Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Modesty Starts in the Heart

Great thoughts from C.J. Mahaney.....I loved this.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Keeping them Busy!

Here are some recent teeny tot activities happening at our house. Abbie Joy received the Melissa & Doug puzzle for valentine's, and Annagrace loved a beginner's sewing kit. The girls also enjoyed the alphabet sticker matching activity. I'm always looking for new ideas as this trio of little girls loves for me to keep the activities coming.

Her Daddy's Birthday

Since Lauren just finished a cake decorating class she was very eager to make Daddy's birthday cake last week. We enjoyed yummy carrot cake. She also decorated the dining room for the party. It is nice to have an older daughter to take over some of the party preparations these days.

Final Cakes

As I mentioned in a previous post, Lauren and I just finished a Wilton cake decorating class. Here are our final cakes. Mine is the white and hers is the colored roses. She wrote, "Lauren loves her family." Sweet!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting READY!

Psalms 104:14
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth

It is that time again.....spring is in the air! The children and I made a big trip to town today. We went to Sam's to buy some raised/box garden beds. Wouldn't you KNOW it started raining while we were shopping and we did not have an umbrella. :( Let me just tell you that is not a good scenario when your Sam's cart is loaded and five children are with you. I was so thankful for the sweet lady at the door who called some help for me. A nice guy came and stood with my three older children at the door while I pulled the van up front. Then he helped me to load up the van. Times like that really make you thankful for help! After that we dropped off some things at a donation drop off and then headed to the garden center. We were able to buy some flowers and some garden vegetable plants. They still do not have everything in stock but we got a start. We also came home with eighteen bags of dirt in our van. I could feel the weight of the loaded down van as I drove home. The children helped me drag the bags of dirt out of the van and found creative ways of getting the bags where we wanted them. They used the red wagon (ONE OF THE BEST PURCHASES WE HAVE EVER MADE!!!) and the Barbie jeep to get the bags around. Lauren even propped up bags on the seat of a tricycle and pushed them. It was fun to see them so excited and working hard as a family team. We are all excited to get some things planted!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cakes, Cakes, Cakes

Lauren and I have been taking a four week Wilton cake decorating class. Here are pictures of her fish and my cupcake designs. We have learned to mix icings to different consistencies, transfer pictures onto a cake using piping gel, and experiment with different tips. There is much to learn, and we are very new to this. are some first attempts. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Power of the Word of God

I am a huge fan of Revive Our Hearts radio broadcast/podcast I have gleaned so much from the Bible teaching of Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Here is part of the transcript from today's broadcast. She relayed a story John MacArthur told about the power of the Word of God. Sadly, in our culture many have forgotten the POWER of God's Word. Many are trading in the Word of God for entertainment trying to lure the lost through human ingenuity. We need to get back to the basics and teach the Word of God which is "living and active."

Hebrews 4:12
English Standard Version (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

"The Word of God is powerful enough on its own to break down all human resistance and opposition. In Jeremiah 23 God says, “Is not My word like a fire? . . . and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (v. 29 NKJV). The Word of God is powerful. It can take the hardest heart and break it down, bring it into submission.

We think we need all kinds of things, plus the Word of God, to change people’s lives today. So many of our church programs have so many activities and so many efforts to get people to change their lives. We’ve got to have great big impressive programs and music and dramas and messages and great orators and communicators—and you know what? We’ve lost our confidence in the power of the Word of God to transform people’s lives.

One of the greatest stories I’ve ever heard along that line is told by Dr. John MacArthur in his book called Our Sufficiency in Christ. And I want to read this story. As I’ve shared with women before, they have told me that it’s been so meaningful to them, so let me just read about this exchange.

Pastor MacArthur says:

Not long ago a man I had never met before walked into my office and said, “I need help. I feel strange coming to you because I’m not even a Christian. I’m Jewish. Until a few weeks ago I had never even been in a church. But I need help from someone, so I decided to talk to you.”

