Monday, December 13, 2010

Just stay and linger awhile....

I feel like this doesn't happen enough.....
And my head is thinking, "Why in the world not?" I am crazy about this guy. I love him more now then I did when we married one another, nearly 12 years ago.

I know the obvious reasons...


I know that this season of life, with my precious small children, is taxing and requires much of me. Still I cannot quiet that longing in my heart for more time with him. My very best friend, my love, my partner, my leader. He can make me la
ugh like no one else can and see through to my heart more quickly than most. When he looks at me from across the room, I am certain I am the only thing he sees and that makes me feel adored and cherished.

God has strengthened our marriage and given us a vision that I know grounds and sustains us through the trials. God has also given us a deep love for one another. That sense of knowing that he is by my side for the long run, the comfort in
knowing he thinks I am beautiful even on those days I'm not and the grace that is continually offered as I sometimes stumble through being his help-meet.

I recently glanced at an article title that said "The six-second kiss...." I didn't actually get to read it, but the title got me thinking. So often we greet each other at the end of a long day and quickly catch up, but realistically it is past 10 already and our heads hit the pillows. I'm certain that I don't give him six, one-second kisses every day, let alone many six-second kisses each day! What a difference such a small act of love would make!


How much more deeply would our connection be, even in the busyness, if I stayed and lingered awhile. This is the most precious earthly relationship I need to nurture and no one can do for my husband what I can do for him! I know there are many other times that I can stay and linger. I am planning on taking the time to do more
of this.....



How can you find time to stay and linger awhile?


Friday, December 10, 2010

Unexpected

Today started out like most other days....I was up early to get some work done and then study. Wesley and I were on the couch reading together at 7:00am, the boys were still sleeping....... wait! Did I just say Wesley was home? Well, truth be told we had an appointment this morning, so he stayed home to attend that with us and then go in to work. Then it looked like it was going to be one of those days....

Eli woke up with a stomach bug. So with a little rearranging, I moved a meeting and my sweet husband stayed home with the boys. When I got back home he headed into work and the house was pretty quiet. We had lunch, Evan went down for a
nap, Eli laid down and Luke got books for quiet time. I started folding laundry and then it hit me. This sweet beautiful unexpected moment of time.


Soft music in the background and a kind of stillness in the house where I know that I can actually feel each of them breathing. The rare little gift of time to be productive, yet really enjoy the stillness of my little men. I felt like my heart got a glimpse of that peace that comes in really doing my work unto the Lord. I was so happy my day didn't work out as planned, happy to be here with my men~ resting and just soaking it up.
I'm glad I wasn't too busy. I didn't miss this moment when time literally felt like it slowed down, just for us.

Each year we read through the word and find "What God wants for Christmas." This year we decided to give him our attitudes of gratefulness. Here was a living moment of my heart leaping with gratitude. For tomorrow is a busy day and I will be away from my men. Today, however, I was gifted this precious moment, completely
unexpected

Thank you God it was enjoyed and noticed, rather than lost in the busyness of life. May I be reminded daily to slow down and leave room for You to do the unexpected....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Humbled

Last month, God was so good to me once again. You see, He has this wonderful way of carving out unexpected, non-planned time with my very dearest friend. Even when we try to spend time together and work out the scheduling of our seven children, husbands home and a time and place....it rarely actually comes together in the end. But then on a random Sunday afternoon, we will both show up in a place for one thing and end up having a precious hour of time just for ourselves. God is really cool like that! :)

So last month, this happened and as we shared our hearts with one another, we both were having the same thoughts about the level of commitment needed for the wifely & motherly duties God has asked of us. Then in a class I am taking our teacher shared that it is has always been her goal to find ways to meet the needs and build in life to her husband and children. However, that is not something that she looks for them to do for her. No~ she goes to God for that. He alone provides what she needs. Now of course her husband and children bless her in many ways and build life into her, but she is not actively seeking that from them.


In our world today, this whole idea is completely backwards and so much negative light is shed on this idea of servanthood in our own homes. But, that is exactly where God calls us to serve first. And it is also where we find our joy and purpose. It also means that we must surrender our way and wants in marriage and motherhood and replace them with God's intended desire for these roles. Trust Him~ He will provide and take care of all that you truly need. And as you seek Him fervantly, He will mold what you want into that which He knows is best for you.


This is my prayer this next year~ that God will make me more selfless and more serving. That I will be in tune to the hearts of my inner circle, as well as those I come in contact with, in order to build life and meet their needs on a practical level. I was reading a blog I enjoy once in awhile and she had this beautiful post that spoke directly to this topic, so take a minute and go visit Joy. Let this story of the woman who
"has no name" encourage you and challenge you in this mission of truly serving selflessly.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Living out Galatians 6:2

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

I believe that in everyone's life there is a season, if not more than one, where the burdens of this life we live become too much for one to bear. We are not completely defeated because our hope is in Christ, but completely weary is a reality.

My precious family has been in a season like this for the past 6 months. The strain of my husbands job, which has left me solo-parenting six days a week, has taken its toll. I do not at all share this to sound like I am complaining, but simply to help you see the greater message of this post. Unfortunately, as hard as we have tried to shield our precious boys and keep things as constant as we can, this past week it all came crumbling down.

I am grateful for the circumstances because they have caused us to be desperate for our God in a way that we could not know without this amount of stress. It has stripped us of our strength and revealed weaknesses and inadequacies that push us to call upon our Rock & Tower of Strength. It is often hard to praise God and consider it all joy, but honestly we have no choice. We say we believe in the Sovereignty of our God, so we must live like we do! He will be faithful to bring about His purpose for our lives. We can be a willing participant or not. I prefer to obey and reap the benefits of His hand of goodness, rather than His hand of discipline. However, I know how imperfectly I obey, so there has been much learning along the way!

