Friday, January 29, 2010

SELF DENIAL -two words that are foreign to both my ears and my will
Not doing what pleases me usually makes me ill.
The Spirit's work in me is oh so slow
I cannot blame Him for its my sin i know.
That creeps up aver and over again
and quenches the work that He's doing within.

I try to be good and do what is right
But if i succeed in the day i fail in the night.
My thoughts may seem pure when i think them at first
but later emotions expressed show the worst.

I pretend that I'm good & choose what is best
i compare and contrast myself with the rest
"Not bad", I say under breath
"You might just be putting that sin to death".

But just seconds later i choke once more
for focus to shift knocks at my door.
 This game that i play oh why can't i win
My thoughts more onGod than looking within
Thought after thought i have of myself
so many to count or put on a shelf

But of God? And how to please Him?
You could put in your pocket or a jar with a lid.
They are scarce yes indeed
But His heart did yet bleed.
For all my vain thoughts all my conceit.
He took it with Grace to Calvary's hill
and paid the Great Debt, paid the Big Bill.

Now i am set free from what i deserve.
For all of my dreams of how others should serve.
Its all about me-this world of mine
BUT His mercy is big, His Grace is Divine!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Exposed & thoughts on Luke 18

My dear friend Kay and i were talking at lunch one day this week and she briefly mentioned how easy it is to 'fool' people over the internet. Yes indeed. The more i have considered this the more true i have found it to be. We have complete control over what people know of us and can conceal & explain most of our faults away. 
I even followed a friends link last night that led me to a woman's blog who under the 'about me' didn't even put her name and it said "All about me...or as much as i am willing to tell you". How true is that? What about you?
I was reading Luke 18 today and felt it penetrate this topic a little. So here are a few thoughts:
Verses 1-8 are about the persistent widow who kept pleading with an unjust judge for justice. He,"who neither feared God nor respected man" finally answered the widow. How much more a good God answers His- it says "I tell you, God will give justice to His elect speedily. Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
[i.e. God will answer them with justice, but in doing-will He find one worth rewarding-is there faith on earth? The answer is found multiple times in scripture to be 'no'. Re-read this post from awhile back if you need a refresher on our lack of goodness. Any faith we have is a GIFT from God! ]
Verses 9-14 contrast two types. The proud and the humble. "He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt"-the proud. If you read more about this guy who prayed he had everyone fooled. He (and doubtless others) believed in his goodness. But just as verses 1-8 revealed, we are all like this guy- one minute believing ourselves to be good and the next realizing even that is sin! Its like patting yourself on the back for being humble-HA! But instead "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” That takes ME to a point of application. Anyway..
15-17 talk about the infants being brought to Jesus and how He says"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God...whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Ever wondered about that? I have. Just think about it. What does an infant or a young child DO to enter a family? Must they earn their postiton? WORK hard to get a place there? Perform perfectly? NOPE!!!! Whether naturally or through adoption no child can DO anything to be a part of a family. That is the choice of the family! Doesn't that make sense now..we can't enter His kingdom unless we come like a child-that is what made the law inadequate for us to enter His kingdom-it was based on OUR doings (which we failed miserably at!)
18-30 is the ever so familiar Rich Young Ruler..He, like the Pharisee in 9-14, has himself and no doubt others fooled. He's "doing it" for God. "He's making his list and checking it twice-proving that he is not naught but nice"(hahah yes i am full of corny rhyme..too much Dr Seuss lately..) To what end? He sees that he still falls miserably short of what pleases God and His lack of trust in God is revealed. Once more refer back to 1-8~he trusted in himself as righteous...He walked away hopeless. What must he DO? That seemed the ONE impossible thing God could ask of him..sell his possesions?Really? ALL of them??  But Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
So what seems impossible for you? Is it letting that wall down revealing to others that you are not perfect (as if they didn't already know?!) is it trying to DO something for God?  Is it the one thing that you can't do? Find Hope friends-“What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
I will tell you what mine is in one week. My test comes next Thursday (and countless times before then) So stay tuned..for i will be exposed..

