Friday, December 21, 2012

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!




From our family, to yours! We wish you nothing but love and peace this holiday season.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grace Based Parents.




*please understand that jonathan and i in no way have this parenting thing figured out. we are sinners and we need our Savior just like everyone else. we fall short every single day... and that's where grace comes in. 


this past weekend i spent two days listening to Dr. Tim Kimmel and the people of Family Matters speak of God, love, children, home, and grace. i walked away completely inspired, so much so, that i long with every beat of my motherly heart to get this message out to parents. 

so, why grace based parenting? well for one, after studying God's Word, we agree that there is really no other option. it is to parent with grace or leave our children with a massive misunderstanding of who God really even is. 

first, i'll tell you what grace based parenting is not. it is not letting your children get away with everything. it is not making excuses. it is not manipulative. it is not shame. it is not jamming Jesus down the throats of our kids. 

i'll go a step further. to fully understand grace based parenting you must first understand grace. grace stoops down, it bends low, it reaches out. grace is the climate of your relationship. it's accepting your children regardless of merit. secure love, significant purpose, and a strong hope, every word, every action, every purpose should reflect these three points when dealing with our children. 

"in our desire to have them right with God, we must be careful to let God draw our children to Himself on His time table." 

let's not get so wrapped up in trying to clean up our children's world that they are not allowed to flex their faith when they are young. it is one thing to have our children memorize bible verses (that is great) or have them at a christian school, or have them at church every Sunday, or joining christian activities, all those things are great. but it can hinder our children's ability to learn God in a personal way if it is left to only that. to have it move from their head understanding to their hearts understanding is essential! 

and there is absolutely no better way for a child to grow to be a truly great person than to see with their eyes what integrity, character, and poise look like. they will learn this most by watching YOU. i really see this in Graycen. it's one thing for me to open the bible, read the words of Jesus to Graycen, have her go to school and they teach her compassion, come home, talk about it over dinner, and tuck her into her safe comfortable bed that night. only to wake up the next morning preoccupied with our schedules, our appointments, our image. it's another thing to be walking with my little girl, see someone who looks hungry, hand them a bag of pretzels, and ask if i can lay hands on them and pray. for her to see this is much more of an impact than any sermon she could hear at church with her new dress on, snack time, and plans for a fun day when church is over. all of those things are great, but they don't stand alone. let's not be afraid to get our hands dirty when teaching our children about grace and love and God. and let's NOT be afraid when our children get their hands dirty. we can not sterilize their world for them and expect them to know Jesus, really know Him, at the same time. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

I encourage you! i know this is hard. this is soooo hard. and i believe that if you parent well, then it will be the single most difficult job of your life. but it does not have to be the scariest, or overwhelming, or fearful. remember, God wants a personal walk with your children. He has His own plans for their greatness. He gave them to you, because He trusts that with His help you can do this job, and He promises that you never have to do it alone. 

Let's have a vision for the next generation... that they "love big, work hard, laugh often, forgive freely, think abundantly, act humbly, receive thankfully, give generously, and serve gladly."

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." Psalm 127:1a

you can find information about Family Matters, Dr. Tim Kimmel, and all of his books, including Grace Based Parenting right here

Monday, December 3, 2012

christmas spirit.









december 1st.
these pictures are not that great. and there may have even been times when we were a leeeetle bit miserable, and that's because it was just so dang cold. Brrrr! but none the less we were able to make some memories that night, kick off the season with a tree lighting at a near by town, and listen to christmas music the whole way home in the car as the kids all fell asleep. it's here, it's here! the christmas season is here! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

in everything we give thanks.















thanksgiving was more blessed than i deserve. it leaves me with a servants heart. i want to give more. i want to minister more. i want more Christ. i want to walk humbly and shakily into advent with what little i have to offer, but asking Jesus to make plenty of it. i want to enter into the season of Christmas with anticipation of that little babe lying in a dirty, dusty, smelly barn, knowing full well that is where God meets me, over and over and over again. i want to come begging for forgiveness to have Him tell me, he would have come and died if it had only been me. i want thanksgiving to last in my heart so that when my Savior shows up, you will find me holding frankincense and myrrh. i am thankful because all of this is His and He thinks enough to share it with me. for that i dedicate my life to thankfulness. i dedicate this all to Him. now we burst into Christmas time awaiting that first little cry from that baby boy. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween.









