Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Ethan!

 The night before my little man turned five, we did as we have done every night for awhile.  He brushed his teeth, got his milk, was tucked in with Corduroy, and we read his favorite books.  It really is the simple things in life that are the best!
 The next morning he got up early, and we looked at his baby book while waiting for little brother and sister to wake up.   When I mentioned what a cute baby he was, he quickly said, "Mommy, five year olds are NOT cute!"  I still can't believe we are at this "not cute" stage.  Oh my!  After everyone was up and ready we went to the Jacksonville Zoo and children's hands on museum.  It was a great day celebrating our little man, and we finished off the day with cupcakes and a pinata with his friends at church.

Ethan, five years ago, I had no clue the impact motherhood would have on our lives.  You are our greatest gift and have changed us for the better in so many ways.  God has such a special plan for your life son.  One full of adventure and purpose, if you chose to follow Him always.  You are an answered prayer and such a wonderful big brother.  Your compassion for others and caring spirit are such a blessing.  You are so smart and funny!  The way you try to protect your sister is a treasure.  I love having you sit with me in church, and seeing you want to be involved in the service.  My prayer for you is that you will always love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, and mind.  I love you little man!  No matter how old you get, you will always be my cute baby boy!  Love, Mommy

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Of cloudy days and rain showers

It's really all in perspective.  Matthew 6:22-23 states, "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" It could also be stated "Your eyes are windows into your body.  If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light.  If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dan cellar.  If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!"  Oh it truly is all in the eyes!  We can live in wide eyed wonder and belief that God is good and is in control of all things, or we can live "squinty-eyed" in distrust and fear of what is to come.

Earlier this week, I was reading about Planned Parenthood and the atrocities unborn babies are enduring.  Then in another article, I read how certain companies are using these embryonic parts and my heart was overwhelmed.  Then I began thinking of the world my children are growing up in with ISIS raging war on Christianity, homosexual marriage being legalized in the US, poverty is rampant world wide, and many children desperately needing to be adopted and loved- my heart and soul were deeply saddened (and that really doesn't touch the emotional feeling, but for choice of words let's use that one). My perspective was dark.  I was focusing on the evil around me, and let the darkness of this world clouded my perspective.

This morning as I was reading a devotional from Ann Voskamp, it was overcast and cloudy outside, and I was reminded "That which seems evil, is it a cloud to bring rain, to bring a greater good to the whole of the world?  Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life?"  Deuteronomy 32:39 reminds us, "See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life.  I have wounded and it is I who heal." As if in answer to the question of using evil as clouds to bring rain,  God allowed the clouds that hovered all morning to burst with showers.  Yes, He valiantly answered, it is all for MY glory!  The water is still graciously flowing from the heavens ushering life giving water.  No matter what state our world is in, this I know, GOD IS GOOD.  He is in control, and can turn the heart of any king.

Every day is a spiritual battle and the devil "sneers at all the things that seem to have gone hideously mad in this sin-drunk world, and I gasp to say God is good...When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift?"  So, in the battle of each day, every breath is a gift.  It is all in perspective.  We can focus on the decline of our society, or we can choose to see the good.  Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds around the globe even in the face of persecution.  Children are being adopted and loved.  People are standing up for their faith and belief that homosexuality is a sin.  Organizations and missionaries like Compassion International, Gospel for Asia, FWBIM, Faith missions are planting churches and giving relief and aiding in poverty stricken areas.  In the darkness, light shines at it's brightest, and in the cloudiest of days; God rains down His glory.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Eliana's 1st Birthday!

 Little girl, you have brought about such delight.  From your darling smiles to your shuffle dances to keeping up with your big brothers we have loved each moment of you being in our lives.  We know that God has beautiful things in store for you, but for now I just want this time to slow.  I want to savor each day, each hour, each minute of being your mommy for it is one of my greatest gifts (apart from salvation and your Daddy).
 That God would bless me with your amazing Daddy and with three miracles I am humbled and reminded once again that all is grace, and in this journey of motherhood, I need grace upon grace heaped upon me.  For you three little dears have been my greatest joys and shown me my greatest weaknesses.  I am reminded daily of my shortcomings, and that in my weakness He is made strong.
 So I pray with Hannah, "'For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.' So they worshiped the Lord there." 
 The Sunday following your first birthday, we dedicated you back to God and His service (with both your Granny, Nana, & Papa there), but we also dedicated ourselves again to be parents that please God. We hop you will know that before any other thing we want for your life is a deep rooted love for God.  Yes, I want you to grow up and be in ministry and give your life away for the sake of the gospel, but if you love God with all of your heart all these other things will fall in place.
 Oh, Eliana Joy, how we love you and are so thankful for your precious life. We are so blessed to be your, Ethan, and Elliot's parents. You three truly are joys.
Love you forever, Mommy

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Elliot is 3, already!

