Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It doesn't last forever...

Yesterday Eisley was excitedly telling me something.  I didn't hear her, I just watched her.  I watched her throw her hands up in the air as she explained something with such beautiful drama.  She then pranced away and it hit me.  I was once that little girl in my own home and here I am, the mother of my own children.  This will not last forever...

I thought about Cyrus and how I remembered the moment my milk came in and I became his source of food as I rocked him and thanked Jesus.  I remember him as such a bright, young boy who I just couldn't wait to get to know more and more as he grew.  And grow he has.  Too fast.  I never knew it would go this fast, but I sure do now.  His round head as a baby and eagerness to cuddle and be kissed upon didn't last forever.  His goofy "booty" dances and silly ways of saying things will not last forever...

I remember thinking finding out I was having a girl and her she was already named.  Eisley Bree.  I was excited telling Andy, "We've only had a boy.  What will it be like to have a girl?"  I remember when she was beginning to smile and I said, "Look!  She smile with her eyes!"  How is she 4?!  I remember rocking her to sleep, singing the same song and reading the same book.  I remember holding her with Zeke in my big belly...it didn't last forever...

Zeke was such a good-sleeper-baby-boy.  I remember hard times when he was an infant as I struggled to feed my baby with my own milk supply.  Those hard times didn't last forever.  I remember how he was such a cute baby!  I remember feeding him his bottle with his big, brown eyes gawking up at me.  I loved those times.  Getting into everything, making crazy messes, his need for me to be the one to rock him before tucking him in and even his silence will not last forever...

Bexley Jane, I know all too well now.  You'll grow.  Your face will change, you will not always "seem" so sweet and yes, I'll even want to scream at you in the future.  I know that your smile, giggles, enticement with all around you will not last forever....

My throat is thick as I try to hold back tears and I'm losing.  Time is going oh so quickly.  It's slipping through my fingers and I just want to make it stop.  Even with all of the trials that are here in our lives right now, I just want to be.  Be with my babies forever.

I'm thankful for the hope I have in Jesus.  As I teach my children that no matter what happens here on earth, we have hope in Jesus that we'll all be together someday, I receive peace.  It's going to be even better in heaven.  What a beautiful hope that is!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Idol Killing

This past week was rough.  I thought it was because of my lady times but then I quickly started feeling out of control and that there was no end in sight.  I was becoming anxious and needy and couldn't figure out why.  

In the back of my mind for a LONG time and sometimes even in the front of my mind as I discussed with with close friends, I thought about what my idol is and it's a scary one.  Well, for me it is scary.  Ready for it?  Sweets.  

My biggest idol in my life is sweets and I know it because it's what I struggle with the most and what I do not want to be faced with conquering because of being afraid to fail.

But this past week really opened my eyes more than ever.  I was becoming angry when I felt I couldn't just go out and get myself something sweet.  I would feel this sense of "complete satisfaction" when I got exactly what I was craving which quickly turned into a feel of defeat.  Is this okay?  No!  Not it is not.

Just this morning I woke up thinking, "This has got to stop.  I need to put an end to my idolatry and put Jesus back on the thrown in this area of my life, because he's not."  He really isn't and maybe he never has been.  The big ooey, gooey chocolate monster with sea salt and almonds or toffee and chocolate or mint and chocolate is!  Mmm...wait, no!  Bad, BAD!

There is this fear, though.  A fear to fail.  I hate failing but the fear to fail is usually the most difficult step to overcoming something soooo it's silly to let that stop me.  In anything.  
Just this morning I was thinking of a person in my life who didn't believe in Jesus or that Jesus really cared for him.  He prayed to a god he wasn't sure was actually listening.  Imagine the fear in that.  But he just kept praying.  Something like, "God, help me to have faith.  I do not have faith but I want to and I want to believe."  God heard his cry for 2 weeks.  And then this person said, "It was like an explosion and I felt my body actually shake."  The Holy Spirit came into their heart and they are now forever changed. 

Now, if God can do something that big and change someones heart that much, why can't I, someone who loves Jesus dearly and wants to serve and obey him in all I do, pray that God would help me with my silly little idol, too?  I can and I will.  And He can and He will.  I must believe!
I actually feel better already and all I've done was name my idol and tell one person.  Well now that you're reading this, more than one person.  Who's counting?  Two people.  haha!  I kid, I kid.  Just a little blogger humor.  

 Anywho, my Saturday morning date that followed these thoughts was a perfect start to killing my idol.  Bam! Crash! Wham!  (You can gladly picture me side-kicking and punching the big ooey, gooey chocolate monster if that helps. It surely helps me).  Healthy eating (always a concern of mine even if I'm not perfect-or even if I am far from perfect).

And just so ya'll know.  I'm not telling you because I need you to ask me if I had any sweets.  I am not sure what killing my idol is going to look like.  I'm still figuring that out.  Praying about it and talking it out with one who knows me well.  The hubular.  So, thanks but no thanks! ;)

Until next time...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Loverly Saturday Morning Date

This morning was fabulous.  It was the perfect redemption to a rough week.  A date with a dear friend that consisted of breakfast in Olde Worthington, a drive-by (her soon-to-be-house, sillies!) and the Olde Worthington Farmers Market.

