Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years - Resolutions

As this decade is ending and a new year is only hours away I have been reflecting on all that I am thankful for. Many things have come to mind. Then I thought about the things I am thankful that I do not have. I have learned it is in need that I am humbled. I remain dependant on God’s provisions now and the years to come.

Thank you Lord that I do not have a clean house. There is laundry that needs to be folded AND put away, toilets to be scrubbed, dishes to be washed. Only Max (our dog) is willing to eat off my kitchen floor. Because of my two little mess makers, our home is filled with toys, and clutter. I have stuff thrown from here to there, and toys litter my floors in a daily basis. But it is also filled with laughter and joy. Thank you Lord for the mess that my children make. I am so happy to have them. We have such a great time together playing. I’m sure twenty years from now, I’ll long for these messes. Thank you that I have opportunities to play with them and let messes wait.

Thank you Lord that I don’t have a job outside of our home. Because the great care that our church provides our family, I am able to be home with my children. I get to watch them each day. I am the primary person that molds their character and teaches them the Bible. What a blessing it is to serve and love others because I can be on our schedule instead of a work schedule.

Thank you Lord that my daughter isn’t 100% healthy. When Larry and I learned of Eden’s heart condition, We prayed and gave her life to you. We know that she is yours. You entrusted her care to us. That was perhaps the hardest lesson I have learned as a parent, but it is by far the best. I know you care for Eden and Josiah more than we ever could. In the big scheme of things, her heart condition could be much worse, for that I am thankful. Twice a day as I give her medication, Twice a day I give her life to you. Thank you that she has the medication she needs. We know there is surgery ahead of us, but we trust you with our most precious gift, our child’s life.

Thank you Lord that my children are not immediately obedient. They give me daily, hourly, and sometimes minute by minute opportunities to rely on you to help me parent them well. They remind me that I am not obedient to you as I should be. I am your rebellious, sinful child. Thank you for being graceful and merciful with me. You remind me constantly that I am in need of self discipline just as they are. I need to parent with grace and mercy as well. Parenting is the hardest thing I have ever attempted.

Thank you Lord that my son still does not sleep through the night. Sadly three of my friends have lost their sons or daughters this pass year. I’m sure those Mommas long to hold their children and would never complain of being up in the middle of the night. Waking to nurse or sooth Josiah’s hurt is a privilege. Late in the night when everything is still. There is a since of wonder as he rest on my chest and we enjoy time with one another. Often I pray during these precious times, sometimes I just listen to Josiah breath. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a full night’s sleep. But I know these days will pass quickly and I cherish that you wake me in the middle of the night to have time with Josiah.

Thank you that my husband is often away when I would rather him be home with me. Ministry is such hard work. There is rarely a schedule and when there is, it can be changed in an instant when a family needs him. It’s difficult when he is called away during dinners or has meeting so many nights of the week. Yet, you have provided him a wonderful job when so many others are without one. But it’s more than just a job; it’s a calling to ministry. That is a special privilege. It is a lifestyle, not an occupation. He is able to proclaim you Truth to people who or hurting or dying. His vocation allows him to impact eternity. He loves what he does and he’s good at it. I’m proud to be his wife and his help mate in the ministry.

Thank you Lord that we are not rich. Each month I wonder if we will run out of money before we run out of days. Each month I am reminded that you provide for us exactly what we need when we need it. It never fails that when the truck breaks down you provide the money to pay for it. An unexpected bill will show up and you provide. Time and time again, You provide. We are rich beyond measure!

Like many people I have a wish list of things I would like to have. Then I remember the children in the orphanages that I work in and think of how very little they have. Those children had so little yet were so joyful. I remember how I felt the first time I returned to American soil. I thought how much I had compared to how little other had. I am ashamed to have been thinking so selfishly. I have never gone to bed hungry. I have always been blessed with clothes, shelter, transportation, education, access to medical care and a family that loves me. More importantly I have been blessed with the inheritance of heaven!

When I think of the many blessings that are given to me through Christ Jesus, I am in awe! While I was your enemy, you died for my sins, While I was years away from understanding your work in my life, you died fore my sins. Without proper way of expressing my thanksgiving for your grace, you died for my sins. How awesome is you love!

On this last day of the decade, we remember what we have to be thankful for and make resolutions for the things that we would like to change or improve. For many years I have made resolutions that were goal oriented, Like lose 10 pound or be better about sending letters and calling people. Half way through January, I have broken many of my resolutions. This year I decided to have God oriented goals. My thinking is that when I keep a heart inclined towards God, then my actions will reflect that change. It’s much easier for me to be God oriented than goal oriented. Anyways theses are my resolutions.

Lord please help me to love you more than I love my sin.

Lord please help me to love others more than I love myself.

