Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faces that make me smile...










Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Remembrance

86. The memory of my grandparents on what would have been their 70th wedding anniversary. The example of commitment in marriage that they gave to me.

87. A quiet, unrushed talk with my grandma.

88. Hugs from old friends.

89. Walking hand in hand with my husband. Remembering college days together as we walked across campus. Joyful, sillly, happy memories.

90. A fun of a football game in the NU stadium. The carefree moments of living that I know others in this world do not get to enjoy.

91. Harmony between my children. Teamwork, kind words and belly laughs when they are playing with each other.

92. A red rose and Starbucks from my husband. Knowing one another so well.

93. Windows open, a fresh cool breeze sweeping through the house.

94. Answered prayers. Long awaited answered prayer. God's timing, not mine.

95. Teaching my kids. Relaxed, fun learning.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Amazing Love

As a Christian I know He loves me. But to even begin to wrap my mind around the depth of His love stumps me every time. I was thinking recently about His love, trying to grasp just a piece of it and was considering creation. Every bit of beauty, the creativity, the mystery, the awe and wonder was created with His children in mind. When he threw brillant color in the sky He was thinking of His children and wanting to create peaceful beauty so we might be blessed. When he created peculiar and silly animals I imagine he wanted us to giggle and be amazed at His creativity.

He created all of this knowing His childern would reject Him. He loved me enough to create me even though he knew His Son would have to die for my pride and self-love.

How His heart must have grieved when the seed of a tree, a tree that would one day become His Son's crucifixtion cross was planted. That tree must have been planted in the ground long before Jesus walked on this earth. God knew before the world did what that tree would become and he still allowed it to grow. I imagine that when he caused thunderstorms to blow by that tree He must have wanted to knock it down, but he didn't. He let that tree grow strong and tall and mighty until one day it was big enough to cut down and kill His Son on.

Why? He did it all for me and you and all of His children. Oh, how great His love is for us!

"God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Prayer Chair Blessings

Hallie has had some friend trouble at school this week. She has such a sweet spirit and has been burdened by 1st grade drama this week. Ryan and I talked about different ideas, things to say and really tried to emphasize that no matter her friend's reaction she needs to be kind, compassionate and pursue peace. We also talked about asking Jesus to help her know what to do and say.

This morning I was blessed to hear Hallie praying to Jesus in the prayer chair. She believes in His power. With child like faith she approached God knowing and trusting Him to help her. She said, "God I pray that things with my friend would just be better today, and if they aren't that you would give me the right words to say to her."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today's Thanks

71. A new friend

72. cool, refreshing weather

73. Picking apples and dreaming about making apple pie with my kids

74. A child's answered prayer

75. Jake's quiet contentment, eye contact, smile

76. A lunch walk, talk and kiss from my favorite person in the world.

77. My daughter's smile when I saved the day and brought her doll to school just in time for the toy party.

78. The joy in meeting my kids needs

79. Zac's passion and zest for life

80. A game of soccer in the backyard today

81. My neighbor's instant, without hestitation generosity

82. Remembering these moments.

83. Quiet

84. Watching God work things out in His timing...not mine...it's so much better!

85. My kids' Imaginations

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forgiveness

So, Zac and I got into it last night. That wonderful child has a way of getting to me. When his emotions are out of control, mine too often mimic his. In my anger I sent him to his room so that I could have a time out. As I sat in the "prayer chair" my heart was quickly humbled as I received forgiveness from Jesus. I also asked for some wisdom and the Spirit brought to mind another mother's brillant idea.

I went back into Zac's room and instead of demanding he get some self-control I invited him to go sit in the prayer chair and let Jesus bring him some peace and help him to have self-control. He willingly went to the rocking chair, picked up a Bible and starting flipping through the pages. I went around the corner so he could have some space and quiet time.

That's when I heard these precious words come out of his mouth, "Will you forgive me? I'm sorry." He wasn't saying it to me. He was asking Jesus to forgive him. When I went back and reconciled things between us I asked him if he was asking Jesus to forgive him and he said, "yes." Then I asked him if Jesus did forgive him and he very matter of factly said, "yes."

