Treasure your Family

Today was, thankfully, a non-schedule Saturday. Meaning, we really didn't have to do anything, schedule wise, if we didn't want to. Last weekend was CRAZY so I was looking forward to a nice, quiet weekend.

Of course, with a preschooler and a one year old, it is never quiet. Griffin woke us up at 3:30 this morning. This rarely happens so I am not even going to complain. I have friends that still have issues getting their little ones to sleep through the night so, no complaints here. And, Griffin had a good reason to wake up, his foot had gotten caught in the slats of the crib.

Then about 6:30, like clockwork, Carter comes in our room and wakes us up. Greg tended to him and fell back in bed. Then Griffin woke up for good at 7:15. Then we were all up.

I knew my dad was on his way here to trade cars with us since we are going out of town next weekend and needed a bigger vehicle, which is his mini-van. So, before 8:00 AM...yes, people, BEFORE 8 and BEFORE I even finished my first cup of coffee I was OUTSIDE with both boys cleaning up my nasty car. I was too ashamed for my dad to see it in it's current condition.

The boys had a ball outside and I have to really say I enjoyed working outside, even if it was already getting hot. We stayed out there a little over an hour, then once Griffin was down for his nap, we went right back at it. It was invigorating work (because, like I said, my car was a mess!!) and I told Greg afterwards that I really liked working out there with him on that task. Oh, and that we really shouldn't wait four years between inside cleanings, LOL!!!

Then my dad got here and we had a good little visit with lunch and he was on his way.

I like days like this when it is all about family. The privilege of having a daddy to visit with. Not everyone has that privilege and I know some who would love to be spending time with their dad. The privilege of being a mom and a wife. Working together on a task. Some women I know are single moms who do everything on their own. I am very thankful to have a loving husband who helps around the house, who is really a team player. Not all women are that lucky, I know. Treasuring the small moments and attempting to make memories out of what is being said and acted out by my four year old, knowing that all too soon, he is going to be grown up. Looking at Griffin who is doing so many firsts right now, knowing that I am going to blink an eye and he is going to be Carter's age.

Greg and I have really been discussing lately what is important. Do we want to "do" a lot, or do we want to make what we "do" meaningful. I would rather be meaningful. I don't want to be in a hustle and bustle of activity just because that is what the neighbors are doing. My boys are never going to be in more than one activity at a time, I don't want to be pulled in 10 different directions just because that is the expected norm. I don't care if my boys play sports in school. I want them to be good at the one thing that they love to do. Of course I want them well rounded but being busy doesn't make a kid well rounded, it just makes him tired.

I certainly don't have all the answers. I just want to treasure my family. I want to learn to be patient with my boys. I want to teach and train them and show them love. I would love to be perfect at mothering, but I am far from it. So, I apologize to them when I mess up and they forgive me...instantly.

Most of all, I lean on my heavenly father to lead, guide and direct, because no matter how much I may mess up, his grace is sufficient in time of need. And I am so very thankful.

Go hug your family today, whatever that family looks like. Your core group. Call your sister. Hug your kids. Treasure the day, don't just blindly go through one activity to another. Say "enough" when you need to. Breathe.

Treasure your family.

Trusting Even When it Doesn't Make Sense

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" Psalm 42:5

That is a question I seem to be asking myself a lot these days. I don't think I have to tell you that we are living in financially trying times. It doesn't seem to be getting better, especially for those of us who are self-employed, like my husband and I. Greg and I have been going through a tremendous transformation, spiritually. Difficult times will do that to you. Our biggest issue is money. We don't have a lot of it right now. We are not greedy people, so, it's not like we are asking for much, just a little security.

Everything inside me screams at me, "Go get a job!!!". I mean, it makes sense, right? Go get a job! But every time I try I am reminded that that is not what He has called me to do. He has called me to ministry and for the past 18 months or more I have not focused on that calling. I was not in a place mentally, physically or spiritually where I could focus on my calling. But He has brought me through, and more than ever, it is CLEAR what I should be focusing on and I pray that I am faithful to follow Him, even when it doesn't make sense.

One thing we have learned is in WHO are we putting security? Ourselves or God? The trial has been good. I wish it didn't have to happen, but the bible tells us over and over that we will have trials and tribulations, and somehow, this is all supposed to be for our good. Some days, I admit, it is truly hard to focus on that bit of truth..."all things work together for good."