 This is me remembering to actually care what I look like.

I got to witness this action before I left!  So adorable.

Breakfast in Olde Worthington with Heather!

Take a good look past our goofy smiles and at the couple in the background.  I know this isn't a good picture but this "wise" couple (not old..never old!) were laughing and cuddling and I want this for me and Andy in 50 years.  Such hope!  I wonder what "stuff" life has thrown them.  They have for sure pushed through and seen the beauty of redemption, forgiveness and love. :sigh:

Next stop, Old Worthington Farmers Market!  It's held in the Griswold Center and it's kinda packed but it's so.much.stinkin'.fun!

 Meet Issac from Honeyrun Farm

Best honey and soap comes from Honeyrun Farm!  This is Issac who is such a sweet guy who remembered me from my chats with his loverly wife, Jayne during the warm, summer months at the farmers market.  Jayne and I were both pregnant together and due a month apart!  I found out they were blessed with a baby boy in November!  I can't wait to introduce our babies this summer :)  Seriously, their soap is so healing for me and my kids extremely sensitive skin and their honey is the first honey I've actually enjoyed. 

How much do you care about the meat that you eat and feed your loved ones?  I've read up plenty on what meat really contains and I refuse to feed it to my family.  Unless, of course, it's from Oink Moo Cluck Farms where you'll get a smiling face and satisfactory taste where you'll want to go back again and again!  If you are into all natural, quality meats, you must visit them next Saturday!  Delish!

Cheese!  Yum!  You will not want to pass Meadow Maid!  As soon as you walk up they'll say, "Go ahead and try them all!" and you should!  They are yummy and made from 100% Grassfed, Organic Milk!  My favorite flavors are "Tomato, Basil and Pine-nut" and "Chipotle" paired with Gala apples.  Such a great mid-morning snack for me and my babies!

Heather asking about the oober healthy, homemade teas from Sunny Meadows Flower Farm.  My favorite kind of flowers are hand picked from their stand at the summer farmers market.  It's a chance to express the way I am feeling that week and share it with everyone who enters my home.  Oh, I am so ready for summer months.  Sun beating on my face!  

What a fun morning this was!  Thanks, dear Heather for asking me to go with you!  You're always a fun date!

Until next week's farmers market journey....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friends. A Long Awaited Post.

Friendships.  Super easy, right?  Always fun to hang out, you love the same things, laughing out loud, inside jokes, sharing your heart, a tear or two....

What about AFTER all of that?!  What happens when you realize you really aren't alike in EVERY way, or you feel like your way of communicating is extremely different than theirs.  Maybe you've realized they aren't perfect (oh, no!) and they realized you're not either (who, me?!)  Jealousy, insecurities, offense and lack of communication, oh my!

Over the past 6 years I've learned that just because I once had a fantastic, want-to-always-hang-out, great conversations-ALL-the-time friendship, this does NOT mean that it will always be so easy or fun or even continue on.  Man, was that a hard lesson to learn...and it took a few friends to realize this.

Once the honeymoon phase of a friendship is over, you have a choice.  You can drop it likes it's hot and move on to the next honeymoon (YOU LITTLE HUSSY!) or you can stand up to the challenge and fight for your friendship to take on the next level.

Now, I'm not here trying to say we should all be friends with each other.  I believe you can love people without having to be their BFF.  But if you once had something great, why let that go?  Be honest with yourself and ask, is it really worth it to ignore or just forget a really love(er)ly thing because it's getting difficult?! 

Ha!  If we treated all relationships like this, marriages would be a joke!  We'd all be getting married, then divorced and married and divorced and..oh, wait. Insert statistics here.

I know I'm not alone because I've had this conversation with other people and there are girls who.are.hurting. or have.been.hurt.  Actually, I've been writing this blog post for over a month and God keeps on challenging me through this with my own relationships.  I couldn't write this without challenging myself as well...

Anywho, here's some responses from other girls who I have talked with

Andy (who is not a girl, but I thought I'd share his response):  "Girls are just weird.  Guys do not deal with that kind of thing."  <---true dat.

Friend #1: "It's like after a year, the friendships die out." WORD.

Friend #2: "That's when the honeymoon phase is over and it starts to take a lot more work.  It takes both parties to initiate hanging out or you'll move on to new friends and the cycle repeats."  Yee-ep!

Wow.  God had my attention and I needed to think about all of my friendships and why some are still going strong and why others were not so much.

THEN the next day, I came across this how-to on Pinterest and then started poking around her blog and found this on friendship...ah-mazing.  Please read.  It's not directly related to this, but as you can see, she challenges herself and is blessed by doing so!

How do we fix this?!  There are far too many fantastic friendships out there with special woman who have a lot to offer (and so do you!) but because something rocked your "friendship boat", you let it fall to the wayside.  You give up and try and fill that void with another friend.