Lord please help me be more intentional about sharing the Gospel with others.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Keeping Christ in Christmas

I wanted to share how our family is trying to create traditions to make sure Christ stays the center of our Christmas celebrations. It's always neat to find things to incorporate into our family traditions. Maybe you'll find some of this helpful. My cousin Kelly had some great ideas on her blog too. You can check her out here. Kelly is super creative and always has great ideas that are inexpensive and fun. Thanks Cuz!

We started our day by reading the Bible and sharing the story of Christ birth with our children. At 10 months Josiah probably has no clue what we're talking about, but he and Eden are learning to sit and listen to the words of God. Actually, most of what we do with them is over their level of understanding, and that's OK. Our prayer is that they will grow to love these traditions and the Savior who they are intended to glorify.

We have a large wall Advent calendar that I got at Kaplans. (I think it was a seasonal item. I have been unable to find it online. If your interested in it e-mail me and I'll try to find it) It has neat things under each flap that give a scripture for a child to read or a craft activity. Super cute!

We also have The Story of Christmas Book Set and Advent Calendar and Family Life Adorenaments. (The Amazon prices are crazy high, I got them much much cheaper) Eden has enjoyed both of these. Josiah likes to chew on them :) The book set has little books that can be read each day as an advent calendar and can be hung as ornaments on your tree. The Adorenaments have some of the characteristics of Jesus' life like, King of Kings, The Good Shephard, and Savior. Each of the ornaments have the story in scripture where they come from as well as a book to read. Both have been great sources of Truth and fun for Eden. She looks forward to me bringing them out each day.

This is one of my favorite ornaments.
It was given to us by a sweet church member and helps sum up the reason for the season.

We also have a birthday cake for Jesus. I know this looks a little ghetto, but it was yummy!
Amy, this is the carrot cake recipe that I got from you at Thanksgiving.
Thanks so much. It was delicious.

We put the same color candles on our cake as we did the advent candles at church. The three purple candles represent hope, peace, and love. The pink candle represent joy, and the white candle is the Christ candle.

We love our little traditions and hope that our children will grow to love them as well.
What kind of traditions do you do to celebrate Christmas?

Blue eyes :)

This is a rare thing; Both children together in one spot longer than 10 seconds, looking at the camera and smiling! This is a Christmas gift for their momma :)

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

May we never forget the amazing work that was started in the manger was completed on the cross.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Party

We are so blessed to have been invited to the Genesis Circle (it's a missions group) Christmas party at our church. Eden and Josiah were the hit of the party in their cute Christmas outfits. We are fortunate to have so many people in our church who love our children. Larry and I were asked to sing. Crazy! I know, I told them they would get what they paid for and we came free :) There we no complaints or food thrown at us :) It was so fun. Thank you ladies for making it such a great night for our family :)

All smiles :)

I love the look on Eden's face!
She was checking out the food we were about to eat. You know this child is thinking something :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I am so happy that my best friend Karen and her husband Wes have been visiting lately. When they visit they bring thier dogs Una and Ladybug. My kids love Una. She's little and fast! I took these as they were about to leave. So cute.
And yes, I know my glass door is dirty. But you can see why it's impossible to keep clean as you check out these photos! :)

Posted by Picasa

Family of Four

To bad Josiah wasn't looking.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jesus Vs. Santa


Larry and I are in the process of developing a Christmas tradition for our family. Our biggest desire is for our children to know Jesus through a personal relationship. We want them to celebrate His birth at Christmas. Using the Holiday to love and serve others, as Christ has loved us. At 2 and 10 months Eden and Josiah don't understand most of what we're trying to teach, but we believe that the Word will not return void. Little minds absorb so much. Eden has her own little nativity set. She is so cute as she names the pieces. Of course, Mary is "Meme". Each day we sing Christmas carols and talk about Jesus' birthday.
Now what do we do with Santa? Larry and I have decided not to have Santa be a part of our children's Christmas tradition. That's not an easy task. People in stores ask what Santa's going to bring them or if they have been naughty or nice. He's everywhere this time of year. There are many reasons why we have come to this decision.

Please keep in mind we're not trying to kill Santa, and No we do not believe that Santa is an acronym for Satan. There are so many extremes of this position. Larry and I feel that legalism fuels most of that thinking. We don't think we're better Christians or more holy than families that do have Santa in their family traditions. We desire to have hearts that seek God and want our children to enjoy the holiday without the commercialised aspects that our society places upon it. We want Christmas to be about Jesus and His humble birth. And we always want to keep in mind the Cross behind the stable.

Last night at a Church Christmas party each person was asked to speak about a favorite Christmas memory or gift. Most of the older people commented about receiving a stocking with fruit or a pocket knife. Most of them only received one small gift. One sweet lady spoke about a rag doll her Mama had made for her that she cherished for years. Each of them spoke so fondly of their gifts that a parent had made or saved many months for. The simplicity of those gifts still hold a place in their memories as being special. I desire for my children to have that kind of attitude.