i'm sure glad we had those spiderman costumes! the kids played with their masks and tails so much over the weekend that i lost one set. it was the fox, and believe it or not, i still can't find it. so at the last minute i talked dune and lars into being spiderman. actually didn't have to talk them into it all. they were allllllll for it! so off they went. trick or treating around our lovely little neighborhood. and as if this neighborhood didn't have me at hello, last night i just about fell head over heels for this circle of homes and all of our neighbors. we had a fun night, and ended it the only acceptable way, if you've had a decent amount of candy, with epic meltdowns over bed time and threatening to take away their stash if they got out of bed one. more. time! yep, it was a good one! hope yours was as candy coated in sugar as ours:)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Halloween!













halloween came early for us this year, because if we had waited any longer it might not come at all! hurricane sandy is coming and this is scarier than any halloween! 

we dressed the kids up and we filled their pumpkins with candy. moments later we took down all the decorations and put everything in the garage. the winds are going to be powerful and gusty, and we want to keep as much of our house in tact as we can! 

we will probably lose power for a few days. but we have a gas stove and lots of canned soups, and enough crackers, and peanut butter, bread, jelly's, chips, fruit, water, and candy to last us weeks. we have fire wood ready to go, and we are going to blow up the air mattress and have the kids camp out in the living room for the next couple of days. 

we are praying for everyone's safety. be safe, and smart.
and.... happy halloween!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

meet piper!















maybe it was the fact that we had just watched the movie Marley and Me, maybe it was that when we left Florida i really missed Hudson, maybe it's because i can never have another baby. or maybe, it was all of the above. 

sunday morning, over coffee and breakfast we were all sitting at the table when i looked out the window and saw this precious little dog at our front door. the next 24 hrs provided no answers about her past, but provided us all the answers about her future. this little girl seems to have been dropped off in our neighborhood. after talking to the vet, we conclude that whoever owned her just couldn't keep up with her care. baby girl is 20-30 lbs under weight, severely anemic, and had some internal parasites. she was dirty and grimy, and just plain pitiful. and that was the perfect combination to capture our hearts and have decided within hours of knowing her that we would be her forever home. 

she spent the morning at our amazing vet, middle hope veterinary, whom i had had a previous relationship with when we had Hudson. this was the same vet who consoled me as i cried like a baby as they treated Hudson for lyme disease. something about dogs who are hurting. so i knew that we HAD to have them see this dog right away. they did, and they all loved her, just like we did. she captured their hearts like she did ours. we are team Piper and we want to see her get well. 

so the vet provided me with some information about her. other than the obvious, her ribs sticking out, being dirty, and NOT being microchiped, we moved ahead as i decided right then in the room that she is officially ours. she is a pit bull mix, as young as 8 months old, as old as 2 yrs. we are treating her as if she is a one year old. she is 36 lbs, but he would like to see 30 more lbs on her. she is full grown. and she is so awesome. 

she had obviously had some training, had been socialized around animals and children because she is a dream around both. she learned to sit and stay within 20 minutes of training her at the vets office. in two days i've taught her to wait for us all to get out the door, then when i say, "you're free" she will go out the door. smart pup! we are having a trainer come to our home and train us all. pits are generally the alpha dog and especially female pit bulls. it's important we teach the children to the majority of the training, just so she knows who's in charge. 

bottom line, i would have never chosen a pit bull for our family. but she chose us. and because of that i want to learn everything i can about her to advocate for this dog. we love her. we love her so much. yesterday we found ourselves at the dog bakery buying her a doggy doughnut. i mean, what? 

welcome piper, to our home. we get it right only half the time, it's loud, you will be confused as to what toys are yours and what are the kids, you will get tons of table food with two three year old around, there are days where all we do is laundry and clean toilets, but we have a lot of love. and we want to share it with you! and it might be that you sniffed your way to us, knowing that what was behind our front door,  you were searching for exactly this. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Buddies.











these two. 

what would i do without hulk impersonations at the grocery store, or pee all over the toilet from not lifting up the seat, or the stinkiest feet in the whole world, or legos snuck into bed at night time, or roaring the loudest roars when i say, "i love you", or insisting on never bathing? but seriously, what would i do without the love of my boys? the sweetness, the tenderness of needing their mama, the way they need "one more kiss" every time. the way they have to pick a sweater of mine for bedtime. the way they are always telling me i smell good, or am pretty, or beautiful, or the best mama in the whole wide world. it melts me on the spot. what would i do if i never knew that this huge part of me was just waiting to come alive? or that i was capable of not screaming at spiders but instead able to pick them up in a tissue and hold it there while we all take a long look and talk about it. or that dirt is in fact the best smell ever under my nails. or that i too am able to impersonate hulk. and spiderman, and firestar, and superman, and batman. and their favorite to call me, black widow. 
these two are buddies alright.
 but even more so,
 they are my buddies. 
dune, lars. i love you guys. ROAR!
 
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