I have had dear friends reach out to serve and help during this time and I am so grateful. Although I will admit it is a small circle who has known this struggle. Not for any other reason than the fact that I tend to keep quiet, because I know who and what is most helpful. As well as the fact that I want to protect my husband and family through this process.

Last week I met with a dear friend who witnessed the actual melt-down of my sweet boys due to the pressure we are all facing. She was so dear and grace-based in talking with me and coming alongside. That afternoon she e-mailed me asking if she could help in a specific way over the next few weeks. I was blown away at her offer to serve my family.

First, she initiated helping me in a way that I would never ask someone to do, but in a way that is completely practical! I will admit that sometimes it is hard for me to know what to ask help with, it has all seemed overwhelming. Second, she shared her heart in wanting to help and in that God revealed something really neat to me.

To be used of God in service to others, our hearts must be in the right place. I am sure there have been many times you have sought God's direction in how to serve others. Now as He reveals ways to you and you are obedient, you are excited about being able to help. But then the person declines. It really isn't a fault to them, but being here in this place where God is revealing this to me, I see how not accepting help is sometimes a hindrance to the other person.

Accepting their offer is accepting Christ's love. It is letting them live out Galatians 6:2. God says to bear one another's burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Love God and love your neighbors. Serving and being served is love, when done with a heart to please God above all things.

Pride has no place in accepting help. (Not that it has any place anywhere!) But I'm just saying that when we let that get in the way, we become a stumbling block. We also become our own worst enemy because we are actually saying that we know a better way and that God's command of "bear one another's burden" is really not that great. I know that may sound harsh, but in my heart I really think that's what we are doing.

I was so humbled by my friends offer of help and humbled by God's gracious hand of mercy upon me and my family. I am grateful for all that He is teaching me even when I least expect it! I love how He knows me and all that I need when I need it in such detail. He brings all things together so beautifully and I am incredibly blessed to be at this end of such an amazing gift of blessing. This challenge ahead of us to weed out the good and seek His true will for us seems daunting at times, but these "sweet spots" are just the encouragement I need to give me that push to keep going. The end result, when done in God's will, is going to be absolutely worth it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mumble-Jumble

We have all had those days where many decisions of motherhood seem to be difficult and soon we get near the end of our day feeling ready for God's mercies to be new the next morning! Our hearts cry out to God to redeem lost time and use the mumble-jumble of our day to somehow lead our children to Him. Our gratefulness lies in the fact that God does the heart work. We know the day was not a complete waste, but we are eager for a new dawn to arrive.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I am struggling with not feeling well as well as being emotionally and physically tired. Easy ways for me to be distracted from doing my job well as a mama. Clinging to my ROCK and Tower of Strength is an absolute! Yet, I still feel somehow that I am cheating my boys of getting the best of me. I have to remember my ability lies in God's power at work in and through me, not in my own physical & emotional strength or lack thereof.


Last night I had somewhere to be for about an hour and my oldest wanted to come along. As we were riding in the car he said, "Mama, do you know what I thought today?" "I thought every time you did something for me or helped me, my heart smiled and I thought You are the best mama I have ever seen anywhere in the whole world!"


So, even my mumble-jumbled day was time well spent and God was faithful to be in the business of heart work. The sweet words of my son, an encouragement for my heart.... Every day spent serving Him by investing in their lives is worth it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

He's on the move!

Well hello there! I really cannot believe how long it has been since I've posted.... No excuses, just the reality of the season of life we are wading through right now! I have had some things on my heart that are posts in my mind, I am praying that soon God will allow me some "extra" time to put them down here. But for now, some fun pictures to bring family and friends up to date with the Carruthers Brothers!

From the title of this post I'm guessing that you have figured out that Evan is now walking! He turned 10 months old and walked the next day! It has been a sweet mix of emotions for me, as I love watching them grow, but also want to hold on to him as long as I can in that sweet baby stage. Here is a snapshot of him and as you will see he is quite proud of himself!





Luke turned five in late October and had a "Bug Birthday", the weather was beautiful and we were able to have it outside~ He really is showing signs of growing up so much! We made a BIG deal of him turning 5 and he has gladly stepped up to the occasion! He and I went to see "Live Veggie Tales" and he was the winner of the big drawing for a 30 DVD box set of movies! He was pretty excited :)
We had fun at our annual pumpkin patch visit~ it was about 80 degrees and with no rain for months, extremely dusty! But fun was had by all of us and we were able to capture the boys again at our favorite pumpkin spot!

This was Eli's second season of soccer. He loves this sport and always has a good time on the field. He loves when Daddy is home on Sunday's to play with him in the yard! This was his last game and it was quite chilly!

Both of the boys are doing well in school~ of course Luke likes to be on the move as much as he can, but he is really growing in his ability to sit focused on school and tasks! Evan loves to be a part of everything we do and has learned to be right with the boys, but now always "in their stuff"~ Here he is helping Eli with his homework :)

The boys have been playing lots of football lately, and Evan thinks it is so funny! He even claps for them when they are done. Every time the boys throw the ball to the each other, Evan cracks up laughing! They are such a joy to us and I am glad I had a little time to share with them with you! Love you all :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little family update....

