Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: Beauty For Ashes

  A little over a year ago we welcomed these two sweet boys into our family. Today is Orphan Sunday and I am thankful to have Christian Abiti Somers and Joash Negalegn Somers as my nephews. These sweet boys and their story have touched my heart and so many others around them.
  I am so thankful to have been able to witness God miraculously changing lives and turning ashes to beauty and sorrow to joy. Their parents, Shane and Summer (my husband's sister and her husband) struggled through infertility for years and wanted so badly to be parents and to have little ones to love on and God brought these two precious little boys into their lives and then as a bonus blessing he gave them a sweet baby girl, Avalyn Makeda Somers, that Summer delivered in April. God is still working miracles. God does care for the orphans.
  The Bible tells us that true religion is caring for the widows and orphans and I am so thankful that Shane and Summer answered that call and that we are able to be a part of these little guys' lives..

BTW...I will not be posting for the next couple of days. Randy and I are going out of town for a few days and I don't know that I will have internet access.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My little boy...

  This morning I walked into the back room where Caleb was playing with his blocks. He looked up from what he was doing and said, "Mommy, you wook wonderful!"
  Today, I am thankful for this little guy. I love all of my children equally but, being my only little boy, he has a special place in my heart. I love his little personality. He is wild and daring and mischevious, yet can be so gentle and compassionate. He is very much a people person and will talk to just about anyone.
  He has made homeschooling with him and Hailey fairly easy so far. He loves sitting and doing puzzles and building things with his blocks so he is pretty easy to keep occupied. He is like Randy in that he will keep working and keep working until he gets the job done, whereas I sometimes get bored with the task and move on. He is so much like his daddy, and maybe that is part of why I just love him so.
  I am thankful for his tender little heart. He loves to snuggle and he always wants to know, "What you doin' Mommy?" He loves both of his sisters dearly. He and Hailey do fight like brother and sister but if they are ever apart he is constantly asking about her and telling me he misses her. And he is always telling me, "Mommy, Jaidyn gorgeous." They are lucky to have a brother who loves them both so. And I am so thankful to have such a special little boy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

I made it to Day 2!

Well I made it to Day 2 of Thirty Days of Thankfulness! Today I am thankful for good friends. Sometimes as a stay-at-home mom of three small kids, I don't really get a chance to see many adults but this week I was able to spend good quality time with a couple of my really close friends. Today, in particular, I was able to spend time with a close friend of mine that I have not hung out with in months. Aside from the occasional diaper change or refereeing of the kids, she and I literally talked the entire time. It felt so good to just sit down with another mom and just talk...and talk...and talk. And for that breath of fresh air in a cloud of diapers and spit-up I am thankful :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankfulness

  It starts out with this blueberry who is weeping and whining. Madame Blueberry is her name. She is upset because she does not have enough STUFF. She has pictures all over her house of things that her neighbors and friends have that she wants. She scrolls through her pictures everyday mourning and lamenting over the things she does not have. Pinterest, anyone? Nothing she has is as good as what her neighbor has.
  Down the street, a new STUFFmart opens and is filled to the brim with all of the things in the pictures in her house. She fills her carts with all of the shiny new frills that are going to make her happy. A window scraper and a gross of toilet paper. A rachet set and pliers
and surround sound amplifiers. A solar turkey chopper and a padded gopher bopper. Flannel shirts for looking grungy and some rope for goin' bunji. 
  In the next aisle, a little boy, Junior, is begging his dad for this awesome shiny new train set, but his father tells him they do not have the money and that if he wanted, he could get a ball. Junior really wants the train set but agrees to the ball if his dad promises to play ball in the park with him later and then they break out in song:

I thank God for this day,
For our trip to the mall,
For my mom and my dad,
For my big, red bouncy ball!

For our home on the ground,
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart!

I'm glad for what I have,
That's an easy way to start!

For the love that He shares,

'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day! 

  By the end of the movie Madame Blueberry realizes that none of her fancy new items in her cart are going to make her happy, but that happiness comes from having a truly thankful heart.  
   Here are some things the Bible has to say about thankfulness.

Psalm 50:14: "Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most    High."  

Colossians 2:7 "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful."

Colossians 4:2 "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart."

I Thessalonians 5:18 "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

  My main goal this month is to begin to cultivate a truly thankful heart. Where thankfulness is absent, envy, complaining and bitterness abound.  I have found those things sneaking around in my heart lately and they are not welcome.
  My secondary goal this month is to post each day about something I am thankful for. Aside from brushing my teeth, reading my Bible and feeding the kids, I have a hard time doing anything consistently on a daily basis so this is a big one for me, but it is also very important to me so I really want to stick to it. I also really want to get into writing more so this will kill two birds with one stone, kind of. 
  So, today I am thankful that God has given me a teachable heart. So much so that a preschool-aged vegetable and a not-so-blue-anymore blueberry can make me realize how selfish I can be sometimes :) My youth pastor, Barry Darnell, told us to always be teachable and that is something that has always stuck with me. I have a tendency to be pretty stubborn so I know it is by God's grace that I learn anything. I am thankful that God does not leave us the way we are but is constantly molding us to be more like Him. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" Colossians 3:10 says, "Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." I am thankful that He is making all things new.
Well, that's all for today. Check back tomorrow for another installment of Thirty Days of Thankfulness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Prayer...

