Sunday, May 10, 2015

Teaching the Next Generation...

One of my greatest pleasures (& stressors!) is listening to my husband preach.  The other Sunday he taught from Psalm 78 (listen to the podcast here) encouraging us to teach our children to trust in the Lord and to remind the next generation of all that God has done.  It was a psalm and a lesson of instruction.  As Marty said, it's easy for us to look down upon the Israelites for so quickly forgetting all that God did as He saved them time and time again.  Yet how often do I forget to remind my girls of all that God has done in our lives!  How He provided jobs for us when He called us to seminary ten years ago, how He sold our townhouse in the very last week before we moved closer to the church (only God!), how He blessed us with our current house surrounded by such great neighbors, the list could go on...  Yet how quickly I forget...

In order to teach the next generation, we need to encourage them to get in the Word and to lead by example.  There are some seasons in which this is easier said than done.  But that's one of the joys of being a follower of Christ!  Our mistakes, mess-ups, and successes are not the end result.  We get to daily seek the Lord for guidance.  It's often through our mistakes and asking for forgiveness that our children see an authenticity in us, and not a perfect, unapproachable parent whom they can never talk with.

Here are some great resources for kids:

Here are some blog posts with lots of resources:


God's word to music is an amazing tool for instilling His truth into our children.  I still remember so many verses from my childhood because they were put to music.  "Rejoice in the Lord always..." "This is the day..."

Here are some great resources for scripture to music:
 - God's Word: A to Z  (My girls have most of these memorized.)
 - Seeds of Worship  (We haven't invested in these yet, but I've only heard wonderful things about these albums.)
 - Hide 'Em in Your Heart with Steve Green  (Songs from my childhood, but still perfect for young children today.)

Ultimately, we need to pray over our children.  Marty spoke on this today.  We need to pray scripture over them.  Pray for their protection.  Pray for their salvation and daily moments with our Lord.  Pray that they may grow in His grace.  To read more about how to pray over our children and to find a great resource that Marty gave to our congregation this morning,  click here.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Every Hour...

I truly am a messed up mama in need of my Savior's grace day after day, moment by moment.  I throw the mean look to the hubs in the middle of dinner, and once again forget to pay the electricity bill (the only bill I'm in charge of!).  Earlier in the day, words to my girls cut like the dirty knives sitting in the sink waiting to be washed... again! 

Kind words, where are you?  Proverbs 3:3 is supposed to be ingrained on the brain, "Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."  How I wish they were bound around my neck...

I desire to encourage, not discourage...

Yet in my own strength, I can do nothing.  That's what Jesus said in John 15:5, "Apart from me you can do nothing."  There is such freedom in that!

I read a devotional by SheReadsTruth a few weeks ago that gave the background to one of my favorite hymns and the comfort it brought was astounding.  In 1872, Annie Hawks, a wife and mother around my age, said, "I was busy with my regular household tasks when suddenly I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words, 'I Need Thee Every Hour,' were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me."

She then penned these words:

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

I need Thee, O I need Thee; 
Every hour I need Thee; 
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee. 

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessed Son.

I need Thee, O I need Thee; 
Every hour I need Thee; 
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee. 

I need You every hour, Lord, to honor and affirm the husband You have blessed me with; to fulfill the divine calling You have given me in Ephesians 5; to love and respect him without wavering; to walk beside him in the calling You have given us.

I need You every hour as I spend day after day with these amazing girls You have blessed us with.  I need Your wisdom to train them to be godly women.  I need Your grace when I mess up again and again.  I need Your strength when all the little frustrations roll into something bigger than I can handle. But then again, may it remind me that I need you every single hour, that I can't do it in my own strength.   

"There is grace that will seep into all the cracks and pained places when we don't understand.  In the places when we don't understand, we get to seek.  And how lovely is one seeking truth." - written by Kara Tippetts, a woman who lived these words to the very end, who clung to our Lord in an unbelievable way, and fully understood what it means to say, "Every hour I need Thee."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekend Words...

"Let's aspire to use our mouths with godly purpose.
     - to build... not to break.
     - to bless... not to badger.
     - to encourage... not to embitter.
     - to praise... not to pounce."

Words I'm reading...

- "Each day, you are writing the story that your life will tell throughout eternity.  As you recommit to God's values and priorities, every choice you make and every action you take will move you toward the exceptional life for which you were made." - Sally Clarkson, Own Your Life.