But, is that okay?  Is it best to just say, "Well, that's just how it is.  People change.  I'm fine.  I've got other people who are more invested so I'm not going to waste my time and heart on her."

I don't think so.  I believe that friendships are worth fighting for.  I believe that when that bump comes along, you confront it and communicate what you are feeling...TRULY feeling (anger, sadness, jealousy, offense) and talk or cry it out.  Your true feelings will come out eventually, so why not do it in a humble but honest way?

We are so afraid to tell friends our insecurities that come out when we've been hurt or offended.  People, we are HUMAN!  We fail to communicate perfectly, we hurt and get hurt, we offend and get offended.  Take that in, breathe that in because when you do, you'll accept it for yourself and you'll accept it for your friends.  With that, you'll see the beauty of what will come out of it.

There comes a time when you've done your part and they refuse to fight for your friendship with you and you have to accept that there's no more to do.  (begging is kinda awkward) ;)  But let it go in love and prayer and hope!  Pray for your enemies, God says.  I believe He says that in a way to challenge the one hurt to come to a place of love for their enemy. 

I'm telling you, my closest friends are the ones who I can be honest with...they are the ones I can go to when I'm happy, sad and angry.  But, I can have a good time with them, too!  Ya see, "having fun" is no longer the only thing we have, anymore.  There's a real depth.  A beautiful,  honest, accept-me-for-my-imperfect-self and I'll do the same, depth.

Who can you go to and share your heart with and in return possibly mend a beautiful friendship?  I challenge you to pray tonight and ask God to search your heart for either a friend who you let fall to the wayside because you didn't fight for it, or a friend who has hurt you and you're keeping the peace and not pushing through for true intimacy in a friendship.

Recap :
If you've been hurt, go to your friend in love.  Pray for them and see how God works!

If you find yourself escaping a relationship because it's starting to become complicated or hard, please push through.  If you always escape, you'll try and heal any hurt or cure any frustrations by going on to the next friendship only to ever know the honeymoon phase.  You're missing out!  Pushing through and striving for a mended, beautiful and redeemed friendship is the best kind! 

*Acceptance is the universal currency of real friendship...It does not warp or shape or wrench a person to be anything other than what they are.
~Joan Chittister

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Letting Jesus Rule In My Heart

Last night my hubby and I got into a good, in-depth spiritual conversation.  We talked about stuff going on in his heart and stuff going on in mine.  It actually started by us talking through his sermon and where he was going to go with the text for this weekend. Let me just say, I find it an honor to do this with him once in awhile. 

The stuff going on in my heart were fears in what next year would look like for our family and schooling.  I ended up listening as Andy started to get passionate about Jesus being the one who sits on the thrown.  I quickly realized, when I let fears dictate my decisions, I am letting Satan be the king and ew.  That's far from okay.  Satan, the enemy, is the king of lies and I do not want to give him room in my heart to work or guide my decisions.

When Jesus is king in all areas of my life, particularly when making scary decisions, I can trust the wisdom I have sought out through people, prayer and God's word will all guide me.  This never means things will go perfectly.  This also doesn't mean I'll be perfect in my decision making.  It does mean God's grace will be poured out when needed and when I fail.  I have to not only be okay with that, but accept it. 

How do you feel about the world today?  I quickly told Andy that I think it's all getting worse.  It's not getting better.  Where is the hope in that, though?  Why not trust in this...a quote I found from a blog post while searching for a verse.

" When God makes all things new, he will make us spiritually and morally as pure as flawless crystal, he will give us a body like the body of his glory, he will renovate all creation to take all futility and evil and pain out of it, and finally he himself will come to us and let us see his face. And so forever and ever we will live with pure hearts and glorious bodies on a new earth in the presence and the glory of our heavenly Father."

Revelation 21: 1-8
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."

This post is kind of all over the place.  That's okay :)  What areas of life are you not letting Jesus rule over?  All of them?  A few?  It's so much more hopeful and peaceful when I let Jesus rule all of my heart.  Forever working towards that until the day He calls me home.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Less Pinning-More Pinning.

I love Pinterest.  I really do.  What is there to hate about it?  At first, I'd have nothing to say but times have changed and it seems I'm not the only one who now has an answer.

I hate that I have boards with all of these amazing ideas and I feel overwhelmed by the fact that nothing is getting done.  So maybe our family was really sick but guess what?!  We're not sick anymore and so I do have time to sew in the evenings.  Also, my hubby is working on church stuff in the evenings. Extra time right there, baby!

I have an adorable quilt I need to finish (and continue to get over fears that come with sewing something for the first time).  I'm close to the "binding" part and nervous as ever!  Oh, well.  I just need to push through!

I'm also close to making my first project for someone.  Excited for that!  Curtains!  Easy peasy but I'll feel so accomplished!

The next step...well.  I'm ready to figure out what I want to start out with in making and selling.  Not for the money, exactly (although that is always nice) but for the designing part.  The excitement to sell.  I love to sell!  Also, to see people want the things I'll make.

