Sunday, January 29, 2012

child of God

With our Potter's House girls today we talked about being a child of God. Knowing & believing it in our deepest places. When the enemy attacks with doubts, lies, confusion. One of the questions asked was how do you see God as your Father? And how does my perception of myself as a child of God effect my behavior, faith, life. These are challenging question to me.

Everyday I watch my kiddos light up when they see a certain blue car pulling in our driveway. Happy squeals and the repetitive question, Mama can we go outside?, fill our house.

Their daddy is home.

And they are so excited. Barefoot babies run and waddle out the front door and into his arms. It is precious. One of my favorite parts of the day. Their daddy is full of life to them. He is safety and fun. He is good and kind. He is strong and in control. He meets their needs and they can't resist his love.

"Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and
if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:1-7

What a difference our Redeemer makes! How do I see my Heavenly Father? Like a slavemaster? Or my Abba, Father? Like I am living in bondage? Or adopted and filled with the Spirit of God? I want to eagerly await Him, run to Him, get excited over Him. I long to believe more daily and turn more and more to my Heavenly Father as my daddy. There is so much life, comfort, joy, hope, and goodness wrapped up in belonging to Him. And praise the Lord that by His grace I do.

I am accepted and I am a child of God. I belong to Him. As we've been studying who we are in Christ I keep coming back to that word. Belong. I love it. This song has been playing in my house for a few months now and every time I hear it I am reminded that I no longer belong to the world, but to Christ. Because I have seen the Lord and by His love my heart has been fixed with Him.

Song: I have seen the Lord by Matthew Smith, Watch the Rising Day

Let worldly minds the world pursue, what are its charms to me?
Once I admired its trifles too, but grace has set me free
Its pleasures now no longer please, no more content afford
Far from my heart be joys like these now I have seen the Lord

As by the light of opening day the stars are all concealed
So earthly pleasures fade away when Jesus is revealed
Creatures no more divide my choice, I bid you all depart
His name and love and gracious Word have fixed my roving heart

I could bold and highlight all the words of this song because I love love it. It plays often in our car and Madeline decided it was her favorite song because she knows I like it! That makes me love it even more. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

too good not to share

Just talked to Andrew this morning and was blown away by how incredible God is! There is so much beautiful Christ-honoring work going on in Ethiopia and we are so blessed and humbled to watch and pray and get a small part to play. They visited with a wonderful organization that is equipping and mobilizing the Ethiopian church understand God's adoption of us all and toward adoption of their own who are orphaned all around them. Yesterday, Andrew, Seth, Bryan, & Bret got to sit and eat, pray and fellowship, and rejoice with one of the 3 first ever families to legally finalize domestic adoptions in Ethiopia. Praise the Lord!

Friday, January 27, 2012


While Andrew is away things can sometimes (i.e. often) get a little rut-ish. I am trying hard to stay afloat and get us all from one thing to the next. Unfortunately that can mean I forget to enjoy my moments. And I really do want to enjoy them. I love my kiddos like crazy and pray for forgiveness when I forget what treasures they are and treat them like my to-do list. I am trying (hold me accountable if you can) to cherish our happies and create as many as I can each day. Day 8 of Andrew away and here is what we have thus far:

1. Swinging all three kids on the swing set during 60 degree January weather! And following that with a game of basketball in which Simeon dribbles around like a champ, Anna chases balls, and Madeline sings & cheers.

2. Locking us all in the kids bedroom and playing zoo-every animal had a home, needed to be fed, we got to hold them all. Even Anna enjoyed it!

3. Watching Mr. Popper's Penguin's while eating homemade pizzas.

4. Tossing all three in the tub and watching them play so cheerily. Anna l.o.v.e.s to play with Simeon's hair and he loves letting her!

5. Taking a road trip to see my sister and her family for 3 days. The kids were great travelers, sang Joy to the World with their aunt & uncle, and played well.

6. Saying our "thankfuls" each night. We started this a few months back & it has been great for us all. We sit down before bedtime and each say 3 things we are thankful for from our day. We love seeing what they are thankful for and it is super encouraging.

7. Praying for Daddy...they love him so much!

8. Having dance parties in the living room to Ethiopian music and taking all the cushions off the couch so we can jump on the couches.

Love my happies with my sweeties.

Monday, January 23, 2012

the blahs

Why is it that when Andrew leaves the attacks start flying strong and ugly? My sweet generally well behaved babes are having some seriously terrible moments. Words are spewing from their mouths and attitudes from their hearts that make me want to quit and cry. Disobedience is seemingly the way we role around here. Except for the tiny fact that we actually don't. And it's me, too. I'm tired, feeling the strain of lots more days until he returns. I am quick to frustration with my kids and super sensitive to my own personal struggles with insecurity and anxiety.

