Saturday, July 27, 2013

Be His Hands & Feet Craft

I am always looking for fun ways to incorporate our family values and  how to preserve their 'littleness'. This is a little craft I did this past week with the kids. It is a little hard to keep the 2 year olds still enough to get a good print, but totally worth it.

DISCLAMER: Once the kids realize they can paint their hands or feet with paint, their entire bodies will be covered! They had a blast painting themselves while I finished up writing in the words. I wish I had taken a picture of the kids when they were done painting themselves. 

Now that we decided not to try and sell the house, I am planning on putting up pictures and scripture in the house. Can't wait to see how the rest turns out.  What fun things have you done with your little ones this summer?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

44 Things I have learned from Having 4 kids Under 4

3 years and 7 months ago I had no kids (well, one in the womb). Today I have 4. Yes, 4 wild and crazy beautiful kids! I am by no means an expert mama, but I have had one crazy crash course in mothering.
Every where I go people keep telling me I must be super mom; Nope just really, really fertile! You may call me Myrtle!

Here are some of the things I have learned in the last 3.5 years:

1. Being a mom is hard work.

2. Sleep when the baby sleeps. (This only applies to moms who have 1 child. After you have 2 you will not get to sleep again. Ever. Just sayin')

3.  Join am MOPS group, like yesterday!!!!! (Can't stress this one enough-notice all the exclamation points- Even if you don't make any friends at MOPS *highly unlikely* you will get encouragement from the speakers- and you get to drink your coffee while it's still hot! Whoop whoop!)

4. Let the kids get messy. Kids and cloths both wash. Find some mud and let them play!

5. Your house will be a mess. It was a mess yesterday, it will be a mess tomorrow. Clean the basics and let the rest go.

6. There is enough love to go around! You will think, 'there is no way I could love any kid more then this.' But you will love the next one, and the next one, and the next one....

7. Two words. Cloth Diapers! So easy and saves so much money. I use bumGenius. Check them out here.

8. Your husband still comes first. He was there first and he will be there after the kids are gone. You will give and give and give to your kids all day. Then at the end of the day you will have get to give a little more to your hubby. Do it!

9. Stay home if you can. These years are short and precious and oh so important.

10. You will get pooped on, spit up on and peed on- some days all before 9am!

11a. Yelling NEVER helps the situation.

11b. Hugging ALWAYS helps the situation.

12. Take you kids where ever you go. Need food? Take them to the store with you. Need cloths? Take them to the store with you. Need to get out of the house, but don't really need anything. Take them to Target with you. No seriously, learn to live your life with your kids. Let them do life with you.

13. Breastfeed if you can. It's cheap, easy and just the right temperature (and oh so good for that little blessing!)

14. Speaking of blessings, kids are a blessing. Even on the days that you want to run away and never return- they are still a blessing.

15. Watch what you say while you are on the phone talking to your girl friends (or under your breath). Funny story. Ready?!..... My hubby and I were having one of those weeks. That Sunday he didn't get up to go to church with us, so I had to take all 3 - we only had 3 kids back then- by myself. The church had put up a large white tent, it was for the youth group but I did not know this. When my almost 3 year old asked why it was there I said, under my breath, "Someone was probably stupid enough to get married." Fast forward a week. Said Child was in the car with my mother in law *you know* the mom of the man I married. She asked Said Child why there was a tent up at our church. Said Child states, "Someone was stupid enough to get married." Watch what you say people- they can hear you!!

16. Laugh. Some days I get into bed and realize I have not laughed all day. The average toddler laughs 150 times a day (I got this statistic from the Internet. I did not do my own research on this, but with 3 toddlers I bet I could!) 150 times in like 12 hours. Make sure you laugh a few times with them!

17. The hardest adjustment to make is to go from no kids to one. Once you have one under your belt you are good to go!

18. Invest in a good stroller. I love my triple Valco Baby. Check it out here.

19. A gourmet dinner of PB&J is just fine- even 3 weeks in a row.

20. Some days success is doing 3 loads of laundry, cooking, a play date and baths. Other days success is that everyone is still breathing.

21. Kids change everything!

22. Strapping 4 kids into car seats sucks. Having to bind, twist and climb over the seats to strap a 'big girl' into the 'big girl' car seat sucks even more. Having kids safe while in the car- priceless!

23. Cell phones were not built to survive bath time. RIP smart phone.

24. The days are long but the years are short. Don't blink.

25. Don't blink, but do breath. 

26. Eat the cookie. Sure you have a lot of work to do to get back to 'pre baby' but some days you just need to eat that cookie! 

