Saturday, September 29, 2012

Praying {Intentionally}

Prayer. Its such a comfort to know we can go to our Heavenly Father any time of the day or night and talk to him, cry to him, praise Him and lift our lives to Him. Prayer plays a huge role in my life. Many times throughout the day I might just offer up a simple one sentence prayer while going about my day. Sometimes I say it out loud, sometimes just in my heart. Breathtaking to think that we can always do this. And more importantly? He loves it when we do and He longs for it! We have a God who loves relationship, He adores it!

Each night while I lay with my older son, once my baby is down, I rub his back and pray for both my boys. For their lives. For their health. For their career choices. That God would place amazing and godly mentors along their life path as He has done for me. For their spouses. That they would choose Him. Glorify Him. The list goes on and on. My heart overflows every night as I lay there with gratitude, with thanksgiving that He has given me another day with my boys.

One area of prayer, that I learned from my mom is to pray for their spouses. My mom began praying for this for my sister and I from the beginning of our lives. This is huge. Its so important that we pray, that we kneel down before Him asking Him to help our sons stay on the right path that will one day lead them to a godly, Christian woman. A woman who walks with Him, fears Him, brings glory to Him and will help my sons be who He calls them to be when they are together. I ask God this every night. I pray that their future wives would remain pure for them and my sons for them. Yes I do. That the choices these ladies make this very day and on would be ones glorifying to Him. I want this for both my sons. And I know, I know nothing is too  big for our God! He can do all things!

"Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

My mom was one who modeled prayer and dependence on the Lord well. And He has been so faithful to her and our family. I remember being young, and would wake up early some mornings and would walk out to the living room, where it was dark, yet the overhead lights would be slightly dimmed. I walked down the hall and there I would see my mom sitting on the couch with her Bible, her notebook and her head was bowed. Back then, as a little girl, I didn't think anything of it. But now. WOW. Such significance! She started her day, before daylight, before doing anything to be with our Lord. And I got to see that! What a godly example. I am so blessed to have been born into this kind of home, one devoted to the Lord. To be raised by such a godly mom and dad, may I never take that for granted. Prayer. So so important.

"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thess. 5:17

Mid October will be the beginning of a prayer group. A group that has been on my mind for over a year now. God put this on my heart, but with having a new baby last October, well I just couldn't do it all. But it remained there, and I allowed it to remain there. To see this come to fruition this next month, I feel so blessed. To have other moms in my home every other week, a mentor mom who I have asked to come, during the morning, for one hour, where we get to pray for one another, for our kids and for our husbands. I know God has awesome plans for this group. I cant wait to see how He will grow us through the years of raising our kids and developing and investing in our marriages to last us a lifetime. I will post much more on this as there is so much to tell, I am just so excited about how God is working all these details out. And for our kids to see and know that mommy is inside praying for our family, amazing what that alone will cultivate in all of their little hearts. Pray for us young moms, will you? 

"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:20

How has God worked in your life through the power of prayer?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Focused on Him

Melissa over at Missionary Mama, posted something from this site very similiar. Then I found this one, for busy moms. It says it perfectly. Perfect reminders of our days. 

Manifesto of Joyful Parenting

1. Life is not an emergency. Life’s a gift. Just Slow.

2. Now is not a forever grace but amazing grace.
Do whatever it takes to wake to wonder right here.

3. Sometimes the slowest way is the fastest way to joy.
Make time today, even a moment, to read Scripture and
memorize it. Without the lens of His Word, the world warps.
{Slowest=fastest to joy}

4. Laughter is the cheapest, holiest medicine. Preschoolers laugh 300 times a day. Aim for
double that. Tickle someone, (yourself!), if necessary. This is good!

5. Motherhood is a hallowed place because children aren’t commonplace. Co-laboring
over the sculpting of souls is a sacred vocation, a humbling privilege. Never forget.

6. Homemaking is about making a home, not about making perfection. A perfect home
is an authentic, creative, animated space where Peace and Christ and Beauty are embraced.
{Perfect does not equate to immaculate.}

  7. Believe it: I have all I need for today. The needs of our day are great, but God is greater
and we call Him Providence because we believe: He always provides. {And when God provides,
He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn’t praise always be on the lips?}

8. Slow. Children at play. Hurry hurts kids. Time’s this priceless currency and only the slow
spend it wise enough to be rich. If we actually bought our time, would we spend it more wisely —
spend it more slowly? {God’s Word never says Hurry Up. God words only whisper: Wake Up.}

9. Love is patient. Parenting’s this gentle way of bending over in humility to help the scraped
child up because we intimately know it takes a lifetime to learn how to walk with Him. Patience.
Love always begins with patience.

