Wednesday, December 29, 2010
But, as always, God has a way of changing hearts and I still feel “empty” with the thought of only three little ones. (Nate, however, is not completely on board at the moment.) I am still not positive what my convictions are or if they are actually founded by Scripture. But I know a few things…
I know when I hear someone say they “don’t want anymore,” it makes my heart cringe.
I know that right now, I’m not brave enough to tell God how many children I am going to have. “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I know it doesn’t make sense to call them a blessing and at the same time refuse those blessings. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3
As a culture, we say we love our children more than anything. Would you like $1 million? Well…YEAH. Would you like a bigger, nicer home? Of course! How about that new car? Yes. How about more kids? NO. THANKS. So, if we love our kids more than our money, our homes, and our cars…then why do we despise the thought of more? Why have children become a burden instead of a blessing? Is it that our children prevent us from having all the other “stuff” that makes us happy…but what does the Bible say? “Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me.’ But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:21-22
I say this because I believe the number one reason people do not have more children is money. That is a question we get a lot. How are you going to be able to afford them? Just wait until they get older, they get more expensive. Is it possible they get more expensive because you choose to give them worldly things instead of godly things? I’m not saying that there are not expenses to having children; but I am saying the expense of your children depends a lot on the lifestyle you choose to live. If the lifestyle you choose to live prevents you from expanding the kingdom of God, then maybe you need to reflect on how you are glorifying God. So, now I ask myself, will I walk away sorrowful because of my desire for great possessions?
Of those few things I know, I also know this;
I know that regardless of what happens, God is sovereign. If He closes my womb, He is sovereign. If He closes our hearts, He is sovereign. No matter the spiritual battle I am currently having, His will…will be done.
I also know this probably won't be the last time you read about this...
Monday, December 27, 2010
1. Simply, start working out at least 5 out of 7 days. Happened until July…see #6. (I was too tired and too sick…now I’m just too lazy.)
2. Drink more water. I did, I really did!
3. Eat less sugar. Well…I did eat clean for a short period of time, which means no sugar.
4. By April 2010, resume training for my second-degree black belt. Did not happen and decided it took too much time away from my family. I nixed this one.
5. Run the CASA 8K on June 12, 2010. I DID it! Remember?
6. Spend at least 6 months out of 2010 not pregnant, nursing, and/or both. Well, it turns out this wasn’t really a good resolution for us. I made it two months. And am VERY happy this resolution did not make it.
7. Spend more time studying scripture. This was a positive. It has taken me almost a year, but I hope to have read through the entire Bible before Anna arrives. I tried for reading it within 6 months but #6 interfered with a few of my resolutions.
8. Find a church family. We have been attending Westminster Presbyterian Church for over a year now! And we are regular members of a church for the first time since we married! Being led there stemmed from this experience.
9. Pray more as a family. We are praying more together…but can’t we always pray more?
10. Spend at least one night a month with my husband without babies. (Not enough, but a start.) This…does not happen. It is more like twice a year.
All in all...it has been a great year. I believe my only resolution for 2011 will be to adapt to new baby Anna Lee.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I couldn't help but notice the other day that the end result reminds me a bit of my childhood. It was a neat little craft we did with pantyhose...it was so strange the striking resemblance my thighs have with....
|The Pantyhose Potato!!!|
Monday, December 20, 2010
How this passage speaks to me! My heart’s desire is to know God. I have the longing to know Him; yet, I am in this world where He often seems so hard to find. I search and I search. And then I find comfort…
What confidence to know that my continued seeking Him is a mark He has not forsaken me!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Momma's Book List
Preschool Book List
I was so lucky to have been able to preserve almost all of my books from my childhood. Several of these books are on my book list for the later years but even now...Lily enjoys Amelia Bedelia! I pray that each of my children will have the same love for reading that I had when I was a child.
|some of my treasures|
Saturday, December 11, 2010
As I spoke with a dear friend over lunch, we discussed the different stages and times of desire we have after God and His Word. She seemed to be in a place where I myself have walked so many times before. It is a place where God seems so far away. It is the place where you look at yourself and think, “How can I be of God?” As we spoke, I was able to recall the thoughts of those much wiser than I in the faith – in that, when we see how far we are from God, our only choice is to flee to the feet of Christ. It is when we think we are “OK” and “good” that we forget our need for a Savior. (Psalms 51:17)
Through the conversation, I remembered a time not long ago where I, too, was dealing with doubt. I recall spending the morning in His Word and being flooded with the thought, “Do I really believe this?” Because if we truly believed in His Word wouldn’t our lives look much different? Through the course of my reading that morning my heart began to cry out to God – for faith, for understanding. My mind could not comprehend how I am supposed to teach my children about Jesus if I am not sure about Jesus myself. And then I came to the conclusion, even if I spend the rest of my life in doubt and still lead them to Him… all the pain is worth it. Even if in the end I am reprobate but they know Jesus, it is all worth it.
Before I knew it that morning, I was scrambling to change diapers and prepare breakfast. My darling Nate called before I made my way to the table and I found more comfort in pouring my heart out to him. Over tears I told him of my doubts and my issues with faith and my cries out to God. And then God opened my eyes to something more that day… Here I am preparing and caring for my children and my home. There they are at my feet looking up at me. There they are watching me broken at the feet of Jesus. And that is when it dawned on me, when they see my brokenness…they do see what it means to believe in Jesus.
I pray for my dear friend that she sees His Spirit will send her on in perseverance.
"One mark of growth in grace is increased humility. The man whose soul is growing feels his own sinfulness and unworthiness more every year." - J. C. Ryle
Monday, December 6, 2010
I sign in to make an announcement of time away; time away for something very specific. As I sign in, it isn’t long before blog after blog and link after link float onto my screen. I have known for quite sometime now how distracting the instant communication in my life has become. I have pondered shutting it all down for a period of time. And then a fellow blogger gave me the “push” I needed to make that step.
