Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Beauty...


She has..."the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:4

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Hallie


Hallie seven years ago today I was a mommy for the first time! I remember the joy I had in seeing you for the first time, holding you in my arms and wondering who you would become. I am celebrating you today knowing that the Lord is creating in you a tender, kind, loving, cautious, wise spirit. You are beautiful inside and out and I am blessed to be your mother. I love you always and forever sweet girl!

(new ipod is from her grandparents...she LOVES it!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

"The angel said, 'Today a savior has been born who is Christ the Lord!" Luke 2:11

Hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Gpd's priceless gift of love!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Better Day

Thank you, Lord!

Here is how our day ended...
video

Labor of Love


I had such a hard day with my kiddos yesterday. There are average days, bad days and then there are really bad days. I was left feeling tired, worn and questioning my strength and decisions. That exhaustion brought me back to God's Word. That exhaustion woke me early today, determined to commit this day to him and pleading with Him for strength and patience and wisdom.

Then, I "happened" upon this video. It just brought tears to my eyes. God is constantly birthing in me a heart in tune with His. This process, this refining through the Holy Spirit is not without pain and it is not meant to hurt me but to bless me.

The Labor of Love I daily take on as a mother to three children is just that, a LABOR. It is not going to always look and feel beautiful. But, I believe in Jesus' love for me and for them so I will press on, thanking Him for mercies that are new every morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Servant's Heart


My husband got a truck a year ago. When he purchased it he was determined to make it a ministry. So when the first snow hit last year and this year he jumped in the truck with a tow rope and went out looking for people to rescue. He was disappointed one night when he was only able to help out one person stuck in the snow!

When he arrived home he started snow-blowing our driveway as well as the neighbors. It was bitter cold, but he was so happy to be serving our neighbors.

I watched him out the window and was filled with love just watching the man I love serve others so selflessly and willingly! He is a really great guy! So thankful for him!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

So thankful!

171. Singing our memory verses at dinnertime and listening to the kids figure out what Peace and Hope are.

172. Cleaning out a cupboard and finding some fun snow day activities that were hidden away.

173. Watching Jake's little face as be concentrates on cutting.

174. Jim and Adrienne getting the call to fly to Korea to bring their baby girl home just in time for Christmas!

175. Watching how God softens a heart.

176. The sound of friends laughing and talking together.

177. Zac's smile when he is proud of his accomplishments.

178. Christmas traditions.

179. When Christmas traditions change.

180. Self control when I spilled foundation all over my clothes this morning. Thank you God for reminding me to hold my tongue.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You know you have a boy when...

...you are decorating gingerbread cookies and he says, "Hey mom, look! I gave him a wiener!" (Jacob quote)








Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow Day!








We had our first snow day of the season. It came down all day and it was beautiful! Hannah joined us for sledding and Ryan took the day off to join us in all the fun too!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Remembrance

156. A quiet morning in my house so I can write down these thanks.
157. Time.
158. My sister's organization.
159. My brother's friendship.
160. The way my dad shows care and concern.
161. My mom's wisdom.
162. Freedom to worship Jesus.
163. A healthy church.
164. The honest conversations in our new small group. A safe place to share and discuss our faith questions.
165. A date with Hallie to see Annie this weekend. Sharing sweet, special moments with her.
166. The kiss my husband gave me last night when I got home in the midst of bed time routines and after a great, but busy day. Connecting, if even for one second.
167. New friends.
168. Old friends...Emily's phone call brought me such joy!
169. The first snowfall. It is beautiful. Reminds me of God's creativity and his love of beauty.
170. That I was born for this time and brought to live in this place. That I have the blessing of knowing God's love and His heart through the example of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit (The OT Israelites did not have that).

I'm looking forward to this day at home and with my family. I hope you are too!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jesus Birthday party

Last night we are driving to church talking about how great it will be to celebrate Jesus' birthday. It was just Zac and I. He said we needed a big cake for the party and then with lots of excitement said, "Mommy, do we get to see Jesus at his party?"