Lord, thank you for teaching me and my kids to come to You for forgiveness and peace. Thank you that the burden of sin in not ours to bear. Thank you that my three year old is learning this life-saving lesson now!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Day...Grace filled

#62 Watching the sunrise praise the Lord with color and beauty, reflecting Him.
#63 Listening to my daughter read the Bible to me. Hearing and watching her lips utter the name of Jesus over and over again.
#64 Zac's eye contact and intentional love expressed in games and laughter and even when he is sad. Arms reaching out for a hug.
#65 Jacob's quiet confidence, time spent with him as a way to give and receive love to and from him.
#66 My husband reaching over to touch my hand in his slumber. How my heart leaps from his touch.
#67 Watching Hallie twirl and spin, her graceful hands flowing. Her joy and face beaming as she dances.
#68 My brother's smile, hug. A friendship that is growing.
#69 Zac's enthusiasm for life and his competative spirit. The chance to nurture that spirit and guide it toward passion for the Lord.
#70 A game of hi ho cheerio with captain underpants (I won't tell you which child it was).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Change of Heart

Last weekend Ryan was introduced to a sweet little daschund dog at our neighbor's house. He tried to convince me how wonderful this little dog would be as an addition to our family. My quick answer was, "No!" In fact, the night before I was telling my in-laws about how, "we just are not pet people."

So, without discussing the matter, Ryan went to our neighbor's house and brought the dog home just to "try out" for the afternoon! Well, introducing a sweet dog that is potty-trained, rarely barks and will even play catch to our children meant that there was no turning back. I was at first perturbed and going on and on about how this dog is not just MY dog and how the kids had to be responsible in feeding, CLEANING UP POOP, and walking our new dog. After a few hours of being stubborn Ryan said, "Katie, if you are going to act like this then we need to take the dog back."

That's when I realized my heart and mind had quickly changed. I didn't want to give up our little dog! So, I chose to embrace our new family member and the responsibilities and fun that go along with this change.

Life Lessons...

1. God can change my heart and mind!
2. When I say NEVER God finds a way. Never say never!
3. God will take us unexpected places and it is our choice whether or not we embrace change and make the best of it or drag our feet and fight it the whole way.

Yes, I have cleaned up poop but I also love, love, love our sweet dog and I love, love, love watching Hallie take on a new responsibility. (She is feeding the dog, cleaning up poop, walking her and sleeping with her each day!)

Introducing...Jewels! Named by Hallie for her one blue eye that looks like a jewel!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two Hours all to myself...

...HA! Today was Zac and Jake's first day of preschool. I was wondering how I would handle two hours all to myself. Would I be lonely? Would I love it? What would I do? Well, let me just say I didn't have time to be lonely or find something to do. Let me recap this morning's schedule.

7:00 wake up and get kids ready and fed. Take pictures. Pray a blessing over them.

8:30 Drop off Hallie at school. She is teary-eyed realizing she doesn't want any of the five choices she has for school lunch.

9:00 Drop the boys off at school. Take pictures. Give hugs and kisses. My boys were SO excited for school. There were absolutely no tears. This is the moment I realize I forgot Zac's special treasure to share a circle time! Oh No!

9:05 Drive home, get Zac's stuffed animal and drive it back to school.

9:20 Drive to cookie store to pick up after school cookies.

9:40 Drive home, make Hallie's lunch and drive it up to school for her.

10:00 Come home and shower, get ready and prepare pigs in a blanket for lunch.

10:45 Drive back to school to pick up Zac at 11 and Jake at 11:30.

What happened to the two hours all to myself? :)

Let me share a few of the pictures from the boys' first day of preschool.













Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Unpredictable

Have you heard the song, Unpredictable, by F. Batistelli? Great song. Great lyrics. Lately, I have been pondering how unpredictable God is.

About a year ago I was filled with anticipation. I felt like God was about to do something. The Spirit in me was excited about something that was coming. Well, in my humanness I tried my best to figure out what that could be. At first I thought it meant a radical job change for Ryan. I was figuring it all out and when I felt unsettled about any kind of job change I was disappointed. My prayers sounded something like this, "But, God. You told me something big was going to happen and now everything is just the way it's always been. What are you doing? Maybe that anticipation and excitement was something that my mind manufactured. Does your Spirit really speak to me? Maybe I'm just making this stuff up. Life is still the same...that's not exciting. I don't know what to think..."