Hello! Here are some new pictures of my sweet men :)

Eli's first day of first grade:

My silly Luke:

My growing little man Evan:

We are finally getting into a new routine with first grade and K1 for Luke. Evan is still a quiet and happy little boy. He is busy all over the house and thinks he can walk....hence the bruise on his head, which stays there most of the time! He is 18 pounds and 8 months old! He does this adorable "bear crawl" where his knees do not touch the ground at all! I am so blessed and I am loving each day with my three little men. Have a great day!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Transparency

To be vulnerable and authentic is to lay open one's heart for the process of refinement. Each time we share the condition of our hearts with a trusted friend or group of friends, we are inviting change. We are saying out loud that we want to be held accountable, we want to see something real happen in our lives that will make us different than before.

Recently I shared my heart with some friends, asking them to pray for me and my family. We are in a place of growth~ one of those places where I am uncertain of what specifically lies ahead, yet I know that change of some kind in inevitable. But I welcome it.

I love authenticity and I am okay with sharing the true condition of my heart with those trusted few who act as the iron that sharpens this iron. I do not like complaining. So finding the words to share authentically is sometimes a struggle for me. But two of my sweet friends said two profound things to me. Simple, yes, but their words have had me thinking for the past few days.

"Don't ever stop sharing and being transparent, because then I don't feel like I can be transparent with you."

Wow! I had not really ever looked at transparency under this light. But isn't this true? There is such a stigma on women to "have it all together" and pressure to keep the plates spinning. Our struggles are real, but we set one another up for failure if we are not honest about where we truly are in life. Struggles are where we grow and I have found where God is most often so very real to me. He reveals Himself in ways that cause me to see my desperate need for more of Him and less of me. So in sharing with those around me, my words need to be honest. I also feel that it is important to share what you know to be true of God in light of the struggle you are facing. To me this is the strength in vulnerability. The place where I can let go of it all by clinging to the hope of who I know God is and what it is that He can accomplish in me.

"Prayer is real, so when we ask others to pray we should be expecting real results."

This is something I whole-heartedly believe, but I do not think I have put to words so well before. Just a few days after I had asked some of my dear friends to pray, there was a change within me. Outer circumstances had not changed, but inner ones definitely had. Which was refreshing to me. I was not putting parameters on how God needed to change things, but just desperately praying that He would. Starting within my heart has been a great start! Knowing that my friends are praying for me, carrying me to the throne of God ~ this strengthens me for the journey.

I don't have to do it on my own. I don't want to do it on my own. It is often hard for me to share things that weigh heavy on my heart when I know others are in a hard place also. I don't want to add to the burden already on them. But the more I walk and grow and learn, I see that this kind of authentic sharing between hearts is what helps us to be rich in mercy and abounding in grace. This transparency allows us to see God at work in one another and be a tool that God can use to spur one another on in Truth. Therein lies true wealth. Love that is honest and real and sometimes heart-wrenching.

Transparency allows me to be nothing and God to be everything ~ all glory to God alone!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Do it now, not later

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

For the past few days my mind has been repeating, "Do it now, not later." Needless to say, I have been getting much done around here including laundry, writing, playing games, cleaning up outside, washing cars, reading chapter books with my boys, making rainbow cupcakes, giving myself a pedicure at midnight, organizing Children's Ministry and much more! But more importantly my heart has been engaged in doing things now and not later that cause me to grow. To grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Many people who have not trusted in Jesus for their salvation would say they feel they have time and will get to it later. But Christians also have a tendency to "put off" refinement for various reasons. As I think about all the things that we would like to have in order before we fully commit to becoming refined, I think that time is not promised to us and no one knows the hour at which they may be called home. If our purpose is to become more Christ-like, shouldn't this be at the top of our list
each day? Sadly, I know that some days all the "To-Do Lists" take up too much room. All the concerns I have of this present world and life take up too much space in my mind. Consequently then, taking up too much of my time that could be spent growing in Him.

Yesterday, my oldest son asked me if there was a real place called Bethlehem. After informing him that there was, he said, "Let's go there tomorrow and meet Mary and Joseph!" I love that my boys really have not completely mastered the sense of time and how long some things actually take! They have this excited urgency to get things done now...today! Realistically not all things are possible (especially since our private jet is in the shop!!!Ha Ha) but, keeping the mindset that doing it now and not later is a good thing. It spurs me on to growth in Christ. It pushes me to deal with those things that hinder me and keep me stagnate.


Much of the world around me pushes in directions that do not always what reflect my pure hearts desire. All the thing of this world that seem to make choices for us make it a challenge to live each day with the number one priority of growing to be more Christ-like. It is more and more difficult to live and make choices that set up apart, for the holiness of God. But each choice is absolutely worth it and all the "stuff" we might give up doesn't really matter.


Last night my very dear friend and mentor, who has a son battling cancer, said, "All that really matters is that they love Jesus. If he died tomorrow, that's what would matter." That is all that matters, that I love the Lord with a passion and my family sees me growing more and more like Him each day. That I lead those little men of mine to Jesus, every day! Eyes are always watching me and I want them to see something authentic.

Here are some of my "now" choices I am making:


Do It Now: In my walk with Christ


memorize those verse this week, stop and pray with the boys now about things that weigh on our hearts, get out my Bible and share where God says that is the right thing to do, let go of the fear and anxiousness now, trust completely and let Him be Sovereign


Do It Now: In my marriage


write him a love letter today, thank him for something when he walks in the door, take extra time to really kiss him~ not just give a peck in passing, let him know what I admire in him, encourage him in his hobby/craft/sport, fix his favorite dinner or dessert, really ask him & really listen about work and what he does each day~ ask him today how I can pray for him while he is gone


Do It Now: In motherhood


play their favorite game now (not when the dishes are done), let them wash dishes, teach him how to hit a baseball, read one extra book at bedtime tonight, make the hard choices to protect them now, give him a voice and really listen, get down on their level, build relationship now~ don't wait! Time is of the essence and I do not have one moment to waste.


