Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Spiritual Journey



Honesty. Harder to do than to say. Honesty with myself about myself is a hard thing. I want to gloss over the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff...or at least the stuff that doesn't seem really really bad.

However, honesty in my prayers is important. I watched a DVD of a sermon Chris Webb preached at the Renevore conference Brent went to in San Antonio last week. He spoke at the last Renevore conference I went to in Houston as well. When this man speaks, you just listen. He is funny and motivating, but mainly just oozes Christlikeness.

So his sermon was about sin...sort of. But mainly it was about being honest with God. He used David as an example of a sinful life. David was constantly sinning, but yet he was a man after God's own heart. He then read the honest feelings that David wrote in the Psalms. Honesty about wanting people dead, about God forsaking him, about hating people. Very honest and hard to really read sometimes. Those are all emotions I would be ashamed to admit to myself and would definitely never write them down for someone else to read. However, they are real emotions and David was very honest when he wrote them. That honesty was what allowed God to use him and change him.


The concept was that if we would just pray honestly about what is truly in our heart, then God could change that sinful stuff in us. You've heard that before right? So have I, but it forced me to stop and really think about how much I'm examining my life...really examining my life with honesty. Do I pray through my really sinful messed up stuff or just the "medium" sinful messed up stuff? Am I confident enough in my Savior to sit down with him and tell Him my dark stuff, or do I try to gloss over it quickly in my prayers and my life so I don't have to focus on what's not good about me?

We're all messed up and sinners. And honestly, I usually don't have a lot of trouble confessing my sins, but I definitely don't want to sit and discuss my sins or the root of those sins. I want to confess and move on quickly so I can forget. The transforming comes when I'm sitting and not just confessing and moving on, but discussing with honestly what is going on in my heart. Discussing those emotions that make me ashamed to even admit that they exist.

This week I am working on that honesty in my prayer life. In order to do that and really focus on God, I am committing to spending time with the Lord three times a day. I think I need at least that in order to keep me in the presence of God so that He can continue to transform me. There's nothing like honesty to make you realize how much you need transformed!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dance School

Ever since Avery's dance recital, the girls have been obsessed with dancing. The dance lessons were a Christmas present last year for Avery, so we weren't planning on signing her up again in the fall, but they are slowing wearing me out! All they want to do is play "dance school" and count down until summer is over so they can go to dance school again.

Below is the ending of a conversation I walked in on a few Sundays ago. Elliana and Avery were discussing what class they would be in and how they would dance. In case you can't understand Elliana, she is adamantly saying that Avery will stand outside and watch her dance this time. Elliana stood outside and watched Avery dance this past year and I guess she figures its her turn to dance while Avery has to watch!
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This is their new game...one of them pretends to be Miss Macy, the teacher. The other one dresses up and is the student at dance school.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Elliana's Antics

Brent was teaching the girls about God through a question and answer format at breakfast.
Brent: "Who do we seek?"

Elliana: "I seek something orange" (She thought we were playing "I spy". The right answer was "We seek the Lord our God" )



Elliana: (this was sung) "I'm going to play with all my friends. With Piper and all my friends and noooooooooot Avery." (sung quite a few times while we were on a walk one night. I guess we're about to start working on loving our sister!)


On the way to the doctor, I noticed Elliana getting quiet and her eyes getting big.

Me: Are you excited to go to the doctor?" (she usually LOVES going to the doctor)

Elliana: "I don't want a band aid. I'm gonna to tell dr. NO BAND AID. I gonna say it really loud. NO BAND AID." (The last time we were at the doctor, she got a shot and they put a band aid on her)
In the doctor's office:
Dr. "I'll be back in a minute to see about some medicine."

Elliana: (very frantic) "I said no band aid. I said no band aid!!" (we mistakenly told her the shot was just medicine in her leg last time. I quickly assured her this medicine would be swallowed!)
She also managed to poop at the top of the playland in Chic Fil A this past week. Her wonderful aunt was the one with her and used an entire pack of wipes trying to clean up the playland and Elliana all while Elliana was saying

"Its on my toes!"