- "The key to creating fond feelings of love in a husband toward his wife is through showing him unconditional respect." - Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, Love & Respect.

- "We will pattern our lives after their poverty.  We are poor by choice.  We want to be poor like Christ, who, being rich, chose to be born and live and work among the poor." - Mother Teresa, Teresa of Calcutta

Words I'm listening to...

- Inspired to Action Podcast: Talk more, tech less (Balancing family and technology)
- Read Aloud Revival Podcast: A lifestyle of reading aloud with Melissa Wiley
- EntreFamily Podcast: Tips for traveling with kids and loving it! (I may have listened to this 3-4 times.  Inspiration!)

Random Words...

- Words written on a cow showing where we get our beef.  One of those moments, I'm thankful to be a vegetarian.

- Yet, not quite ready to be vegan as we so love our NC State ice cream...

May your weekend be full of sweet words, words that bring life, words with no regrets... "The words you speak are not neutral - they are either moving your relationships towards life or moving your relationships toward death." - Paul David Tripp

The tongue has the power of life and death, 
and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What happened in March, and what's left of April...

What happened in March...

(Better late than never seems to be my motto these days... late to church, late nights, late waking up, late blogging...)

- Concerning my March goals, not much happened.  Getting to bed at a decent hour is still a work in progress.  I finished Notes from a Blue Bike with a friend (great read!)  I'm on chapter 3 of Love & Respect, which is a great book, but it's a struggle to force myself to read for pleasure when I've already spent time reading aloud to the girls (not to mention I fall asleep every time I lay down to read.)  I may have read a chapter of The Happiness Project before it was due back at the library (I even tried to renew it!).  Oh well!

- All of our plane tickets are ordered and our lodging arranged.  The countdown has officially begun!  The girls have worked so hard making sea glass earrings and jars, cake pops and lemonade.  It's been special to see them give so willingly and be able to say they paid for our train passes (Naomi earned enough for hers and Chloe will be able to pay for the rest of ours, plus money for some activities while there).

- 40 bags in 40 days was such a nice thought...  We may have decrapified 10-15 bags, but let's be honest... purging is hard.  If nothing else, I was encouraged by a friend who read about it and actually did it!  Setting goals is not in vain.

- We got to celebrate two birthdays in March, my sweet husband and our littlest girlie.  Both celebrations were low key, but special.  No regrets on this goal.  




What's left in April...

- Really do the envelope system this month with our budget.  Even though, we're well into April, it's not too late.  I need to remember that every penny saved could be put towards our trip.

- Re-discover my love for getting outside, especially my morning runs.  I forget how fresh air and getting those endorphin's going is so vital to starting (or continuing) my day on the right foot. 

- Read more of Love & Respect (a perspective of marriage that is foreign to our culture and even in our churches), read Own Your Life, and who knows what else...


- Finish this school year well!  Our writing class is wrapping up this month, ballet recital practices are in full swing, and some intense language study needs to happen before next month!

- Buy train passes, rash guards for the girls, and start packing!!! 

- Reach out to others through opening up our home, sending encouraging notes, or even a simple phone call or text.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Travel?.

The smell of diesel... memories of the bus ride from the terminal to the plane.  The feel of the wind as we rode the ferry across the bay every trip to boarding school.  The tightness of being squeezed like a sardine riding the train to and from school with my little sister.  So many of my memories relate to travel...  For me, it's in my blood. My entire life has revolved around traveling. Born in Texas, my parents brought me back to North Carolina as a two week old.  At two years of age, I traveled with my parents to Singapore where they were in missionary training before continuing on to Sapporo, Japan.  Planes, ferries, trains, buses, taxis were all common modes of transportation for me and my sisters growing up.  For a few years, I commuted to boarding school by airplane, flying as junior pilots (as our little pendant said) with my fellow MK friends back and forth from the Tokyo area to the northern island where our school was located.  In middle school, my friends and I commuted by train to our weekly boarding school in Tokyo.  

It's in my blood.  The thrill of the hustle and bustle of airports. The smells.  The people.  Maybe that's why I want to share the country of my childhood with my children.  To see this amazing land through their eyes, to experience the food and smells with them, and to embrace the adventure of traveling once again. 

Why now?

If we don't go now, the opportunity may never present itself again. Our girls are at the perfect age to travel.  They are still young enough that everything will be eye opening and thrilling, yet old enough to walk decent distances without need of strollers.  I pray they will remember this trip for the rest of their lives.  