We are a people of busyness and our lives are full of distraction. Have you ever thought about spending your time in prayer and fasting? Fasting has always been fascinating to me. When I was younger, I envisioned myself spending hours in prayer without food or water. Merely a year ago, I envisioned myself alone in a hotel room with nothing but my Bible. I needed a time to clear my head and to see God’s miraculous work in my life. I felt I needed to feel the physical presence of God in my life and I felt my faith needed to increase. After all the time I’ve spent thinking about fasting and prayer, I have never actually had a time of fasting and prayer.
Obviously, being five months with child I cannot endure a physical fasting from food. So, as I think about my life and where my biggest distractions lie, it would be the World Wide Web. From blogs to Facebook to sermons to youtube…two hours has past before I realize. My mind is even distracted when I am away from my computer by the ever-present Blackberry. There is not a moment when I am not “in touch” with all that is going on out there…meaningless or not. As things happen, I wonder in what way should I share this with the world? As if the world really cares what is going on in my life at any particular moment. I believe it can all come back to vanity and pride at times. Sometimes, I have come to wonder if my thoughts are not thoughts but a mere step to the next blog post. I believe sometimes what we put out there stops just short of glorifying God and walks right into lifting up self.
So, today, I lay it all down. I will not sign in or on anywhere out here. My phone notifications are going off and I am unplugging. It may be a week or two and it may be a month. I will spend my time reading, praying, and journaling…with pen and paper. (Gasp!) As oddly as it sounds, this could be hard. I border on OCD and addiction with my phone…oh but to be free from the bondage!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
It all started one cold day in December 2003 as Christmas time was wrapping up. As newlyweds, we found ourselves in a debate on Santa Claus and with a credit card balance; the two things we eventually both came to hate. We didn’t know it yet, but we had just participated in our last Christmas. I can’t remember a thing we bought or received that year. What I remembered the most was that conversation and the marvelous way in which it led us.
Our dearest family friend, Jerry, was visiting with us in our condo as he did most nights. And as most nights, our conversation was headed to God’s Word and the superficial nature of our own religion. Jerry, who had put up his Christmas tree in October, was done; he was over it. Apparently, as his merry tree, all beautiful and glittery, sparkled through the past two months, he began to see the idolatry all around him. I’m not sure if he was even aware at that moment of the idolatry we would truly come to see. And then, I hit my other half with, “Well, I don’t think if we have kids we should tell them there is a Santa.” What?! (This would be one of our two greatest debates ever as a couple…the other was on eternal security.) Of course, we went through the whole, “but it’s just for fun.” But, it is a lie. “I believed in Santa and I’m OK.” But, it is a lie.
Over the next few days I would spend hours in front of my computer, reading article after article on the history of Christmas. Nate would come home for work and there I would be with more information about why Christians shouldn’t celebrate Christmas. To think, I was one or two classes away from a minor in religion…from a Christian school, and I missed this. How could that be?
It wouldn’t be long after Christmas that we announced to our family and friends that would be our last year participating in Christmas festivities. We received many reactions. We received anger. We received discussions of persuasion. We received sadness. The one thing we didn’t receive was support over our convictions. Of course, by the time Christmas would roll around the next year, we just learned to close ourselves off and stay away from the things we abhorred so greatly.
Over the years, I would have to say we have softened up quite a bit. We discuss Christian liberty and man’s tradition and how we can make it all work for our family. We still don’t celebrate Christmas. We still can’t find a reason to…each time we try to come up with our own way of doing it we go back to…but it is a lie. Each and everything you believe about Christmas, is a lie. And when is it OK to lie? Santa isn’t real. Jesus is not the reason for the season. In reality, the very thing God hates the most is the reason for the season…idolatry. Are we not desecrating our churches just the way Israel desecrated the temple? Of course, we are not worshipping pagan gods with our pagan trees, but things used to worship pagan gods are in our churches. Each time I read the accounts of Israel in the Old Testament it resounds over and over…we are doing the same thing.
Sometimes, it all boils down to the fact that people feel sorry for our kids. But I see a different picture. I see my two beautiful children sitting at the breakfast table the day before Thanksgiving awaiting their waffles. They are listening to Momma talk about Thanksgiving and as I walk to the table carrying my own plate, I ask Lily, “What are you thankful for Lily?” I am awaiting the for sure answer, “Baby dolls,” or “horses,” or “play-doh.” But no, I hear, “God. And Mommy, JJ is thankful for Jesus.” Don’t feel sorry for my kids, they’re in His hands.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I cannot help but think of my own self at that age. I think of the friends that walked with me through life and how if they saw me now, they could very much recognize me physically. But with a little time, they would find me not only changed but almost unrecognizable from the girl they once knew. Some could say it was the nature of life and that marriage and children took their natural course in my life. However, if they stay just a little longer, they will see it is so much more. My thinking has changed and my heart is completely new. I have truly become a new creature in Christ. I have been truly born from above. (John 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Had I walked the earth during Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees would have scolded Him for looking at me, speaking to me, and touching me. I would have sat at His feet and known that I was broken and in need of a Physician. I would have felt unworthy of being in His presence. However, with His great love, He would have touched my face and said, “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8, Psalm 99:5)
I can look back on my spiritual transformation and marvel at the work of God in my life. But then I take a step back and realize something about my own daughters. If we, like the parents above, instill in them a biblical worldview and godly principles, how will they ever know their need for Christ? If there is not a time in their lives where they can’t remember not knowing Christ, how will they keep from becoming like the Pharisees? Lord willing, we will in no way neglect our calling to raise our children in the admonition of the Lord. But, if each of my daughters never walk a road with sinners, how will she know that she sits just as unworthily at Jesus’ feet as I?