10. The art of really celebrating life isn’t about getting it right – but about receiving Grace.
The sinners and the sick, the broken, the discouraged, the wounded and burdened — we are the
ones who get to celebrate grace! Regardless of the mess of your life, if Christ is Lord of your life,
then we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace — because when it’s all done and
finished, all is well and Christ already said it was finished.

To print out follow this link:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Simple Joys: {Living in the Now}

Warmth of Fall Decor
Art work masterpieces

 Special deliveries by my neighbor, just as I ran out

A trip just for fun to the party store
 Catching a baby lizard

Games to have fun and learn
Fresh fruit
 Cozy naps
 Sibling love
 Having fun with our neighbor dog
 A trip to a brand new store
 Dirt and making a fun big mess
 Putting two and two together and learning
 Ladybug love
Learning to brush his teeth all by himself, growing

Living in the now couldn't be better.

What are your simple joys?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dating Our Kids

I don't know about you, but I live for my dates with my son. And I look forward to the "real" dates with my baby son once he is a tad bit older. And besides, look at this picture, who wouldn't want a date with him?! He is stylish with those shades after all :-)

I think its so. SO. so. important to date our children, to have one on one time with them. Whether it's to their favorite place, to get a treat or even just taking them to the grocery store with you. It's such a special time for them and for us too. We get to know them in a deep way. We get to talk to them, just them with absolutely no distractions. And you know what? It thrills their heart more than we will ever know! The time we spend with our children, we wont ever regret.

I remember about a year ago, when I would take Cayden out on a date, he would look around waiting for me to put his baby brother in the car and when he realized that it was just going to be me and him, his eyes lit up like you have never seen before, it means so much to him. It means so much. And the same is true when he gets to go on a date just he and Daddy. Having one on one time develops a friendship, a bond, a closeness that is priceless and precious.

A mentor of mine, who now has four successful, grown children and who are all family focused and  have great friendships with their parents, instilled dating their kids from the start. And as her sons got older, she would take them on a date and give them the money and they learned how to pay, she taught them to open the doors etc. And when her husband took their daughters on a date, doors were opened for them, dates were paid for by dad etc. I love that it went from taking them on dates as children and gradually as they reached the teen years they were taught the polite ways of growing into an adult while still maintaining a precious friendship with one another.

Growing up, my parents dated my sister and I, one on one as well. It has an impact! One of my best friends is my mom. I can tell her anything, vent to her, pray with her, and get encouragement and love. My dad is amazing and I can remember our dates too. The wisdom I have gained from them is such a blessing. And I still go on dates with them! I love that.

Dating our kids goes a long way. And I am blessed to say that we are starting this early on with our boys. The time we have with them is so short, and getting to know them, hearing them, encouraging them, offering up praise and love. Well there's just nothing like it. There will come a time when I pray. Oh I pray. That my boys will be open to me, that they will see they have no fear in telling me anything. For I will do my best, never to humiliate or judge, but just to guide and love them. And I believe that kind of communication with our children starts with respect, love and one on one time with them. And it starts while they are little. They will know I/we love them no matter what because I too am a sinner and need Jesus just as much. We are in this together! Friendship with our children is a beautiful thing. And the best part? They know you care about them!

I had a date this afternoon with my son, and my heart is blessed and singing from it.

May I always seek to know my children; to be intentional.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
~Proverbs 22:6

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others."
Philipians 2:1-4

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Ugga Mugga"

I can remember growing up, and having things that we did as a family or things that I did with just my mom/dad that set us apart from other families. It's such a special thing, when as a family, there are things you do that make your family, your family. If that makes sense?

Family as defined by as this, "a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered a group, whether dwelling together or not; the traditional family." Simple, plain and to the point.

Then I came across this quote, "Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing." Beautiful and true! Jesus was all about relationships and to model after Him is His plan for us. Relationships take time, effort and being cultivated daily, whether young or old.

Family relationships, and memories must be cultivated and nourished. Part of nourishing our family relationships is through memories. It's through the things you do that make your family, your family. It takes effort! It's through the little things. The things that make each day special. Every single day is special. It really is!