   Saturday I ran my first 5K! Well, I ran about 85% of it and walked the other 15%, but I felt pretty good about it. I came into the last leg of the race and exhaustion started setting in. I started telling myself, "You can do it." "You've got this." And as I was thinking that, God placed it upon my heart to ask for His help and I was immediately convicted. He whispered to me, "What if instead of always saying 'You've got this...You can do it,' you asked Me for help?".
   How often do I dive head-first into something thinking that I am fully capable of handling it on my own, only to find out that I can't.  I find myself so often trying to fix things and do things on my own without seeking God first. Instead, I need to start with, "Father, I need Your wisdom, Your guidance, and Your strength to carry me through this." And, the reason we need to do this is not to clutch the victory or to ensure our success. It is for a deeper purpose.
   I'm going through Beth Moore's book James: Mercy Triumphs right now and I think she sums it up very well when she says: "Prayer can prime the well of our souls to a bath of His beautiful presence. It is often the most determining factor in whether, in our anguish, we sink or swim." I love how she poetically describes how prayer primes, or prepares, our soul. Prayer allows us to begin to see things from a heavenly perspective. It revitalizes our spirit. It empowers us. Paul prays for spiritual empowerment for the Ephesians when he says,

"When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep God's love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God."  

   So as I pushed myself towards the finish line, God struck up conversation with me and the last little bit of the race was actually quite pleasant. God did not physically pick me up and carry me across the finish line. My lungs still burned and my calf muscles still ached. But as I talked with Him, I became less consumed with the pain and began to notice the beauty of His creation around me. I began to think upon and intercede on behalf of the girls who would be impacted by this Freedom 424 race. I began to delight in His presence.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hailey's First Day of Preschool

Hailey started her first day of Preschool last Monday. We are homeschooling this year and we are all just so excited about it. For her first day we got up and had a special breakfast of eggs and bacon, one of Hailey's favorites, and then she and I went outside and took some "first-day-of-school" pictures. 

Then we came back in and started her schoolwork. We went with Sonlight for our curriculum. I came across it a few years ago and have just fallen in love with it. It is very easy to use and I love the fact that they focus on reading good books and enjoying time as a family. I really feel like this curriculum is going to work really well for us.

We packed a lunch in Hailey and Caleb's new lunch boxes that their Aunt Kristin got them and took them out to the church playground to have a picnic...

...and we got in some "recess" while we were at it :) Caleb got in on the "first-day-of-school" action too!

I think she enjoyed herself!

We threw some "science" in too!

I am so excited about Preschool this year. I know I am looking forward to watching my kids grow and learn. I can already tell even just from the first week that this is going to be a good thing for mine and Hailey's relationship. I'm not naive enough to think it is all going to run super easily all the time...because even this week didn't...but I am looking forward to growing and learning and finding things out about my kids and helping them to "unpack" the world around them. This sweet little girl is so excited too! I was so proud of her this morning in Children's Church when she was able to recite her word for the week and the definition for it in front of all the other kids. (Attentiveness: I listen with my eyes, ears, and heart.) She gets up every morning and asks me if we get to do school today. Randy and I truly feel like this is what God has called us to do (homeschooling) at this point in all of our lives and we look forward to seeing what God is going to do in our family this year!

Monday, August 20, 2012

What I learned on family vacation:

Randy and I took the kids to the beach this past weekend to get some much needed away-from-the-house time and to visit with some friends. This was our first time taking a vacation with kids by ourselves and now we have three! It was definitely interesting. The kids were great and it was a lot of fun but I can't say that we came back rested... I learned quite a bit on this trip...

First I learned really how much different little boys and little girls are. Not that I didn't know this to start with but it was evident at our time out on the beach. Hailey was so cute. She would get her little sand bucket and would make cookies and pies out of sand and then she organized all of the buckets and shovels so that we would all have coordinating buckets and shovels. 

 Caleb, on the other hand, wanted to build piles (or towers) of sand and then jump on them to destroy them. I caught him once lying on his belly licking the sand. He also loved to run and jump in the water and throw clumps of wet sand on his sister :)

I also learned that when you take three young children to the beach you really don't get to play at the beach. I'm not saying I didn't have fun, because I had a lot of fun, but I didn't get to do the usual beach stuff. I did mom stuff. I did have a sand fight with the kids and that was a blast! I loved watching the mlaugh and giggle as they threw wet sand all over their mommy and Caleb would say "Got you!"

I learned that taking the kids out of their normal setting really helped them grow closer together. I loved watching Hailey and Caleb bond on this trip. They had their normal sibling fights but I saw a love grow between the two of them that I haven't seen before and it made this mommy's heart melt. I saw them care for one another and share with one another without my telling them to. It was just very sweet to watch them grow.