27. If someone offers to help, let them.

28. 'Me time' ain't all it's cracked up to be. Nothing beats 'family time.'

29. Count your blessings, not your frustrations.

30. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for. 

31. Be smart with money! You/your kids do not need brand new of everything- used can be just as good as new but way cheaper.

32. Write down the cute things they say!

33. There is more to this life then this. Teach them about Jesus. Don't know Jesus? Get to know Him, and then teach them about Him!

34. No matter what is going on, there is always a reason to smile at your kids.

35. Learn to say NO to others, learn to say YES to your kids!

36. Read a good book. It's a way to relax and escape the stress of mama/wify-hood, without spending any money!

37. Praise them way, waaaaay more then you correct them! 

38. There is a saying, "When I have no where else to go, I get on my knees." Have a tough situation? Start on your knees, don't wait until it's the last place to go!

39. "So Quiet Down Cobwebs...Dust Go To Sleep...I'm Rocking My Baby, And Babies Don't Keep." True, oh so true!

40. It's only a season! 3 months from now things will be so different!

41.  Everyone has nap/quiet time at the same time-even mommy!!

42. Life is a garden, dig it! Plant some easy to take care of plants and watch them grow! It's fun to accomplish something and the older kids get to help! Plus you get to eat the fruits (or veggies) of your labor.

43. Each baby is different. Get to know each one. My first 3 hated to be swaddled, #4 loves it! 1,2 and 4 are belly sleepers, #3 hates to be on her tummy....

44. Enjoy the ride!! It's a wild one, but not one you get to do over, so enjoy it now!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Full of Grace and Truth

On the rare occasion that I am in the car by myself I like to listen to sermons on the radio. You never know what little nugget of wisdom you might get that way. A while back I heard a sermon that blew my mind and it still has me thinking about it today. I do no remember who was preaching or even what the subject was, but what the preacher said was so good, like, so, so good! It was one of those a-ha moments. Ever have one of those? Well, I have been in need of another one lately. So, I thought I would share about my last one and maybe it would help me find my next one!

Here is what the preacher said:

Jesus was both full of grace and full of truth.  

Isn't that incredible?! Amazing!

Jesus' grace did not diminish the truth and the truth did not diminish His grace. 

He was both full of grace AND truth. Together, at the same time, grace and truth!

John the Baptist could have said anything about Jesus. He could have said he was kind, that he was a healer, miraculous or Divine. But what John chose to say about Jesus was this;

 "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, 
who came from the Father,  
full of grace and truth. (John 1:14- emphasis mine)

Oh, how many times have I spoken truth to someone but forgot all about the grace part?! What I said was right and true, but how I delivered it was mean and hurtful. When we speak truth to people, but do not extend grace- we are not doing any good for Gods Kingdom. We come across as hurtful and unkind.

On the flip side. When grace is extended to the point that the truth is left out or distorted, then we are no longer speaking truth.  When we extend so much grace to someone that we are no longer also giving truth to them- Gods truth- then we are also not doing any good for God's Kingdom.

I think God is disappointed in both situations.

Full of Grace and Truth. It's a mighty fine line to find!

I recently have been convicted that maybe I don't come across to others they way I mean to. I try to be funny and make a joke- but I am seen as callas and hurtful. I get short with people and then I am seen as rude and mean.

What I want people to see in me is Jesus.

I believe the best way to show people Jesus is to be like Him.
Full of grace and truth.

Jesus experienced every emotion that we experience. He has been tired and hungry. He knows what it feels like to he hated and betrayed. He knows what it is like to feel lonely and left out. The difference between Jesus and me  -there are many, many differences but this is one- He didn't use those feelings and experiences for an excuse. Even though he was tired he didn't get short with people and be unkind. Even though he was betrayed and misunderstood, He didn't run around gossiping to everyone he saw "Can you believe he said/did that to me?"

To be both full of grace and truth means extending grace to others and myself. It means speaking truth to both others and myself. Some people need a little extra dose of grace and others need a little extra dose of truth- but both must be present!

Recently I have been convicted that maybe I fall into the needing an extra dose of grace category! I do not struggle with the truth side. I am very black and white- right is right and wrong is wrong. I think because of that (and the whole being human and not God thing), I may need a little extra dose of grace from others! I am a EGR person- extra grace required.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Would you do it all again?