I assured him I would do my best to help him. The conversation went something like this:

“I’ve been divorced twice,” he said, “and now I’m living with a woman who is my lover. I don’t even like her, but I haven’t got the courage to leave her and go back to my second wife.”

“I’m a medical doctor,” he continued. “Worse, I’m an abortionist. Last year in my clinic we did nine million dollars’ worth of abortions. I don’t do only therapeutic abortions; I do abortions for any reason. And if a woman doesn’t have a reason, I give her a reason.

“Six weeks ago I came to Grace Community Church on a Sunday morning, and I’ve been coming every week since. Last week you preached a message called ‘Delivered to Satan.’ If there was ever anyone on earth who was delivered to Satan, it’s me. I’m absolutely miserable and unhappy. I’m continually seeing a psychoanalyst and I’m not getting any help at all. I can’t stand the guilt of all this. I don’t know what to do about it. Can you help me?”

Dr. MacArthur says,

I said to him, “No. I can’t help you.” He looked at me startled. Sheer desperation was evident in his face. I let it sink in. Then I said, “But I know Someone who can help you: Jesus Christ.”

He said sadly, “But I don’t know who He is.”

I said, “Would you like to know who Jesus Christ is?”

He said, “I would if He can help me.”

I reached over and took a Bible off my desk and opened it to the Gospel of John. I said, “I want you to take this book home and read this part called the Gospel of John. I want you to keep reading until you know who Jesus Christ is. Then call me again.”

Later that week I was recounting the incident for the pastor of another church. He said, “Is that all you gave him? Just the Gospel of John? Why didn’t you give him some help, some tapes, some questions to answer—something? Just the Bible?"

I said, “Don’t worry. The Bible is like a lion. You don’t need to defend it. Just open the door and let it out. It’ll take care of itself. If his heart is open at all, the Bible can do more to reach him than I could do with reams of other study material. What could I possibly give him that’s more powerful than the Scripture itself?”

The next Friday I received a telephone call. The doctor wanted to see me again. We made an appointment. He showed up precisely on time, came into the office, walked past me as if I weren’t there, sat on the couch, dropped the Bible beside him, and said, “I know who He is.”

I said, "You do?"

He said, “Yes, I do.”

“Who is he?” I asked.

“I’ll tell you one thing—He’s not just a man.”

I said, “Really? Who is He?”

“He’s God!” he said with finality.

“You, a Jew, are telling me that Jesus Christ is God?” I asked. “How do you know that?”

He said, “It’s clear. It’s right there in the Gospel of John.”

“What convinced you?” I asked.

“Look at the words He said, and look at the things He did! No one could say and do those things unless He was God.” He was echoing the apostle John’s thesis perfectly.

I nodded enthusiastically.

He was on a roll. “Do you know what else he did? He rose from the dead! They buried Him, and three days later, He came back from the dead! That proves He is God, doesn’t it? God Himself came into this world!”

I asked him, “Do you know why He came?"

“Yes. He came to die for my sin.”

“How do you know that?” I asked.

“Because I liked John so well, I read Romans. And as soon as I clean up my life, I’m going to become a Christian.”

I said, “That’s the wrong approach. Receive Him as your Lord and Savior now, and let Him clean up your life.” Then I asked the man, “What would such a decision mean in your career?”

“Well,” he said, “I spent this afternoon writing my resignation letter to the abortion clinic. When I get out of here I’m going to call my second wife and bring her to church with me.” And he did.

“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” The Word of God is alive, Hebrews tells us. It’s powerful. It’s sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of the joints and morrow; and it’s a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12 paraphrased).

So often today in our efforts to reach people, we underestimate the power of the Word of God. And when we do, we’re forced to rely on our human efforts, our ability to talk, to impress, our strategies, our resources, and our methods.