"I want to lay down."

"I not a baby. No diaper." (Laura only had Justus' diaper bag with her so she had to put one of his diapers on Elliana. So Elliana left Chic Fil A in a tank top, a small diaper, and her blue crocs. I should have taken a picture when she got home.)

Laura earns major points for cleaning up this mess! This was the day before we discovered Elliana was sick with a virus and maybe needed to wear a pull up until this particular virus passed through her!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Family Fun Day

This morning we just enjoyed being a family. We didn't plan anything big. We just had fun together after a week of company and Brent being in San Antonio. We ran errands, we played, we laughed, and we relaxed. And look what Justus learned to do!

He's found his hands and now enjoys looking really hard at his fingers until he can either clasp them together or bring them to his mouth. Babies are so cute to watch as they learn things!
He's also holding his head up enough to try the exersaucer out!
Then, after naps, some of our friends came and took the girls swimming! The girls have only been in the pool twice this summer because its too hot for Justus to be outside and he starts crying after 20 minutes, plus he's too little to wear sunscreen in order to get in the pool. But the girls have been begging to learn to swim so when our friends offered to take them, both girls were so excited. They had a blast, and Brent and I had fun just having one kid to play with at home! The girls left the house and suddenly our house felt like a mansion and I had plenty of time to get everything done that needed to get done. Crazy how that works =)

So while the girls were gone, Justus "helped" me make brownies.
Then, after coming home from swimming, we had dinner and great conversation with our friends the Kimmels.
It was the perfect day to just reconnect as a family before we leave for vacation!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Three Peas in a Pod

The girls had a blast playing with their cousin, Piper. We're sad that they had to go home today!! As we sat down to have lunch without Aunt Laura and Piper, Avery looked at me and then pointed to the calendar and asked, "Can we mark off the days until we get to see them again so it won't seem so long?"



Thanks for coming to visit! We'll see you at Grandma and Grandpa's!

Pray For...

Miss TaLessa. She is currently overseas working in an orphanage. Please pray for her team as they reach out and share Christ's love and his message with these kids. TaLessa may be the girls' favorite person in the world. She is their favorite and pretty much only babysitter. We've missed her while she's been gone, but its been a great lesson for the girls to learn how to pray for her and for the people she encounters. We're praying for you TaLessa and can't wait to hear all about your journey!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Too Much Fun

My little sis and niece are here for the week! They got here Thursday night and look at all the fun we've already had!Avery rode a Long HornRode a mini merry go roundEnjoyed some snow cones to help us cool off!
Watched the cattle driveCelebrated Father's Day early since Brent is going to San Antonio for the week. The girls especially enjoyed eating his ice cream cake!And Laura is loving on Justus quite a bit.
And now I'm taking the rest of the week off to enjoy the time with my sis and niece. See you in a week!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

UP

Brent and I went to see the movie Up on Tuesday night. After he picked my jaw up off the floor when I realized how much movies cost now (neither one of us can remember the last movie we saw in the theater!), we went in to see a phenomenal movie.

Phenomenal for two reasons:

1) Just a great flick. Very entertaining and well done

2) Such a great message. Enjoy the journey. The man was so busy looking to the end goal that he was missing all the little adventures along the way.
As I look at my girls in the time out corner this morning, the message is loud and clear in my mind. Although there are many end goals that I am striving for, today I am enjoying the journey and looking for all the little adventures along the way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

Continuous Prayer. That's been my journey this week. The Lord has been stretching my prayer life and habits. This year I've been working on praying with no solution in mind and pouring out my heart to Christ, but this last week, God decided to teach me about intercessory prayer...continuous intercessory prayer.