Do It Now: In ministry


send the notes of encouragement today, call her and ask how to pray today, give extra, open up my home to get to know new people this month, take time to get to know the kids in Sunday School & purpose to encourage them, find ways to keep investing in her life with Truth


Do It Now: In my health


take my vitamins everyday, walk at least 4 days a week, get up and get going~ do not be lazy, pray more and worry less, say "no" when I need to and when I can, laugh more today


Monday, June 14, 2010

Choices

To me, life is a mix of different colored threads that are constantly being woven together. Even when I am sleeping the Master is at work. HE is Sovereign and in the moments of life when everything seems to shut down and you are left with this ache... remembering that HE is still on the throne gives you just enough air to take another breath and move forward.

HE is in control, yet HE allows me to have a voice in my own life. So my choices are vitally important. Each decision I make declares my allegiance. It says outwardly what I really believe in my heart. I can be fearful and uncertain. I can have too many questions without enough answers. I can be crying out for the waters to be parted.
These places are real.

I cannot stay there to be swept away by the feeling that this isn't what I would choose for myself. I must trust in HIS sovereignty and rest in the knowledge that He is a good God and the ever-changing circumstances of life
do not change HIM.

I can imagine in my head the beauty that life beholds when you have that perfect view from a distance. All the surrendered cries of the heart, the praise from broken lips and the faith shouted out loud by the actions of servants willing to say "It all belongs to YOU."

Choices.


Each one matters. How am I making sure that I am making ones that matter for His sake?

Often, there is more laundry than I would like to see on the kitchen table.
There is more dust on tables and dishes in the sink.There are more papers that I'd like to be filed and paint left over from small hands that spilled it on the floor.


There is also the sound of laughter that is extremely contagious.

There is freshly painted hand-prints I will want when they are grown and on their own.

There is the sound of an eager first grader reading to his brothers the next Frog & Toad adventure.

There are discussions about what it would be like to walk on water and see Jesus raise from the dead.

There are two big brothers showing him how to build legos.
There are doors opened that I would not walk through just on my own.
There is a letting go of all those complications.
There is a sleeping baby in just his diaper.


And my heart cries out in praise for the gifts I have been given. My mind is full of too many thoughts to make sense of, so.... I surrender them to Him and walk in faith THIS day. For He is still on the throne and His watchful eye is upon me.

And there is life being woven together.....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sweet dreams

When it comes to bed time I am a no nonsense kind of gal. We have a good routine and I stick to it! We get our jammies on, have family worship, brush teeth, go potty and I have built in for all the other things that usually come up at bedtime..... having one drink of water, asking one question, giving each other hugs, giving Evan hugs......then we climb into bed and say prayers. Then, (when it all goes well) we hit the sweet spot in the routine when they want me to tuck them in. This is when I make sure they have their BB's in the right spot so they can rub that perfect, yet worn out spot. I give "fast & slow" kisses, tell whisper stories in their ears, "pet" Luke so he settles down and tell them how very much I love them.

The world slows down just a little at this moment. I breath deep as I send them off to sweet dreams and the heart molding process that I pray God will do each night as they sleep under His watchful eye. I lay them into His hands again at the end of the day, for I am not promised tomorrow and I cannot keep watch over them through the night, but He does~


I sneak back in every night before my own head hits the pillow and I stare at them. I take in each little breath and snore, their sweet faces so peaceful and still. I pray over them and ask God to use them in great ways for His glory. I smile and whisper something that I love about them into their ear, then I linger just to listen to them breathe.

Tonight I am quiet in thought.... God says in His word, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) The darkness around me as I sit in the middle of their room and listen. The warmth I feel when I think of God's presence here in this room, filling the space. I also think of His words.... "the whole earth is full of His glory..."

This space is full of His glory, His tender creations, His precious gifts to us. Each breath is His and He knows the number of their days, so I am reminded to simply enjoy them and lead them to Him. Let them see why living for Him alone has no comparison, for it matters the most and will satisfy all longings of the heart.

Thank you Lord for this sweet spot each night that I am so privileged to experience. Thank you for giving me another day with them~

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Out of the mouth of babes...

I have always called Wesley "my Mr. wonderful"~ yes it may be cheesy, but it just came out one day in a sincere way and it has stuck. So when Wesley comes home, we are making something for him or Eli is writing him a card he refers to him as "our wonderful daddy." I am sure this has been influenced from my calling him "my Mr. wonderful" for as long as Eli has been around!

Which of course, then led me to think about all that comes out of my mouth and how my boys use what they hear~ for example:

"Now Mommy, please don't get fussy with me; Evan was crying and needed to be walk-holded." (Luke)

"Well, actually....." (used for many things by Eli)


"Sanctification only happens through Jesus" (Eli)


"Now Eli, we don't say never because we have to try!" (Luke)


"Well, we will all be in heaven, except for Luke~ we need to pray for him to give his heart to Jesus." "And our baby, because Evan was born with a black heart." (Eli)


"Mommy, is God bigger than the sky?" (Yes, baby He is) "Oh right, he's omnis....oh you know...I can't remember... what is that word?" (Luke)


"Mommy, you have to have the verse in your heart, so you can whip it out and shoot the enemy!" (Eli)

"Eli, what were you asked to do?" (Luke)


"Who do I smell so beautiful back here?" (Luke)


"You need to be on God's team, not Satan's team." (Eli)


So this kind of thinking naturally led me to focus more on what I was saying and how I was imparting life with my words. Being a mama has moments where I have to take many deep breaths before I speak. A very dear friend of mine was talking about how she was really working on keeping her tone and inflection the same with her children. She made such an important point that her children needed to obey right away to the same voice all the time. So very true!