What would your answer be?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent

This last weekend I was blessed to attend my childhood church with my parents. During the service they lit the first of the advent candles and talked about the HOPE we have in Christ. I was reminded of my childhood when our family went to the front of the church to light the candle. I remember the advent wreath we had in our home.

This tradition somehow seemed to fade away over time and a change in churches but this weekend reminded me of the purpose and intent of advent. This is a time of waiting with anticipation to celebrate our hope, our peace, our love, our joy, our JESUS! Without his birth we would not have those things.

So, today the boys and I set out on a mission to create an advent wreath. We used our creativity to decorate the wreath and at dinner tonight we learned about the hope we have in Christ.





We talked about what HOPE is, how Jesus is our HOPE, lit the HOPE candle, and learned our verse for the week (of course it was set to a tune :). . . "My HOPE is in you Lord." Psalm 25:21

I am so excited to, "fix our eyes on Jesus" as we anticipate celebrating his birthday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

From His Grace we have received one blessing after another. John 1:16

To the Creator of everything...thank you for all your daily blessings.

Salvation, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, a home to live in, a full stomach, running water, laughter, teaching me how to love, forgiveness and mercy, beauty, education, my job, my church, freedom to worship...the blessings go on and on, big and little, all from my loving, heavenly Father.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TMI

Ready for too much information....



Today I had a bladder sling. Yes, the two babies I birthed did a number on me and enough was enough. Any moms out their detest jumping on a trampoline, having a sneexzing fit or going to an aerobics class since having kids? Can I get a witness? I will not let you in on any details but wanted to jot down my thanks related to today...

146. My husband is a great caretaker.
147. My kids fascination with a catheter bag..made me laugh...once again TMI
148. A snuggly puppy dog to keep me cozy
149. Hannah! I came home to the smell of pumpkin muffins, clean and folded laundry and even texted her (modern day bell) for crackers in bed.
150. My mommy caring for me with prayers and phone calls from Wyoming.
151. Talented and kind nurses.
152. A great doctor.
153. The means to get a surgery done with the right anesthesia and medicine.
154. Coming home to a comfortable bed with a heating blanket.
155. Ryan making dinner so cheerfully for the kids and bringing it to me on a tray.

Thank you Lord!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Santa Claus

As a parent I came to realize early on that every family has a different idea about how to deal with the idea of Santa Claus. I grew up loving to visit him and "believing" in him. In fact, my mom still tells me that he will get me something if I believe in him :)

Ryan on the other hand found out he was not real early on and still seemed to enjoy Christmas just as much!

I KNOW Christmas is about JESUS and my kids most certainly do too, but this issue of a plump man dressed in red is one that has to be figured out because he is everywhere this time of year!

So, we decided to let the kids "believe" in Santa. This year, Caleb (grrr..), a little boy in Hallie's class spilled the beans. She came home asking, "Is Santa real? Caleb says it's just your mom and dad, but I know it has to be real."

Well, I was prepared. I told myself I would not lie to my kids to keep the "magic" of Santa Claus in Christmas so I purchased a book a few years ago in anticipation of these questions. It's the story of Saint Nicolaus. When the boys were in bed Ryan and I read the story to her and let her in on the secret. She now gets to be part of sharing God's love by helping us set out "Santa's gifts" for the boys. She was excited and fortunately did not seem let down. (Idea from Bill Myatt..thank you!)

When we were putting her to bed I was struck with a thought. What if she thinks the whole Jesus story is make believe too! AGH! We talked about this and I probably asked her five different times, "You know that everything we learn and read about Jesus in the Bible is real, right? It is not make believe like Santa, it is real!!" She expressed an understanding, but it made me acutely aware of the huge problem created if we go to far with the whole idea of Santa!

I have done this in the past, but am challenged more than ever to tell the kids that the stories we read in the Bible about huge fish, floods, lion's dens, and sling shots are REAL. I don't want my kids to confuse fiction and THE TRUTH!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shout Out Challenge

My friend, Jen at Beauty Instead of Ashes challenged me to "shout out" how much I adore my husband so here goes...

