Thursday, May 31, 2012

trials taught me...


I've found that being in a trial is the best classroom. And like a classroom I don't always see all that I've learned till after the fact. Looking back I've been amazed at the many lessons learned and how close I've grown in my relationship with God. Those are the times my faith is most raw and real. It's no longer a theory, but fact. It's in the trial that I know the bible is true. I see all the promises God's given me come to life. 

These are a few of the lessons I've learned (and are continually learning.) They are my foundation when suffering. I thought I'd share some of what I've learned as an encouragment and a reminder to myself.

Thoughts.
The battle is won or lost in my mind. I've never had to control my thoughts more then in the midst of suffering. Every thought taken captive. Walking every step in the Spirit. I've learned to be very conscience of what I put into my mind. I listen to sermons, worship music, and stay in constant prayer.

Steadfast. 
Verse after verse talks about trials producing steadfastness. This must be what God wants from us, to remain steadfast as we wait upon Him. It causes me to think about what love is. Love is patient. Do I love the Lord by patiently waiting on his timing or do I anxiously just get through until the trial is over. 

Serve. 
Looking for ways to serve others is one of the best ways I've found to work through hard times. Even if I'm sick I make lists of people to pray for, write letters to, or call and encourage. Keeping the focus off of me.

Blessings.
Even in the middle of the hardest trial there are blessings. I make lists of all I have to be thankful for. I also keep a journal of the times I've seen God's faithfullness and I read through it. Recalling to mind the Character of God. He has never left me or forsaken me. 

Every hero of the faith God's taken through trials. Christ himself suffered more than anyone when he paid the price for our sin. Why would I think I'm any different? Why would I expect to go through life untouched? Trials are the refining fire of our faith. I'm truly thankful for every one I've walked through.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
1 Peter 5:10

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the trial that doesn't end...


Long suffering. 
I've thought a lot about this recently. The same struggle that surfaces time and time again. The long term health problem, the missing of loved ones, the same parenting issue over and over, the financial hardship that has no end in sight,  the spiritual battle that you keep wrestling with. 

It can be a dark lonely place. Feelings so deep and personal it's hard to even share with others. Believing God's promises are true and having faith that he's there carrying you through, yet not always feeling it. Actually, at times wondering where God is in the midst. I think at times I can't take anymore. God promises not to give us more than we can handle, but it feels like it's too much. 

Yet, when I think I have nothing left he gives me the strength to face another day and carry me through the storm.

I look back at these extremely dark times and see God stripping me. Taking all the things away that hinder me from knowing his love and grace in my life.  God is showing me that I do nothing apart from his strength and grace. 

These are the building blocks of my faith. I see and taste his promises are true. He loves me with the most beautiful patient love and in turn teaches me to love with the same patience and steadfastness. I walk away knowing my Savior in a more intimate way than before.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

the man of my dreams.


You're rugged and handsome. 
I'm filled with butterflies when you walk in the door.
Your passion and commitment to the Lord is what I admire most.
I feel at home in your arms.  
 You are the man of my dreams.  
Loving you is a gift. 
I'm so thankful to celebrate another year of your life.
Happy birthday.

Friday, May 25, 2012

our abigail.

My youngest sister Abigail is one of my childrens best friends. She loves and cares for them constantly. Even when they're not playing together she's thinking of them and making things for them to do the next time they see each other.
It means so much to me that they are close. Abigail is a sweet blessing in our family. When I came home for Summer and Christmas breaks in College we never left each other's side. There were times I'd try and sneak in the shower for just a couple minutes to myself, but as soon as she'd hear the water running she'd run as fast as her two year old legs would carry her and be in the bath before I had the shampoo rinsed out of my hair. 
I can't believe how quick the time has gone. Now she's playing with my children and they never want her out of their sight. 
 We're so excited school is out for the Summer and we have more time to play.
Last weekend Vanessa and I were able to see her ballet recital. 

She did a beautiful job. 

 Vanessa couldn't take her eyes off of Abigail. On the ride home she kept telling me, Abigail, dance round and round. Once we were home we put some music on and Vanessa tried to dance just like Abigail did.

That night Elijah asked her to spend the night. They had a camp out on Elijah's floor. 
I'm incredibly thankful for her love for Elijah, Vanessa, and Amelia.
We love you Abigail.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

some changes

I really enjoy creating a home. I don't always love waiting for things to come together just how I like, but I'm working on it. I took these pictures last fall when we first moved in. 

I didn't love all the colors they chose, but since it's a rental we couldn't change much. I've slowly been moving things around making it just the way I like it.
Almost everything we own we got from a garage sale or someone gave to us. It makes for a bunch of randomness.


After Vanessa's birthday I was thinking about where to put her kitchen. My mother in law had a wonderful idea of moving our kitchen table in front of the fireplace and making the kitchen area a playroom. 
I found this table and chairs at a garage sale,

did cut outs on fun paper and framed them,

and our kitchen turned into their playroom.



The kids are absolutely loving the space and I feel like I have another room in the house. (we never really used the space by the fireplace before.)

While I was on the kick of changing things up I finally got around to painting and recovering these chairs. (and by me I mean caleb painted them) I also bought them at a garage sale, but didn't like the dark wood and black seats. I found a pretty blue/green fabric and then put a heavy plastic cover over to protect it. 

Caleb got me this fun desk at an antique store. It now sits in the entry way.