They also need to hear the kind of speech that you want them to use, because what they hear is what they will say! We all know how very true this is! :) So my challenge to all of us is to be intentional is using words that impart life, encourage and build up those around us.

Luke 6:45 says, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Journal Writings 2

Lies. They creep in and slowly begin to control your thoughts, your point of view and eventually your actions.

Lies. They can lead you astray so quickly. They set you up to fail, because they are rooted in evil.

Lies. We have all believed them.

Lies. They destroy us from the inside out. They cause us to feel defeated.

Truth. It changes us from the inside out. It sets us up for success because it guides in a way that cannot fail because it's God's way.

Truth. It needs to be the plumbline that controls our actions and words.

The Truth I am clinging to right now is that God is My Sustainer, My Refuge, My Refiner, My Sufficiency, My Strong Tower.

Cling to the Truth and know that it will never fail you. Abide in His words today and bask in His everlasting love and steadfastness.

My heart will not know a better place to find rest than in the quiet and stillness needed to hear God and feel His presence around me. I will not know better encouragement than what I find as I scan the verses of a Psalm. Thank you Lord for being the unchanging, immovable God that you are~

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end~ they are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness!"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Journal Writings...

forgiveness
the stillness of a new morning

fresh dew

laughter

conviction

provision

new opportunities to serve

the simple acceptance of a child

fresh beginnings


The darkness of the human condition, the knowing of your own shortcomings and barriers to complete allegiance to Him, makes HIS goodness hard to grasp. His grace is extended to me at all times, yet in the stimulation of all that surrounds me, I forget that GRACE is what sustains me. From sun-up to sun-down I serve, love and pour myself out, often missing the small moments to refresh my soul in the warmth of His goodness.

details being worked out years in advance
protection

an encouraging husband

daily learning moments that stretch me

healthy active boys

accountability

His Word...steady, reliable, true


When life begins to feel like an endless cycle of stuff, lists, chores...I feel the pull. My heart is being tugged at for change.
Simplicity. Stillness. Focus. Intentional actions.

The desire of my heart and the reality of our daily routine do not match. The "everyday life" takes up so much space, it seems hard to shift. Oh Lord, that you would make room and help me to see the narrow path on which to lead my boys each day. Thank you Lord for knocking, for being there ready. You are always ready. Am I? Do I greet each day basking in the stillness of your new mercy, savoring the moment of quiet before the house becomes all abuzz with the activities of my precious little men.
Life can be complicated by so many things, Oh Lord, help me keep my vision clear and simple. You have called me to much....

dirty laundry
messy beds

boo boos and band-aides

oatmeal in bowls

spilled juice on the table

papers to be filed

ministry
training in righteousness
home-schooling
help-mate
cleaning floors

This is the life with which you have blessed me, called me, and equipped me to partake in. The journey of my soul to hunger for you more deeply. The process in which you are refining me to look more like You ~ and you call me....

"But to do justice, to love kindness; And to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8


Monday, April 26, 2010

I'd like to thank the Academy....

Ok, just kidding! My sweet friends Corrie and Anna over at My First Friend and Me awarded me the Master of Karate and Friendship Award...

So I am now supposed to share six things that I am a master at doing~ so, here goes! By the way, this is really out of my box, because I do not like to toot my own horn....even saying master is giving me heart palpatations! But, I love Corrie & Anna and so I do this for them :)



1.
I am a Master Visionary~ God has gifted me with the ability to see a plan, organize the plan, put it into action and see it through to the end. This is a curse and a blessing, because sometimes when things are not going like I see in my head it is sometimes hard to let go of the vision. For example, when planning my wedding I had drawn out pictures of the flowers, my dress, the church~ then I had to find someone who could catch the vision and help make it a reality! It took some time, but God sent all the perfect people into my path :) I have learned a lot in my life about letting go and learning to flex!

2.
I am a Master for Details~ I LOVE the little things that most people do not notice. This comes very honestly from my mama. If I am planning a party with a beach theme, I love to add the smallest of details that no one else will even notice, but I feel better knowing it is done. For example forks that have a seashell on the end of them. :)

3.
I am a Master at keeping traditions/sentimental things~ I LOVE traditions. I am sentimental and so I love the passing on of stories, objects and traditions. When I got married my cake topper was my grandparents. They were married in 1936 and I was married in 1999. (A detail no one else really noticed, but that made me smile when I saw it!) Sitting on my armoire is a small pink pitcher that my mama made when she was a young woman, that I absolutely love. Every Easter morning I wake up my family singing "Up From the Grave He Arose," because my mama used to wake us up with this on her trumpet. I keep a lens for a "real" camera in a special box b/c it used to be my daddy's. We went camping this past October with our boys and now I am certain this is something we will continue until they are all bringing their own families along with us :)

4.
I am a Master at understanding kids~ I get kids, they are right at my level. I understand that when they are at pre-school and daddy packed their lunch and gave them ham that they need to cry because this feels like the worst thing that has every happened! I can see nervousness in their sweet eyes and help them warm up to a situation. I can see the joy in doing something absolutely senseless because it is so very very silly! I LOVE spending time with children, life seems not so big and crazy and lost when I get into their world. I can only give credit to God for making me this way~ it is a fun thing to know how to do.