Back to my title of this post, "Ugga Mugga." Remember, Mr Rogers Neighborhood? I remember it so well. And now they have come out (PBS) with a show called, "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" which incorporates the sweet things from Mr Rogers. It.'s finally a show filled with great lessons and nothing evil. Cayden and I enjoy turning it on each day, if we are home, and sitting together to watch it. I noticed last week that they say, "Ugga Mugga." Hmmm....what is that? So, I looked it up! It's used to say, "Eskimo kiss!" So sweet. Here at our home we love kisses, and we love Eskimo kisses. Today I started using this phrase, "Ugga Mugga!" It's become our thing. It's something that will set us apart as a family, from other families who might not use/say that. It's something that my sons will remember and maybe pass along one day. Before bed tonight, I said, "Ugga Mugga sweet boy"...and he turned over and placed his nose at mine. It's tender, sweet moments like this that make our family, our family. 

What small thing does your family do, that makes your family, your family? I would love to hear a sweet touch or two that you add to your family!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sportsmanship: A Child's First Christian Witness

Every other Thursday is Moms Inc at church. Today was filled with such great points and knowledge on the subject of Sportsmanship, taught by a retired white hat and one who is still "on the field" for big games like UCLA, Oregon State etc, it was a blessing hearing from him as a professional and also as a dad. Trying to get all of my thoughts in order as I share what we all learned. Moms group is filled with moms of all walks and stages, as well as mentor moms (who are awesome women of God and specifically hand picked!) I am thankful to have this time, where I can go, as a mom, to be fed and fellowship with other moms and gain such encouragement and support from our mentor moms who have grown children and grand kids now too.

"For where two or three gather in My name, there I am with them."
Matthew 18:20, NIV

Before I even begin to share what I learned today, spiritually, I have to share what we, as Christian parents are up against. A couple of moms today, who have five and six year olds and have begun the sport of soccer are entrenched in the competitiveness that sports are bringing. This right here astounds me- parents are now (are you with me?) paying, yes I said paying, their children for every goal that they make! This is the motivation for their children. And at such a young, tender age, I just cant even imagine or comprehend this. *shock* I will leave this here.


Moving on to what God has called and planned for us. I think I will write this as bullet points, as my thoughts are all over and my notes are such as that.

Being an example:
  • Always offer up praise and encouragement to opponents.
  • Never berate any child, coach or official. Think it only-"little ears are listening, eyes are watching and hearts are feeling"
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:16
  • Let your child see you enjoy the sport.
  • Put character first. Always.
  • Observe your child's behavior and correct it, even if the coach doesn't-make it clear that we are called to a higher standard.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself."
Phil. 2:3
  • TV Sports: look for teachable moments, or point out unacceptable behavior in a player. That behavior hurts the team and the player (sin). Point out good behavior and examples that you see as well!
  • Be up front with coaches and your children. "I want my child learning life lessons out on the field."
A few side notes:
  • Don't confuse sportsmanship with real tackle play- Play the game right and real.
  • You want them to try to win, play hard! This verse is on spiritual discipline, but our speaker encouraged it to be also applied to sports:
"Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Cor. 9:24

Be Wise:
  • Be wise in how you deal with coaches and overly competitive/aggressive children. Use it to teach your child the correct ways to play and behave. 
"Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor's crown except by competing according to the rules."
2 Timothy 2:5
  • Its your responsibility to teach sportsmanship- Do we have to teach our children to lie? No. Do we have to teach them to steal? Nope. We are to teach them the right ways of these things, including sportsmanship. They aren't born knowing good sportsmanship- it is learned and taught. Be sure you teach it to them, dont let the world do it for you.
  • What do you want your child to learn? Teaching them character, will pay off in life. Not whether they win. They will get ground balls all of their life, teach them how to deal with them. Are they playing to learn life lessons or are you too focused on getting that scholarship?
  • Lack of teaching good, quality sportsmanship will come back to haunt you in the end. Be wise.
Best Line:
  • If you remember nothing else, remember this. This is the one principle for the young mind to get and keep. At the center of good sportsmanship is Matthew 7:12. The golden rule of all:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."
Matthew 7:12

More related verses:
  • Mark 8:36
  • 1 Cor. 10:31
  • Col. 3:23
  • James 3:16
As I was sitting there, thinking about when sportsmanship begins, it begins so early. I am reminded that it's so important to play games and board games with our children. Allowing them to safely lose at home first, while playing a simple game, can be a great beginning to having the right attitude of losing and winning. Both are important. Play lots of games!

