More Grace

Mother’s Day has just passed and although I enjoyed my day, this past week has challenged me to consider that perhaps I expect too much from my kids.
It’s good to want to see my children make right choices, to want them to try harder in school, and to do well in life, and love Jesus like crazy. But sometimes my expectations reach beyond what really matters and other times I fail to adequately communicate what I expect and just assume they already know.

Within the past few weeks my oldest daughter has misplaced the new jacket her dad and I recently bought her, and I’ve been annoyed by this; not just a little annoyed either. I’ve managed to get my daughter annoyed now also with my constant nagging, “did you leave it at school?” I’ll ask her one day, and then the next day, “maybe it got left at church?!”…“how about in the vehicle?!”

More than likely at this point, my poor girl (mentally) eats, sleeps, and drinks this jacket because of all my harping.
Chalk up another “mom-fail.”
Can I make matters worse?…Yes!!! Because let me not forget to mention that I’m ridiculously frugal and the jacket was an Old Navy clearance and cost only $5.97. I know you’re reading this and probably thinking ‘then just go buy a new one’ and I would…maybe, but we live a few hours away from the store, so whining about it seems like the logical and mature adult-way to handle this situation…
Now if there wasn’t a lesson to be learned in this I wouldn’t waste my time writing about it of course….sooooo guess who recently lost their water bottle? (the water bottle they’re obsessed with—the one they take everywhere—the water bottle that if two fills of it are drank each day, her daily water-drinking goal is met…)
Me!!!!

Continue reading “More Grace”

Spring Cleaning: Out Satan!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write due to a combination of super busy and miserably sick, and learning a new phone system!!!! (I’m still not even sure this will show correctly to my ‘email followers’; if you’re interested you may need to click into the link and read it from the blog’s website).

In the midst of all of the crazy, some really cool things have been happening…

I began guitar lessons a few weeks ago, something I have wanted to do for years now. I’m hoping one day I’ll hear my husband say, “good job honey!”…instead of, “it sounds like you’re strangling a cat.” He’s right though!! I’ll be strumming along nice and lovely…and then all of a sudden out of nowhere, “rrrreerrr”…not music to my ears or anyone else’s to say the least, but I have a fantastic guitar instructor and therefore I’m hopeful this will all get “harmonized” in due time.

Also I took a spiritual gifts test recently with the rest of my co-youth group leaders and discovered that my top strong points are exhortation (encouragement), serving, and hospitality. This has helped me know myself just a little more!

ENCOURAGEMENT seems fitting since I’ve referred to myself as my kids’ biggest cheerleader, including my husband’s. I’ve even poured that encouragement out on my classroom kids as I sub and my youth kids as I help lead them—kids and adults alike need rooted on!!

SERVING comes in as I get involved in mission trips, community service projects, and local outreach programs.

And HOSPITALITY has shown up as our family has held youth group events at our home, hosted the most amazing foreign exchange student, and entertained numerous guests between large birthday parties and dinner dates.

I have provided a link if anyone is interested in taking this spiritual gifts test: http://ebcrochester.org/misc/php/LifeWaySpiritualGiftsSurvey.php

**side note: there’s a huge difference between spiritual gifts and talents! In quick summary, God gives both; a talent can be possessed by anyone as the result of genetics and/or training, whereas a spiritual gift is the result of the Holy Spirit’s power at work in a believer. Romans 12:6-8, 1st Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:11-13

Next, since garage sale season is among us, I browsed a few the other day. I was set out for mason jars to use for canning purposes and found NOT a single one; however, nearing the end of my search I came across what resembled more of a “garbage sale” than a garage sale and I spotted this little gem: Continue reading “Spring Cleaning: Out Satan!”

First Jesus, then coffee…one more cup: part 2

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When I wrote my last blog-post (First Jesus, then coffee) I didn’t know I’d have a part two until I was just finishing up.

It prompted me to consider a recent conversation my husband and I had…
‘The way we’re living day to day—the things we’re saying and doing, our behavior and actions are all a representation of our Christian faith.’

When we’re asked to give our testimony, we want it to be an accurate reflection of who we are in Christ and ultimately who Jesus is. As His followers we need to portray Him well, not only outside of our home but inside also.

For the two of us, while growing up, our view of God was misrepresented therefore we lived a life apart from Him—and I wouldn’t blame our parents for that; more than likely they had misconstrued ideas or a void of Christ as well during their years at home and prior to that it’d been an ongoing defect passed down generation after generation.

As a result our testimonies contain heartache and regret (from a lack of Christian wisdom and direction). Continue reading “First Jesus, then coffee…one more cup: part 2”

Autumn Update: REST

I love this time of year—from the cool, crisp days, to the layers of crunchy fall-colored leaves scattered across hibernating front lawns.

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With Thanksgiving and Christmas plans under way and a love of baking in the kitchen with my two girls, the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg spices never grows old and seems to create the perfect mixture. I longingly look forward to the autumn season weeks before it arrives.

My husband enjoys it for other reasons…the fall season for him means camouflage hunting attire, the ideal rifle of choice, and a deer permit with high hopes of filling a tag with a trophy buck.

But it also proves to be a busy time of year for our family. It can be easy for us to become distracted from the routine of everyday life as we tend to shuffle in a few extra plans for the holidays and if I’m not careful that alone can complicate our lives. Continue reading “Autumn Update: REST”

Teeth and Faith

I’m in braces…again…for the second time in my life. The last time was eighteen years ago when I was a teenager and having braces was considered sort of “cool” at that age.