5.
I am a Master planner~ Yes, I love a plan! (Although I can be completely spontaneous at times...which when feeling this way I will not be calling Anna to go to the movies....TONIGHT! HaHa Anna, that was just for you :) ) Planning includes list making, which I am obsessed with, and yes I add things to my list, just to cross them out!

6.
I am a Master Bread Burner~ This one is for my husband :) It never fails that when I have bread in the oven, I get occupied and forget and burn the bread. I NEVER set timers when cooking (which not a good habit) but nevertheless.... I wish my Grandmother Olga was still alive, because she loved burned bread! So technically, I inherited this master ability!

Don't forget to check out Anna's fun list here
!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Full Hands

So, it was about a month ago and I went into Lowes with my three little men. As we approached an aisle, the two big boys stopped in front of me to let a lady pass by in front of us and as I approached she said, "No you go ahead, you have your hands full." This of course was said with "that look." I of course just smile and say thank you every time I get "that look." Fast forward about 2 1/2 weeks to when I was keeping my very dear friends three boys and went to t-ball practice with all six of them! I really got "that look!"

As I have thought back to these two times, as well as many others when I hear the comment, "You sure do have your hands full," I began thinking about what they actually see. My boys are not throwing fits, running around crazy, climbing the shelves (although that has happened once before!) or screaming their heads off. I have never taken the time to stop them and ask, "Why do you say that?" I am thinking someday I might, so I can learn more about why I seem to have my hands full. But, as I read in a blog (cultivatinghome.com) one-time from a mother of five, "Better full than empty."


We home-school and my boys do not attend a mother's day out, so most of the time anywhere I go, they go! Some places take more planning than others, but I have decided that having my sweet men with me will always be an opportunity for showing Christ. Whether they are on their best behavior or having trouble and needing help, I can be a witness in how I deal with how we all handle ourselves when out and about!


So whether or not people think positively or negatively about the fact that "my hands are full," I am going to purpose to show that that fullness is a wonderful thing! These past few days, I had many plans for accomplishing some big tasks in our house, but things have gone a very different direction. So I had to flex and sit more than I had planned, so I have been taking note of all that fills my hands in a week and here are some things I remember....


my Bible...a sick baby...dirty dishes...clean clothes to fold...oatmeal....little dirty hands....a caterpillar....lots of glasses of water....band-aides.....the telephone....books.....home-school folders...paint....a broom....laundry detergent....diapers.....towels....hairdryer....milk....blankies....tylenol arthritis.....stamps.....checkbook....bills.....camera.....cards....sticks.....the steering wheel....a pen.....BLESSINGS!

My hands could be full of many other things, but oh how grateful I am that God has chosen my hands to be full of everyday ordinary kinds of love. That is why "my hands are full"~ because I have been chosen to serve with love everyday of my life to my family. So, that is what I hope others see when they see that my hands are full. I also pray that God will grant me the opportunity to share why having full hands is such a wonderful thing!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Celebrations


UPDATED: 5.5.10 with pictures


Yesterday, Eli came up to me and said, Mommy, I want to draw a big cross on April 2nd and hang it up so we remember what Jesus did for us. Then on April 4th, I want to hang up a picture of how he rosed up and we can celebrate!"

These words were an encouragement to me because I do not want to at all forget why we do celebrate Easter Sunday! I also cannot waste this time to share about what Jesus did for us and why. So, here is our family plan and some great ways to involve kids in Easter week~ These are not scheduled to happen on the actually days as marked in history, but rather to help your children understand what happened the week leading up to Jesus' death as well as why we celebrate this special time of the year.
Monday:


John 10:1-10 The Good Shepherd

Talk as a family how Jesus is the Good Shepherd, he is the door (the only way to salvation) In verses 17-18 it talks of how Jesus willingly laid down His life, talk about what this means to help your children understand the greatness in His death on our behalf.


Tuesday:


John 13:1-20 The Washing of the Disciples Feet


What you will need: tubs of warm water, soap & towels


Read the scriptures, then talk with your children about why Jesus did this. Then take turns serving one another by washing one another's feet. Talk about how this meant Jesus was on the floor, how the disciples wore sandals and their feet would be very dirty. Talk about why this was so important for Jesus to do for the disciples.


Wednesday:


Matthew 26:17-30
The Passover


Prepare a special meal for your family to share and talk about Jesus' last supper with his disciples. Before the meal read Psalm 113 and at the end read Psalm 118:22-29.


Thursday:


Matthew 26:36-56 The Betrayal & Arrest

If possible take your children outside when it is dusk and read this to them. Talk of how Jesus was nearing the time of his death, his prayer and how the disciples fell asleep. Then talk about Judas and how he betrayed Jesus and he was then arrested. Lead your children in prayer thanking Jesus for his willingness to die for them, so that they may have the free gift of salvation.


Friday:

John 18-19:1-16
John 19:17-37 The Crucifixion

What you will need: a white pillowcase, washable markers, brown & red permanent markers

First read or re-tell the accounts of Jesus on trial and his beating. (You can make this age appropriate). Before reading of Jesus' crucifixion, draw a cross on the white pillowcase. Then have your children put their fingerprints all over the cross with the washable markers. Have your children name sins as they do this. Then you draw a heart around the fingerprints to represent Christ's love for us as He gave His life for us. Read the John 19 passage and then pray with your children.