Those things can be helpful, but they’re no replacement for the power of that great Lion, the Word of God."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great Wisdom from Sally Clarkson

This is way to good not to post............It really brings things into perspective.

Sally Clarkson:

"I have spent the last several weeks speaking at conferences. I constantly meet moms who are trying to homeschool the best way and be sure that their children get it “all”. How blessed your children are to have you as their moms. However, I want to encourage each of you to relax. Homes have been the place where genius has been birthed, leaders have been made for thousands of years. It was because of the faithful mothers who have trained their children in character, given them chores to do, had discussions over the dinner meal, and read the Bible to their children. I feel so strongly that parents are so intent on getting the “best” experience in education, while not understanding that the most important aspect in a child's education is the mentoring and directing of the parents over the personality, influences, peer relationships, and character development.

So many moms have asked me, “Do you know about this or that two day a week school and how it works and if it will help my child educationally?” I have lived through three of my children graduating and I have seen amazing results in their lives even though we didn't have perfect school days or have consistent schedules. (Seventeen moves, six times internationally, car accidents, illnesses, etc.) Yet, my children have scored at the top on their SAT's, received scholarships or pursued other areas in the arts and ministry where they were able to excel. What is the most important to me, though, is that, by God's grace, our children still love us and listen to us and love the Lord and are seeking Him.

I have been to several national and international leadership conferences in the past year and am sick to find out the statistics of the youth culture—79% of children who grew up in Christian homes leave their Christian faith when they go to college. The appalling statistics of youth who are still virgins by the age of 17 is beyond comprehension. These were just statistics to me until they started turning up in my basement–our kids rec room–friends of my children who had grown up in church and some in homeschool groups who were in tears, confessing to my boys that they were sleeping with their Christian girlfriends and didn't know how to stop and feeling guilty. With the rampant sexuality on tv and on the web and the immoral standards of movies, and the leisure time that children have with other children who are not monitored in their homes–and in your neighborhood, I must say—puts pressure on your children to want to conform and places temptation in their pathway. So the question of schools or not depends on what peers they will become heart connected to–what morals the people in the school have, how emotionally attached they become to those in the school that could lead their heart astray.

In other words, focusing on educational classes primarily is, as I have said in my conferences, “straightening the picture on a wall of a house that is burning down.”

Your goal in education is reaching their heart, filling their emotional cup, teaching them moral foundations, capturing their vision for life for the kingdom of God, teaching them what it looks like to walk through difficult times while holding tight to the hand of God. May God grant you understanding and faith to follow these paths and to raise up a strong generation for Him."

Sally Clarkson

Cannot Quench Love

This year was my thirteenth year to have Matthew Adams as my Valentine. I have to say whether we have gone out on a fun date or been home with sick children Valentine's with my special man is a blessing. This year we were home as life has been too crazy to think about going anywhere. After the children went to bed we had some scrumptious carry out desserts. The menu consisted of carrot cake, snicker's pie, chocolate covered strawberries, and white chocolate mocha decaf. We ate our delicacies on small china plates, and enjoyed coffee in our new Mr. and Mrs. mugs. I purchased them for Valentine's along with a Mr. and Mrs. journal.

The journal is so creative. One side says Mr. and is a place where Matt can journal and write anything to me. The flip side of the journal says Mrs. and is a place for me to write to Matt. I began writing in the Mrs. side by writing fourteen things I love about Matt on February fourteenth. I think the journal is going to be something sweet and encouraging between us. This verse:

"Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it." - Song of Solomon 8:7

is printed on the inside of the mugs. The other night Matt and I were reading our couples devotional and came across the question of what keeps our marriage in tact. We discussed that thought and said that the Lord being at the center of our relationship has kept us strong. Also, the fact that we are committed. That means we don't look for an out when things are hard. We work at the marriage. We also keep seeking to grow and learn. Books, teaching videos, and christian family podcasts such as are helpful tools to keep us growing. Most importantly, marriage is like a triangle where Christ is at the top point. Matt is at one of the lower points, and I am at the other lower point. As Matt and I grow closer to the Lord we naturally grow closer to each other. There is a real sweetness in our fellowship when we are learning and growing from God's Word and can talk about those things together. Matt and I are not perfect, and we have to work to keep connected. There are stresses in life and a lot of little people in our home that can easily pull us from deep fellowship. I am thankful for Matt and for the Lord who gave him to me. I am thankful that,