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How much can a 20 month old eat???

Today i felt like i was watching the Very Hungry Catepillar in action..."on Wednesday he ate through one bowl of cheddar grits, one banana, two pieces of toast..for lunch he ate a pimento cheese sandwhich and a pack of crackers..." and on and on! He ate a snack of a mini bowl of Cheerios around 3:30 and then ate two skewers of aloha chicken and broccoli cheddar rice for dinner!! Before bed he ate a graham cracker and 1/2 an apple with milk!  Guys I am serious!
He is such fun though! This morning when he woke up i got him out of his bed and he said "diaper- wet-change-you" In other words Mama change my diaper!  He is only wearing a diaper at nap and bedtime. He is totally grossed out by his own poop and was throwing his diaper way for me one day when it occurred to me that if he can throw his own diaper in the trash then he can go potty on the toilet..
Don't go thinking i am super mom FOR I AM NOT. God knew that i was dust and that i would be further insane (not to mention poor-er) with two in diapers! So He graciously gave me this son named Brennan who is a little bit like his Dad-o and likes things to be in order. He lines up his animals and his crayons and books and if even one book is upside down i the stack we have to turn it around when we are cleaning up
So here is a glimpse into my little man's life! (And covertly mine..)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Knox debut


I am learning to use the videos on the blog and teh other day i had a momemt when Brennan was  asleep & i was able to enjoy my Baby#2. You may think me crazy to post this little video bu ti love his little voice & he was really going before i ran to get the camera..but i did get some of him talking>>

Bathtime

Every night Ben bathes both our boys (which is SUCH a service to me!) This particular night Brennan wanted Knox to take a bath with him and as soon as Brennan saw his bare belly he did what his Daddy does to his and blew on it til it made that "pppphh" sound! It was hilarious both of the boys were laughing hysterically and so were we!

Ben has an old John Wayne doll from when he was a kid and the other day i walked into Brennans room and he was trying to undress him..concerned i asked why he was taking off his clothes & he said "shower" (except he can't say his R so it comes out more 'sowew') And he proceded to do just that and take him to our shower and brush his teeth and dry his hair!!
 

Brennan's new Kitchen stuff

If you are a mother of a child under 3 you know how challenging cooking dinner can be. My father in law bought this toy food for Brennan and his Aunt bought him a pretend stove at a garage sale. NOW...ladies and gentelmen..cooking dinner is a lot less painful!

Brennan calls all knives, scissors, letter openers (anything sharp) "Ows" because i always tell him "no no that is sharp it can hurt you, ow!" He has an "ow" of his own!
Funny any time you ask him what he is cooking he says "EAGGS" and i mean with a super southern accent! LOoks like today they are scrambled! (maybe its because that is one of the only things he has ever seen Ben cook and he thinks that since he is a boy like Daddy that is all he should cook...we may work on that..)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here we are taking our morning walk..
Here is my big man. He put his hat on himself!! Doesn't he look so grown!! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brennan has watched me leave the house too many times. The other day he got in his car and said "church -bye bye". As i ran to get the camera he said "uh oh bible"...he had forgotten to get his bible!!
Here he is-left the door open and everything just like i do and ran to get his bible.
"Church" he is saying look at those little lips forming that word!
TOO CUTE!

Spurgeon Thoughts on Fear..