Too often I think about how wonderful and wise and handsome and perfectly designed for me you are and don't tell you. Well, you are all those things and more. I think you are smart, I value your advice and practical wisdom, I am grateful for your kindness and help, I think you are so handsome and loving, I love your laughter and when we laugh together. I love, love, love when you come home at the end of the day and a little piece of me is sad when you leave in the morning. My favorite thing is to be with you! I love you, Ryan!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

So much to be thankful for...

132. Friends and family dedicated to pray for us.

133. Answered prayer.

134. Watching a heart for world missions grow in my daughter.

135. An encouraging note from a new friend.

136. Someone seeing gentleness and a quiet spirit in me! I have always wanted to be that kind of woman, but never thought I was...someone thinks I am.

137. Mixing concrete with Ryan. Doing ministry together.

138. Being able to use my gift of medicine to help a boy in Mexico. I thought I would just be building a house, but this opportunity was such a blessing.

139. Recognizing the value of being at home with my kids.

140. New relationships within our church.

141. Praying with Jacob for victory in Jesus and receiving it today!

142. My boys' hearty laughter.

143. Hannah being here. Her smiles, her curly hair, her joy when she plays with my kids.

144. Running into my brother at the store. What a joy to have him so near by.

145. My mom's encouragement to me as a mother.

The list of thanks just goes on and on in my mind....thank you, Jesus for everything!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mexico Missions Trip...Beauty

I don't like posting about trips on the internet before they happen so many of you may not have known that Hallie, Ryan and I were headed to Mexico with a team of 50 from our church to build a home for a family. Well, we were gone five days and all had a life-changing, powerful experience. Thanks to those of you who knew and covered us in prayer.

The theme of the trip for me was beauty. The Lord was gracious enough to reveal beauty to me through His eyes and let me tell you it was breathtaking!

As we crossed the border into Mexico I was immediately aware that we were in a desolate country with ridiculous poverty. The terrain even looked like it was thirsty and starving.



I was thinking, "ugh, these people have to live in this forsaken place every day?" Before my mind could go any further contemplating how awful things were I saw this:


Oh yeah, Jesus is here too. Outward beauty in things is not evidence of the presence of God or the absence of Him. It was from that point on that my eyes were opened to the beauty that God sees in Mexico.

When we arrived in Mexico many of us, though we have attended the same church for years, were strangers. We did not really know each other's hearts. By the end of the trip God had unified our hearts and lives and we were a family. Beautiful!



"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 1:22

The family that we built a home for was composed of seven people. Two twin girls that are 4 months old, two twin girls that are 2 years old, a 9 year old boy and the parents, Gorge and Alba. At the beginning of the year Alba started praying diligently for a house. She indicated to me that her knees were worn out from praying. Her faith combined with her husband's brought about answered prayer and provision. They have to be out of their home today because they can not afford the rent and this last week they were able to move into their new home. Our mission team was part of God's perfect plan to provide them what they needed at just the right time. Beautiful!


"You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor." Psalm 68:9-10

Before we left, Gorge, a faithful man of God, prayed for us. He was pretty good with his English but could not pray in English. Therefore, he offered up a prayer to God for us! I stood there nodding in agreement with his Spanish words knowing that the Lord sees no difference in culture or skin color. Beautiful!

"Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all." Colossians 3:11

One of Hallie's comments toward the end of our trip let me know that true beauty was growing in her heart. She told her dad, "God had the perfect plan for me to be on this trip." Her job was playing with the little girls and she did this out in the desert sun for 3 days without complaint. In fact, at the end of the trip she did not want to leave her new friends that had become like "little sisters." Beautiful!




"O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." Isaiah 25:1

One of my favorite parts of the trip was adding aesthetic beauty to the home and seeing Alba's tears of joy as she put up curtains in her new home. They were not fancy or expensive but they added beauty and that blessed Alba. As a woman I understand her tears of joy. Beautiful!