Lots to think and pray on! Our speaker, of whom I love his family, shared so much. So much from the Bible too. It's so important that if we take the route of sports, to be present for our children. To be at all the games, to be at the meets, anything they do, because the teachable moments are there. We are to train their hearts, and use such moments for training, for life lessons. If we arent there, who will train their hearts in this important area? The world. But we must be there, in order to see them and not allow laziness or other things to take priority of being with our children. I love the ways God's word guides every step of our parenting. Such a comfort to know we can go to Him and He will lead us down His path! So much to learn. So much to pray about. Now, go play hard!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let Them Be Little

I can remember when you fit in the palm of my hand
Felt so good in it, no bigger than a minute
How it amazes me, you're changing with every blink
Faster than a flower blooms they grow up all too soon

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little
[ Lyrics from: ]
I've never felt so much in one little tender touch
I live for those kisses, prayers and your wishes
Now that you're teaching me things only a child can see
Every night while we're on our knees all I ask is please

Let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

So innocent, a precious soul, you turn around
It's time to let them go

So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little

Let them be little

This song, when I heard it sung at a women's ministry dinner, my heart strings were pulled. Tears came. I adore this song. Its such a blessing to allow our "babies" to be little. We let our boys giggle, we let them cry in our arms, we hug them even when we are in a hurry. We let them sleep in our bed, we love them to the moon and back as we say to each other. Oh just let them be little. A grandpa at the park recently told me, "These are the best days of your life, you just dont know it yet." Pearls of wisdom! I commit today and always to let my "babies" be little, may every moment be one to cherish, even the challenging ones. These are the days! Thank you, Jesus!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
James 1:17
Song above

Sunday, September 16, 2012

God's Leading: Forgiveness

Psalm 86:4-5

New International Version (NIV)

Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.

As part of my refining journey, forgiveness has definitely played a big role. The Bible certainly is not quiet about the subject of forgiveness. It's so important. It's so healing. As parents its hard to get caught up in the, "we are the parent and we cant be 'wrong'"....But we are wrong, many times. Many times. And to be wrong and not ask our child for forgiveness isn't what God has called us to be like or do. I think something so profound, so valuable can be taught to our children when we parents go to our children and demonstrate the act of forgiveness.  It's a lesson they wont forget. My mom, my dad, who I see as perfect, have asked me to forgive them! Lets face it, from the eyes of a young child, mommy and daddy are their world, they see us as perfect and when they see us fail and admit to it, wow...what an example that we too are not perfect and we need Jesus just as much as they do!

It was last Thursday, an emotional evening. The boys were down for the night and all was calm and quiet. I was reading the Bible and reflecting on what God had been teaching me with our parenting. I need to ask my son for forgiveness, is what was on my heart. I was anxious to hold him and talk to him and ask him for forgiveness for my failures as a mommy to him. One area in particular. A few minutes later, I heard a little cry out. And then another. It was my three year old boy.  I went right in, and he had had a bad dream. I tried getting him back to sleep. And he would fall asleep only to wake five minutes later with a bad dream again. "Do you want to come with me?" I asked him. "Yes mommy." was his reply. I finally picked him up, and carried him out to the living room where I just held him. About a half hour later, he was pretty awake and we were chatting. Right then and there I was so thankful that the Lord had woken him up to be with me. I wanted to ask him for forgiveness, remember? And so I did. That night taught him, that I had been wrong, and I was sorry to him and wanted to do things differently.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
James 4:6

Today he remembered that night. Between dirt and tractors, he brought it back up again while playing in the dirt. It was a sweet moment. A moment that showed me that asking him for forgiveness, spoke volumes to him. It touched him. It taught him that even I need Jesus. We are all sinners. 

 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Oh to be stripped by our Father. To be pulled apart and asked to change. 

To change dramatically. 

To ask for forgiveness. 

Being called to so much more, casting out my old ways completely humbles me. I stand in awe of the One who changes His children so gently, so lovingly and equips them to more spectacular ways. Ways that are His. Ways that honor Him and bring glory to His kingdom. This is the best Kingdom work I have ever done and ever will do. Someone once told me, "your greatest mission field is right in your home." Amen. I couldn't agree more. 