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
"In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air." Charlotte Mason
Several years ago, no one could have told me I would have the mindset I currently have on home education. Before Lily was born, I had the strong desire to home school. I even read articles and books well before it was time. My aspirations were to get started early in preschool and teach her to count and her ABC’s and how to read and write well before she needed to. God has made me much wiser since that time. I have come to see this time is precious and I have many years to come for “education.” Our focus now is building a firm foundation of godly character and having fun.
This is how we home school in the early years…
We paint birdhouses…
We play in the kitchen…
We write on chalkboards…We fly kites…
and we help Daddy in the yard.
So, it is really quite simple. We educate with life and nothing forced…all with in the security of own home. We talk about God and we talk about character. We show them they are loved and do all we can to make sure they never feel they are burdens to us.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
My baby boy turned one, my baby girl turned three, and the little unknown made his or her presence known. I failed miserably at keeping all my resolutions, but still ran the race. (And some of them needed to go anyway.) I went from Finding Michelle to Losing Her.
By blogging about showers, doctrine, marriage, hugs, recipes, frugal living, a little more theology, and parenting…I have declared myself the Most Random Blog on the Block. It is true. You may never know what random thought I will put out there. I know I have a lot more thoughts to put out there than actually make it.
I had the joy of meeting a blogging friend in person! That was a treat and a great cyber friendship has been formed!
Analyzing my posts, I found it hilarious that some one actually googled “Jesus shaped bacon” and my blog was the link that popped up. The top 5 posts that receive “hits” are:
P.S. It took me an ETERNITY to link all those posts…so you had better click on at least one! Grrrr!
Monday, October 18, 2010
The past couple of weeks I have painted a picture of order and peace with a splash of beauty. I have shared the way I manage to accomplish things and why I think order is such a necessity in family life. However, as I finish off this series of post, I must add the most important part… the awareness that no home is the same, no situation is the same, and no mom personality is the same. For a good look at different personalities, check out A Slob Comes Clean; this is a recent find of mine that I love…she has a great way of keeping things real and in perspective for the anti-procrastinating, neat freak type like me.
I was also reminded of how different situations can be as I spoke with my very pregnant friend a few weeks back. She has three times the amount of children I do and her husband leaves very early and comes home a little later because of his drive to work. As I spoke of my little orderly world, she reminded me of exactly how blessed I am on a day-to-day basis because of one reason.
See, I have something some of you may not have…it’s that guy we refer to as “Nate” on this blog. Without him, the order and peace would be a lot harder. First and foremost, he supports what I do as a homemaker. He lifts me up and praises me. He makes my life easier by usually having a pleasant and supportive attitude. He gives me that support because he believes as much as I do that home is where the wife and mother belong.
Nate also has a little awareness of how weary a mom can get doing the tasks of the homemaker…especially when you add in godly character training for the children. We see him most every day for lunch. After work and on the weekends, he doesn’t go off with his buddies frolicking like so many other men. He is home with us because this is what makes him happy. He doesn’t want to miss his children grow into adults; he wants to be there for it all. He even once said, “I can’t wait to come home every day.” And not only is he home, he is involved.
After dinner, when most moms have the entire load of kitchen and baths and bedtime to handle, Nate is there with me. Every single night I can count on him to give the babies their baths and entertain them before bed…which leaves me time to clean the kitchen and pick up the house from the busy evening. Because of that consistency, every night from 6:00- 7:30PM, our children know that Dad and Mom will be spending family time with them. And Mom knows that everything will be taken care of before bedtime, so I can just relax and have fun.
I know that without him, maintaining my vision for a godly home would be a lot harder. My patience would be thinner and I would grow much wearier. So all that order and peace, he is what holds it all together…or maybe he’s just what holds me all together.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
“…that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2: 4-5
“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1
Growing up and several years into womanhood, homemaking was not on my agenda. Even as a Christian, I did not understand this was God’s role for me in His plan. I still receive chuckles from old friends and family when they see who I am now compared to what I was then. I believe more than anything, it saddens me at all the years I wasted peddling my time to trivial matters of the world when I could have been working on my calling based on God’s Word. But, my excuse…nobody told me!
I see young ladies all around me preparing for marriage with no knowledge of how to care for a home and family. They are in the same situation I was in and sometimes worse. Because I lived on my own for several years before marriage, I at least knew how to care for a home and a few basic meals. At a very early age I learned the responsibilities of housework because my both my parents were away working. But there is something much different between checking off the to-do list and putting your heart and soul into a home for the glory of God. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11. The word “minister” means “to serve.” As I serve my husband and children daily, my prayer each day and each night is that God be glorified in the work of my hands.
So, what does all this have to do with order and calmness? Well, I imagine our life without order. I imagine our life where the children make their own schedules and run free with no obedience or boundaries. I imagine that the work I do, if any, is immediately done in vain as my children run about with no instruction or understanding of what is acceptable behavior. I imagine that because of this, I become stressed. Not only do I become irritated by the building chaos but also I snap and yell at my children. My husband comes home from a hard day at work to clutter and disorganization. He must wait on his dinner. In his hunger and frustration from a hard day, he becomes irritated because now it is up to him to try to gain control. He becomes angry with me for not maintaining control and of course, my response to him is one of harshness and not love. I believe I may have just described most homes in America…with or without fathers.
However, this is not the vision God has for us. God calls us wives to allow our husbands to see our beauty inside… “rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:4. The above scenario does not lean towards a quiet and gentle spirit, at least for me it does not.