So, the first step must come before the next and I need to be okay with that.

So, less Pinning through Pinterest and more pinning on my sewing projects!  In the words of my amazing Grandpa Danny, "copeesh?"   

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feeling Encouraged In Parenting

Yes, listen to me because I've clearly got it all figured out.  Nodda.  Ak-coosh-y (How Cyrus says actually) I do not have it all figured out and anyone who is apart of my life can concur BUT I've been extremely encouraged lately and I thought I'd share.

My husband and I like to take the kids out.  Did you know we have four kids?  Ha!  Yes, it's true but we've been extremely blessed by these outings, especially lately.  I started wondering why and here's a blog post on what I've come to conclude.

Within 5 days, we took the kids out to a restaurant, to the mall and one other place and we were complimented on how well behaved everyone was and how well we handled conflict.  Do you know encouraging that was?  Extremely.  So before I move on, if you see a mother who maybe doesn't seem to have it all together but you see her efforts and love, please oh please tell her and encourage her.  She'll be forever thankful.  Promise.

Okay, back to what's been working for us.  So, you know that every child is different.  You either know this from experience or you know this because people tell you often.  Well, it's very true and so with each child, different consequences or privileges being taken away have different effects on them...differently.

Without going into too much detail on how I discipline every child differently, I will say this.  Do not underestimate the power of talking through what your child did and why it was hurtful in a calm manner.  Your child will feel loved because you took the time to explain why what they did was wrong.  Showing them how to do it better or telling them how they could have said something more kindly is extremely helpful.  At first, you may have to do this often but eventually, a quick reminder will be all you need.

This aligns well with reading the bible to your kids.  You can gently remind them a verse, or a part of a verse that you read and apply it to what they did or didn't do.  If you do this in anger, you're just adding to the problem.  I've been there and it goes no where good.

Also, following through with a consequence or taking a privilege away has been huge for us.  If one of my kids disobeys while we're out and by the time we get home I'm just too exhausted and assume they've already forgotten, I have only back tracked.  Been there, done that.  But when I take the time to talk to them reminding them what they did or didn't do and follow through with the consequence, as exhausting as that is, it pays back in future obedience and smoother outings.

*Side note, if your kids are really young (for us that is 3 and younger) sometimes the consequence needs to be right then and there.  Privileges being taken away starts around 3.5 for us.  Time out or a quick spankin' (when Zeke runs in the road...sigh) works well for that age in our home.

And with all "diets" we need a little grace.  Can I get an AMEN!?  We need grace from each other.  From one momma to another, we love our kids and we try our best.  Let's be "for" each other and not quick to judge.  It's silly and gives room for Satan to turn us into enemies when what we really need is love, encouragement and grace. 

Another time when grace is needed for me and the kids is when we're out and about.  For us this is church, life group, public play areas or the times when friends come over.  I'm not on my A game during this time because I may not be in my own home, I may have other responsibilities and I want to be able to enjoy those around me.  This goes for the kids as well.  Sometimes, they're just too busy enjoying the extra attention that they are receiving and may forget to obey.  And that's okay.  I want them to enjoy these times, too.  Usually an outing will have a follow up talk in the car ride home on why something they did wasn't okay or I'll thank them for doing so well.  Either way, grace is extremely important.

If you're parenting with love and grace throughout the day, these outings are not so bad.  And even when they go sour, it's okay!  You can give yourself grace and maybe just think on how things can go a little better next time.  Let God pour his grace down on us as we try our best to raise our kids into the adults God has called them to be.  He's given us grace, now let's receive it and give it to other mommas as well.

*An imperfect momma feeling encouraged and sharing what's working.  That's all :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

All Sons & Daughters Concert

Where do I start?  I guess I could link you to listen to All Sons & Daughters and let you have a listen for yourself.  Their way of turning scripture into music is fascinating.  It's real.  It's genuine and it's not any different when you see them live.

I saw them last summer and our whole family (I was pregnant with Bexley) went with some friends.  They taught us their songs just so that we could sing and worship with them.  This was no "show".  This was a night of worship with some very talented and gifted musicians. 

I actually called their manager to see if Ember could have them to lead worship and then have a mini concert afterward.  They mentioned they were already booked with a church in town and that's when I knew I wanted to see them again.  We will get them someday, for this I am sure! ;)

It was amazing last summer and it was just as good last night.  Honestly, I would normally say "they were even better" but there was no room for improvement.  Their music is amazing.  Their hearts are right.  

During the concert they told us to worship God they way we felt led.  I loved that.  I knew Cyrus and Eisley would want to dance and dance they did! I had to remind them that they were dancing to Jesus and not for themselves but other than that, it.was.beautiful. 

David noticed their dancing and said how beautiful it was to see a child and their faith.  It made Eisley nervous but he assured her to keep dancing.  It was cute :)

We met David and Leslie afterward and they were extremely humble and down to earth.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  May God bless them for all they do to bring God glory!

The night finished with some good friends and laughter and pizza.  Oh, and cookie dough.  Duh. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Redeeming Valentine's Day...

