Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Get Up and Do the Work!

Lately I have been reading through 1 Chronicles in the Old Testament. Yesterday, I felt like I was dragging myself through this book. There is a whole lot of "so-in-so from such-and-such tribe was in charge of this-and-that." I was really trying to read every detail, but I found myself hoping 1 Chronicles would be over soon. Almost as soon as those thoughts came into my head I came across this verse:

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. -1 Chronicles 28:20a

King David spoke these words to his son Solomon who was to inherit the throne soon. David wanted to build a temple for God while he was king, but God stopped him and informed him his son was the one he chose to do this work. David was giving Solomon all the instructions and details he had received from God on how to build the temple. Building God's temple wasn't something that would be done easily or to be taken lightly. For Solomon I imagine receiving this command was overwhelming and a little scary (it would be for me anyways!). But, for Solomon it wasn't a task he should fear. God had set him apart to do this work. Not his father David, but him. God wanted Solomon to carry out this work. God would be with him every step of the way, if Solomon would just trust him and be obedient.

This scripture was something I currently needed to read. It shed a lot of light on my own heart. When God lays something on my heart to do, sometimes I panic a bit. God has asked me to do things that I knew would be impossible on my own. Even though He has been faithful time and time again to do the impossible in my own life, I still have the tendency to panic with each new task.

I also have the tendency to get discouraged or even give up if I don't see positive results or if I cannot see the light at the end. I have walked away from many tasks because I was too discouraged. When I think about how selfish that is, it saddens me. When I give up because I'm too discouraged or scared I'm simply not trusting God.

If God tells you to do His work, He's going to give you all you need to accomplish it. He will never leave you or forsake you. When we let those feelings of fear or discouragement creep in instead we need to go to God. He alone can renew our strength and give us the endurance to keep pressing on.

Is there something you know God wants you to do, but you've put it off or tried to push it on someone else? Be honored that God wants to use you to accomplish His work.

Instead be strong and courageous and do the work! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ice Cream Party

My baby girl turned the big 6 a week ago (I have no idea how this happened!) We had an ice-cream themed party per her request. Most of the party ideas came from one of my favorite places on the Internet, and where I spend way too much time, Pinterest.

The ice cream balloons were Hayden's favorite, and super easy to do! (I do not do difficult when it comes to party decorating.)

My Hay-bay with her ice cream cakes. I also made these, I was feeling extra crafty for this year's party. These took a little time, but were also pretty simple to do, and they were so cute. I received lots of compliments on their cuteness, which makes an amateur like me feel pretty good.

You can't have an ice cream party without ice cream! We had a little ice cream bar. Lots of toppings and of course root beer for root beer floats.

Hayden really really wanted face painting at her party. I was a little nervous over this because I would be the face painter. However, I didn't do too bad a job. The girls loved it, the boys were too busy playing :)

We are very fortunate to be able to have our party at the campground. Lots of space for kids to run and play, and lots of things to play with. The boys spent a lot of time at the Foosball table.

Little brother enjoying his ice cream cake. I'm pretty sure I caught him eating 2 or 3. This boy...

We are a very blessed family. We have wonderful family and friends who shower my kids with gifts every year. I'm so thankful for each of them. I could never show enough gratitude.

Lastly, I had to show a picture of my gift from my sweet Hayden. She bought her mommy flowers to say thank-you for her birthday party. She is the best!

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. -Psalm 127:3

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mama Grizzly Bear

I cannot tell you the exact moment it finally hit me, but it was very recently…

The last few weeks of December seemed to go on forever and ever. The longer Hayden was out of school the more out of routine our family became. I felt all I did the entire day, every day, was say “No! Stop it! Leave your brother/sister alone! That is his/her toy, give it back!” On top of that they both seem to be really cranky towards each other and Kerry and myself. My “angels” were driving me crazy.

I’ve always known that siblings fought. I can recall numerous arguments between my little brother and myself. Once I was livid with him because he kept saying “you’re Gaston, you’re Gaston, you’re Gaston” (villain from Beauty and the Beast, trust me, it was a horrible insult at the time). I finally had my fill and hit him in the nose, but then I quickly began apologizing because I didn’t want to him to tattle.

Okay, back to my children. I was counting down the days when school would start back. I felt if we just had our schedule and routine back that all would be well, and I simply wanted a break from the chaos!

Somewhere in all that mess God began to reveal my role in all this. “What Lord?!” I began questioning God. “How on earth is THEIR constant fighting in any way my fault?” “I am simply trying to keep them from destroying each other and my sanity!”

Why I continue to question God when He’s always proven to be right in my own life is baffling, I know. He CREATED me—very stubborn at that—but I always feel the need to debate Him at first. I think He probably laughs at my ridiculousness…very often.

Anyhow, after I wrapped up my closing argument for why my five-year-old and two-year-old were at fault (I know…so mature), God began to reveal my attitude and how it was affecting our family… especially my morning attitude.

I am what you call “not a morning person.” Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. I despise early morning. Now to add to this problem Kerry and Hayden are not morning people either. So you have three very grouchy people in our family come morning, and then there is my Deacon.