How can three years have passed already?  Our little Houston baby has grown up into a sweet, loving, rambunctious, cutie pie.
Your curls make me smile.  Your dance moves make me laugh.  The way you run up and say "HUG" with outstretched arms melts my heart.  It seems like I blinked a little too long and you grew up on me!  This season you are in is one of my favorites.  Difficult, but oh so fun!  And the twinkle in your eyes makes me want to pull you in for a quick hug many times over in the day.

How I pray that you see Jesus in us.  We pray that He grow you into a mighty warrior, and that all of your perseverance will be put to use for kingdom work.  But even though that day seems so very far away, it will be here before I'm ready to let go.  So know that even on the days I seem a little frazzled or weary from too many "glasses of spilled milk," or the volume in our home being unseemingly loud due to the amazing fact we have three precious little ones running around; I love you beyond description.  You are a gift from God, one that we cherish.  Your vivacious spirit and love for others warms my heart.  Seeing you give your baby sister hugs is just the beginning of a strong bond you will share.  The way I see you look up to Ethan and follow in his steps is the start of a lifelong friendship.  I am so thankful for you, my baby boy!
Love you forever,

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Daddy's Day

In honor of Father's Day, I asked Ethan a few questions about his Daddy.  Here is what he said:

1. What is something daddy always says to you?  
“Listen & Do you want a big pool?  Then daddy bought me a biggest pool with a lot of water and put it in the back yard with the doggies.

What makes daddy happy? His eagle shirt 3.What makes daddy sad? When we don’t give him surprises and everyone doesn’t say Happy Father’s Day.
4.How does daddy make you laugh? He tickles me.  Then I start laughing & coughing.
 5.What was daddy like as a child?  He was silly!

6.How old is daddy?  52 miles (old)

7.How tall is daddy?

8. What is daddy’s favorite thing to do?
Work & build with construction guys.

9. What does daddy do when you’re not around?
Plays shark games by himself. (one of our pool games)
 10. What is daddy really good at? He’s good at chasing me!

 11. What is daddy not very good at? I don’t know

12. What is daddy’s favorite food?  Cereal

What makes you proud of mom?  He preaches

14. What cartoon character could daddy be?  Curious George

15. What do you and daddy do together?  Play together and that makes me happy!

16. How are you and daddy the same? Our ears

17. How are you and daddy the different?
Our fingernails
  18. How do you know daddy loves you? He gives me presents

19. What is daddy’s favorite place to go?  The beach!

20. What is your favorite thing about daddy? He makes funny faces on the window.
I have been blessed with the most amazing husband, and he is the very best daddy to our three babies!  We love you Joshua!!!  Thank you for taking such good care of us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Easter Sunday

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mommy Theology- Believing God

A Day at the zoo
One happy Nana & Mommy on Mother's Day.

The last few weeks I've been sharing and updating with thoughts as my Momma discovered she had a tumor on her spine in April. Thank you all for praying with our family for good reports and her healing. This past Monday, she called me with answered prayer that the tumor is benign!
 In this, I have learned many lessons about God's sovereignty, praising Him in all circumstances, and more so about believing Him and His promises. So many times, I take the safe route in praying. Asking God for the little things, praying for things I am pretty sure He will say yes to. Yes, it is good to pray about every , but it's time to stop praying just the “safe prayers." We are to pray believing He will do as He has promised. He will answer us. He does work everything together for good to those who trust Him. When my Momma called me with this good report, obviously I was excited- yet sadly, even though I knew God could heal her, I was in a loss of words. Even though I was praying for her healing I was mentally preparing myself for the worst case scenario. I questioned God, asking Him if she had not already endured enough physically with paralysis (that he healed her from), fibromyalgia,and rheumatoid arthritis--why this too?  He worked tenderly in my heart.  Drawing me to Himself so gracefully each morning during our time together.  Calming my anxious heart with His sweet peace. In His mercy He chose for there to be no cancer present. So with the man in Mark 9:24 I say, “Lord, I believe; help mine unbelief."  This past weekend we were able to celebrate Daddy's 55th Birthday and then Mother's day together.

