Friday, September 4, 2009

More 7 Month Pictures...

Sweet are SO loved! Here are some extra 7 month pictures of your precious life!!!

You with some of your best friends, Noah & Haley!

Haley loves you so much and asks for you ALL the time!

Chillin' in Noah's chair

One of my MANY favorites from this month! Those teeth are so stinkin' cute!!

So is that smile!

Chunky boy, I love all your rolls!

Big smile for momma

Precious hands and feet, so little!

This one is ready for a frame! I love how you look like you're praying!

More hands and feet, you LOVE to grab at your feet!

So curious

All smiles!

Hangin' with daddy

You absolutely love this!!

One of your many faces...

Like father, like son!

Although you are starting to look more and more like me, I think at least!



Oh so sweet!

Daddy's making funny faces with you

Don't knwo why daddy did this, but it is cute!

You L-O-V-E your lovie!!

Sitting in the grown-up chair!

Such a big boy!

Bath time! Oh how you love bath time with daddy!

Shake shake time!

Swinging with Haley at your first visit to the park, and your first swing ride ever!

Chillaxin' in the swing, you had a great time!

Caleb, you are such a honey! Your personality is showing up more and more each day! You are such a precious gift to daddy and me! I hope you always know how much we love you!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Mom After God's Own Heart - Chapter One

So, I actually finished reading Chapter One a couple weeks ago, but it's been so crazy around here that I haven't had the time that I really wanted to spend, writing this chapter's review. So, here it goes! Hope it blesses you and encourages you to be a Mom After God's Own Heart!

Chapter One: Take Time to Nurture Your Heart

"And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart." Deut. 6:6

The first way to love your children is to take time to nurture your own heart. God calls you to love Him with an unreserved, whole-hearted commitment of love, a love that includes "all your heart...all your soul and...all your strength." When His Word and teachings reside in a person's heart, that person can then think upon them, meditate on them, understand them...and obey them. God's Word in your heart will keep you from forgetting God -- from forgetting your dependence upon Him, from forgetting your need for Him, and from forgetting your obligations to Him and to your children.

Complete devotion to the Lord must first be in the heart of the mother...then our godly training of our children and our diligent teaching of God's Word will follow.

What happens to us moms when we don't take time to nurture our own hearts? Here is Elizabeth's list...

-We run on empty. And when we're spiritually running on empty, our hearts are hollow and numb. Without spiritual refueling, our parenting is empty and the evidences of our apathy creep into our children's lives.

- We are heartless. If we are heartless, our parenting becomes heartless. We fail to make sure our children's hearts are being continually molded heavenward.

- We become worldly. If we are preoccpied with the things of this world and enamored by earthly pursuits and rewards, our parenting will be worldly. The things of this world will creep into our homes and into our children's hearts.

- We become carnal or unspiritual. If we are fulfilling the lust of the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit, our parenting will show it. As Paul points out, "the works of the flesh are evident" (Gal. 5:19). There will be screaming, yelling, belittling, name-calling, maybe even the slapping or shaking or pushing of children around.

This is all very serious stuff. What is God's solution? PICK UP THE BIBLE AND READ IT! When we do, God touches and transforms our hearts into those of moms after His heart.

How does a mom handle each stretching day? How does she manage, in a God-pleasing way, her marriage, her housework, the first baby, the second baby, the third baby, and the fourth baby...all of whom quickly become active toddlers and preschoolers? She looks to God's empowering -- and peace-producing! -- Word. God's Word makes all the difference in the world in your heart, in your day, and in your parenting. This handful of minutes is such a tiny investment to make something that produces such massive daily -- and eternal -- dividends!

YOU CANNOT EFFECTIVELY IMPART TO YOUR CHILDREN WHAT YOU DO NOT POSSESS YOURSELF!! And what better possession is there to pass on to your children than your own heart and passion for God?

As I read this chapter, I was so encouraged in my own personal walk with the Lord. The above statement brought me to tears the first time I read it, and almost every time after that. It's truth at it's finest. How can I expect my child to grow into a Godly man if I myself do not instill in him passion for the Lord and knowledge of God's Word? Since we found out we were pregnant, I have prayed for Caleb. I have prayed that he would grow into a Godly man who loves the Lord with all his heart, and loves others before himself. While I still pray for that now, I also pray for the strength and discipline for myself, for conviction and desire to get into the Word, and learn for myself, what I so long Caleb to know and learn as he grows.

I sent an e-mail to a couple girlfriends yesterday, just sharing a conviction on my heart to look at my priorities, and after doing so, just realizing that although my relationship and time with the Lord is important, it was not my #1 priority. Sleep, exercise, Caleb, they were my top three. Usually during times like these, I am easily ridden with guilt over my choices to put other things first in my life, claiming that I have let God down by not daily resting in the truth of my need for a Savior. But this time, becuase I have spent time in God's Word, I did not feel guilty, just convicted to change my ways, move forward, and continually re-evaluate my prioroties so that the Lord and His truth and promises come before anything else in my life.

Another conviction was that although I feel like our household is led by the Spirit, I do not find myself openly speaking God's Word throughout the day. I have recently taken a new approach to Scripture Memory, which has definitely made a difference, but to read the Bible, outloud to Caleb, it just has not come naturally to me. Yet, God's Word specifically gives us the instruction as moms, "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. YOU SHALL TEACH THEM DILIGENTLY TO YOUR CHIDREN, AND SHALL TALK OF THEM WHEN YOU SIT IN YOUR HOUSE, AND WHEN YOU WALK BY THE WAY, AND WHEN YOU LE DOWN, AND WHEN YOU RISE." Deut. 6:6-7 As I continue to memorize scripture, I pray that I am lead by the Spirit to learn it outloud, so that Caleb hears the words of the Lord, evenn w at such a young age.

At the end of each chapter Elizabeth George challenges the reader in a little section called, "Little Choices That Reap Big Blessings". She offers little choices, simple alterations in our daily schedules of busyness, that if consistently put in to practice, will effect your personal walk with the Lord, your family's future, and your children's hearts. They are 5 practical steps, that sound much easier than they actually are. Discipline, faithfulness and eternal perspective are a must have when putting these 5 little steps in to practice. The 5 choices for this week are:

1. Read your Bible every day.
When you do, you'll hear God's voice and His personal and direct instructions to you.

2. Learn from the parents in the Bible.
Through them you can learn what to do...and what not to a mom and a parent. Try to jot down what you are learning in the form of a principle. (For example: regarding Isaac and Rebekah, the principle could be simply stated, "Never show favoritism.") These biblical principles will guide you through the years.

3. Start saying no. God's Word empowers you when you read it and gives you the strength you need to be a loving-but-firm parent. It's tough to stand up to pressure and say no to the world, to others, and to your child. It's also hard to say no to yourself and your flesh and get up early, stay up late, and go into action in the middle of the night when there's a need. That's when strength is absolutely necessary -- spiritual, mental, emotional and physical strength. God's strength comes to your rescue at just such times to energize you to follow-through on whatever you must do to follow His will.

4. Cherish the good times.
Faithful parenting is challenging work. But it is truly a "labor of love" and certainly a choice that reaps the greatest blessings of all to a mom's heart. Thank God profusely for the good times. Cherish them in your heart-of-hearts. And remember them forever by recording them in a special notebook, album, or memory book. Doing so will give you something to return to over and over again when you need to see some light and remember some good times. Remembering the good times will keep you going for days on end and when you are tempted to wonder if being a mom is worth the struggle.

5. Refuse to give up.
Burn this "little choice" into your heart, mind, and muscles! Even when there's no one else -- no husband, mother or mother-in-law, sisters, support group, friends, or mentors -- to help you or tell you that you are doing the right thing, that you are doing a good job, God shouts forth His "Well done, good and faithful mom" through His Word (Matt. 25:21). When you take time to nurture your heart in God's Word, you receive -- directly from God! -- the encouragement you need to keep on keeping on in your parenting!

I am blessed beyond measure to have a child such as Caleb. I don't know why the Lord chose to give us such an easy baby, from day one, but I cherish each and every day I have with him almost more than anything else. I think part of my struggle with that is wondering if/when a day will come when things start to go in a downward spiral and he becomes almost unmanageable. I find myself struggling with fear that he's such a great baby because sooner or later, there is going to be something big that happens to him, whether he gets sick, or the Lord takes him before I think it's his time to go, and I truly have to battle with the devil over these lies, and trust and believe the truth that the Lord knows the days that were written in his book, for sweet Caleb's life, even before one of them came to be.

Lord, as I am so deeply encouraged and convicted through the promises and teachings in your Word, about how to be a Godly mommy for Caleb, that I find myself overwhelmed, and often crying tears of such joy and passion for you. There is nothing more precious to me on this earth than my family. You state VERY clearly what my job as a mother and wife are. Help me to search your Word, meditate on your promises, and raise Caleb in such a way that he would know you from the first word that rolls off of his little tongue. Give me conviction, passion, desire and discipline to live out Deuteronomy 6:6-7, and to truly be a mom who lives and serves my family as you have taught me to in your Word.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!