Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worth The Repost

Thought the post below was worth me linking back to. I don't want to speak for Mr. Becker, who wrote the article, or assume that he is a believer, but I definitely think he's on to something as far as materialism and kids...

7 Minimalist Things I've Learned From My Kids

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, June 21, 2010


This post is really just me wanting to document this particular point in Caleb's life. Up until this point in time, I always "thought" I wanted to freeze time with him, but this truly is the first time that if I think about it too much I will start crying becuase I know this phase and age will continue to pass so quickly.


My sweet sweet boy. You amaze me. Just today, you saw Thomas crash and the first and only thing out of your mouth was "Uh Oh". This was a first for you, to make the connection of the meaning of "uh oh" outside of when you yourself fall over. Your mind, brain, character and personality are developing so fast that this momma can't keep up! You thrive on being around other children, whether your age or a little bit older, it is by far the highlight of your day (well, that and seeing daddy when he gets home from work)! You have grown physically and mentally, and even emotionally, more than I ever thought possible at this age. You can repeat words that I say, or especially that other kids say. You study your surroundings, but have completely broken out of your shell in the past couple weeks and absolutely love playing with others. You have learned how to show your frustration and we continually try to process through the good and bad of those situations on your learning level. Not too long ago, you heard, and unfortunately saw mommy getting sick, and immediately came over, put your hand on my back (as I'm leaning over the toilet) and started crying. This brings tears to my eyes, becuase I've never met anyone so sensitive, caring and compassionate at your age and I prayed so desperately for those things for you because I long to have those same gifts. You share everything, even though I'm not sure you actually know what sharing is yet. You love to mimic what other children are doing, yet, you are very indepedent. I know most kids have more fun when they are at a play ground, or play area around others, but I truly feel like this is a necessity for you, and the type of personality you are already possessing. This is a little difficult for me becuase I am not quite like that. I'm a homebody, and don't mind being by myself. This personality trait is just proof to me that you were not created to be an only child, and that makes me even more thrilled for you to have a little brother coming in a short 10 or 11 weeks. Caleb, I can't believe our time for just the two of us is almost up. Part of me doesn't want it to end, and the othe part of me knows that life will only be sweeter and more joyful with Asher's arrival. You are so very precious to me and I pray that even though my time will be split, and may seem that there's not enough for you, that the Lord will multiply my hours in the day. Please always remember that I love you, no matter what, and that I'll always be your #1 fan. Oh you precious little man of mine.

Love, mama

I saw this at a friend's house and immediately asked her to e-mail me a copy of it so that I could hang it up in a place where I could and would read it everyday. I'm thinking actually about framing it and putting it on my nightstand since I really need to read it before I even crawl out of bed in the morning...

"Today is not about laundry or updating our blog. It's not about repeating myself, preventing meltdowns or keeping the pantry stocked. It's not about me "needing" an hours break for me-time. And I refuse to let the demands of the day deceive me into thinking anything so trivial. Today is a vehicle for me to serve God's purposes in a way unique from every other person on earth.

The man I love most cannot experience everything God desires for him unless I actively labor towards that end. To love is to die, and it is a priviledge to die for him today.

I have a tiny heart taking shape before me, in the shadow of my words, my tone and my actions. When he looks at how I spend my minutes, what will he believe about my priorities? When he hears the words coming from my mouth, what will it cause him to believe about the God who lives within me? His crying isn't an inconvenience -- it is a window to strengthen him with gentleness in the midst of his weakness. His fighting and defiance are not an irritation -- it is one more chance for me to prepare him for a lifetime of resolving conflict Biblically, for obeying others, and for willingly forfeiting one's own desire for the sake of another. These days that seem so long will soon be years that passed so quickly, and I will not choose to live now in a way that seals future regret. To love is to die, and he is worth me dying today.

Today calls for more energy, more patience, more love, more grace, more gentleness, more resourcefullness, more perspective and more wisdom that I have. So let me remember this morning that my only hope of redeeming this day is to come to Jesus and fully surrender -- that His life might accomplish through me greater things than I can even imagine. To love is to die, and He knows everything there is to know about that."

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Father's Day

Our Father's Day was pretty uneventful, but the one thing that we did was take Caleb to the play area at The Galleria. He LOVES going to any mall and playing, especially now that he can walk, and to have Daddy with us was an extra special treat! As you can see in the pics below, Aaron played and walked with Caleb (and kept him safe from all the older kids who kept knocking him over - grrr). Anyone who knows my hubby, knows that Caleb looks just like him, and I must say, these pics are proof of that statement...

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband! Aaron, you are such a blessing to this little family of ours. I LOVE watching you interact with Caleb, reading to him and playing with him. He clearly LOVES his daddy, and is absolutely thrilled to see you when you walk through the front door every night! Thank you for loving us so well, and for seeking out the Lord in how you (we) parent! I love this journey we are on together and I love you so very very much!!

Probably one of my absolute favorites of Caleb & Aaron! Both looking at me and genuinely smiling!!!

Watching Curious George with daddy

Playing at the mall play area

I particularly like the faces of both my boys in the above picture, so funny!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Mom After God's Own Heart: Chapter 5

I could not have read this chapter at a better time. For those of you who I've recently talked with (Square One girls, Community Group girls, etc...) you know that we are in the process of starting to really discipline Caleb (insert a very scared, confused and worried look on this momma's face!). This chapter, gracefully titled, "Train Your Children in God's Ways" focuses on training, disciplining and raising a new generation of committed Christ followers.

The verse for this chapter is Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." I've always admired this verse, from afar, until now! It's one of those verses that you read and hear about before you are a parent, and you think, ok, well, that's easy enough to do! Oh, if I could only watch film clips of my life before Caleb, reading over and thinking about that verse, I think I might have peed in my pants had I known the responsibility, fear and blindsidedness that comes with that verse! And not only that, but the what-seems-like MILLIONS of other verses in the Bible that talk about how to train and discipline our children, so that they truly will grow to be Christ-followers!

So, as you can see, this truly is a hot topic for my life right now. Not only becuase it's one of such importance, but becuase it's one that I truly feel I know nothing about! To start from scratch is an understatement! Don't get me wrong, my mom disciplined me, and she did her absolute best being a single, full-time working parent, and for that I am eternally grateful, but most of my discipline was grounding and not necessarily teaching the difference between being obedient and disobedient, as well as choosing to make the right decision that would honor the Lord.

Continuing on to the chapter itself, I must admit that I while I was overwhelmed at the content, it was a good overhwelming feeling. Challenged? YES! Encouraged? YES! Equipped? YES! We all know it is no small task to raise a child, especially if you are one who's trust and guidance comes from our Heavenly Father! Elizabeth George has a gift, and I am so thankful that she knows what her gift is, and uses it to further the Kingdom of God!

In the section titled "Growing a Child", Ms. George talks about Educating and Initiating with our children. "We as the parents must do the training and educating. And we must be agressive and take the initiative. Our training should be willful and on purpose, something we commit to, schedule, plan, and do, taking every opportunity to educate our child 'in the way he should go.'" While that pretty much sums up the chapter, I do want to go in to a bit more detail of how best this can be done, with some practical application that I will be putting in to practice in our own home.

Hands-on Training
"As hard as it is, don't give in to your natural mom instincts and make all the choices for your child (which is easy to do but damaging in the long run). Instead train them and show them how to make good decisions (FOR the long run!). Active training also involves training your children through correction, which includes discipline when necessary. (More on this in a minute)."

Live-it-out Training
"This nonactive training process involves providing training and instruction by modeling right behavior. It's much more personal...and much more difficult. it's walking the walk in addition to talking the talk!"

Insert my comments: CRAP! Lord, I am SOOOO not at a place to be providing this type of training! There are so many areas of my life that I struggle with, and thinking about having my sweet little Caleb following after my own example is quite frightening right now! Help me, Lord, to change my own ways so that I can put into practice this vital kind of training!!

As Proverbs 23:26 says, "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways." Your children will follow your footsteps more easily and often than they will follow your advice!

From a Seedling
"It's not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they're young, but to make them straighten out after you've allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter." What an insightful quote from Henry Ward Beecher. There is such truth in that statement, and I think we all can attest to it, whether in our own lives, or in the lives of other we know!

The question is, what are ways we can start to train them young? How can we train them now, even at 17 months old, so that they will grow and not stray? "Start reading, teaching and instructing, NOW! Initiate the training and teach your heart out. No matter what they do or don't understand, they will sense your love and passion.. They'll also become accustomed to your voice and to your teaching. Believe me, they pick up much more than you can imagine.

Think about this, the kind of person your child is going to be, he is already becoming...and becoming quickly! When your child is three years of age, they have done more than half they will ever do for their character.

Live out God's way continually, teach God's Word constantly (Deut. 6:7-8), and enforce God's wisdom consistently with loving discipline throughout your child's upbringing (Eph. 6:4)."

Take these few verse to heart when struggling with disciplining your children...

Discipline the child in whom you delight (Prov. 3:12)
Discipline while there is still hope (Prov. 19:18)
Discipline diligently the child you love (Prov. 13:24)
Discipline a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6)
Discipline foolishness our of your child's heart (Prov. 22:15)
Discipline evil our of your child's heart (Prov. 20:30)

"Clearly the Bible teaches that to love your child is to discipline your child. Properly training up a child is a two-edged sword. On the one side, you must point them to God's way. And on the other, to enjoy and success at all in training your child for God and for life, you have to know your child, to know what makes him or her tick. Each and every child is fearfully and wonderfully made and has his own "bent". There is a way or direction each is meant to grow and go in. Each child has natural talents and personality traits that must be encouraged. Your children are individuals with special strengths and capabilities--their own beant--that should be developed."

Heart Response
A bit of encouragement...
"Please, roll up your mothering sleeves and dive in. Give being a mom your heart, your all, your best, your time, yoru blood, sweat, and tears...and above all, your prayers! Learn all you can do. Do all you can. hang in there. Don't get discouraged. Don't even think about giving up. And pray always! God has entrusted you with a new generation. And He's also given you all of the grace and strength and power and wisdom and love you will need for every step and second along the way. Believe it and own it. Never forget--you are a mom after God's heart. For this you were born."

Little Choices That Reap Big Blessings
1. Start TODAY! It's never too early to start training your children. And it's also never too late. Whatever you do, do something today!

2. Talk to your husband. Seek to agree with yoru husband on the manner and methods you as a team will use for discipline and correction. Consistency is the goal.

3. Enroll in a parenting class at church.

4. Be flexible. Constantly evaluate your training and discipline. What's working? What's not? What forms of discipline can be dropped? Which should be intensified or kicked up a notch?

5. Be generous with praise and encouragement. Speak up when you see godly behavior in your children. Let them know that you noticed. Celebrate!

6. Pray like you've never prayed before!! Start praying now, don't wait another second!

7. Have lots of fun! Training takes time, effort, and planning. And so does having fun. So create a page for every day this next week and plan in one element of fun. Let the party begin!

Thank you Elizabeth George, for sharing your heart on the matter of training. I think I underlined more of this chapter than any other chapter so far! Thank you for giving me the tools, and references to not only be a mom after God's own heart, but to raise children after God's own heart! This book is such a gift and encouragement to my heart!

What I'm going to attempt to put in to practice in our home over the next seven days is:

For my own schedule:
-Wake up with Aaron and do quiet time/prayer/journaling/reading

With Caleb:
-Daily Bible Story time (same location, same time every day)
-Prayer time
-Mommy reciting Scripture Memory (usually happens while I'm feeding Caleb)

I'm being good and not trying to overdo it, giving myself an attainable goal, by only trying this out for one week. From there on, we'll see what happens!

Until next time...

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Inspired to Action

I'm not sure about you, but my blogroll is pretty long. I've got many that are friends and family, and then I've got a few that are random blogs that I've come across and have been really inspired by, hooked on, encouraged through or challenged. One that I'm going to spotlight today is called, "Inspired to Action", Tips and Tools for Inspired Moms.

To give you a little background, Inspired to Action s written by Kat. It is dedicated to practically helping moms develop the habits and skills they need to effectively manage their homes and raise children who are prepared to change the world. (Taken directly from the website).

Kat's resources and tutorials are so great and challenging for me. They truly do just what they are supposed to, inspire me!

Her top five tutorials are:

Maximize Your Mornings
Purposeful Motherhood
How To Set And Achieve Goals

Refreshed Motherhood
Summer Of Purpose

There are also tons of downloadable resources such as A Mother's Prayer Calendar, Praying Daily For Your Husband, and a Master To Do List. Check out Kat's blog and I'm sure you will find something that will inspire you, challenge you and encourage you!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Tube - And a Stark Realization

While there are multiple reasons why I absolutely love our new, smaller apartment, such as a shaded pool, a vegetable sprayer, not as much to clean, and especially being on the 1st floor, I never thought that I would appreciate not have TV as much as I do. You see, at our old place, our basic cable bill was built into our monthly rent and we did not have the option to forgo paying the $35 every month, therefore we went ahead and used the service. But never did I think that I would be using the TV as much as I have in the past year.

To give you a little background, my days used to start off by turning on the local news station in the morning to stay caught up on all the local and national news, local weather and traffic, even though you couldn't pay me to go out during rush hour in Dallas! Once the news was over, I usually flipped over to HGTV (my absolute favorite channel of all time), and it became a habit to just leave it on softly in the background all day. While this didn't happen every single day, it did happen more often than not.

I know that daily TV watching can affect each of us differently, but the way it affected me was that it made me tired. It made me not want to really leave my house, nor do anything productive at home, and each show completely sucked me in. I will say that before Caleb became active and engaged, it was nice to have something to do, something to watch, and a connection to the outside world. But once Caleb started getting older, and really looking for some intentional play time with momma, I grew weary on the days that I would continue in the pattern of watching so much TV and forgoing playtime with him.

In January, I was fortunate enough to go on an all girls leader retreat for Student Ministries from Watermark. They have this every year, but since my girls were graduating this year, I knew it would be my last chance to attend, and I didn't want to miss out.

Friday night after we all got there and settled in to one AH-mazing lake house on PK lake, we all met together in the living area and sang worship songs, prayed and had the opportunity to share our hearts. This was along night, especially since there were at least 30 of us women there, but it was so wonderful. I wanted to share part of what I spent time journaling during our extended quiet time on Saturday morning as I feel it truly captures where my heart was the night before, and then share where the Lord has brought me to today...

January 16th, 2010

"Last night Mel had us draw a picture that described something we were hiding or wearing a mask to cover up. At first, I really struggled to think of anything because I feel so known by my community group girls, but then I felt a huge tug at my heart that I was hiding behind my habit of TV. The picture I drew was a couch, since that's where I spend most of my days. Having the TV on in the background all day, watching shows that I start and can't turn off until it's over. This vicious cycle that I truly feel I can't let go of. Why do I feel the need to constantly have noise going? What can't I sit in silence? Why must I finish a show that I don't really care about? I truly feel that it is a habit, a mindless activity. Thinking about this last night after sharing, I asked myself, "If something were to happen to Caleb tomorrow, would I feel like I spent the last year with him well, or would I have regrets? What are those regrets?


That is my biggest regret! Watching TV instead of playing with my sweet, beautiful, precious child! What a waste! Thankfully Caleb will not remember the 1st (or 2nd) year of his life, when mommy was too busy watching reruns on HGTV to play with him."

This stark realization knocked me to my knees and I found myself crying such tears of hurt, regret, frustration and true sadness life I have not felt in a very long time.

Fast forward 5 months from that weekend, and although I did not stop watching TV altogether, my time in front of the tube greatly decreased, especially once I got through the most exhausting 1st trimester of my life! Now that we are all settled in to our new place, and do NOT have TV, not even local channels, our daily life has drastically changed! We still have access to our favorite night time shows through the Internet, and we even have Netflix for movies and such, but it is VERY rare (maybe once or twice a week), that the TV is on during the day, and 99% of the time, it's so that Caleb can watch an episode of Thomas the Train or Dora. We spend most of our days playing together, reading, playing at the play area at a local mall, getting together with friends, going to the store, and anyting else active that I can think of!

Continuing with what I journaled that day overlooking the beautiful Possum Kingdom Lake, I went on to write my desire for this area of my life...

"What a great opportunity I have to start fresh with Caleb! To create new memories of what I can be remembered for, what our time together can be remembered for. Loving him, teaching him, playing with him. Those are the things I want him to remember about his early childhood years! A great verse, that I should post all over my house, especially being a 1st time mom is Lamentation 3:22-24, which says, "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him." What an incredible promise from my Heavenly Father! My soul needs to hear that multiple times a day! I know I am not, nor will I ever be a perfect mom, but how much better of a mom can I be if I truly believe the words of that promise? What more of a blessing will I be as a mother, if I choose to believe all of the Lord's truths and promises in His word? I must not allow my past mistakes dictate how I live in the future! I can change, I must change, I will change!"

Oh how refreshing it is to look back and read those heartfelt words of pain and regret, and know that the Lord is faithful to forgive when we repent, and change hearts, especially mine! My prayer at the end of those many many pages of journaling was this, "Lord, help me to be an intentional parent this year, especially the next 8 months that I will have Caleb all to myself before baby dos arrives. Help me to choose to close my laptop, put down my phone and turn off the TV so that I can be fully engaged with my son!"

Praise the Lord that he heard my cries from that weekend, as there were many many tears shed, and that I can look at where I am now, and see a changed woman, wife and momma! Thank you Lord, for this small but significant change in my life!

So, today, as we are now settled in, without TV, I can honestly say that I have never truly experienced such consistent joy and happiness with Caleb, as I have these past two weeks. I know part of it is because of his developmental stage, walking and talking and interacting with me, but I also know that it is greatly because of a changed heart, attitude and priorities, and ONLY by the grace of God!

Thank you, Lord, for never doubting me, even when I doubt myself. Thank you for growing me in the area of self-forgiveness, trusting that you have forgiven me for my mistakes, and now, being able to forgive myself and move on. Thank you for answering my prayers of bringing my faults and sins to the light, so that I can repent and change. Help me to be continually reminded of your grace, and help me to continue to strive towards greatness as a mom and wife. Thank you for this heartfelt change that has taken place in my life over the past 5 months. May I be consistently reminded of it, so that I do not fall back into old habits. Help me to continue to be intentional with Caleb, especially now that I only have him to myself for 12 more weeks. This is a very bittersweet time, as I know that he is young enough to not remember life before Asher, even thought my time with him alone will be one of my greatest memories.

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Train

This morning we met up with our good friend Karla and her three kids Noah, Haley and Dylan at Collin Creek mall to play. I haven't been to that mall in so long that I forogt they have a little train that the kids can ride! What a great idea! Caleb wasn't technically old enough to ride, but we squished him in between Noah and Haley so that he could go on his first train adventure, and he LOVED it! Noah and Haley held his hands the entire time and made sure that he didn't try to get down from his seat, and he didn't, he just sat there in awe for the four or five minutes of the ride! Thanks Karla for taking the pictures! This momma can't believe I forgot our camera!!

I absolutely LOVE the picture above. It's hard to see, but the three heads from the back was so precious! They looked like three peas in a pod!
You can kind of see Noah and Haley holding Caleb's hands in this shot, so stinkin' cute!

There's a better head shot from behind

Comin' around the corner! I don't know who had more fun, Caleb or me cheering and clapping everytime they turned that corner!
Kind of blurry, but a cute shot none the less

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Splash Park

Saturday we took you to your first splash park. Richardson area pools were opening that day and so from 1-8pm everything was free! It took you a while to warm up to the idea of the splash park, but after a short bit, you clearly were having a blast!

This picture captures the essence of your excitement! You absolutely loved the water and fountains!

You were so fascinated by the tall fountains that you just stood underneath and stared up at them. You did this quite a few times!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Playgroup Friends

This past week we've had some great opportunities to have some friends over to play! Last Friday we had Joanna and Rebekah over so that their momma could have a little break. We had a blast with them, especially Caleb, and they all played so well together! Then, today, we had Luke over to play as well and they too, had so much fun playing! We're full of playdates this summer and I won't document all of them, but since this was some of the first few I wanted to get a few pics, so here you go!!

The twins absolutely LOVED sitting on Caleb's couch, they sat there and played almost the whole time!

I gave them a special treat and we watched an episode of Dora, and the had so much fun! I couldn't help get a picture of all three of them just sitting there!

Luke and Caleb also loved sharing the couch and they did quite well with it too!

Ok, I absolutely LOVE this picture of Luke!

Snack Time!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Spaghetti Time!

I can't pass up the opportunity to blog yoru first spaghetti self feeding experience! Boy oh boy did you have fun!!!

Be Blessed and Encouraged!

Our New Home!

We've moved!!! I'm sure most of you know that by now, but here's the offical word! Here are some pics of our new place. I absolutely love it!! It's a great size and the layout is perfect, even for our growing family!!

our kitchen (the sink is hiding because it's full of dirty dishes at the moment)
living room view from the kitchen

my tiny office space (but it works out great!!)

dining room

Caleb's room (as soon as you walk in the front door take a right and his room and guest bath are in that short hallway)
more of Caleb's room (and soon to be shared with baby Asher!)

Master Bedroom

Master Bath (almost identical to guest bath)

So, there you have it! It's quaint, but it works out great for our family! One picture I didn't get was our huge patio with storage. Once this HOT summer is over, I plan on spending my early mornings out there with coffee and Bible in hand!

Blessed and Encouraged!