Speaking of grow...I learned that my little girl is growing up way too fast. I watched her while she was on the beach and I just can't believe how she is maturing and growing and seriously getting so tall. Since she has turned four I feel like her personality has just blossomed. She is spunky and thoughtful and opinionated and caring and always wants to help with everything. She is so motherly to her younger siblings, even though Caleb a lot of times does not want to be mothered :) She is learning to face her fears. Last year she would not even go in the ocean but this year after going out with her daddy a couple of times she decided she was going to be a big girl and walk out into the ocean by herself. I am just so proud of her.

I learned that my little boy is too cute for his own good. I guess I knew that to start with but he knows how to work his charm. He absolutely loved the beach. He loved playing in the water and letting the waves knock him over. He loved tossing seashells into the waves. He loved eating snacks, of course. He slept in a sleeping bag for the first time and he did so well. He is definitely in the "MINE" two-year-old phase. He talks non-stop...non-stop. He is such an affectionate little boy. He is always hugging me and telling me "Wuv you, mommy, wuv you." 

All in all it was a really great trip. I feel like we really bonded more as a family and that is very precious to me. Speaking of precious...I can't forget my baby girl! She had fun at the beach too :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Mother's Day...

On Mother's Day, I am thankful for my little ones. I am thankful for their sweet little mouths that call me "Mommy" and love to give me kisses. I am thankful for their big puppy dog eyes that are so often so hard to say no to. I am thankful for their little bodies that wrap themselves around me and snuggle me while we watch cartoons. I am thankful for their little minds and how they continuously astound me. I am thankful for their little hearts and how warm and loving they are. I am thankful for the privilege and blessing of being called their mommy.
On Mother's Day, I am thankful for my mom. She is constantly giving of herself to me...and I guess she really has for the last twenty-seven years and for that I am grateful. She has shown me how to give selflessly and to love my family. She LOVES my kids and for that I am grateful and they adore her. Mom, I know I don't tell you nearly enough but I love you and I am so thankful for you.
On Mother's Day, I am thankful for my mother-in-law. Not only am I thankful for how she raised her son but also for praying me into his life. She told me from the time we started dating that she prayed we would be together and I know it's because of that we are. I am thankful for how she has shown me how to open our house to those around us and she has been an example of a pastor's wife to me and for that I am grateful.
On Mother's Day, I am thankful for those women in my life, some of them old enough to be my mom and some not quite, who have poured themselves into me like I was their daughter. I am beyond grateful for those women who have given of themselves and displayed in front of me how to be a godly wife and mother and have encouraged me in my walk with the Lord and just spent time with me. For those women I am grateful.
On Mother's Day, I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful to God for allowing me to embrace this journey called motherhood.

...oh, and I'm pretty thankful I get to share my special day with this adorable little 2-year-old birthday boy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Snow Day 2012

The Sunday afternoon after Hailey's birthday we heard that it was supposed to snow. So the kids stayed glued to the back door waiting for the snow to come and, finally, it did. 

In anticipation of the snow falling, and since it may have been our first and last "winter storm" of the season, we decided to build a fire and make a bed of blankets in the floor and watch movies for the evening. The kids really enjoyed having their own bed downstairs and eating popcorn and watching movies by the fire.

So our snow this year was rather pathetic but I had a hunch it may be the only snow we got this year so we bundled the kids up and took them out in the 2 inches of snow that we did get. I guess it was enough for them because they loved it!

It was really the first snow that Caleb has played in. It snowed a couple of times last winter but he wasn't even walking then so he didn't get to enjoy it. 

A snow covered Titus yard

The kids LOVING the snow

Our annual "Cooper with snow all over his nose" shot

Caleb was super excited!

Hailey trying to build a snow man

Randy helping the kids build a snowman

Our pathetic excuse for a snowman.
Yes, he has a tiny baby carrot for a nose.

My three favorite people in the world!

Better Late Than Never!

Well, Hailey has been four for an entire month now so I figured I should post some pics from her birthday. It's crazy how she pretty much turned four over night. She was our little three year old and then just like that she was a big four year old. And not just in age but personality and even looks. She has just grown up so fast!

She really wanted a Rapunzel birthday because that is her favorite princess. And when I asked her which friends she wanted to invite she told me Parker, Griffin, and Matthew. Three boys. I think we are going to be in trouble when she gets older! But they are her buddies so that is who she had for her birthday. Three boys and a Rapunzel Party :)

The Birthday Table

Hailey and Matthew drooling over the Rapunzel cake

Hailey and the boys watching Tangled
Hailey was very excited about the cake Mimi picked out for her!
Although she did NOT want to be sung Happy Birthday to.
She has started getting embarrassed fairly easily these days.

Hailey and her cousin Parker

Excited about some dresses she got. She seriously got the
hook-up on clothes this year for her birthday!

Hailey with her baby that Nena and Poppa got for her.

Hailey and the boys eating pizza and watching Tangled.