That's when the unpredictable, better plan happens! God has brought my brother back to NE and we are so blessed to have him living with us until he finds a place of his own. Our relationship is growing, Ryan and he are becoming better friends, he is attending church with us each week. I didn't see that one coming and it is so much better than I dreamed. Staying put and keeping things the same has provided a way for my brother to join the fabric of our family for awhile.

So here is my point. I need to quit trying to figure it all out. Certainly, I want to move when the Spirit leads, but I don't need to jump the gun and run ahead of God's plan. I would compare it to my three year old and six year old's attitudes about car rides. Zac will jump in the car because I tell him to and not ask a question about where we are going. He trusts me and knows that a ride in the car usually leads to something good and/or necessary. Hallie, on the other hand, is getting older and has more of an opinion about where and when she wants to go somewhere. She wants to know details like; where we are going, when will we be there, how long will we be there, will she get anything she wants...

As a parent it gets frustrating trying to get her to move. Where is the trust? Does God think the same about me?

I imagine God saying...Katie, I have asked you to trust me and take my lead. I have not asked you to lead me or figure it all out before it happens. I created you and I have your best in mind. Isn't that enough? If you trust in my love, you will trust that my ways are not yours...they are better!

"I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11

I guess the search needs to be to daily seek out the heart of God, not the plan. He is unpredictable and wonderful!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Surprise

Last night Ryan went to a Husker party at our neighbor's house. She loves dogs and happened to be fostering a dog that was waiting to be adopted. Ryan fell in love with the dog and without any warning went over to her house today to see if we could just "try out" the dog for the afternoon. Well, as many of you probably know "trying out" a dog rarely works. Hallie immediately said, "I just love this dog. She is so soft and beautiful. She would be perfect in our family. I PROMISE to take care of her. I will clean up her poop and feed her and take her on walks..." Oh my! Giving the dog back would mean breaking my little girl's heart. Well, we have had many conversations about responsibility and Hallie seems like she is on board to help out with this dog. I really, really hope that I can tell you she is helping out a month from now. We'll see! Anyway, Hallie named the dog, Jewels because our neighbor Julie gave her to us and because she has one blue (like a jewel) eye. Here is a video of our new dog!


#61 Surprises!

video

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Each moment

I found myself welling up with tears today while cleaning the kitchen counter. Why, you ask? I was listening to some Christian music while going about my day to day mommy tasks and was struck by the lyric, "Each moment is a gift from you to live." Cleaning counters, loading and unloading the dishwasher, picking up kids from school, making dinner are all gifts of life from my heavenly Father. This gift of living and breathing, of cleaning countertops is worship. My life, my living is evidence of His life-giving power. Oh, how I was able to celebrate and praise Him that I am alive because He sustains me. He is glorified when I clean countertops when I acknowledge that each moment is a gift of life from the Life-giver.

#59 Breathing...again and again. He sustains my life.

#60 Cleaning countertops. Each moment of this life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Prayer Chair

#58
Many of you know that I love the inspiration from the blog, Holy Experience. Recently, I have been impacted by Ann's words and wisdom about prayer. She reminded me that it isn't the prayer that's powerful but Who we pray to. She reminded me that sometimes in my effort to get everything done the right way what I really need to do is stop and pray to the One that can actually make a difference.

Ann's family has a place that is designed for quiet reflection, a place to go when they need rest and prayer. I know this can be done at anytime and anywhere, but sometimes setting apart a place can help quiet a heart and mind. So, using this family's idea we have created in our home, "The Prayer Chair." After explaining the prayer chair and placing a basket of Bibles and a cross near it I found Jacob resting and reading. Oh, how sweet! For over twenty minutes my little, five year old boy poured over Bible pictures, occasionally asked questions and when Zac tried to get his attention he said, "Not now Zac, this is my rest time." He was resting in Jesus.

My hope is that "The Prayer Chair" will become a popular place to stop, reflect, pray, submit, read and rest in Jesus.