If the you that you were 5 years ago got a glimpse of the you that you are today, would you still make the same decisions that you made along the way of those 5 years?

This is the question I have been asking myself over the last week or so. If I could go back and redo this motherhood thing, would I? Would I really?

I mean lets face it. My body is ruined. I own exactly 4 things that fit and even those 4 things look bad on me. Diet and exercise. Diet.and.exercise. That's what people say. Watch what you eat and go for a run. Totally undoable at this point. What do I do with a 3 year old, 2 two year olds and an infant, while I go for a nice relaxing jog? Join a gym, get a baby sitter, get up before the kids get up. All great ideas in theory. But I am just. to. tired. So tired. Physically tired. Mentally tired. Tired.

My house is a wreck. I clean and clean and then I clean some more. All I am really doing is moving piles of all the junk we own around the house. 75% of the worlds population doesn't have enough and I am complaining about having too much! Ridiculous. Just ridiculous!

Not to mention this mothering thing is hard. Like, really, really hard. I want to have good kids, kind kids; kids that grow up and become good adults, kind adults. But then I yell because the 3 year old wont go to bed. Or the 2 year old (one of them or both of them) is throwing a fit for some reason or another. And then I wonder if I am even doing it right at all. So many decisions to make that shape who they become- and I constantly feel like I am messing it up. That I am messing them up.


That's what no one tells you before you become a mom. 24-7. Or maybe they do tell you, but you don't listen, and if you do listen then you have no idea what 24-7 really means. Not until that baby is here in your arms anyway. After you become a mom, after all the hard work is done of growing that baby and getting that baby out into the world, it never ends. Never ends. Sure, you can go to work if you are a working mom, you can run to the store or go on date night or girls night, but its not really a brake- because your heart is no longer yours, it belongs to those precious people who call you 'mama.'

Would I do it all again? If I could go back and change it would I?

I have thought about it long and hard (not that it makes a difference really). And if you catch me on a really, really bad day the answer would be, "No I would not do it again!" But those days are few and far between. Most days I look at my sad saggy skin, the roots in my hair that are so long they no longer look like roots, my messy house and these crazy precious people and I think, "This is it! This is my purpose in life!" 

To love my husband and train our kids to know and love the Lord. I can change the world  just by doing those two things! Nothing has matured me more then being a wife and mom. Nothing has grown me more as a person and in my faith then these two things!

I encourage you today sweet ladies to stay focused and keep your eye on the ball. Being a wife and mom is hard but oh so rewarding! Just think about the way that new baby smells, or the first smile or the unsolicited 'I love you mom.' You do not need to go on an over seas mission or start a charity to change the world, you can do it right in your living room!  Love your husband and train your kids to know and love the Lord! Wold changed for the better, done!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Comparison Culture

What is it about being a women that makes us compare ourselves to others?

There are two ways to compare- one way makes me look better then you,
"At least I'm not as fat as she is, I look better in that dress, my kids act better, are cuter, are smarter then hers...."

The other makes me look worse then you,
"I wish I had her body, hair, husband, car....."

Both are dangerous. The first leads to pride (and inevitably the hard fall) and the other leads to feelings of low self worth.

One sweet mom confided in me recently that she is worried because her 3 year old doesn't talk about Jesus. She had heard another mom talking about all the cute things her 3 year old says about Him. This sweet mom is doing an amazing job with her kid. She prays for him, reads bible stories to him and brings him to church faithfully. Then that little voice entered her head, "You aren't doing enough, you kid doesn't talk about Jesus. You fail."Lies!

Another friend posted on facebook that she found it hard to tell her 3 year old that she thought of herself as beautiful. My assumption is that it was hard for her because she has had years of comparing her self to others and years of always measuring up short. She (as well as all of us) probably spends a lot of time saying things like this, "She just had a baby and is already back in her normal cloths?! I have nothing that fits!"  "Why can't my butt be smaller? Why didn't I get a cute nose like hers? She always looks so put together and I look so frumpy!"

Ladies, we can really pick our selves and each other apart. It is not good, and it is dangerous!

So, what can we do instead of compare?
We can chose to love and encourage!

Love says, 'Congradulations on becoming engaged!'
Love does not think, 'Did you see the size of that ring? It's so big, it must be fake!'

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is kind. Love is kind. Love means being kind to others and being kind to ourselves. To compare ourselves, our lives, our spouses, our children to others is not kind. We are either looking down on her or we are tearing ourselves down.  Love means being kind, thinking kind and acting kind!