Order, calmness, and routine in our home and with our children allow us to have peace in a chaotic world. When husbands and wives, fathers and sons, and daughters and mothers are turning against each other…let us turn towards each other. (Malachi 4:6) I challenge you to follow God’s plan and lay down your own needs and frustrations and serve your family with the joy of the Lord.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Come with me and take a walk inside…let me share with you some of my favorite things about our home. This is post 3 in The Home Series. As you will see, I adore cozy and country. So, grab some sweet iced tea and come on…
These are two views of my all time favorite room.
This room is usually toy free…it is where we enjoy our meals and can sit with no distractions. The low lighting of the lamps are perfect for cozy.
I believe fresh flowers are wonderful and I don’t put them out enough. So, ladies, next time you make a trip to the store…treat yourself to a fresh bouquet. It will really add freshness to the room.
Nothing says country like an embroidered pillow thrown in an old chair…
I also like to change up my decor with the seasons…
This is our Wedding Sampler located in our bedroom…Genesis 2:24. Hanging below is an antique towel rack I use for my necklaces.
So, there is a taste of some of my favorites. What do you like about your own home? We spend our days worrying about what is not right. Take today to think about the things you love and what God has blessed you with in your home.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I hope since my last post you had a chance to check out Fly Lady. My home was never in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). But Fly Lady’s routines were right up my alley. I love schedule and routine. Since having children, there have been a little fewer schedules and a lot more routine. I believe routine is pertinent for the development of anything, but flexibility is just as important for our mental sanity. (That’s another post for another day.) My purpose today is to talk about how we can handle our weekly chores.
Explaining weekly chores requires a little bit of explanation about our day. It is very important for Mommy, especially Stay at Home Mommy to be up and at it before anyone else in the house. (If not, Mommy may not get a shower…I know we’ve all been there. And please don’t forget to brush your teeth.) On an ideal day, my day starts between 5:30 and 6:00. I use this time to shower and get myself ready, clean my bathroom, iron Big Daddy’s clothes for the day, and make my bed. On my better days this is when I exercise or read for the day.
I have a few chores that I complete daily. Obviously, staying home means dear ol’ kitchen is cleaned around three times a day. Other daily chores include kitty litter, sweeping the wood floors, and whatever Fly Lady Zone I’m working in. (The daily chore from Fly Lady divides your home into zones. You work on one zone per week leaving no need for spring-cleaning. This coming week we’ll be in the kitchen.) Another daily thing for any mommy wanting to keep her home clear of clutter is a pick-up. Often pick-ups seem overwhelming but if everything has a place this should only take 5-10 minutes. I usually do this twice a day. Once in the morning and once before the kids go to bed while they are doing toy pick up. I also try to do small pick ups throughout the day just to maintain some kind of control.
Now to those pesky weekly chores, this is what my weekly chores look like:
I can’t imagine trying to do all my chores in one day with two toddlers. I remember my mom worked and we usually had a cleaning day. That was when I was older and there was only one child. I know for me things changed a lot from even one to two. I also can’t imagine what it will be like as our toddler and preschool world grows. I do know without some sort of routine, CHAOS will wreak havoc.
I try to finish all my daily and weekly chores by 9:30 and 10:00AM so that I am available for my babies…the real reason I’m present in this home. Besides, with potty breaks, diaper changes, meals, and squabbles…I really don’t have time for housework to be in my way!
I really hope this is as informational, (and maybe even a little inspirational), as I want it to be. I believe we can all have more peace when there is order around us. There are more posts to come, including the favorite things about my home, why I think order is important, and maybe even…my least favorite things about my home. I know many of you mommies are a few years ahead of me on this game…so, please, any tips you would like to share would be great! Let me know if you have any other ideas or questions about having a clean and quiet home.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Today…I have found peace in a clean home. And I have decided with the beginning of my favorite season and the month of October, I will share a little taste of home. How do things work around here? What are some of my favorite things about home? Why do I think calm and control are so important?
Along with this little series of posts, I’m going to do a Daily Do on my Facebook page for one week…not on a blog page but that little Facebook badge down there on your right. If you are not already, “friend” me to get the “To Do’s.”
The list of chores I give you will help put you ahead where you will never have to spring clean your home! Each day you will do something small to get yourself a step ahead of the game. Several months ago I became acquainted with FlyLady. It didn’t take long for her 20 trillion emails to overwhelm my account and I signed off. I believe I have found a method that will help calm the email chaos and want to share the love with you. I’ll handle the emails and will post my daily “To Do’s” for you so you don’t have to check it out. Rather than using the email method, following FlyLady on Twitter or Facebook allows you to choose what you want to read without taking too much time and space with your email account.
I do suggest checking out FlyLady to learn about shining your sink and 15 minute clean ups.
I look forward to getting a handle on all the messes with you! Stay tuned for my upcoming post about how I handle daily and weekly chores.
Monday, September 13, 2010
As we drove into Athens for my papaw’s funeral on Wednesday, I told Nate about what came to my mind when I thought of him. Papaw Sneed to me was overalls, circus peanuts, chap stick, and chewing tobacco. It’s amazing the things you learn about the one’s you love when they are gone.
I knew he was a preacher back in the day. I didn’t know it was for 51 years. I knew he loved the lake and stayed there every summer. I didn’t know he liked to have his feet rubbed. I knew he was married to my mamaw for 64 years. I didn’t know how sweet they were with each other until I saw her kiss him and clean his face while he was in the hospital that last week. I knew he loved his family. I didn’t know he loved us so much he would recognize each one of us on his death bed. (And there are a lot of us!)
Papaw Sneed is one of those people in my life that I wished I could have been around more…that I wished I could have talked to more…that I wish I could have loved more.
