Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is Coming

Don't cry now - you're only 3 days away from the jackpot!!



MERRY CHRISTMAS 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anticipation

Listen! Can you hear the angel tell her, all those years ago, that HE is coming? She stilled her heart and she believed that truly, "Nothing is impossible with God."

Now here we are. Waiting. Our ears tuned to hear the sound of His arrival. Our hearts filled with joy at His promise. Our Jesse tree sits ready, blessing us daily with another chance to celebrate what is soon to come.

Even these, the small ones... they feel it. They ask for the next story. They listen and know that it is as God said. He came to this earth for them!

From the beginning of time He was coming! My God always had a plan to save me from myself. A sweet, tiny babe. My hope. My freedom. My heart is full of joy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

And We're Off

Genuine smiles as we sit in the Wichita airport awaiting the beginning of our Argentinian adventure.



In just a few short weeks, God has slowly taken me out of that state of ridiculous bouts of sobbing in my vehicle while my children wait, too nervous to say anything because Mommy is acting a little, well, crazy. He's replaced that silly ball of nerves with the peace that only He can provide, because I am finding rest in Him alone. So when those other thoughts creep in, I am refreshing with His word, where I should have been resting all along.

Because truly, O Lord, "your love is better than life, [so] my lips will glorify you." Psalm 63:3

Here's to a great journey with my God, my beloved husband, and the people of Argentina! (Meanwhile, our kiddos are making sweet memories all their own). I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Here

It has happened, right here in this house. This house. The one that was built in 1957. The one that seemed 2 sizes too small when we moved in with only one child, and now we have 3. This house - the one that is not too pretty or fun to show off. This house that we can only invite one or two families into at a time for lack of space.


Yes, even here, it has happened. At first I didn’t realize, the changing, the moving of my heart that was God. As thankfulness after thankfulness arose from my soul, from my lips, He found me there. And He oh so faithfully brought me here.


So full of gratitude, this heart of mine. Gratitude for close quarters that demand extra lessons in what it means to truly love. God’s gift of chances to teach those sweet young ones of His grace. Many moments sharing giggles that never would have been if two rooms separated ornery boys. My thanksgiving, it soars for lessons in necessaries… there are so many things not needed.


Perhaps one day He will lead us out of this house and into another. Perhaps. Content to be here until then, and blessed beyond measure, am I.


Oh, how He loves us!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

One of These Things Is Too Much Like the Other

If you are a dear, loyal friend who has rejected my past claims of increasing ditzyness since having children, and the fact that I'm losing my memory faster than an 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer's, doubt no longer.



It truly is a marvel that my children's limbs are all intact and our house hasn't burnt down. Yet.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Realize Super-Mom Never Cries. And I Don’t Care.

It’s true. These three sweet ones, they hold my very heart in their sticky little hands. Funny how that happens. One day you’re walking around this world with not much of a care in the world, and then you have a baby three babies. You look at them and you can hardly even breathe for how much you love them.


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They are the reason I was in my van after church this evening, sobbing my eyes out as my husband patiently waited for me to gain control so he could go back in the building to his meeting. Poor guy.


In another month our church is sending the hubs and I thousands of miles away to Buenos Aires, Argentina. For 9-ish days, they will be here, and we will be there.

US to Argentina


As I blubbered like a maniac tonight I told Ben that I knew I wasn’t calling on the power of God to help me overcome my fears. So that begs the question, “WHY NOT?!” Fair question. While driving home I talked with God and He asked me the same thing. I’m sure He wanted to say, “Stop being such a baby and remember that I love them more than you.” But He didn’t. He just let me talk; He listened to my fears and worries and sorrows until I talked myself right back into His truths. He is just so good at doing that, my God.


He brought me back to solid ground. Peace flooded that wild heart of mine that wants so badly to stray, thinking it can take control. I’d like to say this won’t happen 50 more times again before we leave, but I can’t promise anything. I’m a mom, and even this insanely emotional heart of mine is straight from the Lord. But when it does happen, in His complete patience, He will remind me yet again that He loves them more. And He is in control. Because He does, and He is.


”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just Like Brother

At only 13 months Seth already loves books.  He is learning well from big brother (and sister).  Now if only we could teach him that yelling and hitting are less-than-ideal qualities to emulate. 