Thank you Lord, for these days. They are the best yet. You're calling is the best calling of my life. May I always remain kneeling down to the One who called me here.

Kindness by Chris Tomlin

Its Your kindness Lord
That leads us to repentance
Your favor Lord, is our desire
Its Your beauty Lord
That makes us stand in silence
Your love
Your love
Its better than life

Friday, September 14, 2012

God's Leading: Child Training

I have been radically transformed in the way we/I parent our sons. Its been a week and a few days instilling a new approach to discipline/training up my oldest son and the fruit is so good already. I spent much of last week, being stripped and wrung out by our Heavenly Father. I went through an emotional roller coaster. And I couldn't be more thankful.

A little quick history on my past views of discipline, you will see how easy it is for even Christian parents to accept secular ways when in fact the Lord has called us to something else that is far more spectacular!  I always thought strong willed equaled strong discipline. Being a preschool teacher before becoming a mom, with fifteen three year olds running about, I tended to have to be a bit firm to keep my class well under control and so I was a rather firm mom, yet also had my soft moments. I always thought, "well if I let him get away with this or that, he will walk all over me." "I cant back down now, despite how ridiculous this battle is of the wills, he has to conform and do what I say, or else this and this will happen." I am being fully honest here. I was not a terrible mom, but rather a mom who needed to learn how to give grace, how to fully understand my three year olds precious heart and his intentions. Just because he was doing something, didn't mean his intentions were wrong...why did I not see this? Why did I assume that he was being mean, or causing havoc on purpose? Why did I not, take him on my lap, cuddle him and ask him how he was or what he meant to do?  Just as our Heavenly Father does to us? And it pains my heart to think I was an assuming mom to my son most days for the last year. But I can rejoice, that God got my  attention, and said, "Alicia, dear child, this is not the way I have for you or your son. Let me show you." And so I followed and obeyed with a heart wide open and tears in my eyes saying, "Yes Jesus, show me now right where I am."

Last week on Tuesday, out of no where, I sent a text to my husbands aunt ( OUT. OF. NOWHERE. Here is what I put, "I think you should do a post on child training in regards to discipline. Think about it!" I honestly, had no control over what I was writing, it just came out. And so she replied, "okay!" And that was it.

Wednesday, she did a post on child training for the wee years. Toddler age. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was not a gentle mom most days...I was a loving mom but always firm about most everything. Her post did not include time outs or spanking. It didn't include talking down to the child or scolding them. It was about training. It was about asking the child not to do something, but using words of love. Using a time to hold them to teach them rather than sending them off to their room alone, feeling secluded and sad and unworthy to be with you. Her post taught me it all needs to be done in love.  I knew this, but I don't think I fully understood how. Put the frustration and anger away. Get it out of all parenting. They are precious souls who need to know that they never need to earn your love. They have it already no matter what they do. Just as we do with Jesus. She starts out by saying, "I love you!" before even talking about what the issue is that the child is doing. That's awesome.

"I love you and you need to obey." These words I use day in and day out now. And guess what, the response from my son is astounding. The fruit is my reward! I have put aside the time outs, the stern voice. I have changed. So has my husband. We both see the huge change and difference that is so good. This last week and a half, I have simply come to my sons level, talked calmly to him. Praised him over and over (Duggar style) and have told him before every correction that "I love you! You need to obey. This is what you need to do ____" His response? He is silly, he is happy, he is being loved, he is obeying and he knows it. He KNOWS it. Not that he didn't feel love before, but I/we are now loving him that way that he needs to be loved, through gentle discipline.

We are loving him through understanding him. Through him knowing that his feelings matter. They matter to us! If he is struggling to go into a classroom, or to try something new, that is okay! He is secure with us. He doesn't have to go into his class, or else a, b, c will occur. This is not being a pushover. This is allowing your child's feelings to matter. "You don't want me to leave you in class?" "Okay, come be with me and learn how to grow" Because I understand you, I love you and you are secure in me.

I have been taught SO much in such a short time. Refined.