Slowly but surely these all pile up and I am quick to just feel the weight and whine. But I am trying to see things differently and recognize truth and give the great deceiver no foothold in my heart. I think so often I don't ever acknowledge that Satan is at work against me and my family. Instead I complain, whine, get frustrated, wallow in self defeating pity, and so forth. My sweet Potter's House group of senior girls is doing a study on who we are in Christ and this past week our truth was this: I am accepted in Christ. So praise the Lord this has been running through my head and heart this week. We talked about how powerful it is to fight lies with truths. Call the lies out for what they are and where they originate. And speak truth, pray Scripture, and believe.
So I'm chugging along. Refuting what I know in my head is a lie and praying like crazy I will believe in my heart what I know is true. Seeing my kiddos struggles and praying against sin and evil that seeks to destroy. Guarding my heart against sins that tear up myself and my relationship with my kids. It's definitely a battle. But one I'd much rather fight than not.

Loving these Scripture these days,

"For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13-14

"Greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

I am accepted in Christ, redeemed, forgiven, and walking in the kingdom of Light.

a letter to Andrew


I am now sitting on the couch, on your fancy computer, eating my sandwich and wheat thins and drinking a big sonic coke that I'm not supposed to be drinking :)-and it is so good. I think you will enjoy knowing that Madeline is having her play time while listening to the Irish Rovers. She thought it would be fun and make you happy.

You have been gone several days now, with several more to go, and we certainly miss you. I had to do the trash and recycling yesterday and I don't care for it too much I have to say. But you do so much more than just that of course. In fact, you do a lot lot lot. This morning we listened to Slugs & Bugs and missed your silly dancing and singing to the cheese dip song.

We've slacked on our devo's lately which we really miss. You always keep us steady with those. And things are always easier with four hands working and playing.

I love you. Happy Day 4!


Friday, January 20, 2012

happy housekeeping

I have been told that I keep a fairly clean house. I totally don't say that in pride. Truthfully, it's all about me. My personality just can't handle having undone things or messes left around. Having kiddos has definitely placed more challenge on my neatness abilities but in a good way. I've definitely had to let go of some things but in general, I still keep things fairly tidy. I'm a big organizer, list maker, task-y kinda gal. And I like it. :) Recently a few friends have asked me how I do it or what tips I can give so here's a start:

1. Did you know that you can place about a cup of water in a glass measuring cup in your microwave, kick it on for about 4 minutes, and it will steam and clean all the gunk off? I just learned this and am loving it. The messier it is the longer it may take but after a few minutes the gunk just wipes off with a paper towel. So nice.

2. We run our dishwasher basically every single night. Usually it is totally full but as long as it's 70% full I say run it. Then leave it open if you are still up so they dry well overnight. That way you start your day with clean dishes. And if you need, you can just use straight from the dishwasher. :)

3. I don't have school age kiddos so I know this looks differently for everyone but I try to wash, dry, fold, and put away every load of clothes as they fill the dirty basket. We have two dirty clothes baskets in our house. One in my closet and one right by the washer for the kiddos stuff. I get a load going basically every 1-2 days sometime after breakfast, toss in dryer right away, and fold/put away when kids are napping, having play time by themselves, snacking at the table, or in bed that night. It seriously helps to not let several loads build up-either dirty or clean just not folded.

4. Lastly for now, give every toy a place. If it doesn't have a place, you probably have too many and need to purge! We purge toys after every toy receiving life event (birthday, Christmas...). I have about 15 $6 canvas bins from Target and basically all toys belong in a bin in one room or another. A good purging tip: have two rounds. One with your kids so you can let them choose and talk about not needing so much stuff or giving away to a good cause, etc. Second, without them so you can toss all those lovely drive-thru toys and pieces of scrap paper your 4 year old doodles on and desires to cherish. :)

And trust me, my house is not always run like these tips. Last night I folded 5 loads of laundry from the last several days. But I did it while watching a little tv with Andrew so that made it better. Please please share any good tips you have to keep things running smoothly & happy housekeeping!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

my good man

A little shout out to my sweet husband who leaves in a few days:

Thank you for working like a crazy man to get a bunch of house stuff done before you leave. Thank you for taking me out tonight. Thank you for reading Scripture and praying with me. Thank you for giving me moments to myself. Thank you for letting me "sleep in". Thank you for taking us all out to breakfast. Thank you for playing games and reading books with Madeline, Simeon, and Anna. Thank you for washing the dishes and switching the laundry. Thank you for the notes I know you will leave all around our house ;). Thank you for loving, leading, and taking care of our family. We will miss you immensely. Madeline will miss her morning breakfast with her daddy. Simeon will miss wrestling with his daddy. Anna will miss running to her daddy when he pulls in the drive. And I, I will miss it all. Love you love you love you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