As he laid there peacefully in his overalls with a Bible in his hands, I had to agree with the man giving the message that night…he was one of the Lord’s giants…
Marion Alfred “Bo” Sneed
November 20. 1929- September 6, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
My little angel has turned three! I remember the days when she was a small baby and I couldn’t wait to have a toddler that spoke to me and walked with me. Some days, I can’t even remember that little baby…even though it by no means seems like she has been with us for three years. If you will recall, JJ wasn’t exactly the most peaceful addition to our lives. Lily, however, was just the opposite.
Lily is calm and sweet. It is only those that she loves the most that can calm her tears and her fears. Nate likes to refer to her as my little clone. I believe it is because she picked up those qualities of mine that drives him the most crazy. She doesn’t like to be tickled…except by her mommy. She really isn’t affectionate…except when she wants to be. And much to my dismay, she has my tone of voice and the ability to look at you like you are the dumbest person on Earth. Since the age of 2 ½, I have come to believe that God gave me Lily as a mirror to remind of who I am…to remind me of the life I am shaping and therefore, how much I need to work on me.
Just the other day, we were discussing how much she is like me. And I thought what an awesome gift to see what that sweet spirit can be when it is nurtured and protected by the hard things in life. From day one, she was the one I wanted to protect. She was the one I shielded from everyone else. I wouldn’t allow anyone to harm her. (Especially all those nut jobs that had already raised kids…because God knows they don’t know what they were doing. I read it in a book; I knew a little more than they did.) And this very day, I still stand protecting her. I will until I know she doesn’t need it anymore.
Lily had an interesting birthday. She attended her great grandfather’s funeral and luckily met her aunt and two first cousins for the first time ever. And after all that …we got our party on!
Monday, August 9, 2010
Things sure look different around here the last two weeks. In case you missed the hint, baby #3 is on the way. Momma has gone from excited to feeling like poo. And may I add Resolution #6 didn’t happen. I find my husband cleaning up the dinner dishes and preparing meals when he is home. He does whatever it takes to lighten my load. He has been amazing and his take is… “We can’t let happen what happened last time.” You can read about that briefly HERE.
Mere weeks ago seem like an eternity…the days when I was proclaiming God had control of my womb. (Well, at least to #4.) Now, I’m looking at Nate saying, “I can’t do this again.” So now begins the battle of my will over conviction. I spend my days thinking about whether I truly have a conviction. I ask myself, “Is there anything wrong with stopping?” And in my head, the reply I get is, “Are you trusting God?” The best advice I have received is from my friend, mother of 5 boys. She says just “take it one baby at a time.” And today, that’s what I am doing.
I have reaffirmed my knowledge of how much people, even Christians, really just don’t care for children. Oh sure, they say they do…but when you get past one or two they go from a blessing to a burden in most people’s minds. I first came to this knowledge when Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar came out a few years back; I think they were only on number 17 then! I caught the show and adored this family. They had an unbelievable love for God, great family function, and awesome work ethic. I thought they were amazing. And then I realized I was alone. People, again, even Christians, can’t stand the Duggars. Why? Basically, they are disliked because they have no business having that many children…and that’s it. Never mind their obvious love and devotion to their Christian faith. Never mind these are brothers and sisters in Christ. Never mind that’s it is nobody’s business how many kids ANYONE has. And never mind that before those children were formed in their mother’s womb, our God knew them.
So, with mere baby #3, I get to face the culture against life. Here is what I have received:
You have got to be kidding me? I thought you did something to have that fixed.
No. Noooo. Oh well.
You are on your way to be Kate Plus 8.
You are on your way to a reality show.
They’ve got to get out of that church before they have too many babies!
You’re going to be like those Amish people if you don’t learn what birth control is!
And everybody’s favorite, Don’t you know what causes that?! (Which to my response has become…look them in the eye and dead serious say, “No, we can not figure out what keeps causing this!)
When did having more than two children become such a bad thing? Why do people feel compelled to explain how having two children is so much better than more? From what I’ve gathered the answer is self. People value their stuff and their own time more than they do having babies. I read a great article recently on how we multiply what we value. And how true it is. Our culture is all about increasing our bank accounts, our houses, our cars, and other treasures…and more children just might get in the way of that. People view children as a burden to the enjoyment of their own life. (And what’s that Bible verse my blog is based around?)
Christian families having unknowingly fell into the culture against life. Instead of rejoicing at another Christian family’s decision to increase the kingdom of God, they ostracize those that find joy in having children. In doing so, they deny the Word of God. They deny that a man is blessed whose quiver is full. (Psalms 127) If we believe God’s Word that children are a reward and the best gift besides grace He could give us, why wouldn’t we want more?
As I walked down the hall with my precious Jay yesterday, I gave him a sweet kiss and thought to myself, I could do this hundred more times…if I just didn’t have to be pregnant! The thought of it makes me nauseous…but then again, everything makes me nauseous right now….especially turtle-shaped bacon cheeseburgers.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Over the past
few weeks several years, I have become accustomed to the notion that Christians will be persecuted and our religious rights will be gradually taken away. I am reminded daily by the posts of my liberal friends on Facebook of the challenges we face being declared “ignorant” by the masses. Within the last week, I have been reminded of this and one question stays in my mind…
It all started as I was browsing Fox News on my mobile. I came across this article about Jennifer Keeton in Georgia. Ms. Keeton is currently obtaining her Masters in counseling at Augusta State University. What you find in the article is that Ms. Keeton will “be dismissed from the program unless she alters her ‘central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct.’” Find out more about the lawsuit at the linked website.
Later the same day, a friend posted a video and a local TV station did a bit on Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey. Apparently, Lt. Governor Ramsey did what most politicians are bound to do and say completely the wrong thing. He made a comment about his questioning of whether being a Muslim was more about religion or nationality. He even referred to the religion as a "cult." Of course, the liberal media runs wild with it and now the Lt. Governor is a bigot. When in reality, there may be a little more to the story. Maybe the man does have a point that Muslim extremist are violent.