As I shared all of this with my mom, the turn around of how my son was to how he has changed so much for the positive. She said, "Alicia, I told dad last week that we need to be praying for you and Ryan. That you would be less firm with him and more understanding of him and his age." Wow. God is at work! And remember that random text I sent? Yep. Totally a God thing. I was raised with totally and completely gentle discipline. And I have not a clue why I didn't remember that.. But the world is SO controlling and Satan just wants to take us and make us think a certain way. Especially Christian parents, he is so after us.

I read this article about gentle parenting, and here is an excerpt: (sorry it looks a little crazy)

Twelve of God’s children, all with different personalities, backgrounds, and talents, became Jesus’ disciples. The word disciple is the root word in discipline, so to discipline our children means to disciple them.
What characteristics defined Jesus’ discipleship? In other words, how did He treat His disciples? Was He harsh? Did He yell? Did He punish them? Clearly, He had the authority to. But since He came to take our punishment, it really wouldn’t make sense for Him to start meting it out, would it?
Was He distant, unresponsive to their needs? Did He make demands, insist on instant obedience, and toss around kingly commands?
No, no, no, and no! Jesus treated His disciples gently, tenderly. He listened. He responded to their needs, answered their questions, spoke their language. Jesus encouraged and guided and taught His disciples.
He drew them close to Himself, lived with them, ate with them, traveled with them. Jesus didn’t just say He loved His disciples. He didn’t simply feel love for His disciples. Jesus lived love for His disciples. And He lived that love daily, mercifully, sacrificially.
So, what are the characteristics that defined Jesus’ discipleship?
Gentle. Tender. Responsive. Available.
Listening. Encouraging. Teaching. Guiding.
God, Himself, intimately and empathetically connecting with His children.
That is perfect parenting.

Profound, isn't it? And so good and right. I am praising God for this refining in my life and feel so, so blessed that He chose to refine me in this area now, when I was blind, rather than in ten years when my sons are teens.

My prayer, that I would follow my Lords example of what it means to love fully, be gentle in correction always, understanding my sons and their feelings and to live out this new calling in our lives. It comes natural to me now. The first day or two, I found myself biting my tongue not to do my old ways of discipline, but now? Its so natural. The Lord has come in, and changed me. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him! Its as if He has written me/us a love note through using others! That's amazing. He cares that much. After all we only have one shot at this parenting thing, I am making it my best to get it right, the first and only time using His lead and keeping my eyes on Him. And when we fail, because we will, He is so gracious to give us a new day; His mercies are new.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
1 John 4:18

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gods Leading: Education

Let me first start out this post by saying, that God speaks clearly to me in the middle of the night. Perhaps, its because I am up nursing my precious baby, it's dark, and it's pure silence. Sometimes I am nursing when His small voice speaks, other times I am tossing and turning finally to realize I cant sleep then that voice starts. It's such a joy, despite being woken up, to hear directly from our Heavenly Father.

I am remembering back to March 2012. It was time to sign Cayden up for preschool, or so we thought. "Our" plan was always to send Cayden to a private school. And that was going to start when he was 3 1/2. We began to tinker with the idea, and trying to get the ball going on signing him up and touring. One evening in March, Ryan was away that evening, it was me and the boys. And I just felt this emotional out pour. "I cant send him to preschool. I want to be with him! He is only little once. I am just giving my time with him away to someone else." My heart was torn. The secular thoughts can seem overwhelming in this world, telling you "if he doesn't go to preschool he wont get a good start. He needs to be with other kids." And to think, that for six years I taught preschool and now I wasn't going to send my son? The world told me, that's absurd. But the Lord told me, "yes, keep him home with you." A few of my closest mentors in my life, reached out to me that evening, as my boys were busily playing and tears were rolling down my cheeks, encouraging me to keep him home another year. Ryan agreed wholeheartedly. God is good.

That very next morning, at about 3 am I was up nursing. Pretty much half asleep. Homeschooling suddenly was on my heart. As someone pointed out to me, surely the Lord put that there, because Satan would have nothing to do with wanting this for my children. Homeschooling? Really? To be honest, that was NEVER an option. Remember, "our" plan was private school. But my heart was soft, it was suddenly listening to this word and God knew that. He knew that! I reached for my phone, began reading verses, blogs and I even wrote our pastor. I fell asleep with a peace, an overwhelming peace! God is good.