Deacon has always been a morning child. He wakes up so happy and ready for the day. Naps he wakes up somewhat cranky, but morning he is all smiles. Lately Deacon has started climbing out of his crib (yes crib, we haven’t transferred him yet) and marching directly in to our bedroom somewhere between 6:00 & 6:30 AM every morning. He has never been a quiet child, and morning is no exception. He bursts into our room every morning like the police and announces one of the following:

“MaaaaaMaaaaa, Daaaaaadeeeee, wake up! I want nanna (banana) and shamwich (peanut butter sandwhich)!


“I go pee pee da potty” (translation: take me to the potty)…


“I wanna watcha shows!” (turn the TV on now, preferably to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)

He is so chipper, peppy, and loud. Every morning I am cranky and annoyed. I’m sure as you are reading this you are feeling terrible for my poor son, as you should, since I am a grizzly bear at this hour.

Then it’s time to wake my junior grizzly bear for school. I get really cranky with her because I have to drag her out of bed daily. When she does get up, she stares at herself in the mirror for 10 minutes before she’ll actually brush her teeth. Kerry and I are baffled by this one, and I promise she does it without fail, every day. We then must tell her multiple times to get dressed as she pokes along. I surprisingly have no empathy for her even though I am responsible for passing on this anti-morning gene.

Let me take a brief moment to say something to my dear mother. Mom, I do realize I was this same child—minus the mirror debacle—and I’m so sorry.

People, you really do pay for your raising. All teens out there, pay close attention, your current obnoxious attitudes/habits will come back to haunt you one day…in your children.

Anyhow, this is how I started off my mornings—for way too long. God has shown me my mornings (along with every other part of the day) belong to Him. I was wasting them on my cranky selfish attitude. My sinful attitude set the tone for me and my children very early in the morning and sometimes carried throughout the day. This is tragic to me now looking back. I’ve wasted a whole lot of time with these precious babies of mine. My justifications for not being a “morning person” were garbage to me now (as I’m sure they were to God).

“God forgive me; I love my husband and children too much to continue on with this morning attitude.” I decided as much as a struggle it was I would allow God to begin changing my morning attitude. I still do not leap out of bed every morning with a huge smile on my face. I have let a snappy moment or two slip out a few times. But when my little ball of energy bursts into our bedroom at 6:00 AM roaring and ready to go I pray, and try to make a conscience effort to give him the loving mama he needs.

I’ve heard people with grown children say over and over again that I should cherish my children now while they’re little because it goes by really fast. I’ve always known that (Hayden really should still be a baby), but I didn’t internalize it until now. I love these two precious children more than life itself. Even though they drive me nuts sometimes I am learning to appreciate and soak up every minute I have with them.

I have prayed for a long time above all else when my children see me they see Jesus and his love in me. But I wasn’t allowing Jesus love to be seen in me in the mornings. I don’t think--I know--Jesus would not have the attitude I had when woke up every early morning.

I’ve wasted enough of my children’s years with that anti-morning mess. My kids are going to see my love pouring out for them whether it’s 6:00 AM or 6:00 PM. This family of mine is a gift from God and I refuse to treat it any other way.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” –Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, January 08, 2012

My New Old Love

I never really intend to come up with a New Year’s resolution. But sometimes they find me. Sometimes they are just things I would like to do, and they just happen to come to mind around the New Year. This year was one of those years. About a week before New Years I decided I want to replace my constant TV watching with reading books.

As a child I loved to read books and have books read to me. There is a picture of me as kid, (probably four years old) sitting on my bed holding a “Read Along” book and listening to the tape. Those were awesome (minus the scary chime indicating a page turn). I loved Reading Rainbow--butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high—okay, sorry. I always had a book checked out from my school library. I owned what seemed like every single novel in the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High collections (don't judge, you know you read them too.) I remember once my mom found several books from both those collections at a yard sale; I was ecstatic! My thrifty mother also discovered a used book store that had opened in a town 30 minutes away—The Book Nook. The Book Nook was great because the books were so cheap I could load up on as many as I pleased. I was also the nerdy kid that actually loved book reports. I mean, you got to pick out a new book to read, and then give a detailed report about that book. What’s not to love?

The beginning of my teen years I stopped reading. No idea what the sudden change was, but I just lost interest. I think I had just become too busy. I had this new desire to talk on the phone constantly.

Side rant: What was it with us girls back then? (I say “then” because now the girls all text.) Why did we love to talk on the phone so much? Now it is the last thing I enjoy doing. Love to talk in person, not so much over the phone.

Okay, back to books.

I didn’t start reading again until my 20s. Even then, I would only read one or two books a year. In the last few years I have started to pick up and read a few more books here and there. Recently, that itch to read has become incredibly itchy therefore my new year’s resolution was born.

As of this last week, I am the proud carrier of a library card. I have only ever used my school and college libraries so this is big for me. I feel so privileged. To some of you this may seem like not a big deal, but my home town didn’t have a public library when I was a child. I was always so fascinated when I saw them on TV. I wanted so badly to go to a “real” library. Well, I’m 31 and I finally get to go to a “real library.”

I love my new-old hobby. This is one resolution I am thoroughly enjoying.