If one were asked by what death he should glorify God, he might be long in the choosing, and probably would then choose that which would be most painful. Some are afraid to go to sea lest they should be drowned, and yet there is little reason for the fear. When a captain was asked whether he was not afraid to go to sea he said, "Not at all." "But your father was drowned, captain?" "Yes." "Your grandfather was drowned?" "Yes." "Your brothers have been drowned?" "Yes." "Are you not afraid to go to sea?" "No," said he, "not at all; for I may ask you the same question. Your father is dead?" "Yes." "Where did he die?" "In his bed." "And his father, where did he die?" "In his bed." "And his father?" "In his bed." "And your brothers, where have they died?" "In their beds." "Are you not, then, afraid to go to bed?" Certainly we must die somewhere or other, and we shall not die one single minute before the ordained period. I am a sufficient believer in predestination to feel sure that every bullet has its billet, and that no death can befall the man whom God ordains to live, God hath appointed all things, and his people are safe everywhere, whether they live or die. 
~Charles Spurgeon
click here for the full message

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And i Waited

One Christmas morning said my 3 year of self:
"I want a blue house with stairs"
Mom and Dad thought i had lost it 
& knew what 'Santa' could afford 
So encouraged me to pray to a God much bigger than an elf.
And i waited.

One year later they were packing up 
and moving jobs and changing homes.
Disbelief was not what they had taught me, faith had been enough.
Teenage years came quicker than anyone could grasp.
Insecurity and braces, bangs and harder math.
Youth director and his wife guided my tender heart
'Pray for your purity, your mate, your future' was my instructed task.
And i waited.

High school came with proms and pressure
Friday nights alone, God's Word my hope secure
I wanted to be like everyone, yet knew HE had the cure.
Himself was all i needed-My Groom, my God, my hope.
I  met the man i'd prayed for but for three more years i coped.
And i waited.

We married and dreamed of children
Working long and playing hard.
He finished school, i got a job we moved & raised the bar.
Time to save our pennies, build our home and one more car.
I was ready, but we must save-he said we must be smart.
And i waited.

Baby came then oh one more-that year then the next.
Days get long without a break or a solid stretch of rest.
Diapers, potty time, naps and tons to wash
Conversation seems impossible i say to myself "Gosh!"
Will this season last forever.
And i waited.

I will say one day in just a blink of an eye
Where did those days go? They seemed to just fly by!
But for now i must learn to be the wife and mom of two
learning about my role at home, discipline and marriage too.
Needing God to guide me and strengthen me this task impossible..
So i wait.

And i waited.. i will tell my child
In years and years to come.
'How did you survive it Mom?' they'll ask.
'I cannot seem to bear my load' they say amidst their task.
Lift up your soul to God alone-show Him your heart of stone
and He will mold it make it new- after it is broken make it strong.
And i waited till He made that true in that child of mine
and as i look upon him i will say 'it is for THIS 
I waited!'



And i waited.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Previous Posts

Hey guys for  some reason two posts back posted and are able to be viewed if you scroll down. 
They are on the topic of grace for parenting. You won' t want to miss them...scroll down and catch it..God's fountain of Grace over flow and may God be your only Hope in this impossible task of parenting!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sweat Pants & Sesame Street

SO..Big news for our family. I was offered a job.
Yes, a 'perfect' one. Less than a mile from our house, (actually on the same road that we live on). My former partner teacher is now principal at this school and would be working with a very enthusiastic former colleague. It would be only for THREE months (March through May) no strings attached. We are talking over $5000 and with unexpected doctor's bills form Knox's birth it could really help.
Ben and I spent all week praying, talking to those who could guide us through thoughts and questions as to if this would truly be a good decision. We talked A LOT and crunched numbers and prayed some more. I will not take you through every bit of our many conversations, but long story short we feel that God could get more glory through me continuing to stay at home.
NO amount of money can pay for time. Time spent showing unconditional, continuous love to Baby Knox by nursing and setting his schedule. Time spent carefully disciplining Big Brennan, learning how to communicate best with him and determining his strengths and weaknesses.
Time spent caring for our home and planning menus..time spent in sweatpants watching Elmo for the 100th time.
When i called this most excellent of principals that i have always had much respect and care for to tell her my decision listen to here response- The position you have chosen is better than the position i offered. I remember those days. When i was at the stage you are -where you spend all day in sweat pants and while Sesame Street is playing in the background the thought 'four year degree' runs through your head and you realize you have one of those..it goes by to quickly. You are doing the right thing.
And if that wasn't enough encouragement. This morning's sermon was Psalm 23. If you are at all unfamiliar with it the first line is "The Lord is my Shepherd I SHALL NOT WANT" OUr pastor went on to explain the care and provision that a Shepherd gives His sheep. It wasn't at all 'prosperity gospel', yet very timely. [Click here to listen] and we sang a song that sang my heart. Here are the words:
Jesus, I'm frail, I'm so very weak
My faithfulness fails, my courage will flee
But You are my rock, my shelter and shade
When I'm burdened down, You'll carry the weight