And then we have the local news. Our local Juvenile Court Judge has started a “campaign,” if you will, to place a series of plaques in our new justice center. The plaques would include the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, Ten Commandments, Magna Carta, Star Spangled Banner, National Motto, Preamble to the Tennessee Constitution, Bill of Rights, Picture of Lady Justice, Benjamin Franklin’ epitaph, George Washington’s inaugural address and prayer at Valley Forge, National Pledge, Tennessee House Resolution 0815, and Tennessee Senate Resolution 0158. (Whew, that was a mouth full! I got bored just writing it…sorry you had to read it!) Check all of this information out at his website HERE.
Anyways, a group from Wisconsin. Yes, WISCONSIN, has written a letter to our county commissioners with concern about the Foundations Display. The group is the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Judge Taylor says there is a legal standing for the Foundation Display to be in the courthouse. The FFRF feels the display is unconstitutional.
But all of this leads back to my initial question, when did protecting one’s freedom FROM religion hinder our freedom OF religion? I mean, seriously; someone, somewhere thinks this Foundations Display is going to cause a bloody civil war? A radical Muslim is more protected in the United States of America than a Christian wanting to protect our heritage and our freedoms. And our national motto is “in God we trust.” I guess the next question would be, which god?
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thank you for being my companion. Thank you for being my best friend…my ear when I need to talk…my shoulder when I need to cry. My guide when I am on the wrong path. The one who reminds me when I forget who I am without Christ. Thank you for coming home every night to your family. Thank you for always wanting to hug me even when I don’t want to hug back. Thank you for always giving the kids a bath so I clean the kitchen. Thank you for going to work every day and providing for our family. Thank you for being the security that I have longed for my entire life. Thank you for always bringing me drinks at nighttime when I am exhausted and just want to kick up my feet. Thank you for calling me during the day so I always know we are on your mind. And most of all thank you for humbly leading our home.
On your birthday, you should be receiving all the gifts…but is us who is blessed most of all. We love you…(all four of us!)
Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part you and me. Ruth 1:17
Thursday, July 15, 2010
You were the first man to ever break my heart. I’ve spent years trying to learn how to let go of you, but only end up clinging to you with all I have. I know if I let go, than you’re probably gone. I’ve seen you walk away too many times to think otherwise.
When I was a little girl your presence could light up my world. As I grew older, how I longed for you to smile at me and with me. I lived each and every day in denial. In my world there was hope that you were the person who loved me just as much as I wanted you to. Now as an adult, I still fight to let go of the person who is not there…and never was. My hope in you will not fade no matter how many times you break my heart.
It wasn’t long before our roles reversed. Instead of the king embracing the princess, the princess had to carry the king. Each and every time you fall, I am the first there to pick you up. And no matter how far I carry you, I am just an inch short of what you want and it is all in vain.
I am thirty-one now and you are still breaking my heart. My children have seen me cry and sob too many times when you have hurt me. As I try again to contemplate letting go, I ask my prince if I will have to deal with the pain the rest of my life? Will the heartache of not having you although you are alive ever go away?
The children are in the next room playing as I stand at the sink and clean up from lunch. They don’t hear me as I turn my back to the sink and bury my face into a towel and just sob because I hurt so much. I return to the sink and the sound of a little voice catches my attention. I look up to see two faces in the other room looking at me. “What’s wrong, Mommy?”
“It’s OK, Baby. Somebody just hurt Mommy’s heart.”
And she says, “Oh. You want to play cards, Mommy?”
“Of course, I do.”
The pain may never go away and this may be a battle I fight until you are gone. But, I have my own prince and princess now. And there is a King in my life that will never forsake me. And my hope in Him will get me through this.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I have loved cow patties for as long as I can remember. What I found to be the greatest difficulty is getting them to just the right consistency. A few months back I realized cow patties, a.k.a., No Bake Cookies, were my gift to the world. I finally found the perfect recipe that didn’t end with me eating them with a spoon. These are perfect for a quick treat or a special little gift. I’ve shared them with neighbors. I even paired some with my father-in-law’s favorite coffee for a Father’s Day gift. Here is the recipe for a batch of 12.
Boil in a pot on medium heat:
1 cup of sugar
½ stick or 4 Tbs of butter/margarine
¼ cup of evaporated milk
2 Tbs of cocoa
Once the above comes to a boil allow it to boil for 2 minutes: NO LESS, NO MORE…this completely affects the consistency.
Once you take it off the stove, add in:
½ cup of OFF-BRAND peanut butter (name brand peanut butter is too smooth.)
¾ cup of whole oats
½ tsp of vanilla
And that my dear…is the secret to Perfect No Bake Cookies. (Oh…and let them sit for a few minutes so they can settle.)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
As I sat here today and cried and prayed, I realized my heart and soul does not long for God for my own salvation but to know Him. I just simply want to know who He is. And on days like today, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and going nowhere. The moment I feel like I’m gaining traction, I slam into yet another wall.
I see facades of Christianity all around me. I see people that have walked the same path for years never questioning why they are on the road they are on…even if it’s the path that leads to destruction. I hear and see of this supernatural spirituality that just does not happen to me or seem real to me. I beg God to open my eyes and to let me see Him.
I just want to give up. I want to close The Book and walk away. But then I try to imagine my life without Him, and I realize without Him it would all fall apart. As I cry out to Him in prayer, He calls back in my mind and says, “There is a way that seems right to man…” And then it’s gone. I have to literally look the scripture up to see if it is scripture. “There is a way that seems right to man, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 16:25.
I have no idea why this scripture came to mind during this time of prayer. I have never memorized this scripture; and for that matter, God has never really spoke to me this way. And as I sit here writing this, I think maybe it is God’s way of telling me I’m relying more on man than God to get me to the right path...