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in US (Matt and Ruth/ my paraphrase) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Glimpses of our Valentine's Day 2012

7 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." I John 4:7-12

I went to bed so stressed last night. We have had ongoing illnesses and trips to the ER with croup, etc. Now our precious Lilly Faith has an ear infection. So, I went to bed thinking about all the chaos, the loads of laundry, the school work that needed attending to today, the fact that the whole house needed straightening, and the fact that I really had not planned out our Valentine's day very well as everything else on our plate for this week. Well, I prayed and asked the Lord to quiet my heart and grant me sleep. "For he grants sleep to those he loves." - Ps 127:2 Sleep finally came, but not uninterrupted as the baby was wrestles and fussy. Regardless, we got up this morning, and I asked the Lord to please help me accomplish all I should today and to help me to make Valentine's as special as I could for my family. Even Annagrace came down and asked why the table wasn't like Valentine's? Well, that did not make me feel like MOM OF THE YEAR, but I assured the children that I did know it was Valentine's, the day was not over, and Mama was going to try to do some fun things with them. Honestly, it is frustrating to me that I did not have a fun filled, special day all planned out, but we have been trying to squeeze fun into all the other chaos swarming around us today. Here are some of the things we did:

*Most of us wore red or pink

*Lauren made her first ever Whoopie Pies (from a cake mix)

*Play Dough hearts

*The littles made Lady Bug Valentine's frames (Kits from Hobby Lobby)

*We did also do some school and some cleaning up, and I browned a huge thing of beef before it went bad in the fridge.

So, praise the Lord His mercies are new every morning.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

I am thankful He has helped me with our "not so perfectly planned out" Valentine's Day. It really is not about perfection at all, but I tend to forget that sometimes. Later today Daddy and I are going to give each of our little Valentines a small gift and maybe read a story about love. Perhaps "Guess How Much I Love You?" or something similar. Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

p.s. Also, the beautiful roses are from my WONDERFUL VALENTINE SWEETHEART who is at work right now. :)

Mixing Bowls and Sticker Fun

Recently I was mixing up some cake mix and allowed Lilly Faith to assist me. She loved the opportunity and loved the cake mix batter! In fact I was able to hide some of her medicine in the cake mix which was so helpful. I think I am including my little ones in my work more than ever before. They love to help, and even though it takes me a little more time they are being trained and developing a love for the home arts. Not to mention it is just time invested in them that makes them feel important.
Also, Abbie Joy has recently been enjoying making pictures with a page of stickers. She was so meticulous about putting all these little stickers on her paper. Since we are going through a lot of stickers it is important to find a good deal on them. I often find whole sticker books at Michael's for a dollar, and of course a coupon brings them down even cheaper. Those are two activities my girls have enjoyed in recent days.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fun Little Workbooks

We recently started Annagrace and Abbie Joy on some fun little workbooks. The artwork in the books would suggest that they originate with the Amish or Mennonite people. They are simply illustrated with themes such as indoor and outdoor work. The activities have been fun such as learning how a place setting goes, matching, coloring, beginning writing, etc. I like the simplicity of the pages, and since I love all things Amish they are attractive to me. :) Annagrace was happy to finish her first book this week.
One funny thing to note is that Abbie Joy's book directs her to color different pages different colors. Basically there is a color focus for different pages. If you thumb through her book you will see that she is VERY partial to the color pink. At times I was able to convince her to try another color, but pink is her color of choice even if the whole page is supposed to be yellow.