7 am. It was as if I blurted it all out. Ryan, hmmmm was his reaction. "I don't know." That day, His voice kept speaking to me, my pastor responded so encouraging to it. We headed out that evening for a date, just Ryan and I. We had a serious conversation about this and I spilled my heart, what He spoke to me. People around us must have thought something was wrong, we were talking so passionately about it! Ryan's "I don't know" became an "absolutely!" Good is good.

I began talking to other homeschooling moms who are in the midst of it or who have walked the road before. I was directed to a local co-op. After talking with them, there was nothing offered for the preschool age. Hmmm....I DO want something for my son to do, but not the traditional preschool. I want to be super involved. This co-op, well established and having its ducks in a row, was wanting to start a preschool program to include the young families of their program. And so it begins, I was offered this position to start their preschool program, once a week! How cool is that....I get to teach in the classroom again, be home with my kids and reignite a passion. God is SO good.

I stand in awe of my Maker. The one who leads, guides if only we let Him. I have a huge peace about homeschooling that only He can give. Have I faced ridicule for this decision? You bet. Did it hurt and break my heart? Even more. But, how can anyone argue with something that God has specifically called you to do? No one can. Over the last several months, there has been confirmation after confirmation that what Ryan and I have decided to do for education for our children is right and it is His best for them and for us. God knows me. He knows that my personality and who I am, needs confirmation because Satan is so after me. He is so good to give that to me, teaching me to be strong, to stand up to the enemy when He wants to tear us apart and bring us down. After all, does Satan really want me to keep my kids with me, at home, where His word is spoken daily? Where my children learn to love, learn to grow in Him? No he doesn't. Is it a change for me? Somewhat.  Remember, homeschooling was never an option. Till now. My response to people used to be, "We aren't sure yet." In regards to if we were sending Cayden to school. Our response now? "We are homeschooling." He has grown me in confidence! So thankful to Him. Someone who I think highly of, a mentor to me, shared this phrase,

"Never doubt in the darkness what God showed you in the light." Profound!

God is amazing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh What a Miracle

I have hands, I have hands,
Watch me clap, watch me clap.
Oh, what a miracle am I.
I have feet, I have feet,
Watch me stamp, watch me stamp.
Oh, what a miracle am I.

Oh, what a miracle, oh, what a miracle,
Every little part of me.
I'm something special, so very special,
There's nobody quite like me.
I have arms, I have arms,
Watch me swing, watch me swing.
Oh, what a miracle am I.

I have legs, I have legs,
They can bend and stretch, they can bend and stretch.
Oh, what a miracle am I.

(Repeat Chorus)

I have a spine, I have a spine,
It can twist and bend, it can twist and bend.
Oh, what a miracle am I.
I have one foot, I have one foot,
Watch me balance, watch me balance.
Oh, what a miracle am I.

(Repeat Chorus)

May I as I mom, not ever, EVER forget that my children are miracles standing before me. This precious children's song, brings tears to my eyes every time I sing it or hear it. I am so blessed beyond anything I can imagine to have two sons, and they are miracles. Miracles made for me! That is so breathtaking, knowing God chose me to be their momma. Just think about that. You might have children, they are miracles created for you from our Father. A huge, priceless gift He gave to you and to me.

 This week, God has taken me, wrung me out, and made me a new momma for my miracles. He has refined me in the fire, He has sculpted me into who He desires me to be for them. And I know He is not done yet. I cant wait to see how else He is going to sculpt me. I am thankful. Very thankful. The start of my refining story is coming.

"Oh what a miracle, every little part of them!"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Isaiah 64:8

"Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay and You are the potter; we are the work of Your hand."
May the fresh start of this blog, be the focus of who He is, what He has done, and who He will always be. This week has been one of being "Refined" and shaped by Him. I am standing in awe, with a heart of thanksgiving for my Maker; the One who redeems and the One who leads us with His still small voice. He is gentle. He is loving. And boy is He patient with His children. His voice was heard in the midst of a busy life this week and I cant wait to share. Being a wife and a mom, is a calling, that isnt taken lightly, and this week I have finally seen with my eyes the work of my Father in my life as a mom; as parents. Its such a blessing when we sit, and we listen and we obey His new call in our lives. I am overflowing with JOY by the steadfast love He has displayed. Its often a wonder, why I am so surprised, so excited when God clearly teaches me; perhaps I havent been always listening? This week I truly was. Thank you Lord, for the ways You teach and dont give up, in the midst of such a busy life.
I have been drastically refined this week; and I am praising Him for it all!