Encouragement says, "Way to go, you lost another 10lbs!"
It does not think, "OK skinny girl, here, eat some cake!"

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” 
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Hebrews 3:13 

We are called to encourage each other. True encouragement, so that non of us (you or I) will be caught in satins lies. When we believe the lies, that we aren't enough, that we need to be more- like she is- we can not truly encourage one another.

So, I encourage you sweet ladies to stop the lies! As you move about your week pay attention to what you are thinking and stop the lies. When you start to think you aren't enough, stop and recognize all that you are! When you start to judge another women, stop and find the good in her. 

Love and encourage.

Love and encourage her. 

Love and encourage yourself!

You are beautiful, unique and God made- how could you not be wonderful?! Find the wonderful that is unique to you and celebrate it! 

I have to admit that I have been sitting on this post for a while. After posting it, I feel like there is more I want to say. I feel like I have left some important things out.

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. 
When they measure themselves by themselves 
and compare themselves with themselves, 
they are not wise.

2 Corinthians 10:12

The major problem with comparing ourselves to each other is that we are all human. The person you are comparing yourself to (and most likely coming up short against- in your own eyes) is just as sin riddled as you are. We do ourselves a disservice when we compare ourselves to others because we all 'have fallen short of the glory of God.' (Romans 3:23) When you measure yourself against another women, you are using the wrong measuring stick! The One we should be measuring our selves against is the One who bled and died an excruciating death. The Measuring stick we should be using is the One who loved us enough to hang on a cross for us.

The bible says when we compare ourselves to ourselves we are not wise. I want to be a wise woman, will you join me? Maybe we can change the way we think together. We can change the way we think and that will change the way we act and maybe that little act can help the next generation, so we don't raise girls who have so much trouble with using the wrong measuring stick!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Tree I Want to Be

This is what the Lord says:

"Cursed is the one who trusts in man, 
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, 
in a salt land where no one lives.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, 
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought 
and never fails to bear fruit."

The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
who can understand it?

"I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind, 
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve."

Jeremiah 17:5-10

I have been enjoying a bible study called she reads truth.

I have fallen off the wagon a bit and with no surprise I have also been struggling in my daily life. I find that if I am not digging into the word, even a little, every day, things start to fall apart. How many times will it take to learn this lesson?! While confiding in a friend how I have been feeling she asked, "Have you been doing your quiet time?" Oops. She asked the question, but she already knew the answer! 

Today I got back on board with She Reads Truth. The scripture printed at the top of the page is what our quite time was about. It could not have come at a better time. 

What a beautiful contrast between the man (or woman) who trusts in man and the man (woman) who trusts in the Lord. 

The man (woman) who trusts in man (or other woman) for strength has a heart who has turned from the Lord. This tells me we can not both depend on man and have a heart for the Lord. They can not and do not go together. She is likened to a bush in the wastelands where no one lives. That she can not see prosperity (good fortune) when it comes. That it will come, but she will not recognise it. 

This is not the kind of woman, wife and mother I want to be. I can not make a difference if I am planted somewhere that is 'parched' and where no one lives. How can I influence others for Christ (most importantly my children) if no one wants to be around me? I do not want to be someone who has so much fortune and prosperity, but can not and will not recognize it!! 

The woman who trusts in the Lord has a much better feel to it. She is blessed. She is likened to a tree planted by the water. She sends her roots out to the stream. She has taken up residence near Christ, knowing he will be the one who will sustain her. She digs into Gods word and truly knows him so that when the heat comes, because it will come, she will always have green leaves. If we have deep roots in Christ, even when that stream gets low on water, we will not wither. A plant with superficial roots, a women who 'knows' God but does not truly desire a relationship, will wither with the first sign of heat. But a woman who knows God, truly knows him, with deep roots in him, can withstand the drought. And not only will she withstand the drought, she will continue to bear fruit! A streams water level is not always consistent, but it is always there. God is our stream. He is always there. At some times in our life the water level will be high and we can bear fruit easily. We may hear his voice loud and clear during these times and there may be little struggle. Other times the water level will be lower and it will take more work to produce that fruit, but it will be there- because we truly know him! 

The catch to all this is that we need to have deep roots before the drought. We need to put our confidence in the Lord before the hard times. I encourage you dear ladies, start to plant yourself near the stream now, dig those deep roots now!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is 
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law."

Galations 5:22