There’s a reason you don’t see many adults parading around with braces on their teeth. Advanced technology has allowed individuals the option to replace a mouthful of wires, brackets, and a rainbow of colorful bands with Invisalign, which corrects your teeth using clear aligners that fit tightly and gradually shift your teeth into the right position and provide little to no evidence of visibility. Also I’m pretty confident someone out there considered the fact that most adults aren’t going to want to wear a mouthful of metal while verbally training their young children. Plus I’m not sure about all thirty-something year olds but I feel like once I hit thirty my body showed a few signs of aging and apparently my mouth must be drooping somewhat these days because I now have deep cuts on the inside of my lip…caused by…braces.

Continue reading “Teeth and Faith”

Pap-smears and Jesus

(Sorry, but it’s actually a catchy name and applicable!)

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume I can speak for most women when I say, “none of us look forward to those annual, or bi-annual or however-often woman’s wellness checks!”…They’re awkward, zero-fun, and can be quite time-consuming and sometimes costly, plus there’s the suspense of waiting for test results after the appointment.

Recently I was urged to make one of those doctor visits when a best friend of mine (who happens to be a nurse) learned that my last woman’s check-up took place over seven years ago when I was pregnant with my son. Yes, you read that correctly..seven years ago!! Continue reading “Pap-smears and Jesus”

The Three “F” words: Faith, Family, and Four-wheelers

Originally written and posted on 9/4/17, reposting on 9/4/18

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

“It was either a grasshopper or a mouse—just smacked me in the face and bounced off!”, I joked with my kids and they giggled and snickered behind me wildly.

We were on our annual camping trip, complete with four-wheelers, miles of sandy trails shaded within a thicket of pine trees, and of course marshmallows toasted over a camp fire in the evenings. My two youngest children rode securely behind me on our four-wheeler while my husband and oldest daughter trailed behind, each on their own ATV.

Just for the record, safety is a must…pony tails fly in the wind under tightly strapped riding helmets and boy hair shows sweaty evidence whenever the protective headgear is removed, chicken legs are always covered with blue jeans, and little toes are snug in a pair of boots or sneakers.

We’ve come to this particular state park a number of times now and it always proves to be a nice break from the routine of chores, work, and electronics back home. A wide array of colorful wildflowers dot the many hills of sand amongst thousands of acres of tall conifers; and Poison Ivy trail comes by its name naturally. In a playful manner sunsets seem magical, although I know it’s really God’s hand at a work of art. Finding time for relaxation, writing, and Bible reading always seems to occur effortlessly for me when visiting this home away from home.6EC270E2-8CDC-457C-866F-7701FD8595AF

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Labor Day weekend 2017

Some of our most favorable memories as a family can be traced back to four-wheeler tracks left on a sandy, winding trail at this campground…

I recall one time when we pulled along side a sand-covered path to enjoy a picnic. While I made sandwiches the kids picked up large pieces of tree bark and began using them as shields as they pretended to play a game of what must have been ‘Knights in Shining Armor.’ My son chose what he thought would make the best shield of all, but upon examining it further we all laughed hysterically when we realized he was actually holding a hardened “cow-pie”.

…Fast-forward a few years to the bittersweet outting I’m referring to as I write (Labor Day weekend 2017)— I felt a strong urgency to make every endeavor of having a good time, hence the reason for my silly comment to my bubbly passengers.

To be honest, at times I get stuck in discouragement realizing that my kids are growing up and this was one of those instances where I was struggling with those depressing thoughts. The problem is I focus too much on time quickly passing by, rather than soaking-in the moments of precious memories with these kids. Inevitably though, the years of camping and four-wheeler riding in the sand hills along with every day fun spent together as a family will cease as they mature and go out to experience life on their own and frankly this thought doesn’t settle well with me!

Realistically speaking, when I find myself tormented by these feelings I realize it’s Satan trying to swoop in and steal the joy I experience with the family God has blessed me with. To counteract this false logic Satan longs to impress on me, I have to remind myself that God’s desire for me is to find peace through Him (Romans 15:13).

These years on earth are temporary and pass quickly; I want to do everything possible to live in a way where I bring glory to God by what I say, do, and think (1 Corinthians 10:31). True lasting joy comes when I place my faith in the Lord daily and seek Him wholeheartedly. If I allow Satan to intervene without considering God’s truth I’m left standing at the risk of not enjoying the life God has graciously given me.

Even though my kids are growing up at a rapid rate I need to appreciate every minute I have with them without allowing Satan to interrupt. Life experiences and mine and my husband’s Godly influence will help mold these children. Through prayer, God’s word, and His grace-filled love I am reminded that He has chosen us as their parents.

Maintaining a positive perspective and watching my son and daughters grow in the Lord and love Him on their own will make every moment I spend with them worth it as I focus my attention to them rather than a swirling clock-hand. And if it includes shouting silly comments from the seat of a four-wheeler to keep this optimistic attitude then I’m in. I want my children, and my husband and I to be able to reflect back on these years we’ve spent together as welcoming ‘hill climbs’ in our growing faith.

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**UPDATE..Below are some pictures from our most recent camping experience, Labor Day weekend 2018… amazing how God works, I was able to fully enjoy my time this particular outting without dwelling on how quickly the time passes;) CEE759C3-31CA-47D6-B371-A57C140D102274426E4E-0E68-4964-9E85-E14D5025E7852BE51DAF-93D9-4AA0-B8C4-39FFE1B30E6EF638DB2D-7C1D-47CB-BCF4-C7AC1A9E774E

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