The kitchen table is now in front of the fireplace. It was really too crammed in that other spot. 

My mom has shared some of her milk glass with me. 


It's finally coming together. 






Friday, May 18, 2012

somehow he just knows...

It's one of life's great blessing to watch your children growing, to see the miracle of their lives. Going from a little bundle to maturing little people with unique personalities. 
The changes are so dramatic in these early years. They go from lying there unable to do anything to walking and talking in such a short time. 




I've been amazed seeing the changes in Elijah since Amelia came. He's become my little helper grabbing diapers when I need them, helping Vanessa when I can't get to her and encouraging me along the way. He loves the role of big brother.
Last night I was home alone with the children and I was getting them ready for bed. 
Amelia was crying.
Vanessa was crying.
I was moving as fast as I could to meet their needs, but it just wasn't fast enough. The house felt chaotic. 
Once I'd taken care of the girls and things were quieting down I went to check on Elijah. He'd cleaned his room by himself and was waiting for me in his bed. 
I felt so blessed. 


Many nights training him to clean up after himself can be a battle, but it was like he just knew that tonight I didn't have the energy.
I tucked him in and thanked him for helping me. He looked at me and said no thank you mama. 



I was listening to a sermon the other day and the pastor talked about not getting too excited with the successes in parenting or too discouraged with the failures. He said this is a long road we're walking and was encouraging us not to get short sighted in our role as parents. 
I know I have a lot more training to do, but I am incredible thankful for these moments God gives me. 
I love you, Elijah, and love watching you grow. (even if it happens too fast.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

leftovers



The house is quiet which is pretty much a miracle. All three kids resting at the same time. I literally didn't know what to do with myself for a minute or two. I have SO many things I should be doing, but I decided just for a moment I'd sit down and write.


I have this dream of Caleb and I going away. Just us. I've been missing him lately and it would be wonderful to be just the two of us. Isn't it funny how you can miss someone you see everyday? We do see each other, but we don't really get time together. It's the season we're in right now and I know it's a short one, but a little alone time would be nice. 


It's made me think a lot about the time we do have together. I hate to admit it, but I think I've been giving Caleb my leftovers. When he walks in the door I usually greet him while, nursing, trying to get dinner on the table, or playing referee. Many times, well all the time, my hair is pulled into a messy ponytail, I'm in my comfy clothes, and no makeup. After we've kissed the kids good night and we finally make it to our room I either take care of Amelia or if she's asleep I go straight to bed myself. I usually don't have the energy to carry on a conversation and I know I'll be up before long to do another feeding.  

Caleb is incredible kind and gracious. He doesn't care what I look like when he comes home and never complains that I go to bed without spending much time together. He wants me to get my rest and will many times rub my back or run his fingers through my hair until I fall asleep. 


Not a lot is going to change over the next couple months. My days will be filled with caring for little ones and my nights will be interrupted with feedings, but I need to find ways of making Caleb feel special. I believe our relatioship is the most important relationship God's given me and I want him to feel that. I want my children to see the love I have for him and feel the security that comes from making our relationship a prioriety. I know I need to make even the few minutes we have to ourselves count. 


Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
Anais Nin

Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.
Amy Bloom

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

Monday, May 7, 2012

my strength.

Elijah came bursting into my room this morning asking for some milk. I jumped up as fast as I could and carried him out. I was not going to let him wake Amelia. I had no idea what time it was. I could tell it was late cause the sun was up. Caleb must have already gotten up with Vanessa and let me sleep a little. I was grateful. I poured some milk and crawled back in bed hoping for just a couple more minutes of sleep.

For some unknown reason Amelia was up almost EVERY.SINGLE.HOUR. last night. She really hasn't slept well for the last couple days leaving me exhausted. 
Life with a newborn. 
I've actually done okay with little sleep this time around. I guess it's all the practice of no sleep with the other two, but this morning was different. I felt like I reached my limit. I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day. 

Elijah came running into my room again. My patience was gone and the day hadn't even started yet. I took care of whatever the need was and went back to my room. This time I knelt by the side of bed. I knew I had no strength to take care of the children by myself. I prayed. I begged the Lord to give me the endurance, love, and patience to care for the kids. As I stood up I felt so much better. I was calm and had the energy to pick Amelia up and nurse her for the hundredth time. 

As the day went on there were multiple times I had to stop and pray for patience and endurance. Each time God faithfully granted me all I needed. It was incredible to see God's promises being fulfilled in my day, to know he was beside me carrying me through.

Then it struck me. This is where I need to be EVERYDAY. It's easy for me after a good nights rest or when the children obey the first time to continue on not recognizing God in my day. There are also the difficult days I don't call on the Lord and try to muscle through on my own. I ALWAYS end up flat on my face. I fail the kids and Caleb.  

I'm thankful for days like today to remind me where my strength comes from and to me keep my eyes focused on Christ. 

"my heart and my flesh fail me, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalms 73:26 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

just because

just because i'm exhausted.

just because every girl needs some oversized sunglasses. 

just because eating under the table is more fun.

 just because i believe in handwritten notes.

 just because "sometimes little boys just need their mama's." 
(elijah's words:)
 (taco date with elijah)

 just because i couldn't handle the flies anymore.

just because they remind me of my great-grandmother.

 just because every seven week old needs to know how to shoot a pop gun.

 just because she might be the sweetest thing ever.

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