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Friday, September 30, 2011

If My Children Had Their Own TV Shows

So You Think You Can Dance Ballet and Play Soccer At the Same Time:

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Toddlers and Guitaras:

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Snaggle Tooth Rock:

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wichita Ink

Psalm 119:32 "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."

Christ has indeed set my heart free. So free that I felt the need to allow this to happen to my shoulder blade today.

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The only One who was able to take the mess of what I was, and turn it into what I now am, and leave me feeling absolutely free and unburdened by my past in the process, deserved some recognition.

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Ok I'll admit it. I'm the biggest baby you’ve possibly ever met when it comes to pain slightly chicken. I never would've done this if it weren't for this awesome lady. So thankful for my partner-in-crime beloved sister-in-Christ who was willing to make such a special memory with me today!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

He's Finally Playing Dress Up In Something Other Than Princess Clothes

"Avast ye scurvy dogs!" is a frequent phrase heard around these parts lately.


He's the cutest little pirate I've ever seen, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Big One

As usual I'm right on cue to give one of my kids a big Happy Birthday shout out. Seth turned one 8 days ago. It is very surreal that he is my last, yet he is already moving away from babyhood.


I saw this picture of Seth and immediately thought of the picture of Will, below, at his first birthday. Exact same expression. Priceless.




Monday, August 15, 2011

THIS is True Love

A busy weekend led to a house in shambles as the day began. I rose early, and went for a run, choosing to listen to my music instead of talking with my God. After two days of not much "me time," I decided to run slightly longer than normal, and returned to the house with only minutes to shower before Ben would leave for the day. Moving from shower directly to feeding children left me no time for a morning devotional. Moment to moment I found my desire to tidy the house growing more intense, along with a proportionately increasing desire for attention from the dear ones playing nearby. As I put them off time and again, my impatience grew... until my words became harsh and unkind.

God is so very good to give me days like this lest I begin to forget just how much I need Him. And then His Spirit whispered to me and I stopped to realize how I was acting. Well, let me be honest. In truth, His spirit shouted at me, through the voice of my 4-year-old, who amidst her tears looked up at me and said, “That made my heart hurt.” And there was my heart, in a thousand pieces, on the floor. I fell to my knees and gathered her into my lap, holding that sweet child. As I told her how I loved her, and begged for her forgiveness, a smile broke through to her face. Without hesitation she replied, "It's ok, Mommy." And for her, it was over.

Then He led me here: "'Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you.'" (Isaiah 54:10)

Oh how desperately I need our Lord God. Yet how amazed, speechless, awe-struck, humbled, completely and utterly thankful I am over his amazing love for me. That my actions today, from a woman who KNOWS better, who chooses to live my life free and in such joy, can act like I did this morning. Praise you, Lord Jesus, that I cannot make your love be removed from me!! Oh praise you!





Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Better Than Ever

Remember this? My pathetic, whiney, good-for-nothing sorrow over the loss of Peter Furler from the Newsboys? Well, my friends, he's back with a new solo album. And this is exactly why I adore him so much.



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Who else, besides Toby Mac, can get one mom, one dad, and four kids to dance around the house until they're breathless with laughter, all while praising God?! Oh yes, lest you think I'm joking, Ben and I dance with just as much zeal as the kiddos. And if you look closely, you may catch me with a few tears of overwhelming joy. My God is just too, too much.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Time to Embrace

The last of my babies is going to turn one in a little over 2 weeks.


If you know me well, you know I am not a "baby" person. I enjoy watching my kids grow to a more playful age. But that came to a screeching halt when I met this sweet thang:



This is Miss Josie Baker, my precious new niece, who we came so close to losing. As her life hung in the balance, God whipped my prayer life into a new state of intensity. I had one of those "I didn't realize I needed to work on this part of my life" moments as I prayed like I never had before.

And He worked a miracle in her life. He didn't just save her. He moved her out of that NICU faster than expected and home to her waiting family (and providentially, she went home on the same day as our other new niece, Ava! He is perfect!) Each new peek that modern medicine takes at Josie's brain shows more improvements, more reasons to praise God!

So the last 6 weeks of Josie's life have had me thinking: the Word of God tells me that there is a time to embrace. And embrace we shall!

Today when they ask for a PEZ before dinner... the answer is yes.