I was putting gas in my car yesterday and was mindlessly thinking about things and I looked in the back seat at my kids empty car seats. Then I thought about the things that Carter says or does and Griffin's laugh and walk and I thought, man, they have got it so easy. No trouble, no trials, they don't have to worry about anything. Greg and I supply everything they need and more.

Remember how you always wanted to grow up? When you were in high school you were always 16...and a half or almost 17, right? I wonder at what point we stop adding half-years to our age? LOL! I know it has been a while since I added a half. But, it is so funny to think about how all we wanted to do was to be grown up. Have responsibilities. Get a job. Get married. Have kids. Be free from what our parents were telling us to do.

And do you think we listened to our parents when they told us not to grow up too fast? No, we probably rolled our eyes at them. We had no idea the responsibilities that came with growing up, having a job and a family.

I would love to trade in some of that responsibility about right now. Don't get me wrong. I am tremendously blessed and I do not take that for granted. I love my husband and children and I am so thankful for them. But....

The weight of this world, not only the financial crisis our country is in, but the spiritual state of our country. The wars and rumors of wars. The horrendous crimes against women and children in all parts of the world, including the US. Sometimes. Sometimes it just bogs me down. It makes my soul downcast. The responsibility. Oh, the responsibility of it ALL.

What is going to happen with our business, the kids education, their safety? How do I keep my children safe in this kind of world? What are we going to have to handle as Christians in the future? What kind of world have I borne children into??? It's scary. It was a lot less scary when it was just me and I was worry about paying all my bills. Now I have to worry about my kids, and all our financial responsibilities. Along with the possibility that the world as we know it is coming to an end.

Sound a bit dramatic? It probably is, but it's what I FEEL. So, I am putting it out there. And I am thanking God that in the midst of all my worries and trials I don't have to endure it alone. I mean, I can, if I choose to. But, God has provided a way out. Not to sound cliche, but He's got the whole world in His hands. It's not my responsibility to worry about all this.

Right now we are praying for a miracle, financially. God has provided and our needs always seem to get met, but we are facing some things that could cripple our future and our life. We don't know how to get out of it. And it is not due to fiscal irresponsibility. I married an excellent money manager. I thank God for that. We live very conservatively with what we have. We don't have car payments. We do everything "right". I am very thankful for that. But, we are still in a mess because of the economy. We have had two years of financial downfall and as good as we have been at managing money, when the money stops coming in, eventually, you run out.

I say all that to say this. We are fully trusting God for a miracle. For Him to provide like He has never provided before. Something that only He can do. And we have thanked him in advance for his provision. We are willing to do whatever He asks us to do. Even if that means making some very painful decisions.

But one thing we have learned through all of this is in WHO are we trusting and WHO is providing. Our work and investments do not provide for us, God does. I do not put my trust in our ability to be financially responsible. I put my trust in GOD. He is the one who is providing everything. Bottom line. I think we had forgotten that and God had to remind us of that. But now, we know. He is Jehovah-Jirah. And we will praise Him in this storm.

If the end of the world is coming (and I don't think it is) who better to trust in than the ONE who created the world.

Just like Greg and I provide for our children, God provides for us. It may not be in the exact way we would wish for, but He provides, bottom line.

"You Parents, if your child asks for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish do you give them a serpent? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:9-11

I can rest in the truth of God's word, even when what is going on around me doesn't make sense.

The second part of Psalm 42:5 says this, " Put your hope in GOD for I will yet praise Him my savior and my God". My Life Application Bible describes this verse this way,

"Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people. This will take your mind off the present situation and give hope that it will improve. It will focus your thoughts on God's ability to help you rather than on your ability to help yourself. When you feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm's ANTI depressant. Read the Bibles accounts of God's goodness, and meditate on them".

vs. 6, "my soul is downcast. Therefore I will remember YOU [God].

Sounds like a good plan to me. Beats any plan that I can come up with. He's going to protect us and our kids and make everything work for our good. God has a plan for my kids. As scared as I am with what they are going to have to face in this nasty world I am more encouraged that God has a plan for them and who knows, maybe my boys are the next Martin Luther or Oswald Chambers? Huh? I want them sold out to Christ more than I want them 'safe', whatever that means. I want them to be used for His glory, not mine. So I let them go. Trusting that God has a plan for them and He can protect them a whole lot better than I can.

Put your hope in God.

Okay. I will.

Wanted to share

I just found this blog on post-partum depression and wanted to pass it along.

As someone who has suffered with post-partum depressive symptoms with each pregnancy, I know how important it is to educate mom's out there on this issue.