A good friend had her baby early. The baby was placed in the NICU and my friend eventually was discharged from the hospital only to make the long drive home without a baby in the back seat. From the minute I heard she was in labor until last night, I have not been able to sleep. The Lord placed such a heavy burden on my heart that all I could do was lay in bed and pray. I prayed with my girls during the day. I prayed while I washed dishes. I prayed all day and all night for that little girl and for my friend as she waited patiently for God to strengthen her daughter so she could bring her home. The baby came home on Monday night and suddenly I felt a release from my call to prayer.

Some good friends of Brent and I's have been going through some difficult working situations and needed to find clarification and a new job assignment. For the past 2 months, they have been continually in my prayers. Everytime I have sat down to nurse Justus, every time I hear him cry in the middle of the night, every time I go to put him to sleep, I think of this family and the decisions they are making and begin lifting them in prayer.

I've never felt this deep call for intercessary prayer before. I've never felt this emotional pull to pray without ceasing for something that does not involve my own personal life. Pray for others...of course. Feeling a call to continually pray and not to sleep until I pray for others has been a whole new thing.

Intercessory Prayer. I love it. Praise God he keeps revealing to me how deep my prayer life can become if I will allow it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Highlight video

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Can you tell I'm enjoying my new video camera =)

(oh, and some of you have said the video keeps jumping when you try to watch it. Try hitting pause until the video has completed buffing and then hit play and the video should play without interruption)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Road Trip

This weekend we took a road trip to Shreveport! We spent Friday and Saturday with some great friends and their kids. They leave the states to go back home in a few weeks, so we wanted to see them before they left.

The weekend was packed with tons of fun and lots of heat!
We played in the yard
climbed treesrelaxedmade homemade ice creamfed the ducksclimbed more treesTook some relaxing breaks in the shade saw real alligators, walked on the boardwalk, grilled, swam, played at a park, shopped, and pretty much just wore ourselves out. All the kids were troopers and had a blast together. Even Justus had a great time on his first road trip. Thanks for letting us come invade your home for the weekend! We love you guys and will be thinking of you as you travel back!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

He's a Genius

The last 2 times I've gone in to get him up from his nap, he's flipped onto his back.





I'm still hoping its a fluke. Maybe I laid him down weird?? I'm just praying its only a nap time thing because I'm not all that excited about him flipping in the middle of the night and waking up!

But regardless, 2 months old and flipping from tummy to back. He's beat his sisters by a long shot =)

(Update: He's no longer in the genius category...this new trick is officially annoying! The genius category will not be attached to him until he learns to flip back to his tummy from his back. He's now a pro at flipping to his back and flips himself and wakes himself up early from every nap. The boy is going to have to learn to sleep on his back if he keeps this up!)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

This past week, I started reading the book "Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls" by Gary Thomas. I'm also still reading the book "MASTERY". Its amazing how the two are lining up to teach me one great concept.

My focus should never be on me or this world.

"If God's attitude toward me is suffering Love, my attitude toward others will be suffering love."

I put my kids names where it says "others". Not that parenting is always suffering, but definitely at times it can be. I always hit this slump after big social outings where there are a lot of people who I would love to hang out and talk to. For example, our church picnic Sunday night. Tons of people, a huge park, free food...it should all equal a great time, right?

And when I look at it in perspective, it does equal a great time, just not the type of "great time" I would choose. See we had to wake Justus to go which meant I pushed the stroller and walked in a circle around the playground equipment to try to get him to stop crying and go back to sleep. Then I got food ready for the girls to eat. Then I shoveled down my own food so I could feed Elliana because she won't eat when there's so much going on. I guess I could have let her starve but I knew we would get home late and I didn't want to have to feed her once we got home. Then I sat at "the edge of the village" so I could nurse Justus. Only to finish nursing in time to clean up the blanket and chairs and head home because it was past everyone's bedtime. Definitely not the "great time" I envisioned for myself.