While many parents sit on the sidelines and observe, we will join in!


When they want to run around sans clothes after their bath, screaming and jumping on the beds, we will grab the camera. :)


When my sweet girl wants to wear her tutu to the mall, this mom who once swore her daughter would not wear costumes or characters in public will grin widely and comply:


And that prayer life? God has taught me to ask with boldness and watch him work. As I sat feeling forlorn that my baby, soon to be toddler, would not cuddle with me even for a moment, my Father spoke to my heart. Have you shared your desires with me, child? So I did. And little by little, wouldn't you know that this sweet boy now lays his head on his mommy and rests for a few moments before drifting off to dreamland? You better believe it. Because my God, He just loves me that much.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Longing

The sounds of 3 children, happily playing behind a closed door, are too much for this sweet one to bear. I can't wait for the day he won't choke to his death on Polly Pocket's shoe given the opportunity. Until then, dear boy, pat-a-cake with Mommy will just have to be good enough.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Deja Vu

He reminds me oddly of his sister as a baby when he plays out this dramatic scene. The only difference is she had a girl's attention span and could perform for much longer. Seth, on the other hand, has all the focus of... "SQUIRREL!" ...a boy.


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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yep, She's Almost 16

Okay, so really she just turned 4 on Sunday. But I feel like 16 is just around the corner.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Double Beautiful Blessings

On Tuesday, June 21st, my sister Katie's third child, Miss Josie Christine, joined us in this world.



Josie needed a little help with oxygen intake and was shortly after birth taken to the NICU. While in the NICU Josie was showing improvement, when she suddenly "crashed." Doctors and nurses worked on sweet Josie and got that little heart pumping again - they saved her sweet life!! Praise God for those medical professionals!! After her crash, Josie's little body went into a sort of shock, and she has since had us on our knees petitioning God on High for healing. Josie is on a respirator, although she has done a little breathing on her own. She has had 2 EEGs that show quite diminished brain activity. But she is stable and seems to very slowly be showing some hopeful signs of improvement. Today she was taken off her blood pressure meds and they have slowly been warming her little body back up (they've had her on thermal blankets to cool her body from the trauma of the arrest). She even sucked on a pacifier for the first time tonight! Tomorrow Josie will have an MRI to get a better look at her brain. PLEASE LIFT HER TO GOD OUR FATHER, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN. Josie's Daddy, Troy, has been talking of Jesus' first miracle, where he showed only a glimpse of His coming glory. We have been seeing glimpses in Josie's short life of the glory of Jesus, and now we want to see it all unleashed in full, spectacular view!!

On Thursday, June 23, my sister-in-law, Jen, gave birth to her second daughter, Miss Ava Isabelle.


My understanding of the story, through my hubby (and you know men with details, ha ha), is that Jen had a rupture in her placenta that caused blood to mix with amniotic fluid. Miss Ava ingested and aspirated that mixture of fluid/blood. Her little lungs are having difficulty from all of this and Ava is on a respirator while her lungs get stronger. Please lift her up to God for complete healing and quick recovery so she can be home with her family!!

Two beautiful baby girls who we already love so much. Won't you join us in asking God to shine His glory through their precious lives? Praise you, Father, for you formed every fiber of their DNA, and they are both truly wonderfully made!!

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have HOPE: because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail." Lamentations 3:21-22

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine... to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph 3:20-21

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mini Disciples

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Check It Out

Occasionally these days you can find me blogging over at http://soulsistersinhim.blogspot.com. Along with a couple phenomenal women of God. I was there today.

The Soul Sisters, that's what we are. An epiphany placed by God in the mind of a dear sister, who took a leap of faith and started one small accountability group of 10 women. Which has now become 3 groups totaling 27. We are praying for 100 more. Yet God can do even more than that, my friends. Anyone else feel like dreaming big?



Why the picture? Oh, just because he's cute. And he was definitely more than I asked for. :) So, so thankful that God dreams bigger than me!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our Happily Ever After

The fairytale is slightly twisted around these parts.

You see, our story begins with TWO princesses, not one.


Enter the evil Mommy monster (the villain in our story is extremely unconventional as it is well known that Mommy is never really the monster), who locked those princesses away in a tower.