So I will cast my cares on You
Yes, I will cast my cares on You
I will rest within Your arms
Knowing I am safe from harm
I will cast my cares on You

When I'm overwhelmed and I cannot stand
You hear every cry and You lift my head
I'm desperate for grace and mercy anew
I must have Your strength, Oh I must have You

Friday, January 8, 2010

Quote

Ours is an undisciplined age. The old disciplines are breaking down...Above all the discipline of divine grace is derided [ridiculed] as legalism or is entirely unknown to a generation that is largely illiterate of the Scriptures..
V. Raymond Edmond
The Disciplines of Life

My new years resolutions have to do with being more disciplined myself..keeping the diaper bag organized, couponing & encouraging my hubby more, reflecting and recording God's grace and provision more etc..I also want to be more careful to train my little man to have a heart that knows how to obey. That He may understand that God sent Jesus for our disobedience is a HUGE challenge. The Proverbs talk about discipline a lot and i find much encouragement in them..
Proverbs 29:15/17
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
What are your new years resolutions??

Her careful response..

At what age did u begin discipline through spanking or do you spank at 18mnths? 
We began spanking with the rod whenever it seemed like they knew they were defying us.(one child was young like 12 months maybe, others have been closer to 2)  It's tricky I know, it's gotten somewhat clearer now that we've been through it with 3 little ones, but it's still hard to discern with each child.  But, initially we might do a little swipe swipe on the arm or hand if they did a "no, no" on the spot.  Like if I said, "You may not throw your food off the table."  And then, they blatantly did it, I might say, "That was a no, no" and give them a little spank spank on the hand or arm... Then, when you're ready to move into the "rod days" one thing that has served us is just picking one or two issues to focus on.  
For example:  I remember with our firstborn, our first thing was that we didn't want him pulling the dirt out of this fake tree pot we had.  So, we first trained him on this....telling him no, spanking his hand, and telling him that if he disobeyed mommy and daddy, we were going to give him a correction.  Once it was clear that he understood, I would begin to spank him if he did that.  After a few days or weeks of this, he began to obey when I would say not to touch the dirt.  
Wow!  I couldn't believe it.  So, anyway, taking it one or two issues at a time helped me to be clear on what I was spanking for and it helped me to be faithful to spank since I wasn't doing it for every thing at once.  
It also gave me faith for the task because Mike and I would sit down and discuss what we were disciplining for and I could be clear on it, like, OK, my hubby(my leader) has lead me to do this, so I can be in faith for it(when it gets hard or sad or whatever).   We just talk and decide what it is that seems most pressing...or what area they need to be trained and disciplined in and then I just try to stick to that until we see some change and then we move on to another issue.   We love shepherding a childs heart stuff, and I have really benefited from just reading one Proverb a day and writing down any verses about the rod or discipline that I find there.  I can't believe how many there are.  God used that practice in my life for a season to really give me faith for the disciplining task..and show me that it was His good will for me.  I hope that's helpful.   
As far as gospel truths to 18 mo.  You know, my understanding is that disciplining them simply and clearly at this age will cultivate respect in their hearts for you and enable you to preach the gospel to them as they can understand better.    Bill and Cheri Kittrell served us and helped us see that it shouldn't be a long discussion at this young age, but instead a, "Go to (designated place of spanking) Help them to see how they disobeyed, give them their spankings, lead them through saying they are sorry they disobeyed and have them to ask you to forgive them, we affectionately forgive them and then we head out to go on with the day)...in theory...hehe... 
One gospel centered thing we like to say, that seems easy for a young mind to grasp is...(after you've lead them through asking your forgiveness) ...saying ."Yes, I forgive you!  It's EASY for me to forgive YOU!  Do you know why it's easy for me to forgive you?  Because Jesus Christ (the perfect ONE) has forgiven me a sinner.  So if He could forgive me...then I most certainly can forgive you!  I say this countless times in a day.  It's good for my heart and theirs.  