Sometimes I just want to play irresponsibly. I want to talk and be able to focus on the conversation without looking in five directions to keep my eyes on all the kids. I want to sign up for a volleyball tournament, run in the field and play soccer, go hit a few balls on the softball field, or even just finish a glass of water, but that is not my reality right now.

Which is why I put my kids names in the "others" category when I think about Christ's suffering love towards me. Sometimes I get down about the fact that I seem to be on hold. My dreams, my passions, my desires, all seem to be on hold. And there are times, like Sunday night, where I want to take it out on my kids. I want to yell at them when they start to whine that they didn't get to play long enough or that they didn't get enough food, or that they need more to drink. I want to yell "have you noticed your mom hasn't eaten or drank anything since we've gotten here? Have you noticed I haven't gotten to play at all? Have you noticed what I've sacrificed to make sure you've had a good time?"

But then I take a deep breath and remember what Christ has called us to. He's called me to become holy like He is holy. Life is a refining fire to draw me into holiness. My aim and focus should be on that and everything else is just icing on the cake. When my focus shifts to put fun and my own personal desires ahead of the desire to be holy, then the dissatisfaction comes into play.

Gary Thomas says, "Most of us are inherently selfish when it comes to raising children. We're hoping for some benefit to come our way, and when we wake up to the truth that children can be embarrassing as well as exemplary, we become resentful and bitter, and a foul spiritual climate can soon take over the home...When we realize that having children isn't about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne. We see the purpose behind the difficulty, and we remind ourselves, "this isn't about me; it's about him.' The ultimate issue is no longer how proud my children make me, but how faithful I've been to discharge the duties God has given me. "(Sacred Parenting)

I started reading "Sacred Parenting" expecting to find some great tools to instill godliness in my kids. I've quickly realized that God is using this book, as well as "Mastery" to instill godliness in myself. I guess He figures that is the quickest way to instill godliness in my kids as well =)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

First Dance Recital

Avery's first dance recital was tonight. I think she had a lot of fun. I have to admit, I was a little teary eyed through most of it. She suddenly went from my little Avery that I needed to watch over and take care of to this big girl who was able to go onto that big stage all by herself and do what she needed to do.
For some reason, as I was editing and combining the video, the order of the clips got switched. I'm too lazy to redo it, so if you're interested in watching, you'll watch her tap routine followed by the finale and then her ballet routine. The video was shot last night during dress rehearsal as well so it wasn't today's performance, but close enough =)


Here is a picture of us after the recital.
Elliana and Justus were rockstars through the whole recital. Justus just nursed and slept and Elliana was mesmerized by the dancers. I've never seen the girl sit so still for so long! She loved it so much it makes me want to sign her up for dance lessons tomorrow =)
Nana, Pappa, Great Grandma, and Aunt Deanna came down for the weekend, so after the recital we all went back home and grilled and then Avery got her special desert for working so hard on her routine.As I put Avery in her bed tonight, she sat up and said "mommy, what are we going to do on Mondays now?" I answered, "I'm not sure because dance is all over now." She replied, "but do you think maybe dance is still going and I could go to dance school again sometime?" I'm pretty sure that means she had a good time.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Family Fun Day

The zoo? The mini train? Bike rides? Playing at a park? All thoughts I had as I was planning family fun day. That is until Brent pulled in the driveway with this on top of the car last night!
Yes, one neighbors trash is another neighbors treasure.


This happened last night so today has consisted of playing outside, interrupted by a trip to the gym and the grocery store, followed by playing outside, interrupted by helping me bake some brownies, followed by playing outside, interrupted by naps and a trip to Half Price Books to pick up our free books, followed by playing outside. I think the girls like the new play structure their daddy found for them!


And I just had to include a picture of Justus to show what he was up to most of the day =)
After dinner, Brent took Avery to her dress rehearsal for her dance recital. Check back tomorrow night for some video of her first recital =) Usually when people watch her dance, she looks to the floor, stone faced, and does the whole routine in less than a minute. We'll see what happens tomorrow!