May 28, 2011

1,000 Gifts-Week 3

Another week has flown by...and there have been hundreds of things to be thankful for again this week!  I didn't take nearly as many pictures this week, not sure why, but here are some things I am thankful for, and just a few pics to go with them!

329) washer and dryer
331) toothbrush
334) like-mindedness
337) safe travel
338) Blessing Boy back in my arms
348) Joshua and Jericho
353) the reminder that life is short
357) Gift Girl's love for spelling everything she sees!
359) Zumba
360) seeing God at work in others
364) thunder
367) the mystery of money left over in the grocery budget
369) chances to teach Gift Girl about praying for others
373) good news for sick children
380) Old Navy
385) churches with a passion for God-honoring drama
388) hearing "Hi Mommy" so sweetly first thing in the morning
399) morning without clouds and rain
404) butter cream icing
405) friends with birthdays
407) rejoicing with and for those who are celebrating the joy of new life in their lives
411) an understanding Hubby

Making noodles with Blessing Boy

The gift of great Christian children's videos

Gift Girl and Blessing Boy

impromptu family picnics at the park

Sophie climbing her first tree

playing so sweetly together

Family Quest

Blessing Boy's silliness

She's growing up

Whoopie Pies!

Syrup covered Blessing Boy

Gift Girl and her imagination (this is a sheep pen, complete with sheep!)


May 27, 2011

Blah

Not sure why, but today I am feeling weary.  Weary physically, weary spiritually, weary emotionally, and weary mentally.  And it just leaves me feeling blah and very unmotivated!

I am weary of that junior high girl inside of me wanting everyone to like me, want to be around me, and include me in everything they do.  I am weary of feeling like I don't know anyone, have no connection to anyone, craving those connections, but being unable or unwilling to take the needed steps to know people and serve people and spend time with others.  I am weary of fearing that I am always making  misstep or hurting someone else's feelings.  I am weary of always feeling like I am right on the verge of breaking through to something great, spiritually, and never feeling brave enough to take that step.  Weary of getting up early and still feeling like I never get anything accomplished during the day.  Weary of feeling as though, no matter how often I clean and do laundry, I live in a pigsty.  I am weary of wanting to have people over, but never having the courage to do it.  I am weary of feeling like I am just floating around waiting for something to happen, yet not ever really knowing what in the world it is I am waiting for!

Yet, I am so thankful for the reminders over the last weeks to be constantly giving God thanks, for the good and the bad!  He give such good gifts all the time, whether I choose to see them or not.  Lord, open my eyes and my heart to all that You have for me.  Lord, give me the strength and boldness to step out in faith to accomplish all that You ask of me.  Help me to be more of a servant, not because I want people to like me or to include me, but in order to show Christ to them.  Lord, give me the strength to reach out, make new friends, strengthen current relationships, and use all that I have to focus all of my life on You.  Show me each step I need to take, in every area.  Don't allow Satan to grab hold of my mind and make me weary of following You.  Lord, fill me, use me, mold me, guide me!

May 24, 2011

1,000 Gifts-Time in Arkansas

We just got back from a great weekend in Arkansas with some fabulous church family!  Wow!  God is an amazing creator!  Rather than list the gifts He showed me while there, I thought I would just post a few pictures so you could enjoy His good gifts, too!
















May 18, 2011

So many things....

Kevin and I have been reading several books lately, together and separately, and my mind is just going a mile a minute.  So many things I want to know more about, so many things I want to research to see if they are Biblically sound, so many areas where I want to see what the Bible says and what God has to say to me about it...and yet so overwhelmed I don't think I even know where to start!  I can't help but feel our family, and perhaps even our church, are right on the verge of a real breakthrough in following God in new and exciting ways, yet, I don't know what those ways are or where He is asking us to follow!  Ahhhh!  It's a little scary and a little exciting all at the same time.

We've already started some new things: We are doing "family worship" each day.  If this term sounds foreign or weird to you, don't freak out.  It just means we are being purposeful about spending time in the Word as a family and offering praise to God as a family through prayer and occasionally through song.  We have decided to be purposeful about making sure we don't ever end a day without worshipping God through His word and prayer as a family.  Now, to be sure, we would like to be more faithful to this.  We don't have a set time each day (though we do usually end up doing it before bed time, but that is not set in stone) and we are looking forward into going much deeper in these times as our children get older.  Sophie is already asking really good questions!  I truly love watching Kevin as he answers her questions and leads her to scripture to show that is where all Gods answers are for each of us. 

I have also started listing gifts that I see God giving me each day.  Sometimes it feels very forced, but each day that I do it, I find I can see things with a new, fresh set of eyes.  As I continue making the list each day, I see that all things, even those I may not view as a gift, are gifts that have been sifted through the Father's hands.  Even when, to me, it seems as though it's the worst possible thing that could happen, God has sifted it and placed it in my life to lead me to Him and to cause me to turn to Him in trust and praise.  I felt this most on Sunday morning as I was sitting in my sister's church, feeling a little out of place because it wasn't "my home", but every song was sweeter, more meaningful, in light of the thought that all things come from Him.  All things are gifts.  The song "Enough" was just almost too much to sing in light of the hundreds of gifts I had listed to that point.  Even if He hadn't given me a single one of those gifts, it is still 100% true that God and God alone is more than enough for this human!  The writing down of the gifts only serves to remind me of that....not sure how, but it does!