1 thessalonians 5:14

a verse God has placed heavily upon my heart

"take tender care of those who are weak"

not exactly sure where He leads

just praying to wait patiently and follow well

Friday, January 13, 2012

and the glory of the Lord will be revealed

In a few days Andrew will leave. He and 3 others will pack their bags, get on a plan, and head overseas. Although he does this several times a year, each time requires some good prep work. For both of us. Lots of phone calls, emails, and planning for him. Lots of communication, planning, and prayers for us. Each time he leaves and returns we both know the spiritual battle that is going on. We can feel and experience the struggles with selfishness, temptations towards bitterness, frustrations with exhaustion. It's hard stuff. Last night we sat and prayed with the guys and their spouses. We encouraged one another with Scripture from Isaiah and agreed together to read the same passages for the trip. It seems as soon as I pray the enemy is quick to try to make me stumble. I was encouraged this morning by our first group passage, Isaiah 4o, as I struggled with selfishness, weariness, complaining attitudes, and insecurities. He does not grow weary, His word endures forever, He comes to carry me close to His heart. And the Glory of the Lord will be revealed.

Isaiah 40:27-31
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

the anna show

look how cute I am Mama! Please let me out of this stroller!

What? Isn't this what this is for?

Anna l.o.v.e.s jumping on the couch cushions!

swinging and being so cute...hard work on a little one!

happy happy girl

smiling and laughing

because this gal is so stinkin' cute!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

sore throat side effects

Andrew took his Potter's House boys on a senior trip this past week for about 5 days. So it was me and kiddos holding down the fort. And sadly, all the girls weren't feeling 100%. Anna is cutting teeth and super snotty, I have a general head cold, and Madeline has a decently bad sore throat, cough, and runny nose. So there has been a lot of orange juice drinking going on around here.

Day 5 of Andrew being gone and my mama brain is a bit mushy and slow. Standing in the kitchen, all my sweet kiddos waiting ever so patiently at the table for their juice and breakfast, I grab the full 1 gallon jug of oj and give it a little shake. After I had taken the lid off. Big fat oops. I soaked myself in oj-clothes, socks, and half my hair. Which I might add I had gotten up early to wash. My floor became (and still is) a sticky citrus-y mess and my kids just stared at me asking questions like, Mama, why did you do that? Thankfully, it made me laugh not cry. And it could have easily gone either way.

Needless to say we got it all decently cleaned up, I re-washed the tips of my hair, and have given multiple people a good laugh at my expense a couple of times.

And my hubby still loves me when he returns, even if I smell like an orange!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

to write or to sing

If I could add one, possibly two, skills to me it would be a difficult toss up between being able to write well what I am thinking or to have a beautiful singing voice. I'm not sure why, but these are my two things. I think I could use either of them for great God-glorifying things but probably I would use them for my own personal vanity and glory. So I have to assume it's a good thing I don't have those skills. Maybe, hopefully, in heaven. Random thoughts stemming from two things: 1. I really want to blog more and not feel self-inflicted pressure to write something grand. Just want to record my family, thoughts, funnies, whatevers. And 2. I seem to learn so much from song lyrics, mostly loving hymns currently, and whenever I feel like I can't express myself in writing so often I think the song says exactly what I mean. Okay, last sentence is a point in favor of my poor ability to express myself...long & wordy! Anyway. Happy Saturday, folks!

Friday, January 6, 2012


That's right people, the hubs is taking me to Hawaii! I don't just say he is the best because he is taking me to Hawaii, but the greater reason, because he cares for and loves me so well. He knows my needs and desires and wants to meet them. How great is he?! We are coming up on our 9th anniversary in June and have been talking about taking a 10th anniversary trip sometime in our 10th year of marriage. So June 2012 to June 2013. The trip will be in November 2012. We've joked about Hawaii but talked seriously about a trip along the California coast. I never never never imagined we would actually go to Hawaii! So major shocking wonderful surprise for me & I can.not.wait! Thanks, hubs! I love ya.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

my hubs rocks

I have the B.E.S.T. hubs EVER! Last night he gave me a surprise late Christmas present and it is so so so good! And now, I leave the suspense hanging...more to come very soon! But just know, he is the best! Let's just say this pic is a clue:

Monday, January 2, 2012

thoughts for 2012

I'm not a deep and thorough writer like my hubby is but I do enjoy getting my thoughts outs through a little writing. I'm also not one to make grand New Year goals and meditate on the past and plan for the future. Again, my hubby owns that skill. But I do enjoy some time to open myself up to new things and reminding myself through prayer, writing, and reading that my life is not my own. So what will I do this year to seek more of Him and less of me? I don't have a list, but I have a prayer-that I would write these words of Philippians 2:1-18 on my heart and live them out in every high, low, joy, sorrow, hurt, or laughter. That Christ would be my all, be my fixation, and His glory would be my aim. That I would walk in humility whatever road He leads me down. And that my faith would deepen in my Savior with remains Faithfully the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me."