Words of Grace for Parenting

Friends, may I introduce a huge blessing in my life.  As far back as I can remember those around me have looked to me for spiritual advice. Being from a pastor's home, loving God, being in His Word regularly, friends came to me even in high school. 
Then I marry a marvelous man, who happens to be called to ministry himself. I immediately assume the role of minister's wife and we have others coming to us (though very young, inexpereinced, and naive) for advice. God was gracious to protect us and lead us through that time. 
AND NOW He has called us out of vocational ministry and into a period of growth, discipleship, and refreshment. We are attending (seemingly uninvolved comparitively) a church called Cornerstone Church of Knoxville. It has SOOO been a gift from a Good God. The likemindedness and love for God in the people there has TRULY blessed us.
The College Pastor Mike Plewniak and his wife Elizabeth invited us to dinner in their home recently. Watching them with their four kiddos was such a treat. Ben and I immediately connected with them and saw wisdom beyond their years(Proverbs 1:4)
All of us desire to give ALL glory to our Great GOD!! He is THE ONLY ONE worthy of praise about all of this!
This is a question i asked to Elizabeth in an email and here is her careful response. May it encourage  you~


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Motherhood

Is this the dream I thought it would be
when i was 9 or 6 or 3?
I played dress up and clothed my dolls
I dreamed of a husband while my friends went to malls
Yes this was all God's plan for me.

In high school friends dated and wasted their time
I babysat late and and saved every dime. 
Frugality was something I learned from my mother
along with prayer and great love for another.
Yes this was all God's plan for me.

While friends at college stayed up late on projects
i did my work and dreamed of what's next. 
I had prayed for years for this husband of mine
That year God taught me He is the Husband Divine.
Yes this was part of God's plan for me.

Finally i met him, this man among men
and began living the dream about right then.
I'd watch him hold children and care for old women
attraction not quite, but indeed a good friend.
Yes that was God's plan for me.

Praise Him that the physical was not what began
my love for this handsome, excelling young man.
No indeed, God is smarter than that
He knows that we're dust and that beauty won't last.
Yes that was God's plan for me.

Life began, the one that is hard
through bad situations we were on guard. 
Work for us both saving all that was 'mine'
to stay home with kiddos further down the line.
Yes that was God's plan for me.

Baby number one came with great pain.
Soon i would find out i was pregnant again!
This one was easier, not quite as scary
Boy was i glad for this man that i married.
Yes that was God's plan for me.

Money got tighter and so did our home
days are spent cleaning and never alone.
Toys everywhere and laundry galore
And the thought that one day i would still have more?
Yes that was God's plan for me.

So when or how or what we will do
God's plans for me will still continue.
Back to work mommy or stay at home
don't know how, but I know You'll provide
For you have been always Faithful and true by my side.
Yes, You O God have a plan for me.

"Yes that was God's plan for me" one day i will say
as i look back on this soul searching day.
I don't know what's next but i know I'll be fine
It will all turn out as I'm patient with time.
Yes that is God's plan for me.