Saturday:

Matthew 27:57-66 The Burial

Read and talk with your children about the burial of Jesus. Take the white sheet you made yesterday and put it in the dryer with your children. This is to represent how Jesus was place in a secure tomb. (You are also going to wash the sheet without them knowing and dry it!)


Wash sheet and dry overnight.

Make the special walk to the tomb: 1 sheet of paper (red, green, yellow, orange, black, white, purple and blue) In that order, write these on them and lay them out to lead to the tomb (dryer)

1. The blood Jesus gave
2. The grass he made

3. The sun so bright

4. The edge of night

5. The sins we made

6. The grace Jesus gave

7. The hour of Jesus' sorrow

8. The hope in our new tomorrow


Sunday:

John 20:1-18 The Empty Tomb!

On Easter morning, I always sing "Up From the Grave He Arose!" If you don't know this song, maybe you can find it in a hymnal. Wake up celebrating that Jesus is alive! Follow the special path to the tomb and take out the pillowcase~ the "sins" will be washed away. Celebrate!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Well not quite, but look at what the boys and I made Monday!!

Oh! Don't they look yummy? Eli loves to give and do special things for others and for school on Tuesday he wanted to take these for snack. So here is how we made them! 1. You will need these ingredients: (white cake mix, food coloring & frosting)

2. Mix the cake, then separate into six bowls, using about 3/4 cup of batter per bowl. Then add the food coloring to each bowl to make the colors of the rainbow~ I added what I though would work, then we tweaked as we mixed each bowl.

3. Let the kids help mix and then pour into the muffin cups! I used a small spoon full of each color in each muffin cup. It was easiest to fill all the cups with the same color, then keep adding to them. After I dropped in the spoonful, I carefully spread the batter. We were able to make 15 cupcakes.
4. Bake according to the recipe, frost when cool and tada! Rainbow Cupcakes....









Enjoy :)

And just because he is so cute! Here is our little man just hanging out with us!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Library List

Welcome back library list!

My boys and I love the wonder of so many stories waiting for little imaginations to join them. The many colorful books that call us to pick them up, sit down and enjoy their story~so check out some of these titles that we have enjoyed this past week!

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na A beautifully illustrated book about a little owl's world; awake while everyone is sound asleep!

Color Farm by Lois Ehlert This very fun book has a cut-out picture on each page that peeks into what you might find as you turn the page. Bold primary colors make it fun to look through.

Count! by Denise Fleming This book is full of larger than life, bright pictures as you count up to 10!

Hello Robots! by Bob Staake Four robots have special jobs that they each enjoy, but when a rainstorm mixes up their brains, they must find a way to work it all out!

Hey Mr. Choo Choo; Where are you going? by Susan Wierberg This rhythmic story will have you moving as you travel with Mr. Choo Choo and all he sees, hears and does on his railway ride.
Otis by Loren Long This book is about friendship that remains tried and true! A tractor and a young calf are personified, as we follow their sweet friendship over time.

The Amazing Human Body by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone Do people with bigger ears hear better? Looking for some fun experiments to try at home with your kids? This is the book! It helps answer fun questions with hand-on experiments.

The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst As you read this fun interactive book, you turn it all directions to see what kind of things each letter of the alphabet makes! Black pages with bold colorful pictures make this a fun read.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Grazers

Grazer is a good word to describe me and my eating habits. I typically eat small snacks and small meals all day long. I am not a fan of a big meal, except at dinner time. So, when I went with a friend this past Wednesday to a MOPS group, I was so excited that the speaker was talking about children's nutrition. She had so many helpful things to suggest and hints to help with what to be feeding our kids and why. One thing I was encouraged by is that it is better to eat 5-6 small meals through-out the day! Yea! We are already grazers!

Now, the really practical part that I loved... a snack tray for my boys. Isn't this cute?

So, this is how it worked for us today. I introduced the snack tray and let the boys know that when the tray is out on the table, they are welcome to sit down and eat anything in the muffin tin. This gives them freedom to eat when they are hungry, lets me decide what good nutritional food they will be getting and keeps me from having to make them something. Now, I know that not every house runs like this, but for us this is a great solution! I also set water bottles out for them to make sure they get enough water each day.

It was fun to see them sitting together after playing outside and having a snack. They also ate a great supper and cleaned their plates. I did not hear them say, "I'm hungry, when is supper?" They also did not ask for any other snacks, they were content with what was in the tray~ even the trail mix, which they typically do not eat!


This very small change reminded me of a few things:


1. Children love new things to capture their attention. My boys look forward to fun new things and they stick with it. I know that tomorrow morning Eli will be asking me where the snack tray is!

2. Children also love boundaries. After very clearly explaining the idea of the muffin tin snacks, they were content and did not ask all day to have a snack or when it was time to eat. They were happy with the pre-chosen snacks.

3. Children love to have small amounts of freedom. They feel special when they get to have a choice and it is important to build this ability in them. They may not like all that is offered, but they can choose to eat the snack they want. And in this case, they even ate something that they are not that fond of, but it was all that was left when they wanted a snack later in the day!


So maybe this will work for you, even if it is one day a week that is special and out of the ordinary routine. Let me know how you used this idea and how your kids responded to it! Have fun with them this week and remember to enjoy the journey of motherhood. If you do not have kids then start keeping a notebook of fun things you come across that you can do when and if God expands your family someday to include children. If not, you can pass them along or use them with children that may be a part of your life.


Happy Grazing! :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

An American Classic

Eli's kindergarten class memorized Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and recited it for all the parents~



*Just a note for those who visit my blog~ most of our family lives far away and it is easier for some of them to visit my blog for pics & updates with the boys, so there will be some more family posts in the future!

