Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Being Thankful That Thanksgiving Wasn't Worse

I could enthrall you with this wonderful tale of visiting family and paint you a beautiful picture of an exquisite Thanksgiving feast.  But it would be a lie.  Norman Rockwell did not have my family in mind when he painted that picture.

On the other hand I could whine about how things didn't go as planned and the family feud that has been going on continues to plague us.  But I won't do that either.

Instead we've chosen to be thankful that our Thanksgiving holiday wasn't worse.  Because often times we forget that yes, it could be worse. 

I am thakful:

1) That we had a safe trip

2) That Jacobs potty training went smoothly even with long car rides and strange surroundings.

3) That my grandmother's niece was happy to take care of her while we stayed at my parents.

4) That Jason's family enjoyed having Thanksgiving at the state park we reserved.

5) For a wonderful understanding husband who sticks beside me in hairy situations.

6) That putting up a Christmas tree with your husband and kids can bring you right out of the grumps.

7) For the FOOD.  That we will be eating for at least a few more days : )

8)  For 2 precious boys who can put smiles on peoples faces even when they are sad or angry.

9)  For bloggs where I can read and write and shut out the worlds problems for a few minutes

10) But most of all I am thankful for a Savior who died for me and my family so that even though we are sinners we may have new life.

This year we are celebrating Advent with the resource found on this lovely blog.  We are choosing this year to count down to what really counts.  We are anxiously looking forward to Christ's coming not the coming of presents.

Dear Lord, Help me remember to cling to You in times of trouble.  Help me to be more Christ-like in my actions. For this coming season,  help me teach my children the true importance of Christmas and thank you for giving us your Son, a true Miracle.   In Jesus' name, Amen.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Devil Doesn't Like Baptisms



We believe that a person's actual salvation does not occur within the waters of the baptistery.
MAR 1:8  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize 
you with the Holy Spirit.
 
We believe that God draws people to him and they are saved by the blood of his Son, Jesus Christ.
ROM 6:3  Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized 
into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into 
death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the
 dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

  We believe that to be baptized is an act of submission to Christs command.  We also believe it is a public declaration of our new path with God. 
Mathew 28:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and 
of the Holy Spirit

But although the water doesn't hold any spiritual significance in itself the Devil still does not want baptisms carried out.  I know this because almost everything that could go wrong did the morning of our baptism.

The night before: I managed to burn 3 pie crusts in an attempt to make a pie for church fellowship.  The children would NOT go to sleep.  And though I had everything laid out for the morning 1/2 of it walked away.  Do things without legs run off in your house too?  If you have a toddler just nod "yes". 

1) Jason, being the good hearted man he is, took a call for someone who was trying to get home for Thanksgiving.  So he was out from 8:30 Saturday night to 3:30 Sunday morning. 

2) Sunday morning was one disaster after another: breakfast not happening as planned, couldn't find shoes (even though I had laid everything out the night before), the kids were being difficult to say the least.  Everyone was running behind so we missed Sunday School.

3) Jason wakes up around 9.  I had let him sleep in because his late night.  He woke up sick.  A stomach virus. Bless his heart, I fill him full of medicine and let him take a shower while I wrestle 2 boys into their church clothes and prod my grandmother to hurry.  Jason emerges from the shower and looks.....terrible.  I feel inconvenienced and aggravated. I check myself, why such a hateful attitude on such a glorious day?

I think of Jesus's words "Get behind me Satan.You are a stumbling block to me...." Mathew 16:23 

"Your not whispering in my ear anymore," I say out loud to an empty room.


4) We get in the van, I think to myself that this would be the morning we blow a tire.  No, the tires are fine but the low fuel light comes on as we leave the drive way.  Jason always keeps the van filled but who wants to stop at a gas station at 3 am after working all night? No time for gas now, so we creep to church and promise to fill up on the way home.

Does anyone besides us drive carefully after the fuel light comes on?  Like its going to help. 

But anyway, I digress. 

So we get to church, late for Sunday School but early for service to find out that the tank ( I don't know what its called)  was not filled the day before and had had no time to warm up.   Can we say "brrrr"?

Jason and I just looked at each other.  We were thinking the same thing.  The devil was working overtime. 

Jason mustered his way through everything sick as a dog and exhausted.  I was so nervous I didn't even think the water was cold, now that's nervous people. 

But nothing could keep that moment from being wonderful.  We were surrounded by our church family who feel like just that: a family.  We feel like we've known them for years but have only been attending this church since June. 
We sang  Hallelujah. What a Savior!----(that song gives me goose bumps every time.)
We were publicly and symbolically washed of our sins a representation of what had already occurred in our hearts. 
We took part in the Lord's Supper for the first time. 
We sang Amazing Grace and I tried not to cry. 
We had sweet fellowship with our family. 
Jason, though sick, was so very happy, as was I.

An incredible day in all.  We have many things to be thankful for this week. 

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

God Bless,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baptism

So this Sunday is it...... Jason and I will be Baptized at 25 almost 26 years old. 

Excited? YES

Nervous? YES

But completely and totally in awe of where God has brought us in our lives. 

We are ready to declare publicly what we already know in our hearts: we are children of God, bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ in order to live for His Glory.  Sola dei Gloria.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Psalm 127 Part 2

Michael and me when he was 2 weeks old
So after my heart was changed and I began seeing children as the blessing they are, we felt God calling us to have another child.  Jason came in from work one day and almost immediately brought up the subject, while I had been thinking about it all that week. 

I became pregnant with Mikey about a month later. 
Mikey was due on this day.....but didn't come until almost 2 weeks later.


While I was pregnant with him God continued to work in our lives and hearts.  We discovered may families, both personally and in blogland, that had many children and welcomed more. We learned from their example that there was more than just seeing children as a blessing.  We were being called to be "fruitful and multiply" to fill our "quivers".  

We had been willing to give our whole lives to God, every little detail.......except for this one.  We foolishly questioned him:

Do we have the money, the room, the experience?  Shouldn't we space them out?

It wasn't until a few months ago that we submitted to God's will and let him have power over this matter.  I can't say it was an easy decision, we are doubting sinners, often unwilling to trust in God's planning, in his divine wisdom. 

Children are a heritage from the LORD,
   offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
   are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
   whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
   when they contend with their opponents in court. Psalm 127:3-5

Now, I am often surprised at myself, how much I am looking forward to another pregnancy, even so soon, even with the memory of birth kind of fresh on my mind : )
---------------------------------------------------------

You probably noticed I did not use the term "quiverfull".  Currently (and this may change as we grow in the word) we believe this is a man made term for a biblical principle.  We don't need a catchy term for following God's will in any other circumstance and we don't believe this is an exception. Also, the theme of bearing children for the glory of God is echoed throughout the Bible again and again, we must look at it all as a whole, not just one well known verse. 

Let me also say that I don't judge.  Are you "quiverfull", awesome!  Are you not? Okay : )  I believe that I am a sinner and although I have been saved by the blood of Christ and we (my husband and I) have the responsibility to make decisions in light of scripture, we DO NOT have the foresight, divine knowledge etc to judge anyone's choice.  To do so, we believe, would be foolish.  So while I'll debate the issue with you on why we feel its a biblical matter,  We won't dare tell you your way is wrong.  (Except in the case of abortion, and then oh, believe me, I Will tell you). 

I write this here for ourselves, to look back and see where God led us, not to make anyone feel bad.  I hope that if anything its an encouragement : )

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Psalm 127 Part 1





Jason and I had discussed having children before we were married and we decided that we wanted to have a few but only when we were "ready". What is that?  How can you be "ready" for children?  

We had been married a year and had our own house when I found out I was pregnant with Jacob, most of our family and friends were less than thrilled. 

"Can y'all afford a baby? Their so expensive!"

"You've only been married a year!"  "You need more time to get to know each other"

"You'll never finish college now"

"You've ruined your life"

Now, we weren't unmarried teenagers mind you.  We were married 21 year old adults with a house and good jobs.  They acted as if I had been diagnosed with cancer, there was no hallmark brand happy tears and excitement.  We had committed a serious mistake, according to them, by becoming pregnant before the age of 30. 

Feathers became ruffled again when I did in fact quit my job and school to stay home.  But we promised that we wouldn't let "the kid" get in the way of anything else. 

I would like to say that when Jacob was born I fell immediately in love and overwhelmed with joy but while I was happy, I didn't find joy in my Son until he was almost 18 months.  Because I chose to see him as the world did, a mistake, a hindrance, a burden.  A tax write off, but nothing more. 

When God started working in my heart I saw what I was doing, I was ashamed and I sought forgiveness; from God, from my husband and from Jacob. 

My life is so full now.  Full of joy and happiness, and although there are hard times, I remember that my children were gifts.  Gifts that I should never take for granted.  More tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

EMERGENCY: AMAZON BOYCOTT

****UPDATE*** November 11, 2010, they had removed this book.  Yay!  But there are others, click on this link for more info


I didn't want to believe it when I heard it but I looked it up and its true. 

Amazon.com is allowing the sale of a book called:
"The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure"

(I won't dare link to it from my blog, but you can do a search for it if you need confirmation)

I am in still in shock, yet seething with anger.  Adventure of a Somewhat Crunchy Mama is calling for a boycott and I am right behind her.  

PLEASE take the time to let Amazon know what you think of this. We MUST protect our children, we Must take a stand.

Just Random Thoughts

I never thought I would enjoy mopping or any type of housekeeping.  BUT I DO.

Looking forward to Thanksgiving in the Monahans Sandhills.  Soooo excited that everyone else liked the idea too.  : )  Sure sliding down a sand dune on a huge frisbee may seem out of the ordinary for Thanksgiving but it beats the afternoon of football, turkey and naps that we have to look forward to usually. 

I want need this book.  Taking donations now.  LOL Just kidding.......sort of.

I have been putting off trying this recipe but I am determined to do it today.  Should have done it yesterday since it was Tomato Tuesday (more on that later) but ya know.......life happens. 

Jacob was punished after he hit Michael with a toy and caused a small gash beside his eye yesterday. Mikey was not amused, there were tears.......but then he wanted to wrestle Jacob. *sigh*  Am I right to assume this will be a regular occurrence?

Is leaving a potty chair in the living room when company comes a faux pas? I mean we are potty training right now. 

Promise I'll post something more worthwhile tomorrow but this is all I had in me for today. : )

God Bless,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shhhhh! Don't tell the Potty Police.....

Sorry Danny, the peer pressure isn't working, we are not done with diapers.

but my 3 YEAR OLD ISN'T POTTY TRAINED YET!!!!

Jacob turned 3 in September and I awaited that birthday with fear.  Why?  Because he was not yet using the potty on a regular basis, he was still in diapers.

I felt ashamed.  

How awful of a mother was I if I couldn't even potty train him?  I mean they all say that that is the magical cut off point for potty training right?  I know some of them say 2 years and some even 1 year, but I had already passed those dates. What would they think?

His 3rd birthday arrived and I felt as if the Potty Police would show up at any moment.  I had concocted them in my head, can't you see them too?  Little black and white squad cars with toilets painted on the side.  They would show up and tsk- tsk me for not being more diligent, for not using the right methods, for not buying the right Car undies so Jacob would feel like going.

But the day of his birthday came and went.  There were no Potty Police at my door and they were strangely silent. 

It got me to thinking  how important potty training by a certain age is in respect to the whole of life.  Hmmm. 

Am I the only one who has noticed that the world does not come crashing down when your child doesn't crawl by this time or feed themselves by that time.  They keep living, things keep moving and eventually most children reach their milestones in their own good time. 

And before you think I am naive let me assure you that I do realize sometimes a child can be so sheltered and, quite frankly spoiled, that they don't reach milestones because they aren't allowed to.  But that is not what I am talking about here. 

I am talking about how we feel so pressured to do things by the book, because Dr. Phil said, because that doctor in that magazine says to get your child checked out immediately if they can't clap by 6 months or whatever it is.  Are we seriously training our children by their standards??

I would have loved Jacob to be potty trained as soon as he could walk, and I don't doubt that his trouble in this area was a combination of his development and my training. 

So he's still wearing diapers at 3 years old..........what of it?  He does go to the potty quite frequently and even manages by himself most of the time.  I see progress, but I also see forgetfulness, both on his part and mine. 

So to all who are afraid of the Potty Police or the Binky Brigade or whoever, remember how insignificant most of these things really are.  Concentrate on the important things like the health and well-being of your family.  Where is your child's heart?  Does he/she realize how amazing God is? THAT is an important question.  .
Read Generation Cedars amazing article here on that subject

PSSSSTTTT.....Have any potty training tips, tricks, hints......want to come do it for me??  I Heart Comments!

God Bless,

Friday, November 5, 2010

Discipline

In my last post I talked about how we don't discipline Jacob for "bouncing off the walls" because we thought we we were frustrating him.  After reading back over the post I was afraid that I made it sound as if we don't discipline him at all and oh, its just the opposite. However, we realize that leaving him idle creates problems.

Our beliefs on the subject:
1) We believe that children are born sinful.  Anyone who has watched a toddler for very long should realize this!
2)  We believe that God has entrusted us with raising our children to know His word and to worship him.
3)  We believe in not sparing the rod.  But we also understand that we must consider "their frame" in this.

Background information:  We listened to the world when deciding how to train and discipline Jacob, instead of trusting in God and his clear outline for it in the Bible.  We didn't adopt a biblical view of child training and discipline until Jacob was 2. That is toooo late!  It's more work to start when they first become defiant but we can already see the fruit of our efforts in our youngest.

So, I could go on about methods and what works but seeing as how we are behind in this I would rather point you to the resources that helped us get our feet firmly planted in biblical discipline, child training, and discipleship. 

1) The Bible
  
2)Great series on child training.   She has 4 youngins' and an outlook on child training taken directly from        God's word.  There are 8 parts so be sure to start at Part 1.

3)  On training babies.  http://inashoe.com - Search for Blanket Training

4) Taking babies AND children into church. For those who attend a family integrated, for those who don't read this about WHY family integrated is a good choice for the family.

5) Books
      Shepherding a Childs Heart by Ted Tripp
      Standing on the Promises by Douglas Wilson
      Christian Living in the Home by Jay E. Adams
     
6) This video/audio series is great.

I hope that these links help anyone who is struggling in this area.  Also, if y'all know of any good resources feel free to leave me a comment.  I will take all the help I can get!

God Bless,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Children and Chores

Doing the Laundry early in the morning, doesn't he look excited?  lol

It wasn't long before I realized I had to do something about Jacob.  More specifically his ability to turn into a wild-eyed heathen at the first sign of boredom.  And no I didn't medicate him, don't even get me started on that topic. 

I tried to entertain him, which was my first mistake.  I would pull out all the stops; toys, games and yes even TV, (SHHHH.....don't tell anyone!) all in the name of me being able to get some housework done and dinner on the table. 

Without, what I would call, formal child training, as in my mother teaching me or having the advantage of younger siblings or babysitting, I was at whits end.  Discipline didn't seem to be effective; Jason and I felt that we were only discouraging him. 

Then, one day ,in the middle of a bout of morning sickness, while cleaning the bathroom and trying to keep Jacob from literally bouncing off the walls I handed him the toilet brush, "Scrub!" I said.  He looked at me and smiled as if he held in his hand the most wonderful thing in the world.  He was 18 months when he found joy in scrubbing the toilet with the toilet brush. 

The merits of this were 3 fold:
1) It kept him "entertained" or busy.  Idle hands for Jacob lead to mischief LOTS of mischief.

2) It gave him a sense of satisfaction that you would not believe.  He bragged for days about cleaning that toilet!  He wanted to clean it everyday.

3) My toilet stayed clean : )  Seriously, it was a huge help to have him so willing and able to do this small task when I spent my time laying on the couch in morning sickness agony. 

His list of things he "could do" grew.  By the time he was 2 1/2 he was helping with more house and yard work than most teenagers I knew.
Doing dishes.  More like playing int he bubbles. : )
Currently at the age of 3 he successfully completes the following tasks:

Daily
-Meal time
  - sets dishes and silverware on table
  - helps clear table and wipes it down
  -occasionally helps wash dishes
-Laundry
     -brings the laundry basket (clothes are sorted into different baskets)
     -loads the washer and pours in the soap I've measured up for him
     -Starts the washer (i set the dial for him)
     - when the washer is through I toss the wet clothes onto the dryer door and he pushes them inside, adds
        a dryer sheet and hits the on button.
 - Living Areas
     - dusts everything with a feather duster
     - vacuums couch and carpet in bedrooms
-Picks up all of his toys and puts them up properly
-helps me make the beds
- throws things away
-picks up the yard
With his dad
-feeds the dogs and chickens and collects eggs (this is one we are currently working on)
- helps take out trash
-hands Daddy tools and puts them back etc

 (I believe there are more, I just can't think of them right now, its become like second nature)

Hmmmm.....it sounds like he does everything doesn't it?  Honestly he only does one major chore a day and then we work on everything else together. (I.E. I'm cleaning the bathroom mirrors while he wipes down the counters)  And trust me, I don't make him do it really.  He volunteers, begs and pleads.  He was made to work, to accomplish, to conquer, as are all boys I believe.

When I wanted him to hep me with something I start by showing him how I do it.  Then, I let him help with one small part of it.  For example, to start with the would only push the clothes into the dryer, the next time I let him do that and add the dryer sheet, the next time he pushed the button.  If he has difficulty I gently guide him, but I am lucky in the fact that he picks new skills up relatively easy like his Father.

If he didn't seem interested I would go ahead and start the task and he would come running over to help.  Very few times has he done this, he usually has to remind me to advance the laundry.  : )

I hope that I am teaching him responsibility and life skills he can use.  I hope that he is feeling accomplished in a job well done. I hope that I am teaching him that as a family we all work together to help each other and it is not all about "me, me, me!" as our culture would have us believe.

  I plan to continue with this practice for my second youngin' Michael.  I believe this will also help develop teamwork skills and camaraderie when brothers begin to work side by side.

This is a great link I found of a list of chores by age.  I can pretty much check off everything for the 3 year old category. 

So, in closing, don't feel discouraged when you feel like the toys need to be put away and your toddler, YES your TODDLER, should help you with something.  It may take you twice as long but the rewards are enormous.  Especially, if you have a ball of boy dynamite on your hands : )
After a hard morning, nothing like crackers, puzzles and a nap

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So, what IS going on with us?

*Sorry about the really long post, I'll have some shorter ones coming up : )*

My grandmother on my Dad's side, Memaw, lived BY HERSELF from the time she divorced in the 50's  until she was about 97 when she moved in with my parents. She had taken ill and was sent to a hospital where they said she was too old to operate on and we were pretty much told just to wait for her to die. 

My dad and I went and picked her up and brought her to their house.  Since my husband and I lived next door and I had experience in the area, I cared for her.  She was bedridden, diabetic and on a liquid diet.  It was hard and I am ashamed of how much I complained now, not to her but to everyone else. But to the amazement of us, the aide I hired to help and especially the "experts" my grandmother became well again.  She now walks, unassisted, waits on herself and generally requires little to no help for daily tasks.  Everything looked good as the aide took over all responsibility and my husband and I moved here to Waco.

There was a  lot of emotional turmoil, building back home, which I conveniently ignored.  Old family rifts began to widen and I felt no real need to step in.  Memaw and I had never been close.  I shamefully admit, I turned away from what was going on instead of trying to help. 

 The problems grew.  It was no longer a matter of hurt feelings but of dangerous actions almost 3 years later when I finally realized on a visit that something had to be done, but what? 

A nursing home is a last option in our family, not the first.  And while they are sometimes needed they are often overused.  Much like our government run schools and daycares, nursing homes are where we seem to place our "burdens" when they are an inconvenience for us.

With my Dad being an only child we were out of options.  And that is when God said, " YOU".   It just popped into my head one day, I had always skirted around the possibility.  I had excuses:  I have 2 children to care for, I live too far away, I wouldn't know what to do......blah blah blah.  Jonah had excuses too, but God didn't want to hear them either. 

I went to the word:

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 1 Timothy 5: 4

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8



It was like I knew that everything would work out, at least for a time.  That this is what I had to do, at least for now. 

I mean, I had taken care of a paralyzed diabetic man my junior and senior year of high school. I had take care of her when she was in far worse shape. I had received my Certified Nurse Training the summer before my senior year.We had the space for her, and I had the time, I'm really not that busy in the day. 

I tentatively brought the subject up to my husband and after careful thought and consideration decided it was the best thing we could do, without nagging or pushing from me.  He said "It's not the easy thing but its the right thing".    I love my husband : )

I asked Memaw about it, she said yes she would move in with us but.......it would cause problems in the family. And boy did it. 

I won't go into all of the details, this is far too public of a venue for such conversations.  Suffice it to say I came out of the discussion with my mother broken hearted, it took almost a month to fully deal with what was said, and I'll never "get over it". But I have found forgiveness for her and pray, that's all we can do in a difficult situation, right? PRAY. 

My dad agreed to move her down here so 1 week later she arrived with a flatbed trailer full of furniture, keepsakes and clothing. 

Before their arrival I spent the time busily preparing her room.  I moved the boys into the smaller room since all they do is sleep in their bedroom and this way she could have the large room at the end of the house. I used my old bed from my childhood and fixed it up with bedding and a window treatment.  I picked a shower chair and sprayer up for her and my husband set them up along with building a hand rail on our rental house. We set up a TV service, a phone line and a medical alarm for her. 

When the flurry of moving had come and gone our every day routines resumed and my dad went home.  She attended church for really the first time in 3 years that Sunday with us.  And even though she is Methodist and we are Reformed Baptist she LOVED it. 

So shortly after Memaw moved in with us she celebrated her 100th birthday on October 6th.   What a blessing.

It's been a little over a month and things have been uneventful, for this I give Thanks. Not only are things going well but we are finding that we are more alike than we had been led to believe. 

I know no matter how difficult it may become that God will lead us and though it may not be where we think we ought to be headed The Good Shepherd knows best.  Praise be to God.