Still curious to see how God will move our hearts in other ways, big and small, and home, at church, and in the world.  One we way already know He is going to shake us up is with the decision to home school. Though I walk into this with quite a bit of fear, I also head into it very excited!  I am so excited to be able to show my daughter that God is truly in everything, from math to science, to art.  He is the creator of all and He is in all and above all.  I look forward to how God is going to change me and teach me and mold me through this process, as well.  I know we will have our struggles and days when we don't get along and the learning doesn't go well, but I pray those days are quickly forgotten by the days of sitting side by side marveling at the the Lord has done in nature, in our world, and in our home.  Lord, bless this adventure You alone have set before us.  Strengthen us for the task of discipling our children through their education, both their education in academic subjects and their education in the Word.  Equip us with all we need to raise this Gift Girl and Blessing Boy so they will come to know You at an early age, walk through life with You, lean on You, trust in You, and lead others to You.  Use this time of homeschooling to enable them to do all those things knowing that You alone are in all things and have made all things!

PS---Just a few book suggestions for you:  Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper; one thousand gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp; Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham (Let me give just a note on this book: He is a very opinionated man, who has spent much time and research developing these opinions.  Chances are, you will not agree with everything in this book, but please, keep reading it.  He will challenge you to look at your own life and your own family and seek God for what He would have you to do!  Trust me, it is worth the read!!!)

1,000 Gifts---Week 2 (Sort of)

Well, I realize that this week isn't exactly over, yet, but we are headed out of town tomorrow for a great weekend of fun, fellowship, and worship with some great families...and I assume I won't have Internet, so I wanted to do this now while I had a few minutes.  I know if I put it off, I'll never do.  I don't have any pics this week, but here are just a few of the things I am thankful for so far this week!

169) watching Daddy and son together
180) Sophie randomly spouting off math facts
186) home made laundry soap
188) a hubby willing to run our errands in the rain
198) the sound of slow, steady rain
206) worshipping as a family in the car
208) hearing Sophie sing the words, "through His blood we can be free."
211) deaf hands raised in praise to their Creator
213) such a short list of gifts making even the simplest song of praise come alive
215) God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
224) my little Blessing Boy always wearing his baseball cap backwards
231) the opportunity to discipline (First, it means my children are living and healthy enough to make bad choices.  Second, it gives all of us a chance to review our behavior, motivations, and to change those things in order to move us closer to the One who Created us!)
240) Impromptu park dinners
244) Psalms
248) the desire to praise God for the "Ugly Beautiful"
259) brownies from scratch
263) my veggies are still growing...so far
270) brothers and sisters that can argue with one another
289) my Blessing Boy's hands laying gently on my face
292) singing loudly in the car
293) parents to keep my little Blessing Boy for the weekend

May 13, 2011

1000 Gifts-Week 1

Well, I have just about completed my first week of listing 1000 gifts (and hopefully more) that God has lavished on me.  It has helped me to be more gracious and more observant!  Next week I am going to add a journal for Sophie.  While I list as many as God brings to light in a day (throughout the day), Sophie will only list one or two at the beginning of each day, and when an ungrateful or poor attitude rears it's ugly head, I'll use those things she writes down to remind her that God has given her much more than whatever it is she's upset about at the moment!  Anyway, just thought I would share a few things with you from this week (pics included!)

Time spent reading God's word before the children get up! 

CLEAN CLOTHES!!!!!

We've been watching these birds since they were just 4 little eggs.  The kids are so enamored by them and we've had a great time using these birds to teach them that, if God cares so much for even these tiny birds, think how much more He cares for us!

Feeding the ducks with my three favorite people!

I love his quirky little run!

He is actually sitting in my lap.  It's rare and something that I LOVE!

My sweet girl!

Precious friends.

Sweet Shea, God's reminder that He has adopted us as His children!

Love. 

Ducks, Sophie, and the sweet sound of a fountain.

Ethan and God's beautiful creations-two of the best gifts God has given!


May 09, 2011

1000 Gifts: learning to have an attitude of gratitude for all His gifts!

So, just last week I started reading the book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp.  Though I am not finished reading it, yet, it has really challenged me to look at my life, right where I am, and see beyond my complaints and irritations to see all the gifts God has given us.  It's much more in depth than that, but if you're interested, read the book!  It's good!

Anyway, so she has begun to spend her days making a list of 1,000 things she is grateful for each day.  No, she doesn't sit and make the list all at once, she has a notebook and pen that she keeps with her, along with her camera, so as God brings things to mind, she can write them on her list.  In my house, we definitely have a gratitude problem!  (Mainly with Sophie and I!)  So, Sophie and I are going to start making our own lists.  For Sophie, I am starting small.  She'll list one thing each morning she is thankful for, and we will spend the day thanking God for that one thing.  As she gets better with writing and spelling, I will get her a notebook and she can begin making her lists each day.  I have a notebook (thanks to Karen Whetstone and Jennifer Humiston) that I will be making a list in throughout each day.  Not sure that I'll get to 1,000 each day, but I am going to try!  Praying that this will make me more aware of God's touch in all areas of our lives, that He will use this to change my heart and attitude, and that this will make our family one filled with His love and joy as we are overwhelmed by the amazing amount of good gifts God gives us each day.  I will also try to put some of my lists on here...probably will not be a list every day, but hopefully once a week.   Sometimes it will just be a list, other times there will be pictures, too.   I'll start with just a few from today.

-Sweet time in God's word and prayer to start the day.
-cuddle and giggle time with my two little ones this morning.
-chocolate cereal for breakfast.
-A husband who loves me...and even fixed the air conditioner this morning!
-Sunshine
-Bubbles
-Naps
-The ability to read books.
-Old Maid-Princess Style
-homemade ice cream
-5 year old laughter