Monday, June 21, 2010
When you have two children or less, I am not really sure a chore chart is a must for your toddler. I, on the other hand, need
want it. I like to be ahead of the game. I never really knew what I was doing until Amy at Raising Arrows pointed it out. I was reading away at her blog one day and said, “Hey, that’s exactly what I do!” It’s about adopting a large family mentality without a large family. I would, however, be abundantly pleased if God decided to bless me with a few more little bundles of joy. But, in the meantime, I like to be organized and on top of the game should any surprises arrive. I have always adored the way large families function. It is truly amazing! They can flow and roll. (I just coined a new saying.) Now, I understand ALL large families are not like this, but most are close. I love the organization of large families. I love the character building that comes with being part of a large family. I love how you have to learn to live with what you have. OK! Enough of why I love large families! We’re talking about a DIY Toddler Chore Chart here. We have a routine in the mornings and evenings and sometimes I can easily get interrupted and forget something or let something important slip away. For example, I have a horrible time remembering to brush the teeth of the little ones in the morning. (I’ve been lucky some days to brush my own!) I knew I wanted Lily to start chores at an early age, so I thought, “What better time to create a chore chart!” As she gets older, more responsibilities will be added and eventually she will graduate to a more mature chore chart.
What you need:
Sticky Back Velcro ™
Graphics for your “chores”
List of Chores Printed (Large Font)
Step 1: Locate the graphics you would like to illustrate the chore for your toddler. I found mine online and even used some from Microsoft Word Online Clip-Art.
Step 2: Print the graphics. Cut to size (1 x 1) and place on the back of one side of the Velcro.
Step 4: Cut the chores you listed and glue them onto each row of the first column.
Step 5: Glue chore graphics to 1 x 1 pieces of poster board. Place one side of the Velcro Sticky Back to the graphic piece.
Step 6: Place the “matching” Velcro tabs in Column 2 and Column 3 across each row. (Be sure that both of these are the same and match up with the chore graphics backing you completed on Step 5).
***Here is the idea. Your toddler begins her day with all of her chores in the “Not Completed” column. As your toddler completes a chore, she gets to move her completed chore to the “Finished” column. I did both a Morning Chore Chart and an Evening Chore Chart. If you do this, it’s a good idea to print your graphics and the list of your chores twice, as some things will repeat.
Our AM chores:
Clean up (Lily’s job is to help clear and wipe the table)
Bible Time and Prayer
Our PM chores:
Pick up toys
Bible and prayer time
Warning: Strategic location is important when having a 14 month old child in the home.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I was reading earlier this week about a local politician involved in some legal and financial problems. Our family is acquainted with the man as he is quite involved in our neighborhood. Therefore, I had some personal interest in the story. Apparently, this individual took what is called the Alford Plea. An Alford Plea involves the person declaring his innocence but acknowledging the facts and evidence surrounding the case are enough for a judge and jury to declare the person’s guilt. The person will admit to some of the evidence in the case, but not to the act of the crime.
This was interesting to me as I had not heard of such a plea prior to this article. Upon pondering the situation at hand, I couldn’t help but think of how this relates to many Christians today. How many self-professing Christians actually understand the guilt of their trespass against God? How many have ever been broken over their sin? How many think they are pretty good people?
It’s almost as if they take the plea that says, “I know the evidence is against me, but because I’m a good person I still declare my innocence.” They are told their whole lives the story of God’s grace and their need for a Savior, but are never quite convinced the story is for them. Besides, they don’t drink…or have affairs…or murder or rape…or lie and steal. It’s as if they admit to the evidence of imperfection, but not to the crime of having a depraved nature.
With this lack of acknowledgment, the person may almost completely miss the gift of grace. Without the breaking conviction of sin, one does not realize the urgency of his need for Christ.
Let us examine ourselves to see that we have understanding of exactly why we need Him. Let us not be the men who say, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” (Matthew 7:22) Let us understand our guilt before a righteous Judge. Let us deny our innocence and declare our wretchedness. Only when we come to this point will His righteousness be imputed to us.
Monday, June 14, 2010
I have this vision of the “Perfect Mom.” You know, the one whose home is immaculate with a side of fresh chicken salad and fresh baked bread for company that might pop in. The one who just baked extra food for Sister So-and-So because she is having a rough time with this pregnancy. It is a vision of the mother whose children follow like ducklings at the very sound of her soft, gentle voice. It is the one who knows when her neighbor is in need and is there to provide whatever she can to be a witness for His kingdom. I think it’s the vision of the woman found in Proverbs 31. I’m pretty sure that’s her. Have you seen her, too?
As I have this vision I’m reminded of Gideon and the Midianites. Gideon was prepared and ready for war with his 32, 000 soldiers; but God said, “No.” God said that was too many people. Why? “…lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” God weeded them out, all the way down to 300. That’s a big difference there Gideon.
And that is when the light shines through. I’m just beginning this journey of true biblical womanhood. If God allowed me to be “perfect” without tribulation, affliction, and trials, it would be so easy for the root of pride to neglect God’s grace and to take the credit and glory for what “I” have accomplished. I remember when I was pregnant with Lily and I professed to my family my desire for four children. My mother commented that I would never have four children because I couldn’t handle it. My sinful pride thought, “Well, I’ll show her.” At the time, my desire for four children was more so I could have a big kitchen table. God, however, changed that desire from four children around a kitchen table to a desire to create an army for Him. And you know what else He changed? I realized my mother was right! I can’t handle it by myself. But praise God that through Him and by Him I can! I may not be the “perfect” mom, but by His grace I will fold each sock, dry each dish, kiss each boo-boo, and hug my husband for His glory and His glory alone.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I have to say, although there were several, several things in the book I adore; overall I was left a little unimpressed. (Let me add, I read the original print of 1995, the book was edited and revised in 2005. I verified some things have been taken out and some added.) Since Lily was born God has moved our parenting vision from one of a “well-behaved child” to a vision of godly parenting. Tripp addresses this issue beautifully in the first part of the book. The concept is that what is in the heart is what flows out of the heart. (Proverbs 4:23) In other words, what is in the heart is what determines behavior. He focuses on the sinfulness of our hearts from birth. Biblically speaking, he points out that everyone is essentially “religious.” (Romans 1:18-19) We either worship the one true God, or we worship idols. Our goal as parents should be to teach our children about God’s ways and truth and to pray that God will reveal Himself to them and eventually change their heart towards Him.