Ya'll may already know how I feel about hearts.  I just do not like the shape.  I cannot explain it but hear me out.  I may hate hearts but LOVE, love.  So Valentines Day is very much the same.  The obnoxious decorations and ugly stuffed animals.  Not to mention every year prior to being married, I'd have a crush on some cute boy which caused the awkwardness of Valentine's "love" and pressure that comes along with it...oh, I could go on and on. 

BAM!  Proof.

But love.  Real love.  That kind that is selfless and forgiving, that's the kind of love I want to celebrate.  The "no pressure" kind of love.  And so, I did!  Hearts and all!

First stop, the promise of heart pancakes with a side of eggs for breakfast.

Zekey helping with the eggs
Yes.  That's as good as it got.

I put together cute little gifts for them.  They LOVED them. Score.

Water bottles with their names and stickers to decorate!
Extra bonus was that no one mentioned my lack of getting Bexley a present.  Seriously.  I'm quite surprised and relieved.

And they were THRILLED!  Look at the excitement when they decorated their own water bottle!  Who knew?!

Batter up!
Seriously.  So excited for her "jewel" stickers.
He was pretty much just into the chocolate ;)
Later we played a game I came up with from the verse 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Cut out a heart and write all that love is (such a great reminder!)

Turn it into a puzzle! 
From here I had the older two come over and go over what love is.  It took about 15 minutes as I asked them what each meant and then explained.

I hid the pieces for them to find!  (I can't wait until our basement is done and the LR is not the Play room)

Happy little girl.

Proud little man

HINT: Go over the verses BEFORE the game because they were over it by the time they found the pieces ;)
My plan is to make homemade chicken nuggets and broiled veggies for dinner and love on my little lovebugs.  I don't love Valentine's day, I'm so so sorry.  I'm not bitter it's just...the ugly decorations!  blah!

Anywho, I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating your loved ones!  Yay for love!

Let's Talk Parenting...

So, your a mother (if not now, maybe you will be someday?) and you love your babies.  A lot.  And you want them to know and feel your love.  You want them to love Jesus and others.  You want them to be successful and use the gifts and talents God has given them.  You want them to know that no matter what, Jesus will always love them.

So you try.  You try really hard to be the momma God has called you to be.  You read the bible to know what to teach your kids (or even better, you read the bible to your kids), you read books on parenting, you try and fail and try, try, try again!

Sound familiar?  Gosh, I love my babies and I bet you do to.  I am always trying to figure out what is best for them and it is extremely exhausting.  This is one of the many reasons I'm thankful for the power of prayer.  I pray about these things, cry to Jesus about these things and sometimes, I don't get a loud answer but I seek wisdom to direct my path.

Last week, I decided it was best to get a little extra help with Zekey boy.  First of all, Zeke is getting more and more frustrated and so are his older siblings.  I have gotten over my own frustrations and started trying to just work with him more.  I was frustrated out of fear.  The silly lie that Zeke will never talk.

So I went ahead and called the nurse line at our pediatrician's office.  She recommended the free thing first (I just love free) which was "Help Me Grow".  So I made an appointment and I'm so glad I did!

First of all, I knew I could only take Zeke and Bexley.  This needed to be a time Zeke was being focused on.  So I had to find someone willing to watch Cy and Eisley.  Found a sweet servant of Jesus to help me out.  Thanks, Mary!  The kids are still talking about how much fun they had!

So, we went yesterday.  I was blown away by everyone's willingness not only to interact with Zeke and make him feel special, but also watch him as he tried to escape (it wouldn't be a day with Zeke without some escaping!).  I answered about 40 questions about Zeke and how he interacts with people, his behaviors, the noises he makes, etc.  It wasn't bad.

We had a total of 4 people come in to work with him and talk with me.  I felt so cared for as they played with Zeke and took interest in my struggles or should I say our (plural) struggles with his lack of talking.

Zeke ended up scoring above in a few areas and of course with his speech he scored low enough to be able to get free help from Help Me Grow.  One woman came in and give me ideas on how to help him talk until I get the in home visits from another woman to work with us.  So glad I did this and I'm so hopeful for the near future of Zekey communicating with us through words.  Yay!  He did great, by the way!

P.S. Zeke's latest thing is to drag a chair over to the sink and play in the water...for hours.  I have to peel him away.  So, to save money I think we'll invest in a water table, in the winter, with towels and towels all over the kitchen.  Anything to keep my little explorer busy!

Another thing I'm wrestling with is homeschooling.  I really love it, most of the time.  I just do not know what it will look like with homeschooling more than one kid at a time.  Actually, the thing I struggle with more is how I feel I work so much with Cyrus, I am not able to "be" with my other babies.  This all could be something I just need to adjust in my day, or maybe next year it will just be too much as Cy's workload will grow.  And, do I stick with the current program or switch so that I can teach more than one child at the same time?  Does Eisley need to be around people more?  She's such a social butterfly. 