"She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. . . She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:22, 25


I can not say enough how beautiful my trip was. With no make-up, rinse off showers for three days, camping at night, mixing cement and sweating during the day. . .and I got to glimpse true beauty.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." Psalm 27:4

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Did you get a Starbucks twice this week?

Did you buy a few sodas for the family? Did you go to BK for a bite to eat? Did you throw an extra toy in the grocery cart for one of your cuties this week?

We are so quick to spend a haphazard $10 here or there in the course of a week. This Christmas you can make that $10 really count in the life of a child, a mother, a family.

$10 can give one person water for 10 years. How is that possible? Check out this website and make one of your many gifts this Christmas the gift of clean water and life:Water For Christmas.

When we give people water we give them life, hope and the opportunity to physically experience what they need spiritually.

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just got back...

...from an amazing and powerful trip to Mexico. Ryan, Hallie and I were a part of a team of 50 people that traveled to Puerto Penasco, Mexico to build a home for a family of seven. I have lots of pictures, thoughts and stories to share once the laundry gets done! Be back soon!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's quiet at my house right now...ahhhh

126. A phone call

127. A hug

128. A snuggle

129. Quiet moments

130. A cup of tea

131. A warm, cozy blanket

Can you tell the kind of mood I am in?

Lord, thank you that your peace begins and ends my day. Open my eyes to see your peace in the busyness of the day too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forever my son

Zac came home and into our family forever over a year and a half ago. He plays and fights with his brother and sister, he gets tucked into bed with stories from mom and dad, he receives love and discipline from his mom and dad just like Hallie and Jacob. In other words, he is our son, plain and simple. So, I was caught off guard this week by some comments he made...

When he was mad about a time-out he said, "I am not your son!"

The next morning while snuggling in bed, "Mommy, do you want to keep me forever?"

On our bike ride last night, "Mommy do you always love me, even when I am bad?"

I figured he knew I loved him and that he will always be my son. His comments made me realize that he still has spent more of his life away from us than with us and that he needs to be reminded more often about my love for him as a mommy despite his actions and attitude.

It made me think about the times I have failed as a child of God and wanted to slink away from Him, wondering if He really still loved me. I am reminded that His love NEVER fails. He ALWAYS loves me. He will NEVER leave me. He is mine and I am His!

Monday, October 26, 2009

So thankful!

116. Honoring and celebrating my very best friend, Ryan. Today he celebrates 35 years of life. Today I celebrate and give thanks for his life intertwined with mine.


117. Willing hearts. My parents give and give and give again...thank you...thank you, Lord.

118. Inspiring creativity from kindred mother's hearts. Thank you Jennie and Jenn for your ideas. (Jenn-I didn't take pictures of the pumpkins we made from apples, but we had fun!)






119. Listening to worship and praise from the lips of someone who has been so far away. He's walking home.

120. Honesty in a safe relationship.

121. Celebrating 96 years of a beautiful, quiet, generous, faith-filled life. Happy Birthday Auntie Lois!

122. A smile that speaks a thousand words of happiness.

123. Her hand reaching out to mine as we walk out of school together.

124. Stopping to see and touch and experience life. We saw a slug on our walk the other day!

125. Working to serve, side by side with my mom. What an inspiration.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Every common bush ablaze with God

The autumn colors are alive in Nebraska right now. The tree in my backyard is bursting with brillant red leaves. This change, this dying only lasts a short time. As I was staring at this lone maple in my backyard I began to see a tree inside the tree.

A tree that held my Lord as He died. The red leaves slowly falling to the ground like His blood.
The blood pooled at the bottom of the cross like the leaves we pile to jump into. The blood I am bathed in and makes me clean.

The dying, His dying didn't last long though. This beautiful tree will, in a short time look lifeless and dead, but there is life waiting for Spring to show itself.

I am so thankful that He has opened my eyes to see Him in nature, in my backyard. Thank you Jesus. I love you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Zac's Fourth Birthday











We were so blessed to celebrate Zac's birthday with our wonderful family! He chose a zoo party and could not have had more fun being the man of the hour! We are forever grateful for Zac's life, being able to celebrate his life and sharing his life with a generous, loving extended family!