Tripp communicated very well that the chief goal is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” (He takes this from the Westminster Shorter Catechism…that I know because it’s the only one I have memorized.) When our goals are focused on athletics, social skills, well-behaved children, education, or even “saved” children, we have to examine if these are leading us away from glorifying God. (“Saved children” may raise a few eyebrows but his point is just because God has changed your child’s heart does not mean there is no work to do as a parent.)
My favorite part of the book is probably what Tripp has to say about communication. Communication is expanded from mere rules, correction, and discipline to encouragement, correction, rebuke, instruction, warning, teaching, admonition, showing the “benefits,” and obedience. All of these forms of communication are used at different points depending on the situation.
Now, this is long enough and I want to get to the points I didn’t like. I believe Tripp has a view on discipline that we, Nate and I, agree with. Basically, if the child hasn’t obeyed the first time, discipline is required. More importantly, God is the offended when a child fails to obey, not the parent. (Ephesians 6:1) While speaking during discipline, we have spoke of the offense to God but I believe we sometimes take it more personal and are more upset that the child offended us than that she offended God. We agree with Tripp that the early years are the most important for teaching obedience. We agree that children need to learn they are under authority given by God.
However, under Tripp’s section “Objection to the Rod” in Chapter 11, he goes a little too far for us. He goes over being discreet in physical discipline because some people disagree and you basically run the chance of being called into the authorities. He mentions an incident when one of his children had been in need of “much discipline” and had a doctor’s appointment. The child’s bottom was "black and blue"and they had a “sensible” doctor that knew bruising in the appropriate locality was not a sign of child abuse. As I have mentioned before, I previously worked for Child Protective Services and remain and advocate for abused and neglected children through CASA. Bruising is completely unacceptable due to spanking. There is no reason for a person to hit a child hard enough to bruise them. Now, let me add, Tripp is huge advocate for using controlled discipline. I, however, do not believe that under controlled discipline that you will bruise a child’s bottom. I do not necessarily believe that a bruised child is an abused child; I just find it unacceptable.
Tripp also made a comment that if an 8 month old is in need of discipline then it is due. My experience as a parent is that although an 8 month old is curious and possibly defiant, defiance is not really comprehended. I tend to lean more towards Dr. James Dobson’s view on the matter in The New Strong-Willed Child that a child should not be spanked until the ages of 15-18 months. (Note: I do not have a strong willed child, I read this book before Lily was 3 months old.) Dr. Dobson includes a study completed by the American Academy of Pediatrics in or around 1995 supporting the use of corporal punishment. The article includes information on age appropriate corporal punishment.
So, I would recommend the book to have a better understanding of shepherding your child’s heart through biblical communication, which I think is very important. I would also recommend visiting Kimberly at Raising Olives and read her series on Your Child’s Heart.
Monday, June 7, 2010
****Our family has a vision to home educate our children. I want to share our journey, thoughts, ideas, trials, errors, and successes. I will be adding a new side bar with links to homeschooling posts. I don’t believe this is the time to start a new blog so I will utilize Finding Michelle to share with you on this expedition. And like all things on Finding Michelle…this may last, it may not. My blogging life revolves around my faithfulness to my husband and children first and foremost.****
Lily really wants to ride a bus. And she also really wants to go to school with her 5-year-old cousins. Sometimes the bus thing pulls at my heartstrings a little bit since I know she will probably never go to a public school unless God has other plans. It pulls at my heartstrings, but not enough to become a Halloween Hypocrite all over. We’re just hoping Daddy can hook us up with a field trip ride on a bus.
This morning while in town Lily saw a bus and once again we spoke about her desire to go to school with her cousins. I explained that Daddy and Mommy felt that God’s desire was for them to teach her instead of sending her to school. She wanted to know what her cousins did in school and I explained that they learn about numbers, letters, shapes, and colors in school. I told her if she wanted we could go ahead and start school with her. Later in the car ride she spoke up and said she wanted to “do school” and when asked what she wanted to learn about, her answer was… “God.” (Reason #1 to homeschool, we can learn about God anytime!)
So, today when J.J. went down for a morning nap, Lily and I spent time “schooling.” Of course, the only difference between this and any other day of our life, I told her it was school. I have adopted the philosophy you homeschool your children from the time they are born. They learn simply though living. Some parents choose to do preschool curriculum. We believe we can teach them everything they need to know in preschool and probably through kindergarten virtually free.
Our first lesson today was on colors. I was aware she basically knew her colors, but this was really a great illustration for me to see just how much she knew. I equipped myself with a role of pennies and Lily with a small purse we got out of a kids meal. We decided to venture off in search of colors. The first few questions consisted of me asking Lily to find something a specific color. As we went on, she pointed to things and told me what color they were. She did a great job and earned 26 coins for her bag! After all the color finding, we counted the coins and she put them in her piggy bank to add to the money she is saving to buy a horse. And finally, we took time to pray and thank God for all the wonderful colors He has blessed us with.
What a great day of school and it only costs me 26 cents!