My cousin Kelly posted this about celebrating St Nickolas Day. I was intrigued. I had never heard of St. Nicholas Day. Larry and I started to talk about it, and I did a little research on St Nick. I loved this article from St Nick was a feisty Christian. He was a man of conviction who was one of the writers of the Nicene Creed. So we are discussing having our family celebrate St. Nickolas Day next year. We still don't want the commercialised Santa in our home. But that heretic slapping, children loving Bishop, St. Nick,.... I hope my children love him :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

WWF at Yaya and PawPaw's House

Eden has the perfect playmate with my niece Brielle. They play so well together. Eden has asked me countless times since we've been home where Brielle is. She misses her cousin.

Brielle just turned two this weekend. Happy Birthday BreBre :)

I love the look in Eden and Brielle's faces. They knew it was about to be on like Donkey Kong :)

Keeping me on my toes

Eden and Josiah keep me on my toes! They are so much fun and have so much personality.

Eden dressed herself.

She loves her sunglasses upside down and her pink toes :)

What can I get into?

Josiah is crawling full speed. I think he'll be walking by January.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Fishing Jesus style

The running joke in my family is that any man can fish with a pole, but real men fish like Jesus.

This is my brother, Shannon, throwing a cast net. The net is weighted down with lead weights all around the perimeter. The net falls fast and catches anything under it. It's heavy! After casting it a few times you realize how hard of work it must have been for the apostles, who used bigger nets. We fish for fun, they fished for their livelihood.

After watching this it makes reading passages like Luke 5:4-11 more understandable. Jesus (who was a carpenter, not a fishermen) tells Peter to throw out a net again on the other side of the boat. Peter who is tired, says we've fished all night and caught nothing. But sure, we'll try one more time. When Peter obeys, he is blessed with a harvest so big it breaks the nets and he has to call in for reinforcements. He realizes he is in the presences of God and is humbled.

Now our catch was not remarkable like Peter's on the day Jesus called him out. But the Truths of Obeying and Blessing are still applicable to me today. Having a picture of how casting a net works, made me ponder Jesus' commands on my life. How often I struggle with his commands. How often I miss the blessings because of the struggle. I want to have an attitude like Peter, even though I'm tired. I want to obey.

Shannon's catch, also known as bait. :)

Boat Ride

One of the best things about visiting Yaya and Pawpaw is going on boat rides. Mom and Dad live on a canal in Oyster Bay, Florida. They are only a 10 minute boat ride out to the Gulf of Mexico. Abbey and Brian brought their new boat and we took it for a spin:) Eden seemed to enjoy the birds and seeing people playing on the beach. As long as she was in someones arms she was happy. Sorry some of these are out of focus, but the boat was moving fast:)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Splish Splash

Eden loved the beach!
She was a little fearful at first, but soon learned the fun of splashing :)

Little Feet

I love little feet.
Especially little feet in the sand. Mom and Dad live 2 miles away from the beach. The water was a little cold, but Eden loved it!

Cool Animals at Yaya and PawPaw's

One of the great thing about visiting Yaya and PawPaw is the wildlife they have nearby. Here are a few shots of Our tour of Wakulla Springs and a bird shot from this afternoon at the beach.
I know it's a little blurry, but this is an alligator checking us out. I wish I had a better zoom on my camera, because this is as close as I wanted to get to it. I think it was a young one, maybe 3-4 feet long. But it was plenty big for me.
This is a great blue heron looking for an afternoon snack.
This was the coolest thing I've seen in awhile. Manatees have migrated to Wakulla Springs for the winter. The water stays between 68 and 72 degrees year round. We were able to see ten or so. There was a pair of mommas and babies that were neat. This big guy was swimming right next to our boat. You can see the scar on his tail from a boat motor. They are curious creatures, and unfortunatly are often hurt by boat motors.
I love this shot of a seagull I took this afternoon. But it's always scary to take an overhead picture of a bird :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gift Ideas for Kids

As gift giving time approached, I have been thinking about what to give my children. I have made a practice that for every gift Eden or Josiah receives, we give one away to a charity. This fall, I gave bags of toys and stuffed animal to the toy store hosted by the ministerial association in our home town. I also love Toys for Tots. (run by the Marines) I hate thinking other children might not have a gift for for Christmas. It breaks my heart.

Another thing I have is a tote of rainy day toys. These only get brought out on days when for one reason or another, we can't play outside. It's like having new toys all over again. I switch these out every few months.

The other day my cousin Kelly blogged this list of children gift ideas. I loved it so much I copied it, changed a few, and added a few of my own. Thanks Kelly for the great idea. You are such a creative mom. I hope you liked my changes too.

Dress up box - Fill a plastic tub full of things for them to use to play dress up. Get Halloween costumes on clearance, a couple of uniforms, a cowboy outfit and some random things like hats, scarves, vests, accessories.This can be extravagant or thrift store sensible.

