enough, this is something that I've been "preaching" to my tweenager for several months now. Well, sort of.

I remember being a kid. I remember thinking that my mom was so old fashioned and such a prude! I remember thinking that she did not have a clue about life in the "current" decade! I made a vow to not be like her when I had kids of my own.

Fast forward to present day.

Okay. So, maybe I can occasionally be prude-ish. But, it's not in vain. I've grown a set of morals and learned to listen to the voice of my conscience Heavenly Father. I can also see that so many of the things I did as a teen were not the smartest things one should do. I trusted people that had not earned it. I made decisions based on what felt good at the time. And I never, ever considered that there was a world that was bigger than me. Yes. I made it out okay. But only by the grace of God!

Now, I am trying my best to guide my kids. I want the very best for them; more than they want for themselves probably. The thing is, they don't trust that I have any clue as to what I am talking about where they're concerned. They don't see the bigger picture. They don't get the why's and why not's of it all. I cannot tell you how many times I have sat on their bed and asked, "Do you know that I love you? Have I ever done anything to hurt you? Do you believe that I will protect you? Do you believe that I want only the best for you?" They acknowledge that I only want the best for them. Then I say, "Then you're just going to have to TRUST me! You only know what your 12 years worth of experience has taught you. I've got 38 years of experience. Even thought it may be hard to believe, I know more than you do. I have the ability to see the bigger picture. I have wisdom and maturity on my side. You will have it, too, one day. But, you've got to earn it." I beg for their trust. I plead for it. I promise that if they give it to me, it will benefit them! (Okay, so it will make my life a whole lot easier and less painful, too.)

Often, in my parenting struggles, things are revealed to me about my relationship with God. Just like with my kids, if I trust Him and His Word, then the direct result of that is obedience. It's just that simple. So I either do or don't. But, I cannot pick and choose which areas I can trust Him in. I've got to realize that He has my best interest at heart. His desires for me far exceed anything I could dream for myself. He is Wisdom. He is Knowledge. So, even when I think that He's taking me somewhere I don't want to go, or giving me something I don't want to carry, I must trust Him. The experience will be used "for good and not evil, to give me a future and a hope". (Jeremiah 29:11)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5


900 Seconds

August 2, 2011

Ah. It's official. My baby girl has done grown into a woman. Okay. Not really. Thank God! She's only three! But, she has declared that she is NOT a baby, she is a Big Girl now! Yesterday she had her very first day of school. I was originally going to wait one more year before attempting Preschool, but, this kid had other plans. She is so far ahead of the curve that it would be an injustice to her not to start Pre-K now. She already knows all of her colors, shapes, numbers, letters, letter sounds, and she's begun teaching herself how to read and spell three letter words. Um. Yeah. Amazing.

She was so excited for the big day to finally get here. The night before, she actually slept with her color box. The one you see in the picture. She's been carrying it around and admiring her very own colors and markers every day since I bought them. She thought "Monday" would never come! But it did. And she loved every second! All 900 of them. Okay, she's only three. You can't ask for much more than 15 minutes of her undivided attention. This momma's gonna have to be quick if I want to get the job done. I'm also going to have to get creative, because she's probably going to get tired of coloring pretty soon. No worries. I've got it in the bag.

The other day I was thinking about how much learning time about Christ that I've missed out on because I didn't apply myself sooner. The more I learn about my Christian walk the more I realize how little I know, and how much more I want to know! Like Aubree, I am so eager to learn now. I want to sleep with my "color box" every night in anticipation for what I'm going to learn tomorrow. And I'm never disappointed- even if it's only 900 seconds at a time!

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2Timothy 3:16-17

"But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" Matthew 4:4


Portion Control

August 1, 2011

How do you feed your kids the Word of God without choking them with it?

As parents we all want the absolute best for our kids. We make countless sacrifices effortlessly, without even a second thought. We second guess our selves around each corner. We ache when our children are hurt. But, our ultimate goal, our most important goal, should be to raise them to know Jesus. To love Him. To invite Him into their hearts and lives to reside until that day when they get to Heaven for eternity. 

What do you do when you have a child who is just not that interested? When I was a teenager, my parents changed religions and I was force fed with a shovel everything they believed with an urgency like there was literally no tomorrow! Let me tell you, it was damaging to my spiritual life! I have vowed to be careful not to do the same thing to my kids. I certainly do no want them to have the same obstacles to overcome as I did. But, it IS my responsibility to teach them, lead them, expose them, encourage them. And pray for them. 

There comes a time in a young girl's life when she is desperately struggling to figure out who she is, much less, who she is in Christ. Yes, my friends. I am walking with a tweenager through this often dark and scary journey. If you've never been here before, lucky you. It's really not that fun sometimes. I am actually quite confused by it most of the time, even though I remember being there as a girl myself. I'm just not sure of the right things to do or say. I do know from my experiences some things not to do or say, but, it's really not that much help.

I may have made a mistake several months ago when I agreed to let her attend church with Freddie and I instead of going to a class designed specifically for her age. We are so blessed to have found an awesome church! But, she decided that the teachers in that class treat her like a baby. {I don't think she realizes that she's not grown!} Okay. So, maybe Momma just took the bait- hook, line, and sinker! Whatever. Anyway, recent events have opened my eyes to the fact that she is not getting fed with the right utensils, so to speak. As of last Sunday, she's officially back in "the class" until they kick her out and up to the next age group in 8 months! Lord- no pressure here, but, can you work fast? Amen. 

She's not happy. But, maybe, her heart will soften. Maybe she will give it a fair try. Maybe she will super secretly grow to love this class and make some friends and beg me to bring her to the youth group next year every Wednesday. Maybe she will "get It" and not want to ever live "without It" again!

Lord, please help me to be a good model of Your Love, Your Grace, and Your Mercy. Please, help me be slow to anger and discipline with wisdom and fairness. Please let my life exude the happiness of my heart so that others will see You and want what only You can give. I ask that you fill this house with Your peace and Your protection. In Jesus' most Holy Name I pray. Amen.

"Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:30-31