I wake up some mornings thinking, "Why not send him to school?  I've poured Jesus into his heart and will continue to, why stay away from being a witness to other kids and families in school?"  or "I wonder if we could go to a private Christian school?"

P.S. since I wrote this a few days ago...I should say I was up all night praying and this was one of the things that came up (of course) and I feel more peace about looking into a different curriculum.  We are currently using K12 which has been AMAZING but doing that with more than one kid at a time, using the computer as much as we do, I just think that will get tricky. 

I have heard many things about Classical Conversations and although I have not ruled it out completely, I am leaning towards no.  I get the idea, but I've already exposed Cyrus to so much about learning, for instance history and he really gets it.  No need to memorize.  So we'll see!  I'll keep praying about it and picking other home-school momma's brains :)

Ya see, always trying to do what's right and it's just so dang exhausting.  The comforting thing is, I'm truly seeking God and what He has for each child.  Praying that God would help me to parent my children so they grow up into being who He wants them to be.

Can I get an Amen, mommas?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saturdays Are Family Days...

You may have heard?  After a LONG time of waiting on God and his timing and his perfect blessing (the best time and kind of blessing), Andy, my hard-working, God-honoring husband got a job!  A good job.  One where he'll be doing something he's not only good at but loves.  And they want him.  They really want him and the team of people he met are very excited to have him join their team!  As a wife who believes so much in her husband and his gifts and talents, this.is.refreshing.  It's a joy to see God was in control the whole time and is just pouring out his blessing on Andy and our family.

We are so thankful for what this means for our family, our church and the amazing testimony to God's faithfulness to those who are faithful.  God is just so good!  If you are reading this and I was texting you weekly keeping you updated because I knew you wanted to pray with us, THANK YOU!  I mean that from the bottom of my heart!

Andy with his little prayer warriors on his first day!

This means that Saturdays are going to be really focused on family.  He'll work during the week as normal, work in the evenings on Ember Church stuff and Sunday's are just crazy.  So, Saturdays.  Yeah, they'll be all about family and this past Saturday was a great day!

We went to the Old Worthington Winter Farmers market together and although it was quite crowded, the kids did fabulous and we were able to get what we needed.

We came home and had a yummy lunch of left-over tortellini soup or oatmeal (oitmeal, if you are Cyrus).  Your choice!  We had gala apples and Farmer's Market Cheese (YUM!) as a side.

Then, my amazing hubby went to pick up my Valentine's gift in Pickerington!  A fabulous Craigslist find.  I've wanted an area rug like this for a LONG time and found a STEAL of a price.  It's in amazing condition and I cannot wait to continue decorating around it.  It's currently in our bedroom, but after I am done painting our living room, I think it will work nicely there.

11X8 feet of perfection!

We were headed to the mall to get the kids out after dinner (noodles, chicken, homemade parmesan sauce, peppers, cucumbers and greens, oh my!) and saw a beyond packed parking lot all while listening to a very cranky baby in the background and decided it would be best to just get some milk shakes and call it a night. 

The kids were thankful and even said so which was a perk.  I had this itching to get out, though.  So after the kids went to bed, I texted a friend (who likes to get to bed early like a wise momma) and it just so happened that she was finished with her shift minutes after I texted and had not had dinner.  PERFECT!

We met up at Northstar Cafe', Easton location and chatted the night away.  It was so good for both of us.  Two woman who love Jesus, our husbands and our babies trying to figure it all out.  Encouraging and sharing struggles and leaving our chat with the promise to pray for each other.  It was just a God-breathed time and I was so thankful for it and for our friendship.  P.S. She's the one I met at Chick-Fil-A.  Remember?

Saturdays are going to be really sweet for our family.  Which also means a Saturday gone bad will for sure be, quite sour.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Breakfast Blessings...

I was overjoyed this morning with our time in God's word.  First of all, I was exhausted.  Momma bear snapped a few times due to getting to bed late and waking up to the foreign bird (Zeke) at 5 am let alone nursing 2 or 3 times.  A typical night for us and I am completely used to it.  Promise.  But either way, I'm not a morning person.

During my awake time, I prayed for stuff that life kinda just deals you and people I love as well.  Sometimes prayer can be exhausting at the same time it's literally the only thing you can do.  Exhuasting because you're pouring emotions and requests and praising out to God and it is beautiful and tiring and peaceful and the best medicine for a troubled and thankful soul.

I haven't really taken a hiatus from blogging.  I've blogged without posting.   As I blog about one thing, my heart and mind are thinking of the next thing.  I have a hard time blogging about one thing when my heart is passionate about another.  So, I hope to post those at a later date when my heart isn't going in a million different directions.

Back to God's word and what we read.  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

1..."because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing."  Paul, Silas and Timothy are talking to the church of Thessalonians.  We started a church this past summer called, Ember Church.  I couldn't help but wonder what these godly men would say to our church. 

Here's more.  4 "Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trails you are enduring."  Well, there are for sure trials.  This encouraged me that much more to have faith in what God is doing regardless of the other stuff going on.  And reading that there will be trails and persecution helps me because that's already been true.  Persevere!