Papa's buddy

Mom was the special speaker at our Ladies brunch during Sunday School.
She did a fabulous job!

Mommy Theology- God's Sovereignty

While sitting with my boys in Miss Amber’s class, hearing them sing, “Yes, God is Sovereign. Yes, God is Sovereign. Yes, God is Sovereign. He controls all things,” (tune of Jesus Loves Me.) I was reminded of this profound truth as they reviewed God’s provision and providence in Abraham and Sarah’s lives. Can you imagine God telling you to move, but not knowing where? Or being promised a child, but waiting until you were almost one hundred years old for Him to provide! In both of these drastic situations, God’s sovereignty is displayed.
In our own lives God’s controlling hand is displayed beautifully down to even the minutest details like our hair and eye color. He specifically placed you in your family- handpicking your parents and children just for you. Situations that seem out of our control, He totally has under His control. He sees the end of every trial, and is “working it out for your good and His glory.”  When we can not imagine the end of the scenario, God is already there.  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mommy Theology- The Art of Worry

Why is it that talk of trusting God is pretty easy, but actually following through can be so difficult?  We sing the songs "Only Trust Him," "I Just Keep Trusting My Lord," and quote Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart..."  Even telling someone else, "Trust God.  He's got this!" can be a simple task; but when it's your child, your marriage, or your loved one--you know the words; but worry still creeps in.  We are human, and God understands every need we have.  So with this need to trust Him,God tells us in I Peter 5:7 to "Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you."

Last week, my mama did not get the news we were hoping for.  It is not a bruise on her spine, but the doctor confirmed a tumor.  We still are unsure if it is malignant or benign, and in three months she will go back for a test to determine how quickly it is growing.  That's all I know.  After getting this news, worry crept in ever so quickly--all the "what ifs."  I cast them vehemently at His feet, but not very long after, I picked them up and began toting them all over again.

This worrying stuff and the giving it all to Jesus is a process...a journey.  Every time these "what ifs" plague my thoughts, I have a choice to make.  Trust God and rejoice or trust myself and worry.  I will not even try to convince you I make the right choice every time.  Worrying happens to be something I am really good at.  Yet, with Psalm 28:7 I can boldly declare, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; therefore, my heart rejoiced; and with my song I can praise Him."

No matter what you are dealing with or worrying about today, God is your strength and your shield.  He most definitely can be trusted!

Psalm 62:8 "Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart to Him, God is a refuge for us.  Selah."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mommy Theology- When it's Hard to Rejoice

Part 1:  Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say rejoice."  Did you read the word in the middle of this verse?  Always.  Beyond praising God in the good times, thanking Him for His gifts, past the laundry, dishes, and the ones we love who help dirty them up; yes, even in the hard circumstances.  Is it possible when the doctor calls and says the unthinkable- cancer, to have a grateful heart?  When your beloved child strays from Bible truth you have tried so faithfully to impart?  When a close friend or relative dies can you still thank Him?

Yes, dear one, I can tell you from personal experience that even in my darkest days there was still something to thank God for!  His presence.  In the times when my soul was distressed, He was there.  I have felt His sweet nearness the most at times when I so desperately needed Him.  Rejoice!  He is with you.

Part 2: Just hours after writing about rejoicing always, my mama called.  She just got a call from her doctor with inconclusive test results; so now more tests are in order this upcoming week to rule out cancer.  Our God does not work maliciously{He is always good!}, but it was as if He was asking me, "Will you still praise?"

I've wrestled in prayer; begging God for her healing or good results on upcoming tests.  But even in this, His Word tells me in I Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  I will continue to thank my Lord.  He has not for one moment forsaken me or my mama; He will not begin now!  I will keep petitioning Him on her behalf- whether or not He gives the answer I would prefer.

Keith Getty, modern day hymnist, wrote "Each strand of sorrow has a place.  Within this tapestry of grace; So through the trials I choose to say, Your perfect will in your perfect way."  Part of His will for us we see in verse 18 is giving thanks in every circumstance.

Is there a situation in your life that has "your back against a wall"?  Know that He will never leave you or forsake you.  How can I pray with you that you?  Please, use the comment section to leave prayer requests or email me.