Musical Instruments - Ukuleles, triangle, drums, tambourines, xylophone, rhythm sticks, bells. Eden and Josiah love music! We dance and sings and make joyful (loud) noise to the Lord :)

Books and Books on CD - My children love books. The cardboard books work best for little fingers and rough hands. I find books all the time a yard sales and sometimes the library gives away free books. Kelly's great idea- have grandma buy a book, read it into a tape and then give the tape with the book (DINGS inserted so the child knows when the turn the page).

Wooden Blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Legos - the possibilities are endless and it helps with fine motor coordination. Don't think these are just boy toys either. Eden loves to build and tear down castles and building.

Little People - They are a great size for a shoe box to become a house, barn or gas station and they are chew, dirt and waterproof by being hard plastic. They also have a nativity set and a Thanksgiving set that make playing with the decorations easy.

Puzzles and Games - I love Melissa and Doug's Toy, especially their puzzles! I also love puzzles that have handles on the pieces. Josiah is already starting to pick them up, chew them and put them back. I have just gotten Eden a Memory game. Uncle Scott has given them Chutes and Ladders and High Ho Cheerio. Eden is still a little young for them, but it's good to get her to understand matching, counting and taking turns at this early age.

Art supplies- Paint, crayons, glue sticks, coloring books, paper, stickers, cookie cutters as patterns and play dough. Also, my children love doing crafts like simple, cheap odd and ends they can glue on a paper or a piece of foam. At Michael's for $1 they have the sets of wooden cut outs (they come with markers to color with or you can use your own paint). Simple projects or the material to do something is fun and sparks interesting creations is great.

Puppets - Our church has puppets and Eden loves them. I found a few really cute ones at the dollar store. It's fun to see how much Eden understand and talks when she plays with them. You can buy puppets or let your children make them (or make one for their sibling) out of socks or Popsicle sticks.

Educational Toys- I am a big fan of toys that run on imagination, not batteries. While we do have some toys that are the flashy light and sounds kinds of toys, for the most part, Our toys are old fashioned in natures.
I also love toys that pair learning and playing together. Recently My Mother in law took me to a Kaplan's store. It was awesome! I went through their catalog and made a list of toys that I wanted to get for our children. You'll see that many of the items below are from the list above.

Here is the list and catalog numbers you can use on their website:
Kaplan's stuff tends to be a little expensive. But all of the things I have purchased have been high quality and will hold up to the rough playing of my children and will last for years.

Ladybug Letters 19-61253
Match Me Games – Letters 1939716 Numbers 19-39718
Pre –reading skill set 19-82212
Wooden Blocks- colored 19-46995
Musical Instruments: Click here
Maracas, sleigh bells, rhythm sticks, triangles, Handle castanet, Sounder, Symbols
Puzzles- letters and numbers 19-46835
Games- Alphabet, picture pairs, Dominoes, Numbers, 19-60375
Lacing and Tracing Jumbo Set 19-46899
Play food –wooden- 19-46892
ABC “Sweets”- Letter and laces 19 47356
Sprout and Grow Window 59-24260
The Giant Encyclopedia of Arts and Crafts
The Giant Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for children 2 to 5

Beco Baby Carrier

I'm trying to win a Beco Baby Carrier and if I blog about it I get an extra entry :) My friend Kelly writes for a great site called Simple. They are hosting a drawing for Baby Snazz. Kelly had the Beco at the park the other day. She and I both wore Josiah in it. He's the chubby baby she's referring to in the post. I loved the carrier. It felt great to wear him front and back. He fell asleep in it, which is always a great thing. Josiah weighs 22lbs. He's getting to heavy to wear for extended times in ring slings b/c it so much weight is on one shoulder. This carrier distributed his weight evenly and I was comfortable wearing him for over an hour. This is a great carrier. I would love to win it:) Feel free to check them out or ask me questions :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fall colors

I love taking walks during the fall. The colors are so amazing. I love the reds, greens, and golds. All the diversity in the colors reminds me of God's handy work. Here are a few shots that I thought were super cute :)

Smiling boy!

Hold my hand daddy :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Orphan Sunday

While reading about Orphan Sunday. I went to a friend's blog knowing she would have something posted. Jerry and Eileen have adopted 5 children in the past 5 years. They are just one of the families the Lord has used to teach us of the blessing of adoption. Please pray with me as we encourage Christians to "learn to do what is right, encouraged the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow." Isaiah 1:17

Eileen wrote these words. I could not say it any better.
"Today in Baptist churches across the country, believers are coming together to stand up on behalf of the orphan. There are 145 million children around the world today who have no family, no one to protect them, love them or tell them how much Jesus loves them. 145 million. It is time to rebel against affluence and reach out to these children in love. "