6 "God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well."  Ahhh.  God is the God and we do not have to spend one minute worrying.  He's in control and will take care of us!  Such a relief!

10 "...on the day he (being Jesus) comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.  This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you."  Thessalonians talks about Jesus' return a lot and it's been such a joy to get excited with my kids about Jesus coming back.  It's a great time to let them know that even if someone they know and love very well dies but they love Jesus, they can have hope that someday we will all be together in the glory of God in heaven!  

11"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."  I was able to remind the kids of our calling in Him.  To love and serve others, etc.  And that each of them will someday know a unique calling God has placed on their life and when they obey these things, they bring glory to God.  Bringing glory to God through what we say and do.

God's word is so fulfilling and soul quenching.  Oh, and convicting ;)


Monday, February 6, 2012

Skirt Makin' Sunday...

First, can I just tell you about my weekend?  Friday night the whole clan went to the grocery store to get eggs and cinnamon rolls for Eisley's breakfast.  Not sure if we have all gone as a family of 6 but it.was.a.blast!

After the kids were all cozy in bed, I made Eisley her rainbow brownies (have I already told you 500 times that at this EXACT SAME age, I wanted rainbow brownies too?  TRUE STORY...I just LOVE my mini-me!) while the hubs worked on his sermon.  I made the browines from a box...the best kind.  I then made butter-cream frosting (I just don't like to use the word icing...sounds too proper for some reason).  I ghetto-fied it by using a spoon to paint the rainbow on top.  I didn't have enough to write anything too crazy, so she got an E.  An E and a rainbow and sprinkles.  Perfection.

The next morning, we all said happy birthday to the love-bug, Eisley girl and she's grinning from ear to ear enjoying being celebrated.  I needed a shower (one of those times where you're just like, "seriously, babe.  Can I get a shower?...I think it's been a couple of days.") ha! 

So Andy took on the roll of making the cinnamon rolls while I headed upstairs to shower.  I would normally go over the directions and remind him a few things because I can be a control freak but opted for trusting him since he hadn't made them in a long time, he'd read over everything carefully.  That's just how he rolls.

Back up to the night before while I unpacked the groceries.  Andy, "Hey babe, is there a different pan you can use so the cinnamon rolls get fully cooked?"  I look at him (not really mad, but laughing because he really.just.said.that.)

"Es-sqooz-a-me?"  I say with a smirk on my face.  "Fine, mr.!  You go right on ahead and make em' yourSELF!"  I promise, we were laughing at each other.  No anger here.  Not this time.

So, back to the morning after where I am in the shower and I start to smell the cinnamon rolls.  I remember thinking, "I can't believe I can smell them, even in the shower.  huh.  They kinda smell bitter."  I get out and immediately open the door and call down, "Hey babe.  Are the cinnamon rolls burned?"  Andy as he gets up and runs to the kitchen, "No!  They are not burned!"

They were.  Andy starts saying, "Man!  Are you serious!?  Come on!  How did this happen?"  Eisley runs over and says, "It's okay, it's okay!  I'n (yes, I'n, not I'm) still 4!"  So sweet she is!

Can you see the rolls that burned?

Andy, "Well, I guess I get to eat the humble pie this morning."  Such a weird saying but true.  Very true.  No man is gonna mess with my rolls...um, wait.  CINNAMON rolls, that is. ;)

The day was loverly and Eisley Bree felt loved on and special.

So then came Sunday.  Sunday is always a tricky day for us.  It's not technically a work day but then again it is when your husband is the pastor of your church.  So we get the morning together and then he's off and I take the kids later.  

This week I was co-leading worship so I went in early to practice.  I feel guilty but love it all at the same time.  I love it because I not only get a brake from packing up the kids all on my own but I get to be apart of the service in leading others to worship God and it's so humbling and quenches my soul.  Ya know, when God's called you to something and you do it for His glory...yeah.  It just feels right and for me it's good for my spirit.

The guilt comes in when Andy, who needs to set up, read over his sermon and get his heart right before God all before he preaches has to also pack up our sweet babies and get them ready for church.

I'm thankful for him because he's "for" me.  He's for my healing through Jesus and he's for my gifts from God to be used.  That's pretty amazing and those are only some of the many ways he loves me.

Here's another example.  I was able to make a skirt this morning!  I had hand-me-down fabric that I LOVE and so I jumped on pinterest for a tutorial and made a skirt that I actually wore!  I felt so "Breena" with my tattoo on my wrist, my muted colors on, homemade skirt, boots and red lipstick.
                                                    A close up of the loverly fabric.

First skirt and I love it!  I could hem it a bit to make it look less like I'm one of the older Duggar's.  I do love them, I do.


Anywho, the sermon was good.  It's always good, IMHO.  God's calling me to lay down my life in a few areas.  To put down my idols of selfishness and my rights to whatever it is I want at different points throughout the day and to put others first.  My husband, my kids.  God's reminding me of my need to lay down my life so that I might re discover it, the way it should be...in Jesus.