Whatever are two preschool princesses to do except await the arrival of their slightly under-dressed prince Will? This prince, while he loved his somewhat feminine hat, adored his "star sword" all the more. The poor prince was baffled, however, that he was not allowed to break the princesses free by battering them with the star sword. A prince just can't catch a break around here.


Luckily, the prince discovered his powers of magic (i.e. ripping off his whistle and hat in protest), leading to one Mommy-monster morphing into the prince's infamous side-kick, and together they rescued the princesses from the tower jail cell.


And they all lived happily ever after.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ever Had A "Moment?"

When I saw this picture, I had one. Then I took a deep breath, and told myself that she's about to turn 4, not 14. Tighter hugs and longer stories tonight, sweet girl.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

His Heart Is In Okinawa

The hair was his Daddy's idea. The outfit was mine.


Holding Uncle Jeremy's picture for five minutes and gazing longingly at it? That was all his own doing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

I've never quite felt the meaning of that quote from Dickens until this weekend. Send me with a group of 9 of my girlfriends to Oklahoma City, sans children, for a getaway and to run a half marathon? Sounds wonderful!! Sign me up! Wanna run all 13 miles in the rain (sometimes pouring), while it's only 47 degrees outside? Don't let me forget to mention that you will be so cold that you cannot uncurl your fingers from the fist they're in, your socks will be so wet that they will sink slowly into your shoes allowing your shoe to rub a bloody mess into your heel, and you will not beat the personal record that you'd been certain to demolish. Hmmm... maybe I would think twice about that one.

But you wanna know the truth? I WOULDN'T CHANGE IT FOR ANYTHING. I had to pass on the list of what I learned this weekend to my loyal readers.

#1 - The women of God at Northside Church of Christ are JUST. SOMETHING. SPECIAL. I've known that before, of course. But I experienced it on a whole new level this weekend. The time we spent laughing; eating; sharing truths from His Word; encouraging one another; eating; a few tears; eating... it was all just... priceless.

It is no wonder that God tells us to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds..." & to "...not give up meeting together... but let us encourage one another..." He knew how much we would need each other.


#2. Pigs don't sweat.

#3. I hate the treadmill. I hate the rain even more. If there is any threat of rain, I will not run outside. Even if I am supposed to run 10 miles. So what did running 13 miles in these conditions teach me? A reminder of one of my favorite truths - that He can do "immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." Finishing THAT... well... it wasn't me. It was Him.


#4. Bondi-bands are not only hip and trendy, they are necessary for running in the rain, eating chocolate, and robbing hotel rooms.

#5. I need more humility. I do NOT have to be the best. I do NOT have to run faster than last time. It's ok if other people who are running their first 1/2 marathon match my time (or beat me). :) I pushed through; I finished. And for today, that is good enough. Because that is where God needed me to be, for today.

#6. I miss Ted's even more than I thought.


Oh how thankful I am for my weekend, my friends, and the goodness of my God!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Too Good to be True

I desire to feed my family the good stuff - the really good-for-you-and-yet-strangely-yummy stuff. Alas, it happens less than I'd like. Mostly because I'm too lazy... too cheap... too lazy and cheap to buy a thousand ingredients that I will only use one time.



Therefore I was thrilled to find this recipe for whole wheat blueberry pancakes. My children love pancakes, and since I make our own wheat bread, I already had every ingredient I needed at the house! The hubster was excited that these taste astoundingly better than the box of whole-wheat pancake mix I've been buying. We're sold! (Please don't even try to tell me that syrup negates the healthiness. I'd gladly dip them in ice cream, cotton candy and jelly beans to get some whole wheat in these kiddos!)

WHOLE WHEAT BLUEBERRY PANCAKES
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk, plus more if necessary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon artificial sweetener (I used Splenda)
1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen blueberries, only slightly thawed, and I used more than 1/2 cup)

Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside. Beat together the egg, milk, salt and artificial sweetener in a bowl. Stir in flour until just moistened, add blueberries, and stir to incorporate. Spray griddle with non-stick cooking spray (helps to keep the blueberries from sticking, even on a non-stick surface). Pour onto griddle and cook until bubbly, then flip and finish cooking.

**When you finish eating, make sure to experiment with how your stomach looks as it sticks to the table in the puddles of syrup left behind. All the cool kids are doing it.