Yes, it is costing us an arm and leg, and we pray daily that our vehicles will survive another year.  But we know that God will provide as He has already shown over the past few months.  Sweet friends and family have given sacrificially, and to watch our girls put such effort in selling their sea glass creations (from Okinawa) and cake pops & lemonade to help supplement the cost of travel has been so humbling. They have put every penny in our Japan fund. Never once have they asked to keep it for themselves or use it for spending money.  

"To travel is to discover profound things and learn about yourself in the world; what a joy to give children that experience while they're still under their parents' roof.  It takes money, time, and planning, but so does most everything in life.  Traveling with kids is so very worth the effort." - Tsh Oxenreider, Notes from a Blue Bike

I will not pretend to say this is primarily a mission trip.  The bulk of our trip is funded by our tax refund money.  But I do pray that God will do a work in all of our hearts while on this trip.  I pray over those we will be sitting next to on each flight. I pray that God will open the eyes of our girls to a world full of amazing things and to instill in them a passion to reach out to those who are hurting and without hope.  I pray for strength for each of us as the traveling will not be easy.  But now that passports have arrived and tickets have been reserved, we are eager to embark on this exciting adventure!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What I learned in February & what's to come in March...

What I learned in February...

 - snow skiing is still as thrilling as when I was 8 years old and brings an entirely new dimension with your 4 year old between your legs.

 - traveling with my children is and will continue to be one of my favorite parts of life.  Their passports will become their greatest textbooks.

 - my 10 year old does not have a birth certificate!  Discovered this at our local post office trying to get their passports.  We thought that her hospital certificate was her birth certificate for the past 10 years!  This was quickly remedied.

 - I love my best friend more now than ever!  Traveling on youth trips with him, taking time to date him when we can squeeze it in, living life:  the good and the bad with him.  I wouldn't trade him for anything!

 - Even though I love the winter months (& my sweet girls), I crave alone time, whether it's a hour at our local coffee shop or just in my kitchen fixing supper with a podcast going.

 - God is teaching me patience through my girls wanting to help in the kitchen.  The perfectionist in me really comes out!  Mold me, Lord because I can't do it in my own strength.

  - Purging stuff is hard.  I have done horribly at my 40 bags in 40 days.  I don't even know what day I'm on.  I could blame it on the snow/ice and the laziness that comes with days like that in NC or that we had a quick stomach bug with one of our girls, but it just comes down to the fact that it's hard.  I'm not giving up though.  

Now for what's to come in March...

1.  Get ready for bed when my nightly alarm goes off.  I NEED TO GO TO BED EARLIER!!!  I have been working on this for years.

2.  Finish Notes from a Blue Bike, read Love & Respect, and pick up where I left off on The Happiness Project.  I finished The Best Yes last month.  Phenomenal book that I'm still taking notes on. Will share more in another post.

3.  Order plane tickets (once tax money comes in...), train tickets, and arrange lodging (already have some tentative arrangements made.  Yay!) for Japan.

4.  Continue 40 bags in 40 days...

5.  Celebrate birthdays well.  Two of my favorite people are turning another year older and celebrations will be quiet, but special. My littlest informed me last night that she is no longer 4, but already 5.  I turned weepy at the thought of my baby being 5 soon, but she quickly assured me that she would still be my baby when she was 5, and 6, and 7...   

Thursday, February 26, 2015

For the Love of Snow...

For the love of snow...  I may be one of the few adults in North Carolina who truly loves the snow.  Maybe it's my childhood resurfacing, the fact that we had snow from October to April.  But today we were disappointed, waking to slushy snow/ice when they predicted 7-10 inches of snow.  No sledding or snowman making around here. Instead, I've enjoyed looking back over last week's ice/snow while enjoying my second cup of coffee.  Today will be a good day!

I'm so thankful that my girls love the snow as much as I do, but gloves do get wet and toes eventually get cold, so here are few links to help with the boredom that sets in from being stuck in the house.  
 - Ongoing education:  12 tools I really dig @ art of simple
 - Read-Aloud Revival podcasts - inspiring us moms to read more to our kids.  Helpful for enduring laundry folding too...
 - Snowflake quesadillas for lunch - thanks to Martha!
 - Winter tree silhouette craft - we'll see how this goes...

Enjoy your day whether you have a foot of snow or two inches of slush!  Enjoy the children that God has given you even if it's just snuggling up on the couch and watching Frozen for the 26th time. This is the day that He has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!