Saturday, January 2, 2010

Four Things

There are four things that its okay to be big on a girl:
1. The obvious (BOOBS!)
2. Lips (some women have even had implants in those!)
3. Eyes/Eyelashes (commonly known as a positive description)
and 4. Butt
You know the song... Not to mention that hips are a womanly characteristic. 
Well. Friends I have none of the above!! And today i have post-baby-butt. I don't know what that means to most people but for me it means all my pants look like whoever lived there 'hauled up and went packin'!! In other words empty, moved on, shallom and goodbye- no longer there!! It happened with Brennan too. Don't know what it is. Once I've gone like 3-4 months without having a prego belly, my body seems to loose any shape at all. I mean literally. I have had to buy new underwear!
(For any of my male readers i apologize for sharing details that are probably not very appropriate or interesting to you).
One of my friends said that its okay as long as i don't get a "front butt". (Don't act like you don't know what i'm talking about!) It happens to a lot of women. They fasten their pants and its like below the waist in the front is what is as big as what is below the waist in the back. 
I am aware of the dangerous importance placed on body image in the U.S. Its so sad and ridiculous. Women paying for and starving themselves when most women in other countries are not identified by their body or their jobs, but are simply trying to survive.
That moves me to another 'rant'...i was thinking today as i changed my baby-that-caused-me-to-have-no-butt how in America we have warmers for the wipes we use on our babies' behinds!! Seriously???!!!! We have an enormous void of what needs truly are here don't we??? I am currently reading the book "Jesus Freaks". It is full of testimonies and stories of martyrs who have lived and died for Jesus. They know need, they know want, they are not worried how their butts look in jeans. They have their head on straight and full of right thoughts.
So Dear Lord, in all seriousness, change my heart and mind that i might find my delight in your law and meditate on it day and night Psalm 2.

Good news & Bad news..

The good news is that Knox has now moved to 4 hour increments between feedings!!! Hooray. This may not sound like a big deal to you unless you are a nursing mom. Now i can go to church and back without having to nurse in the car! (which yes, i realize is illegal!)
Bad news..we have a sewage leak. Thought it was something else, but now we get to deal with this smell until Monday when AUB is back at work!! YUCK~!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Unwrap-able presents part two


Ben and I decided not to give each other gifts this year. For the past two years my parents have given my sis and me $100 at Thanksgiving and told us our gift to them would be to tell how we used it. Three contingencies: 
1. it couldn't be spent on ourselves.  
2. It had to be used by Christmas 
3. We had to give with the knowledge of why we were giving (Christ being the ultimate gift and the reason we have all good things)
So this year we did this 'project' and were motivated to do some other similar projects on our own.  
I have many days where i seemingly live for Ben to come home at 5-5:30 because i have had our little rascals alone all day and am worn out. Often my mind drifts to single moms and how they make it. Surviving much less instilling Biblical lessons and showing a joyful, serving, loving attitude towards them. So we supported a single mom and her son with groceries, warm gloves and hats, clothes for the little boy and a new blanket. We wrote a letter telling him (he is a 3rd grader) about Christ being the ultimate gift. 
We were inspired by our little Brennan to do something for the "sanitation engineers" (aka garbage men) in our community because he literally LOVES trash day and we follow the truck through three different windows as he makes the circle around our neighborhood. When they dump our can he throws them kisses and waves with a huge grin on his face...so we gathered cookies and treats from surrounding neighbors and gave them hot fresh cocoa and homemade bread when they arrived the week before Christmas. Also writing them a letter showing gratitude and sharing about Christ being THE gift!
I do not proclaim these 'good deeds' for our own glory but to share with you (men/humans/ humanity) our Light so that God in Heaven get glory (Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16)
See, God has been so amazingly good to us that we had parents to encourage God's work in our lives. So good to have blessed them and us financially so that we were able to use money to give to those in need. So good to have sent Himself in the form of Jesus to live a life so perfect so that our imperfections could be forgiven, that Jesus received God's wrath for me so that i know it not!!!  ALL good things come from Him. So, as you walk this day and start this new year, look for GOOD things and then, dwell on the fact that they came from God and what an INCREDIBLE God he must be!