Life doesn't ever really return to "normal" (whatever that is) but we just make a new normal and go with it.

I am amazed as I share my story with others how many women struggle with this issue after having a baby, yet it is often not talked about. Miscarriages are the same way, so many women have them (I had three) but we just don't talk about them.

I hope this helps someone out there. I wish I had found this site last year when I was really in the "desert"!!!

Click here for the BLOG

Have a great rest of the weekend!

General Baptist Convention

I had the privilege of speaking at the General Baptist Convention, July 26-28 th, for the second year in a row. This year it was held in Franklin, TN, not too far from home. Had a great time with some great people. This year I spoke on Consequences, Ending Discipline with a Positive Conclusion, and Family Time Training.

I wanted to share with you a few photos.

Speaking on Wednesday

Table shot. There is my handy helper Heather. She was a great help, and her three week old baby Stephen Thomas was quite popular, too.

Another table shot.

Thank you to National Center for Biblical Training for giving me the opportunity to represent them!

If you would like to learn more about NCBP you can go here!
To learn more about me as a speaker please visit my website here! My website is in under construction and I will be updating it soon. I will post an update when it is completed.

The Gift of Children

I don't often "gush" about my children. The truth is, being a mom is hard. I don't sugarcoat it. And, I enjoy being away from my children, it gives me a break, it's healthy, and we just get along better when we have had a break from each other.

I realize not all moms are like this, but I respect moms who want to be with their children 24/7, and hopefully, they respect the fact that God created us all as individuals and truthfully, we ALL need a break sometime, some just more than others.

But lately I have just been amazed by my children. Their preciousness, the fragility, the gift of who they are and why they are here.

I absolutely love hearing my four year old talk about God. I mean, he really gets God. It goes back to child like faith. Kids have it cause, well, they're children, LOL. But Carter gets trusting God. Carter knows that God created everything...including TV remotes, PBS and the movies that he watches. ha ha. Didn't you know that? Let me share with you.

The other day Carter came in while I was attempting to have my devotions. We call this my "talk to Jesus" time. He immediately wanted to talk to Jesus too and I said, "ok", knowing my time was over. Anyway, we started talking about creation and going through what was created on each day. Carter added a new day (well, several, actually) and he said something like this, "and on the eighth day, God created TV remotes so we could watch TV everyday. And PBS and movies. Then on the Twelfth day, God created the earth, sun, moon and the stars and everything in our backyard, and our beautiful house and the beautiful Wii games.

Now, he may not have gotten everything right, but it was too good not to write down. I love hearing him sing, talk and pray to God. It is so precious and innocent. It's not corrupted by having to live this life of so many years that takes the joy and trust out of knowing God (if we allow it to).

My baby boy is starting Pre-K tomorrow. I am not a sappy mom, in any way, and if you know me, you know this is true. But this past week I have just been watching my children be children and I am amazed that they are mine. Not because they are the smartest, cutest, or best at everything. But because they have so much potential in this world. And I am the person they spend the most time with. This means that I have the absolute most influence on their lives and how they turn out (besides God, of course).

And I have been reminded of the fact that I can either lift my children up or tear them a matter of seconds! I am not proud of every word that has come out of my mouth to the ears of my children. Or even the looks that I sometimes give them with a scowl. No, I am not proud of every moment because I am human and we all mess up and the best I can do with that is learn from it.

But besides knowing Christ and Him being the center of their life, I long for my children to remember kindness from me. Laughter and giggles. Tickling matches and discipline done out of love, not anger.

See, they have the whole world at their fingertips. Today as we were driving Carter to meet his new teacher and have orientation Carter asked for the "Bar CD" to be played in the car. That is his description of the praise babies worship CD that we have that he LOVES. And I love that he loves it and sings along with it. So, we sang the first song together on the way to school and I was almost in tears.

Then Carter sealed the deal. He said, "Momma, when I get big, I am going to pick out my own CD and put it in the player. And when I get big I am going to sit in the front seat with you. And, when I get big, I'm going to drive just like you and daddy".

All I could muster was a "uh-huh" cause I was about to lose it. Then I said, more to Greg than Carter, " and one day you will fall in love, and one day you will...."

I couldn't finish it. Because I just can't believe that I get the privilege every day to train up this child in the way he should go. I get to see him grow up and Greg and I are entrusted with him, hopefully, for a very, very long time.

His life is just starting, with all the innocence and glow of a four year old. And I really wish nothing would mess that up. But I know I don't have any control over that.

I just pray that I can be the mom he deserves.