Thursday, November 29, 2012

Letters to my Kids Day 1/1000 Gifts

To my youngest...
In just a few weeks you will turn one.   I remember this time last year.  I was so ready to hold you, so sure you would be here any day since your brother had been early and I was having early contractions.  The anticipation was incredible...and we spent most of December sure that you would come any day.  
And then you were induced.  :)  You came home on Christmas Eve.  You were the best Christmas gift I could ever imagine (except for Jesus).  
Your pregnancy was stressful...there were several complications that concerned us along the way.  Someday I will tell you more about them.  Daddy and I just wanted you in our arms, to be able to whisper how much we loved you.  To know that you were healthy.
And then you were here.  And you were healthy.  And you were perfect.  And you are perfect.  Perfectly you.  And I am in awe of the awesomeness of God.
I look at you today, learning to hold your own with your big brother.  You love to take his toys and then crawl as fast as you can away from him.  You are so playful, always wanting to get a smile from someone.  And you give your smiles so freely.  You adore your big sister, breaking into a smile the moment she walks in the room.  Your Daddy holds your heart.  As soon as he gets home, he has to hold you or you are very angry.  And you love your Mama too.  You recently learned to give pats and kisses...and oh buddy, you can melt my heart with those.
My sweet Cole baby (how long can I call you that?), I was in love with you the moment I knew you were going to be.  I will love you for always.  And I will always thank God for the miracle of you.  
Love, Mama

1000 Gifts
192.  My sweet Cole baby, who will not be a baby much longer.
193.  Clean sheets.
194.  A washing machine.  The stomach flu has been going through this house.  Let's just say the washing machine has been used a lot lately.  A lot.
195.  Unexpected lunch date with a friend!
196.  Letting T pick out a new snowman for our collection yesterday and seeing his excitement over showing his sister and Daddy "Frosty".
197.  On days I feel like nothing is working out the way I planned it to be, I'm reminded "The Truth is that all I have to do is the work God assigns to me.  What a freedom...there is time for me to do everything that is on God's "to do" list for my day, for my week, and for my life!"  (Thanks Nancy Leigh Demoss)
198.  For my E, who laughs in the chaos with me.  He is my best friend and my greatest earthly love.
199.  For my dad, who checks on us every day with a text.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1000 Gifts...a Thanksgiving version

168.  Thanksgiving...a time of reflecting on all that God has given to us.
169.  Enjoying time with family.
170.  My mom...she works so hard to make Thanksgiving awesome.
171.  Bonding time with my mom and sis in law while Black Friday shopping!  One lady told my SIL and I..."You guys are family AND good friends?  You are so lucky!"  Yes, we sure are.  My sis in law and my mama are two of my closest friends.  Who could ask for more?
172.  Finding some good deals!
173.  An unexpected day off for Em from school while family was here!

174.  Snuggles with my little sis
175.  A boy who loves to ride the tractor with his Papa!  

176.  And a girl who does too!  (Wish I had a pic of this!)
177.  A full, crowded house.  Yes, it's packed to the brim and loud and sometimes crazy...and we love it!
178.  Fire in fireplace, family all around, good food, and football on tv!
179.  Running with my dad on Thanksgiving morning.  He is one of my best friends too.
180.  Celebrating my brother and my mom's birthdays.  
181.  Big gathering for E's side of the family...seeing lots of family we don't get to see as often...
182.  And good times with family we DO get to see often.
183.  That we have plenty to eat and a warm house.  
184.   Remembering this time last year...C's pregnancy had its scares.  I was so anxious to get him here and hold him.  So thankful that he is here and healthy and for the blessing he is to our family.  He's such a sweet, happy baby.
185.  For my parents and E's parents who love and dote on their grandkids...
186.  And their kids!
187.  Great cousin times.  
188.  Tate's excitement over EVERYTHING "Kissmas". 
189.  Everyone pitching in to cook and clean.
190.  SNOW!
191.  "Kissmas moosic pease pease?"  I hear this many times a day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving thanks

"I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun. Not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else."
C. S. Lewis

  I've been thinking about this quote a lot this week, as I prepared for Thanksgiving and went about my daily routine.  As you know, I've been participating in the Joy Dare.  I've been quite literally counting my blessings.  
  In doing so, in seeking the lovely in the daily routine and the blessings in the chaos, I've drawn closer to God.  I am learning that when I look through at the world in a way that I am seeing the blessings, in a way I think God looks at it, then my faith is strengthened.  
1st Thessalonians tells us:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul knew that the secret to living a life that MATTERS, a life that GLORIFIES, a life that POINTS TO JESUS is in the thanksgiving.  

What if...we kept counting our blessings, long after Thanksgiving and after we reached 1000?  What if...we got caught up in what we have instead of what we don't?
What if...we learned to thank God through the hard times, even when the only thing we can think to say thank you for is Jesus?
What if...we knew that Jesus was enough?  That even if every worldly pleasure was gone, that He would be enough?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  May you have many gifts to count.  


Thursday, November 15, 2012


This morning while I was loading the kids in the car, shivering and wishing for my hot cup of coffee that I didn't have time to grab in my rush, my daughter prayed, "Thank You God, for the cold and for the frost.  The frost is so pretty."  When I stopped to look around and got past my selfish thinking, that frost really was beautiful!  And with the cold weather comes some of my favorite times of the year.

Sometimes it takes our kids to remind us of the blessings all around us.

200.  For colder weather...anticipating the holidays!
201.  My sweet babe who just wants to snuggle right now
202.  For my daughter's teachers and the love they show
203.  For that look E and I share when our kids do something crazy or cute or funny...the look of parents who are thankful for their kids.  Knowing that we share that pride.
204.  For a warm house!
205.  For being able to be home with my children and take Emma to school and pick her up each day.
206.  For a husband who holds down the fort in the evenings so I can Zumba and teach flute.
207.  For the Bible...a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
208.  For learning to be courageous
What can you thank God for right now?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Are you listening?

"Mom, are you listening?"  I hear my six year old ask as I am trying to get the two year old to sit on the potty and wrestling my ten month old at the same time.  No, I am not listening.  Most of the time I have heard her, but I am not truly listening.  No one likes to talk to someone that isn't listening.
I teach my children what I have learned in school that active listening involves your eyes, ears, hands (still and not a distraction), and your heart.  But how often do I give them that?
My husband is a great listener.  I know when I talk, he is really paying attention to what I say.  It's one of the things I love most about him.  It frustrates me too, because he is not always a great responder in my eyes.  Many times I don't think he is listening because he doesn't respond the way I would, but I have learned over the years...most of the time, it's because he is still listening and digesting what I have said.  Then he puts a lot of thought into how he will respond.
How many times in our "listening" are we really just thinking about what we are going to say next?  That's not really listening.  I get very nervous in empty silence...but lots of times silence just means people are focused on others and not on themselves.
Proverbs 18:2 says "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."  Later in Proverbs 18:13, "He who answers before listening-that is his folly and shame."

We read this in our Bible Study a few weeks ago...words of truth..."A wise parent talks when the kids are in the mood.  Every so often, they will ask a question, make a comment, reveal some little aspect of their heart. In those times, when their conscience is stirred, you need to talk.  This may require dropping everything else to seize a critical moment...You will miss precious opportunities when you only half-listen to your children." (Ted Tripp...Shepherding a Child's Heart)

Oh Lord, I am a fool lots of the time.  Teach me to be a better listener.  To my friends, to my husband, and to my children.  And to You.  Shut my mouth, and open my eyes, ears and heart to the needs and thoughts of those around me.   I don't want to be a half listener anymore...Help me to actively listen!  

Still counting those gifts...
190.  For a husband who really listens.
191.  Time with my sweet girl last night, time to really listen.
192.  For God who really listens and who cares about every detail of our lives.
193.  For the anticipation of seeing our family next week!
194.  For thankful, grateful children.
195.  Getting to visit Emma's school again yesterday and seeing an opera!
196.  For those who serve our country and protect our freedom
197.  And for their families.
198.  Going into a store yesterday with all three kids JUST to look at the Christmas display...
199.  And seeing their complete and utter delight.  Oh the simple joys!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

1000 Blessings

181.  Reading many thankful posts during this Thankful season
182.  Getting to eat lunch with my 1st grader yesterday at school
183.  Snuggling with that first grader this morning for a few precious moments.  Miss my one on one with her.
184.  Coffee on cold mornings
185.  A day off for my husband
186.  A good school for my 1st grader with caring teachers
187.  My family...I am so lonesome for them!
188.  Jesus.  My reason to live.
189.  That His mercies are new every morning.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Two articles you should read!

Two of my cousins have great articles out right now, especially for younger readers.
My cousin Kim writes about sexual purity here.  It is an excellent of my fav things she says is "Short term pleasures are Satan's territory.  Long term joy is God's".

My cousin Holly writes about God using young people and that being young is not an excuse for sinful behavior.  Love her "Say Not That I am a Child".

168.  An impromtu play date at the park...complete with Starbucks for the mamas.  :)
169.  Good visit with my brother in law, sis in law, and nephews.  I love and cherish family.
170.  Church thanksgiving!
171.  My kids SO excited about Operation Christmas Chld
172.  Zumba...sometimes ya just need to burn some major calories!
173.  Much needed date with my hub...the fact that we can have fun together just going to Target
174.  Cinnamon rolls
175.  Unexpected warm days!  No coat needed!
176.  Kids who are thankful

177.  My baby boy saying "Mama"

178.  My baby boy saying "Dada"...that boy loves his daddy
179.  A hard working husband
180.  Healthy children

Monday, November 5, 2012

1000 Blessings

153.  Extra snuggles with my teething baby
154.  Talking to my mama on the phone
155.  A Starbucks date with a good friend
156.  Kids so excited over riding the combine

157.  Good soup on a cold day
158.  Our Sunday School class...watching God grow us as married couples
159.  Relaxing, stay at home weekend
160.  Unexpected short weekend shift for E
161.  Apple pie
162.  Forgiveness
163.  Daylight savings extra hour (even though it wreaks havoc on children's sleep!)
164.  Cold evenings...beautiful skies
165.  My son singing "Me and my mama..." a little diddy he made up.  :)
166.  My kids' prayers before school.  T always seems to work in "Help mama make cookies"
167.  Good friendships between brother and sister

Saturday, November 3, 2012


"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him."  Romans 4: 7-8  (said by David)

152.  Thanks be to God for forgiveness of my sins.  

"If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins...who could stand?"

Do you ever read Scripture and it's like God is speaking right to you, piercing your heart?  When I read this, I just have to pause and say...Certainly not me, God.  I couldn't stand.  Thank You, Thank You that I don't have to stand without You.  That Your blood paid the price for me.  


Friday, November 2, 2012

1000 Gifts

146.  Movie night
147.  A brave little girl after a skinned knee.
148.  A not quite potty trained two year old making progress
149.  Brother and sister playing board games together
150.  Caramel corn
151.  Laundry almost caught up!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pursuit of the heart

Yesterday I failed as a parent.  Big time.  You know that feeling where you wish you could do it over?  Where you'd do everything different?   Yep, that was where I was at.   The to do list was miles long (it was Halloween after all), we were already running behind, and my girl was dragging her feet in the slowest way.  Instead of trying to get to the heart of what was going on, I went immediately to a consequence.  And it broke her sweet heart.  You see, she was out of line, but if I had stopped to explore why she was out of line, instead of just trying to fix or change the behavior, I would have gotten somewhere.
This is a concept we have talked about in our small group over and over again and seems to be a theme of Christian parenting studies.  The way it's presented is often different, but the idea is the same...
When we parent, we need to seek to change our child's heart toward Christ, not just change the behavior.

This is no easy task.  It's hard to do this in everyday life.  And certainly there are some scenarios that warrant immediate behavior changing action.  But the heart is our goal.

And isn't that how God loves us?  Isn't that the whole faith/works relationship?  We are saved by accepting  Christ, by our heart being His...but if our hearts are His, won't our works and deeds be pleasing to Him?  (As pleasing as humans can be!)  I'm reading Romans right now and at the end of Chapter 2, Paul talks about being a Jew inwardly and circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit.  It's not enough just to do the "right stuff"...God wants our heart.  He wants obedience out of love and devotion.

Thank GOD He seeks our hearts, and not our works because we could never measure up!  And neither can our kids...we can't be surprised when they sin.  They are human after all.  :)  But we have to seek to point their precious hearts to God.  We have to pursue their hearts relentlessly.  

And what I'm finding lately is just how little I let my kids see that I fail too.  I want to have everything together for them, so that they know that I will always take care of them.  But they need to see that their mama needs God's grace just as much as they do.

So after school had already started and I was sitting in the living room with a tear stained little girl who had finally calmed from her complete melt down... after I realized that being late to school was nothing compared to the complete and utter fatigue this little girl was feeling (I sent her back to bed for awhile in between),  I said, "I'm sorry.  I punished you before I talked to you and I didn't know all the facts.  I shouldn't have done that.  I still believe you deserved a consequence, but I also believe that I should have listened."  And she looked at me with her big brown eyes that still had a few tears in them and said four words that melted my heart.  "I forgive you, Mom."

And I'm still counting...but I'm behind. :)
123. A trip to see Meme and Granddad.  Safe travels on the long drive there and back.
124.  Meme and her "cinnamomomom rolls" 
125.  Trick or treating...several times.  So fun to see the kiddos in costumes!
126.  Good talks with E in the car.
127.  A neighbor who spoils my kids
128.  Riding on a pony at the carnival!
129.  Good times shopping with my mama.
130.  A lot of spoiling by Meme and Granddad
131.  God's grace.  That He doesn't give up on me.
132.  Answered prayers for a good friend.
133.  Hot coffee on cold, dark mornings
134.  A trip to the farm/playground...awesome place for kiddos in Kansas
135.  That no matter the results of the election, Jesus is still the One in charge.  :)
136.  For awesome in laws that help us when we can't be in every place we need to at once.
137.  For my husband's funny texts he sends me during the day.  Keeps us both sane.
138.  For E's job.
139.  A little sister who is growing up to be an awesome young lady.  
140.  A week off from teaching.  Love teaching but it's nice to have a week where evenings are free (or at least free-er)
141.  Friends who pray for me.
142.  A family member who is recovering
143.  That croup is gone from this house
144.  A big brother who looks out for his little brother
145.  Coats and warm clothes in the cold