I wish I could say, "I got this", but I do not.  What areas do you feel you need to lay down as you rediscover who you are in Christ?  You don't need to answer, but let God speak to you and ask Him to show you who you are to be in Him.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Eisley's last day being 3...

Tomorrow is Eisley Bree's 4th birthday.  Time has gone by oh so quickly!  I remember how excited Andy and I were when we found out we were having a little girl!  I love that God put together such a creative, silly, smart, outgoing and beautiful little girl for Andy and I.

Eisley is always entertaining us with her dancing and singing and her sweet, kind heart.  She's got a little spice to her ("she get it from her momma") and loves Jesus, cupcakes and the color pink.

Tomorrow's menu?  Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, Sunny Street (YES!) for lunch and mac n' cheese for dinner (ha!).  Oh, and rainbow brownies!  Funny thing is, I had rainbow brownies when I was a little girl, too!  Should be a sugary day!

Enjoy some pictures from throughout the 4 years...

So in love with my sweet, Eisley Bree.

2 months
8 months

Eisley at her 1st birthday party!


19 months with "doggy"

Mommy's makeup age 2

Age 2 April 2010

Eisley's 3rd bday party!

French girl "Almost 4!"
Looking so sweet, Eisley "Almost 4"
"Everything's better with Sprinkles "Almost 4"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Birthday With My Parents!

I was so excited when my mom asked if her and my dad could come for a day and night and celebrate my birthday!  She then asked what I wanted her to make for dinner..."Chinese Chicken Salad and egg rolls, please!"  She makes the BEST!  Oh, and cupcakes for dessert (I have a thing for cupcakes these days)

Cy enjoying some of momma's birthday cupcakes!

How thoughtful was this gift?!  A sewing box!!!  I SO need one!

Eisley taking time from being outside to enjoy a cupcake, too!

My pretty momma making dinner!  Yum!

Look at them FRY!!!

Happy Birthday to MEEE!!!

I could eat him up!

Grammy reading to Eisley and Cyrus.

Poppy reading to Zekey E!

So much FUN!!
I went to my favorite place (the mall) with my momma and daddy as Andy stayed home and worked (poor guy).  It was nice to just walk around and spend time with my parents. 

Thankful for this time with them!  Thankful for yummy food, too. :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Sweet God's Word Is...

My parents came yesterday to celebrate my birthday with me.  I was SO excited!  I'll post more later but this morning they woke up and made bacon and eggs and pancakes for us!  YUM!  Did I mention that I got to sleep in?!  So nice.

Well, once they left I had all the kids gather around for bible time.  I will admit that in the past, I've read the bible to them only when one of the kids reminded me or if I just happened to think it was a good time to do it.  <---Feel so guilty!

It's ALWAYS the right time to read the bible ESPECIALLY to my kids.  It's such a challenge for me to read the bible and pray before I "check my stuff online".  I struggle with wanting to see what I need to reply to later and who's saying what on Facebook.  Ew.  It's so sad but it's so true.

So this whole week, I've been coming downstairs with the kids as we see Andy off to work (early!) and the first thing we do is read the bible and talk about it.  I stop when I know there are words they don't understand and ask if they know what they mean.  SO much fun hearing what they have to say :)  After reading a passage, we talk about what they learned and how we can apply it to our lives.  Then I ask them to pray about what we read and for other people.

It's a beautiful thing and I hate that I haven't been on top of this for a longer amount of time.  It's been really great for parenting throughout the day.  I can just remind them (and myself!) of what we read and they're quick to correct their heart's bad choices.

Here's what it does NOT do.  It does NOT make my day go more smoothly.  I wish that reading the bible meant that my day was going to go so well but that's not always the case.  Sometimes it means I'm going to be THAT much more tempted to yell, or react and be quick to anger and slow to love (Satan likes to do this!).  Ugh.  BUT when I remember that reading the bible is not a magic potion for a good day, then I am not quickly disappointed or frustrated that I am having a difficult time with my babies.   Instead I just know to remember what I read or go into prayer to get more "fuel" to keep going.

The great thing about Jesus is, He's never busy.  The amazing thing about the Holy Spirit is, He's always available.  The comforting thing about God is, He's always listening....

Fun Story : When I was telling the kids about how when Jesus comes back, we'll meet Him in the air Eisley couldn't grasp the thought.  She said, "Will we go up in the tree?" "Will we use a ladder?"  "Will we go in hot air balloons?"  When I "shot down" her ideas with saying, "No honey, God will get us up there.  We'll float in the air and meet Jesus."  She said, "Ooooo!  Will it tickle?" ha!  She's got her momma's stomach ;) 

Cyrus prayed : "...and thank you that we read the bible.  I just love it."  And he really does!  He's always the one who gets excited after we read the bible or the one reminding me when I would forget.  So I told him how much I loved his love for the bible.  How much I loved him encouraging me and reminding me to read God's word.  He's like his daddy...can't get enough of God's word ;)

Zeke :  Well it was a chore to get him to stay on the couch with us...but he's just a cutie pie.

Bexley :  She ate ;)