Friday, February 12, 2010

From Pie Pockets to a Post

It all started with this recipe for Pear~Raspberry pie pockets. They looked delicious and fun to make, so I had some "free-time" (ha ha!) early one morning and decided to give them a try!

As I worked with my hands, mixing together all the ingredients, rolling out the dough and cutting out the hearts; so many thoughts came to mind. Each one of them centered around these verses, Proverbs 31:13b & 27, "and works with her hands in delight; She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

I was enjoying the process of diligently making something for my boys to enjoy. It was an expression of love for them and the time-consuming work involved was worth it. When I first came across the recipe, I was drawn first to the picture and did not think about the time it would actually take to make them. I was only thinking about how wonderful the end result would be!

WOW! There are so many things in life that I approach with this same attitude. I plow ahead, sometimes overlooking the preparation needed to successfully arrive at the much desired end result. I even hurry through some details that require more investment than I think is needed. But, once I'm in the process I cannot just walk away, I must finish. This is the point where I must stop and dig in to The Source to find what will sustain me to persevere. I should have started here, but often foolishly begin on my own.

This happens in my marriage, my role as a mother, a friend, a servant in the church.... my intentions are sometimes more diligent than my actions. I feel that in my heart I am most sincere with how I would like to "flesh out" my roles, but my humanness keeps me from being as devoted as I would like to be. I am selfish, inconsistent, distracted, off-track~

Just like this beautiful recipe that caught my eye, life has many beautiful moments that I do not want to miss. But unfortunately I sometimes miss out on the best, because I have not prepared myself for the journey that is needed to receive that best. I choose for myself instead of trusting what God knows is best for me.

The previously mentioned verses are among my favorite and when I spend time thinking about how to practically live them out, I know that it must begin with me being in the Word and close to my Heavenly Father. That is how I prepare for the journey. That is how I get the best of what God has for me. It will involve me working hard and investing more time than I may have planned for. Some days I will not "feel" like giving what I need to give, but it's not about me. All that I do is "unto the Lord."

I was so excited to make these fun pies, as an expression of love. I want to be just as excited to work hard each day investing in what God has given me, as an expression of love to my Heavenly Father. I was grateful that as I was working with my hands, doing something that would be noticed by only a few, God opened my eyes to see His Truth. He awakened my heart to a vital truth that I needed to spend time renewing in my heart to live out every day. Had I completely stopped working hard and investing in my roles? Not at all, but in desiring to be obedient to God's call on my life, I cannot afford to overlook details. I must take time to read the recipe and diligently follow through. I must also be on the look-out for learning about God's truth in all circumstances.

Father, I pray that I will be a woman who works with her hands in delight, looks well to the ways of my household with diligence and offers an expression of love to You by the way I live my life each day.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just so grateful...

There are so many blessings in my life that God has been so gracious to allow me to have! Here's to my precious family that make my life more full! I thank them for their unconditional love & support. ~ Love you!

(By the way...there is a fun song with this, but sometimes I have to scroll all the way to the bottom for it to start playing!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Life with Boys....

Here are some snapshots of life here in our house with three boys! Always an adventure and so much joy! As I am learning more and more about our sweet baby, I see ways in which God has prepared me to be the mother of boys. I see reasons why he has chosen Wesley and I to raise men and I am so grateful~ HIS plan is perfect and I love being able to fully trust in that alone. We love our precious boys and look forward to what God has in store for us as a family of five!

BIG Helpers!! Lots of sleeping & one busy mama!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Surrendered Servant

I have been thinking the past few days about Christ and his perfect example of being a surrendered servant. If He, the perfect spotless Lamb of God, did not view Himself as one who was above serving, then how could I ever think I am above serving those around me? I can not.

Philippians 2:6-7 says this about Christ,
"who although existed in the form of God, did regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant..."

As a bond-servant, I cannot just talk of the doctrines I believe in or choose to follow, I must act in such a way that I put others above myself. (
Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas) Servanthood causes me to grow spiritually and personally. It is a challenge to my personal life to offer myself day after day, but in this place of humility I will grow beyond measure in the likeness of Christ. This is my goal, the essence of Christianity.

The world has made a mockery of what I choose to do with my life each day. I choose to be a wife and mother, to be a servant. The outside influences are strong and pull me to find significance in so many other places, but in all honesty~ genuine greatness lies in being a servant. (Sacred Marriage)
Genuine and authentic are words that I would want used when speaking about who I was as a woman. To achieve that is to surrender myself and be used of God, in whatever capacity He chooses.

If we view our everyday lives as a place to serve, then we can help prevent the false view of disillusionment. Even when those around us may not seem "worthy" to serve, we will still have a heart of joy in serving them, because we know that our service is truly unto God.

1 Corinthians 10:31
,
"whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

Serving is hard and it will cost us something(s)! But in all honesty, don't you feel that sacrificing for the sake of God is worth it all? His ultimate sacrifice provides for me a hope to which I hold firmly. In an effort to offer a sacrifice of worship to Him each day, I will choose to serve. I will choose to surrender. For I know that in this lies the greatest treasure of knowing Him more closely and having a deeper love for Him. I long to please God with my life and I know that by serving I can cause His heart to smile. I see this when my own children set aside their selfish agenda and work in the interest of one another. This makes me smile~ How happy the heart of my Father must be when I choose to serve rather than be served.
****************************************
This is a great book by Gary Thomas~

All content is copyrighted (2008-2014), please seek permission before using. Thank you

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape