Friday, December 31, 2010
Here is an exterior picture of our new "BUS." We are LOVING the van. Our previous suburban had benches in the back, so it was hard to get everyone situated especially in the rear bench. There was no middle or side aisle for accessing the back row. The van, on the other hand, has a side row, and I can get to the back if I need to.
Today we took a family outing to the local garden centers. Daddy hitched up the trailor, and we loaded the family and took off. As we neared our destination we explained to the children how our family needs to reflect Christ by operating as a well functioning family. We explained that we would need to walk as a family unit and with cooperation through the garden center. We would be careful to not all be talking at once, and we would try to honor our Lord by our behavior. Lauren was given the task of pushing Abbie Joy, in the umbrella stroller, and I carried Lilly Faith in the sling.
We were blessed to get our purchases at eighty percent off; what a savings! The kids did super well. The lady at the check out complimented them by telling them that, "They were the best behaved children to ever come through there." We affirmed their valiant effort to be obedient and glorify the Lord.
We then went to Whataburger for lunch. We got LOTS of stares as we parked our big "BUS" which was carrying a trailer of plants, filed five kids into the Whataburger and took them all to the bathroom. We felt like EVERY EYE was upon us. We could feel the stares. :) I think we were really an unusual sight, but we had a blast. We told the children we think we might be nearing the time that we could consider a long family road trip. I think it just might be doable with the new van.
I love this sweet picture of Lauren with the plants. She LOVES nature and the great outdoors. We bought her her own Crepe Mirtle tree as she is going to have her own flower garden towards the back of our property. She is super excited, and I am looking forward to seeing her creativity.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well, the journey of parenting is a road of many sacrifices. God is constantly doing a sanctifying work in my life through the challenges and struggles of being a mother. This journey is full of joy and blessing, but it demands a dying to self in many areas of life. Before I had children I had NO IDEA how hard it can be sometimes. I could not fathom the depth of sacrifice and strain that parenting requires. Sometimes the level of chaos and intensity of one day is just unbelievable. I think no matter how hard you try you really cannot describe how hard parenting can sometimes be. The only way to find out is to become a parent yourself. I must say, however, that all the stretching, growing, sacrificing, etc. is soooo worth it. Nothing has ever been so hard as being a mother and yet the joy and fulfillment are beyond measure. I am thankful for the high calling of motherhood, and that the Lord has entrusted me with this beautiful privilege. I am also thankful that He is using all the fatigue, chaos, and weightiness of the responsibility to prune my character and draw me close to Himself. I KNOW I am not adequate in my own strength and am forced to run to Him for guidance and strength.
Well, all of that to share with you that Matt and I recently made another sacrifice in our parenting journey. I can say we were giddy with joy in knowing this is best for our family. You see we traded in our black leather, big rimmed tires, dvd player and remote suburban in for a white, twelve passenger plain jane van. :) The people at the dealership were laughing at us, and I can say we were really happy. We know the Lord has led us on this journey, and we embrace it with all of our hearts. We know we do not look cool, lots of people think we are crazy............, but we are too busy to care. We have a joy in wholeheartedly working with all our might to raise up our five children in the ways of the Lord. We are doing kingdom work; this is our life and our ministry. It is exhausting and yet wonderfully rewarding. One day we will not need the big, ugly, white van. One day maybe I will go back to plush leather interior, and I have a feeling I will look back on these days and miss carting around my van full of blessings. Yes, I will take ugly if it is the best functioning thing for our not so little family. :) By the way, I am LOVING the plain vanilla van. It is so roomy and so much easier to get kiddos in and out. God is so good providing just what we need.
It is hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone. Somehow the years seem to be rolling by faster and faster. It makes me want to heed the prayer in Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."
We enjoyed a simple yet beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church. Matt was asked to read a passage of Scripture during the service. The children enjoyed seeing their daddy reading from the pulpit.
After church we came home and opened a few packages. We put secret codes on the children's packages instead of names. The codes were their birth dates. They had to find the hidden packages (a yearly tradition we have on Christmas Eve) and then decipher whose was whose by the birth date. The kids always get new jammies. I try to act like I do not know what they are getting, but they laugh and remind me that of course they are getting jammies. :)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Here is Lilly Faith at five months. I have to say I am humbled by her SWEETNESS! She has the most docile, sweet personality. We are enjoying her sooo much. She is rolling over, laughing, squeeling, pushing up on front arms, playing with toys, and has two front teeth on lower gums. During her fifth month our family upsized to a twelve passenger van instead of our suburban. Matt and I finally caved in and decided it is time for the big homeschool van. :) It is very roomy, and I think it is going to function really well. We are looking forward to spending Christmas with our sweet baby girl!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Well, since this is our first Christmas in our new house we thought we would try a real tree this year. We enjoyed a family outing to Dewberry Farms to pick and cut down our own Christmas tree. This is something we have never done before. It was a BEAUTIFUL day, and we enjoyed the hay ride out to the tree farm.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Lilly Faith turned four months on November the eighth. She is getting so much personality smiling, cooing, turning over, interacting, etc. She is a joy to us all.
I have been thinking this week about how much our children are our ministry. They are God's sanctifying work in our lives. There is nothing like children to bring out the worst in us, and the more children I have the more I see the ugliness of my own selfishness. The Lord uses my children to prune my character and make me depend upon Him more and more. I love what Nancy Leigh DeMoss said, "Anything that makes us need God is good, and what makes a mother need God more than having children?" So true!!!
In recent days I have had moments of desperation feeling that I'm in over my head at times. I feel like the Lord is using our growing family once more to show me my utter helplessness apart from Him. He has me where He wants me when I feel desperate and needy. It is a healthy place to be. I also feel that He continues to show me how greatly blessed we are with each of our children. They are a ministry with eternal value.
Yes, if I did not have so many I could have more freedom. I could focus more on my physical appearance, I could have lunch with girlfriends, I could shop more, pour myself into hobbies, fixing up my home, and even involve myself in good pursuits. Those are things that I have laid on the alter for this season of my life. I am working hard to put my priorities in order. First God, then husband and children. I wish I could make a one time decision and I would always have things in balance, but alas this is a daily dying to self process and daily choosing to say, "Lord, what next?" "Lord, what would you have me to do today?" "Lord, please just help us to accomplish your will for this day!" I am learning to relinquish my own agendas and just be available for the Lord to work through me each day. I am learning to be flexible.
I see more and more that my children are a gift to me and bring me much joy. However, this whole thing is much bigger than my personal happiness. Matt and I are choosing to engage in kingdom work as we raise our children. I started out the journey of motherhood thinking about our happiness in having what I envisioned as the perfect family. Well, I am learning that all of this is not about my happiness. Joy is just an added blessing. This is about the work that the Lord has called us to. What could be more fulfilling than laying down my life to disciple these little children whom the Lord has entrusted to my care? I think for a woman there is no higher calling. I am privileged that the Lord has allowed me to be a mother and is teaching me so much through this journey.
I thought I was a strong christian before children, but children have shown me the reality of my selfishness and how desperately I need Christ moment by moment. I have daily moments of feeling overwhelmed, but it is a moment by moment walk and choosing to turn to Christ one situation at a time. I would be embarrassed to admit how often I blow it. I am learning, I am growing, I have a long way to go. I thank my Heavenly Father for stretching me and growing me through the process. I thank Him for stretching me out of my comfort zone and asking more of me than I feel I have to give. It is through the stretching that I am growing. His ways are always best!
The children and I were reading from Luke chapter one yesterday. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and told him about the coming birth of his son John the Baptist. John the Baptist would prepare the way for the Savior who would offer hope to a hurting world. One of the things John would do is, "Turn the hearts of the fathers to the children." Luke 1:17 It struck me that when things are right and as God would have them to be that parents hearts are turned toward children. Unfortunately in our culture today children are not valued as gifts. Many children are raising themselves because their parents are too busy. Many parents are more preoccupied in careers, community service, church ministry, etc. God wants parents hearts to be turned towards their children. It saddens my heart when I see parents celebrating every opportunity to drop kids off here or there to get rid of them. I know we need breaks. I would be the first to admit that, but I have to keep looking at my heart and asking hard questions about where my heart is. God wants my heart to be continually turned towards Him, towards my husband, and towards my children. I have to be so careful to not let "Good" things become more of a focus than the obvious ministry right under my nose. My husband and children are my first and primary ministry at this season of my life.
Well, that was a long happy fourth month birthday to Lilly Faith. She is a doll; I am so thankful for her. I just felt like writing out some of my musings on motherhood. These are some of the thoughts that have been mulling around in my head this week. God has blessed me so much with our five wonderful blessings. I am blessed.
Monday, October 25, 2010
It is hard to believe, but Matt and I just celebrated eleven years of marriage. I am incredibly blessed by the wonderful man God gave me to be my husband.
We spent the day shopping for a bicycle for me and a bicycle trailer to pull behind it. We bought the bike and brought it home. Matt and I took a short bike ride. It had been years since I last rode a bike. It felt good, but I quickly saw how out of shape I am.
After our bike ride we went to dinner at Lupe Tortilla's. It was a simple anniversary but good. Anytime I get to spend with my husband is good in my eyes. We seldom get time to go out without all the children, so it was good. We did take Lilly Faith though.
After eleven years it is encouraging to look back and see how the Lord has grown us in our knowledge of Him, our understanding of each other, and He is continuing to grow us as the years fly by. We are both striving to grow in Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood. It is our desire to live out the roles God has designed us to fulfill. As we live out what God has created us to be it draws us closer as a couple.
I am so blessed by my husband's sacrificial love and leadership of me and our children. I love his passion for the Word of God and how he directs me to God's Word for encouragement. I love how he is my best friend and listens to me share my heart. I am very thankful for Matt and love him with all my heart.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I found this poem over at generationcedar.com It ministered to me immensely. Is it just enough that my Father God sees my endeavors day in and day out? He sees and He cares even when no one else fully understands. I thought this poem was really powerful. I hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.
Let It Be Enough
Let it be enough, that just my Father sees,
The child-shaped castles that I build,
The falling on my knees.
Let it be enough, that just my Father knows,
The tasks I start and have to stop–
How fast a two-year-old goes!
Let it be enough, that just my Father feels,
My every waking moment spent
With “The Questioner” on my heels.
Let it be enough, that just my Father hears,
How many times a day I referee
Between the tears.
Let it be enough, that just my Father understands,
The messes I clean up–the toes, the bottoms, and the hands!
May I be, (without an eye to see) content to work,
Without a paycheck, no “teacher of the year” or other perk.
May I resolve, each passing day, while all around me mock,
To press on–keep investing in this sweet eternal stock!
March 8, 2008
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Lauren loves an opportunity to crochet gifts. She made Annagrace a Strawberry Shortcake.
She was a happy girl!
Even Daddy played pin the jewel on the tiarra.
Annagrace is a sweetie. See Lilly Faith in the background?
Our Precious Annagrace turned four on October the 2nd. We had a good time celebrating with her at home and taking her to a fall carnival at her Grandad and Grandmother's church. She dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake since that was the theme of her party. The fall flowers were for her.
I am very late in posting this since Lilly Faith turned three months on October 8th. I think I am late in posting every month, but at least it gets posted at some point. :) Doesn't she look huge? She is growing like a weed, loves to babble and smile. She is the sweetest, easiest baby imaginable. She is sleeping through the night every night now. That is a huge blessing to us! What can I say, I just love and adore this precious gift from the Lord.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Today we are in the car and Gabriel says:
"Mama, I think there is something special about your cooking." I asked him what that is. He said, "You put a special ingredient in it called love." Oh my goodness! What a sweet boy I have been blessed with. Have I ever mentioned I love this boy? :)
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This one is powerful. It made me cry like a baby. How fast our little ones are growing up. Such a good reminder to love our children well while we still have them in our homes. They will be all grown up before we know it. The video made me bawl my eyes out, and Stephen's story after the video made me laugh. Be sure to watch this with a box of tissues.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Jess, over at http://makinghome.blogspot.com/, gave me the idea to do a recap of the week sharing any seven items I fancy. I have been wanting to try this even though I am not sure how faithful I will be to post each weekend. It is worth a try though. :)
- On Friday Lauren yells the dreaded words, "SNAKE!" I checked it out from a distance and discovered that yes indeed there WAS a real live snake on the side of the garage very near our house. Matt found and killed another yesterday. May the Lord protect us is all I can say. My nerves are a bit frazzled over the matter.
- Fall weather has finally made an appearance here in Texas, and we are Very Much enjoying it!!!
- Today we had our family picture taken at church for an upcoming directory. I won't bore you with the details of how much work it took to match everone's clothes, socks, hair bows....let it suffice to say that it was a LOT of work finding all the matching this and that. Well, we barely made it to church on time, and when it was time to pose for the picture Gabriel was sticking his tongue out with Annagrace following suit. After several shots someone was nice enough to let us know, so then we tried again. Well, none of the pics came out good. This means that we have to wash and iron the clothes and then try again at another time. Hmmm I hope he learned his lesson. Daddy and Mama were NOT happy.
- We finished our third week of school last week. It is chaotic with the little bitties, but overall I think it is going well.
- I love a bargain, and I love smocked dresses. Today I found a dress for Lauren that normally costs 132.99. It was the last one, and I paid 26.00. That is still more than I typically spend on a dress for her, but I thought over a hundred dollars off was hard to turn down. It is beautiful.
- This cooler weather has motivated me towards making soups, chili, fall breads, etc. I stocked up on ingredients to make winter foods and am going to try to start with chili tomorrow.
- Annagrace turned four yesterday. She enjoyed a small party at home with a Strawberry Short Cake theme. Since she turned four she now gets to go to Children's Worship training at our church and a Sunday school for her age. Before she was just in the nursery. She came out very excited and telling us all about what she did. I am so happy that she is excited about it. She also gets to attend big church with us for the singing before the sermon. It is nice to have her worshipping with us.
Well, that is a recap of some of our happenings this past week. Perhaps I will do a seven quick takes from time to time. Have a great week, everyone!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
One of my favorite authors is Sally Clarkson. She writes books of encouragement for mothers, my favorite being "Mission Motherhood." She posted a recipe on her blog that I tried and thought I should pass on. It was yummy! If pumpkin apple struessal muffins wet yout appetite click here http://wholeheart.typepad.com/itakejoy/2010/09/autumn-feasting.html
We had fun making these muffins in a heart shaped muffin tin. My kids always think muffins are better if they come in fun shapes. :)
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I copied this list from proverbs14verse1.blogspot.com/
I can sure relate to the part about a large family providing many opportunities for building patience. So true!!!
-Accept donations of restaurant-size cookware!!!
-are CHAOTIC and NOISY and FUN
-have no matching socks...but 58 white non- mates
-always have someone to play with... never bored or lonely
-lots of babysitters, readers, and rockers
-never have a dull meal
-are never picky eaters! there's someone to eat it!!!
-have an ever ready sports team
-never have moldy leftovers (ha!)
-and yes the parents DO know what causes them...
-and no, moms are not supermoms or super organized
-do not have overabundance of patience, just lots of opportunities to cultivate patience!
(Source-A Christian Home)
Large families are a blessing in so many ways and children are a joy to raise. Money might be tighter but the riches of having a large family are priceless!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I have an excellent book on my shelf titled "Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free." It is written by one of my favorite Bible teachers Nancy Leigh DeMoss. The book basically puts out a lot of lies we women are prone to believe and contrasts them with the truths in God's Word. I thought it might be fun to go through the book and post some of the lies vs. truths on my blog to share with my readers. Hopefully it will be mutually edifying. :) I might end up making it a series as there is no way I could get it all in one post. Please be sure and share if something speaks to you. :)
Lie: God Is Not Really Good
- God Is Good , And Everything He Does Is Good
"Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! - Ps 31:19
- God Never Makes Mistakes
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His pupose." -Romans 8:28
Lie: God Doesn't Love Me
- God's love for me is infinite and unconditional.
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." - Eph. 3:14-19
- I don't have to perform to earn God's love or favor
- God always has my best interests at heart - Ps 21
This last one is a good reminder to me. I know God loves me, but I find myself feeling less loved when I'm not meeting up to my expectations of myself. It is comforting to know that my Savior LOVES me for me in my ups and downs and struggles and all. I don't love my children any less when they disappoint me. I just want to help them to do better. How comforting to remember that the Lord loves me no less when I mess things up. He just wants to help me to keep being conformed to His image becoming more and more like Him day by day.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Here I go with more catch up blogging. Our sweet Lilly Faith turned 2 months on September the eighth. Time seems to fly faster with every baby. We are so incredibly blessed to have this little bundle of sweetness in our family. She is smiling a lot and sometimes starts cooing and babbling at us.
She is on average having her last feeding around nine and then not feeding again until between five and seven the next morning. That is fabulous! She does not always go straight through the night. Some nights she does wake up once, but overall she is sleeping really well at night. We attribute her doing so well to the flexible scheduling we've had her on since day one. Basically we have taken a lot of ideas from the book "Babywise" about how to put a baby on a routine of eat, play and sleep. This enables their bodies to get the calories they need in the day, to have enough wake time during the day, and to also get the naps they need. Every baby is different, but this routine has worked beautifully for Lilly Faith. We have tried it to some degree with all of our babies, but we have had better success with the last two. I think that is because they have been easy babies and we have had a lot better parental insight as to what it really is they are needing when they cry. I think with Lauren, our first baby, we thought she needed to eat every time she cried. That was a big mistake as it turned into demand feeding with her. Everytime she was unsettled she would want to nurse. She wouldn't take full feedings just "snacks" and then I would end up being on demand all the time. Through the years Matt and I have become much more at ease with parenting newborns. Now we can better distinguish the difference between the "I'm hungry cry" and the "I'm tired cry." Anyway, between Lilly Faith being an easy baby and us being more seasoned parents I'm happy to report that things are going very well with her. She is the easy part of our job. The schooling and discipling, training, etc. of the older children is what is challenging at this point. I know the Lord has much growth for us in those areas as well. I'm constantly asking Him to guide us and help us in this parenting journey. It seems there is always something new and challenging. I have to say that having the sweetness of a little baby in the house brings joy and laughter that is healthy for all ages.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
After the pedicures and Sweet Pea Beauty we had fun setting the table with china and having some tea. Lauren taught us that if we do not want anymore tea we should turn our cup upside down and set it on the saucer. Apparently she learned that from one of her American Girl stories. Maybe that is something I should have known, but since I have not attended too many teas this was new information to me.
I'm catching up on posts here. While the girls were being pampered with pedicures we watched the new Veggie Tales movie Sweet Pea Beauty. It was really cute and had a good message. I'm not always a huge fan of Veggie Tales, but this one I really liked. I recommend it for any little princesses who may live in your house. :)
Last week I had a special day with Lauren, Annagrace and Lilly Faith. I gave them pedicures to begin with.
It was fun treating my little girls so special.
Lauren's pretty toes.
I know she is young, but I couldn't leave her out hee hee.
This year we are studying the Human Body and began by learning about cells. Today we had fun making a model of a cell. We put lemon jello into a zip loc bag and pushed a grape down into the jello.
The bag represented the cell membrane which protects our cells. The jello represented the cytoplasm, a jelly like substance, and the grape represented the nucleus or control center for the cell. The cell changed shape as we pushed around on the bag. Doing experiments is not my strong point, but I hope to do more in the days ahead. The kids really enjoyed it and I did too!