Tuesday, April 22

2013-2014 Adjectives :-)

Well, after being a fallen-off-the face-of-the-earth writer, I thought I'd share these with you all! I'm thankful for those of you who take time to read these ramblings - for your friendship and for your prayers for us as our little family grows and learns. :-)

Happy: We have another baby due to be born in August! :-D Zachary is beyond thrilled to have a little brother! We can't wait to meet this little guy and I love feeling him move around...he is super active. This has been my most tiresome/achy/nauseous pregnancy so far but it's also been the first one that's been nap-less. There is probably a correlation! ;-) Oh well.

Sad: In October I miscarried a little baby that the kiddos are convinced is a little girl. They love to talk with me about our Madeline (they are all adamant that's her name...isn't that sweet?!) and how she is in Heaven with Jesus.

Crazy: We got a puppy about a month ago. C-R-A-Z-Y. But she is adorable and a keeper. She is now supposedly 12 weeks old (but we think she is a bit younger than that!) and we are in the midst of housebreaking her. Her name is Penelope and she is a Labrador Shepherd. So far we've noticed she has the build (and floppy ears) of a Lab with the coloring and intelligence of a German Shepherd. This puppy is too smart for her own good. She is very clever. She neeeeeeeeeds obedience training. ASAP. She is sweet though and our munchkins adore her.

Fun: Life with our munchkins is never dull. Chloe is now 4, Zachary is 3, and Ella just turned 2. We are knee deep in Duplo Legos, baby dolls, fire trucks & tractors, puzzles, crazy bike stunts (seriously, we haven't brought the bikes outside yet so we've been letting them ride in the house. Zachary loves to pedal fast then slam on the brakes so that he does a half donut....), imaginative play (Chloe=princess or mama, Zachary=fireman or knight, Ella=dragon, puppy or princess), coloring, fighting, whining...etc. ;-) We started teaching Chloe and Zachary to read and they are loving it! I'm intentionally taking it slow, but it's still fun for them. :-) I hope they love reading as much as Dwight & I do! We also got to take part in Awana this year (Chloe as a Cubbie, me with helping teach -I'm officially a sub but I've probably been to over half of them!, and Zachary was able to come along with me. He can't wait till he is old enough to be a full-time Cubbie next year!). Awana is a fantastic kids program, I love how it encourages kids to memorize God's Word.

Overwhelmed: This past year I feel like I've been back in school - learning so much and my brain is tired! :-) I've been trying to immerse myself in good theology, and am so thankful for the teaching ministry of our church (Bethany Community Church), for good solid authors and preaching, and for Dwight. Elyse Fitzpatrick and Lydia Brownback are two authors I really appreciate (in addition to Piper, MacArthur and other excellent teachers), and a really good book I've read recently is When People are Big and God is Small. I'm with the author, Ed Welch - everyone should read it! ;-) We have also really been learning all we can soak up about what it means to be a grace-filled family and how that transfers to our child training, marriage, and just life in general. When you are used to pressure and guilt of performance...it's a huge mentality switch! I have also been trying to learn more about food intolerances, learning to cook for our family (not really following any one diet but just eat what is good for us and don't eat the things we know our bodies don't like - well mostly. We eat too much sugar, but we're making headway there! But the kids can't have gluten or dairy, and I can't have gluten or legumes/soy/peanuts as well as dairy or eggs if nursing so life gets interesting then, haha! So we basically do gluten, dairy and soy free and then I just pass on beans or peanuts when everyone else eats them. And guacamole. I miss avocados FAR more than I miss anything else (other than Reese's Peanut Butter cups!). My goal over the next couple months is to figure out freezer cooking - because currently the thought scares me! But it would be a big help. :-)  If anyone wants to come walk me through that I will gladly accept help! We've also been learning more about herbs, essential oils, and other homeopathic preventatives and remedies. I guess we are weird, but it's a lot of fun! I made elder berry syrup the other week and it was really yummy. Really yummy! It's had cinnamon and other spices too, so it had a bit of a kick to it as well.

Saturday, April 5

Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full - a review

I received my copy of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full (written by Gloria Furman) from Crossway Publishers & the author in exchange for my honest review.

For the past five weeks this pregnant mama has been battling non-stop flu with my three littles (mama and daddy, too!). I have been weary and grumpy and it's truths have been a balm to my exausted heart (when I had a moment to pick it up and read!). I'm so thankful for the words from another mom who understands what life is like, and also understands how necessary it is amidst it all to have every thought and interaction drip of God's infinite grace - both for others and for ourselves!

In this book, Gloria draws our focus away from our schedules, weariness, and constant demands to a focus of solely looking to Jesus. I need that! She writes, "When the mundane looms larger than eternal life, we forget who God is, who we are, and who our children are. We tend to forget about tomorrow and eternity when our day is filled with the tyranny of the urgent...When we have eternity in view, we respond to motherhood differently than if we lived just for the moment." Throughout the chapters she comforts us mamas with truths of our justification, In Christ. What a difference that perspective makes! When the gospel shapes our home, discouragement over our inadequacies - or the opposite, priding ourselves on the delusion of how much we are accomplishing - has no room for growth or even ground to take root, because we are driven and fed by the realization that everything we face is met through His grace, and it is always available in our time of need. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

She also reminds us afresh of God's sovereignty, even as our days are shaken and tipsy-turvy with unknowns - 2 Corinthians 9:8: "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work." In every good work - this includes wiping little bodies, reading their favorite book yet again, and even disciplining when necessary (which seems is always some days!).

God's grace also rescues us from idolizing motherhood. It allows us to come weary to Him to find our daily needed rest. We need His word. I need it in these flu-filled, cuddle and whine filled days when I just want to take a Tylenol and sleep!  I appreciated Gloria sharing this following quote by Jerry Bridges: "Don't believe everything you think. You cannot be trusted to tell yourself the truth. Stay in the word."

Thank you Crossway for sending this book to me. It has encouraged me from the moment I opened it straight out of the mailbox - cried for joy actually! :-) As I've been weary and clinging to God's grace it has been like a compassionate and understanding friend - loving me enough to steer my selfish thought from myself to focus squarely on Christ. I definitely will be recommending this title to others.

Two additional quotes that have stuck with me from this book are:

"Resist the urge to reduce God's Word to nice tips for nice living: give them the Gospel" - Gloria Furman

"Contentment is a sweet, inward heart-thing. It is a work of the Spirit indoors." -Jeremiah Burroughs